Tag Archive for Art and Art History Department

Professor of Art John Frazer Remembered for Teaching, Painting, Films

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He's pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He’s pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings.

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, died July 7 at the age of 82.

“Generations of Wesleyan students knew John as a gifted teacher of students at all levels of artistic ability,” said Ruth Striegel Weissman, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Throughout his career on the Wesleyan faculty, from 1959 to 2001, Frazer introduced hundreds of Wesleyan students to the art of drawing, painting and film. He taught the first filmmaking courses at Wesleyan and continued this teaching until the Film Program, which he helped found, became independent of the Art Department. His influence lives on through his endowment of the John Frazer Instructor of Drawing position in the Department of Art and Art History. The John Frazer Visiting Artist Endowment Fund was established in 1999 and endowed in his honor through the generosity of the Andrus family.

Kuenzli to Research European Artist through Learned Societies Fellowship

Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art and art history.

Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art and art history.

Associate Professor of Art and Art History Katherine Kuenzli has won a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for next year. The award will support her work on Henry van de Velde, a European artist whose aesthetic helped shape modernism.

The fellowship – one of 65 awarded this year to scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences – provides salary replacement for faculty who are embarking on six to 12 months of full-time research and writing.

“I am thrilled to have the support for and acknowledgement of my work,” Kuenzli said. “I began (the project) in 2009 and will devote next year to completing a full draft of a book manuscript – having the energy and train of thought will be essential.”

She said the project, “Designing Modernsim: Henry van de Velde from Neo-Impressionism to the Bauhaus emerged out of her first book, on “intimate modernism” in Paris in the 1980s. While that book examined paintings and prints artists created for private homes, theater stages, and street corners, Kuenzli’s new work broadens that scope to include not just painting, but also the applied arts and architecture. She’s studying the internationalization of art around 1900 and attempts to broaden the public for art, while maintaining a high level of formal and intellectual sophistication. The book uncovers a forgotten chapter in the emergence of abstraction, which has been understood as painting-specific; she hopes to demonstrate how “abstract aesthetics emerged out of an attempt to coordinate the arts, and to unify art and life.”

Matthew Goldfeder, director of the ACLS fellowship programs, said that this year’s fellows were “chosen for their potential to create new knowledge that will improve our understanding of the world and its diverse cultures and societies.”

The fellows represent more than 50 colleges and universities and an array of disciplines, including music, philosophy, art history and sociology. More than 1,000 applications were received for this year’s fellowship cycle.

Kuenzli’s project on van de Velde will explore how the painter, designer and architect – who worked in Belgium, France and Germany in the decades before WWI – developed an abstract formal vocabulary that proved seminal to both painterly modernism and an activist, engaged avant-garde.

Wagoner’s Book Explores Built Landscape of India’s Deccan Plateau

Book co-authored by Professor Phillip Wagoner

Book co-authored by Phillip Wagoner.

Professor Phillip Wagoner is the co-author of Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600, published by Oxford University Press in March 2014. Wagoner is chair and professor of archaeology, professor of art history.

Focusing on India’s Deccan Plateau, this book explores how power and memory combined to produce the region’s built landscape, as seen above all in its monumental architecture. During the turbulent 16th century, fortified frontier strongholds like Kalyana, Warangal, or Raichur were repeatedly contested by primary centers—namely, great capital cities such as Bijapur, Vijayanagara or Golconda. Examining the political histories and material culture of both primary and secondary centers, the book investigates how and why the peoples of the Deccan, in their struggles for dominance over secondary centers, promoted certain elements of their remembered past while forgetting others.

The book also rethinks the usefulness of Hindu-Muslim relations as the master key for interpreting this period of South Asian history, and proposes instead a model based on parallel cultures of rulership grounded in different prestige languages, Sanskrit and Persian. Further, the authors systematically integrate the methodologies of history, art history and archaeology in their attempt to reconstruct the past, as opposed to the standard practice of using one of these methodologies to the exclusion of the others. The book thus describes and explains the interstate politics of the medieval Deccan at a more grass-roots level than hitherto attempted.

Art Studio Seniors Showcase Work at Thesis Exhibitions

The seniors in the Department of Art and Art History’s art studio program are presenting their work in the Senior Thesis Exhibitions through April 13. The art is displayed in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

Students presenting work include Carlos Sanchez, Emily Bernstein, Can “Claire” Zhou, Alex Ginsberg, Will Wiebe, Emily Roff, Allison Greenwald, Evita Rodriguez, Rebecca Schisler, Katie Deane, Oliver Citrin, Hannah Knudsen, Pik-Tone Fung, Jessie Loo, Julia Drachman, Nathaniel Elmer and Isaac Madwed.

Each student selects a single work from his or her Senior Thesis Exhibition for the end of the year showcase, which is curated by Tula Telfair, professor of art.

Photos of the exhibit’s first round are below. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

Alex Ely Ginsberg displays his senior art thesis called "@gutenberg."

Alex Ely Ginsberg displays his senior art thesis called “@gutenberg.”

Siry’s Frank Lloyd Wright Book Named Finalist for Visual Arts Award

Book by Joe Siry.

Book by Joe Siry.

A book written by Joe Siry was named a finalist for the 2013 National Jewish Book Award in the visual arts category. Siry is professor of art history, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities and chair of the Art and Art History Department.

The Jewish Book Council announced the winners of the 63rd Annual National Jewish Book Awards on Jan. 15.

Beth Sholom Synagogue: Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2011. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom Synagogue was one of Wright’s last completed projects, and for years it has been considered one of his greatest masterpieces.

In Beth Sholom Synagogue, Siry provides the first in-depth look at the synagogue’s conception and realization in relation to Wright’s other religious architecture. Beginning with his early career at Adler and Sullivan’s architectural firm in Chicago and his design for Unity Temple and ending with the larger works completed just before or soon after his death, Siry depicts Wright’s exploration of geometric forms and structural techniques in creating architecture for worshipping communities.  Filled with more than 300 illustrations, this book takes readers deep inside the synagogue’s design, construction, and reception to create a portrait of the crowning achievement of this important aspect of Wright’s career. Read more about the book here.

Read a “5 Questions With … ” story on Joe Siry in this 2012 Wesleyan Connection article.

Schorr’s Artwork to be Exhibited at Addison Gallery

Snakebite Song  20 x 11, silverpoint, tinted gesso, and gouache on linen 1992

David Schorr’s “Snakebite Song” will be on display at the Addison Gallery. (20 x 11, silverpoint, tinted gesso, and gouache on linen, 1992)

David Schorr, professor of art, and director of the Art Studio Program for the Art and Art History Department, will have artwork on exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Mass. The exhibit, Secrets, Loss, Memory and Courage: Works by Male Gay Artists, will be on display April 27-July 31.

The show honors gay rights activist, author and poet Paul Monette (1945-1995), who received an honorary degree from Wesleyan in 1993. Schorr and Monette collaborated on three books.

Art Studio Majors Display Artwork at Senior Thesis Exhibition

View the talents of the seniors in the Art Studio Program of Wesleyan’s Department of Art and Art History. “Senior Thesis Exhibitions 2013” runs March 26-April 21 in the Zilkha Gallery.

The show, features drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, mixed media and architecture.

“We’re all so proud of our senior majors. The four weeks of rotating Senior Thesis Exhibitions are a wonderful opportunity for the broader Wesleyan community to experience their remarkable work,” said Tula Telfair, professor of art.

Allison Kalt, Tiffany Unno, Ilyana Schwartz, Anna Shimshak and Christina You will display their artwork from March 26-31.

Piers Gelly, Zoe Albert, Ally Bernstein, Ryu Hirahata, Charles Ellis and Nichola Kokkinis will display their work April 2-7. A reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. April 3 in the gallery.

Melissa Arroyo, Christian Lalonde, Emily Schubert, Kerry Klemmer, Ethan Cohen and Marissa Napolitano will display their artwork April 9-14. A reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. April 10.

Alahna Watson, Adam Forbes, Caitlin Palmer, Arin Dineen, Jessica Wilson and Kevin Brisco will display their work April 16-21. A reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. April 17.

In addition, each student in the show was invited to select a single work from their Senior Thesis Exhibition for a year-end showcase held April 30 through May 25. A reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. May 25 in the gallery.

The public is invited and the exhibition is free of charge.

View the talents of the seniors in the Art Studio Program of Wesleyan’s Department of Art and Art History. The “Senior Thesis Exhibition” runs March 26-April 21 in the Zilkha Gallery.

The “Senior Thesis Exhibitions 2013” runs March 26-April 21 in the Zilkha Gallery.

Ilyana Schwartz's "Figures"

Ilyana Schwartz’s “Figures.”

Rudensky Speaks on Photographer Diane Arbus on Faith Middleton Show

Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky recently was a guest on WNPR’s “Faith Middleton Show,” where she discussed the work of the late photographer Diane Arbus. Though Arbus is remembered for choosing “freaks” as her subjects, Rudensky says of that term: ”I certainly don’t think it does justice to the great variety of subjects that she was interested in. I think, more than anything, she was deeply interested in people, and they happen to be very different kinds of people… Undoubtedly, she was more focused on those people that were largely unseen in society. But at the same time, I think she was as interested in people that were very privileged.”

Listen to Rudensky (starting around minute 36) here.

Art History’s Aksamija Awarded I Tatti Fellowship

Nadja Aksamija, associate professor of art history, is writing a book on the Bolognese villa in the age of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti at Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy.

Nadja Aksamija, associate professor of art history, is writing a book on the Bolognese villa in the age of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti at Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy.

Nadja Aksamija, associate professor of art history, is spending her 2012-13 year abroad in Florence, Italy as a Robert Lehman Fellow at the Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. She is one of 15 scholars to receive the fellowship.

I Tatti Fellows are selected by an international and interdisciplinary committee that welcomes applications from Italian Renaissance scholars from all nations.

While abroad, Aksamija is researching the Bolognese villa in the age of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti.

“My project investigates the Bolognese villa culture at the end of the 16th century, a period marked by Catholic reform and huge cultural and intellectual shifts resulting from these changes, as well as from new scientific discoveries,” she says.