Thanks to all of you who joined us on September 2 at The Wilcox Space to celebrate the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year, and the close of the two-part installation John Wilcox: Diptychs and Polyptychs. Stay tuned for news of the next installation, which will open in mid-Fall.
This Fall we are pleased to welcome four new O’Donnell Fellows to the Institute, where they will pursue research on topics from Cuba to Ethiopia. Leslie Reid is a UT Dallas doctoral candidate completing a dissertation entitled Abu Dhabi, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, and Shigaraki: A Comparative Analysis of the Modernist Architecture of Five Universal Art Museums. Evan (Poe) Johnson, also a doctoral student at UT Dallas, will join us as he completes his dissertation, The Fandom of Lynching and the Remediated Black Body. Joseph Hartman comes to us from Southern Methodist University and is in the final stages of his dissertation, Modern Dreams: Image, Space, and Politics in Machado’s Cuba, 1925-1933. And Jacopo Gnisci, who just completed his PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, will be in residence to work on the Dallas Museum of Art’s collection of Ethiopian crosses and to continue his research on fifteenth-century icon painting in Ethiopia.
We have a full slate of programs for the coming semester, which Lauren LaRocca highlights in her note. With Lauren’s leadership we continue to develop our partnership with the DMA and with other area institutions including the Crow Collection of Asian Art, with whom we will present a symposium in January in conjunction with the exhibition Clay Between Two Seas: From the Abbasid Court to Puebla de los Angeles. We are also happy to collaborate with the DMA Conservation Studio and the Nasher Sculpture Center to present a symposium in February called Artists’ Writings on Materials and Techniques. We will welcome James Meyer from DIA and Michael Cole from Columbia as keynote speakers. As these programs demonstrate, one of our goals at the O’Donnell Institute is to foster collaborations between the academy and the museum, and to create a space for generative dialogue among academics, curators, conservators, and conservation scientists.
It’s just those kinds of dialogues that will unfold every Friday afternoon this Fall in my graduate seminar, The Material Lives of Artworks. Based at the DMA and at collections throughout Dallas and Fort Worth, the seminar will explore the history of artistic materials and techniques and the broader question of how materials and the act of making create meaning. Each seminar meeting will focus on a single medium (silver, ceramic, or paint, for example), and will combine close visual and physical analysis of artworks, conversations with scholars, curators, and conservators, and readings in both artists’ writings and recent art historical literature.
In July I traveled to Naples, where Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Museo di Capodimonte and I continued our work on plans to launch a collaboration dedicated to incubating and communicating innovative research on the history of art in Naples, with particular focus on the cultural histories of port cities and the mobilities of artworks. While centered on Naples, our work will inform understanding of port cities and cultural centers throughout the world, from antiquity to the present. The Capodimonte/O’Donnell Institute collaboration will take the form of two programs: Workshops and Research Residencies. In an annual spring Workshop or Laboratorio, the O’Donnell Institute and the Capodimonte will convene an international group of scholars in Naples for two days of site- and collection-based presentations and roundtable discussions on a chosen theme. In our Research Residency program, advanced graduate students and early-career scholars will pursue research in residence at the Capodimonte on projects related to Naples and the cultural history of port cities. Our long-term vision is to expand the collaboration by inviting other institutions to sponsor Workshops and Residencies that will support the work of scholars from around the world in Naples. The Université Paris-Sorbonne, the Soprintendenza di Genova, and the Soprintendenza di Pompeii have already expressed interest in participating in the project. Our goal is to open the Capodimonte and the city of Naples to an international scholarly community, making the city a laboratory for creativity and collaboration. Sylvain, Rick and I all look forward to sharing news of the project with colleagues and friends of the Institute in the coming months.
As the slower pace of the Summer months set in, I had the chance to immerse myself in a new project on diptychs in fourteenth-century Naples. The project brings together for the first time a small but significant corpus of diptychs commissioned and collected at the Angevin court, with particular focus on how these mobile artworks fit into a whole network of artists, patrons, and objects in motion throughout the Mediterranean.
It’s with great anticipation that I look ahead to the coming year and to welcoming you to our many Fall programs and gatherings, which you will find on our website: utdallas.edu/arthistory/programs. Join us!
Dr. Sarah K. Kozlowski
The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History