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Current Events

Indigeneity/De Coloniality/@RT

Benvenuto Chavajay

May 1-August 15, 2014
Frederic Jameson Gallery
Friedl Building
Duke University, East Campus

This exhibition brings together artists from across the Americas working under “decolonial creative practices,” which underline the limits of he conventional art world and offer possibilities of re-existence in contemporary settings across the Americas. Working on various mediums, these artists address indigeneity, decoloniality and/or their intersections through visual and sensorial environments and knowledge. Their creative insurgent practices function as enactments in spaces of liminality of art and life.

Curated by Kency Cornejo, Raul Ferrera-Balanquet, and Miguel Rojas-Sotelo.

Sponsored by Duke Center for Global Studies and the Humanities; Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Romance Studies; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; and the Indigeneity in Global Terms Project.

Etruscan Cities

An exhibition produced in conjunction with ARTHIST561/CLST560, Prof. Maurizio Forte

June 9 - August 3, 2014
East Duke Building Corridor Gallery
East Campus

The Etruscans were one of the most important and fascinating civilizations of ancient Italy, deeply influencing the classical world in the Mediterranean basin. This exhibition will focus on the concept and definition of the “city” in Etruscan society and its socio-political role in territorial organization, urban planning, and its reflection in funerary architecture and monumental tombs. The exhibition will include virtual interactive installations, using techniques to highlight innovations in Etruscan studies (Etruscanning Project), and posters explaining key concepts in our understanding of Etruscan cities and society.

Sponsored by the Departments of Art, Art History & Visual Studies and Classical Studies.

Media Arts + Sciences Lab Posters and Videos

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


A Taste for Modernism

Leon Gimpel, photograph of acrobats (or saltimbanques), 1909.

Patricia Leighten, professor of art history and visual studies, gave a paper on "Picasso and His Times" at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas on April 6, 2014 in conjunction with the exhibition, The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism.

Journal of Modern Periodical Studies

Cover of L'Assiette au beurre, a special issue on prostitutes, October 26, 1901.

Patricia Leighten’s essay, "The World Turned Upside Down: Modernism and Anarchist Strategies of Inversion in L'Assiette au Beurre," has recently appeared in the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies (4/2/2013):


Impressionist France Symposium

Neil McWilliam, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Art History, gave a paper at the symposium, Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet, on April 25, 2014. His paper was titled "Roots: Landscapes of Nationalism." The symposium was organized in conjunction with the current exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet, for which he contributed a catalogue essay entitled "A Sense of Place: Representing the Region in Nineteenth-Century France."

Vincent Scully Visiting Professorship at Yale

Yale Arts Complex: (left) Paul Rudolph, Paul Rudolph Hall, 1963; (right) Charles Gwathmey, Jeffrey H. Loria Center for the History of Art and Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, 2008.

Annabel Wharton, William B. Hamilton Professor of Art and Art History, has been invited to serve as Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at Yale University's School of Architecture in the Fall 2014. She will be teaching a new graduate seminar on Models and Agency there, a course that she hopes to teach at Duke when she returns.


Incoming Graduate Students

The department would like to welcome the newest cohort of students into its graduate programs for Fall 2014:

Ph.D. Program in the History of Art

Nicole Ying Yee Gaglia
Area: Art History. Advisor: Gennifer Weisenfeld

Nathan F. Bullock
Area: Art History. Advisor: Annabel Wharton

Evan Michael Donahue
Area: Visual & Media Studies. Advisor: Tim Lenoir

Patricia Barclay Bass
Area: Art History. Advisor: Mark Olson

Kelly Chin Tang
Area: Art History. Advisor: Stan Abe

Katherine Lynn McCusker
Area: Art History. Advisor: Maurizio Forte

Ozgun Eylul Iscen
Area: Visual & Media Studies. Advisor: Mark Hansen

M.A. in Historical and Cultural Visualization

Henrietta Miers
Jordan Noyes
Jessica Pissini

University of New Mexico

The Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico

Kency Cornejo was appointed to a tenure-track position as assistant professor of modern & contemporary Latin American art in the Department of Art History at The University of New Mexico. She is a scholar of modern and contemporary Latin American art history with a specialization in art and visual culture of Central America and its diaspora. Cornejo is currently completing her dissertation, “Visual Disobedience: The Geopolitics of Experimental Art in Central America, 1990-present,” which explores the intersection between race, gender, and coloniality with experimental and decolonial art practices of postwar Central America. Her co-advisors are Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, and Esther Gabara, E. Blake Byrne Associate Professor of Romance Studies and Art, Art History & Visual Stuides.

From her research, Cornejo designed and taught a course at Duke entitled Art, Visual Culture & Politics in Central America, with the support of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Fellowship for Undergraduate Instruction. Her work has received further support from the Fulbright-Hays DDRA and the Ford Foundation, among others, and she has been invited to lecture on her work throughout the United States, Central America, Mexico and Brazil.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum’s modern and contemporary art collection is on display in the historic Lincoln Gallery.

Doctoral candidate Katherine Jentleson has been appointed the Douglass Foundation Predoctoral Fellow in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) from August 1, 2014–July 30, 2015. In D.C. she will continue her dissertation, "Gatecrashers: The First Generation Of Outsider Artists in America," working closely with Leslie Umberger, SAAM's curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art, and Liza Kirwin, the Deputy Director of the Archives of American Art.

Studio Museum in Harlem

Installation view of When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South. Photo: Adam Reich.

In March, Katherine Jentleson also published the essay, "Cracks in the Consensus: Outsider Artists and Art World Ruptures," in the catalogue for the exhibition, When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, at the Studio Museum in Harlem through the end of this month. The New York Times called Jentleson's essay "a lucid look at historic shows of ‘outsider’ artists at American museums."

Ecosystem of Excess

Doctoral student Pinar Yoldas’ work Ecosystem of Excess is being exhibited in Thingworld: International Triennial of New Media Art at the National Museum of China, Beijing, opening June 10, 2014.

From the exhibition website: “From primordial soup to plastic soup, An Ecosystem of Excess asks a very simple question: ‘If life started today in our plastic debris filled oceans, what kinds of life forms would emerge out of this contemporary primordial ooze?’ The project introduces pelagic insects, marine reptilia, fish and birds endowed with organs to sense and metabolize plastics as a new Linnean order of post-human life forms. Inspired by the groundbreaking findings of new bacteria that burrow into pelagic plastics, An Ecosystem of Excess envisions life forms of greater complexity, life forms that can thrive in man-made extreme environments, life forms that can turn the toxic surplus of our capitalistic desire into eggs, vibrations, and joy. Starting from excessive anthropocentrism An Ecosystem of Excess reaches anthropo-de-centrism, by offering life without mankind.”


Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Laurel Fredrickson (Ph.D., 2007) has accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of contemporary art in the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Fredrickson, whose advisor at Duke was Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, wrote her dissertation on “Kate Millett And Jean-Jacques Lebel: Sexual Outlaws in the Intermedia Borderlands of Art And Politics."

Fredrickson is a historian of contemporary and modern art with a global emphasis. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on cross-cultural and transnational intersections of experimental art and political dissent from the 1960s to the present. She is currently revising her book Desire/Delire/Desordre: Jean-Jacques Lebel's Erotic Revolution to send to a press. This is the first book-length study of the anticolonial and anti-institutional art and politics of an icon of revolution in the 1960s, Jean-Jacques Lebel (b. 1936, France), who, as an artist, played a crucial translational role: circulating theories and strategies across generational and disciplinary boundaries, connecting cultural and political avant-gardes internationally.

She has also begun preliminary research for another book, Deterritorialized Identity: Transnational Women Artists and French Colonialism. This project explores the art of women who interrogate the postmodern condition of deterritorialized identity through video, installation and performance, including those in her case studies Zenib Sedira (b. 1963, France), Miriam Mihindou (b. 1964, Gabon) and Latifa Echakhch (b. 1974, Morocco). The work of each artist visualizes intersections of present-day and historical political realities and traumatic memory in the mediated materiality of embodiment and dissent, and each uniquely expresses a body-politics shaped by displacement, refugee status and the frontier as site of obstruction and passage.


Art Libraries Society Conference

John Taormina, director, Visual Media Center, organized the session, "The Politics of Change: Digital Humanities and the Visual Arts,” at the annual conference of the Art Libraries Society of North America in Washington, DC, May 2-5, 2014. Presentations addressed partnering users in the creative teaching and research process, mapping cultural exchange and locating narrative, and exposing local library collections through digital technologies. Sarah Falls, head of the fine arts library, The Ohio State University, moderated the session.


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.

MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization

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. 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.

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.


Louis Marcoussis (French, 1878 – 1941), Le Comptoir, 1921. Etching, drypoint and aquatint on paper, 18.6 x 14.3 cm. Museum purchase with funds provided in honor of Marilyn M. Segal by her children, by exchange. 2008.8.1. Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

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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