Summer is gone; the semester has begun, and the art history faculty is taking stock of what occupied us on our summer vacation. Vacation!? Judging from our successes, it was a very busy three months indeed. From mid-May to mid-August, colleagues finished essays and book manuscripts, won prizes and awards, celebrated hiring and tenuring, presented papers, started new projects and continued work in progress. Colleagues traveled to archives, libraries and museums from Raleigh to Paris to Taiwan, and in the midst of all this work, more than a few did find a bit of time to relax and recharge. They climbed mountains, dove under the sea, visited exotic places and relaxed in their own back yards.
It is with the greatest pleasure that we celebrate Professor Glaire Anderson's promotion to Associate Professor of Art History with tenure. This summer Professor Anderson published “Concubines, Eunuchs and Patronage in Early Islamic Córdoba,” in the two-volume Reassessing the Roles of Women as “Makers” of Medieval Art and Architecture (Leiden: Brill). The publication is the first product of an ongoing European Research Council project that proposes a renewed way of framing the debate around the history of medieval art and architecture. Her travels took her to the Islamic galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and to the International Medieval Congress at Leeds, where she presented “Concubines and Queens: Contextualizing Women's Patronage in Early Islamic Córdoba.” Anderson's book, The Islamic villa in early medieval Iberia: aristocratic estates and court culture in Umayyad Córdoba, is forthcoming from Ashgate Publishers.
Professor Ross Barrett spent much of the summer working on the manuscript for his book project, Rendering Violence: Riots, Strikes, and Upheaval in Nineteenth-Century American Art (under contract, University of California Press). Outside of this main project, Professor Barrett finalized an article on Thomas Cole's cycle 'The Course of Empire,' which will appear in the journal American Art in Spring 2013. In May the Journal of American Studies published a special issue on "oil culture" that Professor Barrett coedited with Daniel Worden (University of New Mexico); the issue includes Professor Barrett's article on sculptural monuments to the oil industry. In May, finally, he gave an invited lecture on abolitionist painting and the Amistad rebellion at Boston University.
Visual Resources Curator JJ Bauer had a much different summer, working on a task that her husband described as "something to make him want to shoot himself," i.e. record-by-record digital collection database de-accessioning. By December of 2012, the departmental VRL digital collections will have been migrated into a new system software with ARTstor and that imminent move prompted a summer-long (and ongoing into fall) project of evaluating the content of our collections to determine if we are duplicating the content already provided by ARTstor and could thereby cull our collections of images that are too small (a legacy of breaking up with the ex, a homegrown system that would regularly crash if uploaded images were too large), too ugly (a problem of inheritance, where we began with digitizing a slide that was pink, moldy, fingerprint-smudged, and generally showing its venerable age), or too common (sorry, Mona Lisa, but you are hogging all of the attention). So from May to August, JJ and one loyal graduate assistant--hooray Robin Holmes!--spent their days going through the VRL collections and the ARTstor collections side-by-side, one image at a time, and out of an online collection of 58917 images, and with 22855 remaining to evaluate, discovered 4522 images that could be de-accessioned. This sacrifice of our sanity for collection maintenance will result in substantial savings in the amount of funds paid to ARTstor for their collection hosting services every year, as well as a brighter, shinier, more useful digital image base for our users to draw upon in future. We are all grateful that JJ was willing to make this sacrifice on our behalf. Brava, JJ.
Work on both digital projects and more traditional text-based publications marked Professor John Bowles's summer. Professor Bowles was invited this spring to present his ongoing digital research project, the African American Performance Art Archive (aapaa.org), to the Museum of Modern Art’s global research program, Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP). Over the summer, he authored a chapter for the forthcoming book Clifford Owens: Anthology (MoMA PS1), in which he explores Owens’ strategies for critically enacting a history of performance art while reflecting upon the desire to take part in it. And as of June 30, Professor Bowles completed concurrent terms as Associate Chair of the Art Department and Director of Graduate Studies for Art History; he continues to serve on the Administrative Board of the Graduate School. After an academic year of yeoman's service to the art history area and Department of Art, Professor Bowles is now enjoying having time once again to devote to his current book project, Globalization and African-American Art: History and Transnational Dialogue, which breaks important new ground in the study of African-American art.
Returning to Berlin at semester's end, Professor Christoph Brachmann finished one project over the summer and continued work on another. His article, "Naumburg und der Western," will appear in Der Naumburger Meister, edited by Harmut Krohm and Holger Kunde; this volume comprises proceedings of the conference "Der Naumburger Meister-Bildhauer und Architekt im Europa der Kathedralen," held in October of 2011. A bi-lingual author, Professor Brachmann is also completing his book Abbeys, Cathedrals, Castles: European Architecture from 800 to 1500, which is a much needed survey of medieval and early modern architecture. In addition to his writing, Professor Brachmann also presented a paper in Paris at the Deutsche Forum für Kunstgeschichte. In July he did take a break, trading his strenuous scholarly efforts, for an arduous physical activity: climbing mountains in the Bluemlisalp glacier in Switzerland. Professor Brachmann is currently in Berlin on academic research and study leave.
Professor Cary Levine's summer was also taken up with his manuscript, which is currently in production. His major project during his "vacation" was copyediting his forthcoming book, Pay for Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, and Raymond Pettibon, slated to be published in spring 2013 by the University of Chicago Press. Professor Levine also published a catalogue essay titled “Under Cover of Darkness: Jenny Holzer’s Endgame Paintings.” He was recently invited to be a visiting scholar/critic for the spring 2013 semester at the University of Texas, Austin, as part of their prestigious “Viewpoint” program. This semester he will again be running the department's outstanding Hanes Visiting Artist series.
Finishing a manuscript also comprised much of Professor Wei Cheng Lin's summer, and he completed his writing for Building a Sacred Mountain at Mt Wutai: Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Medieval China, which is now under press review. While completing his book, Professor Lin also found time to travel to China and Taiwan for two months, where he visited and photographed Mt. Wutai. While there, he also conducted field research for a new project "Death of Images: Image Caches, Relic Deposits and Burial Practice in Medieval China," funded by the UNC Medieval and Early Modern Studies Faculty Research Award. While in Taipei, Professor Lin also spoke at the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica on the subject of "Revisiting Mogao Cave 61 or Displaying Mt. Wutai."
Although just recently publishing her first book, Africa in the American Imagination: Popular Culture, Racialized Identities, and African Visual Culture, Professor Carol Magee advanced work on a second book project, Being in Place: Cityscapes in Contemporary African Photography. She submitted two articles for publication, both of which grow out of this research: “There is a There There " currently under review at Photography & Culture, and “Experiencing Lagos through Dis-stanced Stillness” which will appear this fall in the new journal Evental Aesthetics. In celebration of her tenure and promotion to Associate Professor effective in January of 2012, Professor Magee did some ritual cleaning, getting to those tasks we all put off until "after tenure," And she ventured for the first time into the world of whitewater rafting. This summer, Professor Magee also agreed to be our new Director of Graduate Studies for Art History.
Professor Mary Sheriff was on the road starting in mid-May with a keynote address in Montreal for the conference of the Canadian Women Artists Art History Initiative. Then it was off to Stockholm where she presented a public lecture and seminar at the University of Stockholm and a second public lecture at the Nationalmuseum. June saw her in France where she was part of a panel discussion and book launch for Plumes et Pinceaux , Discours de femmes sur l'art en Europe, an event organized for the Festival of the History of Art held at Fontainebleau. Professor Sheriff contributed the essay "Portrait de l'artiste en historienne de l'art: à propos des Souvenirs de Mme Vigée-Lebrun" to the volume and spoke about her contribution at the panel. Through June and mid-July, she worked on various projects in Paris, including an essay commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. And finally in August she presented a keynote address at the "Fenelon in the Enlightenment" conference held at the University of Potsdam, which is on the grounds of Frederick the Great's summer palace Sans Souci. But Professor Sheriff's summer was not all work, and included some wallowing in the rococo splendor of Sans Souci as well as relaxing underwater and diving the luxurious reefs of Bonaire.
Among the brilliant successes we celebrate, are those of Professor Daniel Sherman whose recently published book French Primitivism and the Ends of Empire, 1945-1975 (University of Chicago Press, 2011), has won two prestigious awards: the Alf Andrew Heggoy Memorial Prize from the French Colonial Historical Society, as the outstanding book published in 2011 on the French colonial experience since 1848 and the David H. Pinkney Prize given by the Society for French Historical Studies for the best book in French history published in 2011 by a citizen of the U.S. or Canada. This summer Professor Sherman gave a paper entitled "Art, Space, and Narrative in the Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration, Paris," at the conference SupraSpace: On the Concepts of Space and Place in Art and Visual Culture, held at Tel Aviv University, Israel, in early June. He spent the rest of June and early July in Paris, doing research on a new project concerning museums, archaeology, and the idea of cultural property in France and its empire from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth.
Art History indeed had much to celebrate as this summer also saw the confirmation of Professor Tania String’s new position in the department as Associate Professor, an appointment that takes effect in January 2013. Professor String completed book reviews of Mark Albert Johnston’s Beard Fetish in Early Modern England: Sex, Gender, and Registers of Value for Renaissance Quarterly (which will appear in the Fall 2012 issue of the journal), and Maria Hayward’s The Inventory of King Henry VIII: Textiles and Dress also for Renaissance Quarterly. She continued work on her forthcoming monograph Masculinity and the Male Body in Renaissance Art, and began to revise a paper she gave in March at the Renaissance Society of America annual conference for publication as an article. This piece, ‘The “Power of Women” and the Post-Coital Man’, identifies a new iconographic model for the representation of the male body, limp and vulnerable following a sexual encounter with a female protagonist such as Judith, Jael, or Delilah.
While we celebrate a new post with Professor String, with Professor Mary Sturgeon we celebrate both a successful ending and new start. This summer she concluded her five-year term as Director of the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. A visit to the American School website will give you a sense of what she achieved during those years and the importance of her contributions. In August she treated herself to a ‘reward’ trip to the Outer Hebrides, a wonderful way to escape the terrific heat. With her American School term concluded, Professor Sturgeon has returned full time to the Department of Art and to her new research project on Sculptures from the precinct of Temple E at Corinth. During the 2012 summer she wrote two book reviews: one on A. J. S. Spawforth’s Greece and the Augustan Cultural Revolution, Cambridge 2012, the second on (Greek title) Classical Traditions and Later Trends in Sculpture of Roman Greece, edited by T. Stefanidou-Tiveriou, P. Karanastasi, and Demetris Damaskos, Thessaloniki 2012. She is writing a chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Roman Sculpture on Sculpture from Roman Greece. This summer she also began work on another group of sculptures,in Ancient Corinth found in excavations of the Fountain of the Lamps (in keeping with UNC’s emphasis on water this year)- Gymnasium area This group includes five early Roman portrait heads (ca. 20 BCE -20 CE) representing youthful athletes and officials of athletic contests that regularly took place at Corinth. While examining one of the youthful male heads she soon realized that it had been recut from the head of a girl from the 4th century BCE whose hair had been pulled back into a bun. This head would have remained visible long after the Roman sack of Corinth in 146 BCE. This discovery suggests that other sculptures may also have been visible during the Augustan period and well enough preserved for them to be adapted to Roman use. Stay tuned for further discoveries. She is currently on leave on a W. R. Kenan, Jr. Leave for the Fall.
Although handicapped by a broken ankle (July the 4th) that generated a new way of understanding how we navigate our world, Professor Dorothy Verkerk had a productive summer some of which was spent in long-term planning and preparation. Her invitations to teach in China (2013) and Morocco (2014) led her to think about cultural interactions and pedagogical challenges. She applied for grants to upgrade and overhaul the award-winning site Celtic Art & Cultures created in 1998. ( In computer technology “time” 1998 is antediluvian). At one time, Celtic Art and Cultures was the “most linked to” site at the university, and Professor Verkerk wants to insure that the site continues to be the primary source for Celtic art studies worldwide. In addition, she finished the last editorial changes for her essay “Feed My Sheep: Pastoral Imagery and the Bishops’ Calling,” for Image and the Episcopy, (E. Gatti and S. Danielson, eds., Brepols), forthcoming in 2012. She also completed a book review of Glendalough: City of God, C.Doherty, L. Doran, M. Kelly, eds., (Four Courts Press, 2012) for the Medieval Academy's journal Speculum. Most importantly, however, Professor Verkerk spent the bulk of her summer at the North Carolina State Archives and the Southern Historical Collection reading primary texts for her medievalism and tourism book. The book project explores a theme that has occupied medievalists since 1979 when “Medievalism” was recognized as a distinct aspect of medieval studies. What sets this book apart from other medievalism studies is its look at one patron whose tourist travels, life experiences, and challenges to her identity led to the commissioning of a funerary monument that replicates a 10th-century High Cross and is one of the best examples of New World appropriation of medieval works of art.
And last, but certainly not least, we congratulate Professor Lyneise Williams, who was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure for her work on early twentieth- century Latin American art and visual culture. Her book, Representing Black Latin Americans in Paris, 1922-1933: (Un)Making Modern Selves is forthcoming with Ashgate Publishers. Professor Williams spent time in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Paris over the summer identifying archives and materials for her next project, which we fully expect to be just as innovative and exciting as her forthcoming work! While in Paris Williams was interviewed on her upcoming book on Radio Goliard, a radio program on history. In addition, she conducted research for two articles: one on the impact of Parisians' perceptions of Latin Americans on Spanish Creoles in Argentina and Uruguay; the other focuses on the image of boxers of color from the Americas in popular Parisian sports magazines. Williams was invited to be a guest critic at the Yale University School of Art in April.