Courses Available to Connoisseurs Circle Members
All IFA Lecture courses are available to Connoisseurs Circle members to audit. Select Colloquia and Seminars are offered based on availability. These types of courses are smaller in size and require more participation from students and, on occasion, auditors than a lecture course. They provide a wonderful opportunity to hear from the Institute's bright young scholars, in addition to the renowned faculty leading the course.
Please contact Andrea Yglesias at firstname.lastname@example.org to register and secure approval for courses. Requests to audit colloquia and seminars will be granted based on availability.
Spring 2015(For the Fall 2014 courses, click here)
January 26-May 11, 2015
Courses Available to the Connoisseurs Circle
CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE, FROM POSTMODERNISM TO HYPERMODERNISM
*Monday and Tuesday until Spring Break
After the short-lived eruption of postmodernism at the 1980 Venice Biennale, architectural modernism has recovered from what seemed to be its terminal crisis and has been reconstructed intellectually thanks to input from the humanities and also through a reconsideration of its relationship with technology, the arts and the city, and with its self-referential discourse. The parallel development of new conceptual strategies and of responses to the scales and landscapes of modernization are considered, with a particular attention to territories of innovation as Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles, Japan, the
Netherlands and Switzerland. Lectures alternate between the analysis of these scenes and the interpretation of major works and issues tackled with by designers such as Àlvaro Siza, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Toyo Ito, Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron, and Rem Koolhaas.
(Lecture and Laboratory)
Hannelore Roemich and Steven Weintraub
The course introduces students to conservation issues of the museum environment: temperature and relative humidity, gaseous and particulate pollutants, light, and biological attack. Guidelines for the proper storage, display, and transport of art objects are reviewed. Practical exercises include environmental monitoring of various sites and the evaluation of preventive conservation strategies. Cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment, emergency preparedness, and disaster response are exercised on selected case studies.
ART ON DISPLAY: CONTEXT, MEANING, AFFECT
Philippe de Montebello
How works of art are displayed materially affect our response as well as our interpretation of their meaning. The philosophical and aesthetic framework to these questions will be discussed. A history of public and private installation methods will serve as a background against which specific issues such as permanent installations versus temporary exhibitions will be further developed. The course will include a number of case studies based on museum visits and readings.
HOW TO LOOK AT CHINESE PAINTINGS
This lecture will focus on skills of looking and seeing, offering in-depth accounts of a selection of Chinese paintings. The paintings will represent a wide range of historical periods and artistic traditions. The goal of this course is to discern the full range of an artist's craft—technical, formal, and conceptual—as seen in an individual painting, with particular emphasis on reconstructing the visual and material thinking behind the painting’s creation. An additional goal is to develop the equally necessary skill of articulating what has been discerned in clear language. With these pedagogical purposes in mind, the instructor is creating a glossary of relevant terms that will serve as an essential resource for this course. No prior knowledge of Chinese art is necessary for this course.
DREAMS AND VISIONS IN MEDIEVAL ART
The hope of future salvation in the Middle Ages was predicted in a vision: John’s vision of the Second Coming as recorded in the Book of Revelation. Visions, including John’s, were understood to reveal things that regular mortals or common circumstances kept hidden. Dreams and visions permeated medieval culture, from the Old Testament to saintly visions, to popular romances and historical legends. This course will consider a range of texts that establish a literary and ecclesiastical tradition for dream/vision theory. Particular attention will be paid to the role that images of dreams and visions played in the construction of ideas about sight/insight and blindness/revelation. The visual material will be drawn broadly from medieval production.
TECHNOLOGY & STRUCTURE OF WORKS OF ART II: INORGANIC MATERIALS
(Lecture and Laboratory)
*Tuesday & Thursday
The course is an introduction to inorganic materials and the methods used to produce works of art, archaeological and ethnographic objects, and other historical artifacts, as well as to aspects of their deterioration and treatment histories. Emphasis is placed on the accurate identification of materials and description of techniques, the identification and evaluation of subsequent alterations, and an understanding of treatment history. As much as is practical and possible, students learn by looking at and examining objects directly. In order to accommodate field trips or laboratory exercises, some sessions may last longer than two hours and are arranged by the instructor with the class at the beginning of the term.
MADE FOR REPRODUCTION
This course will examine the work of early twentieth century visual artists such as Max Ernst, John Heartfield, and László Moholy-Nagy, who created artworks specifically for reproduction. Recognizing the transformations that took place when an art object was reproduced photographically on the printed page—its flattening, diminished scale, its “dematerialization”—these artists proposed the artwork in reproduction as a category of production unto itself. The phenomenon was theorized by writers including Louis Aragon, Walter Benjamin, and Sergei Eisenstein.
Collegiality was a defining trait not only of Raphael’s character, but also of his artistic practice. His prodigious output and expanding diversification were facilitated by the networks of people he cultivated, which offered a spectrum of practical, organizational, strategic, intellectual and creative advantages, provided the essential armature on which Raphael’s career was built. Focusing primarily on his years in Rome, this seminar will explore and assess three of these intersecting networks: the nexus of humanists, poets and antiquarians (Baldassare Castiglione, Pietro Bembo, Marco Fabio Calvo, Angelo Colocci) whose work inflected Raphael’s own; the privileged cadre of Curial patrons (Popes Julius II and Leo X, their banker, the “Palatine Cardinals,” and various high-ranking papal functionaries); and the circle of talented artists—pupils, collaborators, and the occasional itinerant north Italian (Giulio Romano, Giovanni da Udine, MarcantonioRaimondi, Antonio da Sangallo, Lorenzo Lotto, among others)—that the master gathered around him in his populous and productive workshop. Reading knowledge of Italian is helpful but not essential.
FROM DELHI TO THE DECCAN: ARTS OF MOBILITY IN SOUTH ASIA
Barry Flood and Dipti Khera
Over the past decades, the Deccan region of south India has emerged as a major area of scholarly enquiry. Long known for its maritime and terrestrial connections with the Indian Ocean littoral, Central and South-East Asia, from the fourteenth-century onwards, the region was home to a series of culturally cosmopolitan rajas and sultans, whose kingdoms were connected not only to Delhi in the north, but also to Iran and the Arab world. Assuming a longue durée approach to the art and architecture of south Asia between roughly 1100 and 1700, this colloquium will seek to explain the socio-cultural context from which the Deccani kingdoms emerged and their significance for the making and reception of art both within and beyond South Asia. The colloquium is planned to coincide with a major exhibition, The Art of the Deccan Sultans, c. 1500-1700, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
CHINESE CERAMICS IN CONTEXT
In view of the vastly diversified approach to Chinese ceramics, this course sets out to review the different research methods put forth thus far. We will study selected groups of ceramics within their original context of use (eg. in the temple, in the tomb, at court, in daily life) to see what alternative approaches are there for further exploration. Visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums or galleries in New York are mandatory. Knowledge of either the Chinese or Japanese language is preferred, but not a prerequisite.
WHY CONSERVATION? UNDERSTANDING THE PRESERVATION & RESTORATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
Salvador Muñoz Viñas
Conservation shapes the way we perceive our most valuable artworks and landmarks, and thus has an important impact on heritage, artistic or otherwise; and yet, it is not always well understood. In this course, the core assumptions of conservation, from its ethical principles to its raison-d’etre, will be analyzed and discussed. The evolving approaches to conservation will be reviewed. The ethical and theoretical principles of conservation will also be discussed and analyzed from a contemporary perspective. Topics to be discussed include: the theories of conservation, from the 18th-century to 1950; the advent of science; the idealist response; the problems with classical principles; conservation as truth-enforcement and the fabrication of authenticities; moving forward: the semantic turn; and conservation in the real world. No prior scientific or philosophical knowledge is required.
What Was Conceptualism and Why Won’t It Go Away?
This course examines the conceptual art movement, the hopes that shaped its political and aesthetic stratagems, and its legacy. We will begin by revisiting some of the major assumptions and conditions that catalyzed conceptualism, including the cultural climate of the 1960s, the critique of the object-status of art, concerns about the broader social function of the artist, as well as commodity culture. We will then take up our topic from various thematic vantages: the historical and philosophical question of language; the notions of “dematerialization” and documentation, particularly as aesthetic strategies aimed at “suppressing the beholder”; the practice of institutional critique and the broader idea of the world as system; the relationship between art, “information,” and the technological imaginary of the time. Importantly, our work will include surveying and critiquing the critical and historical discourse that has developed around conceptual art, so as to grasp the problems, tendencies, and oversights that have accompanied the understanding offered by art historical discourse itself. Lastly, we will keep an eye on the question of why and in what ways conceptualism has persisted beyond its founding moment in the late 1960s, and what its more recent iterations—as ‘global-’, ‘neo-’, and ‘post-conceptualisms’—have to offer.
THE PHOTOJOURNALIST IMAGINATION
Thursday 10:00 AM–12:00 PM
Since its invention in the mid-nineteenth century photography has been utilized as a privileged means of historical documentation, often serving as a crucial supplement to various forms of textual commentary. With the rise of photomechanical technologies of reproduction in the twentieth century, photography’s role as a conveyor of visual information invested the practice with unprecedented cultural significance. This course will consider how the changing technological conditions of the photographic apparatus have affected the journalistic uses of the medium.
CURATORIAL STUDIES: COLLECTIONS AND CURATING
(Colloquium) The Paul Lott Lectureship
Requiring discernment in attribution, intelligence in display, judgment of condition, and care in preservation, works on paper pose special challenges for museum curators. In this course, the Metropolitan’s experts in the graphic arts will share their expertise, allowing students a privileged look at works on paper across several departments in the Metropolitan. Students are expected to visit Manhattan commercial galleries during Master Drawings New York during the first week of the second semester and to discuss one or more works of art on display during the first class session.
ADVANCED STUDY IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE
This course is designed to challenge certain commonly held assumptions that have long determined architectural scholarship of this period. It is also intended to serve those who want to generally explore or extend specific interests in the field. The various issues that these interests bring to the table will be studied through critical reading, visual analysis, and presentation of individual work, following a workshop format.
REVISITING THE CARRACCI ACADEMY
The commonplace view of 17th-century Italian art rests on the belief that Ludovico Carracci and his cousins Agostino and Annibale "reformed" painting in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. The first step of this supposed reform was to reject "Mannerism," a style-term first published in 1792 by Luigi Lanzi and thus unknown to the Carracci, their contemporaries, or their followers. This seminar will study the Carracci's experiments without relying on the historiographical model of "reform" now established in the literature of late-sixteenth and seventeenth-century art. Further, we will test the usefulness of terms such as "Mannerism" and "reform" in understanding the nature of the Carracci's accomplishments and, by extension, of substituting categorical style terms for exacting scrutiny of the works of art themselves. Reading knowledge of Italian, German, and French is recommended.
PROTO-HISTORIES OF ART: ART CONSERVATION AS EMBEDDED THEORY
Alexander Nagel and Noemie Etienne
This course reviews the practical remanaging, reframing, replacement, and restoration of works of art in Europe from the Middle Ages to the foundation of modern museums in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries. Our premise is that these practices offer material testimony, practical thinking concerning the status and historicity of art from the centuries that preceded the development of the discipline of art history. Past art conservation practices, we propose, are forms of embedded theories of art, ones that need to be excavated from beneath the more familiar modern theories that have founded our discipline. We will concentrate on works of art in local collections where possible.
MATERIAL, RECIPE, RECONSTRUCTION: NEW METHODS IN TECHNICAL ART HISTORY
Technical art history, a term for the interdisciplinary study of the making and meaning of works of art through analysis of the material choices of the artist, has become an important tool for art historians interested in object-based research. This seminar will introduce students to a wide range of techniques and approaches currently used in technical art history, including: the technical examination of artworks, including microscopy and different wavelengths of light; imaging techniques that enhance our capacity to see and understanding surfaces and volumes; technological source research such as the study of artists’ treatises and recipes; and the reconstruction of works of art in the studio to better understanding notions of artistic intention and change.
BY THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE; GREEK ART 1600 B.C.-300 B.C.
This course will offer a general art history, heavy on visuals, focusing on the time period of 1600 B.C. to 300 B.C. From the beginning in Ancient Greece, the collective via the elite and via the fecund artist, ‘made’ the image. Ideas and questions from students will be welcomed in class and beyond. The more independently and actively (with the instructor’s help) knowledge is pursued, the more useful.
HISTORY OF COLLECTING
This course covers the history of collecting in Western Europe and the United States of America beginning with the seventeenth century and continuing to the present day.
CONNOISSEURSHIP: MATERIALS & TECHNIQUES OF EUROPEAN & AMERICAN
PAINTINGS, C. 1200-1900
Dianne Dwyer Modestini
Beginning with early Italian and ending with early twentieth-century paintings, the course introduces the students to the materials and techniques used to make paintings and how these have changed over the centuries. Topics include supports, preparations, gilding practices, pigments and the development of the artist’s palette, media and their characteristics, varnishes, and alteration and mutilation. Lectures at the Conservation Center alternate with visits to museum galleries, primarily the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and to special exhibitions when relevant. Students are expected to use the bibliography as a springboard for class discussion and questions.
ART WITH A PLUG: THE CONSERVATION OF ARTWORK CONTAINING MOTION, SOUND, LIGHT, MOVING IMAGES & INTERACTIVITY
The course will examine one of the newest and fastest emerging fields in art conservation in both theory and practice. The preservation of artworks containing technology-based components is of increasing concern to the art conservation profession, not only because of the preservation challenges of rapidly obsolescing components, but also because of the artworks' very specific relationships to time, space and concept. Conservators and curators must implement new conservation knowledge, examination techniques and strategies to preserve these artworks as well as their respective materials and technologies. An historical overview of the development of electric and electronic media art will set the basis for a closer look at the conservation challenges of media such as film, slide, video, light, sound, kinetic, interactive installations as well as digitally-born, computer-based and Internet art. The significant differences and challenges posed by the examination and the preservation of media-based art will be discussed through case studies. Emphasis is put on the decision-making processes based on ethical standards in conservation. The main resources and research projects worldwide that focus on electronic media conservation will be introduced.
Connoisseurs Executive Committee
Stephen R. Beckwith, Chairman
William L. Bernhard
Patricia Rubin, Ex-Officio