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

Duke Visiting Artist Lecture Series
Immersed in Every Sense

Eduardo Kac
Professor of Art and Technology Studies
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Artist Talk

Wednesday, October 19, 6 PM
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University lecture hall

Eduardo Kac, Cypher, DIY transgenic kit with Petri dishes, agar, nutrients, streaking loops, pipettes, test tubes, synthetic DNA, booklet, 33 x 43 cm, 2009.

Internationally recognized for his interactive Net installations and bio-art, Eduardo Kac uses biotechnology and genetics to create provocative works that concurrently explore scientific techniques and critique them.

Eduardo Kac received his BA in 1985 from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro, his MFA in 1990 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his PhD in 2003 from the University of Wales, Great Britain.

Kac’s work deals with issues that range from the mythopoetics of online experience (Uirapuru) to the cultural impact of biotechnology (Genesis); from the changing condition of memory in the digital age (Time Capsule) to distributed collective agency (Teleporting an Unknown State); from the problematic notion of the "exotic" (Rara Avis) to the creation of life and evolution (GFP Bunny).

From his first experiments online in 1985 to his current convergence of the digital and the biological, Kac has always investigated the philosophical and political dimensions of communication processes. Equally concerned with the aesthetic and the social aspects of verbal and non-verbal interaction, in his work Kac examines linguistic systems, dialogic exchanges, and interspecies communication. Kac's pieces, which often link virtual and physical spaces, propose alternative ways of understanding the role of communication phenomena in creating shared realities.

Kac's work has been featured both in contemporary art publications and in the mass media. He has received many awards, including the Golden Nica Award, the most prestigious award in the field of media arts and the highest prize awarded by Ars Electronica.

Immersed in Every Sense is supported by the Duke University Council for the Arts Visiting Artist Fund and the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies Visiting Artist Fund. Eduardo Kac’s talk is co-sponsored by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Duke Visiting Artist Lecture Series
Immersed in Every Sense

Benj Gerdes
Instructor, Cooper Union School of Art

Jennifer Hayashida
Director of Asian American Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York

Artist Talk
Conversation between the artists, Neil DeMarchi (Professor, Department of Economics, Duke University), and Stephanie Sherman and George Sheer (Co-Directors, Elsewhere, Greensborough, NC)

Wednesday, October 26, 6 PM
Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, FHI Garage, Duke University
Reception to follow

Benj Gerdes and Jennifer Hayashida, still from Strike Anywhere, HD video, 2009-10.

Working in collaboration with artists, activists, and theorists, Benj Gerdes is a filmmaker and videographer working at the intersection of art and activism. His work focuses on the social consequences of economic and state regimes, utilizing historical research and reenactment, dialogue, and participatory or aleatory formalizations. He received his BA in the history of technology and film and digital studies from Brown University and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York.

As an artist, poet, and translator, Jennifer Hayashida’s work focuses on representations of the welfare state and immigrant experience, interstitial literary practices, mixed race identities, and Asian American community activism. She received her BA in American studies from UC-Berkeley, and an MFA in poetry from Bard College. She is the recipient of a PEN Translation Fund Grant, a Witter Bynner Poetry Translator Residency, a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, and has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow. She is the translator of Fredrik Nyberg's A Different Practice (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2007), and Eva Sjodin's Inner China(Litmus Press, 2005).

Immersed in Every Sense is supported by the Duke University Council for the Arts Visiting Artist Fund and the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies Visiting Artist Fund. Gerdes and Hayashida’s talk is co-sponsored by the GreaterThanGamesLab, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and the Program in Information Science + Information Studies.

Humanities Writ Large Initiative

Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates, 1787, oil on canvas, 51” x 77-1.4”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

With the generous support of a five-year, $6 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Duke University has undertaken a multi-pronged approach to connect humanistic inquiry broadly across domains of knowledge and to link it to an active, integrative model of education. This includes:

• Physical spaces of inquiry in which undergraduate students are active participants in working collaboratively on open-ended problems drawing on disparate bodies of knowledge.

• A targeted set of components aimed at encouraging or supporting innovative teaching and learning across the university with the humanities—and undergraduate education—at the heart of each effort.

• Drawing on the research and pedagogical talent of faculty in Liberal Arts Colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to create paths for dissemination of our results to other schools.

The Humanities Writ Large initiative will also support visiting scholars and new faculty appointments, undergraduate research efforts, humanities labs, and focused support for interdisciplinary collaborations across departments and institutions.

Over the course of this initiative, Duke expects to generate substantial instructional innovation and to alter the perceptions of students, faculty, and institutions regarding the role of the humanities in the twenty-first century.


Department News

New Staff Member in AAHVS

The department welcomes staff specialist Agnieszka Witczak-Das to our main office team. Agnieszka will provide financial and program support for our department's sponsored projects, i.e. grant-funded projects, such as the WIRED! lab, the Visual Studies Initiative, the International Graduate Education Program, as well as the Visualizing Venice and The Kingdom of Sicily projects, among others.

The Vorticists Exhibition Concludes in Britain

Installation view, The Vorticists, Tate Britain, June 14-Spetember 4, 2011.

The exhibition, The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World, opened at Tate Britain, its final venue, on June 14 and closed September 4. The exhibition was co-curated by Mark Antliff, professor of art history and visual studies, Duke, and Vivien Greene, curator of 19th- and 20th-century art, Guggenheim Museum, NY. It received widespread press coverage, with reviews in The Independent, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, and other major London papers as well as scholarly journals and magazines.

The exhibition opened at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke last September, travelled to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice in January, and concluded at Tate Britain this summer. The combined total number of people who saw the exhibition over the course of its three venues was approximately 175,000.

Vorticism Article and Lectures

Three pages from Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's Chenil Sketchbook, c.1913 - 1914. L to R: Sketches for Ornament (Toothbrush) (sheet 23), sketch after the Temple of the Serpent (56), sketch for Red Stone Dancer (77). All images courtesy Tate Archive.

Mark Antliff, professor of art history and visual studies, published an article on an important sketchbook of artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska datable to the height of his Vorticist phase in 1913-1914 and recently purchased by the Tate. It is entitled, "Drawing the Vortex," and appeared in the online journal Tate, etc.

While in Britain this summer, Antliff also lectured on “Gaudier-Brzeska and Contemporary Politics” at Tate Britain, on June, 18 as part of the opening events of the The Vorticists exhibition. He also presented “Richard Aldington, Vorticism and Degeneration,” about poet and critic Richard Aldington at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, on June 22.

Frontiers in the Humanities

Caroline Bruzelius, Anne M. Cogan Professor of Art History, spoke on “Revolutionizing Teaching and Learning with Digital Visualization Technologies: the WIRED! Experiment at Duke” at Clark University, Worcester, MA, on September 26. The lecture was part of Clark’s new series, Frontiers in the Humanities.

Phantom Limbs and Twin Towers Go Global

Pedro Lasch, WTC Budapest, oil on canvas, from the Phantom Limbs Series (2001-2011)

Art critic Roberta Smith mentioned assistant research professor of visual arts Pedro Lasch's exhibition Selections from “Twin Towers Go Global” and “Phantom Limbs” at Stephen Stoyanov Gallery, New York, in the New York Times art listings for September 23-29, 2011. Smith notes: “Working in a regressive, deliberately ‘Orientalized’ Social Realist style reminiscent of Komar & Melamid from decades past, this Mexican-born artist takes up painting in order to insert the World Trade Center’s twin towers into various settings, including Budapest, Baghdad, Guantnamo and Kabul, Afghanistan. The results are more magazine illustration than art, but, as such, creepily effective.”

The Deconstructive Impulse

Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, contributed the essay, “Home Alone:‘Reversal of Positions of Presentation’ and the Visual Semantics ofDomesticity,”to the exhibition catalogue The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure the Signs of Power 1973-1991. The exhibition was organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, and is currently on view at the Nasher Museum of Art from September 15-December 31, 2011.

Center for Japanese Studies

Duke, NC State, and UNC-Chapel Hill have joined forces to launch a new Center for Japanese Studies that will support fellowships, research, seminars, travel, guest speakers, and library development.

The center has been founded with a $270,000 grant from the Japan Foundation in Tokyo. According to the center’s website, the three universities have created “one of the strongest scholarly groups in Japanese studies in the United States” with twenty-six research and twelve language-teaching faculty members and additional researchers with an interest in Japan. The Duke library contains 60,000 Japanese-language volumes and four hundred serial subscriptions and text databases; the UNC-CH library has six thousand volumes. Faculty collaborators are from fields such as history, anthropology, art history, Asian studies, history, languages, and literature. Gennifer Weisenfeld, associate professor of art history and a specialist in nineteenth and twentieth-century Japanese art history, represents the department in the new center.

Please go to trianglejapan.wordpress.comfor additional information.

Works Selected for Two Exhibitions

Pinar Yoldas (artist) and David Paulsen (neuroscientist), Limbique.

Graduate student Pinar Yoldas’ sculptural piece, Limbique,which she completed during her artist’s residency at Duke last year, was selected for the VisWeek 2011 Art Showas part of the IEEE Information Visualization Conference 2011 beginning October 23 in the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI. In addition, her video piece Life is Short has been selected as one of thirteen videos out of 134 submissions to be exhibited in the Taubman Museum from December 12, 2011-February 26, 2012.

Pinar Yoldas, Life is Short, temporary large-scale quasi-kinetic sculpture.

MFAEDA Featured in Duke Chronicle

Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, featured the new MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts in its September 16 issue and in an editorial in its September 20 issue. The earlier article noted that fifteen graduate students comprise the inaugural class, with fifteen more anticipated for the next academic year. The degree is a joint program of the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image.

MFAEDA Director Tom Rankin, professor of the practice of visual arts and director of the Center for Documentary Studies, was quoted extensively in the September 16 article, explaining the new program’s focus is on experimentation with traditional forms of documentary arts but is also a “hybrid where many mediums come together.” The article goes on to note, “Duke’s program is the only MFA in the country that offers joint studies of experimental film, computational art production and documentary studies.”

In the September 20 editorial, the MFAEDA is described as filling “a previously open void in arts education at Duke” with the editors remaining “hopeful that the MFA program will not only further the knowledge of graduate students, but that it will lead to a trickle-down effect that will benefit undergraduate students at the University. The editorial concluded: “We remain optimistic about the ability of the program to enhance knowledge of the arts for graduate students, undergraduates and Durham residents alike.”

The MFAEDA is located in the just-remodeled former University carpentry shop on Campus Drive next to the East Campus power plant, also recently refurbished, and near the Smith Warehouse, which houses the visual arts and visual studies programs and studios in bays 11 and 12.

Coming Soon

Visual Studies Initiative

Those interested in subscribing to the Visual Studies list, please go to: https://lists.duke.edu/sympa/subscribe/duke-visualstudies

MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts: Inaugural Year

The new Master of Fine Arts in Experimental & Documentary Arts (MFAEDA) at Duke University brings together two forms of artistic activity—the documentary approach and experimental production in analog, digital, and computational media—in a unique program that will foster collaborations across disciplines and media as it trains sophisticated, creative art practitioners. Successful completion of the program requires the development of a complex understanding of documentary practices and traditions as well as creative skills in experimental media and new technologies. The MFAEDA is a joint program between the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies; the Center for Documentary Studies; and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image.

Highlight from the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Sarah Charlesworth, Figures from Objects of Desire I, 1983-84. Cibachrome with lacquered wood frame, 42 x 62 inches. Courtesy the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery, NYC. From the exhibition The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure the Signs of Power, 1973-1991, September 15-December 31, 2011.


NewsByte is published biweekly during the academic year and monthly from June through August. Please refer all relevant departmental information for inclusion in our email announcement to John Taormina, Director, Visual Media Center, at taormina@duke.edu.

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