Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson receives the 2018 Robert Motherwell Book Award

FRAY: Art and Textile Politics

Julia Bryan-Wilson
The University of Chicago Press
2018 Robert Motherwell Book Award Winner

 

Julia Bryan-Wilson has been awarded the 2018 Robert Motherwell Book Award for her book FRAY: Art and Textile Politics (The University of Chicago Press). The award carries a prize of $10,000.

The jury for the award was Susan Davidson (Robert Rauschenberg Foundation), James Leggio (Brooklyn Museum), and Katy Siegel (The Baltimore museum of Art/Stony Brook University).

 

Closely examining how amateurs and fine artists in the United States and Chile turned to sewing, braiding, knotting, and quilting amid the rise of global manufacturing, Julia Bryan-Wilson’s FRAY: Art and Textile Politics argues that textiles unravel the high/low divide and urges us to think flexibly about what the politics of textiles might be. Her case studies from the 1970s through the 1990s—including the improvised costumes of the theater troupe the Cockettes, the braided rag rugs of US artist Harmony Hammond, the thread-based sculptures of Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, the small hand-sewn tapestries depicting Pinochet’s torture, and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt—are often taken as evidence of the inherently progressive nature of handcrafted textiles. Fray, however, shows that such methods are recruited to often ambivalent ends, leaving textiles very much “in the fray” of debates about feminized labor, protest cultures, and queer identities; the malleability of cloth and fiber means that textiles can be activated, or stretched, in many ideological directions.  The first contemporary art history book to discuss both fine art and amateur registers of handmaking at such an expansive scale, Fray unveils crucial insights into how textiles inhabit the broad space between artistic and political poles—high and low, untrained and highly skilled, conformist and disobedient, craft and art.

 

Julia Bryan-Wilson is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley; she is also the Director of the Berkeley Arts Research Center. She is the author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (California, 2009); and Art in the Making: Artists and Their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing (with Glenn Adamson, Thames & Hudson, 2016). With Andrea Andersson, she curated the exhibition Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen.

Image and text from dedalusfoundation.org


Art History/Classics Receives Gift from Donors Helen and Raj Desai

Donors and long-time friends to the Department of Art History, Helen and Raj Desai, have donated a large set of books from their personal collection to the Art History/Classics Library. The collection contains ​rare exhibition catalogs and books​ on ​South Asian ​art and ​architecture, as well as other prized items such as a signed, three-volume set on the Plan of St. Gall by our department founder, Walter Horn.

Helen Crane Desai is an alumni of the Department (BA 1952, MA 1954) and her husband, Raj Desai, did his MS in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. The Desais have established the Rajnikant T. and Helen Crane Desai Endowed Fund for Graduate Fellowships in Art History. Their numerous gifts to the Department over the years include generous support to the Joanna G. Williams Endowment for the art and visual culture of South and Southeast Asia and the James Cahill Fund for the study of Asian art.​ Other gifts to campus include to the L&S Leadership Fund, the BAMPFA, the International House, and the Institute for South Asia Studies.​

The Art History/Classics Library is grateful to Helen and Raj Desai for their generous donation.

Here are some highlights from their generous gift:

Indian Painting

desai gift

Desire and Devotion

 

 

Legend of Rama

 

Ramayana: Pahari Paintings

 

Devi: The Great Goddess

desai


New Publication By Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson: Trevor Paglen at the Limit

Be sure to read Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson’s survey essay, Trevor Paglen at the Limit,  in the new monograph, Trevor Paglen by Phaidon press.

Trevor Paglen by Phaidon Press

“Julia Bryan Wilson, in her Survey text, offers a chronological analysis of Paglen’s oeuvre, using geometric terms such as ‘voids’ and ‘lines’ as entry points into the work and to highlight both the multi-dimensionality and formal rigour of Paglen’s practice. ”

“Trevor Paglen’s art gives visual geography to hidden forces, relentlessly pursuing what he calls the ‘unseeable and undocumentable’ in contemporary society. Blending photography, installation, investigative journalism, and science, Paglen explores the clandestine activity of government and intelligence agencies, using high-grade equipment to document their movements and reveal their hidden inner workings. This book presents over three decades of Paglen’s groundbreaking work, making visible the structures and technologies that impact our lives.” -Phaidon


New Publication by Assistant Professor Anneka Lenssen: Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents

History of Art department Assistant Professor Anneka Lenssen has published Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents with co-editors Sarah Rodgers and Nada Shabout.

See Professor Lenssen speak about her new book at NY MoMA on May 23, 6:00-8:00. In conversation with Anneka Lenssen, Sarah Rogers, Nada Shabout, co-editors of the book, and Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University, with introduction by Glenn D. Lowry, MoMA.

 

anneka

 

From the publisher website, Duke University Press:

“Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents offers an unprecedented resource for the study of modernism: a compendium of critical art writings by twentieth-century Arab intellectuals and artists. The selection of texts—many of which appear here for the first time in English—includes manifestos, essays, transcripts of roundtable discussions, diary entries, exhibition guest-book comments, letters, and more. Traversing empires and nation-states, diasporas and speculative cultural and political federations, these documents bring light to the formation of a global modernism, through debates on originality, public space, spiritualism and art, postcolonial exhibition politics, and Arab nationalism, among many other topics. The collection is framed chronologically, and includes contextualizing commentaries to assist readers in navigating its broad geographic and historical scope. Interspersed throughout the volume are sixteen contemporary essays: writings by scholars on key terms and events as well as personal reflections by modern artists who were themselves active in the histories under consideration. A newly commissioned essay by historian and Arab-studies scholar Ussama Makdisi provides a historical overview of the region’s intertwined political and cultural developments during the twentieth century. Modern Art in the Arab World is an essential addition to the investigation of modernism and its global manifestations.”


New Publication from Professor Lauren Kroiz

The recent publication Cultivating Citizens: the Regional Work of Art in the New Deal Era by Lauren Kroiz, Associate Professor of Art History,  is now available from U.C. Press.

Cultivating Citizens by Lauren Kroiz

From the U.C. Press website:

“A model of stylistic clarity and scholarly research, Lauren Kroiz’s book is an in-depth, riveting analysis of the intersection of art, pedagogy, and the careers of Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood. The new information and fresh perspectives she provides make her book a required text for any serious student of Regionalism.”— Barbara Haskell, curator, Whitney Museum of American Art

Cultivating Citizens focuses on Regionalists and their critics as they worked with and against universities, museums, and the burgeoning field of sociology. Lauren Kroiz shifts the terms of an ongoing debate over subject matter and style, producing the first study of Regionalist art education programs and concepts of artistic labor.”

 

 

 


May New Books in Art History

You can find these and other new art history acquisitions on the New Books shelf in the Art History / Classics Library.

Rubens : the power of transformation
Rubens : the power of transformation

 

Drachenlandung : ein Hildesheimer Drachen-Aquamanile des 12. Jahrhunderts
Drachenlandung : ein Hildesheimer Drachen-Aquamanile des 12. Jahrhunderts

 

Culturescapes Greece : archaeology of the future
Culturescapes Greece : archaeology of the future

 

Complementary contrasts : the glass and steel structures of Albert Paley
Complementary contrasts : the glass and steel structures of Albert Paley

 

Chiharu Shiota : under the skin
Chiharu Shiota : under the skin

Revista Matador

Revista Matador

Through La Fábrica—the Madrid-based publishing house he also directs, journalist Alberto Arnaut aims to incite a cultural debate in Matador, or in his own words a “campo de batalla” (battlefield) for ideas in all genres. The work of painters, sculptors, photographers, novelists, poets, playwrights, essayists, philosophers, architects, filmmakers, actors, chefs, musicians, fashion designers, and more adorn the pages of the lavish folio-size issues. Published annually since 1995 beginning with the letter A, the publishers are committed to completing 28 issues in 2022 when they reach the letter Z.

It is difficult to describe what takes place in Matador until you put your hands on an issue. Other than the dimensions, no issue is alike and each takes on a distinct theme. The magazine is predominantly visual with an emphasis on creators from the Iberoamerican world such as artists Miguel Barceló, Luis Gordillo and Eduardo Chillida; photographers Francesc Català-Roca, Xavier Miserachs, Ramón Masats; and filmmakers Bigas Luna and Gonzalo Suárez. However, contributions from all the continents establish an international dialogue. The words of contemporary fiction writers such as Javier Marías, Juan Goytisolo, Elena Poniatowska, and Juan Villoro engage with the deceased such as Rafael Alberti, Clarice Lispector, José Saramago and others. The texts of French theoreticians Hélène Cixous and Paul Virilio and the Department of Spanish Portuguese’s own Alex-Saum Pascual can also be encountered in Matador.

This year, the Art History/Classic Library was able to acquire all issues to date (A-T) as a joint purchase with the Romance Languages Librarian and is now one of only three libraries in California with a full-run and subscription.

Revista MatadorMatador. Madrid: La Fábrica, 1995-
Art History/Classics f NX456 .M368

 


Bay Area Book Festival, April 28-29

The Bay Area Book Festival will take place this year on April 28-29 throughout Downtown Berkeley. The festival will also include a Screening and Conversation Series in collaboration with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Here is a sampling of art-related talks at the Bay Area Book Festival. See their website for a full schedule.

Geoff Dyer on Street Photography and Beyond, Interviewed by Errol Morris
Geoff Dyer interviewed by Errol Morris
Sunday, April 29
11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

The English writer Geoff Dyer’s eclectic, critically acclaimed body of work includes novels, memoirs, literary criticism, and essays on travel, jazz, film, and more, each marked with his inimitable wit. He’s known for defying genres, and his latest, “The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand,” includes 100 essays about 100 photographs by the famed street photographer. Dyer’s responses to the photographs are predictably unorthodox, often hilarious, and always insightful. Billy Collins (former U.S. poet laureate) said the book “amounts to an extensive tour of Winogrand’s photographs conducted by a savvy, observant, and highly entertaining guide.” Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris, who also has authored a book on photography, will interview. Don’t miss this discussion with two powerful, funny, whip-smart speakers.

Aline Kominsky-Crumb: A Life in Comics
Aline Kominsky-Crumb interviewed by Peggy Orenstein
Sunday, April 29
11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Aline Kominsky-Crumb is an icon of cartooning and a pioneer in feminist expression through this medium. Her subversive depictions of femininity, along with her collaborations with husband Robert Crumb, have been widely featured in the underground scene. Growing up enraptured by the counter-culture movement, Kominsky-Crumb has always sought new ways to defy and inspire, and she actively seeks to “deconstruct the myth or romanticism around being a woman.” Journalist Peggy Orenstein interviews the award-winning artist and storyteller, who comes to us from her home in France.

Viet Thanh Nguyen on Art and Politics
Viet Thanh Nguyen interviewed by Karen Tei Yamashita
Saturday, April 28
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for his novel “The Sympathizer,” Viet Thanh Nguyen—fiction writer, essayist, activist, and UC Berkeley doctoral alum—has become an outspoken voice for refugee rights and justice for immigrants. In 2017 he received a MacArthur Genius Grant, and while he was commended for “challenging popular depictions of the Vietnam War and exploring the myriad ways that war lives on for those it has displaced,” his latest efforts move outward to the plight of refugees across the world. His lauded story collection “The Refugees” explores immigration, identity, love, and family. His latest project, “The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives,” brings together a host of prominent writers. He joins us to today to talk with Karen Tei Yamashita, novelist and essayist on the immigrant experience, about the role of the writer in society, the importance of art to politics, and the power of the written word.

The Transformative Power of Art: Making The Dam Keeper
Robert Kondo, Dice Tsutsumi
Saturday, April 28
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM

In 2014, audiences had to guard their heart-strings against Pixar’s short film “The Dam Keeper,” which told the story of Pig, a young boy who lives in a windmill and must keep a menacing fog away from his town. The responsibility weighs even heavier because Pig has no friends. Not until a new kid shows up at school and introduces Pig to artistic expression does his loneliness begin to dissipate. Join the men behind the film to discuss art, friendship, and creative dreams. This graphic novel is masterful on both literary and artistic levels: Be prepared to be swept away! (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

 

Brenda Hillman and Geoffrey G. O’Brien: A Conversation
Brenda Hillman, Geoffrey G. O’Brien, introduced by Rachel Richardson
Saturday, April 28
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM

What is the role of creative political resistance in a time of ascendant fascism? Historically, books, poems, and art have proven powerful enough to change the course of history. California poets Brenda Hillman and Geoffrey G. O’Brien discuss their new books and the critical function of art as activism. From the elegy to the love poem, from the individual to the collective, these poets will explore how words give us strength.

 

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Lecture: Rembrandt and the Mughals

Rembrandt and the Mughals

Dr. Stephanie Schrader
10 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
April 30, 2018, 12:30-2:30

Dr. Stephanie Schrader, Curator, Department of Drawings, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles will be speaking at UC Berkeley on April 30, from 12:30-2:30 at 10 Stephens Hall. Dr. Stephanie Schrader is the editor of the catalog, and curator of the exhibit, Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India, currently on at the Getty Center through June 24, 2018.

 The exhibition catalog can be found in our library: ISBN 9781606065525

rembrandt and india

Stephanie Schrader will address the 23 drawings Rembrandt made late in his career after Indian paintings that were imported into Amsterdam from Dutch trading post in Surat. Rembrandt’s portraits of Mughal rulers, princes, and courtiers demonstrate how his contact with Indian art inspired him to draw in a different style on Asian paper. Schrader argues that the Mughal compositions Rembrandt copied were not merely foreign curiosities, but carried with them specific associations of empire, trade, luxury, and exceptional artifice.
A reception will follow the talk.

Speaker Bio: Stephanie Schrader is curator at the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, specialising in 16th to 18th century Dutch and Flemish art. Her interest in cross cultural exchanges include exhibitions, publications, lectures and classes on artists including Jan Gossaert, Maria Sibylla Merian and Peter Paul Rubens.

Sponsors: Department of History of Art Stoddard Lecture Series, Institute for South Asia Studies, Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies, Department of History of Art.

 

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