The exhibition “Buildings that Fill my Eye”: Architectural Heritage of Yemen opens on July 13 at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog, which includes an essay by Nancy Um. For every copy sold 5 GBP will be donated to the UNHCR Yemen Emergency Appeal.
Doctoral candidate Melissa Fitzmaurice presented a paper last Friday, June 9, as part of the panel Rethinking Medieval Rome: Architecture and Urbanism at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in Glasgow, Scotland. Melissa was awarded the Gill Family Foundation Graduate Student Annual Conference Fellowship to support her travel to Glasgow.
Fascist Medievalism: Architecture, Authority, and Dissent in Rome
The demolitions involved in the excavation of the Mausoleum of Augustus and the creation of a surrounding piazza began on October 22, 1934, and eventually led to the destruction of 27,000 square meters within the city of Rome.[i]What was selected to remain is as important as what was destroyed: Mussolini routinely called for the isolation of ancient monuments, but in the case of the Mausoleum, there were buildings that stood in the way of the ideal isolation. Three medieval churches were protected and worked into the various plans for the piazzale over 30 years. Despite this and other cases, in the study of Italian Fascism and the regime’s urban and architectural interventions in Rome, the medieval city is often overlooked- the antique world looms much larger. But the medieval offered a certain ideological utility to the regime as well, which must be examined. Using digital mapping and modeling tools, and case studies including the preservation of medieval buildings during the production of the Piazzale Augusto Imperatore and the destruction of churches during the excavation of the Via dell’Impero, this project constitutes a palimpsestuous exploration of the legacy of medieval Rome. Beyond recognizing the use, manipulation, or destruction of medieval sites, this paper seeks to highlight the enduring power of medieval architecture on the Roman landscape, identifying the possibility or actuality of production of political and ecclesiastical authority, and dissent from that authority, in order to produce a deeper understanding of the continuities and ruptures between the medieval city, the fascist city, and the present.
Doctoral candidate Nicole Wagner has been selected to participate in the Mellon Summer Institute in Italian Paleography, held from July 10-28 at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles:
This three-week residential course offers an intensive introduction to reading and transcription of handwritten Italian vernacular texts from the late medieval though the early modern periods. The course is taught in Italian.
While the emphasis is on building paleographical skills, the course also offers an overview of materials and techniques, and considers the history of scripts within the larger historical, literary, intellectual, and social contexts of Italy. Participants practice on a wide range of documents including literary, personal, legal, notarial, official, and ecclesiastical works. The course provides insight into the systems of Italian archives and allows participants to work with inventories, letters, diaries, and other primary source materials from the Getty Research Institute and other collections in the area.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Jacob Zuma before a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Nov. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Assistant Professor Julia Walker will be presenting a paper this Friday, June 9, as part of the panel Publicly Postmodern: Government Agency and 1980s Architecture at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in Glasgow, Scotland.
Dissolving Monumentality: Schultes and Frank’s Berlin Chancellery Building
This paper examines a crucial government project—Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank’s Federal Chancellery Building in Berlin—completed in the waning years of postmodernism’s trajectory, but no less emblematic for that fact. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and Germany’s decision to return to Berlin after years of retreat in Bonn, the government sought to define a new image for itself through the architecture of its past and future capital. A yearning for a return to tradition infused the series of government competitions held to determine the master plan and individual buildings of the federal district, and the results show the government’s attempt to discover a simultaneously light and monumental architectural idiom.
This typically postmodern monumentality is most apparent in the proposals submitted to the Chancellery competition held in 1994. O. M. Ungers’s colonnaded design won third prize, while the firm KSV placed second with a proposal that jurors deemed indisputably classical. Yet Schultes and Frank seemed to have struck the balance between continuing the rhetoric of modest transparency established in Bonn and offering a new architectural confidence to the reunified nation. Their design, a nine-story, partially transparent cube flanked by lower wings, was intended to elicit “sympathy at the first glance,” as the architects stated. Its forbears are the pastoral government buildings designed at the beginning of the postmodern turn for developing nations, like Le Corbusier’s designs for Chandigarh or Louis Kahn’s National Assembly in Dhaka, as well as Romaldo Giurgola’s high postmodern New Parliament House in Canberra. By using this mode of monumentality, I argue, the German government intentionally and explicitly aligns itself with the political liberalization of postcolonial capitals. Yet implicitly, it also aligns itself with economic neoliberalization; this dissolved monumentality powerfully evokes the elimination of barriers fundamental to Germany’s new role in the global economy.
Image via wikipedia.com.
On June 4, Associate Professor Tom McDonough will take part in the Festival de l’histoire de l’art in France, held at the Château de Fontainebleau. Together with Jean-Pierre Criqui and Daniel Soutif, McDonough will be discussing the work of artist Theaster Gates.
Members of Drakabygget creating a Co-ritus work of art. Jens Jørgen Thorsen and Olav Herman Hansen at Bergens Kunstforening, 1966. From the photo archive of Elsebet Rahl.
Doctoral candidate Wylie Schwartz has been invited to present a paper, titled “Pedagogy, Ritual, Resistance: Collective Transgression in the Aesthetic Practices of The Bauhaus Situationist Drakabygget” at the conference Forming Collectives: Strategies in Modern and Contemporary Art organized by the Warburg-Haus in Hamburg, Germany. The conference will be held from October 9-13, 2017.
Binghamton University, and particularly the Department of Art History, was amply represented by faculty, staff, current graduate students, and alumni at the 2017 Digital Humanities Summer Workshops at the University of Guelph. Participants included (from left to right) Julia Glauberman (Reference/Instructional Librarian), Eve Snyder (PhD candidate, History), Tracy Stuber (BA, Art History, 2011), Jeannine Keefer (PhD, Art History, 2013), Marcia Focht (Curator, Visual Resources), Nancy Um (Associate Professor, Art History), Lauren Cesiro (PhD program, Art History), and Mariah Postlewait (PhD program, Art History). They took courses such as “Get Down with your Data,” “Introduction to Digital Humanities Pedagogy,” “Spatial Humanities,” “Omeka Workshop,” “Making Manuscripts Digital,” and “Online Public Intellectual Work through Social Media.” More at #dhatguelph2017