Online Learning | Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender

Posted in online learning, resources by Editor on November 3, 2015


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Banquet of Cleopatra, 1744
(Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria)

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Now in progress through Coursera (directed by Jeanette Hoorn with familiar faces including Jennifer Milam). . .

Coursera: Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender
Directed by Jeanette Hoorn, 26 October — 13 December 2015

What do paintings tell us about sex? How is art gendered? Here we get up close to some of the great paintings in the world’s most famous museums, giving you insight into how art speaks to us about sex, sexuality and gender.

This course teaches masterpieces through the lens of sex and gender. We take you to the rich collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria and California’s Huntington Library giving you access to outstanding works from the western tradition and expert tuition from specialist curators and renowned art historians.

Each unit will examine the circumstances in which paintings are produced and received, and how contemporary spectators and consumers of art view them. Why do works of art made centuries ago continue to speak so profoundly to us today? What do art historians mean when they talk about ‘the gaze’? Are Matisse’s paintings ‘sexy’? What do the nude and the sleeping gypsy signify in Henri Rousseau’s extraordinary pictures? Why do viewers find Frida Kahlo’s small and very personal paintings so powerful? What do Gainsborough’s portraits tell us about masculinity and sensibility in eighteenth century Britain? How is the Australian ‘dreaming’ gendered? These are some of the intriguing questions you will study in Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender.

Course Syllabus
The course is taught over 7 weeks and is made up of 9 modules:
1  Introduction: Tiepolo’s Cleopatra: Painting, Agency and the Gaze
2  The Culture of Sensibility and the ‘Man of Feeling’: Thomas Gainsborough’s Portrait of the Officer of the Fourth Regiment of Foot
3  Gainsborough at the Huntington: The Role of Music, Costume, Theatre, Charity and Passion in the Gendered Culture of Sensibility
4  Sexual Codes in French Courtly Painting of the Eighteenth Century
5  Orientalism, Gender and Display: Painting in Morocco
6  Henri Rousseau: Challenging the Myth of the Passive Woman
7  Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne and Max Dupain: Modernism, Gender and the Science of Movement
8  Sexuality and Dissonance: Frida Kahlo and the Struggle to Paint
9  What is Women’s Business?: Australian Indigenous Art and the Dreaming

Recommended Background
No background is required; all are welcome. Visit your local art museum or gallery and look at some paintings.

Suggested Readings
All readings needed to successfully complete the course will be supplied. A rich list of resources will also be supplied within the course to assist you with you study for this subject.

Course Format
The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 8 and 12 minutes in length. Each unit has key readings, which, with the lectures, provide the content for the short weekly quizzes based on a multiple choice format.

Exhibition | Georgia’s Girlhood Embroidery

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 3, 2015

Press release (21 September 2015) from the Georgia Museum of Art:

Georgia’s Girlhood Embroidery: ‘Crowned with Glory and Immortality’
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, 31 October 2015 — 28 February 2016

Curated by Kathleen Staples and Dale Couch


Frances Roe (Savannah, Georgia), Sampler, ca. 1815 (Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia)

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will present the exhibition Georgia’s Girlhood Embroidery: ‘Crowned with Glory and Immortality’ October 31, 2015, through February 28, 2016. Organized by curators Kathleen Staples, independent scholar, and Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts at the museum, it focuses on ornamental needlework created in Georgia and is the first comprehensive exhibition of Georgia samplers.

Girls between the ages of 8 and 12 created embroidered samplers during the 18th and 19th centuries in Georgia as an exercise to gain skills in sewing, needlework and embroidery. Wealthier girls were expected to possess such skills as part of their participation in polite society. Girls from humbler backgrounds and free African Americans could use their skills to find paid employment. The samplers include rows of alphabets, quotations in prose and verse, images of architecture and embellished floral borders. Written documents from the period show that needlework took part in many different settings: public and private, elective and required, urban and rural.

Couch said, “The Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts, at the Georgia Museum of Art, is keen to examine and present the art of all groups of people who were present in Georgia’s history. My predecessor Ashley Callahan and I searched for embroidery examples that represented the work of Georgia’s women for more than a decade. With the help of textile specialist Kathy Staples, we have been able to decipher the needlework done by elite women in early Georgia. These women were literate and educated, which provided them with the means of creating such ornamental needlework. In spite of the elite nature of embroidery, Staples has touched on many important tangents of Georgia experience, including African American sewing and girlhood education.”

The exhibition includes about two dozen samplers created in Georgia or by Georgians between the mid-18th century and about 1860, on loan from public and private collections, including those of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), the Midway Museum, the Charleston Museum, the Telfair Museums, St. Vincent’s Academy (Savannah, Georgia) and the President James K. Polk Home and Museum. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the museum and for sale through the Museum Shop.

One example, worked by Martha ‘Patsey’ Bonner McKenzie (1775–1851), was used as evidence by its maker to claim a Revolutionary War widow’s pension. Another, by Eliza S. Blunt, consisted of architectural embroideries, which were very uncommon in Georgia at the time. Blunt’s needlework probably shows the Eatonton Academy, built ca. 1807.

Associated museum events include a public tour at 2 p.m. on November 11; a Family Day focusing on embroidered holiday ornaments at 10 a.m. on December 5; and the eighth biennial Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts, organized by the museum and held at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center February 2–4, 2016. The museum will also host and co-organize this year’s MESDA Textile Seminar, Interwoven Georgia: Three Centuries of Textile Traditions, to be held January 14–16, 2016.

The exhibition is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.

YCBA Visiting Scholar Awards

Posted in fellowships by Editor on November 3, 2015

The YCBA Visiting Scholars Program is now accepting applications for the award period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.  The program offers short-term residential awards to scholars in the humanities from predoctoral to senior levels. 

Yale Center for British Art Visiting Scholar Awards
New Haven, 1 July 2016 — 30 June 2017

Applications due by 11 January 2016

Visiting Scholar Awards are intended to enable scholars and doctoral students working in a variety of disciplines to study the Center’s collections. Awards are offered to scholars and predoctoral students working in any discipline, including history, the history of art, literature, and other fields related to British visual and material culture. Predoctoral applicants from North America must be ABD to qualify.

One award per annum is reserved for a member of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. In addition, scholars may apply to the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, and the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, for awards in the same year; every effort will be made to offer consecutive dates.

Postdoctoral awards may be held between one to four months. While all applications are given equal consideration, stays of at least two months are encouraged. Predoctoral awards may be held from one to two months.

Awards cover the cost of travel to and from New Haven, and provide accommodation as well as a living allowance. Recipients are required to be in residence in New Haven for the duration of their award and must be free of all other significant professional responsibilities during their stay.

The closing date for awards is Monday, January 11, 2016. Applicants should complete the online application and upload a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, and a statement of no more than two thousand words (single-spaced) outlining the proposed research project and the preferred months of tenure. Applicants should provide a title for their research project and place their full name on each page of the application. Two confidential letters of recommendation should be e-mailed to Research (ycba.visitingscholars@yale.edu) under separate cover by the same deadline. For further information, please contact Research, ycba.visitingscholars@yale.edu.

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