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Art, Art History & Visual Studies - Duke University
Current Events


The 21st Annual Trinity College Arts Awards Ceremony will take place during Commencement Weekend on Saturday, May 9, 2009 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, followed by a reception from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, Marketplace in the East Campus Union Building

Distribution of diplomas will take place Sunday, May 10, 12:30 PM, in the Nasher Museum of Art, Room 105. A reception will follow in the computer alcove.


Visual Thinking:
How Do Visual Communication Technologies Affect Learning and Knowledge Retention in the Sciences and Humanities?

May 4 - 5, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009
3:00 - 8:00 PM
CIEMAS Auditorium and Breakout Rooms

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
CIEMAS Auditorium and Breakout Rooms

The explosion of visually rich computer tools has empowered educators and researchers to explore their data and communicate ideas using a visual language as well as a text-based language. The ease of use of these tools means non-experts can be creators as well as consumers. The time is ripe to seriously examine how we evaluate the effectiveness of incorporating visualization in all its forms (drawings, images, illustrations, videos, interactive games, 3D worlds, virtual reality) in teaching concepts in the sciences and humanities. How should we revise tests to reflect the strengths of visual communications? How important in the creation vs. consumption of materials in knowledge retention? How do we justify these activities when seeking federal funding?

This 1-1/2 day workshop will explore these questions by brining together individuals who are willing to experiment with visually rich methods of teaching. By the end of the workshop, we hope participants will develop (1) a set of visual teaching strategies that may help students learn principles in an alternative manner to the typical textbook experience and (2) a set of strategies to evaluate learning with visualizations.

The format of the workshop will include invited presentations and small-group working sessions.

Sponsored by the Visual Studies Initiative, Center for Science Education, and Center for Instructional Technology.

Please see: http://cit.duke.edu/events/event.do?eventid=2001&occurid=3811


Christian Marclay, Video Quartet, 2002. Four-channel DVD
projection with sound, 14 minutes. Each screen is 8 x 10 feet; overall
installation is 8 x 40 feet. Edition 1 of 5. Photo by Stephen White.

Thursday, May 7, 2009
7:00 PM
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Nasher Museum presents London- and New York-based artist Christian Marclay and the opening of his epic work, Video Quartet. Meet the artist, who will talk about this 2002 work, projected in a 14-minute loop of four enormous videos to create a virtuoso visual and sonic collage.

Marclay sampled more than 700 Hollywood films featuring images of hands on keyboards, horns and violins, as well as men and women singing, dancing and other snippets of Western music culture: Chico Marx on the piano, Elvis Presley as a cowboy, Ingrid Bergman, shots from Clint Eastwood's film, Bird, about Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix and the banjo-playing child in Deliverance. Marclay worked on a home computer over the course of more than a year to create a technically perfect experience that The Washington Post called "as impressive as contemporary art gets, with an emotional charge that should leave a lump in almost any viewer's throat."

The work was recently on view in Montreal at DHC/ART as part of Replay, the artist's video retrospective, and was last seen in the United States at the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of Full House: Views of the Whitney's Collection at 75 (June 28-December 3, 2006). If you would like to reserve your seat, go to www.nasher.duke.edu.


Fatimah Tuggar, Nebulous Wait, 2005, photomontage

April 24 - May 12, 2009
Smith Warehouse, Duke University

Amy Benzyk & Catherine Nelson: Senior Distinction Students
Paintings, Artists Books, and Prints
Bay, 1st Floor

Work Selections by Senior Students from Capstone Course
(ARTSVIS 200/Noland)
Painting, Photography, Installation, Video, & Other Media
Bay 12, 2nd Floor & Media Lab

Work Selections by Students from Intro to Visual Practice
(ARTSVIS 54/Fick-Lasch)
Various Media
Bay 12, 2nd Floor & Media Lab

Work Selections by Students from Intro to Photography (ARTSVIS190b/Bogaert)
Photo Projects and Prints
Bay 11, 2nd Floor

Ashwin Kulothungun & Christopher Neo Chung: Senior Students
Interactive Media Work
Bay 11, 2nd Floor

Fatimah Tuggar: International Artist-in-Residence
Large-scale Digital Prints and Interactive Works
Bay 11, 2nd Floor

Please see: http://sites.google.com/site/vpexhibitionsevents/


William Noland, Occulted

Bill Seaman, Architecture of Association

Fatimah Tuggar, Selected Works


Department News


Nancy Kaneb Art History Award
•Jillian D'Amico
•Corina Apostol

Mary Duke Biddle Foundation Visual Arts Award
•Kelly McCann

Sue and Lee Noel Prize in the Visual Arts Award
•Charles Sparkman III

Visual Studies Initiative Award
•Christopher Neo Chung
•Charles Sparkman III


Erica James (December 2008)
Advisor: Richard Powell
Dissertation: "Re-Worlding a World: Caribbean Art in the Global Imaginary"    

Octavian Esanu (May 2009)
Advisor: Kristine Stiles
Dissertation: "Transition in Post-Soviet Art: 'Collective Actions' Before and After 1989"

Lanitra Walker (May 2009)
Advisor: Richard Powell
Dissertation: "Pictures That Satisfy: Modernist Discourses and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Nation in the Art of Irma Stern (1894-1966)"


Senior Charles Sparkman has been awarded the Al & Lynn B. Page Prize from the University of Tampa for his senior distinction project in visual studies, "Black Mountain Bauhaus: The Gropius/Breuer Design of Black Mountain College, Lake Eden, North Carolina 1939."  The senior thesis will also be published in the Journal of Art History. Sparkman is a double major in art history (concentration in architecture) and visual studies, with a minor in visual arts. Hans van Miegroet, professor of art history and chair of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, worked with Sparkman as his senior thesis advisor. He was additionally mentored by Caroline Bruzelius, Anne M. Cogan Professor of art history, and Annabel Wharton, William B. Hamilton Professor of art and art history.

Charles Sparkman III, Black Mountain Bauhaus: The Gropius/Breuer Design of Black Mountain College, Lake Eden, North Carolina 1939

Sparkman was accepted at both the University of Virginia and Harvard University for graduate school in architecture. He has accepted the offer from the University of Virginia School of Architecture, where he will work towards a masters in architecture with the intention to apply for a second masters in landscape architecture.


American Academy, Rome

Aurelia d'Antonio has been awarded the Donald and Maria Cox Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize. She will take up residence at the American Academy in Rome beginning in September, while working on her dissertation, "Throwing Stones at Friars: The Church of San Francesco in Piacenza." D'Antonio will be provided with a stipend, a study, and room and board for one year.


Camargo Foundation, Cassis

Yukiko Kato received the Camargo Foundation Fellowship to study in Cassis, France. The Camargo Foundation maintains a study center for the benefit of scholars who wish to pursue projects in the humanities and social sciences related to French and francophone cultures.  The Foundation also sponsors creative projects by visual artists, photographers, composers, and writers.


Meagan Green Labunski received a Fulbright Research Grant- IIE to pursue research in Italy for the 2009-2010 academic year. Her topic of study is "Friars in the City: Mendicant Architecture and Pious Practice in Medieval Verona (c. 1220 - c. 1375)."  Meagan is the second student in the department to receive a Fulbright for the 2009-2010 cycle.


Anonymous Photographer. The dark spot on the steps of the Sumitomo Bank, Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 1945, is the trace of the person who had been sitting there when the bomb exploded. The light from the blast scorched the steps around the atomized man or woman, leaving the mark of his or her body on the stair.

Kristine Stiles, professor of art history and visual studies, received a 2009 Curriculum Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Education through Duke's Center for International Studies to reorganize her course, "Documentary Photography & Film of the Nuclear Age," initially taught between 1994-2001. Professor Stiles wrote a catalogue and curated two exhibitions on the subject in 1994 (at Duke University and City Gallery, Raleigh), and organized a symposium at Duke in 1996 on the subject. In 2000, Stiles received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for a book on this topic, and began rethinking her subject around issues of global warming, the impact of two new nuclear states (India and Pakistan in 1998), and the continued effort to build and test nuclear weapons by North Korea and Iran. She has lectured extensively on this topic, including giving the Norma U. Lifton Lecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The course covers a wide range of photographs and films that have documented and chronicled nuclear age topics: the production and first use of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; fallout on "atomic veterans" (military personnel), non-combatants and civilians, and environment and its effects; construction, production, and testing of nuclear plants and facilities throughout the world by numerous nations; nuclear plant disasters; the problems of waste storage; and the cultural reception of the nuclear age in instructional films and Hollywood, among other topics. These photographs and films enable consideration of five interrelated areas of nuclear age research: (a) history, technology, weaponry, and environmental effects; (b) documentary photography in still and moving pictures as a method to construct and depict nuclear age history; (c) analysis of how images construct memories of events neither seen nor experienced; (d) ethical concerns raised by the nuclear age; and (e) critical issues related to photography. The course covers literature on the nuclear age and critical studies of documentary practices.  Students will develop a critical vocabulary for evaluation of the dangers of the nuclear age; learn how visual materials encode, signify, and communicate information about events, processes, policies, practices, and results of the nuclear age; and consider how visual media witness the otherwise hidden and unseen places and events of the nuclear age in order to construct memories of its largely invisible conditions.


A selection of works by Pedro Lasch, assistant professor of the practice of visual arts, is now included in the Evolution de l'Art gallery in Brussels.

"Evolution de l'Art is a gallery for contemporary art, which only sells artworks that are immaterial, with no physical residue, and it does not release certificates of authenticity, nor statements or receipts. EdlA will represent, on a non-exclusive basis, artists whose artwork is, at least in the case of some specific projects, alien from any physical-material component. Beyond this condition, there will not be any other limitation or requisite for represented artists in terms of medium or technique."

Please see: www.evolutiondelart.net


John Taormina, Director, Visual Resources Center, has been appointed editor of the VRA Bulletin, the journal of the Visual Resources Association, the international organization of image media curators and librarians. His editorship will be for a two-year term beginning March 2009 and continuing through March 2011.  The Visual Resources Association has over 600 individual and institutional members in more than twenty countries who receive the VRA Bulletin three times each year. Taormina previously served as editor from 1996-2005. During the past year, Taormina guest edited a special themed issue on "Digital Collaborations," containing eighteen articles by authors from the United States, Canada, and England.


Jack Edinger, Web Manager/Imaging Specialist, Visual Resources Center, has been appointed Public Service Director of the Duke University owned non-commercial radio station, WXDU 88.7FM Durham. Edinger will be responsible for producing the station's weekly ArtLine arts and entertainment information broadcast as well as creating and maintaining community public service announcements.


Coming Soon



Introduction to Visual Culture
Instructor: Kristine Stiles

Surveys a wide variety of visual representations and the rhetoric of images across historical time. This course includes visual analysis of everyday life and popular culture, photography, television, film, video, and the Internet: satellite, science, and medical imagery; advertising, industrial design, games and comics; how vision is socially coded to inscribe race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and difference, dominate nature and animals, and organize the visual field-including surveillance-from shopping malls, museums and sports events to both public and private spaces. This course also considers theories of the gaze, the spectacle, and scopic regimes. Faculty from Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Computer Science, Nasher Museum of ARt, ISIS, Romance Studies, and other departments will guest lecture in this course.

Paris: A City and its Culture 1850-1930
Instructor: Neil McWilliam

The development of Paris, from the major remodeling initiated under the Second Empire to the advent of modern style in the inter-war years, focusing on the changes in architecture and planning that transformed the French capital into a model of urban modernity. The city as a physical environment that has to be understood in terms of varied populations, transport systems, economic activities, and cultural representations. The role played by visual arts in shaping the city, recording its appearance and interpreting its meanings, together with Paris's role as a environment favoring cultural production and exchange.

History of the Museum
Instructor: Stanley Abe

The course is a critical examination of the development of the art museum as a Euro-American institution from precursors in the curiosity cabinet to the present. The focus will be on the architecture, display, and pedagogy of art museums as they evolved in the nineteenth century especially in relation to ethnographic museums and international expositions. An important theme will be the formation of this distinctly Euro-American institution in relation to the incorporation of non-Euro-American materials, especially objects from Asia and Africa, during the age of colonialism. The course will culminate in a consideration of the art museum as it functions in the multicultural and globalized present. There will be an emphasis on critical theory, aesthetics, and critical museum practices including exhibitions that critique the nature and power of museum display.

Global Performance History and Theory, Late 1950s to the Present
Instructor: Kristine Stiles

Lida Abdul [Afganistan, b. 1974], The White House, 2005, performance in Kabul, Afganistan

Global performance explores the cultural experimentation, historical development, theoretical strategies, and ideological aims of artists throughout the world who have used their bodies as a medium of expression from the 1950s to the present. Performance art is a corporeal practice consonant with critical thinking. It often represents an activist critique of cultural institutions and social formations and practices, which accounts for why performance art, alone among all visual media, has been repeatedly censored in nations around the world, and performance artists have been arrested and fined for their work continually since the early 1960s. The course examines the ethical issues raised by performance artists as they confront social and power relations. We will also study how the use of the body in art has changed the communicating codes of the visual arts from solely representational (metaphoric) to presentational (metonymic) modes, and from an emphasis on static spatial objects to signifying bodies. The subject of performance art is intrinsically interdisciplinary, requiring a synthetic methodology that draws widely upon different theoretical strategies throughout the humanities and social and natural sciences. In addition, performance artists have been at the forefront of theorizing their own work and this course considers artists writings together with those of scholars.

Cultural History of Television
Instructor: Mark Olson

Critical history of the "televisual" in the American visual culture mediascape, broadcast television, cable television, and contemporary convergences with new media technologies, emphasizing social conceptions of television, and their influence on how the medium has emerged as a cultural, technological, and visual apparatus; consideration of the economic and social forces unfolding in the context of the televisual, examining the social forces shaping the development of television from its inception in the 1940s to the present day.

Virtual Form and Space
Instructor: Raquel Salvatella de Prada

Virtual form and space investigates the relationship between real and virtual objects. First, we create digital models from real objects using Maya, a 3D modeling and animation software. Then, we study the resulting virtual objects in Duke's Immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE), located in the Computer Science department. DiVE allows us to experience virtual objects in their original scale and in 3 dimensional space, and to compare them with the real versions.
Attention will be paid not only to the correct mapping of form and space, but also to other design aspects like composition, lighting and texture.

Virtual Form and Space: Bodies of Code
Instructor: Casey Alt

Investigates the relationship between real and virtual objects. Focuses on the creation of both virtual and physical three-dimensional representations of large data sets using the Maya 3D modeling application and various physical fabrication methods. Explores the principles of information design with an emphasis on creating novel data representations that are not limited to conventional print or screen formats. Emphasizes critical fluency in information design and productive critique of work.

The Photobook: History and Practice
Instructor: William Noland

Cultural, intellectual, and artistic history and uses of the book in photographic practice. Traces technical, conceptual, formal innovations that mark international history of photography books through lectures/hands-on examination of key books, including lesser known innovations and uses of photobook in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union,  and Japan. Marries historical awareness with studio practice. Simultaneous immersion in production of images as well as collecting of archives from various cultures. Crafting of photobooks in several genres as students edit, print, scan, assemble materials. Seminar includes readings, discussions, short writings, field trips.

Topics: Stereotype
Instructor: Richard Powell

Edward W. Clay, Back to Back, 1830s, lithograph. American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA

From contemporary art works that intentionally traffic in broad, racially charged images, to editorial cartoons and advertising in which ethnic typecasting and figural hyperbole are the rule rather than the exception, racial stereotype is a persistent stream in American visual culture that often defies social decorum or understanding.  This seminar attempts to make sense of this vexing, visual conundrum through examinations of some of the more infamous imagery within this genre, selected readings, and discussions.  In place of the final seminar paper, the culminating, collective assignment for this seminar will be an digital database which critically surveys, interprets, and provides descriptive information for over 200 illustrated, African American-themed, works on paper (circa 1829-1899) in Duke University's Special Collections Library.

Post-Communist Visual Culture
Instructor: Pamela Kachurin

Dubossarsky and Vinogradov, Au Plein Air, oil on canvas. Collection of the Artist.

This course investigates how visual culture--cinema, fine arts, performance and mass media-is participating in the formulation of post-Socialist identities in Russia, Central Asia, and Yugoslavia.
Themes include: how visual culture expresses and informs national identities in multi-ethnic states; how post-Socialist gender roles are codified through visual culture; and how collective and individual memory is mediated through visual culture. Readings drawn from political science, cultural studies, sociology, and art history.

Art and Literature in the Digital Domain
Instructors: Katherine Hayles and Bill Seaman

New frontiers in electronic art and literature; theoretical and practical challenges they raise. Issues include: differences between print and screen texts; effects of sound, video, and images; implications of multiple reading paths in narrative; relevance (or not) of traditional semiotics; commonalities and differences between computer games and narratives; relation of new media works and older artistic forms; advantages and disadvantages of collaborative work. The seminar uses a collaborative style of learning, emphasizing working in teams and sharing information.

The Body as Electrochemical Computer
Instructor: Bill Seaman

Weekly discussions/lectures related to different disciplinary understandings of the body, exploring new computational and aesthetic paradigms for brain/mind/body/environment relations, and working towards articulating bridging languages enabling researchers to talk across disciplines. Students required to participate in ongoing discussion, develop particular aspects of research, and write a major research paper.

New Media, Memory and the Visual Archive
Instructor: Mark Olson

Christian Boltanski, Reserve-Detective III, 1987

Explores impact of new media on the nature of archives as technologies of cultural memory and knowledge production. Sustained engagement with major theorists of the archive through the optics of "media specificity" and the analytical resources of visual studies. Themes include: "storage capacity" of media; database as cultural form; body as archive; new media and the documentation of "everyday life"; memory, counter-memory and the politics of the archive; archival materiality and digital ephemerality. Primary focus on visual artifacts (image, moving image) with consideration of the role of other sensory modalities in the construction of individual, institutional, and collective memory.

Please refer all relevant departmental information for inclusion in our weekly announcement to John Taormina, Director, Visual Resources Center, at taormina@duke.edu.


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