Arts & Culture

Jenkins Reviews Book on Famed Artist Lempad in Jakarta Post

Ron Jenkins

Ron Jenkins

Ron Jenkins ’64, professor of theater, published a review of Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line in the Jan. 19 edition of the Jakarta Post. Jenkins had high praise for the book, which contains pictures of the works of Balinese architect and artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad.

Jenkins wrote, “the aptly titled volume illuminates not only the exquisite lines of Lempad’s artwork, but also the intangible elements of Balinese identity that those lines represent.”

In addition to describing some of the noted works, Jenkins also commended the depth and insightfulness of the essays that accompanied each work. The essays were written by a team of scholars lead by the acclaimed Indonesian cultural researcher and author Bruce Carpenter.

Read the full review here.


Writing at Wesleyan Announces Spring Series on Prose and Poetry

Writing at Wesleyan announces the Spring 2015 Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry.

Writer/authors in the Spring 2015 series include Ron Padgett on Feb. 25, Millett Fellow Caryl Phillips on March 4, Sadia Shepard on March 25, Rowan Ricardo Phillips on April 1 and Ruth Ozeki on April 8.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information on these talks visit the Writing at Wesleyan website.

Support for this series is provided by Writing at Wesleyan, the English Department, the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Joan Jakobson Fund, the Jacob Julien Fund, the Millett Writing Fellow Fund, the Center for the Arts, and the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.

The 2014/2015 Series organizers include Lisa Cohen, associate professor of English; Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing; Amy Bloom, the Kim-Frank Family University Writer-in-Residence; and Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs.

Green Street, PIMMS Benefit from 2 Grants

In January, two Green Street Teaching and Learning Center programs received grants.

Pratt & Whitney awarded Green Street with a $5,000 award to support its Discovery AfterSchool Program, which serves 80 Middletown students in Grades 1-8 each year. The program offers a range of classes in the arts, math, and sciences and helps children to build self-esteem and problem-solving skills.

Also, the Connecticut Mathematics and Science Partnership Program presented a $168,437 award to the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) to support a continuation of PIMMS’ Intel Math Institute. The institute gets K-8 teachers excited about math, prepared for Common Core, and equipped with a toolkit of activities to bring key math concepts into their classrooms through the arts and more. The grant will also provide training for Cameron Hill, assistant professor of mathematics, to be a new Intel-trained instructor for the summer courses.

Lensing’s Commentary Featured in Times Literary Supplement

A commentary by Leo Lensing, chair and professor of German studies, professor of film studies, was featured in the Times Literary Supplement in January.

The commentary focuses on Austria’s exploitation of Karl Kraus’s great anti-war drama, The Last Days of Mankind, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Kraus first published the play in four special issues of his satirical journal Die Fackel (The Torch) in 1918–19.

“The red wrappers and the documentary photograph of Wilhelm II used as the frontispiece of the epilogue initially lent it the explosive impact of a revolutionary pamphlet,” Lensing writes in the commentary. “Kraus continued to revise and add new scenes based on information suppressed under war-time censorship, until the first book edition appeared in 1922.”


Telfair’s Solo Oil Painting Exhibition Opens in Louisiana Museum


Tula Telfair, professor of art, is having a solo exhibition of 21 new monumental oil paintings at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum Jan. 10 through March 15. The opening reception is 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29.

Tula Telfair works on one of her oil paintings.

Tula Telfair works on one of her oil paintings.

In a “World of Dreams— New Landscape Paintings,” Telfair paints monumental landscapes and epic-scale vistas that act as windows into another world — a dream world — where everything seems familiar yet remains beyond grasp. Drawing upon the long tradition of landscape painting from the backdrops of the Renaissance through the Romanticism of the 19th century, she presents a thoroughly contemporary perspective upon an archaic art form.

Instead of documenting actual sites, Telfair combines invented images with a variety of formal painterly techniques to achieve highly convincing yet fictitious illusions that invite contemplation upon the relationship between humankind and the environment.

This exhibition is made possible in part by a Local Project Assistance Grant from the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, funded by the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President and Metro Council.

The images, which were on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery in 2014, are featured in this past News @ Wesleyan article.

Green Street Revamped as Teaching and Learning Center

Green Street TLC serves 80 local children with its Discovery AfterSchool Program. Several Wesleyan students tutor the Green Street students.

Green Street TLC serves 80 local children with its Discovery AfterSchool Program. Several Wesleyan students tutor the Green Street students.

The Green Street Arts Center, also home to Wesleyan’s Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science, is now named the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center, or Green Street TLC.

“This structure better represents the work we do in the community and also allows us to grow our programs in the arts, math, and sciences for kids, teachers, and our broader community,” said Director Sara MacSorley.

Green Street TLC will continue its Discovery AfterSchool Program, which serves 80 Middletown students in Grades 1-8 each year; a Private Lessons Program, and a Green Street-to-Go Residency Program that brings teaching artists into community organizations to engage their clients and residents. Green Street TLC will build on its programming with the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS)

Willis’s Poem Published in The New Yorker

Elizabeth Willis

Elizabeth Willis

A poem by Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, professor of English, is published in the Jan. 12 edition of The New Yorker.

Willis, a 2012-13 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Alive: New and Selected Poems, which will be published this spring. She is an expert on 20th century American poetry and poetics, poetry and visual culture, 19th century poetry and poetics, modernism, post-modernism, poetry and political history and the prose poem.

The published poem is titled “About the Author.”

NEH Awards Haddad, Shieh with Research Fellowships

Sanford Shieh and Mary Alice Haddad recently received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sanford Shieh and Mary Alice Haddad recently received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Wesleyan recently received two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The awards will support research by Wesleyan faculty Mary Alice Haddad and Sanford Shieh.

Mary Alice Haddad, associate professor of government, received a $33,600 grant for the NEH Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan project titled, “Environmental Politics in East Asia: Strategies that Work.”

“Japan has experienced some of the world’s most intense environmental crises and taken leadership roles in finding solutions,” Haddad said. “The Fellowship for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan will enable me to examine the ways that Japan’s experience has served as a model for encouraging better environmental behavior among individuals, corporations and governments in East Asia and the world.”

Sanford Shieh, associate professor of philosophy,

Tucker: Can Culture Transcend Russia-West Conflict?

In an op-ed in The Moscow TimesJennifer Tucker and Aria Danaparamita ’13 write about the recent controversy over the British Museum’s decision to lend Russia the Parthenon marbles, “one of the most esteemed vestiges of Western art and civilization.”

According to the op-ed:

Controversy has followed the marbles since Thomas Bruce, seventh earl of Elgin, claimed in 1811 to have obtained a permit to remove the classical Greek marble sculptures from the Acropolis in Athens. They were purchased by the British government and passed to the British Museum. Greece has long lobbied for the restoration of the country’s monuments, and this year UNESCO agreed to mediate the dispute between Britain and Greece.The controversy was revived after the artwork was flown to St. Petersburg.

The authors contend, “Yet whatever one thinks of the morality or legality of the British Museum’s decision, it is a mistake to minimize the potential for art to play a role in cross-cultural negotiations and political dialogue.”

Danaparamita was a history major at Wesleyan, and received high honors for her thesis, titled, “British Borobudur Buddha: Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Orientalist Antiquarianism, and a Material Historiography of Java (1811-1816).”

Tucker is associate professor of history, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, associate professor in the environmental studies program, associate professor of science in society, and faculty fellow in the College of the Environment.

The Timely Sculpture of Rachel Harrison ’89 Featured

The New Yorker has a lengthy profile of Rachel Harrison ’89, a sculptor whose work is “both the zestiest and the least digestible in contemporary art. It may also be the most important, owing to an originality that breaks a prevalent spell in an art world of recycled genres, styles, and ideas.” Ann Temkin, the chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, is quoted as saying, “When I first saw work by Rachel, I actively disliked it. I thought, Uh-uh! Then I couldn’t get enough of it.”

According to the article, Harrison enrolled at Wesleyan in 1984 and declared a major in comparative religions, but left after her sophomore year. She then traveled and took odd jobs, and completed a disappointing semester at another school, before returning to Wesleyan in 1987, where “she was strongly influenced by two teachers: [Chair and Professor of Art] Jeffrey Schiff, a sculptor, and [John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus] Alvin Lucier, a composer who makes sound installations. Another teacher introduced her to the poetry of William Carlos Williams, who appealed to her partly because, in his other career, as a family doctor, he delivered the artist Robert Smithson in 1938, in New Jersey. A line from Williams’s epic ‘Paterson’ became a watchword for her: ‘No ideas but in things.'”

Art Books Illustrate Environmental Concerns, Lessons

From left, Sophia Ptacek '18 and Khephren Spigner '18 show their artist book to instructor Kim Diver.

From left, E&ES 197 students Sophia Ptacek ’18 and Khephren Spigner ’18 show their final project to instructor Kim Diver.

Students from Introduction to Environmental Studies (E&ES 197) presented their final projects Dec. 11 in Exley Science Center.

The Project Showcase involved 80 students informally presenting artists books, GIS story maps, children’s stories, fictional journals and other creative explorations.

“All projects are related to environmental issues in the Connecticut River,” said course instructor Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. The project is associated with the Center for the Arts’ Feet to the Fire initiative.

Several Wesleyan scholars and staff volunteered their time to demonstrate artist books to the students including Kate TenEyck, art studio technician and visiting assistant professor of art; Suzy Taraba, director of Special Collections and Archives; Rebecca McCallum, cataloguing librarian; and Joseph Smolinski, the Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment. Erinn Roos-Brown, program manager in the Center for the Arts, helped initiate the idea for the artist book projects.

Photos of the Project Showcase are below: (Photos by Cynthia Rockwell)

Chantel Jones '17 and Tanya Mistry '17.

Chantel Jones ’17 and Tanya Mistry ’17.

Students Showcase Art at Painting Show

Thirteen students enrolled in Professor of Art Tula Telfair’s Painting I course (ARTS 439) displayed their artwork at a Painting Show Dec. 8 at Art Studio South.

This introductory-level course in painting (oils) emphasized work from observation and stressed the fundamentals of formal structure: color, paint manipulation, composition and scale. Students addressed conceptual problems that helped them develop an understanding of the power of visual images to convey ideas and expressions. (Photos by Dat Vu ’15)