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Art History | Faculty & Staff Updates

Art History Faculty

2009 Updates

Dr. Juliet Bellow's first year at AU has been an exciting and enjoyable one. 2009 is the 100-year anniversary of the Ballets Russes' first performances in Paris, which has occasioned several conferences and events in which she has participated. In May, she presented a paper on Giorgio de Chirico's set and costume designs for the ballet "Le Bal" (1929) at BR2009, a major conference at Boston University to commemorate the Ballets Russes' inaugural season. She also presented papers at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the annual Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference this spring. Dr. Bellow's upper-level course at AU, "Art and Dance: 1860-1960," allowed her to explore the major issues of her research in the classroom, and she was grateful to her students for their contributions to the course. She plans to spend the summer finishing the manuscript of her book, Embodying Modernism: The Ballets Russes and the Visual Cultures of Interwar Paris

Professor Norma Broude has contributed to the scholarly community in many ways this year. Her major new essay, "G.B. Tiepolo at Valmarana: Gender Ideology in a Patrician Villa of the Settecento," appears in the June 2009 issue of the Art Bulletin. She also continues to serve as an appointed member of The Feminist Art Project Honorary Committee (other members include Mary D. Garrard, Lucy Lippard, Linda Nochlin, Faith Ringgold, Elizabeth Sackler, and Gloria Steinem). Dr. Broude is a member of the Editorial Board of Woman's Art Journal and the Miriam Schapiro Archive for Women Artists Endowment Committee, Rutgers University. Here at AU, Professor Broude was nominated by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for the University's Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity, and Other Professional Contributions Award for 2009. In the department, Professor Broude served as chair of the Search Committee for a one-year full time temporary appointment in non-Western art history. She also served as faculty advisor and sponsor for two of the papers presented at the AU/GW Graduate Symposium on October 11, 2008: Helen MacDiarmid's "May Stevens' Big Daddy Series: Feminist Art and the Tradition of American Social Realism," and Ellie Pinzarrone's, "The Recreation of Memory as a Practice of Resistance in the Art of Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, and Carrie Mae Weems." Ellie's paper was subsequently chosen to represent the department at the Middle Atlantic Symposium, held at the National Gallery of Art, March 7, 2009.

Professor Kim Butler published two peer-reviewed articles and an exhibition catalogue essay in spring/summer 2009: "The Immaculate Body in Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling," Art History, vol. 32, no. 2, April 2009, 250-289; "Giovanni Santi, Raphael, and Quattrocento Sculpture," Artibus et Historiae, no. 59, vol. 30, June 2009, 1-25; and "La Cronaca Rimata' di Giovanni Santi e Raffaello," Raffaello e Urbino (exhibition catalogue), ed. Lorenzo Mochi Onori, Electa, April 2009, 36-40. Dr. Butler's book project Raphael's Madonnas: From Poetry to Thievery is under contract with Brepols/Harvey Miller, with a projected publication date of May 2010. She is honored to be one of two AU faculty members nominated to submit to the 2010 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend competition, and was also pleased to have her co-chaired session on the Senses in Early Modern Europe selected for the 2010 College Art Association (CAA) conference in Chicago. Dr. Butler continues to collaborate with studio art colleagues to bring in speakers for the Art Department's Critical Inquiry Noon Colloquium. The spring 2009 art history speaker was Joshua Shannon (PhD, University of California, Berkeley), a specialist in the history and theory of art since 1945 and assistant professor of Art History at the University of Maryland (UMD). His colloquium talk addressed the critical issue of abstraction in relation to Donald Judd's sculpture.

This year, Professor Emerita Mary D. Garrard finalized her long awaited book, Brunelleschi's Egg: Nature, Art and Gender in Renaissance Italy, which will be published by the University of California Press in 2010. The book examines the gendered discourse of art and nature in the Italian Renaissance, when the philosophical idea of nature changed from its medieval conception as a divine creative female power to the scientific view of the natural world as inert matter. Garrard proposes that this major philosophical shift was both anticipated and mediated by the visual arts. Through selective case studies, she discusses the competition of nature and art as a major current in Renaissance art, bringing a feminist corrective to art histories that replicate the masculinist biases of the period under study. Professor Garrard gave a lecture on the theme of the book, "Art vs. Nature: A Renaissance Competition in the Key of Gender," at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in April 2008, and at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, in October 2008. Professor Garrard was interviewed and quoted at length in an article by Mary O'Neill, "Leonardo da Vinci's Brilliance," Investor's Business Daily, August 1, 2008. In October, she was invited by Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik to partake in an interview/commentary on Raphael's Alba Madonna in the National Gallery, along with Leo Steinberg and Alexander Nagel, three of the country's most exciting scholars. The three-part discussion was published in the Post on Sunday, October 5, 2008.

Professor Garrard contributed an invited essay to the forthcoming Centennial History of the College Art Association, called "Governance and Diversity in the 1970s: CAA and the Women's Caucus for Art." The Centennial History, edited by Susan Ball, former CAA executive director, will be published by Rutgers University Press. Dr. Garrard continues to serve by appointment on The Feminist Art Project Honorary Committee, and as a member of the Editorial Board of the Woman's Art Journal.Professors Broude and Garrard continued to develop and submit grant proposals for a projected exhibition, "The Politics of Nature," tentatively scheduled to open at the American University Museum in the Katzen Arts Center in the fall of 2011. Their earlier, co-curated exhibition, "Claiming Space: Some American Feminist Originators," held at the museum in the fall of 2007, continued to receive reviews and notices long after its closing. See the review by Jim Mahoney in the June/July 2008 issue of Art in America, p. 201, and the longer reviews by Josephine Withers in the March 2008 issue of CAA Reviews, the on-line publication of CAA, and in the September 2008 issue of Feminist Studies (as part of a critical essay entitled "All Representation is Political: Feminist Art Past and Present").

Professor Helen Langa had a very busy year serving as chair of the Art Department (Art History, Graphic Design, and Studio Art) as well as director of Art History and acting director of the Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) program at AU. In addition to teaching two parts of the American art history sequence, she also squeezed in some writing time, with her article "Constructing Cultural Democracy: Ideology and Public Art in 1930's America" published in the anthology The Political Economy of Art: Creating the Modern Nation of Culture (2008), and another essay, "Seeing Queerly: Lesbian Presence and Absence in American Visual Art, 1890 to 1950," accepted for the Journal of Lesbian Studies (forthcoming 2010). She participated in the Steidle Symposium on Labor's Legacy: Pennsylvania Industrial Art, held at Penn State University in May 2009. Her talk was titled "Heroic Men, Vulnerable Workers, Economies of Power: Rereading American and Industrial Prints from the Great Depression." In February, while in Los Angeles for the CAA conference, Professor Langa did research at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives and in July she will fly out to San Francisco to interview an 80+-year-old lesbian artist who was part of the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York during the 1950s. Dr. Langa will also do research at the Gay and Lesbian History Archives in that city.

This past year, Rachel Simons kept very busy teaching and trying to make some progress with the research she began last summer on The Morgan Picture Bible. Next year, Dr. Simons will not be teaching and plans to study Latin, continue investigating the Morgan Picture Bible's rich iconography, and read several books that have been waiting patiently on her bookshelves.

Visual Resources Curator Kathe Albrecht continues to expand the MDID database at AU, train and supervise the graduate assistants, and help keep the art history program running smoothly. After the 2008 conference season, she took a break from presenting papers, but will chair a session on visual resources at the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) in Mobile, Alabama, in October. Ms. Albrecht recently returned from teaching at the Summer Educational Institute (SEI) at Simmons College in Boston. She serves as co-chair of SEI, which focuses on training visual resources professionals in digital image management. Next year, SEI will be held at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and center on advanced level training. Additionally, Ms. Albrecht continues her work on the Visual Resources Association Foundation board of directors. The Foundation supports SEI, the Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO) Project, and other emerging education and research enterprises.


2008-2009 Academic Year Updates