New York University will host “Vermeer’s Daughter?”—an all-day symposium on how the Academy processes renegade scholarly theories in the art world—on Saturday, May 18, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at NYU’s Cantor Film Center (36 East 8th Street/between University Place and Greene Street).
The event, co-sponsored by the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and the Humanities Initiative at NYU, is free and open to the public. Call 212.998.2101 for more information. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Subways: A, C, E, D, F (West 4th Street); 6 (Astor Place); N, R (8th Street).
In his book “Vermeer’s Family Secrets,” Cooper Union art history professor Benjamin Binstock proposed that several “problem paintings” in the Vermeer canon might actually have been painted by his daughter, Maria, whom he further identified as the model for the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring. Thus far, however, Binstock’s thesis has been met with thunderous silence in the art historical press. But what if we were to take Binstock’s claims seriously, or at least allow them a fair hearing? Beyond that, what if we in turn were to think about how such theories make their way through the art historical vetting process? How generally does scholarship evaluate such claims, and how ought we evaluate how it does so? And how would our response to certain specific works change if Binstock were proven right?
The symposium will include a presentation by Binstock of his theory, followed by panels of art historians and theorists, artists, and other scholars, culminating in an overview by Princeton cultural and intellectual historian Anthony Grafton.
Other participants will include art historians and theorists Linda Nochlin of the Institute for Fine Arts, Ivan Gaskell of the Bard Graduate Center, and James Elkins of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago; artists Chuck Close, Vincent Desiderio, Gerri Davis, and April Gornik; and generalists Rachel Cohen, author of “A Chance Meeting” and a forthcoming biography of Bernard Berenson, NYU Rilke scholar Ulrich Baer, philosopher of aesthetics Jonathan Gilmore, and NYU neural scientist David Poeppel. Lawrence Weschler, Institute Director and “Vermeer in Bosnia” author, will serve as the symposium’s moderator.
For a complete schedule of panels and speakers, click here.
Reporters wishing to attend should contact Stephanie Steiker at the New York Institute for the Humanities: 212.998.2101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The New York Institute for the Humanities (NYIH) at NYU was established in 1976 to promote the exchange of ideas between academics, professionals, politicians, diplomats, writers, journalists, musicians, painters, and other artists in New York City—and between all of them and the city. It currently comprises 220 fellows. Throughout the year, the NYIH organizes numerous free public programs, including conferences, symposia, readings, and performances. For further information, visit nyihumanities.org or contact email@example.com or 212.998.2101.
Created in 2007, the Humanities Initiative at NYU draws on the talents and energies of faculty and students across the university to provide a forum for cross-disciplinary discussion and collaboration in the humanities and arts. To foster and enhance the humanities community at NYU, the Initiative sponsors a number of endeavors aimed at promoting interdisciplinary dialogue, teaching, and research. For more, click here.