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History of Art

Author: Oxford University

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History of Art at the University of Oxford draws on a long and deep tradition of teaching and studying the subject. The core academic staff of the History of Art Department work on subjects from medieval European architecture to modern Chinese art. Over fifty associated academic staff (e.g. in Anthropology, Classics, History, Oriental Studies, and the Ruskin School of Drawing) include teachers and researchers across the full global and historical range of art and visual culture. This offers students exciting possibilities to take courses and receive supervision on a very wide range of topics, and to develop their own interests in art history.
51 Episodes
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Dr John Blakinger speaks about iconoclasm in American history and the vandalism of Confederate monuments. Iconoclasm is an enduring American value. In 1776, a mob destroyed a statue of King George III in Bowling Green, New York, establishing the new American Republic as a nation built on image destruction. More recent acts of visual violence have targeted Confederate monuments, transforming them both physically and digitally. Images of vandalism that circulate online are powerful enough to re-cast bronze and shatter stone.
Dr John Blakinger discusses 'Scaffold', Sam Durant's contentious sculpture. Sam Durant's controversial sculpture Scaffold, a wooden structure recalling specific gallows from American history, ignited a firestorm at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2017. The work resembled the scaffold used in nearby Mankato, Minnesota, where 38 Dakota men were executed just days after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation - it was the largest mass execution ever held on American soil. This historical reference prompted a backlash from Native communities, who called for the work's removal. Can art help us dismantle the past and loosen its shackles? Or are we always forced to remember?
Dr John Blakinger speaks about the controversy surrounding Dana Shutz's painting of the body of Emmett Till exhibited at the 2017 Whitney Biennnial. Who has the right to see in an age of image overload? At the 2017 Whitney Biennial, a painting by the artist Dana Schutz depicting the body of Emmett Till, a fifteen-year-old African-American boy lynched in Mississippi in 1955, incited outrage. The artists Hannah Black and Parker Bright condemned the work as "black death spectacle." The episode resuscitated debates over the use and abuse of traumatic pictures, and the way visual images propelling the Civil Rights movement also exploited their subjects.
Dr John Blakinger talks about demonstrations against the Whitney Museum of American Art related to its connections with the tear gas manufacturer Safariland. In November 2018, an image of migrants fleeing tear gas at the US-Mexico border ricocheted across the internet, inspiring protests against the Trump administration’s immigration policies but also against a more unlikely target: the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artist-activist collective Decolonize This Place stormed the museum in demonstration against the Whitney’s connections to Safariland, a manufacturer of tear gas. Andy Warhol’s silkscreen canvases, then on view for a major retrospective, took on new meanings during these events. The artist’s “Death in America” paintings depicting turmoil in the 1960s came to life in the gallery.
Professor Miguel de Baca gives his final Terra Foundation Lecture in American Art on Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished painting of George Washington.
Professor Miguel de Baca gives his third Terra Foundation Lecture in American Art on the works of Georgia O’Keeffe and Martha Graham. Miguel de Baca joins the History of Art Department as the Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art in 2017-18 from Lake Forest College, where he is the chair of the Department of Art and Art History.Miguel studies modern and contemporary American art; he is especially interested in issues of memory-making and the representation of history as they intersect the history of abstraction. Among his other interests are video and digital art, culture jamming, protest, artistic collaborations, and critical studies of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Miguel’s monograph, Memory Work: Anne Truitt and Sculpture, was published by the University of California Press in 2015. His current book project, Video Art and Public Culture, is about activist uses of video and digital art from the 1960s forward. Miguel was the recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for his contribution to “Digital Chicago,” a multimedia online platform investigating Chicago’s cultural history from 1892 to 1933. He is an Advisory Editor for the American National Biography online, published by the Oxford University Press with the support of the American Council of Learned Societies, and serves as the Co-Chair of the Association of Historians of American Art.
Professor Miguel de Baca gives his second Terra Foundation Lecture in American Art on the work of Dave the Potter. Miguel de Baca joins the History of Art Department as the Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art in 2017-18 from Lake Forest College, where he is the chair of the Department of Art and Art History.Miguel studies modern and contemporary American art; he is especially interested in issues of memory-making and the representation of history as they intersect the history of abstraction. Among his other interests are video and digital art, culture jamming, protest, artistic collaborations, and critical studies of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Miguel’s monograph, Memory Work: Anne Truitt and Sculpture, was published by the University of California Press in 2015. His current book project, Video Art and Public Culture, is about activist uses of video and digital art from the 1960s forward. Miguel was the recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for his contribution to “Digital Chicago,” a multimedia online platform investigating Chicago’s cultural history from 1892 to 1933. He is an Advisory Editor for the American National Biography online, published by the Oxford University Press with the support of the American Council of Learned Societies, and serves as the Co-Chair of the Association of Historians of American Art.
Professor Miguel de Baca gives his first Terra Foundation Lecture in American Art on two depictions of suicide. Miguel de Baca joins the History of Art Department as the Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art in 2017-18 from Lake Forest College, where he is the chair of the Department of Art and Art History.Miguel studies modern and contemporary American art; he is especially interested in issues of memory-making and the representation of history as they intersect the history of abstraction. Among his other interests are video and digital art, culture jamming, protest, artistic collaborations, and critical studies of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Miguel’s monograph, Memory Work: Anne Truitt and Sculpture, was published by the University of California Press in 2015. His current book project, Video Art and Public Culture, is about activist uses of video and digital art from the 1960s forward. Miguel was the recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for his contribution to “Digital Chicago,” a multimedia online platform investigating Chicago’s cultural history from 1892 to 1933. He is an Advisory Editor for the American National Biography online, published by the Oxford University Press with the support of the American Council of Learned Societies, and serves as the Co-Chair of the Association of Historians of American Art.
Professor David Ekserdjian gives his seventh Slade Lecture on Barocci’s drawings for the Madonna del Popolo. David Ekserdjian is the Slade Professor 2017-18 and he presented a series of lectures titled 'From Drawing to Painting in the Italian Renaissance'.David Ekserdjian is a world-renowned authority on Italian Renaissance painting, with particular specialities in the artists Correggio and Parmigianino, the subjects of two Yale monographs of 1998 and 2006. He is also an expert on the history of collecting and this informs his work as an adviser to auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's, international museums and galleries such as the National Gallery and Tate Britain, as well as private collectors. Bronze sculpture is another of his areas of expertise and it formed the topic of the most recent of the many exhibitions that he has conceived and curated. 'Bronze' at the Royal Academy (co-curated with Cecilia Treves) drew international acclaim and almost a quarter of a million visitors. His book of the exhibition was described by the Wall Street Journal as "the most beautiful book published anywhere in the world this year", and went on to win the Association for Cultural Enterprises award for best new publication.
Professor David Ekserdjian gives his fifth Slade Lecture on Parmigianino’s drawings for the Madonna of the Long Neck. David Ekserdjian is the Slade Professor 2017-18 and he presented a series of lectures titled 'From Drawing to Painting in the Italian Renaissance'.David Ekserdjian is a world-renowned authority on Italian Renaissance painting, with particular specialities in the artists Correggio and Parmigianino, the subjects of two Yale monographs of 1998 and 2006. He is also an expert on the history of collecting and this informs his work as an adviser to auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's, international museums and galleries such as the National Gallery and Tate Britain, as well as private collectors. Bronze sculpture is another of his areas of expertise and it formed the topic of the most recent of the many exhibitions that he has conceived and curated. 'Bronze' at the Royal Academy (co-curated with Cecilia Treves) drew international acclaim and almost a quarter of a million visitors. His book of the exhibition was described by the Wall Street Journal as "the most beautiful book published anywhere in the world this year", and went on to win the Association for Cultural Enterprises award for best new publication.
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