As the fall semester draws to a close, we would like to acknowledge all the hard work of our students, faculty and staff who have contributed to such a successful semester. The Art History Program’s graduate students deserve recognition for their contributions in the American University/George Washington University Symposium in Art History. During the October event, participants from each university presented their current research on material that ranged from renaissance to contemporary subjects.
Catherine Gubisch was selected by Dr. Kim Butler to give her paper, “Michelangelo’s Campidoglio: A Mean to an End,” which applied Neoplatonic number theory to the Campidoglio complex in Rome. The origins of this elusive design have been highly debated and Ms. Guibisch offered an interpretation that deconstructed the twelve-pointed star pattern on the pavement to reveal an intricate system of symbology that Michelangelo utilized in order to glorify Christianity, the papacy, and Rome.
Kristen Eckrich’s paper, “Höch Beyond Photomontage: Tailor’s Flower,” selected by Dr. Juliet Bellow, examined the division between high art and craft in the Dada movement and how it has impacted the reception of Höch’s work. Further, she argued that although Höch has been largely characterized as a Dadaist, she created many other innovative works that addressed concerns outside of Dada.
Dr. Namiko Kunimoto nominated Luisa Villa to present her paper on photographer Paz Errázuriz entitled “Making the Invisible Visible: Illuminating the Presence of Fragmented Identities in Chilean Society.” Ms. Villa argued that the artist’s photographic compositions and emphasis on commonalities attempt to photographically liberate her subjects from their marginalized position in Chile. Further, in the series, La Manzana de Adán, Errázuriz recuperated the concept of difference by humanizing her subjects and revealing the complex and fluid elements of their identities, as means of instigating a process of self-reflection within the viewer.
Rachael Pullin was selected by Dr. Helen Langa to present her paper “Fabled Females: Photography and Abjection in Kiki Smith’s Self-Portraits,” wherein she argued that Kiki Smith utilized the photographic self-portrait in order to subvert negative stereotypes of women in cultural narratives. She shed light on an area of Smith’s oeuvre that has been largely overlooked in existing scholarship.
Thank you to Kathe Albrecht, Visual Resources Manager, for organizing the event and to all the AU and GW participants and faculty for making this year’s symposium a great success. See you in the New Year!