Archive | November, 2011

Professor Louise Rice lectures on the “Magnetic Baroque” at Emory University

21 Nov

On November 17th, Professor Louise Rice delivered a public lecture titled “Magnetic Baroque:  The Art and Science of Attraction in Seventeenth-Century Rome” at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She followed this up the next day with a colloquium for faculty and graduate students on “The Serious Fun of Thesis Prints.”

Sponsored by the Art History Endowed Lectureship and the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Professor Rice’s lecture focused on an aspect of her current research on seventeenth-century Roman prints and print culture.  Taking as her theme the Baroque fascination with the phenomenon of magnetism, she traced the diverse ways this most mysterious of natural forces was given poetic expression in works of art commissioned by aristocratic students at Rome’s most prestigious school, the Collegio Romano.

Professor Rice’s current book project is a history of the thesis print, a uniquely Baroque art form remarkable for the novelty, variety, and virtuosity of its visual language. Commissioned to decorate the broadsheets issued by students on the occasion of their academic defense, thesis prints offer a window onto the vibrant intellectual world of seventeenth-century Rome. Professor Rice has pursued her research on this project as a J. Clawson Mills Senior Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (in 2006-7), and as the James S. Ackerman Scholar in Residence at the American Academy in Rome (in 2008).

Professor Rice is a specialist in the art and architecture of Baroque Rome.  Her publications include The Altars and Altarpieces of New St. Peter’s: Outfitting the Basilica, 1621-1666 (Cambridge University Press, 1996), awarded the Premio Salimbeni; Specchio di Roma barocca, co-authored with Joseph Connors (Edizioni dell’Elefante, 1991); and numerous articles, essays, and reviews on the art and architecture of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, and Simon Vouet among others, as well as on topics ranging from possums to the Pantheon. In Spring 2012, she will lecture at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on “Andrea Bergondi and the Sunset of the Baroque”, at the Renaissance Society of America on “Baccio’s Cornuti: Daily Life in the Grand Cuckoldom of Tuscany”, and at the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual conference on “Magnets and the Moral Compass: Saving the Soul from Shipwreck”.


Professor Carol Krinsky on the Radio

16 Nov

Recently, Professor Carol Krinsky was heard briefly on WNYC. The segment described the work of an artist in New York City who makes portraits of people’s pets, and the reporter wanted to know when people started to make animal portraits, and why.  Most of the answer was cut from the broadcast.  The reporter wanted to know why people today want painted portraits when they could just snap photographs. Professor Krinsky said that in an age of industrialized production, anything hand-made or custom-made acquires great prestige.


Professor Krinsky was also interviewed by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) in connection with a program about Levittown, a famous mass-produced housing development of the years immediately following the Second World War. The BBC reported on its beginnings decades ago.  It is time for an update: Who lives there now?  How have the houses been modified?  Is the community still socially viable?  The new report will be televised in the United Kingdom sometime in the future.

The Fine Arts Society: People, Places, and Events 2011-12

14 Nov

Fine Arts Society Officers and Members at Work at November 7 Board Meeting

The Fine Arts Society, the Department of Art History’s CAS student club, is enjoying another active academic year. The goal of the Society is the creation of a community of NYU students interested in art history.  Through visits to New York City museums and galleries as well as walking tours, lectures, symposia, and film screenings, the Fine Arts Society brings art history majors and non-majors together, with lively discussions.  As the club’s tumblr puts it, the Society “take[s] advantage of our home base, the city of New York, and do[es] not hesitate to explore the trove of great art that is to be found here”.  This year’s officers are Co-Presidents Joey Steigelman (’12) and Ramsay Kolber (’12), Treasurer and Facebook Manager Amalyah Oren (‘12), Secretary Sara Urbaez (‘12), Board Members Florence Lung (‘13), Matthew Manganiello (’12), and Camille Okhio (’12), who also serves as the club’s Twitter manager, and tumblr Manager Olivia Zhang . Professor Julia Robinson is serving as the club’s Faculty Adviser again this year.

The Society began the academic year with a “meet and greet” event on September 14th.  On September 22nd, the club screened Tamra Davis’s documentary, The Radiant Child (2010), which chronicles the life and career of Brooklyn-born graffiti artist-turned-Neo-Expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The October 3rd and November 7th board meetings bracketed several exciting events. On October 13th, club members went as group to Film Forum to see Lech Majewsi’s film, The Mill and the Cross (2011), based on the novel of the same title by Michael Francis Gibson and inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting, The Way to Calvary (1564).  On October 19th, Professor Robinson led students on a tour of the highly praised exhibition currently showing at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life. Professor Robinson co-curated with Ellen Swieskowski (CAS, ’11) the companion exhibition, Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond; for both shows, see our September 30th, 2011 blog post, Fluxux Exhibitions at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery:  Accolades and Events.

On October 21st, Fine Arts Society members visited the studio of Brooklyn-based artist Sarah Crowner and toured her show, Acrobat, on view at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery. One of club’s most anticipated annual events, the Halloween Party, took place the evening of October 27th. Student members enjoyed pizza and treats and came dressed as a work of art: sighted on the third floor of the Silver Center that evening were Flora from Botticelli’s La Primavera, a Corinthian column, and Barbara Kruger’s Your Body is a Battleground.

Future events that the Society is planning or considering (in addition to monthly board meetings) include tours of the exhibitions Carsten Höller: Experience, de Kooning: A Retrospective, and Maurizio Cattelan: All, currently showing at the New Museum, MoMA, and the Guggenheim respectively; visits to the Whitney Biennial and Armory Show; a walking tour of the architecture of a notable New York neighborhood; a studio art lesson; and an information session on graduate school and graduate programs in art history. Spring will bring one of the club’s most popular events, the annual Careers Symposium, which brings together professionals working in all facets of the art world, including the auction houses, galleries, museums, publishing, consulting, academia, and philanthropy.  The goal of the Symposium is to provide students with information about and insight into the varied career options related to the arts.

Students interested in membership in the Fine Arts Society or desiring further information about the club’s activities should contact Co-Presidents Joey Steigelman ( or Ramsay Kolber (

Student Officers and Members at November 7 Board Meeting of Fine Arts Society

Kathryn A. Smith

(Photos:  Matthew Manganiello)

Post from the Grey Art Gallery Blog

8 Nov

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Visiting De Kooning: A Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art

Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1950-52. Oil on canvas, 6 ft. 3 7/8 in. x 58 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

I am not exaggerating when I write that I was waiting all summer to see MoMA’s De Kooning: a Retrospective. I was literally counting down until the show opened on September 16. The massive exhibition—which fills the museum’s entire sixth floor gallery space with over 200 works by the artist and is on view until January 9, 2012—is well worth the wait. I feel that the only way to express my enthusiasm for the show is to tell you that if you haven’t seen it yet, you should stop what you’re doing, turn off your computer and go to MoMA right now…or at least as soon as you’ve finished reading this post.

I have to confess—maybe I’m a little biased since I love de Kooning’s oeuvre so much. I relish everything he made, from the black-and-white works of the late 1940’s, to the abstracted landscapes in pastels, and even to his snarling Women. The first time I saw Woman I at MoMA, I stood in front of it for about twenty-five minutes, completely transfixed. But biases (and obsessions) aside, the breadth of this informative retrospective, curated by the museum’s own John Elderfield, is undeniable. The exhibition spans over eighty years of de Kooning’s career, beginning with early still-lifes and ending with his pared down abstraction of the ’80s and ’90s. Reportedly the most expensive exhibition in MoMA’s history, it includes around four billion dollars worth of art.

But perhaps this is a small price to pay for such a comprehensive retrospective. The exhibition displays many of the artist’s most important and seminal works. During my visit, every time I turned a corner, I’d see another de Kooning masterpiece staring me in the face. When I was worried I wouldn’t see 1963’s Clam Diggers, there it was. When I felt concerned that some of de Kooning’s fluid charcoal sketches weren’t included, there they were. Even his later sculpture, which was on view at the Pace Gallery this summer as part of Willem de Kooning, The Figure: Movement and Gesture, has a place in the show. The exhibition successfully juxtaposes the artist’s best-known works with others that may be less familiar to you. In fact, one of my favorite works on display was one I’d never seen before: a backdrop de Kooning completed for “Labyrinth,” a performance by Marie Marchowsky, who was involved with Martha Graham’s dance company. De Kooning based the huge canvas backdrop, which measures roughly 15 x 17 feet, on his painting of the same year, Judgment Day (1946). De Kooning renders his biomorphic shapes in bright chartreuse, neon orange, and fleshy pink. They seem to reside on the wall of the gallery space like enormous, abstracted versions of the fantastical creatures found in Hieronymous Bosch’s visions of hell. This work stayed with me after I left the museum even though it wasn’t one of the de Koonings I was counting down to see all summer.

Willem de Kooning, Backdrop for “Labyrinth,” 1946. Calcimine and charcoal on canvas, 15 ft. 2 in. x 17 ft. 6 in. The Allan Stone Collection

The inclusion of such a wide range of de Kooning’s work makes possible what the retrospective aims to do—that is, to frame de Kooning as a modern master who continually transformed and perfected his craft through a series of different periods. To say the exhibition pays homage to the Dutch artist is an understatement. If this isn’t evident through the sheer size of the show, it becomes clearer in the gift shop—where de Kooning’s quips and quotes are blazoned onto mugs, notebooks, and sketchpads. (One notebook reads, “Not even for a million dollars would I paint a tree” while a mug proclaims, “In art one idea is as good as another.”) And although presenting de Kooning as an immensely influential figure in Abstract Expressionism and American art is nothing new, this exhibition does so in a way that sheds light on the artist’s entire body of work—not just his famous Woman paintings or the renowned Excavation (1950), which it deems the masterpiece of his early career. The show gives museum visitors the opportunity to gain an inclusive understanding of the important path de Kooning’s career took—and, of course, to purchase their fair share of memorabilia when they’re done.

— Written by Carolyn F. Keogh, Undergraduate Intern, Grey Art Gallery