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Art History | Faculty & Staff News 2010-2011

Professor Juliet Bellow enjoyed teaching several new courses in the 2010–2011 academic year.  Her seminar "Revolutionary Aesthetics: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France," which grew out of her research on Eugène Delacroix's painting Liberty Leading the People and Romantic ballet, has produced several original student thesis projects.  Her other new course, "Museums and Society," used museums in Washington DC as a laboratory for students to test out ideas they encountered in their reading.  Guest speakers for this course included Jamie Bennett, Chief of Staff to the Director of the National Endowment for the Arts and Debra Diamond, Associate Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.  Dr. Bellow gave papers this year at the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC)—"Say Yes," a presentation on the artist/activist group The Yes Men—and the Society of Dance History Scholars annual conference ("Auguste Rodin and Loïe Fuller: Bodies in the Space between Sculpture and Dance").  She is spending her summer completing a final revision of her book Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the Parisian Avant-Garde, and will be a fellow at the Stone Summer Theory Institute's seminar "Farewell to Visual Studies."  On July 1, Dr. Bellow began a three-year term as Field Editor for Nineteenth-Century Books at caa.reviews, the College Art Association's online reviews publication.


In fall 2010, Professor Norma Broude, a member of this faculty since 1975, taught her last full semester of courses at AU. She formally retired from the teaching faculty at the end of August 2011, when she assumes the title of Professor Emerita. Professor Broude was a member of the organizing committee for AU's First Feminist Art History Conference, which honored the achievements and legacy of Professors Broude and Garrard.  At the conference, she introduced the keynote speaker, Professor Anna Chave, and moderated the session on "19th and Early 20th Century European Art" and another on "Feminist Artists and the Reception of Women's Art."  On the occasion of its centenary celebration, the College Art Association of America invited Professor Broude to co-chair, with Griselda Pollock (University of Leeds), a special centenary panel on "Feminism" at its meetings in New York on February 10, 2011. Professor Broude introduced and moderated a discussion on the subject of  "Women Artists, Museums, and Markets" that included Connie Butler, Chief Curator of Drawings, Museum of Modern Art; Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director, dOCUMENTA (13); Carol Duncan, Professor Emerita, Ramapo College; Catherine Morris, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum; and AU art history alum Katja Zigerlig, Private Client Group, Chartis Insurance. Audio of the entire two- and-a-half-hour discussion has been uploaded to the site of dOCUMENTA (13) and can be accessed at  http://d13.documenta.de/panorama/#/research/research/view/college-art-association-centennial-session-on-feminism.  Professor Broude served on the search committee for the tenure-track position in Modern European Art, a position that has been filled with the appointment of Juliet Bellow.  She is also working as a member of the planning committee for the second annual Feminist Art History Conference at AU this fall. 


Professor Kim Butler has been on a research sabbatical for the 2010-2011 academic year.   She resided in Garmisch in the German Alps with her family for the year.  Garmisch served as an excellent base for research trips into nearby Munich, particularly the excellent Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, and to Italy, where Dr. Butler was able to spend three weeks researching in the newly reopened Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (the originally Renaissance research library known more commonly as the Vatican Library).   Additional highlights included the opportunity to visit important exhibitions: the reunion of Raphael's Sistine Chapel cartoons and tapestries at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Caravaggio in Rome; and the Farnese Gallery exhibition (important since the Renaissance palace is now the French Embassy, which is normally closed to visitors).  Dr. Butler learned that her Sistine Chapel article ("The Immaculate Body in the Sistine Ceiling") remains on the short "Highly Accessed" list of Art History journal articles—more than two years after its original publication in 2009. A second article exploring additional links between the Sistine patronage of Pope Sixtus IV and his nephew Pope Julius II will appear in a 2012 festschrift publication honoring Dr. Charles Dempsey.  Dr. Butler's review of Princeton University Professor Leonard Barkan's new Michelangelo book will appear in this winter's issue of Renaissance Quarterly.  Finally, she is anticipating the arrival of two babies in 2012: her second child, along with her first book (Raphael's Madonnas: From Poetry to Thievery, Harvey Miller/Brepols).


Professor Emerita Mary Garrard reports thatBrunelleschi's Egg: Nature, Art and Gender is finally out!  Since its publication (November 2010, University of California Press) coincided with the First Annual Feminist Art History Conference at AU, the weekend festivities included the book signing at NMWA.  In Fall 2010, Garrard taught a graduate seminar at AU, "Gender Issues in Renaissance Art."  In April, 2011, she was invited to Syracuse University as Distinguished Visiting Professor. Her ten-day residency included teaching two seminars and giving a public lecture.  At its annual meeting in New York in February, 2011, the College Art Association celebrated the publication ofits centennial history, The Eye, The Hand, The Mind, edited by Susan Ball (Rutgers University Press). The book includes an essay by Garrard, written from her perspective as the second national president of Women's Caucus for Art in the mid-1970s (Norma Broude, who was WCA's first Affirmative Action Officer, figures prominently in the essay). In that period of upheaval, confrontation, and transformation brought by the women's movement, the WCA sharply challenged CAA on matters of sex discrimination and helped to transform its parent organization. In June, 2011, Dr. Garrard received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and was proud to be honored in her home state by an award whose past recipients include writers such as Eudora Welty and Shelby Foote.


It has been an exciting year of teaching and research for Professor Namiko Kunimoto, who joined the Art History Program faculty in the fall of 2010. Kunimoto taught "Introduction to the Arts of Japan" which included first-hand observation of Bender Library Charles Spinks collection of woodblock prints and trips to the Freer and Sackler galleries of art. She also taught "Envisioning the Nation in Asia" and "Gender in Modern and Contemporary East Asian Art." Outside of the classroom, Kunimoto presented her essay "Traveler-as-Lama Photography and the Fantasy of Transformation in Tibet" at the College Art Association in New York. This research will be published in TransAsia Photography Review in the fall of 2010. She also travelled to Hawai'i to present her research on Shiraga Kazuo at the Association of Asian Studies Conference. Kunimoto's article on the subject, "The Hero and Concrete Violence" is forthcoming in the journal Art History next year.


In 2010–11, Professor Helen Langa stepped down as chair to devote her attention to the art history program with the help of Jaylynn Saure, departmental administrative coordinator.  It was an extremely busy year, with the inauguration of the Feminist Art History Conference and a search to find a new faculty member in Modern Art.  Langa advised both graduate and undergraduate students, with some much-needed assistance in the spring from Namiko Kunimoto.  Dr. Langa continued to publish, present papers, and chair conference sessions.  Her essay on the dynamic intersection of American art and leftist politics, titled "'At least half the pages will consist of pictures': New Masses and Politicized Visual Art," was published in American Periodicals in Spring 2011, and a review of Lincoln Cushing and Timothy W. Drescher, Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters for Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas in Fall 2010.  Langa presented two research papers in fall 2010: "Grieving Mothers, Warring Sons: Gendered Psychology and Anti-War Politics in

1930s Leftist American Prints," at the Southeastern College Art Conference in Richmond VA in October, followed by a paper at the Feminist Art History Conference titled "Strategies of Discretion and Revelation: Three Queerly Lesbian Artists in the American Southwest" in November.  She also chaired one of two sessions at the SECAC conference: "Women and War: Themes of Victory, Violence, Peace and Reconciliation," as well as several sessions at the FAHC.  The SECAC session papers are being collected by Dr. Langa and a co-editor into an anthology to be submitted to Ashgate Press, tentatively titled Women and War in American Art.  Prof. Langa has also begun co-editing a second anthology on American women artists in the period 1935-1965 in relation to artistic changes, gender issues, and controversial politics, tentatively titled Transitional Generations. American Women Artists 1935–1965.  For the second annual Feminist Art History Conference, Dr. Langa acted as liaison with the curators of the upcoming show on Gertrude Stein at the National Portrait Gallery to organize a symposium there and complementary session for the AU conference.  During the spring and summer, she supervised the completion of ten MA thesis papers.  She picked up her research on issues of presence and absence in the lives and work of lesbian artists in America, focusing particularly on Laura Gilpin, Berenice Abbott, and Nell Blaine and doing extensive reading in the secondary literature on gay/lesbian/queer American history, prejudicial medical discourses, political repression, and social networking among gay men and lesbian women artists and art dealers between 1935 and 1970.  She will present material from this research at the FAHC in November.


Dr. Andrea Pearson, a specialist in northern Renaissance art, joined the AU faculty in the fall of 2010 as a sabbatical replacement for Dr. Kim Butler. Dr. Pearson enjoyed getting to know her students and colleagues over the year and was very pleased to be invited to return to AU again for 2011-12. Dr. Pearson's primary teaching responsibilities are with the University's General Education Program; she also offers periodic upper-level courses in medieval and northern Renaissance art for undergraduate and graduate students. In the spring she will teach an upper-level course on art, gender, and sexuality in northern Europe, c. 1300-1600. Dr. Pearson's books and articles on women, gender, and portraiture led to a recent invitation to write an essay on images of women for the Ashgate Research Companion to Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, and to a contract for an article tentatively titled, 'Sainthood and Sexuality: Images of Colette of Corbie in the Burgundian Netherlands,' which she is developing for a multidisciplinary volume called A Companion to Colette of Corbie to be published by Brill in Leiden (The Netherlands). She spent the summer of 2011 working on these projects and will present her findings at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference and at an international colloquium on women and cultural patronage in Lille, France. Other activities for the past year include her presentation of 'It's in His Kiss: Holiness and Homoeroticism in Early Netherlandish Art' at AU's First Annual Feminist Art History Conference and editing the catalogue for Catalyst: 35 Years of Washington Project for the Arts, an exhibition held at the American University Art Museum, for which she also researched and wrote contextualizing wall labels. She continues to serve on the board of reviewers for the journal Medieval Feminist Forum and as an editorial board member and manuscript reviewer for Studies in Dutch Language and Culture. She is chairing a session called 'Feminism and Early Modern Art' at the 2012 meeting of the College Art Association and is very pleased that Dr. Mary Garrard will take on the role of discussant. On campus, Dr. Pearson is enjoying her service on the organizing committee for the Second Annual Feminist Art History Conference scheduled for November 2011. She takes great pleasure in mentoring students as they prepare research presentations and applications for study abroad, internships, and professional positions in art-related fields.


In 2010–2011, Visual Resources Curator Kathe Albrecht spearheaded the effort to link the art history program's book collection with the University Library's online system.  She also managed the logisticsof the First Annual Feminist Art History Conference, working with colleagues across campus to make certain the conference was a success.  In other work, Albrecht served as senior co-chair of the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources Management (SEI 2011), a national initiative with a mission to educate visual resources professionals in all aspects of image management, from scanning and processing images to maintaining complex databases and understanding issues of copyright and fair use.  The 2011 Institute was held for the second year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  The intensive three-day workshop brought together participants from academia, the museum community, and libraries from across the country.  SEI 2011 marked the end of Albrecht's tenure as co-chair of this educational enterprise.   However, she continues to serve on the board of directors of the VRA Foundation.  The Foundation offers professional grants for research, conference or workshop attendance, or other advancements, to individuals in the field of visual resources.   AU art history alums with an interest in this field (digital media, museum information management) are encouraged to visit the Foundation web site at vrafoundation.org for information on grant deadlines and details. 


Looking ahead to this year, Albrecht will co-chair the visual resources session at SECAC in Savannah, Georgia in November 2011.  The session "Rich Texture: New Resources for Teaching and Learning in an Image-Centric World" will look at ways that new technology impacts the classroom.  The session will feature presentations on the use of social media in education, examine cross-campus digital initiatives and Web 2.0 tools to help instructors present their materials creatively for the digital age.  Participating in the session, Stephanie Thornton-Grant (MA '04), associate registrar, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, will present her paper "Classroom 2.0: Using Digital Storytelling in the Learning Environment."

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