Tag Archive for Art and Art History Department

Jewish Community Celebrates Holiday in Student-Designed WesSukkah

WesSukkah, designed and built by Wesleyan's Architecture II research-design-build studio, is constructed with 1,600 culms of bamboo, measuring a combined 19,200 linear feet. The Wesleyan community is invited to the WesSukkah dedication at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on Foss Hill.

WesSukkah, designed and built by Wesleyan's Architecture II research-design-build studio, is constructed with 1,600 culms of bamboo, measuring a combined 19,200 linear feet. The Wesleyan community is invited to the WesSukkah dedication at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on Foss Hill.

Every October, Wesleyan’s Jewish community dwells in a temporary structure built for the festival of Sukkot. For eight days, students study, socialize, mediate, eat, host events and occasionally sleep in the religious building.

This holiday, the Jewish students will celebrate the Israelites 40-year journey to the Holy Land inside an airy, five-mound curving structure of carbon-steel clad in bamboo. Designed by 15 students enrolled in Architecture II, a research-design-build studio, the “WesSukkah” provides a sacred space that adheres to a complex, medieval Rabbinic building code.

“The students have crafted something which is both compelling and meaningful for Wesleyan’s campus,” explains the studio’s instructor, Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art. “The structure maintains its symbolic and literal connection to the broader landscape through its materiality and permeability.”

WesSukkah was honored with a 2009 "Faith and Form" Award for art and architecture from the American Institute of Architects. (Photo by Gideon Finck '11)

WesSukkah was honored with a 2009 "Faith and Form" Award for art and architecture from the American Institute of Architects. (Photo by Gideon Finck '11)

The students designed WesSukkah with 1,600 culms of bamboo, 46 high carbon steel pipes, six steel rods, five spools of monofilament test line and steel rebar. The structure will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on the top of Foss Hill.

The final design is a result of an intensive sequence of research, design, fabrication phases and client presentations.

Initially, the project clients,

Kress Awards Aksamija for Studies on Sala Bologna

Nadja Aksamija, assistant professor of art history, received a grant for $13,500 from the Kress Foundation for her research on “Sala Bologna at the Vatican.” Her grant, which was awarded May 1, spans for one and a half years.

Paoletti Honored at Art History in Renaissance Symposium

John Paoletti, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, will retire from Wesleyan in May.

John Paoletti, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, will retire from Wesleyan in May.

Dante, Bolognese poetry, Leonardo and Quattrocento were among the topics addressed at the Art and History in Renaissance Italy Symposium May 1-2 on campus.

The event was held in honor of John Paoletti, Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, who is retiring in May. Paoletti is an internationally-prominent scholar in art history with much of his work focused on the Italian Renaissance.

“This symposium is a unique one that honors John’s 37 years of service to Wesleyan, and his foundational role in developing the university’s program in Art History,” says Joseph Siry, professor of art history. “The symposium consisted of papers given by scholars in this field, who came to Wesleyan from around the United States, each of whom has had a special professional connection to John’s career.”

Art and Literature was the subject of talks on May 1. Judith Brown, professor of history, was the moderator. Debra Pincus, from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., spoke on “When Did Dante Get to Look like Dante?”

Daniel Zolli ‘07 discussed “The ‘Hypnerotmachia Poliphili’ (1499) and Aldus Manutius’ Humanist Literary Enterprise.”

Nadja Aksamija, assistant professor of art history, lectured on “Sacralizing the Bolognese Landscape: Architecture, Poetry, and the Counter-Reformation Villa.”

Quattrocento Art and Patronage was the subject of talks on May 2. Clark Maines, Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, professor of medieval studies, was the moderator. Presenters and their topics included:

Shelley Zuraw, from the University of Georgia, spoke on “What Brunelleschi Learned in Pistoia: The Competition Panel Again.”

Sharon Strocchia, of Emory University, discussed “Abbess Piera de’ Medici and Artistic Patronage at S. Verdiana, Florence, c. 1450.″

David Drogin, of the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, spoke on “Sculpture, Patronage, Emulation and the Bentivoglio of Bologna.”

Cinquecento and Sculpture Art and Literature was the subject of talks for the third session on May 2. Laurie Nussdorfer, professor of history, professor of letters, served as the moderator. Presenters and their topics included:

William Wallace, of Washington University, St. Louis, discussed “On Location…or why go? Reflections on Conducting Research in Italy.”

Gary Radke, of Syracuse University spoke on  “Leonardo, Student of Sculpture.”

Roger Crum, of the University of Dayton, discussed “Pieces, and, Yes, Masterpieces: The Use of Crying over Spilled Marble in Renaissance Florence.”

And Michael Cole, of the University of Pennsylvania, spoke on “Clothed Men in Piazza.”

All three sessions will concluded with questions and discussion. A reception for all symposium participants and attendees was held in the Russell House.

A private dinner at the Inn at Middletown following the symposium honored Paoletti, who came to Wesleyan in 1972, with the idea that he would work to build a program in art history. Gradually, over the course of the next 27 years and under his leadership, the program grew to a faculty of eight full-time appointments, a size larger than many Ph.D programs.

At the dinner, David Drogin ’94, assistant chair of the History of Art Department at the State University of New York, announced that a book is being published in Paoletti’s honor.

Its title is Patronage and Italian Renaissance Sculpture and it is under contract with Ashgate Press, with an expected publication date in 2010. The book is edited by Drogin and Kathleen Christian ’94. Both Drogin and Christian are former students of Paoletti.

“The project had been kept a secret from John, until we announced the book and presented him with a table-of-contents at the symposium dinner,” Drogin says. “It includes chapters by several of the symposium participants, as well as by several other leading Renaissance scholars from around the world.”

During his time at Wesleyan, Paoletti has set standards for teaching and scholarly excellence. While publishing on his first love, the Italian Renaissance, he also produced a series of distinguished exhibitions of 20th century art and accompanying catalogues, making him one of the few scholars active today who publish in two different periods of art history.

“As John’s career at Wesleyan comes to a close, his colleagues will miss the knowledge that he has shared freely, the advice about pedagogy that he has given freely, but most of all his leadership and unfailing goodwill,” Maines says.

Paoletti to Retire After Nearly 4 Decades at Wesleyan

John Paoletti, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, will retire from Wesleyan in May.

John Paoletti, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, will retire from Wesleyan in May. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

For 37 years, John Paoletti has explored the ideas and histories that produced both well-known and not so well-known works of Renaissance and modern art with thousands of Wesleyan students.

This May, Paoletti will retire from Wesleyan’s Art and Art History Department, ending a longtime career of teaching artists such as Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Donatello, and Michelangelo as well as the patronage of the Medici family.

“I will really miss working with the Wesleyan students and faculty colleagues across the curriculum,” Paoletti says from his office in the Davison Art Center. “Both have always been keenly critical of the issues at hand and have asked tough questions aimed at arriving at clearer understanding of whatever matter was being discussed.”

Paoletti joined Wesleyan in 1972 as an associate professor of art history. At the time, he was one of two art historians on campus;