September 11, 3 p.m.
Johnny Coleman, Oberlin College Professor of Studio Art and Africana Studies discuss his installation for FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art located at St. Mark’s Church in Cleveland and on view through September 30. As a FRONT Madison Residency artist, Coleman created Reflections From Here: Elders of Glenville, forwhich he recorded candid, organic conversations with elders of the Glenville neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side about their memories of and aspirations for the African American community. Join us for Coleman’s talk titled “Reflections Upon the Process.”
October 9, 3 p.m.
Chanda Feldman, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin, gives a poetry reading that responds to the exhibition Radically Ordinary: Scenes from Black Life in America Since 1968. She also reads from her recently published poetry collection, Approaching the Fields, with selections appropriate to the theme of the exhibition.
November 13, 3 p.m.
Kevin R. E. Greenwood, the Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art, discusses his exhibition Worlds Apart: Nature and Humanity Under Deconstruction. Works by three contemporary artists—Yang Yongliang, Sandra Eula Lee, and Yun-Fei Ji—reflect the rapid change experienced in recent decades by people in East Asia, and how perceptions of humanity and nature, history, memory, and sense of place have been fundamentally altered. The talk will discuss the works on view in the exhibition with reference to other works by the three artists.
December 11, 3 p.m.
Curator of Academic Programs Liliana Milkova gives a talk on the self-portrait in the AMAM collection by Michiel Sweerts, a Flemish artist active in both Italy and Northern Europe. This presentation focuses on the meaning invested in the oil pigments used—especially the prominence of the lead-white employed throughout the self-portrait. Despite its known toxicity, lead reigned supreme in art making until the 20th century and Milkova argues that Sweerts’ portrayal activates a different kind of sight that elevates the status of the artist and artistic creation as a whole.
Feb. 13, 2:30 pm
Olivia Fountain (OC ’17), curatorial assistant in the Office of Academic Programs, gives a talk on the conceptual impetus for her exhibition Handle with Care: Embracing Fragility, which explores the connotations of fragility in the larger context of race, gender, and the visual arts.
March 13, 2:30 pm
Kevin Greenwood, the Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art, discusses his exhibition, A Century of Asian Art at Oberlin: Japanese Prints. With more than 100 woodblock prints spanning 270 years of Japanese culture, the exhibition highlights both the history of printmaking in Japan and major donors to the AMAM’s Japanese print collection.
April 10, 2:30 pm
Kee Il Choi, Jr., an independent curator and PhD candidate at Leiden University, The Netherlands, gives a presentation titled “Vases and Virtue, Porcelain and Diplomacy: The Enlightenment Journey of Henri-Léonard Bertin (1720–92) and Joseph Amiot (1718–93).” His talk focuses on Vases Chinois, a rare, 18th-century album of watercolor paintings of Chinese imperial porcelains, a loan from the Clarence Ward Art Library now on view in the South Ambulatory. Co-sponsored by Oberlin College Libraries.
May 8, 2:30 pm
Claudia Ross (OC 18) and Isabella Miller (OC 18) will discuss how the photojournalism of Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, and Diane Arbus responded to the tumultuous political and social sphere of late 1950s and 1960s America and how it levied an implicit critique of the formalism and pathos-inspiring humanism of Photo League photographers during the Great Depression. They will also discuss how the works of these artists serve as a launching pad and an anchor to Miller and Ross' work on a short film they are creating.
Andrea Gyorody, Ellen Johnson ’33 Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, expands on themes in the exhibition This Is Your Art: The Legacy of Ellen Johnson. Gyorody will discuss the late Oberlin professor’s close friendships with major artists of the 20th century.
To mark the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth year, Jill Greenwood, the Eric & Jane Nord Family Curator of Education, will speak about the Weltzheimer/Johnson house designed by Wright and given to the college by Ellen Johnson. This talk will focus on the family who commissioned the plans for Wright’s first “Usonian” home in Ohio.
The digital age has brought many conveniences to art-historical research, but it still cannot replace the act of engaging with a work of art in person. In her talk titled “Old Master Drawings in the Digital Age, or What I Did on my Research Leave,” Curator of European and American Art Andaleeb Badiee Banta tells of her travels last fall in the United Kingdom and Italy. Banta was conducting research on the Allen’s collection of Italian drawings from the 16th to 18th centuries in preparation for an online catalogue. She talks about her experiences as a scholar in the digital and physical worlds.
Andria Derstine, the John G.W. Cowles Museum Director, will speak about Enid and Joseph Bissett, cofounders of Maidenform, who donated 24 paintings and drawings by such artists as Chagall, Dubuffet, Matisse, Miró, and Modigliani, among others, to the collection during the 1950s and 60s.
How does photography construct stereotypes? Mir Finkelman (oc ’16), curatorial assistant in the Office of Academic Programs, discusses this artistic medium in relation to works in Images in Black and White, which she curated.
Learn more about African art in the AMAM collection from those who curated its recent reinstallation: Matthew Rarey and the students in his course “African Art in Museums: From Collection to Display.” Rarey is an assistant professor of art history at Oberlin.
Chie Sakakibara, a cultural geographer interested in the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples, discusses her exhibition Exploring Reciprocity: The Power of Animals in Non-Western Art. She is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Oberlin.
In connection with the exhibitionThe Archaic Character of Seal Script, artist Peggy Kwong-Gordon will speak about her use of seal script characters as motifs in her paintings. She taught studio art at Kent State University and has exhibited her work widely.
Curatorial Assistant Oidie Kuijpers (oc ’15) discusses the relationships between freedom and order, chance and structure, and light and line in the work of Dutch artist Jan J. Schoonhoven. Kuijpers has curated an exhibition of Schoonhoven’s drawings in the Education Hallway.
According to Michel de Certeau, “space is a practiced place.” How do visual media “practice” the locations they depict? In his talk, Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies Alberto Zambenedetti will illustrate how prints from the AMAM collection, graphic novels, and films have recounted Cleveland’s cityscape.
Dr. James Edmonson will give a talk on “Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine, 1880–1930.” He is chief curator of the Dittrick Medical History Center at Case Western Reserve University. In the early days of photography, medical students, often in secrecy, took pictures of themselves with the cadavers that they dissected: their first patients. These images—poignant, strange, and sometimes humorous—comprise a unique genre at the intersection of art and medicine.
Madeleine Aquilina (OC 2016) will examine the differing conceptions of space in the work of Henri Matisse and early Cubist artists. While Cubism presented a uniform conception of space, Matisse’s work pictured domestic space as experienced by the individual. This talk will argue that Matisse maintained his connections to the avant-garde throughout his career and asked important questions about the presence of the artist in Modernist artworks.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Polina Dimova explores the modernist fascination with synaesthesia: the mixing of sensory modalities, for example the perception of musical sounds as colors. Dimova will focus on AMAM works by František Kupka and Wassily Kandinsky to show how modernists blended painting, music, touch, and space.
“From Yarn to Garment” is the topic of a talk by Betsy Bruce, who teaches this popular course during the winter term at Oberlin College, which introduces many aspects of traditional weaving, culminating with a fashion show and exhibition at the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA).
Want to know more about the verses of poetry now visible in the King Sculpture Court? Professor of English T.S. McMillin discusses the American Transcendentalist movement and its most prominent members, including the minister, artist, and poet Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813–1892), whose most widely known poem, “Enosis,” is reproduced on eight canvases in the clerestory of the sculpture court.
Wendy Kozol, professor of comparative American studies, speaks in conjunction with The Body: Looking In and Looking Out. The exhibition focuses on the human body and how we know about it, whether through a mirror, microscope or other instrument of perception, or via our philosophical ideas about corporeal existence.
February 10—Hayley Larson (OC 2014), curatorial assistant in the Office of Academic Programs, will discuss the documentation of performance art and its place in the museum setting. Larson will focus on works in the amam collection, such as Ana Mendieta’s 1974 series of photographs titled Body Tracks, along with documents from the Oberlin College Archives.
March 10—Jason Trimmer, Eric & Jane Nord Family Curator of Education, will discuss the process and materials involved in recreating a 15th-century Italian Renaissance panel painting, a project he undertook as part of a workshop organized by the University of Delaware’s renowned Conservation Department and sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
April 14—Denise Birkhofer, curator of modern and contemporary art, will give a talk titled “The Legacy of mexicanidad: Neo-Mexicanism at the AMAM.” She will focus on works by Diego Rivera, Adolfo Patiño, and Nahum Zenil on view in the exhibition Latin American and Latino Art at the Allen.
May 12—Mallory Cohen (OC '15), modern and contemporary curatorial assistant, will present a talk on Henri-Edmond Cross' painting "The Return of the Fisherman" from 1896. She will examine the work as an intersection between the aesthetics of the Neo-Impressionist movement, and the politics of the anarcho-communists. Now in its seventh year, the annual Senior Tuesday Tea showcases the scholarship of Oberlin College students. One soon-to-be graduate, selected by staff through a competitive process, gives a talk on a work from the AMAM collection.
September 9—Why was Asian art so attractive to American collectors in the first half of the 20th century? Kevin Greenwood, Joan L. Danforth Assistant Curator of Asian Art, tells about early donors to the museum's Asian Collection, placing their activities in a cultural and historical context, and highlighting AMAM treasures.
October 14—Oberlin College Professor of History Steven Volk discusses Frida Kahlo and a trio of other artists known as los tres grandes--Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Siqueiros--Whose works helped to form Mexico's post-Revolutionary identity.
November 11—Carol Lasser, professor of history, Oberlin College, will explore what the Ohio Star Signature Quilt reveals about the culture of early Oberlin. Begun by Sarah Mahan in 1847, the year before she died, and finished by her widowed stepmother in 1851, the quilt is both a map of friendships that knit together the fledgling community and a memorial used in the rituals of mourning in the early American Republic.
December 9—Patricia Murphy, executive director of the Oberlin Heritage Center, presents a biographical sketch of American master architect Cass Gilbert, who designed the museums's 1917 building. Murphy looks at Gilbert's ambitious, and not entirely realized, plans for Oberlin and how the museum fit within the context of his career.