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UCSB HAA Winter 2014 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It was a pleasure to see many of you at the UCSB Reception in NYC in February. The enthusiasm with which the alumni, current graduate students and faculty have attended the receptions in the last three years assures me this new department tradition will continue to blossom in the future.
As we look forward to concluding two successful faculty searches this year in the Architecture, Urbanism, and Visual Culture of the Ancient World and Art and Architecture of the Medieval World, we will lose another cherished colleague to retirement: Prof. Jeanette Favrot Peterson announced her retirement at the end of this academic year.  We will host a reception in her honor on Fri May 1, 2015. 

Also in Spring quarter we will host the 40th Art History Graduate Student Symposium on April 24, 2015 with Prof. Peter L. Galison, as the keynote speaker (see details below). Prof. Galison, a former MacArthur Fellow, works at the intersection of science and art, and we look forward to some wonderful conversation across disciplines and across campus.

I look forward to seeing you at these departmental events.


Swati Chattopadhyay
Professor and Chair

2015 Grad Symposium

Larry Ayres, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, passed away on Nov 14, 2014.  Professor Ayres was an international authority on Romanesque manuscript illumination. After producing a dissertation and a number of publications on the Winchester Bible, Larry went on to study Italian Giant Bibles, but like his mentor, Ernst Kitzinger, he possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire field of medieval art. There was no better person to ask for help on questions of iconography or style, because Larry could instantly recall details of images and cite sources down to the manuscript reference number and folio. Fellow scholars sorely missed his active presence in the field after his health led him to retire.

Larry will be remembered warmly by his students. He was a generous advisor, and in his decades at UCSB he sat on more than thirty thesis committees and supervised five dissertations. He mentored undergraduates as well, encouraging them to study abroad and helping them understand that art history could be a career. He was great raconteur, a skill put to use in his seminars, where we would nudge him to tell us tales of art historians past and he would let his flair for the dramatic turn something as simple as Carl Nordenfalk's necktie choice into an epic saga. His analytical skills, his enthusiasm for all things Italian, and his favorite turns of phrase have shaped our own experiences, and we all hear his voice whenever we see the apse mosaics of medieval Rome ("Do we have a lamb frieze?"), or the Tetrarchs ("Rome has fallen!"), or scenes of the Expulsion from Paradise ("Adam and Eve have had to leave Santa Barbara to go to Los Angeles and work at the Bank of America"), or the countless other works of art that he introduced in his courses.     

-- Sarah Thompson, Rochester Institute of Technology (PhD, 2009), Nov 28, 2014

"Conversation with Wang Shu": Students, faculty and friends from the Santa Barbara community participated in an evening seminar with Pritzker-winning architect Wang Shu, hosted by the department on Feb 4. Wang Shu talked about his philosophy of design and practice, about the state of architectural education in China, the rapid growth of his own architectural school, and why he does not design with a computer, relying instead on drawing by hand. A key point of discussion was his idea of “amateur architecture,” and how he sees the viability of an alternate paradigm of practice given the scale of the urbanism in China.

On Feb 3 evening he presented a lecture, "Dialogue with Water," hosted by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UCSB as part of their year-long lectures and events series, The Anthropocene: The View from the Humanities. The lecture was cosponsored by History of Art and Architecture.

Wang Shu is pictured with Professors Hui-Shu Lee (UCLA), Swati Chattopadhyay, and Jeremy White

Wang Shu reception

Jeanette Peterson's book, Visualizing Guadalupe: From the Black Madonna to the Queen of the Americas (University of Texas Press, 2014) received an Honorable Mention in the Annual Book Award given by the Association of Latin American Art for 2015. Honorable Mentions are rarely given in this category of award. Congratulations Jeanette!

PhD student, Sophia Quach McCabe's first curated exhibition "Drawings in Dialogue: Italian and Northern European Works on Paper from the Joseph B. and Ann S. Koepfli Trust" opened Feb 8, 2015 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The show draws from Sophia's dissertation research on German and Flemish artists in Italy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Ann S. Koepfli is an alumnus of our department, whose knowledge of early modern art has enriched our community. Sophia is also a curatorial research assistant for Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s "Botticelli, Titian & Beyond," an exhibition of five hundred years of Italian painting from Glasgow Museums, which also opened Feb 8.

2014-15 Department Lecture Series: "Materiality"
Forthcoming Lectures (all in Arts 1332):

  • Thu Mar 19: Rebecca Messbarger (Washington University in St. Louis), “Revision and Reform of the Body in Peter Leopold's New Florence (1765-1790)”
  • Tue Apr 7: Dr. Youn-Mi Kim (Yale University), "Visualizing the Invisible: Materiality in Liao Pagodas, 907-1125"
    Cosponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies and the Department of Religious Studies
  • Thu May 14: Dr. Fabio Barry (Stanford University), "Intangible and Unspeakable Hagia Sophia"
2014-15 lecture series poster
2015 Grad Symposium

The Art History Graduate Student Association's 40th Annual Symposium, Truth Claims, will be held on Friday, April 24, 2015. Prof Peter Galison, Harvard University, will be the keynote speaker. Paper proposals are invited from all disciplines that address issues of truth claims or contestations through visual materials, including two-dimensional arts, new media, performance, and architecture. The conference poses a series of questions about how and why objects, spaces, and images make claims to truth: What kinds of truths are explored through visual materials? What role does media play in the claims made by a work? What are the implications of the context in which an object is viewed or displayed? To what is truth made relative?

Click here for updated information on the 2015 symposium.

Prof. Volker M. Welter’s latest book, Ernst L. Freud und das Landhaus Frank—Ein Wohnhaus der Moderne bei Berlin (Hentrich & Hentrich, 2014), interweaves the story of a country house the architect son of Sigmund Freud designed outside of Berlin in the late 1920s for a manager of the Deutsche Bank with an analysis of selected modern villa and houses for bankers in the Weimar Republic.

Volker Welter book cover
Prof. Swati Chattopadhyay completed her tenure as Editor of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH and JSAH Online) with a special issue on State, Violence and Memory (Dec 2014).
JSAH cover

Prof. Jeanette Peterson is organizing a conference with Kevin Terraciano (History, UCLA), titled, "The Florentine Codex," at UCLA (through the Clark Memorial Library staff) and the Getty Center: Friday, April 17th and Saturday, April 18th, 2015.

Prof. Volker Welter contributed the essay “At Home with E. Stewart Williams: Modern Domestic Desert Architecture in the Genteel Tradition” to the catalog An Eloquent Modernist: E. Stewart Williams, Architect (2014) for an exhibition of the work of E. Stewart Williams held at the Edward Harris Pavilion, the new Architecture and Design Center of the Palm Springs Art Museum.  Another article by Prof. Welter, “The Valley Region: From Figure of Thought to Figure on the Ground,” was published in New Geographies.  Students from Prof. Welter’s Fall 2014 graduate seminar curated an exhibition at UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum, “This was Tomorrow: London 1956 | Geoffrey Holroyd | Santa Barbara.” The exhibition will be on show until May 1, 2015.

Prof. Jenni Sorkin gave the keynote at the symposium, Contextualizing Craft + Design, held Jan 30-31, 2015, at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University. On Feb 25, she participated in a panel discussion on the legacy of the photographer Barbara Kasten, in conjunction with the ICA, Philadelphia’s retrospective, for which she wrote a catalog essay. This winter, she is also a visiting critic in the Craft Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and in the Art Department at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Prof. Swati Chattopadhyay has given three talks this quarter:  “Anomalous Spaces: Representations of Dance Performance in Colonial India,” at a conference titled, Bells of Change: Dance, Film and Contemporary Performance from India, organized by the Theater and Dance Department at UCSB on Jan 16; “Art Deco and Empire: The Architecture of Ballardie, Thompson and Matthews” at a conference titled, Art Deco in Context, held at Carleton University, Ottawa, on Feb 6-7; and  “The Spatial Politics of Marginality” at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign on March 3. She also participated in a workshop on “Global Modernities,” at Carleton University on Feb 9.

Decker-Ives book cover Ricciardelli book

John R. Decker, Georgia State University (PhD, 2004) and Mitzi Kirkland-Ives, Missouri State University (PhD, 2005) published a co-edited volume, Death, Torture and the Broken Body in European Art, 1300-1650 (Ashgate, 2015).

Jane Dini (PhD, 1998), has been appointed Associate Curator of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Lucia Ricciardelli, School of Film & Photography, Montana State University, Boseman (PhD, 2007) has just published American Documentary Filmmaking in the Digital Age: Depictions of War in Burns, Moore, and Morris (Routledge Advances in Film Studies, 2015). In addition she published the anthology Illusions of Stillness and Movement: An Introduction to Film and Photography (Cognella Academic Publishing, 2013).

The department mourns the loss of Dr. Barbara A. Barletta (B.A., 1974) who passed away Feb 1, 2015. A leading scholar of Ancient Greek Art and Architecture, Dr. Barletta was Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Florida since 1983. At UCSB she worked with Prof. Mario del Chiaro in History of Art and Architecture, and went on to receive her MA and PhD from Bryn Mawr College. Before joining UF faculty she taught at the Newcombe College of Tulane University in New Orleans and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Donations in Dr. Barletta's memory may be made to the Alachua County Humane Society, the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archeology of Bryn Mawr College, or the Art Library of UCSB.

Dear Alumni: please send your news of appointments, awards and other achievements to swati at or spafford at