September 13, 2017- Richard Torchia

Director, Arcadia University Art Gallery
Reconsidering the Exhibition as Medium”

The re-staging of Harald Szeemann’s “Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form,” for the 2013 Venice Biennale served as a dramatic reminder of how gallery display impacts our experience of art. Originally presented at the Bern Kunsthalle in 1969, its recent reconstruction (curated by Germano Celant, in dialogue with Thomas Demand and RemKoolhaas), foregrounded the ways in which our sensitivities to the staging of artworks has changed over time. The project also confirmed that the matrix of conditions that constitute exhibition making offer singular possibilities and restrictions that become more critical as new platforms of presentation emerge. Using examples of other re-stagings and a sampling of recent solo and group shows, this talk will explore the evolution of the exhibition as a medium and its impact on artmaking, curatorial practice, and questions of authorship and interpretation.


September 20, 2017 – Jordi Falgàs

Director, Fundació Rafael Masó, Girona (Spain)
Lecturer in Catalan Studies, Stanford University
“A Different Grand Tour: Postcards from a Honeymoon”

In 1912 the Catalan architect Rafael Masó (1880-1935) took a seven-week honeymoon trip to France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Scholars have noted how crucial this trip was as it provided him with first-hand exposure to Secession and Regionalist architecture and design. Throughout the trip he purchased seventy postcards, but so far nobody has paid attention to the visual content of these documents. What did such iconographic choice mean, and what does it tell us? The lecture will focus primarily on Masó’s stay in Germany (including the Darmstadt’s Artist Colony, the Hellerau Garden City, and Munich), and will consider not only the written content but also the visual significance of the postcards he acquired, something not discussed in the existing literature. A closer analysis of the architect’s choice of itinerary, words, and pictures will provide us with a deeper understanding of his particular Grand Tour.

September 27, 2017 – Jo Anna Isaak

John L. Marion Chair in Art History, Fordham University
Women Artists and the Arte Útil Movement”

“We have to put Duchamp’s urinal back in the restroom,” announced Cuban artist Tania Bruguera. Bruguera is the founder of Arte Útil movement. She is one of a rapidly growing number of artists who no longer make works of art but are instead engaged in making art work. Rather than making things—art objects that enter the commodity system—they have been turning their creative energies to changing things: finding ways to give art agency and formulating strategies for some of the most progressive practices of contemporary art. They have taken up the very radical idea that art can be useful. Not surprisingly, it is women artists who are among the most active in this movement—making art that has relocated from the galleries and museums, migrated from behind the couch, and gone out to work.


October 4, 2017 – Gizem Saka

Senior Lecturer
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania
The Dubious Economics of the Art Market”

When a truck driver in California discovers a might-be-Pollock, why does a Dubai businessman offer a hedge? When On Kawara aimed to produce paintings at the rate of one per day, why did prices keep going up? When Damien Hirst put a red nose on a portrait of Stalin, why did auction bids go through the roof? Gizem Saka explores the characteristics of the contemporary art market in which demand and supply mechanisms defy the conventional expectations of economics.


October 11, 2017 – Sylvia Houghteling

Assistant Professor
Department of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
Cultures of Cloth in Mughal South Asia”

South Asian courtly ensembles worn by the greatest Mughal emperors were comprised not only of imported silks and cloth of gold, but also relatively inexpensive tie-dyed cloths made in Rajasthan and finely spun cotton muslins from Bengal. Court biographies, popular lexicons, and the letters sent from the Mughal court to its Rajput allies reveal that the fabrics used for dress in early modern South Asia were valued for sensory qualities, such as softness, saturation of color, and coolness on the skin, that went beyond the cost of the materials or the sophistication of the technology used to produce them. By exploring the ostensibly simpler fabrics of Mughal courtly culture, I reposition the study of cloth in early modern South Asia away from its current focus on the material wealth of imperial costumes to recover the sensory experience of wearing airy cotton and velvety wool, as well as the sophisticated intellectual, poetic, and political messages that could be carried in the fabric of a courtly coat.


October 25 , 2017 – Kwame Labi

Visiting International Scholar
History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
Senior Research Fellow, University of Ghana, Legon

“Defending our Honour: Art and Conflict Among the Fante Asafo Companies
of Southern Ghana”

The Fante asafo of southern Ghana, until colonial rule were a
traditional military organisation involved in the socio-cultural life and defence of their
communities. Having observed the European use of flags on the Gold
Coast from the seventeenth century, and what the forts and castles came to symbolise
by the nineteenth century created flags and constructed monuments and
shrines, and used these in new contexts.

This presentation discusses how the Asafo used these flags and
monuments in such manner that they became contentious leading to
tensions, feuds and fights. The presentation concludes with an
examination if these art works have any relevance and a future in
Ghana’s modern art culture.

November 1, 2017 – Mark Franko

Laura H. Carnell Professor of Dance and Chair of Dance
Dance Department, Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University

Can We Inhabit a Dance? Reflections on Dancing the ‘Bauhaus Dances’ in Dessau”

Mark Franko will discuss the reconstruction of Oskar Schlemmer’s “Bauhaus Dances” from the perspective of the spectator and the performer and in relation to architectural space. Scenes from Debra McCall’s film of “Bauhaus Dances” will be projected as part of the talk.

November 8, 2017 – Amelia Rauser

Professor of Art History
Franklin & Marshall College
Psyche Disobeys: Sensate Sculpture and Fashionable Dress in the 1790s”

In the 1790s, fashionable women appeared in ballrooms, gardens, and opera boxes dressed as living statues. Amelia Rauser explores the ways women appropriated the imagery of Psyche, symbol of resurrection as well as the spirit of life, to represent themselves as enlivening marbles. Once hidden, blinded, abandoned, and enslaved, Psyche gained her freedom and became immortal by empowering her own desiring gaze. Her iconography, then, construed women in white muslin dresses as both desirable objects and desiring subjects, giving them a visual language for their own embodied animation.


November 15, 2017 – Cecily Hilsdale

Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University
and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
The Jewel in the Byzantine Crown: Eastern Emblems of Sovereignty in Early Medieval Spain”

Reassessing the long-debated relationship between Byzantine and western medieval art, Cecily Hilsdale examines the “Byzantinizing” aesthetic adopted beyond the borders of Byzantium, in early medieval Spain. Anchored by a hoard of seventh-century gem-encrusted golden votive crowns and processional crosses, she questions how and why the eastern Byzantine Empire was invoked visually in territories of the Iberian Peninsula at the opposite, western edge of the Mediterranean.