This April 12, 2013 celebration honored the scholarly work and image collections of the history of art faculty whose life-long work has helped to make the collections what they are today: (l to r above) Professors Ilene Forsyth, Diane Kirkpatrick, and Richard Edwards. Not picture is the late David Huntington.
By naming the collections after the faculty who created them, we honored those whose work took them around the world to document art represented in everything from museums to monuments to caves. This visual documentation is precious and unique. The scholarly value of the collection has been greatly enriched by these exceptional contributions.
The Importance of Imagery in Teaching Art History
Diane Kirkpatrick's Collection
Romanesque Collection by Ilene Forsyth
David Huntington's Collection
The Palace Collection by Richard Edwards
About the emeriti faculty collections:
Richard Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Far Eastern Art
Richard Edwards not only managed to create a permanent home for The Palace Collection here at the VRC, but donated thousands of images of his own taken throughout his travels to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. He was also instrumental in encouraging Dr. Kozo Sasaki to donate his collection of teaching imagery to the VRC.
Ilene Forsyth, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emerita of the History of Art
Ilene Forsyth created the Romanesque Collection of 5,500 study photographs illustrating the French monuments focusing on Romanesque sculpture. This browsing collection allows students and scholars to compare the intricate details of these landmark pieces. She also supports the ongoing research in her late husband George Forsyth’s ground-breaking documentation of St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula.
David Huntington, Professor of History of Art (deceased)
David Huntington contributed tens of thousands of slides taken during his research on Frederic Edwin Church. He was also instrumental in the saving of the Church’s Olana estate. Making widely available his skillful detail shots will provide much scholarly research for years to come.
Diane Kirkpatrick, Arthur F Thurnau Professor and Professor Emerita of History of Art
The more than 30,000 images collected by Diane Kirkpatrick are being processed for greater access. This collection, painstakingly identified by Professor Kirkpatrick, represents the best of the modern art field at its critical expansion of art and technology. They are richly taken and were created through her personal relationships in the art world. The images are interdisciplinary and provide research in other areas, such as Judaic, African-American, and women’s studies.
Students and Prof. Rebecca Zurier in front the of the 59th Street Bridge, the subject of a George Bellows painting The Bridge, Blackwell’s Island, around which the class curated an exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art. View the slideshow here.
By Alison Reed and Judy Su
Professor Rebecca Zurier’s History of Art 479: George Bellows and the Ashcan School will most likely be one of the most memorable courses in art history for many of us. It provided our class the unique opportunity to curate an exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art while learning a considerable amount about New York in the early-twentieth century, a fascinating period for American art.
Our exhibition, George Bellows and New York: 1900-1940, February 14th to April 16th, 2013, is based on Bellows’ The Bridge: Blackwell’s Island, held at the Toledo Museum of Art. Our exhibit is open concurrently with George Bellows, a major retrospective that started in Washington D.C. and moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York during the fall of 2012. Because of conditional issues, The Bridge: Blackwell’s Island could not leave the Toledo museum, and so is not included in the retrospective. This provided the perfect opportunity to create an exhibition in nearby Toledo focused around this painting while the retrospective is on view in New York.
One of the most exciting aspects of the class was our interaction with the staff at the Toledo Museum of Art. Many of us who had only been learning about art and museums in an academic setting had our first opportunity to experience what working in an actual museum is like. We met with several of the staff at the museum, including Carolyn Putney, the chief curator, and Tim Motz, the media specialist, who helped us learn how to create a strong exhibit. Tom Loeffler, curator of works on paper, assisted us in collectively choosing the prints and drawings to supplement the focal painting of our exhibit.
In curating the exhibit, we divided into groups, each one having a contact at the museum to help guide us through the process. We all learned a lot about how much goes into an exhibition, including times when our hopes couldn’t be met because of the constraints of museum work in practice as opposed to theory. In addition to our group work, we each wrote a label for one of the pieces that we picked out as a class, working with Paula Reich, the museum’s curatorial project manager. Working with the Toledo Museum of Art staff was incredible informative and fun. They really helped us improve our work, and had a lot of great stories to tell.
Our class was also fortunate enough to go to New York City to view the George Bellows retrospective and to do more research on our exhibition topic. We also visited many spaces that Bellows and his peers depicted of their New York lives.
Our first stop once we reached the city was the 59th Street Bridge itself, the subject of The Bridge, Blackwell’s Island. We tried to find the angle from which we imagined Bellows was looking at the bridge when he made the painting, and took some photos that came pretty close. We then made our way to the Met, where we viewed the retrospective and afterwards gave group presentations about a chosen Bellows painting, using what we had learned throughout the semester about the artist and early-twentieth-century America. After our presentations, Lisa Messinger, one of the exhibition curators, and exhibition designer Michael Langley showed us the layout of the exhibit and answered all of our curatorial questions. We left with a better understanding of what it takes to put on an exhibit, and with plenty of ideas for our own.
The next day, we visited the proposed location of Bellows’ New York (1911) and tried to figure out if the corner of Broadway and 23rd, near the Flatiron Building, was where he painted this famous piece. After deciding that he must have taken a few artistic liberties in his depiction, we went to the Woolworth building for a quick look at the beautiful architecture and decoration inside, then trekked to the Tenement Museum and the Lower East Side. There we took two tours to learn more about immigrant life in the early 1900s, since Bellows made paintings of tenement neighborhoods. Afterwards we went to see Bellows’ and artist Robert Henri’s houses in Gramercy Park, a huge contrast to the immigrant neighborhoods. Finally, we walked to Grand Central Terminal, another example of what made the “new” New York in that time period.
Curating an exhibit, first-hand exposure to artwork being studied in class, visiting sites depicted in the artwork. All of these factors, together with the incredible knowledge of Professor Zurier and the many museum staff with whom we interacted, gave us a greater depth of understanding, and an academic experience of a lifetime.
Professor & Chair Matthew Biro with esteemed art critic Donald Kuspit.
The department had a stellar line up of lectures and other events during the 2011-12 school year, and some amazing posters to go along with them! Click here to view the slideshow.
On Friday April 27, 2012, history of art students of the class of 2012 and their families joined faculty and staff at the U-M Museum of Art for the annual graduation reception.
Department chair, Professor Matt Biro opened the event, followed by award presentations by the director of undergraduate studies, Professor Kevin Carr. Congratulations to all and best of luck in your future endeavors!
2012 History of Art Undergraduate Student Awards
Henry P. Tappan Award for Academic Excellence
Henry P. Tappan Award for Outstanding Performance in the History of Art Honors Program
Henry P. Tappan Award for General Studies in the History of Art
Henry P. Tappan Award for Outstanding Performance in a Triple Major with the History of Art
Gabby Hyunsun Park
Henry P. Tappan Award for Outstanding Service in the History of Art
On April 3, undergraduate art history students gathered for lunch and presentations by three U-M history of art alumni. Anna Clark, Natalie Morath, and Elizabeth Yochim gave short presentations addressing how the skills they developed as art history concentrators have translated to jobs and careers after graduation. The presentations were followed by a question and answer session. Later that afternoon, Elizabeth Yochim facilitated a pARTiciPLAY session, an experiential tour of select outdoor UMMA sculptures. This movement-based technique provides a chance to learn about the sculpture and the surrounding environment in a new way while engaging sensory and spatial awareness.
Anna Clark, freelance journalist (BA 2003)
Anna Clark is an independent journalist living in Detroit. She writes reported news features, longform nonfiction, and book reviews, and she has an omnivorous range: she most often covers literature (especially international literature), culture, health, prisons, gender, sports, and media stories. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, The American Prospect, Salon, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Grantland, The Detroit Free Press, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Review, and other publications. She is currently a political media correspondent for the Columbia Journalism Review. In 2011, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Nairobi, Kenya, and also has been a fellow with the Peter Jennings Center for Journalists and the Constitution. She writes the literary blog Isak (www.annaclark.net) and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Anna is a writer-in-residence with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, and on Thursday evenings, she facilitates a theater workshop at a men's prison in Macomb County, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan's Residential College with highest honors, and from Warren Wilson College's MFA Program for Writers.
Natalie Morath, archivist (BA 2009)
Natalie Morath is an archivist at Eastern Michigan University's Bruce T. Halle Library. After pursuing her BA in History of Art from the University of Michigan, she attended Wayne State University's School of Library and Information Science, where she graduated with an MLIS and a Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration in 2011. Her previous experiences includes contract work for the Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library & Archive, the General Motors Design Center Archive and Special Collections, and the Edsel & Eleanor Ford Estate, where she completed projects in audio-visual preservation, cataloguing, exhibition design, and manuscript processing. She is currently pursuing her certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists.
Elizabeth Yochim, creator at Participlay & principal at Yochim Arts (BA 1995)
Elizabeth Yochim is passionate about public engagement in and around the arts. She is the creator of pARTiciPLAY; principal at Yochim Arts; and lives and works in Los Angeles, California. pARTiciPLAY produces uniquely social and interactive experiences with art and architectural environments incorporating play and movement; and Yochim Arts is a fine arts firm specializing in the appraisal and consultation of modern and contemporary paintings, prints, photographs, and sculpture for individual collectors, artists, attorneys, wealth management advisors, corporations, insurance companies, and fine art institutions.Yochim was head of the International Division at Timothy Yarger Fine Art Beverly Hills from 2003 to 2010, overseeing all aspects of producing the gallery’s national and international exhibition projects including large scale exhibitions in Bangkok, Thailand; Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, China; and Singapore. Since 2004 she has volunteered as a national facilitator and contributed to the curriculum and public programming for Turning the Wheel Productions, a non-profit youth and community outreach organization.She received her BA in art history from the University of Michigan in 1995 with a specialization in Italian Renaissance Art and has lived and traveled extensively in Italy, Argentina, and Japan before moving to California in 2001.
While all cultures have created gems of visual art, few have written much about them. This problem has stimulated historians of art repeatedly to develop cosmopolitan theories capable of engaging all artistic traditions in meaningful ways. Roger Fry in the early-twentieth century and E. H. Gombrich in mid-century discussed and compared the arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe using models designed to make those arts meaningful to their readers. For these theorists, the rich record of artistic practice in China offered especially fertile ground for speculation, because throughout its history China produced a written record of art history, art theory, and criticism comparable to that of Europe. Towards the end of the twentieth century the discipline began to focus on the role of art in its historical context. The results were impressive, but broad, cross-cultural theorization took a back seat as a result.
The situation has changed during the past decade, with many prominent scholars in the humanities--James Elkins, Nicholas Mirzoeff, W.J.T. Mitchell, John Onians, and David Summers among others--writing ambitious tomes designed to overcome cultural parochialisms, searching for a common descriptive language for understanding art in its multiple functions. These scholars likewise found China’s record of art theory useful. Some have even written books about Chinese art, just as several leading historians of China have begun to write on topics spanning “East and West” in recent years. Yet none of these scholars have had the opportunity to meet together with more than a handful of experts outside their own field to discuss their common concerns together.
Room For Another View: China's Art is Disciplinary Perspective, held during winter term 2012 on the University of Michigan campus, was the first large-scale conference to provide a forum for such scholars to come together and focus on core issues in the discipline of art history. With several of the most prominent theorists from both fields present, it was the aim of the conference to explore meta-disciplinary perspectives around such topics as academies, print, landscape, gardens, fashion, canons, and the language of art itself. China scholars offered formal presentations, previews of longer essays that will be published in the Blackwell Companion to Chinese Art (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), but at least as important were the lively discussions that followed. These discussions included prominent scholars from across the globe as well as eminent historians, literary scholars, artists, and social scientists from the University of Michigan. During the two-day conference, men and women who have devoted much thought to cross-disciplinary study offered many nuggets of insight and wisdom that provoked and inspired all who attended.
This conference was organized by the U-M Department of History of Art and co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan and the U-M Center for Chinese Studies, with additional support from the International Institute, Institute for the Humanities, Rackham Graduate School, Office of the Vice President for Research, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; School of Art & Design, U-M Museum of Art, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, and the Departments of Comparative Literature, Anthropology, Philosophy, and History.
The History of Art Freer Symposium, “Barbarians, Monsters, Hybrids, and Mutants: Asian Inventions of Others,” held October 22, 2011 at the U-M Museum of Art.
When and under what circumstances do people invent the concept of “the other”? This question has been posed and responded to many times over in a largely modern, colonial, Eurocentric context. However, the invention of “others” is not simply a European prerogative: it is a practice common to cultures and societies throughout the world, past and present. This timely symposium examined these issues in a visually rich, historically grounded and contextualized collection of talks and discussions that focused critical analytic attention on the manifold Asian imagination and invention of “others.” The symposium highlighted and examined the robust and visually potent technologies of “othering” deployed in Asia by Asians past and present while addressing the multiple contexts, regional variations, and sets of interests, involved. In this way, it focused both multi-media representations of "others" and on how and why these variable constructions were mobilized around complex cross- and intra-cultural negotiations over time.
The symposium was organized by Professor Jennifer Robertson. Invited speakers were: Fabio Rambelli (University of California, Santa Barb era, Maurizio Peleggi (National University of Singapore), Ayelet Zohar (Haifa University, Israel), and keynote speaker Ali Behdad (University of California Los Angeles). The event concluded with a panel discussion with the speakers and professors Kevin Carr, Martin Powers, Celeste Brusati, Margaret Root, Christiane Gruber, Toyota Visiting Professor Melanie Trede, and graduate student Tina Le. The audience of over 125 consisted of both graduate and undergraduate students, faculty from U-M as well as other institutions, and members of the broader community.
This Department of History of Art event was co-sponsored by the Charles Lang Freer Endowment and the U-M Museum of Art, with additional sponsorship from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Office of the Vice President for Research; Institute for the Humanities; International Institute; Rackham School of Graduate Studies; Department of Anthropology; School of Art & Design; Department of Asian Languages & Cultures; Center for Japanese Studies; Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies; Department of History; Department of Screen Arts & Cultures; Department of Near Eastern Studies; Center for South Asian Studies.
On Friday April 29, 2011, new history of art graduates and their families joined faculty and staff in the lobby of Tappan Hall for the annual graduation reception.
Department chair, Professor Matt Biro opened the event, followed by award presentations by the director of undergraduate studies, Professor Rebecca Zurier. Congratulations to all and best of luck in your future endeavors!
2011 Undergraduate Award Winners
Henry P. Tappan Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Art Honors Program
Henry P. Tappan Award for Academic Excellence in the History of Art
Soo Yeon Shim
Henry P. Tappan Award for Outstanding Performance in a Triple Major with the History of Art
Henry P. Tappan Award for Exceptional Contributions to the Program in History of Art
Henry P. Tappan Award for Excellence in General Studies in the History of Art
Graduating Seniors 2011
History of Art Concentrators
Bailey Benson §
Michael Bosbous ~
Chelsea Brown ~
Sudipta Dasmunshi ~
Christina Denooyer ~
Clara Gamalski *
Amanda Ghourdjian ~
Marina Gross-Hoy ~ +
Kelly Johnson ~
Sriya Karumanchi ~
Jessica Li ~
Sara Olds ~
Sarah Parker *
Zoe Piontek ~
Summer Radtke ~
Samantha Schwartz ~
Soo Yeon Shim *
Anna Stotland +
Meg Urisko *
Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen ~ +
* Honors ~ Double Concentration § Triple Concentration + Residential College
History of Art Minors
On April 4, four alumni returned to Tappan Hall to share their experience going from U-M to the real world. Mary Deyoe, Raquel Gimenez, Andrew Pierce, and Steve Roach each gave a short presentation and then convened in a panel to answer questions from students followed by a reception at the U-M Museum of Art.
History of Art students develop a sophisticated level of visual literacy, including the ability to analyze works of art and their social effects, an awareness of how values can be negotiated through visual culture, the ability to engage with a wide range of critical methods, and more. But how does this literacy translate to a job after graduation? This event helped undergraduate students answer this question and others. View the slideshow.
Raquel Gimenez (BA 2007), art director at digital advertising agency, New York, NY
Steve Roach (BA 2002), lawyer, rare coin and fine art expert appraiser and consultant, Dallas, TX
Mary DeYoe (BA 2006), former education program coordinator at U-M Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
Andrew Pierce (BGS 1998), operations manager at Eaton Corporation
The University of Michigan Department of the History of Art featured Vishakha N. Desai, president and CEO of the Asia Society NY, at its second annual Charles Lang Freer Lecture in the Visual Arts on February 15, 2011.
Titled "The Future of Asia’s Cultural Past," the lecture illustrated how, from the time of Charles Freer in the late-nineteenth century to most of the twentieth century, “Asian art” was synonymous with pre-modern or traditional arts of Asia. Dr. Desai explained that with the arrival of contemporary arts on the scene in the last two decades, accompanied by rapid economic growth of Asian countries, especially China and India, traditional arts are now at risk of being overshadowed by the contemporary art obsessions in popular culture as well as in scholarly communities.
Our 2010 symposium focused on the publishing, design, and distribution of art books and books on art in a time of rapid change in the publishing industry. The panelists, drawing on a wide range of professional experience, offered a diversity of perspectives as they reflected on both the challenges and the possibilities of publishing books in which the visual is paramount, in which images are integral and design conveys meaning. All proposed ways of moving forward in uncertain, if exciting, times.
Joseph Imorde, professor, University of Siegen, founder of Edition Imorde, Berlin
Gloria Kury, director, Gutenberg Periscope Publishing, Ltd., Pittsburgh
Lisa Middag, publications director, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo, professor, School of Art & Design, University of Michigan
Paul Wagner, senior designer, Princeton Architectural Press, New York