Exhibition | Opulent Art: 18th-Century Dress from the Larson Collection

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 19, 2014

Robe Volante, France, ca. 1745, Brocaded silk, silk passementarie & linen
(Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection FIDM Museum)

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From the FIDM Museum & Galleries:

Opulent Art: 18th-Century Dress from The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Los Angeles, 10 February — 2 July 2015

Curated by Kimerly Chrisman-Campbell and Kevin Jones

Ladies and gentlemen living in 18th-century Europe dressed opulently. Luxurious silks, handmade laces and precious metal trimmings were de rigueur for those aligned with royal courts and attending state theaters. In this exhibition are displayed lavish garments and accessories spanning the century, including a rare Figaro costume worn by an actor portraying the rascal servant in Beaumarchais’s famed opera trilogy. The stories of this character’s hijinks undermining his aristocratic employer sparked revolutionary tensions with real life rulers, who tried unsuccessfully to ban the popular productions.

The exhibition is part of the programming for LA Opera’s Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play. More information is available here.

Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power, and Revolution at Play

Posted in resources by Editor on December 19, 2014

Readers in the Los Angeles area as well as those planning to attend ASECS may find this series from LA Opera of interest. The associated programming is extensive. CH

Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power, and Revolution at Play
Various venues in the Los Angeles area, January — April 2015

After Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, ca. 1755 (Institution:Comédie-Française)

After Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, ca. 1755 (Institution: Comédie-Française)

From February 7 through April 12, 2015, LA Opera will produce three operas inspired by the works of the French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732–1799). Beaumarchais was a man of many talents: a playwright, watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, horticulturalist, arms dealer, satirist, financier and revolutionary (both French and American). His trilogy of Figaro plays—The Barber of Seville (1775), The Marriage of Figaro (1784) and The Guilty Mother (1792)—captured staggering changes in social attitudes of the late 18th century. These plays and their characters have been subsequently adapted into operas (some more successful than others) by Paisiello, Salieri, Massenet and Milhaud to name a few.

LA Opera’s programming of the “Figaro Trilogy”—John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro—within the 2014/15 season will immerse audiences in the world of a character who created a sensation in the years leading up to the French Revolution. The lasting legacy of the free-thinking barber will be explored in Figaro Unbound, a three-month celebration of the revolutionary spirit.

With a variety of programming for all ages, Figaro Unbound will investigate the ongoing relevance of Figaro and the Beaumarchais trilogy. There will be performances of alternate musical adaptations of Figaro’s story and opportunities to examine his lasting influence on American political and cultural life. Figaro Unbound partners include ArcLight Cinemas, the Hammer Museum, Opera UCLA, A Noise Within, LA Theatre Works, FIDM Museum, the Huntington Library, LACMA, the Norton Simon Museum, the Getty Museum, and the Opera League of Los Angeles, among others.

Call for Papers | RACAR Thematic Issue: The Nature of Naturalism

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 19, 2014

From the call for papers:

RACAR Thematic Issue—The Nature of Naturalism: A Trans-historical Examination
Edited by Sarah Guérin (Université de Montréal) and Itay Sapir (UQAM)

Proposals due by 1 February 2015; completed articles due by 1 August 2015

In spite of its inherent complexities and ambiguities, the definition of naturalism in art is often taken for granted. Indeed, the history of art continues to be schematized by dividing it into periods of greater and lesser naturalism. Thus, for instance, the remarkably life-like capital foliage of Reims cathedral is flagged as a break from a typically medieval ‘abstract’ style; and the categorization of artists such as Caravaggio as ‘naturalists’ is repeated, but seldom questioned, throughout the spectrum of art historical texts, from scholarly studies to wall texts addressing the museum-going public.

The relations and interactions between art and nature, however, are never simple. Works of art can seek to imitate one aspect of nature while ignoring, or actively discarding, others. General interest in natural phenomena does not necessarily imply a ‘naturalistic’ technique, and vice versa. The perspective shifts even more dramatically when considered within the framework of global art history. The definition of nature is in itself, of course, a fraught philosophical question, exemplified, but not exhausted, by the distinction between Natura naturans and Natura naturata.

In this special issue of RACAR (Revue d’art canadienne / Canadian Art Review), we seek to problematize further the concept of naturalism in the visual arts. What are the criteria that define a work, a corpus, or a style, as naturalistic? How do artists formulate an approach to nature through the related aspects of content, form, and function? Should one distinguish naturalism from realism and mimesis, terms frequently used as quasi-synonyms? Is the category of ‘naturalistic art’ helpful at all for art historical discourse, or should it be dispensed with altogether? A perennial question in the history of art, the nature of naturalism remains relevant to the field.

We welcome both theoretical texts and specific case studies treating questions of naturalism from any historical period, geographical region, and artistic medium. The articles (of a maximum of 8,500 words including footnotes) will be due on 1 August 2015 and will be submitted to double-blind peer review. Please email your 250-word abstract and a short CV to Sarah Guérin (s.guerin@umontreal.ca) and Itay Sapir (sapir.itay@uqam.ca) by 1 February 2015.

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RACAR, un numéro thématique—La nature du naturalisme: un questionnement transhistorique
Sarah Guérin, Université de Montréal Itay Sapir, UQAM

En dépit de sa complexité et de ses ambiguïtés, la définition du naturalisme dans l’art est souvent tenue pour acquise. En effet, l’histoire de l’art continue d’être schématiquement divisée en périodes selon le degré de naturalisme. Ainsi, par exemple, les chapiteaux végétaux remarquablement véridiques de la cathédrale de Reims sont décrits comme une rupture par rapport au style médiéval qui serait typiquement « abstrait » ; et des artistes comme Caravage sont régulièrement étiquetés « naturalistes » dans des textes historiographiques divers, sans que cette description soit sérieusement expliquée ni remise en question.

Il est évident, pourtant, que les relations entre l’art et la nature sont loin d’être si simples. Les œuvres d’art peuvent tenter d’imiter directement un aspect de la nature tout en ignorant ou en rejetant activement d’autres ; un intérêt général pour les phénomènes naturels ne signifie pas nécessairement une technique « naturaliste », et vice-versa. La perspective bascule de façon encore plus radicale lorsque nous prenons comme cadre une histoire de l’art mondiale. La définition de la nature est en elle-même, bien sûr, une question philosophique complexe : la distinction entre Natura naturans et Natura naturata en est un aspect crucial parmi bien d’autres.

Dans ce numéro spécial de RACAR (Revue d’art canadienne / Canadian Art Review), nous souhaitons problématiser le concept de naturalisme dans les arts visuels. Quels sont les critères qui définissent une œuvre, un corpus ou un style comme naturaliste ? Comment les artistes formulent-ils leur approche à la nature à travers le contenu, la forme et la fonction de leurs créations ? Faut-il distinguer le naturalisme des termes fréquemment utilisés comme ses synonymes, tels le réalisme et la mimesis ? La catégorie d’« art naturaliste » est- elle d’une quelconque utilité pour le discours historiographique, ou serait-il préférable de l’abandonner ? La question de la nature du naturalisme, soulevée par les artistes et les théoriciens tout au long de l’histoire, demeure d’actualité.

Nous invitons des propositions d’articles (en anglais ou en français) traitant de la question du naturalisme dans l’histoire de l’art. Les textes qui se penchent sur des questions théoriques générales ou qui se concentrent sur des études de cas sont fortement encouragés. L’appel est ouvert à des sujets provenant de toutes les périodes historiques, toutes les aires géographiques et culturelles et tous les médias artistiques. Les articles (d’un maximum de 8500 mots y compris les notes) seront exigibles le 1er août 2015 et seront soumis à un examen par les pairs en double aveugle. Veuillez soumettre vos propositions d’un maximum de 250 mots et un court CV avant le 1er février à Sarah Guérin (s.guerin@umontreal.ca) et Itay Sapir (sapir.itay@uqam.ca).


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