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Art History | Faculty & Staff Updates

2008 Academic Year Updates

Drs. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard were busy during much of the year, co-curating a major exhibition at the American University Museum. News and information about Claiming Space: Some American Feminist Originators can be found in the Departmental News column in this issue (see page 3). In other activities, Dr. Garrard gave a lecture at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, on April 14, 2008, "Art vs. Nature: A Renaissance Competition in the Key of Gender." She was one of four speakers invited over the academic year by a group of student leaders. The other speakers included an artist, a museum director, and a specialist in art law. Dr. Broude was interviewed for a review of the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 17,2008. And a review by Alexandra M. Kokoli of Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History after Postmodernism, edited by Drs. Broude and Garrard, appeared in the academic journal Art History 30, no. 5 (2007), 777-781.

Dr. Kim Butler has two peer-review articles forthcoming in 2008–2009: "The Immaculate Body in the Sistine Chapel" in Art History and "Giovanni Santi ('pittore non mediocre'), Raphael, and Quattrocento Sculpture" in Artibus et Historiae. In the past year, her earlier published work on Raphael has been cited in the Raffaello da Firenze a Roma exhibition catalogue and in Bette Talvacchia's important new monograph Raphael (Phaidon, 2007). Other works-in-progress include an article on Pope Pius II's self-fashioning rhetoric in the Piccolomini Library, Siena, which Dr. Butler presented at the 2007 Renaissance Society of America conference in Miami; an article on the devotional function of the Renaissance tondo; and an analysis of Michelangelo's formal rhetorical strategies in the Sistine Ceiling (to be included in a festschrift dedicated to Charles Dempsey). Dr. Butler was also pleased to be invited to guest lecture on Michelangelo at the Smithsonian in Fall 2007 and at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Ohio State University, in Spring 2008. Lastly, Dr. Butler's first book manuscript From Poetry to Thievery: Raphael's Madonnas will be submitted to major university presses this summer.

This has been a very busy spring semester for Dr. Helen Langa. In early February she gave an invited lecture at the Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, New York, entitled “Observing and Subverting: American Women Printmakers and Social Justice in the 1930s,” and in March she gave a similar lecture at Converse College,Spartanburg, South Carolina. Dr. Langa presented “Enthusiasm and Anguish: Visual Art in the United States in the 1930s” at the School of Music, Catholic University, Washington D.C. She also gave two informal talks at Christ Church, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.— the first on “Images of King David “ and the second on “Representing Women Heroes in the Old Testament.” Dr. Langa’s essay “Constructing Cultural Democracy: Ideology and Public Art in 1930s New York,” is forthcoming in The Political Economy of Art. Creating the Modern Nation of Culture (2008). Together with Professor James Boyles, she solicited papers and organized a session at the upcoming Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) annual meeting on “New Issues in Lesbian/Gay/Trans/Queer Studies.” Dr. Langa was awarded a Faculty Research Grant from American University for her new book project Queer Visualities: Lesbian Presence and Absence in American Art, 1890 to 1970. The grant will allow her to do research during the coming summer and academic year at sites across the U.S., including Oregon State University and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, and conduct interviews in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She got a head start on this research while at the College Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas,, in February 2008, spending a day at the library of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, which holds the papers of several artists to be included in that study. Dr. Langa was also elected as Chair of the Art Department for the 2008–2009 academic year. She is looking forward to working with the faculty, Glenna, and Kathe to keep the programs moving forward.

Visual Resources Center (VRC) Curator Kathe Albrecht’s article, "Distinguished Leadership in Visual Resources: Ron and Renate Wiedenhoeft—Saskia, Ltd. Cultural Documentation" was published in Visual Resources, An International Journal of Documentation 24, no. 1 (March 2008). Also this year, Ms. Albrecht was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Visual Resources Association (VRA) Foundation, a new organization that she helped found to fulfill the educational mission of the Visual Resources Association. Ms. Albrecht chaired a session at the CAA Annual Conference. "The VR Curator and the Art Historian Partnership: Legacy Collections in University Databanks" included panelists from ARTstor, the University of Texas, Austin, James Madison University, and Mary Baldwin College. Albrecht also chaired a session at the VRA Annual conference in San Diego in March. "Saltcellars, Oliphants, and Gems: practicality: Sonia Delaunay’s and Natalia Goncharova’s textile designs; Eva Zeisel’s sculptural ceramic tableware; Miriam Schapiro’s “femmages”; or Marie Watt’s blanket constructions, to name only a few. Today, the process of making remains the same; the access to information and, thus, inspiration, has expanded greatly. In the computer age, we have access to endless images, wikis, blogs, online thesauri, social networking sites, and photography sites at any time, anywhere. Along with internet resources, the prevalence of do-it-yourself (DIY) design magazines "Make, ReadyMade, Blueprint, and Domino" have made the search for creativity-based information effortless. Instantly upload images of your creations to MySpace or Facebook; share them with friends on your Flickr site; or sell your work on Etsy. Now, more than ever, art is made by and for the masses, taking us toward a center point where neither art nor craft is the more valued practice—it is the “maker” that is most valued. Preserving Legacy Image Collections," addressed issues of preservation, cataloging, and integrating diverse faculty image collections into existing institutional databanks. At the same conference, she co-chaired a session on “The Transitional Space or Moving On Up: Facilities Planning in the Digital Age.” In April, Ms. Albrecht gave an invited lecture at the Wesley Theological Seminary on “Digital Images in the Classroom: Understanding Copyright Rules and the Fair Use Exemption.” Ms. Albrecht also traveled to Greece, Egypt, and Turkey in April to learn more about the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean region. Visits to Delos, Katakalon and Olympia, Alexandria, Memphis, Giza, Ephesus, Irakleion (the Palace of Knossos), and Istanbul gave her new insight into the development of competing civilizations in the prehistoric and early historic years. Albrecht will add some of her extensive photographs to the Madison Digital Image Database (MDID) collection and is processing the images this summer.