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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.


Professor's Fellowships Lead to Taiwan

Craig Quintero, associate professor of theatre and dance, has been named the Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholar for the 2015-16 academic year. Quintero has also received a Fulbright Scholar Award and an Academic Enterprise Leave grant, funded by a grant made to the College by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to support his research and creative work in Taiwan during his sabbatical year.

As a Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholar, Quintero will direct his new production Rice Dreams at the Avignon Off Festival in France this summer as well as his multi-media performance Dreaming David Lynch at Taiwan’s National Experimental Theatre in November. During the fall he will also teach a class on site-specific art at Taipei’s National University of the Arts as a Fulbright Scholar. In the spring, Quintero will study filmmaking with Taiwanese director Hung Ya-yen and produce his first short film.

Quintero has spent more than ten years in Asia and has worked to forge cultural exchanges between Grinnell College and Taiwan.

As the artistic director of Riverbed Theatre, he has staged his image-based productions in Germany, Taiwan, France, Macau, Singapore, and Japan. Last year, Quintero collaborated with Professor John Rommereim, music, and six Grinnell students in staging an adaptation of Richard Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold in Taipei. The production was nominated for Taiwan’s prestigious Taishin Arts Award.

The Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholarship was established in 2000 by the late Roberta Stanbery Furbush in appreciation for the influence of Grinnell College upon the lives of her and her husband, Frank. Both Frank and Roberta were highly active in the Des Moines community, and both enjoyed theatre, art, and music.

Libraries’ Study Breaks Spring 2015

Please join us for a quick break from studying with poetry reading and student performers along with homemade cookies and milk.

Study breaks are at 9 p.m. Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12 in the Burling Library Lounge. 

Poet Purvi Shah

The first night, May 11,  will be a poetry reading with Purvi Shah, who composed a poetry about Grinnell College.

Prior to the reading, Purvi’s poetry will be installed in vinyl film directly onto Burling Library’s front windows on May 11 as part of “Public Writing, Public Libraries,” a project of Grin City Collective Artist & Writers Residency. 

Ritalin Test SquadRitalin Test Squad, a student improv group, will join us for the second night, May 12.

Both events are open to the public. Cookies will be delivered to the Kistle Science Library, as well.

This event is co-sponsored by the Libraries Student Educational Policy Committee (SEPC), the Student Government Association, and the Libraries.

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

Ancient to the Future

Nicole Mitchell — a leading flutist, composer, and improviser — will present a lecture recital, “Ancient to the Future," at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 24, 2015 in Herrick Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Mitchell lives at the intersection of improvisation, composition, education, and community leadership. In her lecture recital, she will share her perspective on what it means to live a life in music, how music can change communities and how communities can change the world.

Mitchell, a native of Chicago, is a professor of music at the University of California at Irvine, where she teaches in the newly established Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology program. She was elected first female president of the iconic Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Chicago Tribune named her 2006 Chicagoan of the Year. She has received numerous other honors, including the prestigious 2011 Alpert Award in the Arts.

As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly honored by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as Top Flutist of the Year for the last four years.

Her music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such as “Black Unstoppable,” “Awakening,” and “Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler.”

In addition to presenting her lecture recital, Mitchell will lead an improvisation workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 103. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are invited to bring instruments or their voices, and be prepared to make music.

Grinnell's Center for the Humanities, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Department of Music are cosponsoring the events.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

All Recipes Are Home

Working Group Theatre, based in Iowa City, will present All Recipes Are Home, an original play with music and dance. Tickets are required for this free public event, which will start at 6 p.m. Monday, April 13, on the outdoor stage on Grinnell College’s central campus.

Incorporating dance and live folk music by the Awful Purdies quintet, this play tells the story of Josef, a young man who sets off across Iowa after receiving a postcard recruiting workers for a booming farm. Josef arrives after an arduous journey and finds that the farm has been foreclosed. He then takes a job at a local meatpacking plant. Meanwhile, his sister, Marie, and his fiancée, Erin, trek across the state to bring Josef a beloved family recipe that they believe will make him long for home. Through food, this  play aims to remind all of us of the comfort of home and the life we seek together.

The play encompasses interviews with Iowa farmers conducted by Sean Christopher Lewis, writer and director of "All Recipes Are Home." He spent seven days in northeast Iowa talking and working with farmers, food workers and those connected to the land, the history and the recipes of the state. The result is a play that is representative of the collective food story of Iowa.

Lewis and two other Master of Fine Arts graduates of the University of Iowa — Martin Andrews and Jennifer Fawcett — founded Working Group Theatre in 2009. Since then, the group has created more than 30 new plays and events, fostering community dialogue around important issues and gaining a national reputation for challenging and insightful work.

All Recipes Are Home is an original full-length play commissioned from Working Group Theatre by Hancher Auditorium/The University of Iowa, Grinnell College, and the Center Stage Series at Luther College.

Tickets and Attendance

Although the outdoor performance at Grinnell College is free, tickets are required. Ticket distribution will begin at noon Wednesday, April 8, in the box office of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Attendees are invited to bring nonperishable food items and donations to the show, where they will be collected by Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA), which is working with United Way to support the local food pantry.

In case of inclement weather, the play will be performed in Sebring-Lewis Hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

For questions concerning access or to request accommodation for a disability, please contact conference operations.


The Listening Path II

Abby Aresty’s The Listening Path II: Disparate Times and Places uses soundwalking to connect people in disparate places in a unified act of silent respect for our natural surroundings.

The Listening Path II entails two short site-specific soundwalks, the first at Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA), and the second in Tempe, AZ, as part of the 2015 Balance/Unbalance Conference at Arizona State University.

Online documentation of these listening paths and their respective soundscape recordings will juxtapose the diverse soundscapes of two iconic American landscapes: the desert and the prairie.

This project blends the historically significant act of silent marches organized in the wake of tragedy with the creative research practice of soundwalking. In weaving together these themes, it suggests that communities separated by time and place can practice collective silence to listen to the land, to demonstrate respect for our unique local environments, and to raise awareness of the extraordinary environmental challenges we face.

This free public event begins at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7 at the Environmental Education Center at CERA. Please contact Elizabeth Hill if you need transportation to CERA from the Grinnell College campus. Those traveling to CERA together will meet in front of Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center at 2 p.m. Please wear warm clothes for a short hike.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Please contact Elizabeth Hill if you have questions about accessibility or accommodations.

Noted Soprano Gives Recital

Soprano Amy S. Johnson ’85, one of America's finest singing actresses, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in Herrick Chapel.

Her free public recital will feature Korngold's virtuosic "Songs of the Clown," and include works by Beethoven, Charpentier, and Wagner. She will be accompanied by pianist Donna Hallen Loewy, the accompanist-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. A native of Iowa, Johnson is assistant professor of voice at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Johnson has performed with opera companies across the country, including the New York City Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Portland Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and the Austin Lyric Opera, among others. Johnson's acclaimed portrayal of Salome aired over Iowa Public Television in a vivid production by Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.

Johnson also has performed abroad with the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Belgium, and at the Spier Festival in South Africa and festival Musica e Musica in Italy. She recorded her first solo CD, "Amy Johnson - Red, White and Blue: Arias of the Passionate, Pure and Perverse" with the MAV Symphony of Budapest, soon to be released on the Hungaroton label.

Her repertoire encompasses more than two dozen roles, ranging from Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" to the title role in "Salome." Johnson has earned special praise for her portrayal of the title role in Puccini’s "Tosca," which she has performed with more than a dozen companies, most notably New York City Opera as seen on PBS' "Live from Lincoln Center."

"Johnson is dramatically sound, convincing of the woman's extreme emotions," wrote Carl Fourle in his review of "Tosca" for the Independent in Cape Town, South Africa. "Johnson," he added, "is a confident soprano with an authoritative, dramatic tone. Her melodies were flexible, her top notes powerful, and her phrasing different from that of other Toscas."

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Herrick Chapel is fully accessible and equipped with an induction hearing (telecoil) loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.


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.

Expanding the Use of Digital Technology

Grinnell College and the University of Iowa have received a $1.6 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop humanities-centered collaborations that expand the use of digital technology among faculty and students.

The new partnership is distinctive because it is the first time the Mellon Foundation has supported a collaborative digital project between a private liberal arts college and a public research university — institutions with different missions and strengths.

The project, titled “Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry,” will support increased integration of digital resources into the undergraduate curriculum at Grinnell and the UI over four years. The grant will support creative collaboration between Grinnell and the UI involving faculty, postdocs, graduate students, undergraduate students, library faculty and staff, and IT staff.

“The faculties of Grinnell College and the University of Iowa have different institutional environments but a shared commitment to scholarship, teaching, and public engagement,” said Erik Simpson, professor of English and principal investigator for the grant at Grinnell.

“This grant will enable us to build on the digital projects already underway at both schools to establish new communities of thought and practice. Teams involving faculty, staff, students, and community partners will be able to use digital tools to produce new forms of analysis, creativity, and critique that are fundamental to our disciplines.”

Through this initiative, faculty members in the humanities will build their digital skills, develop innovative new courses, and collaborate with students on ambitious digital projects and research programs. The project also will provide support for UI graduate student instructional technology assistants who will help faculty incorporate digital technology into their courses, and the creation of postdoctoral positions at UI to train future faculty for careers in the digital liberal arts and public humanities.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for faculty to bring new, innovative approaches into their teaching and scholarship. The benefits for students will be transformative as well,” said Michael Latham, vice president of academic affairs and dean of Grinnell College. “As they use new technological resources to study the humanities, they will also develop greater digital literacy, gain valuable skills in collaborative writing and research, and create knowledge for broader, public audiences. Those experiences will serve them well throughout their professional lives.”

Grinnell students already are developing digital literacy through research projects such as “Mapping the Global Renaissance.” Directed by Assistant Professor of English James Lee, this project applies “big data” techniques (natural language processing algorithms, data mining, topic modeling, and mapping) to examine 50,000 early modern texts. By using these techniques to analyze early modern England's early representations of different people and their geographical contexts around the world, students acquire a better understanding of how race and racial differences were understood at that time.

UI students also are gaining digital literacy through the university's Public Humanities in a Digital World initiative, the Digital Studio for Public Arts and Humanities and the new graduate Digital Humanities Certificate. Roy J. Carver Professor Ed Folsom is co-founder of one of the nation's earliest and most successful digital projects, The Walt Whitman Archive; students, scholars, and high school teachers from Iowa and around the world have contributed to the project. Assistant Professor Blaine Greteman welcomes his students into the study of the Renaissance and book history through his digital project Shakeosphere: Mapping Early Modern Social Networks. He and Professor Lee are already planning ways to collaborate across the two campuses.

Teresa Mangum, director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and professor of gender, women and sexuality studies, and co-principal investigator Jim Elmborg, associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science anticipate that faculty and students alike will be inspired by working with art, languages, history, literature, philosophy, and world religions in the “hands on” ways digital work encourages: “Jim and I have already benefited from conversations with our colleagues at Grinnell,” Mangum said. “Among the innumerable advantages of this partnership, we look forward to mining the rich potential of shared, project-based learning. We picture professors and students working side-by-side in linked classrooms that connect Grinnell and Iowa, as they archive and visualize their research projects, sharing their discoveries and insights with diverse virtual audiences across the world.”

Major activities to be funded by the grant, which begins this month, include:

  • Faculty development initiatives, such as summer institutes, collaborative projects between Grinnell and UI faculty and training in digital liberal arts techniques.
  • Undergraduate curricular development initiatives, such as new digital liberal arts courses or course modules, developing courses that bridge the two institutions and supporting student-faculty collaborations.
  • Engagement with the broader digital liberal arts community, including a conference to be held at the UI in 2018, support for conference travel to share exemplary digital projects and learn from the work of others, and a web presence for the project that features an online inventory of digital projects.
  • Support for library and instructional technology faculty and staff members who help make digital projects possible, including professional development funds as well as funding for software, digitization, and other research expenses.