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Art and Art History

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ART_DEPARTMENT

Against Reason: Anti/Enlightenment Prints

“Against Reason: Anti/Enlightenment Prints by Callot, Hogarth, Piranesi and Goya,” an art exhibition exploring the darker side of the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, opens Friday, April 3, at the Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, Enlightenment thinkers in Britain, France, and elsewhere in Europe began to question religious and political authority, embracing the notion that humanity could be improved through critical reasoning. The Enlightenment produced scientific discoveries, legislative reform, pioneering philosophical texts, wars, and revolutions. It also supported the institution of slavery. 

Featuring prints by Jacques Callot, William Hogarth, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, "Against Reason" examines the dangers of secularism, nationalism and a scientific method that dismisses rather than exalts the qualities that make us both human and humane.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, was curated by Timothy McCall ’15, Maria Shevelkina ’15, Dana Sly ’15, Emma Vale ’15, Elizabeth Allen ’16, Mai Pham ’16, and Hannah Storch ’16. The students worked under the direction of J. Vanessa Lyon, assistant professor of art history, during a fall 2014 exhibition seminar.

"With Good Reason: Conversations, Celebration and Music" will be held at Faulconer Gallery at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 17, featuring the opportunity to speak with student curators and hear music from the Enlightenment period. Faculty members from the departments of philosophy, English, and French will join student curators in a roundtable discussion on the themes of the exhibition at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the gallery.

"Against Reason" will be on view through Sunday, Aug. 2. The Faulconer Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. This exhibition includes a loan of four prints from Legacies for Iowa: A University of Iowa Museum of Art Collections Sharing Project, supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in a lot behind the building just north of Sixth Ave. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

 

Unveiled and Queering the Fortress Europe

Katrin Sieg, professor of German and European Studies at Georgetown University, will screen Fremde Haut (Unveiled) at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 4, in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 152. She will hold a question and answer session after the screening.

At noon Tuesday, May 5, she will presents "Queering the Fortress Europe," in Burling Library Lounge. In the talk, Sieg will place the film in the larger context of asylum law and policy in Europe.

Fremde Haut tells the tale of a lesbian fleeing persecution in Iran. When she escapes to Germany she passes as a man to gain refugee status, and then falls in love with a German woman.

European asylum law and policy is increasingly coming under attack for its inability to protect those fleeing persecution, either for political reasons or for belonging to particular ethnic, racial or social group, including gay, lesbian, and transgendered people.

Sieg asks, "How has queer European cinema and visual culture of the past decade helped to conceptualize the enactment of queer desires and identities as a human right?  The enshrining of gay rights in EU law, and the celebration of queer icons at such popular events as the annual Eurovision Song Contest seemingly signal the unequivocal victory of gay rights as human rights.  What perverse impulse, then, drives some European filmmakers to call the discourse of a cosmopolitan, ethnically diverse and sexually tolerant Europe into question?"

Sieg’s visit is sponsored by Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, the departments of History, Art and Art History, and the Cultural Films Committee.

All are welcome. Refreshments and a small snack will be provided.

Shacks and Shanties/Medium Cool

Artist Faheem Majeed will present on the Shacks and Shanties project at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Faulconer Gallery. The project was a multifaceted South Side Chicago installation initiative that served as a collaborative 
platform for artist interventions, and a space for civically engaged community members and organizations.

Majeed will also screen the film "Medium Cool" by Haskell Wexler at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 29 in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302. In his 1969 review, Roger Ebert wrote "In Medium Cool, Wexler forges back and forth through several levels...There are fictional characters in real situations...there are real characters in fictional situations." The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for its significance. Faheem will talk about the film, which he cites as one of his inspirations as a creative artist.

Majeed, a full-time practicing artist, tackles questions about civic-mindedness, community activism, and institutional racism through environment and art. He was the inaugural artist in residence for University of Chicago’s Arts in Public Life Initiative, and has taught classes in socially engaged art practices. He has also been active in arts administration, curation, and community facilitation.

These events are sponsored by The Cultural Films Committee, Faulconer Gallery, and the Department of Art and Art History

Andelson, Chen at Iowa Humanities Festival

Two faculty members from Grinnell College will deliver presentations at the Iowa Humanities Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, April 10-11.

Iowa Humanities Festival LogoThe Iowa Humanities Festival welcomes Iowans to explore significant themes through the lens of the academic and public humanities. This year’s theme, "The Elusive Prairie," will be explored from the perspectives of the arts, biology, history, literature, performance, and religion. Presenters from across the state will be featured in the two-day festival.

Presenters from Grinnell are:

Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art
9:45 a.m. Saturday, April 11, at the Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Ave.
In "Taking Sculpture for a Walk: Prairie as Site," Chen will explain how a prairie site has infused his artwork with new meanings, and will share further thoughts on his creative process.
Jonathan Andelson, professor of anthropology
3:15 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at Salisbury House, 4025 Tonawanda Drive
Andelson will present "Metaphor and Meaning in Early French Descriptions of 'La Prairie.' " Andelson, founder of Grinnell's Center for Prairie Studies, has conducted research on the earliest French explorers and missionaries in Iowa and the Upper Mississippi Valley and their views of the prairie landscapes they encountered there. His analysis of the first impressions of these settlers offers an interpretation of what has been lost and gained by the conversion of prairie into farmland.

The Iowa Humanities Festival is a ticketed event. Registration is $10. Information on parking and accessibility at each venue can be found at the venues’ websites. 

 

BAX Student Exhibition

The Bachelor of Arts Exhibition (BAX), which features works in the creative arts by students at Grinnell College, will open with a reception at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 10, at the Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

BAX is an exhibition of works by advanced art students. This year, the exhibition will feature works by 26 students. Though many of this year's artists major in studio art, some are pursuing an additional major such as anthropology or computer science. Other majors represented include English, theatre, and biological chemistry. Works on view include painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, and installations.

Students on the art and art history department's student educational policy committee organize the exhibition. This year's organizers are Becky Garner ’15, Eden Marek ’15, Maria Shevelkina ’15, David Cambronero-Sanchez ’16, Hannah Condon ’16, Eliza Harrison ’16, Glenys Hunt ’16, Hazel Batrezchavez ’17, Xena Fitzgerald ’17, and Lauren Roush ’17. The organizers designed a catalog to accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition is designed by Faulconer Gallery director of exhibition design Milton Severe and coordinated by director Lesley Wright. The exhibition is adjudicated by artist in residence Laleh Khorramian, a visual artist from New York with extensive experience in painting, drawing, animation and digital media. Khorramian will select most of the yearly prizes in studio art, which will be announced at the opening reception.

The exhibition will be on view through May 3. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free.

Artists@Grinnell: Stelios Manousakis

Artists@Grinnell welcomes artist-in-residence Stelios Manousakis for a two-week residency February 15–28, 2015.

Stelios Manousakis (Crete, Greece, 1980) is a composer, performer, sound artist, and researcher. He operates across the convergence zones of art, science, and engineering / composition, performance, and installation / the rich tradition of western sonic art and ‘digital-folk’ idioms. He studied music and linguistics in Greece, Sonology in the Netherlands, and is currently finishing a PhD in Visual and Performing Arts at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS, University of Washington). You can view Manousakis’ portfolio online.

Manousakis will be visiting campus to share his process, produce work, and connect with students, faculty, and staff.

Please come to the following events in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Email Artists@Grinnell Residency for more information.

Scheduled Events

Student Lunch

Noon Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Bucksbaum Room 152

Artists@Grinnell and the Music Student Educational Policy Committee invites you to learn more about Stelios over an informal pizza lunch open to all majors and interested students.

Installation Tours

4:15 p.m. Wednesday, February 18, & Friday, February 20, in Faulconer Gallery

Manousakis’ sound installation titled "Act so there is no use in a centre" (2014) can be experienced in the Faulconer Gallery throughout his residency. The installation tours will be informal to give viewers a chance to ask the artist a few questions. The piece is an interactive radio-transmitted spatial play using text from Gertrude Stein’s “Rooms” (1914) and Manousakis’ audio archive.

Works in Progress Talk: Creating with Systems

4:15 p.m. Monday, February 23, in Faulconer Gallery

Stelios Manousakis will talk about feedback, musical cybernetics, and working with systems, processes, and texts. He will present some of his recent artworks and will discuss the creative processes involved while keeping an eye on a wider historical, scientific, and artistic context.

This talk is the first of a series called "Works in Progress Talks" where visiting artists are asked to speak about their processes.

Artists@Grinnell is an Innovation Fund project and a collaborative effort by Faulconer Gallery; the art and art history, music, and theatre and dance departments; and Writers@Grinnell. Manousakis’ residency is co-sponsored by the music department and Center for International Studies.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts and Faulconer Gallery are accessible. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Grinnell Hosts Reception at the Conference of the College Art Association

College Art Association logoThe Department of Art and Art History will host its third annual reception at the College Art Association Conference in New York on February 12, 2015. We are proud to be one of the very few liberal arts colleges hosting its own reception. Faculty and alumni will gather over a glass of wine to catch up, discuss the conference proceedings, and celebrate the Grinnell faculty and alumni who are participating in the conference. Please join us! View invitation.

Art to Algorithms

“Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?” That’s often the eye-rolling question in a first interview.

For Natalie Larson ’06, the quick answers could be “NASA,” “Norway,” and “ ’net congestion” — a few of her hefty résumé builders since graduating with honors as an art major eight years ago.

“At Grinnell, I oscillated between choosing philosophy and studio art as a major, but after taking time off to pursue life as a Carmelite nun (another exploration), and subsequently dealing with many inner philosophical battles, I chose art.” She credits faculty members Bobbie McKibbin, Matthew Kluber, Jill Schrift, and Lesley Wright as influential mentors.  

Grinnell, though, came after Larson found a math error on a national standardized test while in high school, but before she discovered a mistake in the GRE, which led to work for The Princeton Review and ACT. These experiences she counts among her “most satisfying to date,” followed quickly by “my internship at Harvard in 2010 and the 2011 program on quantum computing I attended at MIT, which were extremely gratifying. Learning about the strange, mind-bending, humanity-altering potential consequences of quantum computing from foremost researchers was an amazing experience.”

Art to algorithms

Larson in flight suit in front of planeWhat qualified the artist to conduct research in quantum computing? After graduation from Grinnell, philosophy was still on Larson’s mind. “I found myself drawn more and more to logic, eventually realizing that I should just study pure mathematics,” she says.

In 2012, Larson earned a second bachelor’s degree, double majoring in mathematics and computer science with honors from Vanderbilt. She also attended NASA’s Aeronautics Academy, where she wrote software to simulate in-flight Internet usage. Today, she’s in the midst of a Ph.D. program in computer science from the University of California, San Diego.

“In my Ph.D. research I study Internet congestion, both from a technical point of view, and a socio-economic point of view, looking at reasons why networks might be motivated to allow certain pathways to remain congested,” Larson explains.  

For example, “In early 2014, we saw especially heavy congestion between Cogent – one of Netflix’s transit providers – and virtually all other service providers with the exception of Cox, which has a special agreement with Netflix. When Netflix agreed to pay Comcast this March, nearly all congestion on paths between Cogent and other service providers disappeared,” Larson says.

“Identifying sources of congestion and finding ways to mitigate them can make the Internet fairer, faster, and more reliable.”

Larson’s research is funded by a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), in return for her commitment to work for the DOD the next two summers and at least three years upon completion of her doctorate.

This summer, she’s working at the Simula Research Laboratory in Oslo to analyze congestion in Norwegian mobile broadband networks. And in her spare time, she ran a marathon in Helsinki to prepare for another in Oslo – all leading to her next goal, “my first 100-mile ultra.”

“When I ran my first marathon at Grinnell in 2005, I thought, ‘I’ll be satisfied if I never achieve anything else in running!’ but meeting that goal opened up the possibility for new ones. In 2007 I qualified for the Boston Marathon, and last year completed my first 50-mile ultra. I’ve already run two marathons this year (San Diego and Helsinki) and will run another (Oslo) in less than a month.”

Possible, probable, Grinnell

How is all this possible? Larson makes it sound so, well, Grinnellian. “By emphasizing ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions, holding classes in a discussion format, and heralding the value of many different disciplines and the connections between them, a liberal arts education gives us an appreciation for diversity — of vocations, of opinions, of ways of thinking — and an ability to think exceptionally critically and creatively.” About art, algorithms and Internet congestion.

Recent Art History Grads Make Good

Two recent art history grads move forward in their post-B.A. professional lives.

This summer Tianhan Gao ’11 (left) 

…became the associate cataloguer for the Classical Chinese Paintings Department at the art auction house Sotheby’s International in New York. Tianhan came to Grinnell in 2007 as an international student from China. She double-majored in bio-chemistry and art history. After graduation she took an internship at Samuel T. Freeman & Co. Auctioneers in Philadelphia, and then worked her way up to department assistant, property manager, and associate specialist of Asian art in three years before being hired this summer by Sotheby’s.

This fall José Segebre ’09 (right) 

…begins an M.A. program in curatorial studies at the Städelschule and Goethe Universität in Frankfurt, Germany. José came to Grinnell in 2005 as an International Merit Scholar from Honduras without (in his words) “the slightest idea that he would leave with a degree in art history.” He has since been involved with different art projects in Mexico City, his city of birth, and a self-sustainable art community in Portugal, and has also worked as assistant curator at the exhibition hall for contemporary art, Portikus, in Frankfurt. He is currently helping to organize an international symposium about contemporary Muralism that will take place in October at the cultural center riesa efau in Dresden, Germany.

Art History Elite

Katherine Rochester ’06 and Julia McHugh ’07 were selected for the inaugural session of the Center for Curatorial Leadership/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practice, held in New York City.

The program identified 16 art history Ph.D. students with the potential to become leaders in the museum world and provided curatorial and leadership training.

Rochester is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at Bryn Mawr College; McHugh is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the University of California-Los Angeles.