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African American Close-up: Prints, Photographs and Works on Paper from North Carolina Collections

Sam Gilliam, (b. 1933), Fire, 1972. Lithograph on rice paper, 24 x 16 1/8 inches. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 72.45.1. Courtesy of the artist and Marsha Mateyka Gallery, Washington, DC.


The works of art featured on this new website are part of a group studied in the Fall 2012 Art History course at Duke University taught by Professor Richard Powell entitled "Modern and Contemporary African American Art." This course examined the social and philosophical forces shaping a black presence in contemporary and modern visual culture.

Because the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is the repository for, or is in close proximity to, many important works of art by and about African Americans, it was decided that rather than requiring a conventional term paper, students might benefit more from conducting original research on works of art they could see in person. To showcase this student-generated scholarship this online exhibition was created.

Howardena Pindell, (b. 1943), Video Drawing: Boxing Series, 1973-76. Digital photograph, 8 3/4 x 13 inches. Private Collection. © 2013 Howardena Pindell. Courtesy of the artist.

African American Close-Up: Prints, Photographs and Works on Paper from North Carolina Collections gratefully acknowledges the support from the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. Additional generous support is provided my the Andrew M. Mellon Foundation.

Pedro Lasch, Susan Harbage Page, and Yinka Shonibare

Pedro Lasch, LATINO/A AMERICA, 2003/2013. Mixed-media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. © Pedro Lasch. Image courtesy of the Queens Museum of Art, New York.

July 20 – December 1, 2013
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

This installation complements the exhibition Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space (September 19, 2013 - February 2, 2014) and deals with the human consequences of the creation and regulation of borders.

Pedro Lasch is Associate Research Professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. His evolving installation consists of maps printed with red images of North and South America labeled “Latino/a” and “America”, respectively. Lasch provides two of these folded up maps to each person he meets who plans to cross the U.S. - Mexico border. One map they keep for themselves, the other they return to Lasch following their crossing. Each sheet is marked with the evidence of the journey, the stains and tears creating an altered, more personal map.

In a series of photographs, Harbage Page captures objects—such as a wallet, a lone argyle sock and scraps of fabric and paper—left behind as migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexican border. These items are no longer possessions but rather documents testifying to a life that has moved on, reminding us of what else may have been left behind: family, friends, and home.

Shonibare’s work, Scramble for Africa, assembles fourteen mannequins around a table with a map of Africa at its center. This installation re-imagines the Berlin Conference (1884-85) that resulted in a continent separated and parceled out among European powers, creating divisions that led to conflict and bloodshed.

Visualizing Venice: New Technologies for Urban History

July 12 - October 31, 2013
East Duke Corridor Galley
East Duke Building, East Campus

Visualizing Venice is a three-year project involving faculty and staff from Duke's Wired! Lab and counterparts at two Italian universities, Universita Iuav di Venezia and Universita degli Studi di Padova. Visualizing Venice provides a series of inquiries into how social and economic change shaped the city of Venice over time. Using documents and archival sources, collaborative groups of students map and model the process of change in the city.

An exhibition of projects is now on display in East Duke Building. The exhibition summarizes much of the project's research thus far, a series of re-creations of several notable areas of Venice, dissected and re-built layer by layer using all manner of representational digital technologies. Projects include SS. Giovanni et Paolo, the Ospedale, the Accademia, the Biennale, and the Arsenale.

The exhibition, which has already been displayed in Venice and Zagreb, Croatia, was previously shown at Smith Warehouse in April.


Department News


Visiting Professorship at the Hertziana Library

Caroline A. Bruzelius, Anne M. Cogan Professor of Art History, has been appointed the Richard Krautheimer Visiting Professor at the Hertziana Library in Rome for the academic year. The Hertziana is a research institute for the History of Art and Architecture that provides excellent library facilities for scholarship on Italy. It also sponsors ongoing research initiatives, among them the database on the Medieval Kingdom of Sicily that is collecting images of medieval art and architecture produced by travelers and scholars in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Bass Connections

Hans J. van Miegroet, Professor and Chair, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, has been named co-director of the Information, Society & Culture theme of Bass Connections along with Robert Calderbank, the Phillip Griffiths Professor of Computer Science, Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Information Initiative at Duke. Information, Society & Culture is one of five themes in Bass Connections.

Access to unprecedented amounts of information is creating new opportunities for Duke students and faculty, working together in multidisciplinary teams, to actively engage with and to change the world around them. At the same time, the unprecedented availability of personal information published by smart phones, web browsers and social media is exposing society to new risks. Bass Connections in Information, Society and Culture combines coursework, co-curricular experiences, and integrated project teams to explore the evolution of society and culture through the lens of information, using the latest computational methods to understand society’s most pressing problems in new and creative ways.

Bass Connections is a university-wide initiative launched by a $50 million gift from Anne and Robert Bass. Bass Connections provides students with greater exposure to inquiry across the disciplines, partnership with unlikely fellow thinkers, sustained mentorship in teams, and the chance to experience the intersections of the academy and the broader world. For more details, see bassconnections.duke.edu

Fort Duke

In September students at Duke University beat the world’s record for the largest structure constructed with only boxes and tape. A collaboration between Duke Sanitation and Recycling Services, Sustainable Duke, and the Duke Arts Festival resulted in a structure made from more than 3,500 cardboard boxes. The purpose of the event was to break the world record as well as highlight sustainability efforts at Duke. Todd Berreth, an architect and IT analyst and research programmer with the Duke Visualization and Interactive Systems group, designed the fort’s structure. Bill Fick, visiting assistant professor of the practice of visual arts, helped with the organization and construction. More than 200 students were involved in building Fort Duke.

The event kicked off this year's Duke Arts Festival, which has a theme of using recycled materials and promoting messages of environmental stewardship.

Visualizing Venice Exhibition in Zadar

Visualizing Venice: New Technologies for Urban History, a collaborative exhibition originating between Duke's Wired! Lab and counterparts at two Italian universities, Universita Iuav di Venezia and Universita degli Studi di Padova opened on September 13, 2013 at the Ducal Palace, National Museum of Zadar. The exhibition, which will run through October 10, is sponsored by the Architect’s Association of Zadar.


Archives of American Art's 2013 Graduate Research Prize

A view of the acquisitions Holger Cahill made in Charleston, South Carolina.

Doctoral candidate Katie Jentleson was awarded the Archives of American Art's 2013 Graduate Research Prize sponsored by the Dedalus Foundation for her essay and interactive Neatline exhibit, Not as rewarding as the North: Holger Cahill's Southern Folk Art Expedition. Jentleson’s essay and interactive map examine a little-known trip taken by Holger Cahill, an art writer and critic who was the founding director of the New Deal’s Federal Art Project. She traces his two-week collecting tour through the American South in early 1935, and explains that this excursion shaped Cahill’s distinct definition of “Americanness.”

In her award-winning essay, Jentleson consulted two significant collections held at the Archives, both of which are available through the Terra Foundation Center for Digital Collections: Holger Cahill Papers and the Downtown Gallery Records. Jentleson argues that his low impression of artistic and cultural production in the South greatly influenced his term as FAP administrator. The jury determined that she skillfully marshaled evidence, including reports, correspondence, interviews, press releases and printed materials, in a smart, engaging essay and developed a layered, multimedia map that relies on open-source software.

“Katherine Jentleson’s work is timely and exciting, and it suggests important future directions for the field,” said Kate Haw, director of the Archives. “She follows in the tradition of venerable scholars who have mined our rich primary sources to produce top-notch, rigorous art history. She examined materials available through the Archives’ website while also demonstrating the creative potential of online publishing with an interactive map. We are deeply grateful to the Dedalus Foundation for their support of this prize, which encourages and celebrates promising scholarship.”

Jentleson will receive a cash prize of $1,000, publication of her essay on the Archives of American Art’s website, and a one-year subscription to the Archives of American Art Journal.

For the project, Jentleson learned how to use the program Neatline at the May 2013 Wired! Workshop, “Mapping Space and Time: Configuring Connections, Trade & Travel, Past & Present.”

In its second year, the Archives of American Art Graduate Research Prize recognizes authors who advance the understanding of American art history by using the resources of the Archives of American Art as primary evidence. It also promotes scholarship that lends itself to innovative online presentations. The annual competition is open to anyone enrolled in a graduate program in art history, visual culture, American studies, or related fields.

Jentleson’s essay can be read here:

Ph.D. Candidacy

Doctoral students Sarah Jones Dickens and Katherine de Vos Divine have recently passed their preliminary and prospectus doctoral exams.

Gunnar Bergstrom and Hedda Ekerwald, Revolutionary Theatre in Phnom Penh, August 1978, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Dickens, whose dissertation will be on the history of post-1945 Cambodian art and visual culture, is advised by Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies.

Left: A photo of a Rastafarian from Patrick Cariou's series Yes, Rasta. Right: A painting from Richard Prince's Canal Zone series.

De Vos Divine, who is co-advised by Stiles and Hans J. van Miegroet, Professor and Chair of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, is writing her dissertation on “Transformation: Appropriation Art, Intellectual Property, and Fair Use Since the 1990s.”

Graduate Student in Berlin

On September 28, 2013 ArtLaboratoryBerlin will present a Speculative Biology Workshop: The Design of Biological Systems and Neo-organs with Pinar Yoldas, doctoral candidate in visual and media studies. In the workshop she will give a quick overview into general biological systems such as the circulatory system, the respiratory system, the nervous system, the reproductive system etc., and how these systems (or more specifically organs) might evolve under the influence of global environmental transformations.

Yoldas will also be giving an artist talk at ArtLaboratoryBerlin on October 3. Yoldas is a cross-disciplinary artist and researcher with a background in architecture, interface design, computing, and neuroscience. Her work investigates social and cultural systems in regards to biological and ecological systems. She is the 2013/14 resident at the Vilem Flusser Residency Programme for Artistic Research, run by transmediale and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK).


The Undergraduate Awards has announced that Alice S. Kim (Trinity ’13), has won in the international category for Visual Arts for her piece In Search of Roots. Alice will receive her award at the UA Global Summit, taking place across Dublin, Ireland from November 13-15, 2013 The three-day event will see the top students in twenty-two disciplines, from all over the world, gather in the city for a celebration of the most innovative and creative arguments and pieces coming out of undergraduate research globally.


Alice Kim graduated in 2013 as a Visual & Media Studies major (Graduation With High Distinction; advisor: Raquel Salvatella de Prada). She also won a John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award from the Center for Documentary Studies in 2012.

Alice’s piece was one of almost 4,000 pieces of coursework submitted to The Undergraduate Awards this year, from 184 third-level institutions internationally. In Search of Roots integrates audio, black-and-white film photography, digital photography, and text to examine the trajectory of a Korean-Japanese-American immigrant’s life. It seeks to evoke questions of identity, patriotism, and immigration.

The Undergraduate Awards is the only international pan-discipline academic awards program in the world, in operation across the island of Ireland since 2009 and operating globally since 2011. It aims to recognize the best students in the world and to connect them to one another so as to encourage interdisciplinary cooperation that also transcends borders.

The UA Global Summit, to which Alice has won an all expenses paid trip in November, has a broad range of speakers lined up to address the winners – assembled from all over the world – who will inspire, guide and challenge them over the course of the event. Speakers include Andreas Schleicher, OECD Division Head of the Programme for International Student Assessment; Majora Carter, renowned environmentalist and urban revitalization strategist; Emile Simpson, writer of War from the Ground Up: Combat as Politics; and Cindy Gallop, advertising guru and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.

The full list of winners can be found here. (undergraduateawards.com/winners/winners-2013). The winners in each category were selected by a judging panel, made up of academics and industry experts from each field, and from across the globe.

In Search of Roots can be viewed here:

Coming Soon

Visual Studies Initiative

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MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts


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.


Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887 - 1986), Autumn Leaves – Lake George, N.Y., 1924. Oil on canvas, 20 1/4 x 16 1/4". 1981.006, Columbus Museum of Art.

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

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