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Beginning in August 2014, the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University will offer a new Master’s degree in Historical and Cultural Visualization. The Duke Board of Trustees approved the degree at their December meeting.

Developed by the Wired! Group at Duke (www.dukewired.org), the 18-month program integrates historical disciplines and the study of cultural artifacts with digital visualization techniques for the analysis and presentation of research. The program builds on courses and well-developed strengths at Duke, and requires 10 courses over three semesters in addition to summer research.

Students will affiliate with an existing faculty research initiative, from which they will develop their own independent research project for the M.A. thesis. Common themes that unite the various projects are the visualization of process, the representation of change over time, recontextualizing displaced objects and object biographies.

The M.A. prepares students for future work in such fields as public history, city planning and architectural design, cultural heritage, museum exhibition design and visualization-based journalism, and provides a springboard for more advanced study in art history, archaeology, architectural history and visual studies.

The ideal candidate seeks engagement with the Digital Humanities, and conceptualizes digital visualization as a way of doing research. The program encourages applicants from across the Humanities and Social Sciences, whether from established disciplines, such as history, archaeology and art history, or emerging fields of study, such as spatial history, media arts & sciences and cultural geography.

For the 2014-15 academic year, applications will be accepted until March 31, 2014. Post-deadline applications will be reviewed as space allows. For more information and to apply, visit dukewired.org.


“’Mots et les Choses’: Digital Information Sources for Art”

Lee Sorensen
Visual Studies and Dance Librarian
Lilly Library @ Duke Libraries

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
12-1 PM
East Duke 204A, Duke University

Intermezzo is a series sponsored by the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, consisting of a brief (15-20 minutes) presentation of an ongoing project, followed by a thoughtful discussion. Sessions alternate between graduate student and faculty presentations.


Duke University and the Venice International University is again offering a summer digital workshop for historians of art, architecture and cities from June 3-13, 2014 in Venice, Italy.

This workshop will teach a range of digital skills in 3D modeling, visualization and mapping technologies to enable participants to engage historical questions with emerging digital tools. As in the previous editions of the workshop, the technologies will be taught through the use of a theme: in 2014 the focus will be on Venice and its islands. Participants will use the city and the lagoon as a “laboratory” through which to examine questions such as change over time and dynamic process in urban and rural environments, showing how man-made spaces respond to social and economic process and transformation.

The aim of the workshop is to train scholars in how new technologies can be integrated with the study of historical and material culture. The workshop will focus on a range of visualization tools that can be used in a wide variety of research areas, in particular modeling change over time in urban space and the production of maps and low-cost photogrammetry.


Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Barbecue, c. 1934. Oil on canvas, 39 x 44 inches (99.1 x 111.76 cm). Collection of the Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

January 30 – May 11, 2014
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, the first retrospective of the American artist’s paintings in two decades, will originate at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University on January 30, 2014, starting a national tour. Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is organized and curated by Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University.

Motley is one of the most significant yet least visible 20th-century artists, despite the broad appeal of his paintings. Many of his most important portraits and cultural scenes remain in private collections; few museums have had the opportunity to acquire his work. With a survey that spans 40 years, Archibald Motley introduces the artist’s canvases of riotous color to wider audiences and reveals his continued impact on art history.

Archibald Motley includes 42 works from each period of Motley’s lifelong career, from 1919 to 1960. Motley’s scenes of life in the African-American community, often in his native Chicago, depict a parallel universe of labor and leisure. His portraits are voyeuristic but also genealogical examinations of race, gender and sexuality. Motley does not shy away from folklore fantasies; he addresses slavery and racism head on. The exhibition also features his noteworthy canvases of Jazz Age Paris and 1950s Mexico. Significant works will be presented together for the first time.

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is accompanied by a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue with critical texts by scholars Davarian L. Baldwin, David C. Driskell, Olivier Meslay, Amy M. Mooney and critically acclaimed poet, essayist and novelist Ishmael Reed. The catalogue is published by the Nasher Museum and distributed by Duke University Press.

Media Arts + Sciences Lab Posters and Videos


Second floor, Bays 10-11, Smith Warehouse
Duke University
114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Durham, NC 27705
(enter through Bay 12)

Department News


10th National Print Competition and Exhibition

Miswired: MCI , a 22” x 28” silkscreen print by Merrill Shatzman, professor of the practice of visual arts, will be included in the upcoming 10th National Print Competition and Exhibition: Pushing Boundaries Expanding Horizons, which will be held from January 27- February 22, 2014 at the Janet Turner Print Museum, California State University, Chico. Anne Collins Goodyear, Co-Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and former Associate Curator or Prints + Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, selected works for the show.

Shatzman's print is part of a series of images describing her father's cognitive changes from dementia shown through her abstract imagery and graphs, maps, marks and lines. This print depicts Mild Cognitive Impairment.


New Publication: Heteropolis

In the context of her participation to the Adaptive Actions (AA) platform (adaptiveactions.net), doctoral student Marie-Pier Boucher co-edited the book Heteropolis. The book addresses the following urban reality: even if cities are becoming heterogeneous, homogeneous sectors persist, multiply and last. In this context, is Heteropolis something that exists or is it a project to carry out, a city to make? Via the concept of HETEROPOLIS, AA looks into actions that might open spaces to indeterminacy, facilitate the hybridization of what already exists, while mobilizing new forms of urban relations, exchange and diversity. AA also questions how heterogeneous spaces act as triggers for creativity.

The book was launched at Matadero Madrid, the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in Montreal. The 320-pages book includes an interview with political theorist Michael Hardt, critical essays and visual contributions in the form of photos, drawings, scans and quotes that aim at generating heterogeneity and at constructing the common. Contributions cover urban, social and cultural issues that can be identified as queer, native, ethnic, generational, economical, industrial, ecological, among others. Numerous international authors contributed to the publication.

The book was produced with the support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, and donors. It is published and distributed by Adaptive Actions: info@adaptiveactions.net


Media Arts + Sciences

The conditions for knowledge production in today’s global world have been fundamentally altered by the computational revolution. From experimental practices in the sciences to research methodologies in the humanities, knowledge has come increasingly to depend on the gathering and analysis of large aggregates of data that in some crucial ways cannot be understood or manipulated without the assistance of sophisticated computational methodologies, new forms of visualization and media technologies.

Media Arts + Sciences at Duke looks to integrate multi-modal inquiry, including computational design, data analysis and new media art, with scholarly investigation at the interface of the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences. As scholars in both the traditional and the digital humanities, we have understood that computational media has profoundly transformed the research paradigms and epistemology of the humanities and the many disciplines it affects.

Media Arts + Sciences has a university-wide reach with an infrastructure that now include nine fully operational, experimental, and interdisciplinary labs and groups in Smith Warehouse, Bays 10-11.

MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts


The 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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