Nancy Um in the Pipe Dream

Nancy Um, an associate professor of art history at BU, speaks in the Old Union Hall. Um gave a lecture for the Harpur College Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series and spoke about the origins of coffee, as well as its economic and political influence. By Michael Sugarman, Pipe Dream contributing photographer.


Click here to read the Pipe Dream’s coverage of Associate Professor and Interim Chair Nancy Um‘s recent contribution to the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, “A Mosque, a Tomb, and the Arabian Legacy of Coffee.”

Next VizCult: Jeffrey West Kirkwood, Binghamton University

“Cinema and the Industrial Enlightenment”
Wednesday, February 25, 5:15 pm
FA 218

Group Working with a Magic Lantern, Harvard Psychological Laboratory in Dane Hall, 1892. Harvard University Archives – HUPSF Psychological Laboratories.


In an 1834 essay, the French physicist André-Marie Ampère used the term “cinématique” [kinematics] to first describe the study of the geometry of pure motion that became indispensable for engineering industrial technologies. Beyond its obvious etymological kinship with “cinema,” the nineteenth century field of kinematics established a relationship between ideas and machines that found its fullest articulation in film. No doubt the affinity between industrial production and cinema is as old as film itself, with the Lumière brothers’ first film, Exiting the Factory [Sortie d’usine, 1895], depicting workers departing the Lumière factory in Lyon. Yet, it was not until the emergence of scientific management and psychotechnics—an applied form of experimental psychology pioneered by the psychologist-turned-film theorist, Hugo Münsterberg­—that cinema came to represent an epistemic limit condition for thinking in the machine age.

Jeffrey West Kirkwood is Assistant Professor of Art History and Cinema at Binghamton University.

Faculty Activities: Tom McDonough at the Guggenheim


Associate Professor and Chair Tom McDonough will be contributing to the series “Duologues On Kawara” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum:

In conjunction with On Kawara—Silence, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will host a range of public programs. Conceived by exhibition curator Jeffrey Weiss, the discussion series Duologues On Kawara positions the artist within a global, interdisciplinary context. The dynamic pairing of talks are followed by framed conversations on specific aspects of Kawara’s work, encompassing diverse topics such as language, travel, politics, pictorial abstraction, and the theme of the “everyday.”

All events of the series Duologues On Kawara include a viewing of On Kawara—Silence and a wine reception in the Guggenheim rotunda.

Alfredo Jaar and Tom McDonough
April 28, 6:30pm
This conversation will focus on two themes that surface when considering the political context of Kawara’s practice: the post-Conceptual representation of world events such as war; and the Situationist model of socio-cultural critique concerning the “practice of everyday life.” Artist and activist Alfredo Jaar and writer and critic Tom McDonough discuss these themes in relation to their own projects. For tickets, click here.

Free for students with advanced RSVP.

Faculty Activities: Ronald Gonzales at the Lederer Gallery

Gonzalez_Hat Block

Image courtesy of the Lederer Gallery.

Professor of Art Ronald Gonzales’s work is currently on view (until March 12) at the Lederer Gallery at SUNY Geneseo, and is also featured in the Lamron, Geneseo’s student newspaper. From the gallery’s website:

THE UPRIGHT OBJECT: The Assemblage Sculpture of Ronald Gonzalez

This exhibition THE UPRIGHT OBJECT: The Assemblage Sculpture of Ronald Gonzalez showcases a collection of his recent standing figures. His work is insistent in his use of the armature and assembled objects to covey stance, gait, vertically, and anthropomorphic combinations that take on grotesque personalities expressing a world of human desolation, irony, humor and pathos.

Standing upright the object rises up to become an individual human/object scenario of damage and psychic pain. Gonzalez’s work probes the dark edges of life through his daily imaginings and sense of formal invention with felt body images. His isolated and grouped figures find expression against a black overlay of dark undertones where objects exist in a homeless state marked by degradation and spiritual vulnerability.

The sculptures presented in this exhibition also provide a new way to understand assemblage, and objects constructed from found materials.  Individual objects portray unique presences that seem to embody their own story, and together, an epic of invasion and other worldliness.  The audience will surely formulate a narrative to accompany the entire exhibit as well as the individual sculptures.

Exhibitions are free and open to the public.


Graduate Activities: Rotem Rozental

Last month, doctoral candidate Rotem Rozental was invited to present her work at the Taub Center Graduate Student Workshop in New York University’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Rotem’s paper was titled “From the Home to the File: Narratives, Bodies and their Image in the Non-National Archive,” and was derived from research conducted for her dissertation Photographic Archives, Nationalism and the Foundation of the Jewish State, 1903-1948. Rotem has also designed a new website for Binghamton’s Material and Visual Worlds Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence, incorporating information on the TAE, upcoming events, and videos of past lectures. While living in Beacon, NY, Rotem has also joined the researchers and artists that delve into the collection at Dia:Beacon and organize tours for the public.

Opening reception this Thursday at University Art Museum

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Please join us on Thursday, February 12, 5:00-7:00, for a reception opening “Face to Ground: Mirko Ilić” at the Binghamton University Art Museum!

Face to Ground: Mirko Ilić

Comics / Illustrations / Graphic Design / Multimedia

February 12—March 14, 2015

In its continued efforts to enrich art and design education at Binghamton University, as well as to offer intellectually and aesthetically stimulating exhibitions that are free and open to the public, the Binghamton University Art Museum has organized an exhibition of designs by the esteemed illustrator, designer and multimedia artist, Mirko Ilić. Curated by Assistant Professor of Art and Design, Blazo Kovacevic, this is the first exhibition of its kind at the museum. The opening reception on Thursday, February 12, 5:00-7:00 pm, will feature a gallery talk by the artist.

Mirko Ilić is well known for his direct approach. He takes risks in a commercial environment that is too often marked by conservative decisions and designs. Visitors may not recognize his name, but his work will be familiar to readers of the New York Times, Time Magazine, and other prominent publications. He is particularly well known for his figurative typography – the words and columns on the New York Times Op-Ed pages that take the form of the subject of the editorial. His very popular illustrations condense complex political and historical issues into images that convey subtle and even multiple meanings. And his Time Magazine covers are praised for being both graphically bold and insightful.

Ilić’s productive and award-winning career started in Bosnia in the 1970s with comics. He then moved to illustration, then graphic design and multimedia. In each of these areas he was innovative, using multidisciplinary approaches to material, which drew on his mastery of earlier media. When asked about his work, he stresses the importance of thinking analytically and properly developing concepts before moving to tools and executions – an approach that contrasts with many of today’s designers whose work begins and ends with technology. Even his new work originates on paper. Famed graphic designer Milton Glaser has said about Mirko Ilić: “He is a designer that draws and an illustrator that thinks.”

At first glance, Ilić’s designs may appear rather blunt, but further reflection reveals meanings that are sometimes contradictory. His final products are thus visually and conceptually complex. His keen eye, careful observation, and knowledge of social and political phenomena have made him a very successful artist in the fields of illustration and graphic design. Ilić is also rebellious and brave. He rejects widely imposed rules and finds novel and sophisticated ways to communicate his ideas…or, as he confesses, fails by trying. But he has succeeded, not only in his profession, but also as an educator, an author of several acclaimed books, the subject of numerous exhibitions, and a lecturer. These qualities make him exceptionally valuable to young and aspiring graphic designers. A common message in his lectures is “how to sell the body of your work, without selling your soul.” Known as a designer who fires his clients, Ilić fiercely fights for his convictions and ideas.

For directions and museum hours visit

Graduate Activities: Hyeyun Chin at CAA

The Royal Exchange, London.

Wenceslas Hollar, The Royal Exchange of London, 1644.

This week, doctoral candidate Hyeyun Chin will present a paper, titled “The Performance of Commerce: Spatial Practices in the Royal Exchange in Seventeenth-Century London,” at the annual conference of the College Art Association in New York as part of the panel “Performative Architecture before the Modern Era.” Hyeyun has also been awarded the 2015 HBA Travel Grant from the Historians of British Art to support her travel to New York. Visit CAA’s website for more information.