2016 FAS Awards: Natasha Gasparian, Art History 2016

The Department of Fine Arts and Art History congratulates this year’s 2016 Faculty of Arts and Sciences award recipient Natasha Gasparian (Art History, 2016), who received The Majida Siniora Memorial Prize in Humanities, awarded to a senior student with the highest average graduating in Arts and Humanities at the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, and the M & C Saatchi MENA award.

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Natasha Gasparian (second from right) pictured on stage with FAS Dean Patrick McGreevy, May 2016

The department also extends its congratulations to Rima Kaddoura (minor in Studio Art, 2016) for receiving the Philip K. Hitti Prize, awarded to an outstanding student(s) of the Senior class in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences “who, in the judgment of the President of the University, the Dean of the Faculty, and the Chairman of the Department concerned, exemplifies in his/her academic career the scholarly spirit of the University at its best”.

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Rima Kaddoura (second from left) pictured on stage with FAS Dean Patrick McGreevy, May 2016

Last but not least, congratulations to all of this year’s graduates in Studio Art and Art History!

 

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CONFERENCE: Do Not Resuscitate

Join us for (last) conference of Spring 2016, in which Angela Harutyunyan, Associate Professor of Art History, is serving as a panel organizer and discussant (with Sami Khatib), and Octavian Esanu, Assistant Professor of Art History, is presenting a paper:

DO NOT RESUSCITATE: CRITIQUE AND THE UNTRANSLATABILITY OF HISTORY

Organized by the Center for Arts and Humanities (Mellon Grant) at AUB
For the full three-day program, which begins on Thursday, May 12 at 2:00 pm, visit: http://www.aub.edu.lb/cah/Pages/conference.aspx

FAAH-related panel + presentations on Thursday, May 12

17:00 | Panel 1 (Angela Harutyunyan and Sami Khatib):
The “Tradition of the Oppressed” and Its Discontents

DiscussantsNadia Bou Ali (AUB), Angela Harutyunyan (AUB), Sami Khatib (AUB)

Panel papers:
1 | Massimiliano Tomba (Padua University): The Task of the Historical Materialist
2 |  Jamila Mascat (University of Paris 1 Sorbonne): In Praise of Anachronism. Untimeliness, Contingency and Strategy
3 | Octavian Esanu (AUB): Neoliberal Aesthetics: Governability, Anesthesia and Contemporary Art

Abstract: Following Walter Benjamin’s concept of history, the past is never simply gone; it can never be historicized unless it is fully actualized, recalled – cited in a revolutionary way. However, the undead specters of an unhistoricizable past can only be passed on from below – transmitted through the “tradition of the oppressed,” a discontinuous tradition bound to a partisan experience of untold sufferings. It is only this anachronic, de-subjectified experience that can connect the present with lost struggles of the past. The tradition of the oppressed is both radically singular and universal, counter-temporal (messianic, revolutionary) and counter-spatial (spectral, u-topian). Drawing on Benjamin, the panel raises the question of an “aesthetics of the oppressed” beyond bourgeois (high culture) forms of representation. What happened when the oppressed, at least for a moment or over a limited period of time, overtook the means of production within the domain of bourgeois high culture? Is there an undead inheritance of these past defeated attempts that could inspire a materialist conception of aesthetics today?

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CONFERENCE: Books in Motion, May 5-7, 2016

“Books in Motion: Exploring Concepts of Mobility in Cross-Cultural Studies of the Book” is a three day conference that explores new perspectives in the study of the book. The conference considers the varied inter-disciplinary approaches to studies of mobility in relation to books, specifically the ways in which these objects traverse spatial, temporal, cultural, and material boundaries. The conference brings together international and regional scholars from the interconnected fields of book history, art history, literary studies, digital humanities, and cultural studies whose research explores the material dimensions, circulation, and collection of books in Middle Eastern/Islamic, African, and Asian contexts. THE CONFERENCE INCLUDES:

  • TWO KEYNOTE LECTURES:
  • FIVE PANELS devoted to knowledge production, travel and exchange, material transformations, aesthetics and politics, and digital remediation.
  • ROUNDTABLE on contemporary art and book culture.
  • POSTER PRESENTATION by students from AUB’s English literature program.
  • BOOK EXHIBITION held at AUB’s Jafet library, curated by Hala Auji (FAAH, AUB) and Sonja Mejcher-Atassi (English, AUB), which features manuscripts, printed books, digital projects, and examples of book art related to the conference themes.

“Books in Motion” is organized by the Department of English and the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut.

For details about times, venues, panels and speakers, please visit: http://www.aub.edu.lb/fas/english/Documents/BOOKSinMOTION.pdf

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.56.43 PMThis event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

It is supported by AUB’s Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES), the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH), and the Archives and Special Collections Department (ASC), University Libraries, and produced in collaboration with the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB), Max Weber Foundation.Funding was generously provided by AUB’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Office of the Dean, CAMES, & CAH, as well as the OIB.

The conference is part of the series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of AUB.

For more information contact conference organizers: Sonja Mejcher-Atassism78@aub.edu.lb, Hala Auji, ha156@aub.edu.lb,  and James Hodappjh53@aub.edu.lb.

UPCOMING LECTURE: Vardan Azatyan (Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts)

Vardan Azatyan, Associate Professor in art history at Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts (Armenia), will be delivering a public lecture entitled:

Art History, the Ape of the Cold War: the Case of H. W. Janson

Tues, May 3, 2016 | 5-6:30 pm | Center for Arts and Humanities, Building 37 | AUB

By drawing on the work of Erwin Panofsky’s student, a Renaissance scholar and a Modernist critic Horst Woldemar Janson, I argue that the notion of the human that underlined “the history of art as a humanistic discipline” was marked by the antithesis between animality and divinity. To hold on to this notion of the human, humanistic art history imposed on itself an a priori ethical conviction of human dignity and granted the apolitical scholarship a political dimension, politics here perceived in moral-psychological terms. I discuss Janson’s art history against the backdrop of the rise of totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and the subsequent Cold War. To understand the mediated relationship between the humanistic art history and the Cold War in its specificity, I focus on one of the figures of this uneasy mediation, the ape. During the Second World War the ape stood for the infrahuman animality that signified totalitarian anxieties Janson aimed to neutralize by locating this figure in an uninterrupted historical narrative. The ape appeared as an embodiment of the main aesthetic dilemma of the Cold War, that of mimesis. In this context, Janson entered the controversy over abstraction with a defense of Abstract Expressionism, which he anchored in the tradition of Renaissance humanism. Janson’s influential History of Art was shaped during this process and represented the full realization of the project of legitimating Abstract Expressionism as a successor of the ideals of Classical Humanism in art.

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Vardan Azatyan is an art historian and translator. He is Associate Professor in art history at Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts, Armenia. As a Visiting Professor he has lectured at Columbia University, and the Dutch Art Institute, Enschede, NL. He is the cofounder of AICA – Armenia. His recent publications include articles in ARTMargins, Oxford Art Journal, Human Affairs, and Springerin. He is the co-editor, with Malcolm Miles, of the volume Cultural Memory (University of Plymouth Press, 2010). His book Art History and Nationalism: Medieval Arts of Armenia and Georgia in 19th century Germany was published in 2012 in Armenian language. He is the translator of major works by George Berkeley and David Hume into Armenian. Azatyan is the President of The Johannissyan Research Institute in the Humanities in Yerevan.

For more information, please contact Angela Harutyunyan at ah140@aub.edu.lb

Upcoming Lecture: Ahmet Ersoy (Boğaziçi University)

Ahmet Ersoy (Boğaziçi University)

Ottoman Print Culture and the Rise of the Image: Everyday Life and the Historical Past in Ottoman Illustrated Journals

Thurs., April 21, 2016 | 6:00 pm | College Hall, B1 | AUB

This lecture is part of a broader project that investigates photography in the Ottoman Empire with particular focus on the illustrated journals of the Abdülhamid era (1876-1909). The aim is to distinguish the status of photography in the Ottoman domain with reference to a broader and variegated environment of medial production, dissemination and reception. Rather than approaching the Ottoman photographic material as discrete objects of pure aesthetic and connoisseurial interest, or taking them as confirmatory evidence of all-pervading ideologies, the study follows and historicizes the traces of these images in the context of infinite, quotidian reproducibility, as they were produced, redeployed, collated with texts, and disseminated in the pages of the illustrated journals. It proposes to see these images as the product of changing medial practices and protocols that extended from the Hamidian archive and gift albums, to newspaper causerie, snapshots, postcards, illustrated textbooks and dime novels. The mechanically reproduced images in question demanded new systems of value and new rhetorical strategies in the course of their deployment, and, as they were spilled out in the Ottoman terrain, they signaled the rise of a changing experience of reading texts and images.

 Ahmet Ersoy is Associate Professor at the History Department at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. His research involves the cultural history of the Late Ottoman Empire with a special focus on visuality and its links with rising discourses of locality and authenticity during a period of westernizing change. He is the author of Architecture and the Late Ottoman Historical Imaginary: Reconfiguring the Architectural Past in a Modernizing Empire (2015), and the co-editor, with Vangelis Kechriotis and Maciej Gorny, of Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeastern Europe (1775-1945), vol. III (2010). His publications include “Ottoman Gothic: Evocations of the Medieval Past in Late Ottoman Architecture,” in Patrick J. Geary and Gábor Klaniczay (eds) Manufacturing Middle Ages: Entangled History of Medievalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe (2013), and “Architecture and the Search for Ottoman Origins in the Tanzimat Period,” in Muqarnas 24 (2007).

Event co-organized by CAMES and the Department of Fine Arts and Art History (FAAH), AUB. 

Please contact Hala Auji, ha156@aub.edu.lb for more information.

UPCOMING LECTURE: Dr. Nicola Barham “Esteemed Ornament”

Dr. Nicola Barham

“Esteemed Ornament: An Overlooked Roman Aesthetic Concept and the Ara Pacis Augustae”

Thursday, Feb.25, 12:00-1:30 PM, Building 37 (Center for the Arts and Humanities, AUB)

This talk identifies an overlooked classical conceptual paradigm, used to theorize visual culture in Ancient Rome. It contends that, alongside the Greek-derived ideal of the ‘great artist’, there existed a contemporaneous Roman paradigm that stood in tension with this, and conceptualized visual works, not in terms of their internal dynamics, wrought through an artist’s skill, but rather in relation to their external impact upon the environment in which they were exhibited and the patron who facilitated this. This value was expressed through the language of ‘ornament’. This talk analyses the identification of this concept with both figural and non-figural images, as well as with media ranging from civic architecture to painting, and from sculpture to gardens. Focusing in upon the Ara Pacis Augustae as a chief case in point, it demonstrates how reading this iconic monument with a respect for the ancient value of ornament produces fresh readings and new insights upon the Roman culture of commissioning, producing, and viewing visual aesthetic works.

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Nicola Barham is Research Associate in the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. She previously held the Andrew W. Mellon Chicago Object Study Initiative Research Fellowship at the Art Institute in 2014-15, and was Chester Dale Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery in Washington DC from 2013-14. Dr Barham received her PhD from the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. Her work considers models of aesthetic value that are native to the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and interrogates their implications for our histories of classical art.

UPCOMING LECTURE: Dr. Joseph Hammond, “Vasari on Portraits”

Dr. Joseph Hammond

“Vasari on Portraits: Aesthetics and Propaganda”

Thursday, Feb.18, 12:00 PM, Building 37 (Center for the Arts and Humanities, AUB)

In 1534 Giorgio Vasari sent a portrait to Alessandro de’ Medici claiming that it represented Alessandro as he truly was – a heroic, armour-clad prince defending the people. Vasari was looking for employment in the ducal court and soon found it. The presentation portrait, Vasari’s description of it, and its reception by the Medici all reveal something about the use and role of portraiture at this time.

Portraiture is often treated by historians as emblematic of the emergence of the individual, of likeness, and as a reflection of an increasingly secular society in the renaissance, but the portrait is both more complicated and more interesting than this simple outline would suggest.  It is clear from contemporary sources, Vasari among them, that portraiture was functional, used socially and diplomatically, to project and legitimise power within a complex network of relationships.

Giorgio Vasari included portraits at the beginning of every vita and went on to compile a portrait gallery on behalf of Cosimo I de’ Medici. His interest in the genre is explicit—yet he did not address the topic directly. Without exception, what interests Vasari is neither the aesthetics, medium, methods or artistry involved in producing portraiture. He sees it instead as a means of revealing and supporting this network of relationships. This talk will address Vasari’s understanding of portraiture, how it differs from our own, and what these differences tell us about efforts at self-representation in the Renaissance and today.

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Joseph Hammond earned his doctorate in Art History from the University of St Andrews for his work on the patronage of the Carmelite Order in Venice. He has since worked internationally in the UK, Canada and USA, where his work has been supported by institutions such as the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto, the British School at Rome, and National Gallery of Art (Washington DC). His interest in historiography and the construction of history and collection has led him to work on a broad range of material from Hitchcock’s Psycho to Jacopo Bellini. His current project is on Venetian portraiture, c. 1350-1450, and explores portraiture’s complex relationship with likeness, identity, and the historiography of the Renaissance.

NEW FAAH COURSES FOR SPRING 2016

Welcome back AUB students, faculty, and staff. The FAAH department is pleased to be offering a number of new courses for the Spring 2016 semester. There is also a new Humanities course for Freshmen: FAAH 170 Studio Arts for Freshmen

See some of the flyers below for more information:

FAAH229K
FAAH 229 K – The Medium is Political

FAAH 229L ART AND LABOR
FAAH 229L Art + Labor
A course on Photography: FAAH 209F-Image as Origin
A course on Photography: FAAH 209F-Image as Origin
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FAAH 203E / ENGL 244X / MCOM291G–Narrative & New Media
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FAAH 203D–Video Art