blog.arthistoricum

Die Klassifizierung des Menschen. Deutsche Fotothek und Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen stellen 8.000 anthropologische Porträts online

blog.arthistoricum - 14 September, 2017 - 13:41

Wer waren diese Menschen? Die Frau vom Volk der Groß-Andamaner, die Frau der Swahili, der Mann der Bamum oder die alten Männer der Ainu? In Vorder- und Seitenansicht, oft im Halbprofil, in festem Bildausschnitt und vor möglichst neutralem Hintergrund wurden sie von europäischen Wissenschaftlern fotografiert, um ihre systematische Vermessung und Klassifizierung zu ermöglichen.

Über 8.000 solcher anthropometrischer Fotografien können ab sofort im Portal „Weltsichten“ der Deutschen Fotothek recherchiert werden. Die wissenschaftliche Aufarbeitung der Bilder aus den Sammlungen der Deutschen Fotothek, des Museums für Völkerkunde Dresden und des GRASSI Museums für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig ist Teil des im August 2015 begonnenen Projekts „Weltsichten – Digitalisierung und Erschließung fotografischer Archive bedeutender Forschungsreisender“, das von der Deutschen Fotothek der Sächsischen Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB) und den Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) im Rahmen der Initiative DRESDEN-concept mit finanzieller Unterstützung der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) durchgeführt wird. Insgesamt werden im Rahmen des Projekts rund 86.000 historische Aufnahmen aus den beteiligten Sammlungen auf www.deutschefotothek.de/weltsichten online gestellt.

Abb. 1 | Egon von Eickstedt, Frau der Groß-Andamaner, 1927/28
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden, SLUB/ Deutsche Fotothek

Abb. 2 | Egon von Eickstedt, Rabindranath Tagore, 1926/27
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden, SLUB/ Deutsche Fotothek

Über die Dargestellten selbst lässt sich in den weitaus meisten Fällen wenig sagen. So kann bei der Frau vom Volk der Groß-Andamaner (Abb. 1) nur durch ihren Halsschmuck eine Witwenschaft vermutet werden. Die Porträts von Angehörigen der Onge und Groß-Andamaner von den indischen Inselgruppen der Andamanen waren für den deutschen Anthropologen Egon von Eickstedt (1892-1965), zusammen mit Messdaten von Körpergrößen und Kopfumfängen, dokumentarische Belege seiner Rassentheorien, die unter anderem die Ideologie der Nationalsozialisten maßgeblich beeinflussten. Während seiner Deutschen Indien-Expedition von 1926 bis 1929 und der Deutschen Ostasien-Expedition von 1937 bis 1939 erforschte er vorrangig ethnische Minderheiten, die sich seiner Ansicht nach in einem primitiven Entwicklungsstadium befanden. Die Groß-Andamaner charakterisierte von Eickstedt am 18.12.1927 in seinem Tagebuch folgendermaßen: Sie haben „sehr oft längliche Gesichter [und] höhere Nasen“ als die Klein-Andamaner. Zudem wiesen sie einen „gröss[eren] schlankeren Wuchs u[nd] feinere Züge auf[…] als letztere.“ Solche Rassenunterschiede suchte der Anthropologe auch im Vergleich mit Porträts von Angehörigen höherer, seiner Ansicht nach zivilisierterer Kasten der indischen Gesellschaft, so dass sich unter anderem anthropometrische Porträts des bengalischen Dichters und Nobelpreisträgers Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941, Abb. 2) finden, ein Angehöriger der Brahmanen und laut von Eickstedt einer „der bedeutendsten lebenden Inder“.

Abb. 3 | Karl Weule, Frau der Swahili, 1906/07
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, SLUB/ Deutsche Fotohek

Die anthropologische Porträtfotografie, die in Egon von Eickstedt ihren vermutlich letzten großen Vertreter fand, nahm schon während der Erforschung der deutschen Kolonien eine bedeutende Rolle ein. So war die Frau der Swahili (Abb. 3), die der deutsche Geograph und Ethnologe Karl Weule (1864-1926) 1906 im Hof des Handelshauses „Traun, Stürken und Devers“ in Daressalam fotografierte, dem Verwaltungssitz der Kolonie Deutsch-Ostafrika, vermutlich eine Prostituierte. Weules dokumentarische Aufnahmen der Bevölkerung im südlichen Tansania sind weitaus nachlässiger komponiert als diejenigen von Eickstedts. Oft halten die Porträtierten ihre Köpfe schief, nicht selten sind Helfer zu sehen, die das weiße Laken für den neutralen Hintergrund halten. Aufgenommen wurden die Bilder im Rahmen der Deutschostafrika-Expedition von 1906 bis 1907, die den damaligen Direktor des GRASSI Museums für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig während des Maji-Maji-Krieges in Begleitung deutscher Kolonialsoldaten in den Süden Tansanias führte. Auch deshalb müssen sie in ihrem kolonialen Entstehungskontext gesehen werden.

Abb. 4 | Rudolf Oldenburg, Mann der Bamum, 1907/13
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, SLUB/ Deutsche Fotohek

Die Fotografien des österreichischen Afrikaforschers und Händlers Rudolf Oldenburg (1879-1932) entstanden zwischen 1901 und 1913 in den Kolonien Französisch-Guinea und Deutsch-Kamerun. Sie sind Zeugnisse der europäischen Kolonialgeschichte, entstanden jedoch mit kommerzieller Intention. Der Leiter der Deutschen Kamerun-Gesellschaft war einer der wichtigsten Vertreter der wirtschaftlichen Interessen der Kolonialmacht Deutschland in Westafrika. Das Porträt des Mannes der Bamum (Abb. 4) gehört zu einer Reihe teilweise exotisch anmutender Bildnisse, die Oldenburg vorrangig für den Verkauf an Sammler und Museen erstellte.

Wie verschieden die Intentionen hinter den Bildern waren, zeigen Aufnahmen des polnischen Ethnologen Bronisław Piłsudski (1866-1918), die auf Sachalin und im Amur-Land zum Zwecke ethnografischer Forschungen entstanden. Aufgrund seiner mutmaßlichen Beteiligung an der Vorbereitung eines Attentats auf Zar Alexander III. wurde er zu 15 Jahren Zwangsarbeit auf der Insel im Fernen Osten Russlands verurteilt. Dort gelangen ihm eindrucksvolle Porträtaufnahmen, die eine vertrauensvolle, beinahe intime Nähe zu den Dargestellten erahnen lassen (Abb. 5). Die Fotografien gehören zu den letzten Zeugnissen der Ainu-Kultur auf Sachalin, bevor die Insel durch japanische Truppen besetzt wurde. Einige sind bemerkenswert aufgrund der Verwendung eines Atelierhintergrundes mit einer Architekturstaffage, wie sie in Fotoateliers der Zeit zum Einsatz kamen, anstelle der sonst üblichen neutralen Hintergründe.

Abb. 5 | Bronisław Piłsudski, Männer der Ainu, 1896/1905
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, SLUB/ Deutsche Fotohek

Die anthropologischen Aufnahmen der europäischen Forschungsreisenden aus der Zeit von 1870 bis 1960 verdeutlichen, ebenso wie die geografischen, geologischen und ethnografischen Motive der Bestände, das ausgeprägte Interesse für wirtschaftliche, soziale und kulturelle Entwicklungen in außereuropäischen Regionen der Welt im späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert. Als historische Dokumente einer zunehmenden Globalisierung zeigen viele dieser Bilder zudem die Folgen des europäischen Kolonialismus. Das Erschließungsprojekt „Weltsichten“ ermöglicht somit eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit eurozentrischen Betrachtungsweisen und eröffnet zugleich multiperspektivische Sichtweisen auf die Welt. Die heutige Relevanz, die das Genre der anthropologischen Porträtfotografie etwa für die zeitgenössische Kunst hat, zeigt beispielsweise das Fotografieprojekt „There´s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends“ des südafrikanischen Fotografen Pieter Hugo, welches die fotografische Konstruktion von Rassenstereotypen auf Basis formaler Vorgaben infrage stellt. Anknüpfend daran bieten die derzeit über 8.000 Aufnahmen in der Bilddatenbank der Deutschen Fotothek die einmalige Möglichkeit einer kritischen und systematischen Neusichtung der Geschichte dieses besonderen fotografischen Genres auf breiter empirischer Grundlage.

Literatur
- Egon von Eickstedt, Der Stammbaum von Rabindranath Tagore, in: Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie, 20. Band, München 1927, S. 3-16.
- Lydia Icke-Schwalbe, Die deutsche Indien-Expedition auf die Andamanen-Inseln 1927-1928, in: Claus Deimel (Hg.), Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Ethnographischen Sammlungen Sachsen, Band XLVI, Leipzig 2013, S. 279-326.
- Ralf Beil, Uta Ruhkamp (Hg.), Pieter Hugo. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, München 2017.

Mario Kliewer ist Historiker und seit 2015 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im DFG-Projekt „Weltsichten – Digitalisierung und Erschließung fotografischer Archive bedeutender Forschungsreisender“ an der SLUB/ Deutsche Fotothek. Er hat zum Thema „Sächsische Hoflieferanten für exquisite Nahrungsmittel um 1900“ promoviert und arbeitet zu Fotografie- und Kolonialgeschichte.

 

 

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Über Honorare reden!

blog.arthistoricum - 12 September, 2017 - 16:30

Aus aktuellem Anlass, bei dem es in einem kleinen Twittersturm um das unentgeltliche Schreiben auf Wissenschaftsblogs ging, das sich nur der Festangestellte, der auf eine berufliche Zukunft hinarbeitende Jungwissenschaftler oder der Freiberufler mit Leerlauf zwischen Projekten leisten können (was auch meine spärliche Präsenz auf diesem Blog hier erklären mag), möchte ich auf einen anderen Aspekt eingehen, mit dem man im Kunstbetrieb als KunsthistorikerIn, KuratorIn oder KunstkritikerIn freiberuflich Arbeitende immer wieder konfrontiert wird.

Denn die meisten von uns haben es schon getan: eine Rede zu einer Ausstellungseröffnung gehalten. Die Honorare sind vergleichsweise gering: 200 bis 600 Euro werden in der Regel gezahlt. Ich selbst habe schon Anfragen für 100 Euro erhalten und dankend abgelehnt. 100 Euro belasten vielleicht aus Auftraggebersicht ein ohnehin mickriges Ausstellungsbudget weniger als ein - in meinen Augen - Minimum von 400 Euro, mit einem bisschen Nachdenken müsste aber klar sein, dass hier weit unter Mindestlohn verhandelt wird, wenn man den Zeitaufwand für einen evtl. Atelier- oder Ausstellungsbesuch vorab, für Recherche und Anfahrt kalkulieren und vom Honorar noch Steuern und Abgaben bezahlen soll. Wie das mit 100 Euro gehen soll, bleibt mir ein Rätsel. Ist man dagegen ein „Promi“, wie z.B. ein pensionierter Museumdirektor oder auch Professor mit Renommee, die ohnehin versorgt sind, kann man schon mal 1400 Euro oder mehr verlangen, weil der Name auf der Einladungskarte zusätzlich für die Veranstaltung wirbt.


Leider hat der Verband Deutscher Kunsthistoriker zum Thema Eröffnungsrede noch immer keine Honorarempfehlung veröffentlicht. Das ist seltsam angesichts der vielen Reden zu Ausstellungseröffnungen, die täglich deutschlandweit gehalten werden. Dabei wäre es so einfach, wie es der Verband der Redenschreiber deutscher Sprache (VRdS) vormacht.

Ich wünsche mir endlich mehr Diskussionen dieser Art und eine Sensibilisierung Festangestellter gegenüber den Freien. Die Schieflage wird sich in naher Zukunft nicht bessern. Immer mehr Freie konkurrieren untereinander bei gleichbleibender Weigerung der Institutionen, angemessene Honorare zu zahlen.

 

 

 

 

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

105 neue E-Books („JSTOR E-Books in Art, Design and Photography“) als FID-Lizenz verfügbar

blog.arthistoricum - 28 August, 2017 - 17:25

Wir konnten – mit Unterstützung der DFG - unser Angebot an kunstwissenschaftlich relevanten E-Books, die als FID-Lizenz deutschlandweit für einen fachspezifischen Nutzerkreis bereitgestellt werden, um 105 englischsprachige Titel internationaler Verlage erweitern.
Sie können auf dieses Volltext-Angebot zugreifen, sofern Sie sich registriert haben und zum berechtigten Nutzerkreis gehören. Weitere Informationen dazu finden Sie auf unserer Service-Seite FID-Lizenzen.
Die e-Books wurden von der UB Heidelberg und der SLUB Dresden aus dem Angebot JSTOR Books ausgewählt und erworben.

Außerdem stehen als FID-Lizenzen diese Angebote  zur Verfügung:

  • The Index of Medieval Art (Princeton University) (ehemals Index of Christian Art)
  • 307 E-Books italienischer und spanischer Verlage (Torossa E-Books, Casalini)
  • Faenza. Bollettino del Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza; rivista bimestrale di studi storici e di tecnica dell'arte ceramica, 2011ff. (Torossa E-Journals, Casalini)
Liste der neuen Titel:
  •  Apollo and Vulcan: The Art Markets in Italy, 1400-1700 (Michigan State University Press, 2011)
  • Gilles Deleuze and the Ruin of Representation (University of California Press, 1999)
  • Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display (University of California Press, 2015)
  • Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930 (University of California Press, 2003)
  • The Pilgrim Art: Cultures of Porcelain in World History (University of California Press, 2010)
  • Subtle Bodies: Representing Angels in Byzantium (University of California Press, 2001)
  • Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (University of California Press, 2013)
  • Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia (Amsterdam University Press, 2014)
  • The German Werkbund: The Politics of Reform in the Applied Arts (Princeton University Press, 1978)
  • Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture (University Press of Kentucky , 2015)
  • Marxism and the History of Art: From William Morris to the New Left (Pluto Books, 2006)
  • Hidden in the Shadow of the Master: The Model- Wives of Cézanne, Monet, and Rodin (Yale University Press, 2008)
  • Design And Truth (Yale University Press, 2010)
  • Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures (Princeton University Press, 2013)
  • The Early Renaissance and Vernacular Culture (Harvard University Press, 2012)
  • Giotto and His Publics: Three Paradigms of Patronage (Harvard University Press, 2011)
  • Solar Dance: Van Gogh, Forgery, and the Eclipse of Certainty (Harvard University Press, 2012)
  • Cultural Exchange: Jews, Christians, and Art in the Medieval Marketplace (Princeton University Press, 2013)
  • Spirit of the Delta: The Art of Carolyn Norris (University Press of Mississippi, 2011)
  • What Art Is (Yale University Press, 2013)
  • Reading Abstract Expressionism: Context and Critique (Yale University Press, 2005)
  • Thomas Hovenden: His Life and Art (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006)
  • Art at Auction in 17th Century Amsterdam (Amsterdam University Press, 2002)
  • In His Milieu: Essays on Netherlandish Art in Memory of John Michael Montias (Amsterdam University Press, 2006)
  • Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (Amsterdam University Press, 2013)
  • Why Are Artists Poor?: The Exceptional Economy of the Arts (Amsterdam University Press, 2002)
  • A Real Van Gogh: How the Art World Struggles with Truth (Amsterdam University Press, 2010)
  • The Learned Eye: Regarding Art, Theory, and the Artist's Reputation (Amsterdam University Press, 2005)
  • Rembrandt's Reading: The Artist's Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History (Amsterdam University Press, 2003)
  • Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship (Amsterdam University Press, 2004)
  • Art in Progress: A Philosophical Response to the End of the Avant-Garde (Amsterdam University Press, 2003)
  • Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research (Amsterdam University Press, 2005)
  • The Visible World: Samuel van Hoogstraten's Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age (Amsterdam University Press, 2008)
  • How to Study Art Worlds: On the Societal Functioning of Aesthetic Values (Amsterdam University Press, 2009)
  • The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt: Reinventing an Old Master in 19th-century France (Amsterdam University Press, 2003)
  • Nabokov and the Art of Painting (Amsterdam University Press, 2006)
  • Art Market and Connoisseurship: A Closer Look at Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Their Contemporaries (Amsterdam University Press, 2008)
  • Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth: Vico and Neapolitan Painting: Vico and Neapolitan Painting (Princeton University Press, 2013)
  • Essay on Gardens: A Chapter in the French Picturesque (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003)
  • A Living Exhibition: The Smithsonian and the Transformation of the Universal Museum (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013)
  • The Medieval Salento: Art and Identity in Southern Italy (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)
  • The Serpent and the Lamb: Cranach, Luther, and the Making of the Reformation (Yale University Press, 2011)
  • The Artist and the Warrior: Military History through the Eyes of the Masters (Yale University Press, 2011)
  • Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture (Yale University Press, 2008)
  • Panaesthetics: On the Unity and Diversity of the Arts (Yale University Press, 2014)
  • Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade (Yale University Press, 2013)
  • Fictions of Art History (Yale University Press, 2013)
  • PUR Facts: Conservation of Polyurethane Foam in Art and Design (Amsterdam University Press, 2011)
  • The Universal Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678): Painter, Writer, and Courtier (Amsterdam University Press, 2013)   The Signature Style of Frans Hals: Painting, Subjectivity, and the Market in Early Modernity (Amsterdam University Press, 2012)
  • Hiding Making - Showing Creation: The Studio from Turner to Tacita Dean (Amsterdam University Press, 2013)
  • Jorge Oteiza, hacedor de vacíos (Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia, 2011)
  • Tiziano y las cortes del Renacimiento (Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia, 2013)
  • Las imágenes de la discordia: Política artística en el tiempo de los Reyes Católicos (Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia, 2007)
  • Text and Image in Modern European Culture (Purdue University Press, 2012)
  • The Memory Factory: The Forgotten Women Artists of Vienna 1900 (Purdue University Press, 2012)
  • Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity: Art, Opera, Fiction, and the Proclamation of Modernity (Princeton University Press, 2011)
  • Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op (Princeton University Press, 2008)
  • Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity (Princeton University Press, 2006)
  • Stealing the Show: Seven Women Artists in Canadian Public Art (McGill-Queens University Press, 1994)
  • Seduced by Modernity: The Photography of Margaret Watkins (McGill-Queens University Press, 2007)
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, Volume II, Part A: 1881-1884 (Princeton University Press, 1987)
  • The Theory of the Arts (Princeton University Press, 1982)
  • Crafting Identity: The Development of Professional Fine Craft in Canada (McGill-Queens University Press, 2005)
  • Renaissance Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts (Princeton University Press, 1987)
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, Volume II, Part B: 1885-1888 (Princeton University Press, 1987)
  • Sphaerae Mundi: Early Globes at the Stewart Museum, Montreal (McGill-Queens University Press, 2000)
  • The Practice of Her Profession: Florence Carlyle, Canadian Painter in the Age of Impressionism (McGill-Queens University Press, 2009)
  • In Good Hands: The Women of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild (McGill-Queens University Press, 1999)
  • Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums (McGill-Queens University Press, 2001)
  • Reclaiming William Morris: Englishness, Sublimity, and the Rhetoric of Dissent (McGill-Queens University Press, 1996)
  • Jan van Noordt: Painter of History and Portraits in Amsterdam (McGill-Queens University Press, 2007)
  • Angel in the Sun: Turner's Vision of History (McGill-Queens University Press, 1999)
  • Arctic Artist: The Journal and Paintings of George Back, Midshipman with Franklin, 1819-1822 (McGill-Queens University Press, 1994)
  • A Russian Paints America: The Travels of Pavel P. Svin'in, 1811-1813 (McGill-Queens University Press, 2008)
  • The End of the American Avant Garde: American Social Experience Series (New York University Press, 1997)
  • Modern Theories of Art 2: From Impressionism to Kandinsky (New York University Press, 1998)
  • Modern Theories of Art 1: From Winckelmann to Baudelaire (New York University Press, 1990)
  • Made in Canada: Craft and Design in the Sixties (McGill-Queens University Press, 2005)
  • The Invention of a People: Heidegger and Deleuze on Art and the Political (Edinburgh University Press, 2015)
  • Bergson and the Art of Immanence: Painting, Photography, Film, Performance (Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
  • Singular Images, Failed Copies: William Henry Fox Talbot and the Early Photograph (University of Minnesota Press, 2015)
  • Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
  • Architecture since 1400 (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
  • Seeing Witness: Visuality and the Ethics of Testimony (University of Minnesota Press, 2009)
  • The Insect and the Image: Visualizing Nature in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700 (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
  • Engraving the Savage: The New World and Techniques of Civilization (University of Minnesota Press, 2008)
  • Drawing on Art: Duchamp and Company (University of Minnesota Press, 2010)
  • Too Beautiful to Picture: Zeuxis, Myth, and Mimesis (University of Minnesota Press, 2007)
  • Collecting Mexico: Museums, Monuments, and the Creation of National Identity (University of Minnesota Press, 2012)
  • Absolute Artist: The Historiography of a Concept (University of Minnesota Press, 1997)
  • Sheer Presence: The Veil in Manet’s Paris (University of Minnesota Press, 2006)
  • Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Péter Forgács (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
  • Compelling Visuality: The Work of Art in and out of History (University of Minnesota Press, 2003)
  • The Color of Stone: Sculpting the Black Female Subject in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Minnesota Press, 2007)
  • Installation and the Moving Image (Columbia University Press, 2015)
  • Under Suspicion: A Phenomenology of Media (Columbia University Press, 2012)
  • Portable Borders: Performance Art and Politics on the U.S. Frontera since 1984 (University of Texas Press, 2015)
  • The Fleeting Promise of Art: Adorno's Aesthetic Theory Revisited (Cornell University Press, 2013)
  • The Total Work of Art in European Modernism (Cornell University Press, 2011)
  • The Marvellous and the Monstrous in the Sculpture of Twelfth-Century Europe (Boydell & Brewer Group Ltd, 2013)
  • Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia: From Prehistory to the Present (Boydell & Brewer Group Ltd, 2012)
  • Common Land in English Painting, 1700-1850 (Boydell & Brewer Group Ltd, 2012)
  • English Medieval Misericords: The Margins of Meaning (Boydell & Brewer Group Ltd, 2011)
  • The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism (Central European University Press, 2015)
Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Werkverzeichnisse auf einer digitalen Plattform erstellen. Ein Vorschlag

blog.arthistoricum - 24 Juli, 2017 - 18:09

Ein Gastbeitrag von Dr. Dr. Gunter Stemmler M.A.

Das Internet bietet die Chance, gemeinsam an Werkverzeichnissen zu arbeiten. Ein teilgesteuertes Forum könnte das Werkzeug sein, damit personenbezogen gerade auch versteckte Funde von Werken bekannter Künstler bis hin zu Datensammlungen über Kunsthandwerker gesammelt werden. Dann braucht niemand, der sein Wissen weitergeben möchte, nach geeigneten Forscherinnen und Forschern zu suchen, von denen ggf. manche kein Interesse zeigen.

Dieser Blogbeitrag soll nur als Anregung dienen und nicht eine Mitwirkung signalisieren, da ich über keinerlei administrative Ressourcen oder signifikante Fachkenntnisse zu Datenbanken verfüge; empfehlenswerte Vorlagen sind nicht bekannt.

Diese digitale Plattform müßte  "niedrigschwellig" ausgerichtet sein, damit sie für Wissenschaftler auch außerhalb der Kunstgeschichte zugänglich resp. handhabbar ist. Die Sammlung sollte in einem thematisch weiten Spektrum möglich sein.

Von daher besteht vor allem die Frage, wo und wie diese Datenbank plaziert werde müßte, um hinreichend allgemein bekannt zu werden. Ein solches Angebot wäre wohl am besten in arthistoricum.net aufgehoben oder in praktikabler Verbindung damit.

Es ist zudem offen, welche Bestandteile wie geordnet sein müßten. Das bezieht sich u. a. darauf, ob diese Werkverzeichnisse mit oder ohne Abbildungen erscheinen sollen; weitere Fragenbereiche betreffen das Copyright und das Datenvolumen. Wesentlich ist, welche technischen Leitlinien und "Leitplanken" dafür sinnvoll sind. Aufgrund des eigenen Nutzerwissen kann gesagt werden, daß wiederholt Datenbanken Pflichtfelder verwenden, welche behindernd-ungünstig sind; relativ häufig sind sie kleinkariert oder sogar unsinnig. Es stellt sich die Frage, ob ggf. auch ohne Angaben zur Person des Informationsanbieters Beiträge aufgenommen werden können.

Diese Anregung soll am Beispiel einer NS-belasteten Person vorgestellt werden. Dafür werden Personen- und Werkangaben sowie Fundstellen, Suchverfahren und Literatur aufgelistet zu Ernst Ludwig Kretschmann (1897-1941).
Zur Beispieldatei


Dr. Dr. Gunter Stemmler M.A
info@gunter-stemmler.de

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Aus "Index of Christian Art" wird "The Index of Medieval Art"

blog.arthistoricum - 11 Juli, 2017 - 11:17

Die bislang unter dem Namen „Index of Christian Art“ bekannte Datenbank wurde zum 1. Juli 2017 in „The Index of Medieval Art”umbenannt. Damit reagierte der Betreiber, die Princeton University, auf Veränderungen innerhalb der Ausrichtung und Aufgabenstellung des Instituts. Zur Zeit der Gründung im Jahr 1917 lag der Fokus noch streng auf frühchristlichen Darstellungen, die vor 700 entstanden sind. In den folgenden Jahrzehnten wurden jedoch zunehmend auch jüdische und islamische Werke mit einbezogen und der Untersuchungszeitraum bis ins 16. Jahrhundert ausgeweitet. Die Forschungsaktivitäten, die vom Institut unterstützt und angeregt werden, haben sich zudem über die Jahre verändert und beinhalten nun auch ikonografisch-deutende und interdisziplinäre Untersuchungen, die mittlerweile grundlegend für die Erforschung mittelalterlicher Bildwerke sind. Die Umbenennung trägt diesem Wandel Rechnung und beschreibt sowohl die Erweiterung des Blickwinkels, des Forschungsauftrags und der Ziele des Instituts, als auch die erweiterten Nutzungsmöglichkeiten für Wissenschaftler unterschiedlichster Forschungsgebiete.

Der „The Index of Medieval Art” verzeichnet Kunstwerke (u.a. Handschriften, Metallarbeiten, Plastik, Malerei, Kunsthandwerk) mit einem Schwerpunkt im Bereich europäischer Kunst. Ergänzt werden diese Bestände um Kunstwerke aus dem koptischen Ägypten, dem Libanon, Äthiopien, Syrien und dem Nahen Osten. Die Online-Datenbank enthält ca. 200.000 Abbildungen. Aktuell werden u.a. die mittelalterlichen Handschriften aus der Morgan Library in New York, der Princeton Library Manuscript collection sowie Bilder frühchristlicher Kunst aus dem Paul Van Moorsel Centre, Leiden University und dem Brooklyn Museum Collection of Coptic Art in die Datenbank aufgenommen.

„The Index of Medieval Art” steht nicht frei zugänglich im Netz, sondern muss lizensiert werden. Die UB Heidelberg hat im Kontext der aktuellen Förderung durch die DFG für arthistoricum.net eine sogenannte „FID-Lizenz“ erworben und ermöglicht so den überregionalen Zugang für fachspezifische Nutzerkreise. Sie können auf den „The Index of Medieval Art” somit zugreifen, sofern Sie sich registriert haben und zum berechtigten Nutzerkreis gehören.

Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier: http://www.arthistoricum.net/service/fid-lizenzen/

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Der Künstler und sein „kleiner Teufel“

blog.arthistoricum - 3 Juli, 2017 - 13:08

Ein Gastbeitrag von Laura Glötter (Universität Heidelberg) für das Themenportal Caricature & Comic 

Dispero... When will I fall?

Abb. 1: Chiaroscuro – The Private Lives of Leonardo Da Vinci | Heft 4 Seite 8
Pat McGreal & David Rawson (W) Chaz Truog (A)

Wer den Namen Leonardo Da Vinci hört, denkt sofort an die Lichtgestalt der Renaissance: Künstler, Universalgenie, Architekt und Erfinder. Hinter dem schillernden Alleskönner verbirgt sich eine andere, düstere Seite, die allerdings den wenigsten bekannt sein dürfte. Die zehnteilige Comic-Miniseries „Chiaroscuro – The Private Lives of Leonardo Da Vinci“ befasst sich ausführlich mit den Schattenseiten und Misserfolgen in Da Vincis Leben. Wie der Name schon verrät, zeigt das Comic einen privaten Da Vinci als zentralen Punkt der Geschichte, doch ist er nicht alleiniger Protagonist. Sein Lehrling Gian Giacomo Caprotti, von Leonardo liebevoll Salai („kleiner Teufel“) genannt, nimmt nicht weniger Raum in dem Comic ein. Wie genau standen die beiden zueinander? Was geschah zwischen ihnen? Diese Fragen versucht das Comic „Chiaroscuro“ mittels wiederkehrenden Leitmotiven zu beantworten.
Ein Zusammentreffen zweier Welten - so muss die Begegnung Da Vincis und Salais gewesen sein. Salai „the street-smart everyman version of the Renaissance“ und der schillernde Künstler Leonardo, „the lofty individual of greatness that helped give a future to us all“.
Ein eindrucksvoller Mann rettet einen kleinen, von den Eltern misshandelten Jungen; dies zeigt das Comic in Form einer Erinnerung Salais, die Panels sind passenderweise in nostalgischen Sepiatönen gezeichnet. Mit Tränen in den Augen blickt der kleine, geschlagene Junge zu dem großen schönen Mann auf: Leonardo, der Retter in der Not.
Es handelt sich dabei um einen eindeutigen Schlüsselmoment des Comics und den Anfang Salais Zeit in Leonardos Haushalt. Der kleine dreckige Junge von der Straße, steigt empor und befindet sich schon bald am Hofe italienischer Edelleute. Die Erinnerung geht nicht weniger schwärmerisch weiter, jedoch aus Sicht des Künstlers. Heroisch errettet er den kleinen Jungen aus den Händen seiner Eltern und Peiniger, blickt ihm ins Gesicht und scheint überwältigt. Salai ist etwas für Leonardo, was der Leser so noch nicht sieht und begreifen kann.
Um es begreiflich zu machen führt ein Traum des Künstlers gekonnt durch die Komplexität der Beziehung der beiden Protagonisten. In diesem sieht man Da Vinci als kleinen hilflosen Jungen, sich rettend an ein Pferd klammernd, in einem großen stürmischen Gewässer. Von dem Kind mit Horror in den Augen beobachtet, taucht hinter ihm aus dem Wasser ein gigantisches Wesen auf. Diese Mis-en-page des Comics wird eingeleitet mit den Captions „Dispero...“ und „When will I fall?“, passend dazu stürzt ein Vogel in die sich zusammenschlagenden Wellen (Abb. 1).

The Giant

Erst gegen Ende des Comics, im achten Heft, erfahren Leser und Leonardo selbst, was es mit dem Giganten auf sich hat. An dieser Stelle erhält die monströse Gestalt einen Namen und somit Symbolik. Es ist kein geringerer als Da Vincis großer Rivale Michelangelo. Nicht nur in künstlerischer Hinsicht sticht Michelangelo Da Vinci in der Story des Comics aus. Salai unternimmt Michelangelo gegenüber deutliche Annäherungsversuche, wie auch zuvor in der Geschichte schon bei seinem Lehrer Leonardo. Durch diese Aktion versetzt der Schüler seinem Meister einen eindeutigen Tiefschlag. So symbolisiert der aus dem Wasser auftauchende Giant zugleich Salais Verrat an Leonardo, als auch Michelangelos künstlerischen Triumph über Da Vinci.

Das PferdAbb. 2: Chiaroscuro – The Private Lives of Leonardo Da Vinci | Heft 2 Seite 11
Pat McGreal & David Rawson (W) Chaz Truog (A)

Der Comic behandelt auch die Zeit Da Vincis, in welcher er an dem großen Sforza-Monument, einer riesigen Pferdestatue, arbeitete. Doch hat das Pferd als solches einen tieferen, für den Künstler wichtigeren Sinn. Das Sforza-Denkmal, so hieß es, war in solchem Maße unmöglich, dass kein Künstler es wagen würde sich daran zu versuchen – doch Leonardo da Vinci tat es. In einem Brief an Ludovico Sforza pries er sich für eben diese Arbeit an. Salai, der die Zeit gemeinsam mit seinem Lehrer am Hof der Sforzas verbringt, fertigt für Da Vinci, welcher in den Studien für die Pferdestatue vertieft ist, eine kleine Pferdestatuette an, in der Hoffnung seinem Meister zu helfen und ihm eine Freude zu bereiten. Doch das Gegenteil ist der Fall, der Künstler kritisiert seinen Lehrling, die Situation eskaliert und der junge Salai verlässt weinend den Raum. Eine bezeichnende Situation für die Beziehung der beiden: Salai, der ewige Schüler, welcher dem großen Genie nie ebenbürtig wird und Da Vinci, der in seinem Lehrling in erster Linie nur den jungen Schönling sieht. Entsprechend dieser Tatsache werden die beiden in dieser Szene symbolisch von zwei Statuetten verkörpert. Die eine ist Salais, etwas plump gefertigt, unproportional und rustikal. Die andere, Da Vincis Pferdestatuette, ist von graziler Gestalt, aus edlerem Material und anatomisch perfekt (Abb. 2). So stehen diese beiden Plastiken in Da Vincis Arbeitszimmer als Personifikation der beiden: Das kleine linkische Kind aus niederen Verhältnissen und der große strahlende Künstler, vom Adel verehrt und einnehmend in seinem Auftreten.

Vogel und Flug

Um das letzte Element zu verstehen, muss der Anfang des Traumes betrachtet werden. In diesem greifen Kinderhände nach einem in die Höhe fliegenden Vogel, welcher dann in bunten Farben leuchtet, in einen Sturm gerät und abstürzt. Diese Sequenz geht schließlich über in den vorher genannten Haupttraum Da Vincis, in dem „Giant“, Pferd, Vogel und er selbst als kleiner Junge zu sehen sind.
Diese Erinnerung stützt sich auf folgendes Erlebnis: Der kleine Leonardo liegt in seiner Wiege, als sich ein Raubvogel zu ihm setzt und den Mund des Jungen mit seinen Schwanzspitzen berührt. Da Vincis Vater bemerkt es und schießt mit einer Armbrust den davonfliegenden Vogel vom Himmel. Dieses Erlebnis hat zur Folge, dass sich Da Vinci sein Leben lang obsessiv mit dem Thema Flug beschäftigt. Natürlich spielt dabei seine berühmte Flugmaschine auch eine große Rolle. Der Testflug dieses Apparats stellt in „Chiaroscuro“ eine Wendung in der Beziehung des Künstlers und seines Lehrlings dar.

Abb. 3: Chiaroscuro – The Private Lives of Leonardo Da Vinci | Heft 10 Seite 9
Pat McGreal & David Rawson (W) Chaz Truog (A)

Mit Anekdoten über die zerrüttete Beziehung zwischen Leonardo und seinem Vater bereitet der Meister Salai auf seinen Testflug mit seiner Erfindung vor. Auffällig sind die Parallelen zwischen den Beziehungen, so versucht er Salai klar zu machen, dass dieser auf lange Sicht gesehen den gleichen Fehler machen würde wie Da Vinci selbst, indem er den Mann, den er eigentlich liebte verurteilte und für Dinge hasste, die von menschlicher Natur sind. An diesem Punkt scheint all die Wut, welche sich über Jahre in Salai angestaut hat herauszubrechen. So kritisiert der Lehrling er sei immer nur ein Projekt, eine Kreation des Künstlers gewesen. Ein Objekt, welches sich nach Da Vincis Willen wandeln und modellieren lassen sollte, jedoch wie so viele seiner Werke unfertig blieb. Unterstrichen wird Salais Aussage von der Maschinerie, in welcher er sich in jenem Moment befindet. Wie Salai richtig anklagt, ist auch dieses Werk unvollendet und fehlerhaft, denn nur nach einem Moment des Höhenfluges stürzt er ab, wie der Raubvogel aus Da Vincis Kindheit (Abb. 3). Und ebenso wie der Raubvogel, der erschossen wird und damit aus Da Vincis Leben verschwindet, verlässt Salai seinen Meister. In seinem Traum nimmt der Vogel dementsprechend die Symbolik des Unerreichbaren an.

Das Gemälde "Johannes der Täufer"Abb. 4: Chiaroscuro – The Private Lives of Leonardo Da Vinci | Heft 10 Seite 24
Pat McGreal & David Rawson (W) Chaz Truog (A)

Ein weiteres wiederkehrendes Motiv, welches allerdings nicht im Traum des Künstlers vorkommt, ist sein berühmtes Bild von Johannes dem Täufer. Im Comic ein Gemälde, welches der Künstler basierend auf seine Erinnerung an Salai malt, als dieser ihn schon verlassen hat. Diese Erinnerung geht zurück auf ein Vorkommnis, während der Zeit am Hofe der Sforzas. Eine der wenigen, wenn nicht sogar die einzige Szene, in der Salai und Leonardo ausgelassen und freudig gelöst sind. So ist es kein Wunder, dass der Künstler sich gerade an diesen Moment mit aller Gewalt festklammert und ihn auf einer Leinwand verewigt. Auffällig ist, dass er seinen Salai als einen reinen, unschuldigen Heiligen verkörpert. Dies zeigt wie er seinen Lehrling die gesamte Zeit über sah und zu was er ihn formen wollte. Der Leser erkennt: Mit dem kritischen Vorwurf Salais, ein Werk Da Vincis zu sein, hat er nicht ganz unrecht, so sagt Leonardo selbst über Salai er sei eine Kreation, von ihm geformt, die nicht einmal der Himmel zurückweisen könne.

Die strahlende Version des Schülers verfolgt Da Vinci so sehr, dass er während seinen letzten Atemzügen ebendiese Erinnerung noch einmal durchlebt, mit Blick auf den, von ihm geschaffenen, heiligen Salai. Zuletzt steigt, als Melzi, Da Vincis neuer Lehrling, die Aufschriebe seines Meisters verbrennt, eine Rauchsäule in Form von Salai, in jener Pose, gen Himmel. Erst nach Da Vincis Tod, so wirkt es, kann die Erinnerung und Salai selbst sich in Freiheit verflüchtigen. Auf diese Art steigt der früherer Lehrling, wie es sich der Künstler so sehr ersehnt hat, doch noch einem Vogel gleich in die Lüfte (Abb. 4).

Happy ever after?Abb. 5: Chiaroscuro – The Private Lives of Leonardo Da Vinci | Heft 10 Seite 17
Pat McGreal & David Rawson (W) Chaz Truog (A)

„I promise“ sind die letzten Worte Da Vincis in „Chiaroscuro“. Zu sehen ist erneut sein Traum, jedoch nun das Ende, welches sich deutlich von den vorherigen Traumsequenzen unterscheidet. Aus dem Alptraum ist eine befreite Szene geworden. Der Gigant ist fort, der Sturm hat sich gelegt und das Pferd galoppiert in Freiheit den Strand entlang. Über ihm fliegt Salai gen Sonne, von einem Absturz weit entfernt. Die Wiege, in welcher immer der kleine Leonardo lag und sehnsüchtig die Hände nach oben streckte, als wolle er mitfliegen und den Himmel erkunden, ist leer (Abb. 5).
Ebenso wie Salai in Da Vincis Gedanken nun befreit durch die Lüfte fliegt, ist auch er selbst befreit von all seinen unerfüllten Sehnsüchten, Ängsten und seinem Scheitern. Die Schrecken sind aus dem Traum verschwunden und das Kind muss sich weder an das Pferd klammern, noch unbeholfen in der Wiege liegen. So zeigen sich alle Traumelemente, welche die gesamte Zeit über für Da Vinci Horror und Hochgefühl vereinigt haben, zuletzt doch noch von ihrer reinen, guten Seite.

Laura Glötter, Studierende am IEK der Universität Heidelberg
Interessenschwerpunkte: Comic und visuelle Narration

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Digitale Forschung und Lehre in den Geistes­wissenschaften

blog.arthistoricum - 16 Juni, 2017 - 11:26

Die digitale Transformation hat weite Teile unserer Lebenswelt verändert: Die Art wie wir kommunizieren, reisen, lesen, etc. Sie hat auch die Wissenschaft verändert, denkt man nur an die Sequenzierung des menschlichen Genoms. Und nicht zuletzt die Geisteswissenschaften: Unter dem Begriff Digital Humanities versteht man eine Vielzahl an neuen Methoden, ohne die vor allem die Sprachwissenschaften kaum noch denkbar sind.

Die Digitalisierung verändert aber nicht nur die Methoden, sondern auch die Art wie wir Forschung und Lehre betreiben. Wenn Daten und Software zum Einsatz kommen, wenn IT-Kompetenzen gefordert werden entstehen neue Strukturen. Wie sehen diese Strukturen aus? Welche wollen wir schaffen? Dieser Frage geht die Tagung #DigiCampus. Digitale Forschung und Lehre in den Geistes­wissenschaften an der LMU München am 19. Juni 2017 nach.

Die Tagung stellt das Projekt IT for All vor. Dies hat eine Ausbildung zur digitalen Datenanalyse in den Geschichts- und Kunstwissenschaften zum Ziel. In diesem Zusammenhang ist das Digital Humanities Virtual Laboratory (DHVLab) entstanden, das wohl erstmalig in den Geisteswissenschaften eine serverbasierte Lehr- und Forschungsumgebung anbietet, die nun die Testphase hinter sich gelassen hat und in den Regelbetrieb sowie in die Expansion gehen kann. Dabei wird deutlich, wie eine IT-Ausbildung für die Geisteswissenschaften aussehen kann, wie sich weitere Institutionen an diesem Projekt beteiligen und wie diese das System in ihren Lehrbetrieb einbinden können.

Ausgerichtet wird die Tagung vom Institut für Kunstgeschichte sowie der IT-Gruppe Geisteswissenschaften, genauere Informationen über die Veranstaltung finden sich auf der Webseite.

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

What Will Gioni’s Biennale Look Like?

The Art History Newsletter - 20 Juli, 2012 - 15:54

Massimiliano Gioni is busy. Besides serving as associate director of the New Museum, he has in recent months discoursed on Alighiero Boetti at MoMA; juried the Victor Pinchuk Foundation’s Future Generation Artist Prize; published catalog essays on Pier Paolo Calzolari and Victor Man; worked as creative director of the Fondazione Trussardi in Milan; and co-founded the gallery Family Business. Did I mention he’s also putting together the 2013 Venice Biennale?

Gioni is the Biennale’s youngest director in 110 years, and speculation on his plans runs rampant, although few will prognosticate publicly. Nonetheless I managed to strike up a lively conversation with Legier Biederman, a curator herself and an historian of annuals, biennials, triennials, quadrennials and art-world festivalism generally. She noted first the vogue for oversized shows that feature record numbers of artists and exhibition venues. “Just the sprawling nature of the biennial can be both a point of attraction as well as contention,” says Biederman. A participant in this maximalist trend, Gioni can be expected to put together one of the most Brobdignagian Biennales yet.

Biederman notes next that Gioni will naturally be judged against the past Biennale directors—Harald Szeeman, David Birnbaum (himself the youngest director of his time), Robert Storr, Bice Curiger, Rosa Martinez, Maria de Corral, Francesco Bonami, et al. Will he play it safe, favoring the A-list art stars to whom he now has more access than ever? Or will try to upend the hierarchy? “In many ways, that’s kind of always been an attraction in the contemporary art world, the contention between inside and outside and where that line is and when one crosses it,” says Biederman.

Or will Gioni split the difference? It’s tempting for a curator to include some, but not too many emerging artists, to rely, as Legier puts it, “on the inclusion of the standard artists, for the legitimacy. There is this kind of monstrosity on the biennial circuit as it exists today. There are the individual biennials, that are tied to the specific locations and the specific histories, that have informed the biennial, but then there is this larger global art market that defines in many ways what Caroline Jones calls ‘biennial culture’. There’s always this push and pull between these two realms, of being cutting edge but still maintaining their identities as global biennials that established what contemporary art is today.”

Even the biggest risk-takers often follow well-worn paths in Venice. Biederman does expect Gioni to be adventurous in his selection of new media, but would be surprised if he broke out of the usual geographic proportions. The last Biennale, curated by Bice Curiger in 2011, was a typically Western-centric one, with 68 out of 82 artists born in the West. The largest nationality represented was American, with 14 artists; the next largest was Italian. Biederman suspects the major biennials will continue to be slow to internationalize. “The recent inclusion of non-Western artists began not too long ago. The Venice [Biennale], being the oldest and divided by national pavilions as well as prizes, has a longer history to break, [unlike say] the Havana Biennial, which focuses strategically on ‘non-Western artists’ or artists from the Caribbean or Latin America [or] Central America,” she says. Internationalizing efforts are routinely beaten to a pulp. Witness Storr’s “African Pavilion,” or Okwui Enwezor’s “Documenta 11.” Enwezor’s show, though praised for its novel structure and diverse media, was accused of didacticism and inauthenticity (many of his non-Western artists resided in Western countries). As reported in an interview with Enwezor in Nka, it was called “cumbersome”, “humorless” and “the least arty Documenta yet.”

With Gioni, there’s even less reason than usual to expect a truly international roster. Gioni’s shows, despite their maximalism and unpredictability, typically lack major geographical diversity. His 2009 ‘Younger than Jesus’ show, for instance—which declared its intention to feature the best artists around the globe under the age of thirty-three—drew more than half its artists from the West. A third were American. Artists from Africa and South America made up 5% each. Gioni resists the idea of consciously correcting such imbalances. When The New York Times asked him how he chose artists for another show, he said, “I don’t ask to see their passports.”

My editor and I requested an interview with Gioni for this article, which I originally intended to be a more general overview of his current activities. Gioni originally assented (through a representative). However, when he stipulated he must be allowed to “review the transcript and make necessary edits prior to posting,” and we declined to agree, our emails stopped being returned. Refusing subjects a sneak-peek is standard journalistic practice. But you can’t blame a Venice Biennale director for not playing by the rules, now can you?

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Comings and Goings

The Art History Newsletter - 1 Juni, 2012 - 16:18

Adam Budak, Melissa Ho, and Mika Yoshitake have been hired by the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Budak will be the new curator of contemporary art after serving at the Kunsthaus Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz, Austria. Ho, an art historian from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Yoshitake, a programmer from the West Coast, will both serve as assistant curators. Kriston Capps at The Washington City Paper writes:

The hires are welcome—and long overdue. Associate curator Kristen Hileman left the Hirshhorn in 2009 to head up the contemporary art department at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Her departure left a huge void in the D.C. gallery scene, where she was greatly loved for her enthusiastic participation in juries, panels, and artist talks. Few other curators from Federal City—the National Portrait Gallery’s Anne Goodyear being one of them—show the same spirit of volunteerism in D.C. I’ll put the question to Budak, Ho, and Yoshitake now—can any of y’all fill Hileman’s shoes?

The Tate Modern has appointed Dr. Achim Borchardt-Hume as head of exhibitions. Borchardt-Hume is currently the chief curator at the Whitechapel Gallery and was previously curator of modern and contemporary art at the Tate Modern, director of the Barbican Art Gallery, and exhibition organizer at the Serpentine Gallery.

Deborah Cullen has been appointed the director and chief curator of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Cullen director of curatorial programs at El Museo del Barrio. The Gallery will move in 2016 from Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus to the Lenfest Center for the Arts at the Manhattanville campus.

Sonya Rhie Quintanilla has been named the new curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Quintanilla was previously curator of Asian art at the San Diego Museum of Art and will succeed Stan Czuma who retired after 33 years in 2005.

Barbara Buhler Lynes has resigned from her position as curator of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and director of the Museum’s Research Center. Lynes is a foremost scholar in the life and art of Georgia O’Keeffe, publishing many books and essays related to her work. Prior to her tenure at the museum, Lynes was a Professor of Art History at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, Montgomery College, Dartmouth College, and Vanderbilt University.

Carol Robbins has retired after 47 years from the Dallas Museum of Art. During her nearly 50 years at the museum, Robbins has served as Curator of Textiles, Curator of New World and Pacific Cultures and in 2006 was appointed the Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Curator of the Arts of the Americas and the Pacific.

Art Historian Daniel H. Weiss and current president of Lafayette College, has been selected as president of Haverford College starting July 2013.

Margi Conrads has been named the Deputy Director of Art and Research at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Conrads is currently the Samuel Sosland Senior Curator of American Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. Conrads received her doctorate from the City University of New York Graduate Center and is the editor and primary author of the catalogue of the museum’s American painting collection.

The Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, MI has named Lisa Melandri as the director. Melandri graduated with a degree in art history from Harvard University and previously served as artistic director for the Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design of Philadelphia and deputy director for exhibitions and programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in California.

English art critic, scholar and painter, John Golding has died at 82. Formerly a faculty member of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Golding is possibly best known for his influential book, “Cubism: A History and an Analysis 1907-1914″ first published in 1959. Though he was a leading scholar in Cubism, he was quoted in 1994 in The Guardian as saying:

I continue to enjoy looking at Cubist pictures as much as I ever did. But I have come increasingly to realize that I do not really understand them, and I am not sure that anyone else does either.

Paola Morsiani, currently curator of contemporary art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, has been named director of the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College. Morsiani was born in Venice, Italy and received her Laurea in art history and criticism from the University of Padua in Italy before continuing on for a MA in Arts Administration from New York University.

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Obit: Justine Price, 42

The Art History Newsletter - 1 Juni, 2012 - 16:05

From Despina Stratigakos at the University at Buffalo:

Justine Price, associate professor of art history at Canisius College, died unexpectedly of natural causes on October 24, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. She recently had been tenured and named director of the college’s art history program. Price’s knowledge and love of art were limitless, and her professional accomplishments extended beyond academia to the worlds of publishing and museums.

Beginning her art history studies at Bryn Mawr College (B.A.’92), Price earned a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. Her dissertation, supervised by Richard Shiff, was titled, “Abstraction, Expression, Kitsch: American Painting in a Critical Context, 1936-1951.” Her work on American artists was published in edited volumes and catalogues. New scholarly directions focused on contemporary Polish photography, including recent collaborations with the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and a 2009 exhibition of Polish contemporary photography at Canisius College.

Before joining the faculty at Canisius College in 2005, Price had been engaged in curatorial and publishing pursuits. From 2001 to 2008, Price was a tireless researcher for the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in New York, contributing to the catalogue raisonné under the direction of Jack Cowart, director of the Foundation. She also contributed to an exhibition on Roy Lichtenstein’s American Indian Paintings, and worked as an editor and director of photography for Bill Smith Studio in New York.

Price’s death at such an early stage in her career is an incalculable loss. A much beloved teacher at Canisius College, Price supervised dozens of undergraduate theses and internships. Students flocked to her classes and her reputation as a teacher led many on the college’s ice hockey team, the Golden Griffins, to enroll in her courses. She, in turn, found time to attend their games as one of their most devoted fans. At her memorial service at Canisius College, one of the team’s members remarked that since Price had not known much about hockey and the hockey team had not known much about art, “it proved to be a good relationship.” In the summer of 2011, Price led a group of Canisius students on a service mission to an orphanage in Zmiaca, Poland, where she made many new friends among the children.

Price leaves behind her mother, father, stepmother and younger sister as well as friends around the world who were nourished by her vitality, humor, and warmth. She also leaves a legacy and a challenge: a life well lived, in service to the things and people we love.

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

A Trip across France with Matisse’s Brain

The Art History Newsletter - 17 Mai, 2012 - 14:30

Now at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Matisse. Paires et séries is a small jewel box of an exhibition, studded with fifty-four paintings, thirty-four drawings, and five collages. Rich, intelligent, and uncluttered, it is that rare understated blockbuster that encourages close looking and deep thinking about the creative process. I left it inspired to view my world as openly as Henri Matisse did his.

Matisse. Paires et séries eschews dense texts in favor of subtle installation techniques to activate the works’ mysteries. The walls provide just a short chronology, two quotations from the artist, and three explanatory panels, with no interpretation of individual works. The works seduce the eye, while their careful juxtaposition encourages thought. The viewer is invited to participate in the task Matisse set for himself early on—to merge sensation and cognition. “What I am after, above all, is expression. … Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter’s command to express his feelings,” Matisse wrote in his 1908 “Notes of a Painter” (Translation Jack Flam, Matisse on Art, 1973).

In the first rooms, paintings treating the same subject are hung in two and threes. The paintings’ labels, which indicate studio locations and months or seasons, suggest that Matisse worked on these groups simultaneously or in rapid succession. The variety within themes is striking and instructive. The busy detail in both facture and narrative of the gray Pont Saint-Michel, Paris, Effect of Snow (c. 1900, Stiftung Sammlung E.G. Bührle, Zurich) seems downright Impressionistic compared to the roughly scumbled azure and turquoise sky that dissipates to gessoed canvas in the right edge of Pont Saint-Michel (c. 1900, Centre Pompidou, Paris) or the geometric planes of vivid color in Pont Saint-Michel (c. 1901, Santa Barbara Museum of Art). Clearly, something more than a simple recording of the changing seasons is at play here.

Matisse’s paintings, particularly their colors, lose much in reproduction. Seeing both versions of Le Luxe (1907; version I: Centre Pompidou, Paris; version II: Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen) illustrates his power to use color to express divergent visions of the same composition, as do the two versions of Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance” (1912; version I: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; version II: Pushkin Museum, Moscow). Other pairings demonstrate how deeply Matisse engaged the issue of pictorial depth. The Cubist-inspired geometry and insistent flatness of Goldfish and Palette (1914, Museum of Modern Art, New York) complicates the seemingly comfortable perspective of Interior with a Goldfish Bowl (1914, Centre Pompidou, Paris), and vice versa. Witness the way Matisse scratched away paint with a wood brush-handle in the New York picture, revealing a literal and illusionistic depth in its multiple layers.

Many of these paintings were never exhibited as pendants, but as Matisse. Paires et séries unfolds, it provides evidence that at least by the end of his career, Matisse wanted to reveal his creative process. The exhibition next turns to drawings that Matisse expressly created in series and published in the 1943 book Dessins: Thèmes et Variations. It reproduced seventeen series—eleven of women, six of still lifes—that Matisse made in the Hotel Régina in Nice during 1941 and 1942. The drawings are complete works of art in their own right, lyrical meditations on a theme. In series F, Matisse depicts a reclining woman from multiple angles across ten drawings, alternately zooming in and pulling back, even depicting her twice in one drawing. From the spare lines of the initial charcoal drawing, the artist adds detail in his arabesque-like pen and ink variations, before returning to an economical but energetic line in the final pencil drawings.

Matisse. Paires et séries presents the original drawings from series F, H, and M. They benefit greatly from their display on the gallery walls, uninterrupted by the act of turning the page or the need to rotate the large folio as the drawings’ orientations change. (A photograph reproduced in mural scale in the exhibition tellingly shows the original drawings tacked in neat rows and columns filling the walls of Matisse’s studio-apartment.) Seen here, the drawings seem much closer to the non-linear experience that Matisse must have had as he was creating them. The result suggests an artist constantly moving around his motif, responding to it differently, and changing his mind about how he sees and feels it. These suites of drawings read as poetic explorations of the world in all of its variations rather than strict progressions toward an ideal.

In the 1930s, Matisse began employing photographers to document the unfolding of his paintings. In December 1945 at the Galerie Maeght in Paris, in addition to drawings and sculptures, Matisse exhibited six paintings, each surrounded by framed photographs of the various ‘states’. It seems certain that Matisse wanted to grant his audience a glimpse of his artistic process.

Matisse. Paires et séries reunites four of the Galerie Maeght paintings and reproduces the documentary photographs in a format that I found frustrating at first. Postcard-sized and displayed in a glass-topped table, they are difficult to see when the gallery is crowded. Worse, only two of the completed canvases are exhibited in the same gallery as the photographs. Yet the close looking borne of this situation ultimately led to discovery. Forced to rely on my memory to make comparisons, I examined the preparatory photographs carefully, marveling at the variety they divulged. The fourteen photographs chronicling Matisse’s process of painting The Romanian Blouse (Centre Pompidou, Paris), from 11 December 1939 to 23 April 1940, show a fascinating trajectory. It began as a representational, floridly detailed portrait in contours, until Matisse added and subtracted detail en route to the elegantly spare final version. When I finally looked at the completed canvas in the subsequent gallery, the experience was intense. It looked less like a static resolution than a pulsing, almost living entity. I could no longer see the earlier layers (although in other canvases, pentimenti do exist), but my memories of them indelibly infused its current incarnation. The constant balancing act Matisse waged between sensation, cognition, and expression—between seeing, thinking, and feeling—was palpable. The artist’s desire to “reach that state of condensation of sensations which makes a painting,” suddenly made thrilling sense.

Matisse. Paires et séries concludes with a series of gouache cut-outs, Blue Nude I-IV (1952, version I: Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel; versions II and III: Centre Pompidou, Paris; version IV, Musée Matisse, Nice). No label need tell you that the “fourth” version was made first: the flurry of partially erased charcoal lines on its support, as well as the many fragments of cut and layered paper composing the figure, betray a complex distillation of a motif, which is then subtly adapted in the other three variations. This final moment in the exhibition is both visually and intellectually powerful. It suggests that for Matisse, artmaking was not just teleology, a series of steps toward a beautiful picture, but also a deeply personal coming to terms with a world in flux. In his words, “I am unable to distinguish between the feeling I have about life and my way of translating it.” By inviting us to look carefully at Matisse’s art, and to reflect on the personal quest it conveys, Matisse. Paires et séries gently encourages us to open our eyes and minds to new perspectives on our own experience.

Matisse. Paires et séries is on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris through June 18, 2012. It will travel to Copenhagen’s Statens Museum for Kunst (July 14-October 28, 2012) and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (December 2, 2012-March 17, 2013). A richly illustrated, 288-page French-language catalogue accompanies the exhibition in Paris. Edited by exhibition curator Cécile Debray, it includes short essays by scholars including Yve-Alain Bois, Éric de Chassey, Anne Coron, John Elderfield, Jack Flam, and Rémi Labrusse, as well as two conservation notes, on Le Luxe I and II and Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance” I and II. An official iPad application devoted to the exhibition is also available for download.

Expect long lines and crowds. I recommend buying and printing tickets online in advance, and the evening viewing hours—it’s open until 10:50 p.m. Thursday to Monday. What better time to emerge from this exhibition than on a weekend night, when after-images of Matisse’s bright canvases will illuminate your dark walk home?

 

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

When Art Grows Genitals

The Art History Newsletter - 9 Mai, 2012 - 22:01

So much to write, so little time. Tempted as I am to relate the story of the 13-year-old who corrected a Metropolitan Museum map, I want to talk today about the new Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, which took an unexpected, fascinating dip into art history last week with its 8th episode, “When Nouns Grew Genitals.” Languages that assign genders to nouns, Lexicon Valley notes, often assign them arbitrarily. But is it possible, they ask, that even in those cases the assignments influence the way we think of those words?

To wit, “Does the grammatical gender of nouns in an artist’s native language enable us to predict how those artists will personify things in their art?” co-host Mike Vuolo asks psychologist Lera Boroditsky:

Boroditsky [and Edward Segel] identified works by Italian, French, German and Spanish artists, all grammatically gendered languages, from around 1200 AD up to today. Artworks that depicted a personification of an abstract entity, things like justice, time, fame, peace, truth. Their sample size was about 800 [drawn from ARTstor] and they found that 78% of the time the gender in the artwork matched the grammatical gender of the word being personified in the artist’s native language. In other words, if in your native language death is feminine you’re far more likely to personify death as a woman.

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Paris Between the Wars 1919-1939: Art, Life and Culture.

The Art History Newsletter - 4 Mai, 2012 - 01:37

Book Review: Bouvet, Vincent and Gérard Durozoi. Paris Between the Wars 1919-1939: Art, Life and Culture. Trans. Ruth Sharman. New York: Vendome Press. Print. 2010.

Art is neither created nor viewed in a vacuum. It is this notion perhaps that helped to inspire Vincent Bouvet and Gérard Durozoi in the organization of their recent book Paris Between the Wars 1919-1939: Art, Life and Culture. Bouvet and Durozoi’s effectively chosen subtitle prepares the reader to view the arts of the period in a set of wider contexts. With chapters discussing daily life in Paris, the history and experiences of this city, and the influential position held by the decorative arts, the authors subtly and effectively reframe their view of artistic life in this often-studied time and place. Tellingly, painting and sculpture are addressed together in the fifth chapter of the book, preceded by the chapters described above as well as “The World of Fashion.” With following chapters that discuss photography, film, advertising, literature, and music, readers are left with a strong understating of the cross-pollination endemic of artistic production in 1920s and 1930s Paris.

Nonetheless there are moments when the purpose of this inclusiveness is not entirely clear. Bouvet’s chapter “The City of Light” provides an overview of major infrastructure and civic development projects undertaken in Paris in the years after World War I. Each of these projects is treated briefly, as one might expect given the scope this book. Unfortunately what they meant for the development of the arts in Paris remains unclear. For example, Bouvet’s analysis of public transport in Paris discusses new motorways, the availability of air travel, and the development of Paris’ tram system. How did this mobility affect the production, display, or sale of art? Did it serve as a subject for art, or alter the consciousness of artists, or their sense of modernity? Certainly this new public mobility had effects on the lives of artists. Here, as in other areas, Bouvet and Durozoi have suggested areas of potential influence on the arts that may be further explored in more focused studies.

The second guiding principle of the book is to include an abundance of relevant, high quality images. Far from making the study into a picture-book, the images reproduced throughout the text serve to frame, inform, and illustrate the text quite effectively. For example, two color photographs of the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriel Modernes are displayed on pages 106 and 107. The photograph on page 106 shows the Porte d’Orsay entrance to the Exposition on what appears to be a quiet day. A few blurry figures stand near the entrance, while the sharply angled lighting and scattered leaves suggest early autumn. The entrance gate is overshadowed by a large decorative panel that is about 60 feet tall and decorated in a Cubist style. The image in this panel is composed of six figures arranged vertically, each representing one of the modes of art on display in the Exposition. The impressive scale of this entrance helps to underscore the powerful role that the 1925 Exposition has played in the development of both decorative and fine arts. Printed on page 107 is a color photograph showing two of the department store pavilions from the Exposition.  The distinctively Art Deco architecture and signage is familiarized by the green of the grass, blue tones in the sky, and sharp red fence demarcating space in the left background. That color photographs of high descriptive value survive at all from the 1925 Expo is remarkable. In the context of Bouvet’s chapter on the decorative arts, they help to bring the artistic experience described by the author closer to reality.

One of the great joys of studying history is the thrill of imagining living and operating in a different time and place. Though not often discussed by historians, this imaginary process is a great reward of deep archival and scholarly research. In the hands of Bouvet and Durozoi the reader’s imaginary experience is quite strong, supported by the numerous and descriptive images, and the ambiance of the everyday. Rich in quality images, thoughtfully organized, and lucidly written, Bouvet and Durozoi’s addition to the vast literature on Les Années folles is directed primarily at readers who are fairly new to its subject. Nonetheless I suspect that those who have studied the arts of the period will benefit from this text, and find its carefully selected images and broad overview of the experience of artistic Paris in the 1920s and 1930s rewarding.

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Snapped Shut

The Art History Newsletter - 26 April, 2012 - 17:55

The term “snapshot” predates the invention of photography. From 1808, the term has meant “a quick or hurried shot taken without deliberate aim, esp. one at a rising bird or quickly moving animal.” It is strange to think that this hunting term for a spontaneous and haphazard reaction would ever be associated with the Nabis – those “prophets” of Modernism gathered around Maurice Denis’ assertion that a picture is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order. Nevertheless this is the evidence presented by “Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard” currently on view at the Phillips Collection; the exhibition provides yet another opportunity to consider the technological mediation of perception and the fraught relationship between painting and photography.

Rooted in the discovery of thousands of snapshots in Edouard Vuillard’s family archive, the exhibition shows Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Henri Rivière Félix Vallotton as well as Dutch painter George Hendrik Breitner and Belgian Henri Evenepoel to have been swept up in the craze for handheld cameras that seized the United States and Europe after the invention of the Kodak by George Eastman in 1888. By pairing over 200 of these photographs with 70 paintings, prints and drawings, “Snapshot” forces us to see the work of these artists through their respective engagements with photography.

Though visually exhausting, the sheer number of photos in the show conveys the explosion of images brought by the Kodak, and makes palpable the atmosphere of technological novelty. Aimed at cultivating a mass amateur market, Kodak cameras became a phenomenon in the 1890s by making everyday life a subject for photography. Marketed with the slogan “you press the button, we do the rest”, the Kodak freed consumers of the need for technical or aesthetic aptitude. Within reach of the middle-class consumer, the box cameras came loaded with a 100-exposure roll, and could be sent to a processing facility where the negatives were developed, the camera reloaded and mailed back to the owner. Indeed these devices seemed designed to prevent deliberate composition: held at the waist, the operator could only approximate the frame and focus through a distant viewfinder. As Clément Chéroux argues in the catalogue, the Nabis were not among the amateurs of the fin de siècle who formed photo-clubs and considered photography a hobby. Rather, these were photo-dilettantes who engaged in visual notetaking of daily life and social gatherings, comparable to today’s Facebook mobile uploads.

This artlessness would seem to place the snapshot at an almost inconceivable distance from the virtuosic manipulation of pigment and surface texture that, giving rise to indeterminate spatial and psychological scenarios, creates an almost synaesthetic effect in the paintings of Bonnard and Vuillard. However by highlighting the snapshot’s contingencies of space, cropping, shadow and depth of field, as well as the intimate subject matter brought into view, we are given the sense that around century’s end photography had permeated these painters’ visual awareness in subtle and elusive ways. For instance Nude in an Interior (c. 1935) is a shimmering image of Marthe at her bath that displays Bonnard’s anguishing ability to emanate light from within his paintings. It bears a resemblance to the photograph of Marthe in a similar pose and setting hanging next to it, and we think that we have arrived at the source. However the snapshot, Marthe in the Bathtub, Vernouillet, was taken in 1910, and predates the painting by twenty-five years. In the case of Bonnard, who lost interest in photography in 1916, the snapshot seems to have been a brief preoccupation with questionable authority over the chromatic and spatial investigations that he sustained into the middle of the last century.

Relationships between painted and photographic images are conjured and troubled throughout the exhibition. Vuillard’s Child Playing: Annette in Front of a Wooden Chair (1900) is emblematic of his signature conflation of the subject’s absorptive experience with a patterned interior. Its relation to the strikingly similar snapshot hanging next to it of a boy sitting in a room draped with correspondingly decorative arabesques seems clear, but the photograph was taken by Evenopoel – the Belgian who was included in the exhibition because of his thematic and stylistic convergence with the Nabis.

The final room presents the highlight of the exhibition: a suite of paintings by Vuillard paired with snapshots from the cache discovered in his family archive. Even here, the relationship between his camerawork and painted interiors is mostly a matter of conjecture. In a series of lively snapshots Misia Natanson – wife of Revue blanche editor Thalée Natanson– mugs for and returns Vuillard’s plainly infatuated gaze. However, in the corresponding painting, In Front of the Tapestry: Misia and Thalée Natanson, Rue St. Florentin (1899), her face is obscured and turned away from view. Thalée’s hand likewise covers his face, and the two figures merge into a muted decorative scheme that belies the emotionally fraught scenario. The famous Interior with Mother and Sister of the Artist (1893) creates a spatial and psychological claustrophobia that is echoed in the surrounding snapshots of Vuillard’s family apartment, yet the painting predates Vuillard’s engagement with photography by two years. Can it be argued that photography affected Vuillard’s painting before he owned a camera?

The Nabis are often associated with a hermetic retreat from the disruptions of modern life into an aesthetics of bourgeois interiority. Recently, T.J. Clark has held up this aestheticism as an alternative to the 20th century’s legacy of avant-garde negation. By conjuring “a sense of what the aesthetic existence keeps at bay”, Clark writes “Bonnard’s art, in its privacy and privation, internalizes the disaster of the twentieth century in a way that all forms of ‘modern’ fellow-travelling – even the noblest and most well-meaning – to my mind fail to do. Retreat and dream, in other words, are a necessary moment of the art of the last hundred years.” However the comparison that “Snapshot” solicits with the circulation of images in present-day forms of social media suggests that, beginning with the Kodak, this aestheticist retreat was becoming less and less possible, and that one could not return to a form of painting that was unaware of photography. The snapshot, as Douglas Nickel writes, changed “the way people regarded their own histories…the way lives were lived became entangled in the way lives were represented. A modern society of the spectacle was taking shape.”

Could these artists have been aware of the historical implications of this vast expansion of image production at the end of the 19th century? The tension in “Snapshot” between handmade and mechanical images gives a sense that the stakes for art were becoming clear. Though they thrilled to the snapshot in life, the ambivalence of the Nabis’ painted response anticipates Walter Benjamin’s judgment of 1931: “the amateur who returns home with great piles of artistic shots is in fact no more appealing a figure than the hunter who comes back with quantities of game that is useless to anyone but the merchant. And the day does indeed seem to be at hand when there will be more illustrated magazines than game merchants. So much for the snapshot.”

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

From Massachusetts to Muqarnas

The Art History Newsletter - 9 April, 2012 - 22:15

Walter Denny, senior consultant to the Met’s new Islamic galleries, was my first art history professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. His intro class had two hundred students. Arriving the first day, I noted students clustered around the podium. Through them I could see a robust man with white hair and a bright purple laptop – the first hint of his animate persona. Although I don’t remember Denny’s first words to the class, I recall his ability to capture attention and respect. He said, “People often tell me I’m intimidating, but once they get to know me, they find that I’m really quite sweet.” I later checked ratemyprofessor.com and found a certain amount of “Works you like a mule” and “BEWARE.” Others complimented his teaching, personality and infectious passion. “Walter is really a throwback to the old-fashioned scholar,” one report notes astutely. Although my impression of Professor Denny has changed over the years, one thing was made very clear on that first day: This man doesn’t mess around, or stop for breath. As the note-taking began, he warned us, “Drop your pencil and you’ll miss one hundred years.” Still, he manages to leaven the lecturing with tales of his most recent misfortunes. “The vending machine ate my quarters!” “I walked into a glass wall!”

When I walk into Denny’s office to interview him for this article, I no longer have concerns about tests or papers. As he finishes off his chocolate milk, I pull up a chair, excited to learn where he came from, how he chose Islamic art, and his impressions of working at the Met. Denny grew up in small-town Iowa where he developed interests in physics, math and music. At fifteen, his father got a Fulbright to teach physics at Robert College in Istanbul, where Denny fell in love with architecture, one building in particular: the Mosque of Rustem Pasha. He found it in a French guidebook, given to him by a friend’s mother. “‘It’s very beautiful,’ she said. ‘You might want to take a look.’” Eight years later, Denny wrote his thesis at Harvard on this very mosque, whose “decoration came at a crucial moment in Ottoman Turkish art in the 16th century.” Forty-three years later, this fall, he’s doing an exhibition at the Textile Museum in Washington on this same period in which Turkish art changed suddenly.

Although Denny is quick to note, “I wanted to be a teacher since I was two,” he has always divided his time between academia and museum-work. He’s worked for the Harvard Art Museums, the Smith College Museum of Art and, for the last five years, the Met.

Every good art historian has to know something about museums because that’s where the art is. They used to ask the bank robber, Willie Sutton, why he robbed banks and he said ‘because that’s where the money is stupid!’ And it’s true…There’s a group of art historians today that believe that theory is their province and that they shouldn’t have to deal with things and quite frankly that’s an attitude that has come into graduate schools and it’s just as wrong as wrong can be.

Denny travels from Amherst, Massachusetts, to New York every week. His involvement with the Met began nearly five years ago, when a colleague asked Denny if he had a student interested in working on the museum’s Ottoman Turkish art. Denny decided that he himself was interested. He was especially excited to research a particular carpet that had been deemed fake by four art historians and warehoused. He smiles, telling me “It’s one of the greatest carpets they’ve got and in another couple of months it’ll be on display.” (He’ll be giving a lecture on it this week at the museum.) Denny has also worked on the Met’s website, photos, educational materials, tour-guide training and audio guides.

For the new Islamic galleries, he “worked with conservators, designers, helped to write the labels, wall texts and provided photographs.” He’s proud of the galleries’ architecture, which serves to contextualize Islamic art, he feels. The courtyard was made by Moroccan craftsmen and the Damascus room is “a room right out of a palace in the 18th century.” Generally, it seems that “people really love [these areas].” Although some critics believe museums shouldn’t present architectural reconstructions, Denny defends them. “The museum really told [the craftsmen] what we wanted. That is, we had art historians and professionals do all the planning and then the craftsmen executed it according to what we wanted.” Denny said that “the biggest surprise [he] had was how smoothly things went. There were so many people working on this, so many people on the team and they were so diverse. It was a very nice surprise.”

Denny’s appointment at the Met was originally planned to end with the opening of the galleries, but he was asked to stay, to help rotate the collections. Preserving the objects requires replacing silks every three months, wool every six months, and so on. The museum’s Islamic collection consists of 12,000 works, ten percent on view at a time. Accordingly, the tours, audio, and wall text must also change. So it seems that Denny will stay for years to come, studying the art of his fascination.

I asked Denny if the events of September 11, 2001 changed the museum’s plans for the galleries. As he explains,

They went right ahead with their plans and pretty much what we have there today is what they intended to have all along…I think people are more interested than they would have been, but the Met’s mission is pretty clear. The museum is careful not to have a political agenda and I think it works. These questions were all asked by reporters and Philippe de Montebello, who of course was there when I wasn’t, stated very clearly and unequivocally that this has been in our plans all along. This is not a response to political events. The museum is simply doing what the museum does.

Denny says he hopes the galleries will help to accurately inform people about Islam. He says that the department’s “new mantra is ‘from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean,’” meaning that Islamic art is not monolithic and exists in many different cultures – “Arabs, Turks, Persians, Indians, all kinds of ethnic groups, all kinds of languages.” He notes that there is secular Islamic art, not just religious, and that despite popular belief there are many human and animal figures. Most importantly, however, is the understanding we gain of the people, who as Denny explains “are just like us. Some of them are fun loving, some of them aren’t, they like to laugh, they like to have a good meal and a good time and even lift a good glass, which they’re not supposed to do. And the art helps to show this.” The galleries have been well received. In their first four months 360,000 visited, an extraordinary number for such a small section.

Still thinking about his year abroad at age fifteen, he tells me toward the end of the interview, “What really astounded me at the beginning was not how different Istanbul was from Grinnell, Iowa, because it certainly was different, but once I got to know people, how very similar they were.”

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Comings and Goings

The Art History Newsletter - 9 April, 2012 - 17:51

Critic Hilton Kramer died this past week at the age of 84. The New York Times writes:

A resolute high Modernist, he was out of sympathy with many of the aesthetic waves that came after the great achievements of the New York School, notably Pop (“a very great disaster”), Conceptual art (“scrapbook art”) and postmodernism (“modernism with a sneer, a giggle, modernism without any animating faith in the nobility and pertinence of its cultural mandate”).

Alejandro Zaera-Polo has been selected as the dean of Princeton University’s School of Architecture. Zaera-Polo has been a visiting lecturer in architecture at Princeton since 2008. On top of his work at Princeton, Zaera-Polo is also the Berlage Chair at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship of Architectural Design at Yale University. Alejandro Zaera-Polo will succeed Stan Allen, the dean since 2002, who will return to full-time teaching and architectural design.

Joel Smith has been appointed the first curator of photography at the Morgan Library & Museum. Smith has been working at Princeton University Art Museum since 2005 and was named Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography there in 2011.

Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada has named Gaëtane Verna as director. Verna was previously director and chief curator at the Musée d’art de Joliette in Lanadaudière, Québec.

Sotheby’s has appointed Ryoichi Hirano as International Senior Specialist for Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art and Deputy Managing Director, Sotheby’s Japan. Hirano is the former head of the art gallery Hirano Kotoken and gallery director of the Yayoi Gallery in Tokyo.

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum

Terror, Connoisseurship and Theory at CAA2013

The Art History Newsletter - 4 April, 2012 - 19:36

CAA has announced the sessions for the 2013 conference. The three I’m most looking forward to:

Art and “The War on Terror”: Ten Years On
August Jordan Davis, Winchester School of Art, A.J.Davis@soton.ac.uk
March 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (collectively identified by the Bush administration’s rubric of “the war on terror”) featured in myriad ways (both explicitly and tacitly) within contemporary art production, exhibitions, and criticism of the 2000s. This session offers a forum for a timely review of this decade of art and war (and their interpenetration). The session consists of a roundtable of artists, art historians, and critics, including Martha Rosler, Jonathan Har- ris, and Nicholas Mirzoeff, followed by papers. Papers might address the art and activism of Artists Against the War; pertinent curato- rial projects of this period (e.g., the Whitney Biennial of 2006: Day for Night); the work of “embedded” artists; popular culture’s role in shaping narratives of the wars (e.g., films including World Trade Center, Lions for Lambs, Rendition, Stop-Loss); or consider what the legacy of this recent past might mean for art today.

The “New Connoisseurship”: A Conversation among Scholars, Curators, and Conservators
Gail Feigenbaum, Getty Research Institute; and Perry Chapman, University of Delaware
A conversation on the past, present, and future of the “new connoisseurship” brings together leading figures from the academy, mu- seum, and laboratory to consider what matters about the material objects we study. The aim is to go beyond stocktaking to recuperating and repositioning the material object as subject for art-historical research. What lessons can we learn from the ever “new” and serially “scientific” connoisseurship, from Morelli’s forensics to Berenson’s reliance on photographic evidence, to today’s “technical art history”? Given the fate of the Rembrandt Research Project, as well as what scholarship has revealed about artistic practice in the workshop, can or should we aspire to establish a corpus of “authentic” or “autograph” works, or is this a chimera, the wrong question to ask? At this moment can we look squarely and constructively at connoisseurship, a word that has come to be spoken with disdain by so many schol- ars, redolent of an outmoded practice? “Close looking,” so fetishized and admired and freighted a concept, neither accounts for what is below the visible surface, nor recognizes the interventions and transformations of appearance of that surface resulting from the vicissi- tudes of time and restoration. What can be gained from research and rethinking the historical record as it becomes increasingly available in conservation archives? How can we ask better questions and benefit from our varied categories of knowledge going forward? What can or should art historians do to take advantage of—and to train a generation of “new connoisseurs” conversant in—new developments in conservation and technical studies?

The Changing Complexion of Theory
Ian Verstegen, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, ianverstegen@yahoo.com
This panel is devoted to registering the fundamentally chang- ing nature of contemporary theory. For many years, theory was influenced by post-structuralism, and the theories of Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault were largely language-based and devoted to forms of nominalism. More recently, with the sociological determinist approach of Pierre Bourdieu, the materialism of Slavoj Zizek, the realism of Jacques Deleuze (at least as imputed by Manuel de Landa), and Alain Badiou has disrupted this status quo. Today, we are more likely to take for granted the relevance of biology and the natural sciences, while the return of Marx has been more serious than countenanced by Derrida or Foucault. This panel not only seeks to trace the influence of such newer ideas but also raise the very question of theory in the humanities. Papers are sought that go beyond the exegesis of
recent theorists and discuss the relation of theory and the func- tion of relativism and objectivism in the academy.

Kategorien: blog.arthistoricum
Inhalt abgleichen