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Youngsun Jin, Channeling Time, fresco dome and mural, Chosun Royal Kiln Museum, Gonjiam, Korea, 2000.

“Fresco: That Beautiful Rediscovery”

Youngsun Jin
Visual Artist in Residence at HASTAC and
Fulbright Visiting Professor
Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 12-1 PM
John Hope Franklin Center
A Wednesdays at the Center event

The word “fresco” describes a specific painting technique, of applying pigments ground only in water to freshly applied, still-wet plaster. Although fresco is the mother of visual art, it has become today a rarefied genre whose practitioners usually show only moderate interest in contemporary art and art theory.

This talk reappraises contemporary fresco through a discussion of historical precedent and influences from other artistic media. Jin will discuss how contemporary fresco extends its boundaries with three types of works: site-specific projects; portable frescoes and fresco installations; and fresco sculptures and frescoes in mixed media.

Youngsun Jin received her BFA from Seoul National University, her MFA from the Pratt Institute, and her Ph.D. from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London. Jin’s works have been shown in fourteen solo exhibitions and more than 100 group exhibitions worldwide. Her main concentration of works is fresco. She has reproduced a Goguryeo Tumulus painting for the National Museum of Korea in Seoul as well as three fresco murals in collaboration with Nam June Paik’s video sculptures. When Jin was teaching fresco at Central Saint Martins College in London, she executed a fresco and ceramic mural at the Ecology Centre, Mile End Park (2002).

Lecture presented by HASTAC.

Duke STEAM Challenge

Application deadline extended to Monday, October 21 at 5pm EST!

Duke STEAM Challenge is an undergraduate, graduate, and professional student challenge designed to explore new ways that Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics–along with the humanities and social sciences–might contribute to one another for the greater good. The Challenge will run August 2013-January 2014.

The winning STEAM project will be awarded a grand prize of $10,000.

STEAM is an interdisciplinary approach that bridges STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines with the Arts, humanities, and social sciences in meaningful ways. STEAM is rooted in the conviction that the challenging questions of the 21st century can only be answered through the integrated efforts of all disciplines working together.



Smoke Signals
An exhibition of 17 photographs by Bill Anderson (1961-2013)

Gallery Talk and Reception
4:30 PM, October 18, 2013

Thomas Room, Lilly Library
Duke University Libraries

…Anderson's installation is reminiscent of both John Cage's smoke drawings and Nam June Paik's stacked television sculptures… (h)is use of the television sets as supports for the images is inventive. Anderson flattens, inverts, and repeats the images into Rorschach like patterns that could be butterflies, animals or sci-fi Transformers.” --Creative Loafing, Atlanta

Viewers have responded to these digitized images of smoke as floral, sensual and calligraphic, uncovering in them an array of images from wings, flames, and insects, to bones and space aliens. It was Anderson’s intention to title each photograph. Please join us in honoring his intention and celebrating his creative vision. Come title the photographs!

Visualizing Venice

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


Monastic Architecture and the City

Sano di Pietro, San Bernardino Preaching in Front of the Church of San Francesco at Siena, 1427, Hall of the Cathedral Chapter, Siena.

Caroline Bruzelius, Anne M. Cogan Professor of Art History, spoke at the colloquium Monastic Architecture and the City, October 10-11, 2013, at the Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal. Bruzelius presented “Preaching, Building, and Burying: Mendicant Friars and the Reshaping of the Medieval City.” Ludovica Galeazzo, part of the Visualizing Venice group, spoke on “The Augustinian Nuns of Santa Caterina dei Sacchi in Venice and the Growth of Dynamics of the Urban Fringe.”

The religious orders were once very widespread throughout the world. Today, one of the most visible aspects of that presence is their architecture. Monasteries, convents, colleges and other religious houses are important channels for the creation and interpretation of art, architecture and culture, and indeed much study of the religious orders has taken place through those disciplines. These institutions also had an important territorial and urban dimension, however, that has not been adequately valued. This symposium aims to explore precisely this perspective, looking at monastic architecture as an urban and territorial organism.

New Book: The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris

The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris, by Patricia Leighten, Professor of Art History and Visual Studies, has just been published by University of Chicago Press.

The years before World War I were a time of social and political ferment in Europe, which profoundly affected the art world. A major center of this creative tumult was Paris, where many avant-garde artists sought to transform modern art through their engagement with radical politics. In this provocative study of art and anarchism in prewar France, Patricia Leighten argues that anarchist aesthetics and a related politics of form played crucial roles in the development of modern art, only to be suppressed by war fever and then forgotten.

Leighten examines the circle of artists—Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, František Kupka, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees Van Dongen, and others—for whom anarchist politics drove the idea of avant-garde art, exploring how their aesthetic choices negotiated the myriad artistic languages operating in the decade before World War I. Whether they worked on large-scale salon paintings, political cartoons, or avant-garde abstractions, these artists, she shows, were preoccupied with social criticism. Each sought an appropriate subject, medium, style, and audience based on different conceptions of how art influences society—and their choices constantly shifted as they responded to the dilemmas posed by contradictory anarchist ideas. According to anarchist theorists, art should expose the follies and iniquities of the present to the masses, but it should also be the untrammeled expression of the emancipated individual and open a path to a new social order. Revealing how these ideas generated some of modernism’s most telling contradictions among the prewar Parisian avant-garde, The Liberation of Painting restores revolutionary activism to the broader history of modern art.

The Liberation of Painting is the real thing: a mature work by a paradigm-shifting scholar who has been publishing leading-edge scholarship on several of the artists discussed here over the course of her distinguished professional career. This book will make its mark in studies of the relationship between avant-garde art and radical politics, as the groundwork has already been put down by two decades of work by Patricia Leighten in her consistently strong and persuasive voice.”
‑ Elizabeth Childs, Washington University, St. Louis

“By shrewdly setting avant-garde attitudes alongside caricature and descriptive naturalism, Patricia Leighten powerfully restates the dangerousness of modernism in pre-1914 Paris. Her exciting study reveals how progressive styles engaged with other idealisms, whether anarchist or scientific, philosophical or anti-colonial, sexual or spiritual, in a medley of persuasive arguments.”
‑ Richard Thomson, University of Edinburgh

The Liberation of Painting is a groundbreaking study of the relationship between art and radical politics in prewar France. Rooted in exemplary scholarship, Patricia Leighten shows how artists acted as historical agents, negotiating complex relationships with the political sphere. Drawing on the work of artists such as Picasso, Vlaminck, Van Dongen, and Kupka she deftly explores the many ways in which anarchist politics animated ideas of ‘avant-garde’ art and informed the creation of innovative formal languages. Leighten both complicates and enriches the dominant narratives of modernism, inviting the reader to address the real complexity of major movements or so-called ‘isms.’ Key notions of ‘primitivism,’ ‘autonomy,’ caricature, and collage are the subjects of careful, historical scrutiny; modernism’s history is reconceived here as a heterogeneous field of cultural, aesthetic and political intersections. This book is essential reading for students and researchers seeking to understand the complex, shifting relationship between ‘avant-garde’ art, art criticism and radical politics in avant-guerre Paris.”
‑ Gill Perry, The Open University

Boston Printmakers 2013 North American Print Biennial

Miswired: MCI, a 22” x 28” silkscreen print by Merrill Shatzman, Professor of the Practice of Visual Arts, will be included in the upcoming Boston Printmakers 2013 North American Print Biennial, which will be held from October 27 - December 20, 2013 at the 808 Gallery, Boston University. Shatzman’s print was one of 139 images selected from over 2,300 prints for this exhibition

Information Initiative at Duke (iiD)

Han J. van Miegroet, Professor and Chair, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, has received a 2013-14 incubator award from the new Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) under the Digging into Data Challenge.

The project, “Duke Art, Law & Markets Initiative (DALMI): Big Data Art and Markets Research Development Plan To Redesign the Getty Research Institute Provenance Index Databases,” will be directed by Van Miegroet with doctoral candidates Hilary Coe Smith and Sandra van Ginhoven as project team leaders.

This new collaborative project will involve students and faculty with art historical, computational, mathematical, data mining, and econometric expertise to help in the re-design of the existing Getty Provenance Index databases. This will involve restructuring the database application development standards from a flat file model to a reasonably normalized relational database model, developing text-analysis strategies for extracting attributes from titles and to extract descriptions to regress with process over time, and designing new front ends for searching and displaying (visualizing and browsing) aggregate results, including API access to data.

The iiD awards support interdisciplinary research teams (working groups) and encourage innovative approaches that transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines integrating the computational sciences with the biomedical and life sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.


Fulbright Award

Doctoral candidate Erica Sherman has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to Brazil in Art & Architectural History, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board recently announced. Sherman’s project looks at religious confraternities in colonial-era Minas Gerais.

Coming Soon

Grand Opening

Media Arts + Sciences
Duke University

5:30 PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Second floor, Bays 10-11, Smith Warehouse
114 S. Buchanan Blvd.
Durham, NC 27705

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.


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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