Tag Archive for Art and Art History Department

Schorr to Exhibit Apothecary Bottle Paintings at Davison Art Center

Old Flames - Handle with Care (2010) by David Schorr.

The most recent work by Professor of Art David Schorr will be shown in February and March 2012 in the exhibition APOTHECARY (storehouse) at Davison Art Center. The show features more than 75 paintings of antique apothecary bottles that have been meticulously executed by Schorr in gouache and silverpoint on luxurious, colored Fabriano Roma papers.

The exhibit opens at noon, Feb. 3. Schorr will speak at 5:30 p.m. and the gallery will be open until 7 p.m. that day. Schorr also will speak at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Center for the Arts Hall.

A 160-page full-color catalog accompanies the exhibition.

The bottles in these paintings float curiously in space, a mysterious, bright light glistening on their curves and bevels, sometimes shimmering through but not revealing their contents. Some of the objects seem empty. The bottles are meant to contain not chemicals and unguents but stuff such as Bad Intentions, Furtive Glances, Old Flames, Lazy Afternoons,

5 Questions With . . . Joe Siry on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Religious Architecture

Joe Siry, professor of art.

This issue, we ask 5 Questions of Joseph Siry, chair and professor of art and art history. Professor Siry teaches classes about modern and American architectural and urban history. His book, Beth Sholom Synagogue: Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture, was published by the University of Chicago Press in December 2011.

Q: In your newly-published book, you provide an in-depth look at architect/designer Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Penn., which was constructed in 1959 and is considered one of his greatest masterpieces. What prompted you to write a book about this structure in particular?

A: I first saw Beth Sholom in 1980 and was hugely impressed with its main auditorium as a space for worship. Its design and construction toward the end of Wright’s long life was formally and technically unprecedented. It also represented a culmination of his involvement with religious architecture, so the book includes chapters on a number of his earlier related church and theater designs, going back to his original participation in the design of Chicago synagogues in the 1880s.

Q: The synagogue was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007. What makes this building unique and how does it compare or contrast to other Frank Lloyd Wright designs?

A: Beth Sholom is unique in its tetrahedral steel structure that creates a large main auditorium whose dome is almost entirely of translucent glass.  Wright had experimented with such an idea in earlier unbuilt projects, but Beth Sholom was his only synagogue and the largest free span that he ever realized, yet its seats on floors sloping toward the frontal platform create a communal space that developed from his earlier buildings for assembly.

Q: When did you begin writing this book, and how did you research the synagogue’s background? Also, who would find this book valuable?

A: I began research and writing for this book in 2003, and worked with materials in the synagogue’s archive, in Wright’s archive, and those of churches that he designed in Lakeland, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri,

Squash Building Renovation Nearly Complete

Wesleyan contractors put the finishing touches on the remodeled squash building and faculty are moving in. The new building will re-open as the Career Center, Art History Department and College of Letters. A grand opening ceremony will be held Feb. 24. Read more about the squash renovation in this October 2011 Wesleyan Connection story.

New windows on the exterior.

A new entrance, facing the Usdan University Center.

New classroom.

The Career Center lounge on Jan. 6.

Room 203 with an exposed beam.

The central stairwell.

The central stairwell, leading out towards Usdan.

A new hallway. Restrooms on the left. Offices on the right.

Room 302 is the future office of Professor of Art Joe Siry. It shares a window arch with Room 304 and faces North College.

The new Visual Resource Center on Jan. 9.

Faculty office on Jan. 23.

Classroom, Room 114.

Classroom, Room 115.

Room 111, a conference room on Jan. 6.

(Photos by Olivia Drake and Bill Tyner ’13)

Mark Authors Book on Jewish Communities in West Africa

Book by Peter Mark.

Peter Mark, professor of art history, is the co-author of the book The Forgotten Diaspora: Jewish Communities in West Africa and the Making of the Atlantic World, published by Cambridge University Press, 2011.

This study traces the history of early 17th-century Portuguese Sephardic traders who settled in two communities on Senegal’s Petite Côte. There, they lived as public Jews, under the spiritual guidance of a rabbi sent to them by the newly established Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. In Senegal, the Jews were protected from agents of the Inquisition by local Muslim rulers. The Petite Côte communities included several Jews of mixed Portuguese-African heritage as well as African wives, offspring, and servants. The blade weapons trade was an important part of their commercial activities. These merchants participated marginally in the slave trade but fully in the arms trade, illegally supplying West African markets with swords. The book not only discovers previously unknown Jewish communities but by doing so offers a reinterpretation of the dynamics and processes of identity construction throughout the Atlantic world.

More information on the book is online here.

“Artful Lunch” Offers Lecture, Gathering

Elizabeth Milroy, professor of art history, professor of American studies, professor of environmental studies, speaks about a lithograph created by Helen Frankenthaler. The piece is part of the Davison Art Center's collection and was the topic of an "Artful Lunch" Sept. 28.

For 15 minutes, Elizabeth Milroy, professor of art history, describes the life, artistic techniques and style of abstract expressionist painter and printmaker Helen Frankenthaler.

“Here, we see her thinking about framing and edging,” Milroy says, pointing at a lithograph in the Davison Art Center. “She emulates Chinese characters in this print. She bring out lusciousness in lithography.”

Friends of the Davison Art Center member Jean Shaw HON '11 enjoys the "Artful Lunch." Shaw is a former director of the Center for the Arts.

As part of the new series, “Artful Lunch,” faculty briefly speak about an artist, and display one example of the artist’s work from the Davison Art Center’s collection. The series is sponsored and hosted by the Friends of the Davison Art Center as part of the FDAC’s 50th Anniversary. Talks are open to FDAC members, Wesleyan students, staff and faculty.

Milroy presented Frankenthaler’s print titled A Slice of the Stone Itself on Sept. 28. The image was printed from two stones on French handmade paper at Universal Limited Art Editions in West Islip, N.Y. in 1969. The Davison Art Center purchased the print in 1980 with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and matching funds from the Friends of the Davison Art Center.

Milroy explained how Frankenthaler became known in the 1950s with her “stained” paintings on unprimed canvas. She later moved to lithography and ultimately woodcuts. Milroy visited Frankenthaler’s studio

With Bird Blind, Architecture Students Help Nature Lovers See

Wesleyan's faculty-student design collaborative North Studio created a bird-viewing structure inside a 700-acre nature preserve. The bird blind serves as a viewing platform, a resting station and shelter for visitors.

Lots of people like watching birds. Understandably, birds don’t always like people watching them.

For the Audubon Center at Bent of the River, a 700-acre nature preserve in Southbury, Conn., this presented a problem: the swallows and kingfishers along a popular trail were perpetually startled by human visitors. Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge and the 11 students in his Architecture II class devised a solution – a chic bird blind they designed and built from scratch.

The structure represents the third major design-build project for North Studio, a faculty-student design collaborative Huge founded in 2006 that is cultivating a niche in architectural design for nature preserves.

Previously, Huge and his North Studio students, who are as likely to major in sociology or German studies as in studio art, conceived and built an award-winning multi-level bird-viewing platform for an Audubon Society sanctuary in Portland, Conn. A subsequent iteration of the class designed and built a Sukkah, or temporary Jewish ritual structure, at Wesleyan.

Nature preserves work well as clients for North Studio, which tries to balance three objectives – producing design research,

Budding Architects Design Wildlife Viewing Station Under Huge’s Wing

Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art

Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge and 11 of his students have designed four proposals for a bird-viewing observatory for a 700-acre nature preserve in Southbury, Conn., and plan to build one by the end of April.

It is the third major design-build project for North Studio, the faculty-student design collaborative Huge established in 2006. The students are all members of his Architecture II class.

Previous North Studio projects have included a bird-viewing platform for an Audubon Society sanctuary in Portland, Conn., and a Sukkah, or temporary Jewish ritual structure, at Wesleyan.

Audubon wildlife sanctuary Bent of the River is expected to pick one of the four designs by the end of March to allow for April construction.

“Everyone involved in the studio – the students, the teaching apprentice, the instructor, the clients – are all working together to leverage individual talents and creativity,” says Huge, who returned to Wesleyan this semester from a sabbatical at The University of California-Berkeley. “The studio offers students an opportunity to engage a ‘real-world’ architectural project.”

Schiff Featured on “Where We Live”

A discussion with Jeffrey Schiff, professor of art, on his new art installation, “Double Vision: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society,” was recently featured on WNPR’s ‘Where We Live.‘ “Double Vision” is on view in Wesleyan’s Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, Feb. 27.

Schiff speaks about his exhibit, inspired by the writings of the American Philosophical Society -a group which included Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and other early American luminaries.

5 Questions With . . . Elijah Huge on Architecture

Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge is teaching architecture design studios, which are part of the Studio Arts Program curriculum.

This issue, we ask “5 Questions” of Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art. Huge returned to Wesleyan this fall after a sabbatical spent at the University of California-Berkeley. He teaches architecture.

Q: What’s your favorite building, or group of buildings, at Wesleyan, and why?

A: There are a number of outstanding buildings on campus, but my favorite group of buildings is the Center for the Arts, without question. The CFA is invested with a highly refined and clearly articulated architectural identity and reflects an amazing level of cultural ambition on the part of the university.  On the one hand, the buildings are of their moment within American 20th architectural history, but their unusual, even primitive use of solid, monolithic limestone blocks – a decidedly un-modern building material – is simply amazing.  

Student-Created ‘SplitFrame’ Wins AIA National Award

Split Frame was designed and built by Elijah Huge's students.

Wesleyan’s architecture design class and its Research-Design-Build Studio have been recognized by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2010 Small Projects Practitioners Awards. They were recognized for the observation platform “SplitFrame” they created for the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary in Portland, Conn., in 2008. The studio and class are overseen by Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art, assistant professor of environmental studies.

Last year the class and studio created the Sukkah on campus as one of their projects.

Shapiro Translates, Schorr Illustrates French Book of Poems

Book by Shapiro and Schorr

Book translated by Norman Shapiro and illustratd by David Schorr.

Norman Shapiro, professor of romance languages and literature, translated Jean de La Fontaine’s poems in La Fontaine’s Bawdy, Revised Edition: Of Libertines, Louts, and Lechers. The 273-page book was published by Black Widow Press/Commonwealth Books, Inc. in Boston, Mass. on Jan. 16.

David Schorr, professor of art, illustrated the book.

The Contes et nouvelles en vers of Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) were published at various times throughout his life, often these works threatened to get him in trouble with both Church and Academie. This translation covers the entire corpus in all their variety. The mildly suggestive mingle with the frankly bawdy rendered in the spirit they were written in and scrupulously faithful to one of France’s greatest poets.

Art by Schorr, Shinohara at New York Gallery

Artwork by David Schorr.

Artwork by David Schorr.

David Schorr, professor of art, and Keiji Shinohara, artist-in-residence of art and East Asian studies, are showing their artwork at the DFN Gallery, 64 East 79th Street in New York, N.Y.

Their work is featured in an exhibit titled “Looks Good on Paper,” which runs through March 6.

Schorr has been a faculty member at Wesleyan since 1971 where he has taught printmaking, drawing, typography, book design, graphic design and calligraphy. Fifteen years ago he turned to canvas for a series of paintings about AIDS and early death so he could layer the backgrounds, dissolving the figures in the ether of space to suggest loss and memory.

He is represented by Mary Ryan Gallery in New York City where he shows regularly. In addition has had solo shows in Chicago, Milan, Rome, Naples, Paris, Athens, Toronto, Montreal and Copenhagen. His work has been reproduced extensively in the New York Times, The New Yorker and most significantly The New Republic, for which he has done more than 300 portraits.

His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Fogg Museum (Harvard), The New York Public Library, The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Artwork by Keiji Shinohara.

Artwork by Keiji Shinohara.

Shinohara began studying traditional Ukiyo-e techniques at Uesugi Studio, Kyoto, Japan in 1975, and in 1981, he became a Master Printmaker of woodblock printing. He’s had solo shows at the Art Zone, Kaguaoka Gallery in Kyoto, Japan in 2008,  the Tremaine Gallery at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. and Wesleyan’s Davison Art Center in 2008.

Shinohara’s natural abstractions are printed on rice paper with water-based inks from woodblocks in the Ukiyo-e style – the traditional Japanese printmaking method dating to 600 CE. Keiji Shinohara has been a visiting artist at over 100 venues.

He has received grants from the Japan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and his work is in many public collections, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, and the Library of Congress.