Presentation Abstracts

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    "Faces of Empire: Social Discourse of Field Marshal, 1st Baron, Sir Jeffery Amherst's Portraits Created in Life" by Jonathon T. Weber

    During his life, 1717 to 1797, Lord Amherst was and continues to be a controversial figure for his military exploits which expanded the reach of Britain’s Empire. Historians and his peers have equally criticized these endeavors for decimating Woodland Indian communities and provoking insurrections in America and Europe. In this paper I will explore how this morally complicated individual is identified and remembered in portraiture.

    There are dozens of known portraits of Amherst and they have few consistent characteristics, despite being made while he was a living reference. Each portrait exhibits many different features to identify as an archetypical hero, villain, or advocate. These identities will be compared to see how their environment influences their memory when related to representative works of art which manifest these identities.

    This study will focus on the formal analysis of three works which will be supplemented with historical research on this period. The first work will be a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1765. This painting is important because it has been the subject of frequent study to have developed its own legacy in Amherst’s memory for his acts of heroism. It is popular for its own merits and provenance and also because of its distinctly politically observant audience of intent. The next object is a humble print by an unknown artist Lord Amherst on Duty made in 1780. This is a very important print because of its uniquely exaggerated features, gore, and social criticism which portrays Amherst as a sadistic villain. An object such as this is mass produced and easily available, making it perfect for an audience of the general public. The final object is a very unusual and rare cameo by Isaac Gosset in 1760. This is an incredibly important object because it depicts Amherst in intricate detail as both a soldier and noble who would act as honorable advocate to his subordinates. Cameos have long been associated with statecraft but they had developed to offer a private viewer an intimate portrait to remember someone they love.

    The portraits’ complementary differences in: medium, composition, audience, patronage, and agency present a comprehensive vision of a man who was among the most influential figures in the 18th century yet remains an unknown. This apparent divergence in Amherst’s military portraits suggests a broader insecurity in imperial and colonial life in which an individual’s identity and memory are socially predetermined and beyond their control.

    Find out more about Jonathon T. Weber here

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2015
    • Undergraduate Work
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    Abstract Writing Pt. II

    Here's my second attempt at the Itinera abstract, after some comments from Jen:

    The humanities are ingrained in the history of our species, and they study people and objects to reveal what it means to be human.  In our rapidly-digitizing age, history can be more easily preserved through the use of new technologies to avoid dissolving into itself.  Through the database Itinera, we are able to preserve art history online by tracking culturally-motivated travel in an interactive forum, which is more accurate than preserving art history through traditional, textbook media.  The database helps to make people more aware of and connected with our historic past, going beyond the confines of bookcovers and webpages, extending the history and making it easier to visualize.  In a collaborative project like Itinera, multiple scholars can contribute to make new connections about old data through digitized configurations.  My contribution to Itinera concerns research in tracking and documenting the Elgin marbles.  These artifacts were ancient Greek sculptures, inscriptions and adnornments that decorated the Parthenon in antiquity, but migrated throughout Europe during the early 1800s.  In my research, I will be able to deduce where and why these objects migrated, and ultimately, I will better understand the cultural reasons for moving these ancient art pieces in a 19th century context.

    Categories: 
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Current Projects
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Let's Have a Go at Writing an Abstract

    The First Experiences in Research (FE-R) program requires its students to write abstracts about their research projects.  So, here's the first draft of mine:

    We care about people and objects because they are ingrained in the history of our species.  However, in our rapidly-digitalized age, these old details can be easily misplaced.  Through the database Itinera, we are able to preserve art history.  The database is a resource to help make people feel more aware and connected with our historic past.  In my research tracking the Elgin marbles, I am able to deduce where and why these objects traveled around Europe at the turn of the 1800s.

    Categories: 
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Current Projects
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    "Re-Thinking Architecture: A Call for a New Social Space" by Chris Hazel

    In 1992, architectural thinker and educator Lebbeus Woods proposed a series of technological pods throughout the war-torn sections of Zagreb meant to be used for free global communication. His motivation was for a an architectural free-space away from tyrannical government and traditional social hierarchy. My talk will expand on this idea of guiding social hierarchy by way of architecture. My research examines how the physical function of space influences the social hierarchy of people inhabiting the space. In the past 25 years, people have created and advanced global communication and connection through the internet where people are able to make themselves heard. This has certainly led to a push toward social equality, and architecture must be able to match the new social demands of people. I will contrast two recent projects of vastly differing social implication: the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE (completed 2010) and the Pont Jean-Jacques Bosc in Bordeaux, France (set to be completed in 2016). These two examples will be contrasted by how they related to four items: the basic function of humans, the basic function of space, the creation of boundary and interaction, and the social hierarchy formed. 

    Find out more about Chris Hazel.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "St. George Statuette - The Excess of the Reliquary" by DeAnna Robinson

    The Statuette of St. George (1586-97) is one of the many treasures located within the treasury at the Munich Residenz. Commissioned by Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria in 1586, the statuette was made to contain a relic of St. George and was sent from the Duke’s brother, Archbishop Ernst of Cologne. As a reliquary, the statuette was constructed to convey the story of St. George Slaying the Dragon. St. George was a soldier in the Roman army who was later revered as a Christian martyr and is highly respected. The Eastern Orthodox depiction of the story interprets the dragon as both Satan and the monster of St. George’s life story. The Western version interprets St. George rescuing the princess of Selene from being offered to the dragon and he slays it with the protection of the cross. As a result, the citizens abandon Paganism and convert to Christianity. This paper explores the tension between the statuette as a testament to an unyielding worship towards Saint George and the unavoidable admiration of the extensive wealth with which the reliquary is infused.

    Find out more about DeAnna Robinson.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Chalice of Gourdon" by Laura Dunn

    Located in the Cabinet des Medailles are the chalice and paten found buried at the monastery in Gourdon which is in modern day France. Though we may never know how they made it to Gourdon definitively, it is worthwhile to look into the historical and social implications surrounding these items to understand their meaning more fully. The chalice specifically brings forth many questions as to the nature of the shift from pagan practices to Christianity following the public conversion of King Clovis in 500 AD. Looking for other pieces that relate to the imagery and design on the chalice places the chalice at Gourdon in a specific social and cultural climate. There are also practices of Merovingian and Carolingian gift-giving and burial traditions that work at looking for more ways for these objects to make it to the monastery in Gourdon. The monastery itself also places these items in a time when these establishments are being questioned for their lavishness and opulence. To Bernard of Clairvaux, the use of precious materials and ornate gifts were counter to what monasteries should embody, but to others it also acted as a way for those making pilgrimages to feel like they were closer to interacting with the actual body of Christ. This tension between idolatry and the treasury objects in the Medieval Ages sets the tone for most objects found in these types of situations. The combination of all these ideas culminate in an effort to better understand the chalice and paten of Gourdon that we will likely never fully place.

    Find out more about Laura Dunn.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Embodiment and Decoration: Henri Matisse's Rosary Chapel in Vence, France" by Lauren Burgess

    Although Henri Matisse’s Rosary Chapel in Vence, France was completed when the artist was 82 years old, it was the first piece the painter referred to as his “masterpiece.” Despite its prestige within Matisse’s extensive body of work, the chapel is minimally discussed in comparison to many of his paintings. Thus far the art historical community has framed the discussion of the Rosary Chapel in Vence France in two ways: as a result of the famed elderly artist’s long career in painting and as a space containing isolated works of art to be examined stagnantly and separately. Neither of these approaches are representative of the real significance of the Chapel space. The Chapel is an inhabitable architectural space and the design includes temporal non-fixed elements, in addition to elements fixed to walls and floors. Because of its multifunctional active human use and the nature of its design, it is vital to consider the Chapel as a space in which interactions amongst people, modern art, and ritual occur. This contemporary Catholic worship site is a whole work that acts as the setting for religious rituals and tourist rituals.

    This presentation will examine how artifacts of religious worship created by a modern artist and human participants are able to engage in both religious and tourist rituals of Matisse’s Chapel. This involves both when the nuns, costumed priest, and parishioners engage with the space as a tool of their religious ritual worship and when non-religious visitors attend the space for a fee to experience the work of Henri Matisse. In the later moment the function of the Chapel shifts away from the artist’s intent and its religious purpose to accommodate its popularity as a work of art. This analysis will employ my personal experience in the chapel space, writings of Matisse and his collaborators, and visual documentation of the chapel to argue that the Chapel truly functions in a complex way that differs from the previously put forth narratives. 

    Find out more about Lauren Burgess.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Curating Minimalism at the Carnegie Museum of Art" by James DiBitetto

    In many respects, the scholarly history of Minimalism, an artistic movement beginning in the 1960s that focused on the creation of reductive art, is quite extensive. Much is written about the formal qualities of Minimalist works as well as their production. Despite this, not much focus has been paid to the reception of these works, and almost no focus has been directed toward the display and curation of Minimalist art. My paper will use the Minimalism display at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a case study to address and better understand the display and curation of Minimalist art objects.

    At the Carnegie Museum, I have experienced three distinct, charged episodes of Minimalism display. These three displays revolve heavily around three separate decisions made by the curators of the 2013 Carnegie International, a large-scale exhibition currently on display at the museum. The first curatorial decision, the choice to disassemble the previous Minimalism gallery, highlights the first of the three aforementioned Minimalism episodes, the self-contained, Minimalist-focused gallery that was in place prior to the International. In conjunction with the decision to break up the Minimalism gallery, the second key decision made by the curators was to display the Minimalist works among artworks of different styles and time periods, leading to the Minimalism episode currently on display at the museum. In order to experience the third of the charged Minimalism episodes, we must move just outside the museum, where Phyllida Barlow’s Tip is in direct interaction with Richard Serra’s Carnegie, a sculpture that has been standing, undisturbed, since the 1985 Carnegie International. Having studied these three charged episodes extensively through personal experience as well as observations of how others approach the spaces, I, in this paper, will critically assess the curatorial decisions involving Minimalism made for the 2013 Carnegie International. My goal is to elaborate on the major successes and failures of each episode of display, allowing me to therefore assess the decisions made for the exhibition. I will focus particularly on the way in which the display fosters the Minimalist works it contains as well as the way the display imbues a sense of curatorial meaning and purpose with regard to the exhibition as a whole. 

    Find out more about James DiBitetto.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Learning Through Teaching: Answering the Question of Why Art History Matters" by Daniel Augenbraun

    In the fall of 2013 I received word of a program called Encounters: Art in the City. I, along with four other art history majors, signed on to teach this pilot program at the local magnet school, Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy (SciTech). By visiting local Oakland public artworks such as the Stephen Foster Memorial and Richard Serra’s Carnegie, as well as participating in interactive classroom activities, the group of high school students will leave this course with a greater understanding of the art that surrounds them. One of the program’s main goals is to help get us closer to the answer to the question, “why does art history matter?”

    By using Encounters as a case study, I plan to evaluate this program and allow it to act as the template upon which I create another similar program that can be implemented in another public high school. Throughout the course of Encounters, I will analyze the various activities and lessons, looking specifically at ways in which I can make improvements for a more successful future course. Ultimately, the information I gather will aid in my tailoring of a program that will work to both introduce a group of high school students to art in their city, as well as bring me closer to an answer to the question of “why does art history matter?”

    Find out more about Danny Augenbraun.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Study of Senses Culminating in Religious Experience for the Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux" by Allison Reitz

    The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux is a book of hours designed between 1324 and 1328 CE specifically for Queen Jeanne d’Evreux, wife of King Charles IV of France. It was intended as a prayer book for Jeanne’s private use which is supported by the handheld size (3 ½ by 2 ½ inches). The visual interaction with the images, symbols and text that gave instructions to Jeanne will be researched. I will explore the use of sight, touch and sound that Jeanne d’Evreux may have experienced and how these senses may have enhanced the reading and religious experience she may have underwent. While the book is a physical object, it served to elevate Jeanne to a higher spiritual realm.  To gain an understanding of the sensory experience, the context will be explored along with the illustrations that serve as an instruction to Jeanne. 

    Find out more about Allison Reitz.

     

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work

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