Next VizCult: Meredith Martin, Institute of Fine Arts

22 Oct

“Imperial Reflections: Art, Diplomacy, and Exchange between France and Siam, 1680s through 1860s”

Wednesday, October 29, 5:15 pm

FA 218

Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Reception of the Siamese Ambassadors at Fontainebleau, 1864. Oil on canvas, 260 x 128 cm (8′ 6.36″ x 4′ 2.39″).

In June 1861 the French Emperor, Napoleon III, and his wife Eugénie received a delegation of ambassadors from Siam (Thailand) at the palace of Fontainebleau. The French government hired Jean-Léon Gérôme, an artist of historical and Orientalist subjects, to document the reception in a monumental painting that aimed to glorify Napoleon III and validate France’s commercial and imperial activities in Southeast Asia. Gérôme spent more than two years preparing for the painting, scrupulously studying photographs of the Siamese envoys as well as prints depicting Franco-Siamese exchanges of the 1680s that served as models for his work. Yet when Gérôme’s painting was finally unveiled at the Salon of 1865, it fell flat, for reasons that this talk explores. Ironically it served as a more effective legitimating tool for the Siamese King Mongkut, who acquired a copy of the painting in the late 1860s.

Meredith Martin is Associate Professor of Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.


Undergraduate activities: UAHA campus architectural tour with Julia Walker this Thursday

21 Oct

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Current exhibitions at university libraries

20 Oct


Binghamton University Libraries showcase exhibitions each semester to increase awareness of the libraries’ rich and varied collections, services and events, as well as to promote university-wide activities. Current exhibits include:

• “Inspired by Nature,” on the second floor of the Glenn G. Bartle Library, showcasing Nature Preserve photos by Binghamton University alumnus Matthew A. Kull and book selections from the Bartle Library collections on art, poetry and literature that feature nature as the theme.

• Mark Sennett, “King of Comedy,” outside of Special Collections in the North Reading Room on the second floor of the Glenn G. Bartle Library, featuring information about the producer and director’s work and stills from his movies taken from the John K. McLaughlin Collection of Popular Culture.

• “Showcasing the Intrinsic Role of Art within Science,” in the Information Commons on the first floor of the Science Library, showcasing and celebrating the roles that visuals play in science.

These exhibits are free and open to the public. Ideas for future exhibits are welcomed via e-mail. For more information, contact Andrea Melione or Jean Green.

Next VizCult: Kim Sexton, University of Arkansas, TODAY

15 Oct

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Opening reception this Thursday at University Art Museum

14 Oct

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Please join us for the opening reception of two exhibitions curated by Binghamton University students from 5:00-6:00 p.m., Thursday, October 16, in the Nancy J. Powell Gallery.

“Some of These People”: Marking the Other in Soviet Russia features Soviet posters on loan from the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections and is curated by Michael Kosowski ’16, who majors in art history and Russian. Yarikata: Making Japanese Prints focuses on the art of Japanese printmaking and is curated by Christopher Lane ’14, a fine arts major.

The Spanish Forger: “Medieval” Paintings from the Collection of William Voelkle ’52 is an exhibition of known fakes and is mounted in conjunction with a symposium, Hidden Clues: Detecting Fakes and Forgeries in Art. The symposium will be held from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, in FA-258, with a reception following. Presenters include William Voelkle ’52 (curator of medieval and renaissance manuscripts, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York City); Patrick McGrady ’92 (curator, Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University); Luisa Casella (photograph conservator, West Lake Conservators, Skaneateles, N.Y.); and Betty Krulik (president, Appraisers Association of America). The symposium is free, open to the public and sponsored by the Kenneth C. Lindsay Study Room Fund.

Admission to the museum is free. For directions and museum hours, visit

Next week at IASH: Drew Massey, “Thomas Adès and the Dilemmas of Musical Surrealism”

10 Oct

 Join us Wednesday, October 15, for the next event in the IASH Fellows’ Speaker Series. Assistant Professor of Music Drew Massey will present “Thomas Adès and the Dilemmas of Musical Surrealism” at noon in the IASH Conference Room (LN 1106).

Few scholars of Adès’s music would debate the significance of surrealism in the forging of his public image over the course of the last 25 years. Yet the essentially unquestioned absorption of surrealism as a meaningful discursive frame for Adès’s music ought to give us pause, and it is the goal of this presentation to explain why that is the case.
First, Massey suggests that surrealism has achieved such purchase in the critical conversation surrounding Adès because of its ability to work so effectively as a proxy vocabulary for other debates. In the first part of this presentation, Massey considers how the idea of surrealism has provided a means to discuss various degrees of “queerness” in Adès’s music (including but not limited to gender and sexuality) while avoiding a rhetoric which uses alterity and identity politics as its primary argumentative fulcra. Although Adès is hardly the only openly gay composer writing today, Massey suggests that critics’ preoccupation with Adès’s relationship to surrealism has served a powerful symbolic role in depicting Adès as a gay composer who simultaneously avoids conspicuous markers of difference.
In the second half of this presentation, Massey considers the historiographic work that is performed by the rhetoric of surrealism that has swirled around Adès and his music. Adès’s surrealist works close off an apparent “problem” in the history of modernism insofar as surrealism – unlike other component movements in modernism like futurism and impressionism – has struggled to find its proper corollary in music, and hence enjoy status as a fully realized dimension of modernism with active practices across the arts. Yet such a situation is not without its historiographic dilemmas. On the one hand, the reliance on surrealism vis-à-vis Adès is a somewhat anachronistic approach, situating a large part of Adès’s significance in terms of a movement that has mostly run its course. On the other hand, it provides an aesthetic and historical basis for Adès’s prominence today, while being ambiguous enough to leave him plenty of room to maneuver in the future without shedding this marker of canonical belonging.

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities was established in 2009 in order to support research, teaching, and programming in the humanities and about topics relevant to the humanities, inspire the cross-pollination of ideas, encourage emerging knowledges and ways of knowing, and spark meaningful campus-community engagement at Binghamton University.

More information at

Undergraduate activities: UAHA meeting today

9 Oct


The Undergraduate Art History Association will be hosting a meeting and potluck dinner today, Thursday, October 9, at 6:00 p.m. in Fine Arts 218. See the UAHA’s Facebook page for more information or send a message to


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