Online Symposium | Hidden Hands: Untold Stories of the Object

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on November 3, 2021

Plate 419, Silver-plating in L’Enclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers by Denis Diderot.

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From the MFAH:

Hidden Hands: Untold Stories of the Object
Rienzi Biennial Symposium
Online, Rienzi, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 6 November 2021

Geographic exploration and colonial expansion led to the introduction of new materials and technological innovation in the early modern period. These developments created an increased demand for goods made of ceramics, glass, exotic woods, textiles, and metals. The refining of raw materials and the production of these goods depended upon a diverse labor force made up of men, women, and children from across the globe. Despite the integral roles played by these workers in all of these varied enterprises, their names and contributions have often been lost to history. Who were these people? How did they interact and engage with these new materials and goods? What social, political, and economic forces contributed to the exclusion of their narratives? The symposium invites scholars to reconsider established ideas of craftsmanship and artistic authorship through the telling of these ‘hidden’ stories.

The symposium will be held in conjunction with the exhibition Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England, on view at Rienzi from 1 September 2021 to 3 January 2022.

Registration for the symposium is available here»


10.00  Session 1: Industry and Craft
• Misty Flores (Assistant Curator, Rienzi), Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England
• Javier Fernández Vázquez (PhD Candidate, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), All the Names: Recovering the Ignored Authorship of Metal-Casting Patterns
• Daichi Shigemoto (PhD Student, The University of Texas at Austin), Hidden Hands for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo
• Q&A

11.10  Break

11.40  Session 2: Cultural Exchanges in the Americas
• Alfredo A. Ortega-Ordaz (Conservator, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City), Lightweight Sculpting: About Admiration and Exclusion
• Marco Díaz-Güemez (Research Professor, Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán), The Yucatan Hammock as a Product of Mayan Women: Tradition, Adaptation, and Resistance
• Philippe Halbert (PhD Candidate, Yale University), A Toilette in Their Fashion: Indigenizing the Dressing Table in the French Atlantic World
• Q&A

12.55  Break

1.05  Session 3: Movement of People and Ideas
• Lindsay Alberts (Professor, SCAD), Mustafa di Ramadano: Slavery Hidden in the Hardstones of the Cappella dei Principi
• Jordan Smith (Assistant Professor, Widener University), The Caribbean Origins of European Craftsmanship: A Case Study in Rum
• Bindy Barclay (Freelance Writer and Researcher), Unraveling Cook’s Voyage: Repopulating the Colonial Exotic
• Q&A

Exhibition | Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 3, 2021

Worcester Porcelain Manufactory, gilding attributed to Charlotte Hampton, Covered Dessert Tureen and Ladle from the ‘Bostock’ Service, ca. 1785–90, soft-paste porcelain (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Rienzi Collection, Museum purchase funded by Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III).

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Now on view at Rienzi:

Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England
Rienzi, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1 September 2021– 2 January 2022

The introduction of new materials and technological innovation in the 18th century sparked an increased demand for luxury objects and useful wares made of ceramics, glass, and metals. These technologies and techniques allowed manufacturers to create wares to appeal to a broader and more diverse audience. The Industrial Revolution affected not only how objects were made but also the organization of labor in workshops and factories. Behind famous names such as Josiah Wedgwood and Worcester Porcelain was a diverse, yet mostly unseen and nameless workforce composed of large numbers of women and children who were involved in various aspects of production and manufacture. Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England focuses on the many hands involved in the production of these wares. The exhibition also challenges established ideas about craftsmanship and artistic authorship.

Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, presents special exhibitions twice a year.

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