VIRTUAL CHICAGO, Illinois—The Visual Resources Association (VRA), a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of image management, proudly presented the 2021 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) to Marcia Meeker Focht, Binghamton University’s Visual Resources Curator, at the Virtual Chicago conference on March 25th. The VRA annually honors an individual who has made an outstanding career contribution to the field of visual resources and image management. DSA recipients have achieved a level of distinction through leadership, research, service to the profession, outstanding innovation, participation, or project management.
In over 30 years of active participation in VRA, Focht has helped to shape the association through her empathetic leadership and extraordinary service record—two terms on the VRA Executive Board, participation in various committees, task forces, and other special interest groups, and currently, Chair of the VRA Foundation. This breadth of service is only surpassed by her considerable professional talents, sincere dedication, and engaging personality. For example, she is primarily responsible for the success of the VRA Mentor Program with 13 years of “cheerleading” and matching new members with nurturing veterans to contribute to positive conference experiences and to help with ongoing professional development. She has welcomed more people to VRA than any other member, mentored many a future leader, and contributed to member retention. A forward-looking embracer of new technologies, Focht successfully transitioned her image collection from analog to digital images, collaborated with other campuses in the SUNY system to find ways to share Binghamton’s growing collection, and she continues to experiment with new technologies through digital humanities initiatives. As Tom McDonough, a Binghamton professor, stated in his letter of support, “What I’d most like to emphasize here, however, is not so much her assistance to the Art History faculty—her role was never merely supplemental or supportive—but her groundbreaking role in introducing us to the research and pedagogical potentials of the new tools offered by digital technology. Marcia could never be mistaken for a complacent figure; she has consistently sought out new ideas, new opportunities, and brought them back to campus to share with students and faculty alike.” An “ambassador” of embedded metadata, she has presented and published on the innovative tools the VRA developed at regional, national, and international conferences. Focht’s career-long dedication has involved hard work, intellectual curiosity, and impressive productivity, all accomplished with boundless enthusiasm, genuine warmth, and an infectious sense of humor. VRA President, Jeannine Keefer, stated “Marcia exemplifies the numerous ways that members can participate and give back to VRA via committee and chapter participation, leadership roles, discussion contributions, and sharing our work with the world outside the association. Her mentorship and encouragement has meant the world to me over the years. I could not have asked for a better professional role model or a more dear friend.” Focht richly deserves the DSA award for her unparalleled spirit of volunteerism and career-long dedication to the visual resources profession. She has given “her head and her heart” to VRA and the membership has benefitted greatly from her generosity. http://vraweb.org/about/committees/awards-committee/vra-awards-recipients/
DEPARTMENT OF ART HISTORY Dissertation defenseWylie Schwartz, PhD candidate“Experimental Pedagogies: The Art and Politics of the Scandinavian Neo-Avant-Garde (1961-1972)”Committee members: Tom McDonough (chair), Pamela Smart, Kevin Hatch, Carl Gelderloos (Department of German and Russian Studies; outside examiner)Monday, April 5, 2:00 p.m. EDTThis defense is open to the public; due to the ongoing pandemic, it will take place on Zoom. The Zoom invitation will circulate in a separate email to department faculty and graduate students, but may also be requested directly from Wylie Schwartz or Kevin Hatch.
Art History and Mathematical Sciences major Nate Craig will be presenting a paper on Saturday, April 10th, at the third annual SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium:
Etruscan Pigments: A Chronological Examination
Often when viewing art of ancient cultures, we tend to see exactly what’s given, a story, and try to piece together the puzzle of their culture that way. The same can be said of Etruscan art as a large part of Etruscan art is the story it tells us about what Etruscans valued and how they interacted as a culture. However, if we take a different vantage point and look a little deeper into how the art itself is made, namely the pigments being used, we can create a different story about how they are creating these works–specifically, the chronology of pigments in Etruscan society. The development of the Etruscan palette changes over time due to the introduction of new pigments during the Orientalizing, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic. These insights into the use of pigments do tell us how they are making these fantastic works but, more importantly, are an integral part of the larger puzzle of understanding the Etruscan culture. This might mean understanding how they valued certain figures or who might have been important. These kinds of answers have been made possible by using technology like multi-spectral imaging, x-ray diffraction and x-ray fluorescence. Through these methods we are beginning to understand Etruscan culture better and painting a clearer picture of the Etruscan palette and its uses. Thus, by combining science with art we can then better comprehend the Etruscan culture.
Kevin Hatch will participate in a roundtable conversation with the art historian Chon Noriega (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center) and the artist Raphal Montañez Ortiz to mark the recent digitization of Ortiz’s films and videos. The event will be hosted by the Paris-based experimental film distributor Light Cone, and will take place on Wednesday, March 24, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. EDT (6:00-8:00 p.m. Paris time). Registration for this webinar via Zoom:https://lightcone.org/en/news-682-defaire-le-cinema-une-rencontre-avec-raphael-montanez-ortiz
Indian Ocean Exchanges is an art history research, fellowship, and travel program that aims to build a robust network of international scholars and professionals who are committed to advancing Indian Ocean art history. The program posits the collective experiences of cross-cultural travel, exchange, and community formation as the foundation to cultivate this sub-field in formation, with the goal of widening and amplifying the expertise that develops in any single regional (and landed) context.
The program will host a cohort of 15 international fellows, mainly emerging scholars, providing opportunities for connection along shared intellectual affinities. Indian Ocean Exchanges will be launched through a series of virtual meetings that will begin in Summer 2021. In 2022, the cohort will embark, as a group, on three international study trips, to be held on the Arabian Peninsula (2022), in Southeast Asia (2022), and on the coast of East Africa (2023). Each of these study trips will provide opportunities to visit local archaeological and heritage sites and museum collections. They will also entail public presentations of ongoing research to the local community. These plans may be modified or delimited, however, based on COVID travel restrictions.
This project is organized by Nancy Um (Binghamton University). The project team includes Prita Meier (NYU), Trinidad Rico (Rutgers), Imran Bin Tajudeen (National University of Singapore), and Athman Hussein (National Museums of Kenya).
Congratulations to Art History majors Emily Jelen (’19) and Nathan Goldberg (’20), whose work has been published in the most recent volume of Alpenglow, the Binghamton University Undergraduate Journal of Research and Creative Activity. The volume features Goldberg’s essay “Picturing a Pandemic: Zoe Leonard’s Analogue” and Jelen’s Summer Scholars research project “Moorish Revival Synagogue Architecture: Community and Style, Past and Present.” The journal is published annually and is blind reviewed by Binghamton University’s faculty, staff, and advanced graduate students.
Julia Walker’s article “No One Intends to Open an Airport” has been published in the most recent issue of Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal. The article explores the controversies surrounding Berlin’s airports, including the drawn-out construction of Berlin Brandenburg Airport (which opened last month, well overdue and overbudget) and the ad hoc use of the historic Tempelhof Airport as a refugee shelter in 2015.
The journal issue, titled Onus, contains essays and projects that examine the ethical questions and moral tensions arising during the ideation, development, completion, and aftermath of the architectural design process.