Nancy Um will deliver the talk, “Viewing Mocha from Sea, Air, and Land,” a Henry Luce Indian Ocean Distinguished Lecture, at the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai. This talk will be presented on Friday, October 23, 2020, at 9 pm (New York)/ Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 9 am (Shanghai) via Zoom. Registration is required: https://cga.shanghai.nyu.edu/viewing-mocha-from-sea-air-and-land/
On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, at 7:30 pm EST, Nancy Um will deliver a lecture entitled “Mapping the Discipline, Plotting the Data of the History of Art,” for MAP IT | Little Dots, Big Ideas, a lecture series at Emory University, sponsored by the Art History Department and the Center for Digital Scholarship. This lecture will be delivered by Zoom and is open to the public. Pre-registration is required by Monday, September 21: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeklu4kB270FyKdLRsEi9GyREs7vemb30y52dYb9vN6njEh5w/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0
The book launch will be hosted by El Museo, and will take place virtually from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Zoom. The event will include the participation of Raphael Montañez Ortiz and monograph editor Javier Rivero Ramos, and will feature contributions from Chon Noriega (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center), Ana Perry (CUNY Graduate Center), and artists Marcos Dimas, Pedro Reyes, and Juan Sanchez. Conversations will be followed by a Q&A.
Julia Walker will be presenting a paper today as part of the panel The Problems and Potentials of Architectural Biography at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, to be held virtually this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just AM!”: Brigitte D’Ortschy, Architecture, and Zen
In 2019, the biographer Robert Caro published his memoirs, reflecting on a career spent exploring the lives of fixers and kingmakers. For a successful biography, Caro avows, “you have to choose the right man.” With titles like The Power Broker (describing Robert Moses) and The Path to Power (referring to Lyndon B. Johnson), Caro’s oeuvre makes clear that the very terms of biography are individualist, public, political, powerful—and, perhaps above all, male.
Given the deep roots of these biases within the genre of biography, how might we understand the life of the German architect Brigitte D’Ortschy? Born and trained in Berlin, in 1950 D’Ortschy spent several months at a retraining program for German architects at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During this program, she was most affected by a lecture delivered to the group by Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1953, Wright invited her to become an apprentice at Taliesin West. After a year at Taliesin, D’Ortschy moved permanently to Japan to study Zen Buddhism, eventually becoming the first Zen master from Germany. Though she is well known to scholars of Zen, she is virtually unknown in the history of architecture, despite her prolific career as an architect and planner.
D’Ortschy’s fascinating life thus engages a number of biography’s methodological ambivalences—first in the context of her status as a woman in architecture, with its masculinist history of heroic self-fashioning through biographical performance (of which Wright may be the exemplar); and second in the context of Zen, with its simultaneous belief in both the illusoriness and the essentiality of the self. Though D’Ortschy’s spiritual exploration led her away from contemplating her life’s details, allowing her to declare, “I just AM!,” the truth, biographically speaking, proves more complex.
A Century of Photography: History of Japanese Photographic Expression in the Past 100 Years and the Legacy of Realism in Post-War Japan
This presentation aims to situate the exhibition, A Century of Photography: History of Japanese Photographic Expression in the Past 100 Years, held in Tokyo in 1968, within the larger context of twentieth-century debates in Japan on the nature and role of photographic realism. It examines the central roles played by Taki Koji and Nakahira Takuma in shaping the way that the history of Japanese photography was presented in the exhibition, and the close relationship between that history and the larger photo-critical project Taki and Nakahira pursued in their short-lived photo-magazine, Provoke. Tracing the development of realist photographic aesthetics in the period before 1945, the presentation seeks to show how that aesthetic laid the basis for the dominant forms of post-war Japanese photography. It was an aesthetic challenged, however, by Taki and Nakahira, and analysis of the structure of the 1968 exhibition shows that the exhibition’s narrative of history directly engaged contemporary aesthetic and political debates around photography through Taki and Nakahira’s use of nineteenth-century archival photography to critique Japanese photography’s claims to truth and to offer a radically different understanding of photographic realism.
“Art Chinois, Chine Demain Pour Hier (Chinese Art, China’s Yesterday for Tomorrow, 1990): The Ambition of Fei Dawei as a ‘Middle Man'”
Curating Rural Reconstruction: Zuo Jing and Art for Community Development
More than two hundred people gathered on October 29 in Kyiv, Ukraine, for the launch of a new translation of The Burden of Representation by Distinguished Professor John Tagg. Published by Rodovid and translated by Yustyna Kravchuk, the Ukranian edition has a new afterword and new and expanded illustrations. The photographs below show preparations for the book launch in Rodovid’s offices; Yustyna Kravchuk, the translator; Maria Panchenko, project coordinator; Alona Solomadina, designer; and the audience that gathered for the talks. Rudi Giuliani, however, couldn’t be there.
Assistant Professor Julia Walker will be presenting a paper this Friday, April 26, as part of the panel Agora to RiverFire: Landscapes Histories of the Public Realm at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in Providence, RI.
Parades, Conventions, Rallies: Public Space and the Politics of Suffrage in New York State
In the United States, the turn of the twentieth century witnessed significant changes in the status of women in public space. Specific concern in this paper is the way in which women active in the suffrage movement in New York State made canny use of public space, using their new visibility in innovative ways specific both to their cause and to their time. By appearing en masse outside the private sphere, and by harnessing the power of new visual technologies like photography and film, these women inverted traditional regimes of surveillance and spatial control. Suffragists thus enacted what Jacques Rancière defines as “politics”—when “the natural order of domination is interrupted by the institution of a part of those who have no part.” For Rancière, politics is opposed to governance or rule, which he describes as “policing.” Instead, politics creates a state of indeterminacy that productively destabilizes authority. With its public squares, its streets and street walls, and its emphasis on community meeting places, I argue that the American city itself enabled this indeterminacy.
Drawing on work by scholars of gender and urbanism, this paper examines this new politics of public space. It also makes use of primary sources that have been discovered in conjunction with celebrations of the New York State suffrage centennial. Together with local and state organizations, architectural historians have been working to reveal this important history. Recent events include the city of Binghamton’s reenactment of its own significant suffrage parade and the landmarking of new sites on the “Suffrage Trail,” including the Centenary Methodist Church in Binghamton, where the state held its annual suffrage convention in 1913, and the Old Village Hall in the township of Lisle, where Florence Chauncey cast the first vote by a woman in New York State on January 5, 1918.
BU Professor Weighs in on Notre Dame Restoration