New Book | Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth

Posted in books by Editor on February 28, 2014

Published in December by Princeton UP:

Malcolm Bull, Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth: Vico and Neapolitan Painting (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-0691138848, $25 / £17.

k10123Can painting transform philosophy? In Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth, Malcolm Bull looks at Neapolitan art around 1700 through the eyes of the philosopher Giambattista Vico. Surrounded by extravagant examples of late Baroque painting by artists like Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena, Vico concluded that human truth was a product of the imagination. Truth was not something that could be observed: instead, it was something made in the way that paintings were made–through the exercise of fantasy.

Juxtaposing paintings and texts, Bull presents the masterpieces of late Baroque painting in early eighteenth-century Naples from an entirely new perspective. Revealing the close connections between the arguments of the philosophers and the arguments of the painters, he shows how Vico drew on both in his influential philosophy of history, The New Science. Bull suggests that painting can serve not just as an illustration for philosophical arguments, but also as the model for them–that painting itself has sometimes been a form of epistemological experiment, and that, perhaps surprisingly, the Neapolitan Baroque may have
been one of the routes through which modern consciousness
was formed.

Malcolm Bull is university lecturer in fine art at the University of
Oxford. His previous books include Anti-Nietzsche, The Mirror
of the Gods
, and Seeing Things Hidden.


1. Vico
2. Icastic Painting
3. Fantastic Painting
4. Theological Painting

Call for Participation | Technologies of Turning

Posted in graduate students, opportunities by Editor on February 28, 2014

From the Call for Participation:

Technologies of Turning: An Exploration of Making and Meaning
Harvard University, 20–22 May 2014

Applications due by 18 March 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.16.36 AMOrganized by Jennifer L. Roberts (Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University) and Ethan W. Lasser (Margaret S. Winthrop Associate Curator of American Art, Harvard Art Museums)

Eligibility: Current graduate students in any discipline; space is limited to nine students.

This workshop is the second in a new annual series focusing on processes of making in the fine, decorative, and industrial arts. The workshops will bring together faculty, artists, museum professionals, and graduate students for demonstrations, hands-on exercises, and discussion. Each day will combine instruction in historic techniques with the close analysis of related historic objects. One of the features that will differentiate this workshop from others like it is that it will include time for extensive discussion about the merits of bringing technical and artisanal knowledge into the historical and interpretive disciplines in a conceptually rigorous way. Rather than focus on a specific medium or type of object, each workshop is organized around a single species of physical operation that cuts across multiple media and can also be evocatively transposed into cultural and theoretical dimensions.

This year we will concentrate on “turning.” From the lathe to the spindle to the potter’s wheel to the turntable, rotational dynamics sit at the heart of multiple mechanical and artisanal practices. The workshop will trace processes of turning through pottery throwing, textile production, and media playback and projection. What modes of thinking and approaches to materials link these processes? How have makers across time conceptualized working “in the round” and how might such modes of embodied making inform our understanding of the creative process? What are the implications of turning’s intricate relationship to control in artisanal and industrial settings? How does turning engage with problems in programming, tacit knowledge, and automation?

Each participant will be expected to complete a short list of preliminary readings and to attend all portions of the workshop. The workshop is organized by Americanists and will focus primarily on American material, but students in all fields are encouraged to apply. Lodging for four nights and most meals will be provided for selected participants. Participants will be responsible for supporting their own travel to and from Cambridge.

Send a CV and a short statement explaining your reasons for wishing to participate in the workshop to both roberts6@fas.harvard.edu and elasser@fas.harvard.edu by March 18, 2014, 5pm. Selected participants will be notified by March 25. Space in this workshop will be limited to nine students.

Sponsored by the American Art Workshop Fund and the Department of American Art, Harvard Art Museums

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

T U E S D A Y ,  2 0  M A Y  2 0 1 4 — C E R A M I C S

Demonstration and hands-on studio session, Harvard Ceramics Studio (Allston, MA)
Handling session with historic material
Debriefing and reflection

W E D N E S D A Y ,  2 1  M A Y  2 0 1 4 — T E X T I L E S

Demonstration and hands-on session with early machinery, American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA)
Handling session with historic material
Debriefing and reflection

T H U R S D A Y ,  2 2  M A Y  2 01 4 — M E D I A

Demonstration and hands-on session, Harvard Film Archive
Final debriefing, workshop conclusion

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