September 12, 2018 – Matthew Francis 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.

Image: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Beloved (The Bride; The King’s Daughter). Oil on panel; 1865-1866; 1873. Tate Britain, London.

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

Ken Lum: The Rules of the Game (of Art)”

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 has 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. 

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 to redeem the deceased’s tainted fame in the afterlife.

 

November 28, 2018 – Omar Kholeif

“Speculations on the Future of the Internet: A Call to Arms”
In this lecture, Dr. Omar Kholeif discusses the power structures that govern the Internet as we know it today, and draws on a variety of historical links, which could help us better understand how the Internet has altered the ways in which we see the world around us. He ends with a propositional structure for how we move forward in a networked age.
Dr. Omar Kholeif is a writer, curator, editor, and broadcaster based in London. He is the co-curator of the 14th Sharjah Biennial, the largest biennial exhibition in the Middle East and South Asia. His recent and forthcoming books include, Goodbye, World! Looking at Art in the Digital Age (Sternberg Press 2018) and The Artists Who Will Change The World (Thames and Hudson 2018). www.omarkholeif.com

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.

 

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.