New undergraduate course for fall 2014: Acquiring Art for the Museum


Felìx Buhot (French, 1847 – 1898). L’Hiver à Paris ou La Neige à Paris, 1879. Etching with drypoint and aquatint. Museum purchase with funds from Tom McDonough, 2013.10

Acquiring Art for the Museum

Diane Butler, Director, Binghamton University Art Museum

This course offers students the opportunity to select, by consensus, a work on paper that will be purchased for the permanent collection of the Binghamton University Art Museum. Students will learn about gaps in the print collection and each will advocate for a specific work on paper to be acquired for the museum. Students will become familiar with different print media and build connoisseurship; research an artist and his/her oeuvre; identify and compare similar works recently on the market; and develop and present a purchase recommendation for a specific work of art.

Faculty Activities: Frank Chang at High Desert Test Sites

The metropolis that wasn't

This month, Department of Art faculty member Frank Chang contributed his work Desert Paraklausithyron to Spectacular Subdivision, a group show in Wonder Valley, California, curated by Jay Lizo. Other participants included Dick Hebdige, Annette Barz, Anastasia Hill, and James Cathey. For more information, visit

High Desert Test Sites, Monte Vista Projects, and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA) present Spectacular Subdivision, a group project curated by Jay Lizo. This three-day exhibition invites artists to reflect on questions of housing and real estate in the aftermath of the 2008 housing market crisis. What does housing mean to artists in relation to their practice? How has the mortgage meltdown affected artists? How have forms of domesticity and shelter shaped artists’ practices?

Spectacular Subdivision stems from the many conversations Jay had with other artists about purchasing a home. These conversations, ranging from the various types of paints used for interiors, to how to expand a house to incorporate a studio, and how to find balance between a living and working space, were simultaneously banal and fantastical. The project both engages and mimics the logic of real estate development as it has played out in the years since settlement began on the edges of habitable space across the Californian desert, e.g. California City in Kern County and Salton City, the failed resort adjacent to the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley. The call invites participating artists to explore their personal fantasies in tandem with that (il)logic.

The project takes place over one weekend at two sites in Wonder Valley, California, on the fringes of the high desert. Large-scale sculptures are installed in a cul-de-sac formation at the remote, undeveloped Ironage Road parcel. Additional works are on view at El Paseo Ranch, a rental cabin owned by the Sibley Family.


Graduate Student Activities: Rotem Rozental

Yochai Avrahami, Display, 2013, Digital Art Center, Holon.

Yochai Avrahami, Display, 2013, Digital Art Center, Holon.

Follow the links to read doctoral student Rotem Rozental’s recent interviews with Yochai Avrahami, Walead Beshty, and Nurit Yarden for the Shpilman Institute for Photography. Rotem is also moderating a panel (titled “Pics: Sex and the Selfie”) this Saturday, April 26, at Theorizing the Web, an inter- and non-disciplinary annual conference that brings together scholars, journalists, artists, activists, and commentators to ask big questions about the interrelationships between the Web and society.

Undergraduate Activities: ARTH 496 students at the Broome County Arts Council


Masao Kinoshinta, I-Beam, 1972

Current students of the undergraduate seminar ARTH 496: Theory and Methods have been working with the Broome County Arts Council this semester to research and write about public sculpture in the county. They will present their findings in a special First Friday event on Friday, May 2, at the Arts Council’s office on State Street. The event, scheduled from 4:00-5:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. Also speaking will be Sharon Ball, Executive Director of the Broome County Arts Council; Kari Bayait, who serves on the Arts Council board of directors; and Kevin Hatch, Assistant Professor of Art History, who has been teaching ARTH 496 this semester. For more information, visit the Arts Council website at

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Opening reception for “Affinities, Dialogues & Divergences” this Thursday at University Art Museum

AffinitiesPostcard2 AffinitiesPostcard

An opening reception for “Affinities, Dialogues & Divergences,” showcasing the work of Binghamton University art faculty members, will be held April 24 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Binghamton University Art Museum. The show officially opens today.

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

Alumni Activities: Sharon Smith (PhD, 2009) at MIT

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Sharon Smith (PhD, 2009) presented a paper, “Gather Knowledge:  Evolving Systems of Documentation in Islamic Environmental Design”, this past weekend, April 11-12, 2014, at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT conference on “The Orangi Pilot Project and Legacy of Architect Perween Rehman.” For more information, visit

Sharon C. Smith is the Program Head at the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT and Co-Director of Archnet. Her areas of specialization include Middle Eastern art and architecture, and Early Modern Italian art and architecture. Sharon sits on several boards, including the Middle East Outreach Council (MEOC), and was recently named a Fellow of the Institute, Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM). In addition, Sharon serves as image editor for Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World. She has presented widely on issues of documentation, digitization, and the dissemination of knowledge, as well as on art historical topics primarily focused on visual and material culture in the Early Modern Mediterranean.

Graduate Activities: Amanda Beardsley at Ohio University


Doctoral student Amanda Beardsley participated in the annual Ohio University Graduate Symposium this past Friday, April 11, presenting her paper “A ‘Cabaret of Curiosities’: The Landscape Aesthetics of ‘Mondo Utah’ and the Mormon Panorama.”

More than just the aestheticization of natural phenomena, the panorama has functioned as both optical surrogate for nature, simulator, and generator of affect—an apparatus for teaching people how to survey and perceive the world while also situating them in it. Such characteristics of panoramic vision have carried over into current museological practices in an effort to unveil and reconcile socio-cultural landscapes, while also encouraging tourism. This was seen specifically in the 2013 Utah biennial, “Mondo Utah,” whose title referenced the controversial genre of Mondo cinema. The biennial attempted to decipher a visual language of contemporary art specific to the region. Pavilions surveyed objects ranging from the marginal (golden life-masks and mummiforms of the Summum group), to the aggregate (work from the collective holdings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

This paper looks at the Utah biennial in relation to Mormon frontier artist C.C.A. Christensen’s Mormon Panorama (1878), a series of twenty-three large paintings sewn together into a 175-foot scroll depicting the history of the religion. The artist used the device for missionary work in the late nineteenth century as he traveled America, encouraging prospective members to join his community in Utah. Christensen’s panorama encompasses a genealogy of landscape aesthetics and spectacles packaged in consumable form to encourage geographic and ideological mobility. Acting as commentary on Utah’s landscape and as the lens that shapes it, both “Mondo Utah” and Mormon Panorama become significant when considering the technology and optics that not only fashion a particular perspective of a given place, but, in addition, have the authority to translate what might—or might not—already be there.