Exhibition | Edges of Books

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 22, 2013

I regret that notice of this exhibition at RIT’s Cary Graphic Arts Collection slipped by me, but the catalogue is still available. -CH

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Edges of Books
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, 1 October — 14 December 2012

Screen shot 2013-03-20 at 7.33.53 PMEdges of Books examines a familiar form from an unfamiliar perspective. When books are on display it is usually their spines, covers, text, or illustrations that are featured. These are the familiar parts of the books—the parts that modern readers have come to interact with the most. Edges of Books takes a different approach, uncovering a tradition that extends back centuries in which the edges of books were important sites for information and decoration. A selection of artifacts from 1518 to the present will inspire visitors to view books in new and exciting ways.

Steven K. Galbraith, Edges of Books: Specimens of Edge Decoration from RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection (Rochester: RIT Press, 2012), 74 pages, ISBN: 978-1933360690, $17.

Steven K. Galbraith is Curator of the Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature from Ohio State University and an M.L.S. from the University at Buffalo. Prior to coming to RIT, he was the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Books at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. and the Curator of Early Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Ohio State University. He is the author of works on early English printing, English Renaissance literature, rare book librarianship, and book conservation and digitization.

J & A Beare and Amati Release Books on 18th-Century Violins

Posted in Art Market, books by Editor on August 25, 2014

“With the closure of Sotheby’s and Christie’s music departments, Amati is leaping into the gap in the market with gusto and is changing the shape of the industry. Amati not only provides owners with a valuation service but allows dealers and makers around the world to upload their instruments, with full provenance and documentation for the valuable instruments.” More usefully for most of us, Amati’s online magazine includes reviews of concerts and recordings. CH

From Art Daily (24 August 2014). . .


Antonio Stradivari ‘La Pucelle’ Violin, 1709

The Monograph Collection is a collaboration between J & A Beare and Amati, who will be releasing a series of books each dedicated to a single masterwork of the classical school of violin making. The Monograph Collection books are sold as an annual subscription and are available to pre-order, with the first three books due out in September and the fourth in December. Each volume includes a detailed history as well as descriptive text on the technical and aesthetic features of each instrument, alongside professional photos and measurements. Written by strings specialist John Dilworth, it is hoped that the books will become treasured collector’s items.

Extract from I – Antonio Stradivari ‘La Pucelle’ Violin 1709: “The soundholes are wonderfully elegant and beautifully finished, as one would expect. They sit with great poise and balance on the front, the edges still looking sharp enough to cut paper. Comparing these virtually perfect soundholes with those on other celebrated instruments by Stradivari brings home the great variation observable in position, inclination, widths, and even symmetry in the work as a whole. These particular soundholes on ‘La Pucelle’ are cut with a quite generous width in the arm, a feature going back to the 1680s. Amongst these and later examples there are soundhole pairs that lean inwardly at the upper hole, and later there appear soundholes cut with a slender arm, set sometimes very upright and parallel. Then, in the Golden Period and beyond, there appear mixtures of all these traits in pairs of soundholes on the same instrument. The explanations for all this apparently random treatment lie in the techniques Stradivari used to draw out the soundholes and the obvious fact that there were more than one pair of hands at work in the atelier.”

Amati, the marketplace for stringed instruments, was set up to offer free evaluations and to provide transparency in the sale and purchase of violins, cellos, violas and bows—from a child’s violin to mid-range instruments for young professionals and antique violins of the highest calibre. By taking the market online, it empowers buyers and sellers to become better informed about an industry often shrouded in mystique. For those with a violin gathering dust in an attic, Amati is the first port of call for finding out the value of an instrument and sourcing comparisons, to enable those with little knowledge to access accurate information in the public domain. Amati will also be providing access to illustrated, hardbound monographs written by John Dilworth on some of the most famous Stradivarius violins and cellos in existence. With the closure of Sotheby’s and Christie’s music departments, Amati is leaping into the gap in the market with gusto and is changing the shape of the industry. Amati not only provides owners with a valuation service but allows dealers and makers around the world to upload their instruments, with full provenance and documentation for the valuable instruments.

Amati was co-founded by husband and wife team James and Sarah Buchanan in July 2013. Sarah is the company Director, while James offers specialist expertise in valuations. He has gained expert knowledge of the industry, having co-founded a specialist auction house in 2006, after running the Music Department at Christie’s Auctioneers in London.

New Book | Joseph Rose: Working Drawings. Facsimile of a Sketchbook

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on April 23, 2019


Joseph Rose: Working Drawings. Facsimile of a Sketchbook at Harewood House, with an introduction by Ashleigh Murray (Frome, Somerset: Kate Holland, 2019). Limited edition of 50, of which 48 are ‘ordinary’ (£150) and 2 ‘extraordinary’ (£3000).

The two extraordinary copies are bound in full alum tawed calfskin with hand dyed calfskin inlays and blind and gold tooling. A plasterwork rosette by Hayles and Howe, gilded by Glenny Thomas, is inset into the front board. Hand coloured edges. Hand sewn silk endbands. Printed endpapers from an original watercolour.

This book came about following an invitation to Kate Holland to exhibit as one of the 26 makers selected to feature in the inaugural celebration of contemporary craft at Harewood House, Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters, on view from 23 March until 1 September 2019. A preliminary visit to the house culminated in a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives. In one drawer was a small, nondescript, slightly battered book that revealed a series of working drawings by both Joseph Rose Senior (ca. 1723–1780) and Joseph Rose Junior (1745–1799).

The Roses were the pre-eminent master plasterers of their day and worked closely with Robert Adam (1728–1792) on the ceilings at Harewood in the 1760s as well as on many other big houses, several of which feature in this book. The sketchbook gives a fascinating glimpse into the minds of two incredible craftsmen working on highly significant commissions with some of the foremost architects and interior designers of their time. It is the perfect record of the link between commissioner, designer, and craftsman. Particularly because craftsmen too often fade into the background, Holland wanted to celebrate them especially for this celebration of craft.

As well as the facsimile sketchbook, there is also included an introduction by Ashleigh Murray, currently the academic expert on Joseph Rose in the UK. There are also contemporary images from the workshop floor of Hayles and Howe in Bristol, who still use the same techniques as Joseph Rose today—as well as a full list of plates, transcribed from the manuscript titles, as written by Joseph Rose.

This book is intended to serve not only as an important reference tool for those researching ornamental plasterwork or the work of Robert Adam but also to appeal to a wider audience with an interest in Georgian architecture or the history of interior design and craftsmanship.

For those visiting Harewood House, copies are available at the gift shop. Mail order copies can be arranged by contacting Kate Holland directly, katehollandbookbinder@gmail.com.

More information on the exhibition Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters is available here.

Exhibition | Yinka Shonibare CBE: The American Library

Posted in exhibitions, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on March 30, 2019

Yinka Shonibare CBE, The American Library, 2018; hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, headphones, interactive application; installation view at The Cleveland Public Library, 2018; commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. © Yinka Shonibare CBE. Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York and FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art with funds from VIA Art Fund, Cleveland Public Library and The City of Cleveland’s Cable Television Minority Arts and Education Fund. Photography by Field Studio.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

Yinka Shonibare CBE: The American Library
The Cleveland Public Library, 14 July — 30 September 2018
Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, 25 October — 14 December 2018

Speed Art Museum, Louisville, 29 March — 15 September 2019

Opening on March 29, 2019, 21c Museum Hotel and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky will present a co-curated exhibition of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE’s The American Library, a large-scale installation of thousands of books covered in the artist’s signature textiles with the names of people who have contributed to our collective understanding of diversity and immigration in the United States embossed in gold on the spines. The immersive installation will be on view in the Speed Art Museum’s original galleries from 1927, which formerly housed an art library, activating the historic space. Additional works by Shonibare from the 21c Museum Hotel and Speed collections will provide further context. Commissioned by Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, the work was recently on view at the Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, North Carolina ahead of its forthcoming presentation at the Speed Art Museum this spring. This exhibition marks the first time the Speed Art Museum and 21c Museum Hotel have co-organized a major exhibition.

The American Library is inspired by ongoing debates about immigration and diversity in the United States. The installation comprises bookshelves holding over 6,000 volumes covered in Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax printed cotton, a material whose mixed origins reflect the history of colonization, and are printed with gilded names of figures who have made significant contributions to American culture and/or have influenced public discourse on immigration. The selected names, which include W. E. B. Du Bois, Maria Goeppert Mayer, Steve Jobs, Bruce Lee, Ana Mendieta, Joni Mitchell, Toni Morrison, Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Carl Stokes, Donald Trump, and Tiger Woods, fall into the following categories: people who immigrated or whose parents immigrated to the U.S., African Americans who relocated or whose parents relocated out of the American south during the Great Migration, or people who have spoken out against immigration, equality, or diversity in the United States. In the gallery, visitors can access a website that provides additional information on each individual represented on the shelves.

“We at 21c are thrilled to collaborate with the Speed to present The American Library,” says 21c Chief Curator and Museum Director Alice Gray Stites. “In the face of the growing refugee crisis and resistance to immigration across the globe, we feel an urgency to share this work that celebrates the spectrum of voices that have created our nation’s culture and history, while simultaneously acknowledging that there are others who have spoken out against diversity. We hope this exhibition will provide opportunities to better understand the complexity of these political and cultural debates.”

“It feels both timely and meaningful to be collaborating with 21c on an exhibition that acknowledges the many facets of the debate surrounding immigration and the innumerable ways that the United States has benefited from the contributions of migrants and immigrants,” says Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum. “Empathy is often enhanced by education, and Shonibare’s masterful installation of books, and his online database of names, illuminates that this country was built by individuals coming from many different backgrounds and places.”

Yinka Shonibare CBE’s work examines race, class, and cultural identity and explores the history of colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. Working across media, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, and installation, Shonibare’s work provides insightful political commentary on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. In addition to The American Library, the 21c and Speed exhibition will feature other works by Shonibare, including:

Yinka Shonibare CBE, ‘The Age of Enlightenment — Gabrielle Émile Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet’, 2008; life-size fiberglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton, mixed media (Collection of Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c Museum Hotels, and Collection of Jim Gray, © Yinka Shonibare CBE).

The Three Graces (2001), depicting three headless mannequins dressed in Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax fabric, was inspired by a photograph of three women in Edwardian dress that the artist found in the archives of the Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum in Rome, Italy. As a trio, the sculptures allude to the archetype of ‘The Three Graces’ found in classical ancient Greek sculpture, while their Edwardian dresses speak to the history of Great Britain’s colonization of the African continent.

The Age of Enlightenment — Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet (2008), a sculpture from Shonibare’s series inspired by key historic figures and thinkers from the 18th century, presented as headless mannequins, dressed in his signature Dutch wax fabrics, questions and interrogates the ideas embraced during the Age of Reason that supported and justified colonial expansion. This sculpture depicts female mathematician, physicist, and author Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet and comments upon her status and treatment as an intellectual woman in this period.

Food Faerie (2010) is a sculptural representation of a winged child carrying mangoes in a leather pouch, with one arm held aloft as if holding a spear. Dressed in the style of Victorian England and Dutch wax fabric designed by the artist, this sculpture examines how identity is shaped by both mythology and by capital markets, alluding to England’s colonial control of regions and resources in West Africa.

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (2008) combines references to Goya’s 18th-century critiques of the Spanish Church and State with allusions to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Shonibare questions the ongoing impact of the theories of the Enlightenment period on world history and on contemporary geo-politics.


Call for Papers | AAH 2018, London

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 22, 2017

Here are some of the thematic offerings proposed for the AAH 2018 conference that could include eighteenth-century papers. Be sure to consult the conference website for things I’ve overlooked.CH

44th Annual Association of Art Historians Conference
Courtauld Institute of Art and King’s College London, 5–7 April 2018

Proposals due by 6 November 2017

The 2018 Annual Conference for art history and visual culture will be co-hosted by the Courtauld Institute of Art and King’s College London. Academic sessions that papers will respond to the idea of ‘looking outwards’. This international 3-day event will look at art history in the broadest sense, and will incorporate a diverse range of speakers and perspectives.

The close collaboration between the two institutions—involving numerous other museums and cultural partners in London—will set the tone for a conference oriented around ‘looking outwards’. On one hand, we will be encouraging art historians and researchers to think about their disciplinary relationships with other affiliated subjects in the arts and humanities (as indeed beyond). On the other, we will be inviting new perspectives on international collaborations within the field (particularly important in the wake of recent political events…). We aim to incorporate an ambitious range of perspectives—from university academics and doctoral researchers, to educators, curators, heritage partners, and not least artists themselves. We hope to deliver an event with the widest possible remit and reach.

The 2018 conference will host 40 academic sessions, over 3 days (approximately 13–14 sessions each day). Each session will generally consist of between 4 and 8 papers (minimum 4, maximum 8); papers are usually 25 minutes, presented in 35-minute slots to allow for questions and movement between sessions. We will also accommodate alternative session formats—such as world-cafe, round-table, or open discussions. Sessions will respond to the idea of ‘looking outwards’ by engaging with art history and visual culture in the broadest sense. A listing of the 2018 academic sessions and abstracts (as a pdf file) is available here.

Please email paper proposals directly to the session convenors. You will need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name, and institutional affiliation (if relevant). Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media, and in the printed programme.

Conference Convenors
Joanna Woodall and Katie Scott (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Michael Squire (King’s College London)

Conference Coordinator
Cheryl Platt (Association for Art History)

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Art and Religion: Theology, the Sacred, and Visual Culture
Ben Quash (King’s College London), ben.quash@kcl.ac.uk; and Ayla Lepine (University of Essex), ayla.lepine@gmail.com

When art enters religious territory it can open new spaces of encounter that provoke, illuminate, challenge, and disturb. The attachments of religious conviction, meanwhile, can discomfit the disinterested analysis of the scholar of material culture. When scholarship in art history connects with research in religious studies and theology, dialogues necessarily open outwards, therefore, onto debates regarding religion and the sacred in visual culture and in public and private life. Building on recent scholarship by voices in theology, religion and the arts including Sally Promey, Graham Howes, Gretchen Buggeln and Christopher Pinney, this session encourages new perspectives on diverse meetings worldwide between the sacred and the arts. Across the past decade, art historians and theologians have begun to probe new zones of common ground and collaborate fruitfully. As an example, Stations 2016, staged in London during Lent 2016, was a remarkable but almost uncategorisable event. It created a route across London which connected works of art hanging in museum spaces (Jacopo Bassano’s Christ on the Way to Calvary in the National Gallery, for example, or a Limoges enamel sequence in the Wallace Collection) with works of art in church spaces (many of them newly commissioned, temporary installations), and also with works of art in public and ostensibly ‘neutral’ spaces (like a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square). It clearly showed that contexts are not only physical spaces; they are also human uses. The Bassano in the National Gallery could, at the very same instant that Lent, have been gazed upon by a tourist spending a morning enjoying art for art’s sake, and a pilgrim en route with Christ to Golgotha. This session encourages papers from art historians and theologians in fields that explore any tradition or period in which art and religion interlace to produce new experiences and understandings of holiness and the sacred. We particularly welcome submissions that break new ground in relation to liturgy and ritual, interdisciplinary methodologies and cross-fertilizations between theology and art history, the unique status of religious objects in museums and cultural institutions, interactions between sacred scripture and the arts, religious implications for representational and abstract art, diverse intersections of gender, identity, and religious art, and studies that challenge and even break boundaries regarding conventional understandings of ‘religion’ and ‘faith’.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Beyond Boundaries: Artistic Inquiries into Borders and Their Meanings
Mey-Yen Moriuchi (La Salle University), moriuchi@lasalle.edu; and Lesley Shipley (Randolph College), lshipley@randolphcollege.edu

Borders have played a critical role in the development and distribution of culture, often acting as frameworks that help or hinder our ability to ‘look outwards’. In The Location of Culture, Homi Bhabha calls attention to the value of interstitial spaces, where borders, frames, and other locations ‘in-between’ become ‘innovative sites of collaboration and contestation in the act of defining the idea of society itself.’ Other philosophical considerations of borders, such as Martin Heidegger’s concept of gestell, or enframing, Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of Enlightenment aesthetics vis-à-vis the parergon, and Victor Stoichita’s analysis of framing devices in early modern ‘meta-painting’, have demonstrated the transformative power of edges, frames, borders, and boundaries in art.

This session will focus on works of art, artistic practices, and art historical perspectives that think critically and creatively about borders and their meaning(s). The goal is to expand our understanding of borders, whether physical or conceptual, historical or theoretical. In the spirit of pushing beyond boundaries of convention and ‘looking outwards’, we welcome papers that focus on any medium, art historical period, or curatorial practice. Papers may address, though are not limited to: art that explores the significance of borders to migrants, immigrants, diasporic communities or other groups residing (both literally and figuratively) ‘in-between’; activist art that interrogates borders and their meaning(s); the role of public art, public space, and social media in thinking beyond boundaries; the metaphorical and/or literal framing of a work of art and its effects; the symbolic purpose or meaning of frames in various cultural contexts (for instance, the role of framing in religious spaces or objects, such as tabernacles, wall niches, icon paintings, and marginalia).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Body as Architecture / Architecture as Body
Kelly Freeman (University College London), k.freeman.11@ucl.ac.uk; and Rebecca Whiteley (University College London), rebecca.whiteley.12@ucl.ac.uk

Just as the head, foot, and indeed any member must correspond to each other and to all the rest of the body in a living being, so in a building … the parts of the whole body must be so composed that they all correspond to one another.  –Leon Battista Alberti, De re aedificatoria (c. 1450)

There has, since classical antiquity, been a complex set of correspondences between the human body and the designed building. Such interactions spring from the enduring art- theoretical ideal whereby art and architecture should imitate nature, as well as from broader cultural, medical and anatomical thinking wherein the body is described in terms of architecture and domestic arrangement. Throughout recorded history, architects have turned to the proportions, structures, processes, and narratives of the human body when designing built spaces. Likewise, artists and writers working in anatomy, medicine, politics and literature, to name a few, have turned to the shape, design and spaces of the building when discussing and explaining the body.

Our panel will explore how this enduring correspondence has been expressed and shaped by visual culture. We encourage papers that treat as broad an array of visual and theoretical material as possible: from art theory and architecture to anatomical print. Papers may wish to address one of the following themes: the body’s architecture, organic and anatomical theories and representations in architecture, metaphors of bodies and buildings, the (gendered) materiality and form of the body and of architecture. We intend to set no limits on geography or period, and to convene a session with as wide a scope as possible. In response to the theme of ‘Look out!’, we hope to bring together a variety of disciplines—from art history and architecture, to literature, history of science and medicine—and to bring different theoretical and disciplinary approaches into conversation.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Dangerous Bodies – Look out! Fashioned Bodies on the Boundaries
Royce Mahawatte (Central Saint Martins, London), r.mahawatte@csm.arts.ac.uk; and Jacki Willson (University of Leeds), j.m.willson@leeds.ac.uk

This panel explores the cultural intersection between bodies, fashion and transgression. Bodies are political players in culture. What role do fashioned bodies play in resistance, in meeting governmental boundaries or institutional power? Fashion is an aspect of modern warfare. Style can defend and attack in cultural space. How do fashioned bodies occupy the grey area between social control and the resistance to power? In relation to Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou’s idea of the ‘performative in the political’ (2013) this session would like to consider how fashioned bodies—which are ‘revolting’, ‘laughing’, ‘unruly’, ‘grotesque’, ‘contaminating’, explicit, or silent and still—enact resistant strategies of protest.

We welcome readings of historical fashion media. How do governmental changes find embodiment in 18th-century masquerade, 19th-century fashion cultures, Modernist imagery? How does fashion intersect with race and gender discourses where colonialism, capitalism and embodiment are inextricably linked? To this end, this session would also like to consider the way that dress has been used emblematically to symbolise specific recent activist moments—for instance the woman in the flowing black dress in the Black Lives Matter demonstration in July 2016 or the ‘woman in red’ who became a symbol of protest in Turkey in 2013. How do acts of fashioned stillness (not passivity), play, refusal or rage mediate conflict, and challenge, critique or attack violent regimes? In what way does the artistic and deliberate use of fashion and the transgressive body differ from digital exposure which is not a deliberate part of a discursive framework? We welcome multi-disciplinary papers that engage with this topic from Art History and Critical Practice, Cultural Studies, Fashion Critical Studies, Film and Literary Studies, Performance Studies, Politics and International Studies, Sociology, Gender, Queer, LGBTI, and Critical Race Studies.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Dangerous Portraits in the Early Modern World
Jennifer Germann (Ithaca College), jgermann@ithaca.edu; and Melissa Percival (University of Exeter), M.H.Percival@exeter.ac.uk

Portraiture was a dynamic and, at times, disruptive artistic practice in the early modern period. Portraits could and did undermine, reconfigure, or otherwise step outside the bounds of social propriety. Rather than upholding or reinforcing existing hierarchies and/or maintaining the status quo, these portraits challenged the expectations of spectators and consumers. Dangerous portraits could disavow normative behavioural expectations, challenge the political order either openly or privately, or imagine and even generate new identities. How were social expectations engaged and subverted in portraits? Where and in what forms were dangerous portraits consumed or shared? How did artists, spectators, critics, and/or markets respond to these challenges? This session seeks papers that consider early modern portraits that pushed beyond the bounds of social norms and expectations. It engages the theme ‘look out!’ by allowing for reflection on identities traditionally viewed as ‘outside’ the bounds of the normative or desirable in terms of gender, race, class, geography, etc., produced between 1500 and 1800. Papers are welcomed from diverse cultural traditions around the globe, which address the impact of cross-cultural exchange, consider media beyond painting and sculpture, and by scholars, curators, and artists who work outside of the discipline of art history.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Dialogues: Things and Their Collectors
Nicole Cochrane (University of Hull), Cochrane@2014.hull.ac.uk; Lizzie Rogers (University of Hull), E.J.Rogers@2012.hull.ac.uk; and Charlotte Johnson (Victoria and Albert Museum), ch.johnson@vam.ac.uk

Acts of acquiring, collecting, curating and reception of the object, are generally understood as reciprocal relations between the collector and the object of desire, whether institutional or individual, art or artefact. However, the content of that exchange or dialogue has often been taken for granted. Collecting for display and social advancement, collecting as speculation, collecting for love etc. have too often been accepted as self-explanatory, diverting academic enquiry elsewhere, and obscuring the complexities at the heart of collecting practice. This panel seeks to build on the recent development of scholarship in this field, exploring the push and pull between things and collectors, artists and institutions. It questions how dialogues between parties transform the status, values, identity and character of each.

We propose an object-based approach, focused upon these ‘conversations’, conversations that we invite from any historical moments and geographical location. We encourage participants to engage with issues of class, gender and race as they relate to collecting and especially to the dialogue between collecting and identity. Particularly welcome are collaborative papers from artistic practitioners, academics and museum professionals, that address these issues from their respective vantage points, and papers from those based in scientific and ethnographic collections.

Dialogues between individual collectors and their things could include: provocation and comfort, artistic inspiration and practice, tactical or impulsive, therapeutic or detrimental, sameness and difference, temporality and permanence, lived or fixed, animate or inanimate. Dialogues between stakeholders and institutions could explore: exchanges between collector/donor and museum, boundaries between public and private modes of display, academic approval and the canon, natural history collections and modes of knowledge, national pride.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Figuring Change: The Early Modern Artistic Reception of Ovid’s Metamorphoses
Lydia Hamlett (University of Cambridge), lkh25@cam.ac.uk; and Philip Hardie (University of Cambridge), prh1004@cam.ac.uk

This session—co-convened by a classicist and an art historian—explores the art-historical legacy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and its underlying myths of classical transformation. It seeks papers that extend the chronological and geographical remit of Ovid’s visual cultural reception, as well as those that relate shifts in art historical reception back to the Ovidian metapoetics of transformation. We seek to attract papers on a wide range of case studies—not just sculpture and painting, but also tapestries, murals, music, architecture, and performance; we are likewise interested in papers that ‘look out’ to the intersection of art history with, for example, changes in social history, politics and the history of science. Individual papers might be diachronic and transhistorical in scope, or else home in on the visual culture of specific times and places.

The visual reception of episodes from the Metamorphoses has long been studied by art historians; likewise, recent work on the text by classicists has focused on the aesthetics and politics of the gaze, the ecphrastic challenge to the artist and the transformative power of art. There are nonetheless some important lacunae where an interdisciplinary approach might prove instructive—for example, in the case of Britain during the 17th and early 18th centuries (a particularly rich lens for thinking about how early modern readers and viewers looked at, and thought with, the traditions of Greece and Rome). What should we look out for in terms of the visual treatments of Ovidian subjects? Are images of Ovidian tales of metamorphosis merely entertainment and titillation? Or do they point to important changing moral, cultural and political ideas?

We are particularly interested in papers that focus on lesser-known aspects of Ovidian reception, or which to build new modes of interdisciplinary exchange. Topics might include differing receptions of the Metamorphoses in Britain and on the Continent; editions of Ovid in country house libraries and how and by whom they were read within the context of wider collections; traditions of illustrating Ovid; the appropriation of Ovid in public and private spheres, across court, country and city; the representation of material change, including alchemy and apotheosis; and ideas of intermedial translation between words and images.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Interdisciplinary Entanglements: Towards a ‘Visual Medical Humanities’
Fiona Johnstone (Birkbeck, University of London); and Natasha Ruiz-Gómez (University of Essex)

This roundtable conversation will consider how the disciplines of art history and visual culture might cultivate a mutually productive relationship with the interdisciplinary field of medical humanities. Situated predominantly in departments of English Literature or History (and increasingly, the Social Sciences), the medical humanities have, to date, been dominated by the written or spoken word, with visual culture yet to take centre stage. This may be changing: recent developments suggest that it might be possible to speak of a ‘visual turn’ within the medical humanities. Arts-based methodologies have been proposed as one possible alternative to an overemphasis on narrative techniques in healthcare; there has been a renewed interest in art therapy and the arts-in-health movement, in the efficacy of arts-based interventions in clinical settings, and in potential therapeutic and/or diagnostic applications of art and art-making. Several medical schools now run elective modules aimed at developing students’ visual literacy skills through exposure to artworks; in other programmes, artists are engaged to teach students ‘soft’ skills such as empathy and communication techniques. Despite these encouraging developments, scholars of art history and visual culture have yet to convincingly articulate the contribution their discipline can make to this rapidly expanding field.

To address this, panellists will be invited to imagine the possibility of a ‘visual medical humanities’. We suggest that this must do more than simply offer analyses (historical or otherwise) of iconographies of illness or injury. At its most productive, a visual medical humanities could raise searching questions about the social, political and ethical conditions of visibility and spectatorship; query how certain types of bodies come to be more visible than others; consider how medical identities are visually as well as linguistically constructed; and think critically about the way in which images and objects are used and displayed in (for example) textbooks and research papers, public health campaigns, and medical museums and art galleries. Acknowledging that ‘the space where one speaks’ and ‘the space where one looks’ operate according to different sets of rules (Foucault, 1970), a visual medical humanities might advocate for an increased sensitivity to the potential of the visible (and invisible) to articulate that which may not be expressed in words. Finally, a visual medical humanities would recognise that visual practice has a vital role to play in the construction of knowledge (as opposed to simply the dissemination of it).

The ramifications of this panel go beyond the specific relationship between art history, visual culture and medical humanities and speak directly to ongoing debates about the complexities of interdisciplinary research. Participants will consider how different disciplines can enrich each other, how we might use the tensions between disciplines constructively, and how the ‘messiness’ of interdisciplinarity might offer a valuable space for critical collaboration and productive entanglement.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

In/visibility and Influence: The Impact of Women Artists and Their work
Helen Draper (Institute of Historical Research, University of London), helen.draper@postgrad.sas.ac.uk; and Carol Jacobi (Tate), carol.jacobi@tate.org.uk

The assumption that ‘influence’ is something that can be traced backwards (or even forwards, as Baxandall argued in Patterns of Intention) is an issue for feminist art history. A feminist art history, that is, that seeks to avoid implicitly patriarchal genealogies and fully to acknowledge the effects of women artists and their work in artistic realms theoretically constituted in masculine terms and traditionally dominated by men. This session aims to review the the age-old issue of ‘the anxiety of influence’ through the lens of feminism and the agency of women artists.

Whitney Chadwick’s edited book Significant Others (1996), which focused on the relationships between artist-couples, and Lisa Tickner’s essay ‘Mediating Generation: The Mother–Daughter Plot’ (OAJ, 2002), which examined the way in which women artists ‘thought through’ their mothers, are important contributions to this revision. This session aims to expand the discussion through evidence-based papers relating to periods and cultures in which the experience of women was or is structurally different from that of men. We welcome papers that retrieve and analyse the hidden or suppressed agency of women artists and their works, and/or demonstrate the effects they have had through conversations, inter-relationships, collaborations, negotiations, networks, pedagogical interventions and other personal and material interactions. Our aim is to contribute to alternative cultural maps and historical accounts that pinpoint and more adequately describe the ‘influence’ of women artists and their works. We invite 250-word abstracts for 25-minute papers, short films, or 250-word interventions.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Just Looking? Art, Pedagogy, and the Object Lesson in the Long 19th Century
Elena Chestnova (Università della Svizzera Italiana), elena.chestnova@usi.ch; and Andrea Korda, (University of Alberta), korda@ualberta.ca

The popularity of object lessons in the 19th century attests to the fact that looking at things was not taken for granted as a straightforward or innate activity. Vision was to be educated. Its formation was embedded in a complex of senses and ‘mental faculties’, which meant that seeing involved more than just the eye; it was both multi-sensorial and multi-dimensional. Looking was not always aimed solely outwards, and the path between the subject and the object was not necessarily a direct line.

This session aims to examine the history of the object lesson—a pedagogical approach that relies on first-hand engagement with artefacts and phenomena—by inviting contributions that investigate its ‘messy’ instances. The growth of both general and artistic education in the 19th century saw the methodology of learning through things expand into new media, with images increasingly used as learning aids. Teaching activities of artists and historians led to the introduction of object lessons into artistic practices and art historical writing, and in some instances, artworks themselves became object lessons. How can we understand 19th-century object lessons in view of this growing complexity? And what are the implications for our conceptualisation of vision, which indeed ‘has a history’? The ongoing scholarly interest in the history of education and growing attention to popular forms of art history resonate with the concerns of this session. We invite paper proposals from a range of disciplines including but not limited to the history of art.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Looking Out and In: Reflecting, Remaking, and Reimagining Historical Interiors from Contemporary Viewpoints
Helen McCormack (Glasgow School of Art), h.mccormack@gsa.ac.uk; Anne Nellis Richter, anne.nellis@gmail.com; and Jennifer Gray (Edinburgh College of Art), Jennifer.Gray@ed.ac.uk

Recent research on the history of the domestic interior has highlighted the significance of meanings embedded in the architecture, decoration and objects that comprise the furnishings and fittings of houses and homes. Such increasingly rich and diverse investigation has demonstrated an expansive reach, encompassing grand, architectural schemes and minute inventoried, personal belongings. Despite this development, often the interpretative and communicative aspects of art and design that make up the social meanings of these spaces is misrepresented or can be overly speculative. Therefore, in reflecting, remaking and reimagining historical interiors, the contributions of artists, designers and craftspeople might best be foregrounded in constructing ideas of authenticity, transparency, and materiality in the making process, alongside scholarly study. This panel explores such ideas by reflecting on how historical interiors are remade and reimagined by looking in and out; at how a reassembling of spaces ought to avoid ‘a shrinking definition of the social itself’ (Latour, 2005).

Surveying a range of interior ‘types’ from a number of historical periods, the panel welcomes papers that investigate how meaning is made in refashioning domestic and social spaces in, for example, the homes of 18th-century naturalists and collectors, the colonial governor’s house or plantation mansion, the 17th-century artisan’s house or the 19th-century mogul’s glittering halls. Palatial to austere, we invite papers from researchers and practitioners currently working on these reimagined spaces that explore how historical interiors are made meaningful from a contemporary viewpoint, explaining how they might be embedded in the social and grounded in the present.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Remembering and Forgetting the Enlightenment
Hans Christian Hönes (The Warburg Institute), hoenes@bilderfahrzeuge.org; and Daniel Orrells (King’s College London), daniel.orrells@kcl.ac.uk

Art history is often considered a child of the Enlightenment: its methodological roots—aesthetics and historicism—are commonly associated with towering figures of the 18th century. Winckelmann and Kant loom large, and their influence on the development of the discipline is uncontested. And yet, numerous art writers have been virtually forgotten, even though their contribution to and influence on 18th- and 19th-century discourses on art was probably just as important as the theories of the better-known German grandees. Pierre d’Hancarville or Jørgen Zoega are just two names, representative of those whose work has not stood the test of time. More often than not, these writers belong to what has been called the ‘Super-Enlightenment’: their thinking is infused with mystical and occult ideas and is often interested more in history and myth than in beauty and style.

That art history turned a blind eye might be surprising, given recent attempts to reinvigorate approaches open to ‘unreason,’ in order to develop new ways for explaining the power of images. The renaissance of the work of Aby Warburg is notable here. This panel aims to evaluate these selection processes in the historiography and epistemology of art history and aesthetics: where and why do art historians, from the 18th to the 21st century, acknowledge the Enlightenment legacies of their discipline and when is it swept under the carpet? Does this canon formation in art history differ from other disciplines, such as classics and archaeology? Where has the ‘Super-Enlightenment’ left its traces in art historical thinking?

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Seeing and Hearing the ‘Beyond’: Art, Music, and Mysticism in the Long 19th Century
Michelle Foot (University of Edinburgh), mfoot@exseed.ed.ac.uk; and Corrinne Chong (Independent Researcher), corrinnecareens@gmail.com

This interdisciplinary session will explore the dialogue between art and music in addressing the subject of mysticism in the long 19th century (1789–1918). To counteract the positivist current that gained momentum during the period, artistic circles gravitated towards mystical means that initiated the beholder and listener into truths that transcended the world of external appearances. The session seeks to gauge the scope of different interpretations of mysticism and to illuminate how an exchange between art and music may unveil an underlying stream of metaphysical, supernatural, and spiritual ideas over the course of the century.

The multiple facets of mysticism manifested across a diverse range of styles, aesthetics, and movements. As esotericism saturated America, Europe and Britain, the Romantics and Symbolists responded to mystical beliefs expressed in Swedenborgianism, Spiritualism, Theosophy and Occultism, while drawing on exposures to Eastern religions. Reinterpretations of pagan mysticism prompted the rediscovery of Folkloric primitivism. Meanwhile, Catholic and evangelical revivals, alongside renewed interest in Medievalism, revitalised Christian themes. In practice, the proliferation of occult revivals at the fin-de-siècle permeated the thematic programmes of artists and composers. Wagner’s operas underscored the link between music, myth, and mysticism through the synthesis of the arts: the Gesamtkunstwerk. Subsequently, Syncretism in mystical philosophies was paralleled by formal correspondences in the visual arts, especially in their ‘rhythmical’ qualities. Synesthesia would instigate the development of abstraction.

This session invites submissions that extend these ideas by investigating how the interconnectedness between art and music was able to evoke and be inspired by mysticism. Papers drawn from other periods that examine the origins, and newer forms of mystical appropriations, will be considered, and those which incorporate perspectives across the spectrum of visual culture and musicology are particularly welcome.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Soundscapes: New Challenges, New Horizons
Margit Thøfner (University of East Anglia), m.thofner@uea.ac.uk; and Tim Shephard (Sheffield University)

There is a long and fruitful scholarly tradition of exploring the relationships between art and music. Amongst other things, the study of both entails working with objects, spaces and practices that are profoundly embodied, sensory and emotional. To work with and between art and music means becoming acutely attuned to the visceral as much as to the analytical. Yet there is still more to be gained. Recently, when commenting on the relationship between art history and musicology, Jonathan Hicks speculated that ‘it may be precisely in attending to the locations of expressive culture—whether noisy, spectacular, or a combination of these and more—that our disciplines might find most common ground’.

Our strand will explore this proposition. What may be learned from focusing on how music and sound—or even the silent evocation of sound—is framed by places, spaces, objects, rituals and other performative contexts and vice versa? More broadly, how does this common ground helps us to map out and explore the problems and challenges currently facing art historians who work with music and musicologists working with art? For example, is it still a problem that many of our current methods of enquiry have come from studies of European modernism? What happens when they are applied to earlier periods and/or different cultural contexts? We welcome papers that address these and cognate issues, whether by engaging with broader methodological problems or by exploring specific soundscapes from any period and anywhere.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Mechthild Fend (UCL), m.fend@ucl.ac.uk; and Anne Lafont (Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris), anne.lafont@inha.fr

Technologies associated with textile production—such as weaving, knitting, spinning, embroidering or dying—have often served as models for processes of art making and colouring. Painting and weaving have been aligned since antiquity, during the early modern period the mythical weaver Arachne could serve as an allegory of colourist painting, and dying became a model to think through colour printing. In the 19th-century, architectural theorist Gottfried Semper declared weaving an ur-technology that is the basis of all building work, and artists such as Millet, Van Gogh, or Liebermann drew, in their paintings and graphic work, comparisons between weaving and assembling brush strokes or between spinning and drawing lines. This panel would like to newly explore such associations of textile production with artistic processes by joining them with recent anthropological theorisations of the ‘Textility of making’ (Tim Ingold) or with approaches that ‘look for the traces of the process that generated the work’ (Jean-Paul Leclercq). By doing so, it proposes to raise the question of the ways in which a focus on textility might pose a challenge to notions of the agency of objects. At the same time, it would also like to reconnect with earlier feminist approaches to textiles and textile production that aimed to destabilise traditional hierarchies of media by highlighting not only women’s involvement in textile production but also the paradigmatic character of techniques such as weaving. Finally, we are interested in the way in which crafted fabrics serve as models for the human body and its visualisation, be it in the use of metaphors like ‘tissue’ or the association of dyes and body colour. We invite papers dealing with art theory or art practices and forms of fabrication (including, but not restricted to, textiles) that mobilise and reflect ‘textility’ as a theoretical proposition.

This panel is ‘looking out’ as it engages with interdisciplinary methodologies and encourages global perspectives on fabrics and their fabrication as models for thinking about practices of making. In addition to the academic session we are planning a panel visit to the V&A Textile Collections at the Clothworkers’ Centre at Olympia, in collaboration with Lesley Miller, Senior Curator (Textiles) at V&A.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The National in Discourses of Sculpture in the Long Modern Period (c. 1750–1950)
Tomas Macsotay (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), tomas.macsotay@upf.edu; and Roberto Ferrari (Columbia University, New York), rcf2123@columbia.edu

Are specific histories of national ‘schools’ of sculpture premised by the codifying of national identities? What role has been reserved for modern European languages and their historical networks of cultural transfer in enabling or inhibiting this circulation of nationalism in sculpture criticism? From the veneration of Greek art by Winckelmann, to the Romantic idea of a Northern spirit in the work of Thorvaldsen; from the imperial narratives of display at the World’s Fairs, to constructions of allegory in French Third Republic art; from monuments to fallen heroes after World War I, to Greenberg’s and Read’s critical biases for national sculptors—varieties of imaginary geographies in the long modern period have congealed into a fitful history where sculpture is entrenched in projections of the national. Discourses of exclusion and inclusion became part of how sculptors were trained, public spaces were ornamented, and audiences were taught to read sculpture. These discourses also played a role in the strengthening (and dissimulation) of increasingly border-crossing networks of industrial production, globalised art trade, and patterns of urban infrastructure and design.

This panel seeks papers that offer critical explorations of the national and its tentative ties to the cosmopolitan in sculptural discourse, or consider a transdisciplinary dialogue between sculpture and its texts (e.g. art school writings, criticism, memoirs and biographies, etc.). We particularly welcome papers addressing the role of translation and circulation in fledgling modern criticism, as well as papers engaging recent accounts of cultural transfer in the construction of national and modern artistic identifiers (e.g. Michel Espagne, Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Weaver’s Workshop: Materiality, Craft, and Efficacies in the Art of Tapestry
Katja Schmitz-von Ledebur (Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien), katja.ledebur@khm.at

Tapestry is a complex and expensive medium. From the Middle Ages production of tapestry incorporated precious stuffs, including silk, fine wool, gold, and silver thread. To this rich materiality it added a complicated and costly manufacturing process that involved diverse media (drawing and weaving), and which therefore required multi-professional teams of artists, both local and international, to endow these artefacts with a variety of motifs in elaborate compositions. At its peak in the Renaissance and the Baroque, production was both local and international, the complexity of the product necessitating the support of an international network of workshops and agents acting on behalf of customers all over Europe and beyond.

Tapestry is easily folded or rolled up, making the work of art highly mobile. Owners were thus able to present tapestries in different places and for a host of diverse occasions. It thus lent itself to a variety of purposes, both public and private, as both symbol and sign and as instrument and image of power and object of desire. Tapestry was thus an exceptional mobile that invites questions about the relationship between technology, power, propaganda, representation, and aesthetics

This session will investigate specific aspects of tapestry, both as an artwork and as a high-end product of industrial production via discussion that is interdisciplinary in its look out. We invite papers that consider the development and innovations in tapestry production arising from changes in technology and in aesthetic taste, such as, for example, colour treat. Papers could ask, for example, what kinds of technological challenges were involved in Raphael’s ‘Italian’ designs for the Brussels workshops or, more generally, how weavers responded to changes in disegno. We are also interested in the question of how such alterations impacted on the function of tapestries, whether they were the cause of the declining interest in and status of tapestry as art in industrial revolution, and how we can explain tapestry’s revival in Modernism.

New Book | Ruins and Fragments: Tales of Loss and Rediscovery

Posted in books by Editor on September 6, 2015

Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Robert Harbison, Ruins and Fragments: Tales of Loss and Rediscovery (London: Reaktion Books, 2015), 208 pages, ISBN: 978-1780234472, $35.

Layout 1What is it about ruins that are so alluring, so puzzling, that they can hold some of us in endless wonder over the half-erased story they tell? In this elegant book, Robert Harbison explores the captivating hold these remains and broken pieces—from architecture, art, and literature—have on us. Why are we, he asks, so suspicious of things that are too smooth, too continuous? What makes us feel, when we look upon a fragment, that its very incompletion has a kind of meaning in itself? Is it that our experience on earth is inherently discontinuous, or that we are simply unable to believe in anything whole?

Harbison guides us through ruins and fragments, both ancient and modern, visual and textual, showing us how they are crucial to understanding our current mindset and how we arrived here. First looking at ancient fragments, he examines the ways we have recovered, restored, and exhibited them as artworks. Then he moves on to modernist architecture and the ways that it seeks a fragmentary form, examining modern projects that have been designed into existing ruins, such as the Castelvecchio in Verona, Italy and the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. From there he explores literature and the works of T. S. Eliot, Montaigne, Coleridge, Joyce, and Sterne, and how they have used fragments as the foundation for creating new work. Likewise he examines the visual arts, from Schwitters’ collages to Ruskin’s drawings, as well as cinematic works from Sergei Eisenstein to Julien Temple, never shying from more deliberate creators of ruin, from Gordon Matta-Clark to countless graffiti artists.

From ancient to modern times and across every imaginable form of art, Harbison takes a poetic look at how ruins have offered us a way of understanding history and how they have enabled us to create the new.

Until his retirement, Robert Harbison was professor of architecture at London Metropolitan University. He is the author of many books, including Reflections on Baroque and Travels in the History of Architecture, both also published by Reaktion Books.


1  Rough Edges
2  Fragmented Wholes
3  Modernist Ruin
4  Interrupted Texts
5  Ruined Narratives
6  Art and Destruction
7  Dreams of Recovery
Epilogue: Remembering and Forgetting

Photo Acknowledgements

Exhibition | Coaches from Versailles on View at Arras

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 9, 2012

From the exhibition website:

Roulez Carrosses! Le Château de Versailles à Arras
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Arras, 17 March 2012 — 10 November 2013

Curated by Béatrix Saule, Jean-Louis Libourel, and Hélène Delalex

Roulez Carrosses!, the inaugural exhibition of the partnership signed in 2011 between the Château de Versailles, the City of Arras and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region, is a landmark event. It is the first French exhibition to be devoted to horse-drawn vehicles. Berlin coaches, royal and imperial carriages from the Versailles collection have all taken the road for Arras, to be admired here until November 2013. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is thus hosting paintings, sculptures, sledges, sedan chairs, horse harnesses and several outstanding carriages such as the coaches of Napoleon I’s marriage procession, Charles X’s coronation coach or the impressive funeral hearse of Louis XVIII. From Louis XIV to the Third Republic, these little-known vehicles will offer a journey through the History of France. Chronologically displayed over 1,000 m², these works are set against a backdrop of innovative scenography combining reconstructions, activities, immersion and multimedia. The exhibition provides an opportunity to discover Versailles and its collections whilst at the same time highlighting the historical links between Arras and the former residence of kings. It will also provide an insight into the operation
and evolution of horse-drawn vehicles.


Béatrix Saule, Director of the Musée National des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
Jean-Louis Libourel, Honorary Chief Curator of Heritage
Hélène Delalex, Heritage Conservation Manager at the Château de Versailles

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

As Didier Rykner judges in his review for The Art Tribune (24 September 2012) . . .

Sedan Chair for the King’s House Versailles, Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon Photo : RMNGP/G. Blot

Even if it is much longer than the usual three-month period, this is a true exhibition, not a lineup of works; it is accompanied by a beautiful scholarly catalogue on a subject which is not often studied; it does not replace the display of the permanent collections as the exhibition rooms occupy the space acquired at the Saint-Vast Abbey; it does not deprive visitors going to the lending museum from seeing major works there since the Musée des carrosses (a rather exaggerated term given the usual presentation conditions) is rarely open to the public; and, above all, it will result in enduring benefits for the coach collection as well as for the Musée des Beaux-Arts itself. . . .

The museum staging by Frédéric Beauclair is very well done. Paintings, sculptures and drawings round out the presentation of the carriages illustrating their use, the way they functioned and the context in which they were produced. Visitors will also discover some little-known works. . . .

The full review is available here»

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Eight short videos accompany the exhibition:

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From the Château de Versailles bookshop:

Béatrix Saule, ed., Roulez Carrosses! Le Château de Versailles à Arras (Paris: Skira Flammarion, 2012), 256 pages, ISBN: 9782081278172, 40€.

Roulez carrosses! is the first exhibition in France devoted to horse-drawn coaches and carriages and, in this case, historical examples, all totally luxurious in every detail and all different: carriages for the outings of the children of Louis XVI, a sumptuous berline for the wedding of Napoleon I, the hearse of Louis XVIII, the coronation coach of Charles X, etc. Other outstanding masterpieces from the collections of Versailles accompany them: a series of paintings by Van der Meulen, major royal portraits, or unique vehicles like these fantasy sledges in which Louis XV and then Marie-Antoinette were pulled over the snow-covered walks of the park of Versailles. This book describes episodes from the political history of the palace, dynastic events and customs of the court, narrated and commented on here by eminent historians. Fans of handsome horse-drawn vehicles will discover the grand coaches for ceremonial occasions – from the “modern coach” invented in the reign of Louis XIV to the coaches for state ceremonies of the presidents of the Republic – along with their technical innovations, the refinement of their accessories and the extreme lavishness of their ornamentation, at a time when the art of French coach-building was at its apogee.

Paper Proposals for Next Year’s CAA Due by May 3rd

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 28, 2010

The 2011 College Art Association conference takes place in New York, February 9-12. The HECAA session will be chaired by Kristel Smentek and Meredith Martin. Also included here are various sessions related to the eighteenth century. The full Call for Participation is available at the CAA site. Proposals are due by 3 May 2010.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Global Eighteenth Century (Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture)

Kristel Smentek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Meredith Martin, Wellesley College. Mail to: Kristel Smentek, Dept. of Architecture, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Ave., 10-303c, Cambridge, MA 02139; or email smentek@mit.edu and mmartin@wellesley.edu

Contemporary debates on globalization have encouraged us  to examine eighteenth-century art and design from an intercultural perspective. We invite papers that address the circulation of peoples and things—between India, Africa, Europe, Asia, and beyond—and explore the mutually transformative potential of such encounters. Topics to be addressed might include visual appropriation and translation, markets, collecting and display, and the political and diplomatic uses of objects. We especially encourage methodologically innovative approaches to analyzing these artistic exchanges and their historical specificity.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Imitation, Copy, Reproduction, Replication, Repetition, and Appropriation

Malcolm Baker, University of California, Riverside, Dept. of the History of Art, 235 Arts Bldg., Riverside, CA 92521, mcbaker@ucr.edu; and Paul Duro, University of Rochester, Dept. of Art and Art History, 425 Morey Hall, Rochester, NY 14627, paul.duro@rochester.edu

Despite a growing body of recent work, imitation is still commonly confused with copying, to the detriment of the many forms of repetition that are thereby negatively contrasted with notions of originality and authenticity. Yet within some categories of artistic production—including that of the Renaissance bronze statuette—there is no “original.” We seek papers on any aspect of imitation, copying, reproduction, replication, repetition, and appropriation, whether drawn from art theory, practice, criticism, or historiography. These might include case studies that have implications for our wider understanding of these terms or discussions of key texts in which such terms have been formulated. Our goal is to disconnect the association between imitation and copying and to question the value of originality as the sole means to understand the artwork.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

New Approaches to the Study of Fashion and Costume in Western Art, 1650–1900

Helen Burnham, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Justine DeYoung. Mail to: Helen Burnham, Dept. of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115; or email: HBurnham@mfa.org and justine.deyoung@gmail.com

This panel seeks to foster discussion of the significance of dress to the making of art and its reception from the late seventeenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, while encouraging panelists to reflect on questions raised by recent scholarship (e.g., gender and identity, the politics of dress, and the economics of fashion). Papers that focus on particular moments or themes in the history of Western art and dress are welcome and might include, for example, studies in portraiture or patronage; exotic or historic costume in painting or sculpture; symbolic and theatrical dress in art; certain media or techniques and their perception in dress-oriented terms; or fashion and modernity. Preference will be given to those proposals that take into account the discourse (e.g., aesthetic debates, criticism, instructions to artists) surrounding dress or fashion in art.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From Physiognomy to Portraiture

Deborah Dorotinsky, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM, Mexico City; deborah.dorotinsky@gmail.com

This session will explore the relationship between scientific knowledge production about population groups in the Americas (indigenous, blacks, and other minorities) and their documentation through drawings, prints, paintings, plaster casts, sculpture, and photographs between the sixteenth and the twenty-first century. Papers should address images that concentrate on body form, and particularly on portraiture as a means of addressing diversity, alleged abnormality, and other concepts in the range of criminal anthropological theory, racialist theories, eugenics, and biotypology. How does the canon set forth by academic portraiture foster the inquiry into the human head as indexical of moral and racial traits? How did local art academies and scientific institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean respond to the need for these images? How did they foster nationalist discourses and ideology? How do gender issues bare on the syntax and style of these images? How do present day visual culture and art differentiate from these discourses on race to deal with diversity?

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Architecture and Space in the Early Modern Ibero-American World

Jesús Escobar, Northwestern University; and Michael Schreffler, Virginia Commonwealth University/CASVA. Mail to: Michael Schreffler, CASVA, National Gallery of Art, 2000B S. Club Dr., Landover, MD 20785

From the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, Spain, Portugal, and their American dominions were sites of great innovation in architecture and urbanism. Recent scholarship in these fields has erased modern geographical borders and embraced the cosmopolitanism of the Ibero-American world. Some of these studies have focused on models of stylistic hybridity, but less attention has been paid to theoretical considerations of space as a reflection of political will and might. This session seeks to build upon the recent literature by exploring the nexus of architecture, space, and politics, the latter understood here to encompass aspects of political theory as well as the practices of imperial administration in the early modern Ibero-American world. We especially encourage papers that situate studies of key monuments, sites, or cities in their socio-political and intellectual contexts whether through case studies or considerations of methodology and historiography.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Luxury and Consumption in Early Modern Northern European Art

Wayne Franits, Syracuse University, Dept. of Art and Music Histories, Ste. 308 Bowne Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244-1200; wefranit@syr.edu

In recent years, a large number of historical studies, including books by Simon Schama, Lynda Levy Peck, Woodruff Smith, and Jan de Vries, have explored evolving concepts of luxury and consumption in Northern Europe during the early-modern era. Yet, the ramifications of this scholarship for early modern Northern European art have not been sufficiently investigated. This is regrettable since art works of the period frequently feature luxurious objects and often enjoyed the status of luxury commodities themselves, owing to the high prices they commanded. This session solicits proposals for papers concerning ever-changing concepts of luxury and consumption in relation to art, such as the depiction of material culture, the function of “old” and “new” perceptions of luxury in the contemporary reception of art works, the commodity status of art works; the rituals wherein they were potentially deployed, and the social traits and status of those who “consumed” them.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Recurating: New Practices in Exhibition Making

Betti-Sue Hertz, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103

Approaches to organizing exhibitions shifted in the 1960s as postminimal, conceptual, performative, and political art practices challenged traditions in the relationship between the art object and the viewer. In the past twenty years, curatorial practice has become a highly self-conscious activity, fueled by a deepening archive of precedents providing a springboard for new inventive possibilities. Taking this history into consideration, this session will focus on a new vision for curatorship, where the preexisting exhibition becomes a destabilized object or entity for curatorial consideration. What value can new presentations add to an exhibition conceived and constructed by an originating curator in an earlier historical moment? What new contemporary interpretive meanings become available when the original presentation of an exhibition is adapted, rearranged, changed, or expanded to correspond with new formulations of the object/audience relationship? How does recycling, rearranging, repackaging, and redirecting, as methodologies for recurating fully realized exhibitions, reflect current innovative practices in art and design?

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Dissemination: Prints, Publishing, and the Early Modern Arts in Europe

Sheila McTighe, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, Somerset House, the Strand, London WC2R 0RN, UK; sheila.mctighe@courtauld.ac.uk

The publication of artists’ biographies across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries changed forever the relation between artists and their posterity and between innovation and the emulation of past art, as well as relations between individual works of art and the collected oeuvre of an artist. As with printed texts, the publishing of printed images changed the trajectory of artistic careers and shaped new, international publics for the arts. This session invites studies of any aspect of the world of printed texts and printed images in the early modern period. Papers that address the concept of print culture are particularly welcome, as are studies that cut across the boundaries that divide the study of prints from the study of cultural history and visual culture as a whole.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Radical Neo: The Past in the Present in British Art  and Design (Historians of British Art)

Jason Rosenfeld, Marymount Manhattan College, New York; and Tim Barringer, Yale University. Mail to: Jason Rosenfeld, Dept. of Art History, Marymount Manhattan College, 221 E. 71st St., New York, NY 10021; or email: jrosenfeld@mmm.edu

British art has been at its most compelling when mobilizing the past to critique or reformulate current practices. From eighteenth-century Neo-Classicism through the Gothic revival, Pre-Raphaelites, Arts and Crafts Movement, Primitivism, and Neo-Romanticism, the resurgence of interest in a cultural moment in the past, and its related visual style, formed the basis for radical new creativity. We invite papers on any period that discuss the revival of art, architecture, or theory from an earlier age. In addition to fine arts and architecture, the fields of fashion, graphic and product design, food, and popular entertainment fall within our remit.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Seeing through the Medium (Historians of British Art, shorter session)

Imogen Hart, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Yale Center for British Art; and Catherine Roach, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of the History of Art, Cornell University; imogen.hart@yale.edu and cr342@cornell.edu

A central but challenging question for art history is the relationship between objects and their audiences. This issue, like most of the questions faced by the discipline, is usually addressed in terms of individual media. Yet how might the study of the historical interpretation of objects complicate current academic divisions by media? Recent scholarship testifies to the breadth of British artistic production, yet histories that focus on different media do not always speak to one another, with the result that an integrated picture of the arts of a period often proves elusive. While a specialist understanding of specific media may be essential to a thorough study of the process and experience of making, a broader, more inclusive approach may be more appropriate to a study of the ways in which contemporaries engaged with objects. Recent scholarly interventions such as the Henry Moore Institute and J. Paul Getty Museum’s exhibition and catalogue Taking Shape: Finding Sculpture in the Decorative Arts and Caroline Arscott’s book William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings offer models of how art historians might engage in cross-media analysis. This panel seeks papers focusing on British art of any period, including colonial contexts, that address the question of reception and cut across current scholarly divisions, especially between the “fine” and “decorative” arts.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Rococo, Late-Rococo, Post-Rococo, New Rococo: Art, Theory, and Historiography

Katie Scott, The Courtauld Institute of Art; and Melissa Hyde, University of Florida; Email: mlhyde@ymail.com

This session invites contributions on the continuing debate about the periodicity of the Rococo, style moderne of the early decades of Louis XV’s reign. Was Rococo always already late—the end of Gothic or the Baroque—or, on the contrary, radically modern? Our working hypothesis is that time or periodicity, rather than form, constitutes the problem of the Rococo. We hope to prompt inquiry into the wide range of meanings (cultural, political, gendered, etc.) that attach to a visual language that lacks theoretical and historical anchorage and which undergoes conscious revival in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, usually as pastiche. Papers might consider issues of contrivance, reproduction, simulation, dissemination, the fake, and the souvenir, or take up questions  of when and under what conditions the Rococo is revived. In addition to papers on designed objects and representations, we welcome reflections on the critical fortunes and historiography of the Rococo.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Collectors, Dealers, and Designers in Modern Asia: Historiographical Categories Revisited

Mercedes Volait, Institut national d’histoire de l’art, InVisu, 2, rue Vivienne, Paris 75002, France; mercedes.volait@inha.fr

This session focuses on connoisseurs who played a pivotal role in the development of cross-cultural exchanges between Asia and the West from the eighteenth century on. At the edges of Western imperial territories and institutions, local collectors, dealers, designers, and patrons embodied the complexities of a process that involved as much mixing and negotiating as separation, division, or resistance. Border-crossings of all sorts—geographical, sociocultural, and religious—intensified as the century progressed, not only transforming Asia, but also European formulations of identity and knowledge. In both places, new sets of relations to art and architecture, as well as interactions between art, heritage and design developed. By shedding light on the ambivalent condition of colonial “in-between-ness” and processes of self-invention in imperial contexts, the panel seeks to address the problematic place assigned to the history of modern “Islamic art and architecture” in conventional art history.