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UCSB HAA Winter 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Catching up with so many of you at the annual College Art Association and the departmental reception in Washington, D.C., was a real pleasure. We’ll do it again next year in New York.

As you will read below, our graduate students are continuing to achieve remarkable success with extramural research funding, with Maggie Bell and Erin Travers each receiving a two-year Kress Institutional Fellowship to Florence and Leiden respectively; Laura diZerega winning a year-long dissertation research fellowship to Berlin; Sophia McCabe garnering a Delmas Foundation research grant; and Aleesa Alexander securing a research grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity and design. The department is very pleased and proud of their achievements.

We have several upcoming events, to which one and all are very welcome to attend. The 41st Art History Graduate Student Associations Annual Symposium, on the theme Radical Ephemeralities, will be held on Friday, April 22, 9:00-5:00, in the newly renovated Davidson Library, room 1312. This year’s keynote speaker is Prof. Homay King from Bryn Mawr College.

And the grand finale of this year’s “Taking Place” lecture series will also be the inaugural History of Art & Architecture event in downtown Santa Barbara. On Thursday May 26, 5:30-7:30, Solid Light artist Anthony McCall will be screening his transformational Line Describing a Cone at SOhO. McCall will begin the event by discussing his work and career with Colin Gardner of the Art Department. See you there!

All best,

Mark Meadow
Professor and Chair

Women, Ceramics & Community

Prof. Jenni Sorkin has co-curated, with Paul Schimmel, Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016. This is the inaugural exhibition at the new arts complex, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in downtown Los Angeles, and will run from March 13 through September 4, 2016. It is accompanied by a catalog published by Skira, with a lengthy essay by Sorkin. Through nearly 100 works made by 34 artists over the past seventy years, this ambitious show traces ways in which women have changed the course of modern art by deftly transforming the language of sculpture since the postwar period.

Revolution in the Making explores multiple artistic approaches, characterized by abstraction and repetition that reject the masculine precedent of a monolithic masterwork on a pedestal. In many cases, the artists in the exhibition have rearranged sculptural forms in new ways, stacking, hanging, and scattering within the gallery’s spaces in an intimate reciprocity between artist and viewer.

On Saturday, April 2, Sorkin will conduct a walkthrough of the exhibition for HAA’s graduate students and museum interns.

Review of the exhibition, New York Times, March 16, 2016

Prof. Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie has received a prestigious Smithsonian Institution Senior Fellowship Award (2016/2017) for his book Rethinking African Art History: Indigenous Arts, Modernity, and Discourses of the Contemporary. The book investigates a fundamental split between the study of pre-colonial African art forms and those that developed in response to colonial and postcolonial experiences, urbanization, and globalization. It proposes a historiography of modern and contemporary African art that analyzes principal texts, artists/artworks and discursive practices that maps how the shift from historic to modern and contemporary arts affects African art history and suggests analytical frameworks that link both contexts in order to give the former discursive relevance and the latter historical awareness.

On October 30, 2015, Dr. Carole Paul, director of the new undergraduate Museum Studies emphasis offered in the department’s major, led the first Museum Studies field trip to view the superb exhibition “Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World” at the Getty Museum. One of the show's two curators, Ken Lapatin, Associate Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Villa, gave a behind-the-scene tour to a group of the department’s Museum Studies undergraduates, as well as two graduate students. Ken discussed the works in the exhibition, the choices made in displaying them, and also explained the logistics of organizing a show of major ancient monuments borrowed from a diverse array of international institutions.

After lunch, Peter Björn Kerber, Assistant Curator of European Painting at the Getty Museum, led a visit to the museum’s painting storage facility and explained the Getty’s hanging and framing practices, as well as their policies on acquisition and de-acquisition. It was a highly informative and greatly inspiring visit; the first of many.

Museum Studies Field Trip

Forthcoming Lectures (full descriptions here):

  • Thurs, April 14, 5:30, Arts 1332:
  • Niall Atkinson (University of Chicago), Seeing Sound: Mapping Florentine Soundscapes (this lecture is sponsored by the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music, and is co-hosted by the Department of Music)
  • Thurs, May 26, 5:30, SOHO Club, 1221 State Street (reception at 5:00):
  • Anthony McCall, light sculpture artist, will discuss and screen his iconic "Line Describing a Cone"
  • Note that the April 28 lecture by Edward Casey (SUNY Stony Brook), Place and Climate Change, was moved to March 31. We regret any inconvenience.
2015-16 Lecture series

The Art History Graduate Student Association 41st Annual Symposium, Radical Ephemeralities, will take place on Friday, April 22, in Room 1312 at the UCSB Library. The conference seeksto facilitate an interdisciplinary discussion on the various ways in which ephemeral media and phenomena may be analyzed within different historical, cultural and political contexts. This year’s event is co-organized by HAA graduate students Ashleigh P. Lynch and Suzanne van de Meerendonk.

The keynote address, "Notes on Some Forms of Repetition," will be given by Dr. Homay King, Bryn Mawr College

Click here for the full schedule.

The Art History Graduate Student Association (AHGSA) invites all current graduate students from the department of History of Art and Architecture to attend their fourth annual Alumni Panel on Sat, April 30, 12:00-3:00, in Arts 1332.

Prof. Emerita Ann Bermingham’s essay Technologies of Illusion: De Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon in Eighteenth-Century London, on Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740–1812) appears in a special edition of Art History devoted to art and technology. De Loutherbourg was a member of the French and British Royal Academies and the inventor of the Eidophusikon, a precursor to modern cinema.
(Right: Edward Francis Burney, The Eidophusikon showing Satan arraying his Troops on the Banks of a Fiery Lake with the Rising of the Palace of Pandemonium from Milton, c. 1782. Watercolour on paper, 19.7 x 27.3 cm. London: British Museum. Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum. )
Ann Bermingham article
The catalogue Walter S. White: Inventions in mid-century Architecture which accompanied the exhibition at the Art, Design & Architecture Musueum, appeared in February. It contains essays by Prof. Volker Welter, current and former undergraduates and graduate students of the department.
Walter S. White catalog cover

On May 19-20, Prof. Jenni Sorkin will give a keynote lecture at Penetrable/Traversable/Habitable: Exploring Spatial Environments by Women Artists in the 1960s and 1970s, an international conference convened jointly by the Instituto de História da Arte at The Universidade Nova and the Centro de Arte Moderna in Lisbon, Portugal.

Prof. Volker Welter published Noah in the Desert in the London-based online magazine Berfrois in January. The article takes a close look at the art environment that the Black artist Noah Purifoy (1917-2004) created in Joshua Tree, after he had left Los Angeles for the high desert in the 1980s.

The exhibition Walter S. White: Inventions in mid-century Architecture , curated by Prof. Welter, closed in early December after receiving nearly 2,500 visitors at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum. 

Prof. Richard Wittman spent January and February as visiting researcher at the Institut national d'histoire de l'art in Paris, where he continued his work on the 19th-century reconstruction of the basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura in Rome. He spent March in Rome conducting research with the support of an Academic Senate Faculty Research Grant. In Spring Quarter he will again be a visiting researcher, this time at the School of Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway.

Prof. Emeritus Fikret Yegül published several articles in the last year: “Roman Baths at Isthmia and Sanctuary Baths in Greece,” in 'Bridge of the Untiring Sea,' The Corinthian Isthmus from Prehistory to Late Antiquity, E. R. Gebhard and T. E. Gregory, eds. (Hesperia Supplement, 48), 2015: 247-69;  “The Classical Column: A Fundamental Notion in Architecture,” in Paradigm and Progeny: Imperial Architecture and Its Legacy, ed. D. Favro, F. Yegül and J. Pinto (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplement 101). 2015: 215-230; and "The Question of Romanization--To Be or not to Be (Roman): An Introductory Study," in Seleukia ad Calycadnum 5 (2016), 9-20. He also published Paradigm and Progeny: Roman Imperial Architecture and Its Legacy, eds. D. Favro, F. Yegül and J. Pinto (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplement 101), 2015.

Prof. Yegül also gave several talks: “Change You Can Believe In: Religious Architecture and Unorthodox Classicism in Asia Minor.” International Conference on ‘Contacts, Migrations and Climate Change,’ in Prague, CZ, May 21, 2015;  “Thermal Patrimonies in Antiquity: An Archaeological Heritage.” First International Congress on Water: Healing Spa and Life Quality.” Vigo University, Ourense, Spain, September 24, 2015; and  “The Archaeology of an Idea: The Classical Column: A Fundamental Notion in Architecture” AIA Santa Barbara Chapter Talks, Karpeles Manuscript Library, Santa Barbara, March 2, 2016.

Graduate Student News

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander has been awarded a Graduate Research Grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design to help fund research for her dissertation, "Touristic Visions: Exhibiting Self-Taught and Black Folk Art”. Her dissertation concerns the exhibition and display of self-taught and black folk art from the post-war period.

Sarah Bane was accepted to attend the Association of Print Scholars Workshop for Early Career Scholars and awarded a travel stipend. This two-day intensive workshop in Providence, RI, provides early-career scholars with a brief introduction to printmaking techniques.

Margaret Bell has been awarded a two-year Kress Foundation fellowship to the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

Margaret is a co-organizer of the multi-unit panel session Architectural Barriers in Renaissance Europe and will give the paper “Painting Institutional Boundaries: City and Hospital in the Pellegrinaio Frescoes of Santa Maria della Scala” in the panel session Architectural Barriers in Renaissance Europe III: Spaces of Healing at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (Boston, 31 March - 2 April 2016).

Margaret has been chosen as UC Santa Barbara's Public Scholar for the new UC Public Scholars program. This program, an extension of the UC Davis Mellon Public Scholars Program, is a UC-wide initiative aimed at introducing graduate students to the intellectual and practical aspects of identifying, addressing, and collaborating with members of a public through their scholarship. The Public Scholars Program addresses two separate but related goals of supporting community-engaged scholarship and broadening the career opportunities of humanities Ph.D. students. Public Scholars will participate remotely in a quarter-long seminar in Spring 2016 at UC Davis with other UC Public Scholars and Mellon Public Scholars and receive a stipend to develop a community-engaged research project over the spring and summer terms.

Laura diZerega has been awarded a one-year fellowship and stipend from the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. The fellowship, starting October 2016, will support archival research for her dissertation, "The Bureaucracy of Empire: Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Rhenish Church Architecture, 1815-40."

Sophia Quach McCabe has been awarded The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Venetian Research Program Grant for Individual Scholars to support research for her dissertation, "Hans Rottenhammer in Venice: Networking in Style between Italy and Germany". This one-year grant will provide assistance for study in Venice and the Veneto. At the end of March, McCabe will be presenting her paper "Hans Rottenhammer: Friend, Collaborator, Strategist" in the Artists and Friendship in the Renaissance panel session at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (Boston, 31 March - 2 April 2016). She introduced this topic recently at the Stipendiatenkolloquium of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. In August, she will be presenting another paper, "Hans Rottenhammer as Artist-Agent in the Transmission of Culture," as part of the panel session Cultural and Political Agents: Roles, Functions and Skills at the annual meeting of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (Bruges, 18 - 20 August 2016).

Lilit Sadoyan was invited to present papers at three conferences: "The Fate of a Flinck: Repetition, Replication, and Remembrance in the Reuse of a 'Rembrandt' in Russia" at the Russian Art and Culture Group annual conference in November 2015 (Bremen, Germany); "Collecting at Court and Beyond: The Dissemination and Display of Girardon's Court Sculpture" at the Low Countries Sculpture Society international colloquium in March 2016 (Paris, France); and "Influence and Individual Identity: Materials and Experience at Queluz Palace" at the the Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies annual meeting in March 2016 (San Diego, CA). 

Erin Travers has been awarded a Kress Institutional Fellowship in the History of European Art at Leiden University to support research for her dissertation, "Boundaries of the Body: The Art of Anatomy in the Seventeenth-Century Netherlands". The Fellowship provides a two-year research appointment for direct exposure to the object of study, prolonged access to key information resources such as libraries and photographic archives, the development of professional relationships with colleagues abroad, and sustained immersion in European cultures.

Erin will be presenting a portion of her dissertation research at the 2016 Interdisciplinary Conference on Netherlandic Studies (ICNS), Imaging the Low Lands, at the University of Michigan this June. Erin’s paper, "Jacob van der Gracht’s Anatomie for Artists," investigates the sources used by the seventeenth-century Dutch painter, engraver, and author, Jacob van der Gracht, in compiling his printed drawing book, the Anatomie der wtterlicke deelen van het menschlick lichaem (s’Graven-Hagae, 1634; Rotterdam, 1660). Her presentation will focus on the ways in which anatomical images were adapted to serve the interests of artists while simultaneously making claims of authority on behalf of the author.

Andrea Korda (PhD, 2010) has been appointed Assistant Professor, University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, Alberta.

Sarah Thompson, University of Rochester, NY (PhD, 2009) recently appeared on Jeopardy! where she was champion for a day and left with over $18,000 in prize money.

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