Arts & Culture

A. O. Scott Moderates Talk on Arts Criticism

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Four arts writers participated in a panel conversation titled “Criticism Now! A Conversation on the State of the Art” Nov. 11 at the Goldsmith Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies. A. O. Scott, Distinguished Professor of Film Criticism at Wesleyan and a chief film critic at The New York Times, moderated the event.

Alden Trust Supports New Digital Design Studio

Wesleyan received a $150,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust to support a Digital Design Studio currently under construction in the Davison Art Center. The interdisciplinary Digital Design Studio will equip Wesleyan students and faculty to address current and future needs with the tools to imagine and test new frontiers in design.

The Digital Design Studio will become a new hub within Wesleyan’s existing facilities in the Center for the Arts. The studio will provide a much-needed space for digital production for students enrolled in numerous studio arts courses and design-related fields. Emblematic of liberal education at Wesleyan, the new digital design studio is envisioned as a crossroads for faculty and students working across those disciplines that have become part of the massive digitization of design and the humanities. The new space will not only provide students with the tools, procedures, and techniques of digital design, but also the theoretical background needed to bridge the divide between what they are learning in their humanities and arts classes and the tremendous shifts going on in the digital world. Read more about the project in this News @ Wesleyan article.

The George I. Alden Trust was established for the general purpose of “the maintenance of some charitable or philanthropic enterprises” with particular expressed interest in “the promotion of education in schools, colleges, or other educational institutions.” The Trust supports institutions that demonstrate a combination of educational excellence, exciting programming, and efficient and effective administration.

New Digital Design Studio to Bridge Divide between Arts, Technology

Contractors are working to restore and transform the Davison Art Center's carriage house section into a Digital Design Studio. The space formerly housed the Art Library

Contractors are working to restore and transform the Davison Art Center’s carriage house section into a Digital Design Studio. The space formerly housed the Art Library.

Imagine a place where Wesleyan students with a panoply of interests – art, photography, architecture, graphic design, and theatrical design, to name but a few – can work together in a dedicated digital space. Where faculty and students can bridge the divide between traditional arts and humanities courses and the tremendous shifts taking place in the technological world.

The new lab will feature new computers, scanners and 3-D printers.

The new lab will feature new computers, scanners and 3-D printers. (Photos by Dat Vu ’15)

That place is no longer imaginary. A $150,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust will support a Digital Design Studio in the repurposed carriage house section of the Davison Art Center. Beginning with about eight classes taught by three or four faculty members, the digital design program, slated to open in January 2015, will ultimately include intensive summer programming, reaching dozens more students by its second year.

“More than a simple grouping of high-end computers and software for arts classes, this will become a crossroads for faculty and students,” said Dean of Arts and Humanities Andrew Curran. “Together they will work across a variety of disciplines that are part of the massive digitization of design and humanities.”

The carriage house housed the Art Library until 2013, when the library’s holdings were consolidated at Olin. The grant will be used to repurpose and renovate the space and to purchase technology including scanners, 3-D printers and special software.

Wesleyan’s proposal for the Digital Design Studio envisions that eventually students will be able to solicit and accept projects from outside the university, gaining valuable career experience through non-academic digital design work.

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Neuroscience Training Influences Lee’s (’12) Art

Gizmodo features the artwork of Timothy “Timmy” Lee ’12. A neuroscience and behavior, biology and studio arts triple major, Lee always loved drawing but decided to pursue art professionally during his last year at Wesleyan, abandoning plans to attend medical school. According to the article, his time as a neuroscience student is apparent in his work: “These beautiful sculptures and paintings are his way of digging inside his own complex and sometimes disturbing personality.”

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Choreographer Otake Begins 3-Year Appointment with Seminar, Exhibition

Eiko Otake, visiting instructor in dance, performed "Body in a Station" at the Amtrack's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia on Oct. 8. Otake will speak on "Nakedness" Nov. 5 and participate in an exhibition titled "A Body in Fukushima," at Wesleyan starting in February 2015. (Photo by William Johnston)

Eiko Otake, visiting instructor in dance, performed “Body in a Station” at the Amtrack’s 30th Street Station in Philadelphia on Oct. 8. Otake will participate in an exhibition titled “A Body in Fukushima,” at Wesleyan starting in February 2015. (Photo by William Johnston)

Japanese-born choreographer/dancer Eiko Otake, visiting instructor in dance, recently accepted a three-year appointment in the Dance Department and College of East Asian Studies. Otake has a 13-year performance history at the Center for the Arts, which began with a three-hour performance of “Offering,” Eiko & Koma’s response to 9/11, in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Since then, Otake has visited campus many times as a Center for Creative Research Artist-in-Residence, and then as a Wesleyan University Creative Campus Fellow to teach, to offer workshops, to curate events, and to give lectures.

Eiko Otake. (Photo by Gregory Georges)

In the spring of 2015, Eiko Otake will teach an interdisciplinary seminar called “Delicious Movement: Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty.” (Photo by Gregory Georges)

Since 1972, Otake has collaborated with Takashi Koma Otake in creating a unique theater of movement out of stillness, shape, light, sound, and time. Eiko & Koma have received two New York Dance and Performance Awards, or “Bessies,” as well as Guggenheim, MacArthur and United States Artists Fellowships.

Middlesex, Wesleyan Students Lead Robot Demo at Green Street Arts Center

On Oct. 20, children at Wesleyan's Green Street Arts Center were treated to a robot demonstration led by students from Middlesex Community College. The robot, named Mixy, put on a show for the kids ranging from following basic commands to displaying his tai chi moves. Wesleyan students assisted with the presentation.  The Middlesex Community College students visited Green Street as part of Connecticut's "Public Higher Education Makes a Difference Week." Taking place Oct. 19-25, this statewide program celebrates and promotes civic engagement while developing students' citizenship skills, forging community partnerships and integrating service learning and volunteering at Connecticut's public colleges and universities. It culminates on Oct. 25 with "National Make a Difference Day."

On Oct. 20, children at Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center were treated to a robot demonstration led by students from Middlesex Community College. The robot, named Mixy, put on a show for the kids ranging from following basic commands to displaying his tai chi moves. Wesleyan students assisted with the presentation.

The Middlesex Community College students visited Green Street as part of Connecticut's "Public Higher Education Makes a Difference Week." Taking place Oct. 19-25, this statewide program celebrates and promotes civic engagement while developing students' citizenship skills, forging community partnerships and integrating service learning and volunteering at Connecticut's public colleges and universities. It culminates on Oct. 25 with "National Make a Difference Day."

The Middlesex Community College students visited Green Street as part of Connecticut’s “Public Higher Education Makes a Difference Week.” Taking place Oct. 19-25, this statewide program celebrates and promotes civic engagement while developing students’ citizenship skills, forging community partnerships and integrating service learning and volunteering at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities. It culminates on Oct. 25 with “National Make a Difference Day.”

 

British History Class Takes Field Trip to Yale’s British Art Center

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On Oct. 7, students enrolled in the course HIST 269: Notes from a Small Island — Modern British History, 1700 – Present, visited the Yale Center for British Art.

The class, taught by Alice Kelly, visiting assistant professor of history, toured the center’s two current exhibitions, “Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837–1901” and “Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in 18 Century Atlantic Britain.”

“Seeing history through a different lens — art and sculpture — really aided their understanding of some of the class readings, and we were able to find a number of similarities, particularly in the Figures of Empire exhibition,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s course offers a survey of the political, social, economic, and cultural history of Britain since the beginning of the 18th century and traces the movement into modernity. Topics covered include the Acts of Union, the Jacobite Rising, the Napoleonic Wars, imperial expansion, the Slavery Abolition Act, the Industrial Revolution, the development of mass literacy, the Edwardian era, the First World War, the Second World War and the Blitz, the end of empire, the Sexual Revolution and the Swinging Sixties, and contemporary multicultural Britain. Read more about the HIST 269 course here.

Wesleyan Presents Muslim Women’s Voices

Pam Tatge, director of the Center of the Arts, was a guest on WNPR’s “Where We Live” to discuss a year-long program at Wesleyan looking at Muslim women’s voices through the lens of the arts.

“What we’re doing is really looking at the complexity of Muslim women today through the various performance modes that there are around the world. What that means is we are bringing artists in to be embedded in courses across the university–gender studies classes, Arabic classes, French classes, government classes–and then also do a performance,” said Tatge. “It’s the combination of the curricular integration and the performance that’s really going to allow us to have conversations with our community and our campus around some of the issues.”

Riffat Sultana, a Sufi fusion singer who will perform at Wesleyan on Nov. 7, was also a guest on the show.

Learn more about Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan here.

Davison Art Center’s 19th Century Goya Print Exhibited in Boston

Open Access Image from the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan Universi

Francisco Goya’s portrait of the French printer Cyprien Gaulon will be on exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The print is owned by Wesleyan’s Davison Art Center.

One of Davison Art Center’s most important works – an early 19th century Francisco Goya lithograph – will be shown in a major art exhibit in Boston this fall.

The print, a portrait of the printer Cyprien-Charles-Marie Nicolas Gaulon, was made at the end of Goya’s life, between 1825 and 1826, and is one of only two known “first state” copies of the work (the other is in France’s Bibliotheque Nationale).  Gaulon taught Goya lithography during the artist’s senescent exile in Bordeaux.

“It’s a portrait of a friend, the man who taught him this technique, towards the end of his life,”  said Clare Rogan, curator of the DAC. “It’s a view onto Goya’s life at the time.”

The print was lent last month to the Museum of Fine Arts, where it will be exhibited in “Goya: Order and Disorder” Oct. 12-Jan. 19. The largest Goya exhibit in North America in 25 years, the show will include everything from the portraits of aristocrats that established his reputation to the prints and drawings that carried the Spanish artist’s fame beyond his country.

WesSukkah Houses 5th Year of Sukkot Festivities at Wesleyan

The Wesleyan Sukkah (WesSukkah), is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month while providing a dwelling for Wesleyan's Jewish community to celebrate the festival of Sukkot. For eight days, students study, socialize, mediate, eat, host events and occasionally sleep in the religious building.

The Wesleyan Sukkah (WesSukkah), is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month while providing a dwelling for Wesleyan’s Jewish community to celebrate the festival of Sukkot. For eight days, students study, socialize, mediate, eat, host events and occasionally sleep in the religious building.

WesSukkah, pictured here on Oct. 7, is a temporary structure located on the lawn of Olin Library.

WesSukkah, pictured here on Oct. 7, is a temporary structure located on the lawn of Olin Library.

Wesleyan Employees Artwork on Display in Usdan

Several Wesleyan staff members are displaying their artwork in the Ring Family Lobby gallery this month at Usdan University Center. The show represents a small slice of creative works by Wesleyan employees.

Several Wesleyan staff members are displaying their artwork in the Ring Family Lobby gallery this month at Usdan University Center. The show represents a small slice of creative works by Wesleyan employees.

Ali McFadzen, department assistant for the Financial Aid Office, is displaying a photograph of College Row titled Campus Flare.

Ali McFadzen, department assistant for the Financial Aid Office, is displaying a photograph of South College and Memorial Chapel at sunrise titled “Campus.”

Eiko Performs “A Body in a Station”

The New York Times featured a new performance by Visiting Instructor in Dance Eiko Otake, the first she has conceived and performed without Koma, her husband and artistic partner. Titled “A Body in a Station,” the work, presented by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, develops as a series of three-hour performances once a week. The museum is also featuring a exhibition of photography by William Johnston, professor of history, professor of East Asian studies, professor of science in society. The photographs show Eiko performing in abandoned train stations in Fukushima, Japan.

“The images, elegant, bleak and harrowing, place her in a desolate landscape devastated by the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami,”  the Times writes.