Faculty News

3 Apr

Miriam Basilio writes, “In November 2011, I visited the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela for the first time to attend the Foro Internacional de Espazos para a Cultura, a conference marking the opening of Peter Eisenman’s monumental unfinished City of Culture.  Site of a recently-opened kunsthalle museum, archive and library, the complex has been surrounded by controversy due to massive cost overruns, delays, and claims that the museum was built without a long-range plan, mission and programming profile. The conference brought together staff from museums, alternative spaces, concert halls and multi-purpose cultural spaces such as the Smithsonian Institution, MoMA, the Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and the Barbicam to discuss various topical issues, among them:  the uses of social media, collaborations with community groups, as well as the challenges posed by large building projects and renovations. I must say that I found the Cathedral to be a far more impressive and beautiful building than Eisenman’s behemoth, isolated from the city center and an example of the ways in which some ‘starchitect’’ projects seem to overlook the functions for which buildings are intended.”  In February, Professor Basilio participated in a session of the “Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP) in a Global Age: A Program for Research at The Museum of Modern Art.” This session focused on the ways in which the work of Latin American artists in MoMA’s collection might be included within the Museum’s collection displays.  As Professor Basilio puts it, “Curators spoke about their rationale for gallery hangings and engaged in debate with their colleagues in the Museum, me, and project advisors Mieke Bal, Homi Bhaba and David Joselit.  I was invited as a former member of the curatorial staff hired to re-incorporate MoMA’s collection of Latin American art into Museum programming, and because I am currently writing a book entitled The Evolving Latin American Canon: Collection Displaying at The Museum of Modern Art, 1945-2004.  The recent re-hangings of MoMA’s Painting and Sculpture and Contemporary Art Galleries, as well as their Diego Rivera exhibitions are evidence of MoMA’s curatorial innovations, which are collaborative and present new and productive ways to understand their collection, international modernities, as well as global contemporary art networks. In so doing, they are re-thinking the canonical displays of art history that the Museum created in their collection galleries.” Professor Basilio will be a respondent for a session on “The Francoist and Transition Context” in a symposium on Spanish Architecture: History, Criticism, Practice, and Propaganda (1950s-1990s), organized by Juan Jose Lahuerta and to be held on April 13-14, 2012 at NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center.

Cidade Da Cultura


This past year has been a busy one for Mosette Broderick, with the completion of the first year of the London M.A. in Historical and Sustainable Architecture and a newly published book.  As Professor Broderick reports, “The first class of the M.A. in Historical and Sustainable Architecture in London was indeed impressive and set an appropriate high bar for the future.  The graduates seem happily launched into their future careers.  We are accepting a stellar group for the third year of the program.”  A short film clip about the London M.A. program is available on the Department of Art History website.  To-date, Professor Broderick has given more than three dozen lectures in connection with her book, Triumvirate: McKim, Mead & White: Art, Architecture, Scandal, and Class in America’s Gilded Age, published in October 2010 by Alfred A. Knopf, and the subject of substantial reviews by leading architectural historians, including Professor Kevin Murphy (The Architect’s Newspaper) and Mark Girouard (The Spectator) (see our May 26th, 2011 blogpost).  Meanwhile, an earlier project, the study of New York’s Villard Houses, led to a cable television interview of Professor Broderick on an ABC channel (see our February 10th and February 14th , 2012 blogposts).  As Professor Broderick puts it, “Amusing how a long completed project comes back to life!”

Barry Flood’s recent publications include “Memory in Material and Light/Mémoire de matière et de lumière,” the catalog essay for Zarina Hashmi, Noor, Galerie Jaeger Bucher (Paris, 2011); “A Ghaznavid Narrative Relief and the Problem of Pre-Mongol Persian Book-Painting,” in David Knipp, ed., Siculo-Arabic Ivories and Islamic Painting 1100-1300, Proceedings of the International Conference, Berlin, 6-8 July 2007 (München, 2011); “Appropriation as Inscription: Making History in the First Friday Mosque of Delhi,” in Richard Brilliant and Dale Kinney, eds., The Mirror of Spolia: Premodern Practice and Postmodern Theory (Malden, MA, 2011); “Conflict and Cosmopolitanism in Arab Sind,” in Deborah Hutton & Rebecca Brown, eds., A Companion to South Asian Art (Blackwell Companions to Art History) (2011); “Notes from the Field: Anthropomorphism,” Art Bulletin (93/4, March 2012). He has been involved with the exhibition Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in March, writing entries on mosaics, pilgrimage art, and Qur’ans and longer essays on iconoclasm, the history of the Qur’an and “Faith, Religion and the Material Culture of Early Islam,” for the catalog: Helen Evans, ed., Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012).  Lectures given in 2011-2012 include “In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Mimetic Bodies and the Ecology of Mediation in Medieval Islam,” at the symposium on Saints and Sacred Matter: The Cult of Relics in Byzantium, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC (May 2011); “Whitewash and Gold: The Aniconomics of Mosque Ornament,” the keynote lecture at the Transcultural Visuality Learning Group of Heidelberg University, Workshop on color, Istanbul (June 2011); “In the Footsteps of the Prophet: The Prophet’s Sandal and the Image as Relic in Medieval Islam,” National Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi (June, 2011); “Ontology and Alterity: the Hadith, Modern Semiotics, and the Making of Islam’s ‘Image Problem’,” at the conference Memoria e Imagen del Islam/Memory and Image of Islam, conference organized by European Research Network, Configurations of Muslim Traditions in European Secular Public Spheres, Casa Árabe, Cordoba, Spain (October 2011); “Beyond Representation? Revisiting Islam’s ‘Image Problem’,” to the Workshop on Late Antiquity and Department of Art History, University of Texas at Austin (November 2011); “Selective Affinities vs. Common Genealogies: Comparativism, Reception and the Medieval Modern,” Comparativism, a conference organized by Jas Elsner, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU (March 2012). Lectures planned for the coming months include “Comparative Ontologies and Illusive Taxonomies: Learning from Islamic Theology,” Image and Ontology in Comparative Perspective, a conference organized by David Wengrow, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU (April 2012); “The Flaw in the Carpet: Disjunctive Continuities and Riegl’s Arabesque,” Ornament as Portable Culture: Between Globalism and Localism, Harvard University (April 2012); a contribution to the exploratory seminar “Remapping Geographic Imaginaries: Pathways of Circulation and New Cognitive Regions,” Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (May 2012); “Voiceless Fish and Breathless Trees: Aspects of Iconoclasm in the Church Mosaics of Early Islamic Jordan and Palestine,” colloquium on Late Antique floor mosaics, Metropolitan Museum of Art (May 2012). In June he will give a plenary speech at Inter-Asian Connections III: Hong Kong, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and a paper on “The Gwalior Qur’an and the Ghurid Legacy to Indo-Islamic Art,” at the symposium « Autour du Coran de Gwalior: polysémie d’un manuscrit à peintures » Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris.

Dennis Geronimus’s ongoing work on a monograph celebrating the painter Jacopo da Pontormo (accepted for publication by Yale University Press) received a double-boost in the form of two research fellowships.  In fall-winter 2011, Professor Geronimus took up residence in Williamstown, Mass. – a New England homecoming to his college alma mater – as a Fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.  Upon his return to Washington Square in January, he began a semester-long faculty fellowship at NYU’s Humanities Initiative.  Both fellowships presented opportunities to deliver lectures on his work-in-progress: “Northern Exposure: Pontormo Responds to Dürer” (Clark Art Institute, November 2011) and “A Seeming Disregard: Pontormo as Portraitist” (Humanities Initiative, April 2012).  His review of the exhibition, “Bronzino: pittore e poeta alla corte dei Medici” (“Bronzino: Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici”), on view at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence from September 23, 2010 – January 23, 2011, appeared this spring in Renaissance Studies. The same journal will publish Professor Geronimus’s forthcoming exhibition review of the Metropolitan Museum’s “The Renaissance Portrait, from Donatello to Bellini,” a show that served as a second classroom for Professor Geronimus’s latest advanced seminar, “Speak, Memory: The Renaissance Portrait, North and South.” Speaking of exhibitions, Professor Geronimus has eagerly embraced his first curatorial role, as the guest-curator for the first-ever exhibition devoted to the painting career of Pontormo’s one-time master, Piero di Cosimo. “Piero di Cosimo: Painter-Poet of Renaissance Florence” is scheduled to open at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, in February 2015, before moving to Florence that same summer, where it will re-open at the Galleria degli Uffizi.

Pepe Karmel continues work on his massive new history of abstract art from 1910 to 2010.  Here in the Department of Art History, he has taken the book for a test drive by offering a “special topics” lecture course on abstract art in fall 2011, followed by a spring 2012 seminar on critical issues in abstraction.  Out in the real world, he contributed a lecture on Willem de Kooning’s “black” paintings of 1948-49 to a symposium for The Museum of Modern Art’s fall 2011 retrospective devoted to the great Abstract Expressionist.  NYU Art History majors had the opportunity to hear that lecture on December 8th, 2011, when Professor Karmel presented his lecture, titled “Abstraction as Abstraction: de Kooning’s Black Paintings, 1948-49,” in a special event sponsored by the Fine Arts Society (see our December 12th, 2011 blogpost).  Giving abstraction a rest, he also published essays on “The Negro Artist’s Dilemma: Bearden, Picasso, and Pop Art,” in an anthology about Romare Bearden from the National Gallery of Art, and on “Just What Is It That Makes Contemporary Art So Different, So Appealing,” for a special issue of the journal Visual Resources devoted to the topic of “The Crisis in Art History.”

During the past year, Carol Krinsky traveled to sites in Croatia, Slovenia, and the city of Trieste in order to study Roman, medieval, and later architecture and sculpture. She also spent some time in Chicago and in San Juan and Ponce, P.R., visiting local museums and observing aspects of architecture and planning.  In October, she delivered a lecture in Hamburg, Germany, and gave lectures at home, including one at the Museum of the City of New York, and others to international students and professors.  She published a book chapter about the relation of the grid plan of Manhattan to its port facilities, an essay on the subject of her lecture in Hamburg on the website of the International Commission on Monuments & Sites, an exhibition review for the College Art Association online, an encyclopedia article about the architect Emery Roth, the introduction to a forthcoming Swiss book about architectural typology in New York City, and an essay about preserving the glass bank at 510 Fifth Avenue.  In addition, she was a consultant to several publishers and grant-giving institutes and a government program, was the Director of Undergraduate Studies until the fall semester started, and helped with volumes 3 and 4 of our undergraduate journal, Ink and Image.

Over the past year, Shelley Rice has worked on a number of diverse projects.  Her research on Visual Geography in 1900 has progressed, and has in fact been awarded several grants — notably a Humanities Initiative Research Fellowship — for next year.  An original essay on this material will be published shortly in Germany, in a series of scholarly books called Studies in the History and Theory of Photography, for which Professor Rice serves on the editorial board.  A text on self-portraiture in the age of Facebook will also be published in Germany, in an anthology called Embodied Fantasies, conceived after a conference at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  This past year Professor Rice has lectured in New York and elsewhere on August Sander and Seydou Keita, on aspects of contemporary photography and on her current historical research project.  In May 2012, she will speak at the Neue Galerie in Manhattan in conjunction with the Heinrich Kuehn exhibition there, and in June she’ll speak on color photography in 1900 at a conference at the University of Zurich.  Within the past few months, she has published essays on snapshots taken by the Nabis painters in Bookforum, and on the relevance of Lawrence Alloway’s concept of the mobility of art for contemporary image flows in Tate Papers.  Further, as Professor Rice, reports, “NYU students and I are in the process of working with the Tamiment Library staff to organize an exhibition (funded by the Visual Arts Initiative at NYU) of pictures from the photo morgue of the Daily Worker, the newspaper published by the American Communist Party during most of the twentieth century.  Most recently, I’ve begun a stint as the Invited Blogger of the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris, where (with a little help from my friends!) I will be commenting on contemporary art until September of 2012” (go to http://lemagazine.jeudepaume.org/).

Jon Ritter was appointed Clinical Assistant Professor in September 2011, and continues to work closely with Prof. Mosette Broderick to develop and run the Urban Design and Architectural Studies undergraduate program and the M.A. in Historical and Sustainable Architecture.  He developed a new course in Fall 2011, “Non-Western Urbanism,” which surveys the history and growth of cities in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, from antiquity to the present.   During the 2011-12 year, Professor Ritter is again teaching in the Freshman Presidential Scholars program, in addition to his normal teaching in the department.  Highlights of his academic work in 2011 include a lecture about the history of the 1811 grid plan in Greenwich Village, for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and a talk about the planning of early American civic centers, at the bi-annual conference of the Society for American City and Regional Planning.  In 2011 Professor Ritter was named President of the New York chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.

In 2011, Julia Robinson curated two small-scale, think-tank-type shows processing catalysts and legacies of the sixties. In the summer she worked with Ellen Swieskowski (NYU/CAS ’11), researching connections between the holdings in the Fales Library Special Collections, and the exciting material about to come to the Grey as part of the exhibition Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life (on view at the Grey Gallery Sept. 9- December 3, 2011). Robinson and Swieskowski’s exhibition, entitled Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond, an exhibition on the lower level of the Grey, running concurrently with Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life drew on archives of the Judson Church archive, Vito Acconci, Chris D’Arcangelo, Stuart Sherman, and many more. This also related to Robinson’s undergraduate seminar the previous fall.  Ellen Swieskowski ended up making such significant contributions that she achieved the title of co-curator. To cap off this project they did an interview for NYU Radio, with both commenting on the experience from their very different perspectives.  More recently, Robinson worked with two artists to create an exhibition called Cage … [read dot-dot-dot] Conceptualizing Cage Now for a new art space in the Portuguese city of Guimaraes, cultural capital of the European Union for 2012. This exhibition tracks the reception of Cage from the first wave of reactions to his radical experimental score formats – in poetry, dance and visual art as much as music – in the early ’60s, to revisions of Cagean concepts right up until the present. On March 10 2012 Robinson went to Guimaraes, accompanied by several New York artists and on artist-musician. She gave a lecture and they performed new historical and new compositions, while the newest generation of Cagean thinkers came to “conceptualize” in droves.  This past summer, Robinson lectured at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.  Robinson has also published an edited volume of writings on John Cage as part of the monographic series the October Files (MIT Press, 2011); and most recently, an essay, “Pollock’s Concreteness: Painterly Performance or Performative Painting,” which will join Daniel Birnbaum and Magnus af Petersens, as part of the catalogue to accompany the exhibition Explosion: Painting as Action (June 2-Sept. 9, 2012).  Professor Robinson has served once again this year as the faculty adviser of the Fine Arts Society, the Department of Art History’s CAS student club.  As Professor Robinson reports, “We ended last year with a wonderful careers symposium, comprised of a very ambitious group of speakers from the top echelons of the art world – from museums to galleries to publishing (or the Met to Metro Pictures, to Artforum). Charged by the energy of that event, we have decided to double that effort for the 2012 event(s). We are planning a ‘Young Careers’ symposium in late April, featuring recent NYU graduates (the list is classified as they are still being invited); and then a second symposium of senior figures, along the lines of the prestigious line-up of last year.”

Ann Macy Roth has recently been concentrating on the art of the very earliest periods in Egypt, largely in conjunction with an exhibition on that subject, “The Dawn of Egyptian Art,” which will open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 10th.  She contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue, “Objects, Animals, Humans, and Hybrids:  The Evolution of Early Egyptian Representations of the Divine,” in which she chronicles the progressive humanization of divine images, ending in the characteristic animal-headed gods and goddesses of later pharaonic art.  During Spring 2012, she has also been teaching a special topic course on this early art, which will culminate in a tour of the newly opened exhibition by its curator, Dr. Diana Craig Patch.   In addition she will be presenting papers dealing with the subsequent Old Kingdom period at two scholarly meetings in late April 2012:  “Who were the khentyu-she?  Some Socio-Historical Implications of Mortuary Evidence from Giza,” at a Harvard University conference on new methods for approaching the history of the Old Kingdom period, and “High Cheekbones and Hidden Hieroglyphs in the Metropolitan Museum’s Mastaba Chapels,” at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt at Brown University.  The latter talk presents some technical discoveries made in connection with her coming publication of the three chapels for the Metropolitan Museum.

Kenneth Silver continues to serve as a Contributing Editor of Art in America magazine and a member of the Board of Directors of The Drawing Center, New York.  As Adjunct Curator of Art at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, Professor Silver curated Picasso’s Vollard Suite: The Sculptor’s Studio (June 18-October 16, 2011), and authored the catalogue that included his essay “Between Two Dimensions and Three: Picasso, Sculpture, and the Suite Vollard.”  Silver received an award on April 2, 2012, from the International Association of Art Critics, in the category of Best Thematic Exhibition, for his 2010-2011 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918-1936.  In November 2011, Silver lectured on “Classicism Triumphant: How Antiquity (Nearly) Eradicated the Middle-Ages in the Discourse of Modernism,” at the symposium, Antiquity in the 20th Century: Modern Art and the Classical Vision, at the Getty Villa, Malibu, California, and in April 2011 he delivered the annual Barness Lecture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art:  “Like a Pebble Tossed in a Pond: The Circle of Montparnasse and its Ramifications.”  This spring, Silver is teaching a brand-new course for the “Expressive Cultures” program of the Morse Academic Plan: “Avant-Garde New York, from the Armory Show to Andy Warhol.”

Kathryn A. Smith spent part of the summer of 2011 researching illustrated Romanesque scientific and bible manuscripts in the context of her participation in “Parchment to Pixel,” an NEH-funded project to digitize and catalogue several of the Walters Art Museum’s collections of illuminated manuscripts.  Professor Smith serves as principal cataloguer of the English manuscripts.  Working on Walters W. 73, an illustrated compilation of excerpts from early medieval scientific works, posed an especially exciting challenge, as it afforded Professor Smith the opportunity to learn more about medieval cosmology.  Her article, “The Monk Who Crucified Himself,” presented in earlier versions as lectures at New York University, the University of Toronto, and Princeton University, has just been published in a volume titled Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces (Boydell Press), a collection of essays in honor of medievalist Pamela Sheingorn.  In September 2011, she presented a talk titled “Toward an Iconography in/of the Book: Form and Meaning, Image and Text in Illuminated Manuscripts c. 1300” in Iconography On and Off the Books, the panel of the Second Annual Medieval Manuscript Workshop sponsored by New York University’s Department of English.  Over Spring Break she finished checking the proofs for her forthcoming book, The Taymouth Hours:  Stories and the Construction of the Self in Late Medieval England, to be published later this spring by The British Library Publications and the University of Toronto Press.  In May, Professor Smith will lecture on “’A Lanterne of Lyght to the People’:  English Narrative Alabaster Images of John the Baptist in their Visual, Religious, and Social Contexts” in a series of sessions on “Art and Devotion in Medieval England” to be held at the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  2011-12 was Professor Smith’s second year as Chair of the Department of Art History.

During the late spring and summer months of 2011, Edward Sullivan spent a good deal of time working on his next book, tentatively titled From San Juan to Paris and Back: Francisco Oller and Caribbean Art in the Era of Impressionism, to be published by Yale University Press. He lectured on this subject at the Museo de Arte de Ponce (Puerto Rico) and at a conference of the International Association of Americanists, held in late July at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition he lectured on modern Mexican painting at the Phoenix Art Museum and the San Diego Museum of Art.  In September 2011, he attended the opening of the exhibition he had co-curated for the Grey Art Gallery, “Concrete Improvisations: Collages and Sculptures of Esteban Vicente.” Its third venue was the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente in Segovia, Spain; Professor Sullivan lectured there after the opening.  He wrote catalogue essays for the solo shows of Dominican painter, Ada Balcacer, for her exhibition at the Centro Leon Jimenez in Santiago, D.R., and for Panamanian artist Isabel de Obaldia, for her show at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art. In February 2012, his exhibition “Observed: Milagros de la Torre,” opened at The Americas Society.  This exhibition concerns the contemporary Peruvian photographer and conceptual artist, now based in New York. This exhibition also travels to the Museo de Arte de Lima.  Professor Sullivan has contributed to the book, Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, an essay titled “Displaying the Caribbean: Thirty Years of Exhibiting and Collecting Caribbean Art in the U.S.”  This volume will be published by Yale University Press in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name that opens on June 12th, 2012 at el Museo de Barrio, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Queens Museum of Art.


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