Julia Walker at the Society of Architectural Historians

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.


Undergraduate Activities: Caelum Rogers at the SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium

Art History major Caelum Rogers will be presenting a paper on April 18 at the second annual SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium:

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.

Nancy Um to speak at the University of Chicago

De haven van Mocha, 1616, Adriaen Matham, 1646. Courtesy Rijksmuseum

Nancy Um will deliver a lecture at the Neubauer Collegium at the University of Chicago on Friday, Feburary 14, 2020, at 12 pm. The talk is entitled, “From City to Text to Image: Pieter van den Broecke and Safi ibn Vali in Seventeenth-Century Mocha.”

Binghamton at CAA 2020

The following Binghamton students, faculty, staff, and alumni are presenting at CAA 2020 in Chicago. View the full program here: https://www.collegeart.org/programs/conference/conference2020/schedule
Lalaine Bangilan Little, Misericordia University
“Ornament and Order in the Spanish Colonial Philippines”
Session: Barriers, Borders, and Boundaries in the Early Modern World
Thursday, February 13, 2020
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Hilton Chicago – 3rd Floor – Wilford C
Nancy Um, Binghamton University
Lauren Cesiro, Binghamton University
Workshop Leaders
Session: From Knowledge to Data in Art History (Digital Art History Society)
Thursday, February 13, 2020
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Salon C-7
Claire Kovacs, Binghamton University Art Museum
Idea Exchange Host
Session: Advocacy Needs for Academic Curators
Thursday, February 13, 2020
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Salon C – Orange Table
Paulina Banas, Maryland Institute College of Art
“Émile Prisse d’Avennes’ drawings of the Nile Valley and the construction of Islamic Egypt in the mid-nineteenth century illustrated travel album”
Session: Topographical Drawing
Friday, February 14, 2020
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Hilton Chicago – 4th Floor – 4K
Jess Brody, Binghmaton University
“Transgender Identity: Toyen in the Czech Avant-Garde
Session: Undergraduate Research Poster Presentations
Friday, February 14, 2020
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Lower Level Lobby
Ihnmi Jon, Binghamton University

“Art Chinois, Chine Demain Pour Hier (Chinese Art, China’s Yesterday for Tomorrow, 1990): The Ambition of Fei Dawei as a ‘Middle Man'”

Meiqin Wang, California State University Northridge

Curating Rural Reconstruction: Zuo Jing and Art for Community Development

(Ihnmi Jon is also chair for this session)
Session: From Being to Doing: Curating Contemporary Chinese Art
Friday, February 14, 2020
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Hilton Chicago – 3rd Floor – Waldorf Room
Kevin Hatch, Binghamton University
“Protest/Time: Wally Hedrick’s Vietnam Series”
Session: Framing Black Paintings: Histories and Legacies in the American 20th Century
Friday, February 14, 2020
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Hilton Chicago – 3rd Floor – Williford A
Zohreh Soltani, Binghamton University
“The Prison of Time: Tehran’s Qasr Prison Museum as a Transfunctional Monument”
Session: Spatial and Visual (Re)production in the Middle East and Asia
Saturday, February 15, 2020
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Salon C-6
Nancy Um, Binghamton University
Session: Art and Frontier
Saturday, February 15, 2020
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Hilton Chicago – 3rd Floor – Waldorf Room

Book Launch in Ukraine

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.

Jeffrey West Kirkwood joins advisory board of the new media journal MAST

MAST is an online, open-access, and double-blind peer-reviewed journal featuring interdisciplinary scholarship in the domain of Media Study. MAST stands for “Media Art Study and Theory” and aims to publish and promote innovative research and writing by artists and scholars who present new methods, approaches, questions, and studies in the field of media study and practice. The journal is relevant to academics, artists, researchers, theorists, and art curators with an interest in artistic research, theory, and praxis of media, introducing work that demonstrates a clear and creative engagement with current debates in media studies.

Associate Professor Tom McDonough in conversation with artist Tony Cokes

On Saturday, April 27, Tom McDonough and post-Conceptual artist Tony Cokes discussed Cokes’s practice at The 8th Floor in New York, addressing several of his text-based videos currently on view in the exhibition Revolution from Without…. Drawing from sources including journalism, critical and cultural theory, popular music, and propaganda, Cokes edits and decontructs language to make visible what we suspect has been strategically removed from circulation.