September 12, 2018 – Matthew Rarey

Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa and the Black Atlantic, Oberlin College

“Questions of Value and Bondage at a Hotel in London, March 1865”

In March of 1865, Dante Gabriel Rossetti encountered a child in the doorway of a London hotel.  One year later, Rossetti presented that child as an androgynous, bejeweled, and servile rendering of blackness in his celebrated painting, “The Beloved”. This talk explores the implications of that encounter, and that rendering, for debates about the representation of enslavement and blackness in Rossetti’s own social circle, the wider Atlantic world in the 1860s, and among those who work with and against the troubled archive of Atlantic slavery.


September 26, 2018 – Natasha Bissonauth

Visiting Assistant Professor & Writing Fellow
Writing Program, Haverford College

“Chitra Ganesh’s Tales of Amnesia: Re-imagining Goddess Iconography through Queer Form”

In 2002, as a South Asian diasporic art scene was emerging in New York City, Chitra Ganesh revisited comic books from her childhood, a series titled, Amar Chitra Katha, that propagandizes hetero-patriarchal visions for Indian nationhood — largely through narratives of Hindu myth. The result was an artwork in the form of a zine titled Tales of Amnesia, a queer parody of Amar Chitra Katha‘s goddess iconography. Bissonauth contextualizes Tales of Amnesia‘s goddess imagery and the nationalist ideologies from which it unhinges in order to highlight how scenes of queer desire trouble diasporic attachment to home/nation. Moreover, broadening analysis beyond queer content, Bissonauth argues that attention to Ganesh’s storytelling form, namely her intertextual dialog and aberration of image and text relations, reveals how queer archival returns enact an aesthetic of opacity, dissonance, and irreverence that ultimately rethinks historical method and narrative processes, too often overdetermined within the visual culture of difference.


October 10, 2018 – Ken Lum

The Rules of the Game (of Art)”
Professor and Chair of the Fine Arts Department
University of Pennsylvania School of Design

Ken Lum will speak about what is for him the meaning of art, which he defines as living the life of the artist.  While such a definition may sound romantic, living the life of an artist means a life where everything is relevant, from beautiful experiences to painful ones.  It also means a life of profound misgivings about the art system in which art must operate.  Lum will speak about how his mixed feelings about art have led to extensive travel and major curatorial and writerly initiatives.

October 24, 2018 – Chanchal Dadlani

Associate Professor of Art History and ZSR Foundation Faculty Fellow, Wake Forest University

“Translating India: Mughal Art and French Knowledge Production in the Late Eighteenth Century”

The eighteenth century was a period of heightened contact between India and France, resulting in the circulation of images and ideas between the courts of the Mughals and that of Versailles. A set of objects from the collection of Jean-Baptiste Gentil, a French East India Company officer who lived in the subcontinent for 25 years, embodied these exchanges. In this talk, I explore how Gentil collaborated with Indian artists and translators to produce albums that mediated between the traditions of Mughal manuscript painting and the audiences of eighteenth-century Paris, ultimately revealing the impact of Mughal manuscript culture on eighteenth-century French knowledge production. 

October 10, 2018 – Domietta Torlasco at Slought

Slought is pleased to announce “An island, a ship, a prison”, a conversation and installation of video works by Domietta Torlasco on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 from 6-8pm. The event will begin with the screening of House Arrest (2015) and Sunken Gardens (2016), two videos that engage themes such as migrancy, borders, surveillance, and debt, followed by conversation with Homay King, Professor in the Department of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College. In conjunction with this event, Torlasco’s work will also be continuously screened in the Slought Mediatheque from October 10-31, 2018. This program is co-presented with the Bryn Mawr College Program in Film Studies.

For more info visit:

4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Homay King
Chair, Professor, and Eugenia Chase Guild Chair in the Humanities
Department of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College

Camera Obscura editorial collective

November 7, 2018 – Elizabeth Lee

Associate Professor of Art History, Dickinson College

“The Religion of Health: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Cancer and the Phillips Brooks Monument”

In 1900, when the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens was diagnosed with cancer, he began experimenting with a dizzying array of medical cures and therapies from surgery to electric shock treatment to eating Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and “Fletcherizing.” Throughout his illness, and until his death in 1907, he also worked on the Phillips Brooks Monument, dedicated to the Boston preacher known for his compassionate presence in the sick room. This paper addresses the poignant interplay between the artist’s own body as it was consumed by disease and the production of the Brooks, which came to life as the sculptor worked and re-worked the folds in the preacher’s robes, his expression, gesture and stance.

November 14, 2018 – Jie Shi

Assistant Professor of History of Art on the Jye Chu Lectureship in Chinese Studies
Bryn Mawr College
“The Vision of Immortality in a Princely Stone Sarcophagus in Sixth-Century China”

Dated to 532 CE, Prince Yuan Mi’s lavishly engraved stone sarcophagus exemplifies a hitherto little understood Chinese visual strategy, i.e., using the imagery of diagonal gaze to make a persuasive visual argument. Because gaze in medieval Chinese literature was an idiom for “closeness” and “parallelism,” the artist used the slanting gaze to shorten the physical and psychological distance between the three-quarter-view gazers and the gazed at, a group of ancient filial paragons residing in a landscape setting in the outermost layer. In supporting this argument, this essay also looks into the epitaph buried with the sarcophagus, which similarly paints a beautified picture of the deceased prince as a good official, which he was not according to his official biography.


April 25, 2018 – Jason Sun (re-scheduled from March 21)

Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“The First Emperor, the Chinese Empire, and the Wider World: Art and Material Culture of the Qin Dynasty”

By examining the art and material culture recovered through archaeology in the last fifty years, this presentation focuses on the First Emperor of China and the Empire that he created during the late third century B.C. It also explores the contact between China and other parts of the world, which resulted from the increased trade and exchange over the transcontinental Silk Road and through maritime routes across the oceans.

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.