Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Art History

Faculty & Student News

Faculty News | Student News

Faculty news

Hello Dear Alumni,

The Fall and Spring terms of 2013-2014 promise to be exciting, with no small amount of change thrown into the mix. For starters a brand new building is under construction right outside our door, slated to house the new School of Global and International Studies (SGIS) that is presently developing its programs and curriculum and selecting its first Dean. As it happens, I am on the Faculty Advisory Board for this new school and so can say with confidence that it is shaping up to be unique and visionary among such institutions around the country. This is largely because it includes a very strong humanities component, and for good reason. From business to politics, and from energy to ecology and sustainability, issues of importance around the world are never divorced from the myriad forms of expressive culture through which they are debated, refined, accepted, or rejected. Literature, music, the visual arts, theater, cinema, and television are all tremendously important forms of expression all over the globe, and each provides frequent opportunities for understanding what a nation or a culture considers important. It is a large step forward that Indiana University will now be educating and training people for international professions who are well versed in cultures other than their own. There is no better place for such training than IU, with its stellar reputation in area studies programs and its concentration of expert humanities scholars.

We are proud to announce that we have added two such experts to our art history faculty. Phillip Bloom comes to us from Harvard as a very highly regarded and energetic East Asian specialist. He is spending this year in Japan, having received a prestigious Social Science Research Council post-doc fellowship. It has been some time since our classrooms enjoyed the wonderful imagery of Asian art, and we are extremely pleased that Phillip will be joining us. I am happy to say he will be teaching one course a year for the new School for Global and International Studies.

Also joining us and on campus right now is Jeffrey Saletnik, who hails from the University of Chicago and comes via two very highly regarded post doctoral awards: the American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellowship at Amherst College, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at Columbia University. He is our new European modernist, with strong interest in the Bauhaus, the war years, art and design’s broader relationship to innovative educational practices, and music. He is also an expert on Black Mountain College and its array of arts transformers such as John Cage. Jeffrey has been an active publisher in 2013, with essays in two edited volumes: “John Cage, le fonctionnalisme et la pédagogie du Bauhaus” in Transmettre l’art. Figures et méthodes - Quelle histoire?. and "Trophy IV (for John Cage)", to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Rauschenberg Research Project, an online resource produced as part of the Getty Foundation’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative.

Needless to say, it is a great pleasure to welcome Jeffrey now and Phillip next year to our faculty. And in the same vain we must happily acknowledge our new Americanist of one year, Melody Deusner whose expertise resides in 19th century American art and visual culture. She came to us from the University of Delaware and their celebrated program in American art. Prior to accepting our position at IU she spent a year as a Terra Foundation for American Art Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. One of her major research interests is especially innovative: the relationships of artists and artworks to networks of social-economic power and patronage in America.

Margaret Graves has been on leave and returns to teaching in the Spring 2014 semester.  She received her Ph.D. in Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh and declined the most prestigious post-doctoral humanities fellowship in the British Isles—a three year British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship—to join our faculty. In 2012 Margaret Graves edited two collections of papers: Islamic Art, Architecture and Material Culture: New Perspectives and a special issue of the Journal of Art Historiography (June 2012) titled "Islamic Art Historiography" (co-edited with Moya Carey). Her articles "The Aesthetics of Simulation: Architectural Mimicry on Medieval Ceramic Tabourets" and "Feeling Uncomfortable in the Nineteenth Century" appeared in these publications. She was elected to the board of the Historians of Islamic Art Association and is editor of the H-Islamart listserv for 2013-14. Forthcoming publications in 2014 include an essay "Visual Arts and Islam" (in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts, Oxford University Press) and an encyclopedia entry on the ceramics of medieval Kashan.

As many of you know, Sarah Burns and Janet Kennedy have both now retired. Sarah is living in Seattle, and Janet has remained in Bloomington. We miss them tremendously, both for the intellectual vigor and delight they endlessly contributed to our department, and because it would be hard to find two nicer people. They have not disappeared from the scene entirely, however, because both are still directing dissertations for us.  

As for the rest of us, we are, as always, busy in the garden of art and visual culture. Sarah Bassett managed to write five invited scholarly papers last year, all presented at important international conferences and all but one in Europe:  “The Topography of Triumph in Late Antique Constantinople”, at Humbolt Universität, Berlin; “‘Curious art’: myth, sculpture, and Christian response in late antiquity,” at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main;  “Antiquity in Late Antiquity: Collecting in Constantinople” at the Lorenzo de Medici Institute, Marist College, Florence; “Collecting in Constantinople: Continuity and Change,” at the Art Institute of Chicago;  “Late Antique Art and Modernist Vision,” at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Istanbul.

Last Spring, Professor Facos presented papers to the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies and the Midwest Art History Society. In Summer 2013, she was visiting professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai, and in Summer 2014 she will be visiting professor at Warsaw University in Poland. The volume she is co-editing with Thor J. Mednick, Symbolist Roots of Modern Art, will be published by Ashgate in 2014, and she has just signed a contract with Wiley-Blackwell to edit the volume A Companion to Ninetneeth-Century Art. She contributed essays to the forthcoming The Fin-de-Siecle World, and to the catalogue to the exhibition "William Blair Bruce (1859-1906): a Canadian Landscape Painter in Sweden" (Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, 2014). She is editor-in-chief of the peer-review e-journal, Arts, and in March 2014 she will give a talk at the National Academy Museum in New York in conjunction with the exhibition "Anders Zorn: Sweden's Master Painter."

Diane Reilly co-organized with Susan Boynton a conference at Columbia University, Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music and Sound, held May 3, 2013.  She and Boynton are co-editing a volume by the same name that assembles the work of scholars of Christian, Muslim and Jewish art on connections between art and sound. She is also co-editing with Steven Vanderputten an edition of the texts of Gerard of Cambrai, one of the most important religious leaders of the eleventh century. She published "The Bible as Bellwether: manuscript Bibles in the context of spiritual, liturgical and educational reform, 1000-1200" in Form and Function in Late Medieval Bibles. She delivered papers at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, and the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo. She continues as Editor of the on-line Medieval Studies Review.

After the success of his first book on Vermeer, Giles Knox is at work on a long term project that will result in a second book, Craft and Illusion: Art and Art Writing in Seventeenth-Century Europe. He is of course our Southern Renaissance art historian, but his research over the past several years has convinced him that a theme of major importance—the tactile experience and physical expertise of making art—has been neglected in much European art history literature. This year he will be giving papers at the Renaissance Society of America ("El Greco and Byzantine Monumental Art") and the College Art Association Annual Conference ("Collapsing the Paragone: Rembrandt's Aristotle with a Bust of Homer").  

Bret Rothstein has been busy with conference papers, such as “Jan van Eyck's Difficult Terrain,” invited by the colloquium “The World from Above. New Studies and Approaches of the 'World Landscape'” (Brussels and Lille 2013), and including the world-renowned International Party Puzzle, to which he was invited as an emerging scholar of games and puzzles. Among his recent articles are: “Making Trouble: Strange Wooden Objects and the Pursuit of Difficulty ca. 1596” in The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and “Beer and Loafing in Antwerp” in Art History, and, forthcoming in RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, “Visual Difficulty as a Cultural System. ”
He also wrote the "Early Netherlandish Art" bibliographic essay for Oxford Bibliographies Online.  

Last April Dawna Schuld co-organized (and spoke at) a stimulating IU conference: Technologies of Experience. Interdisciplinary Symposium, co-sponsored by the Jacobs School of Music Department of Musicology and the Department of the History of Art. As a participant, along with Melody Deusner and Bret Rothstein, I must say this was one of the most engaging and intellectually stimulating conferences I have experienced in quite some time. She also recently published “Going Back to Look at the Shadows: situating Plato in a genealogy of installation art practice” in Embodied Fantasies: From Awe to Artifice, and “Practically Nothing” for the exhibition catalogue Phenomenal at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. She participated in a Work Shop and a Symposium involving the exhibition, and the catalogue was listed as one of “Twelve Notable Books of 2011” by Art in America.

Julie Van Voorhis continues to pursue her innovative work on Roman workshops and reworked sculpture. She published "The Working and Re-working of Marble Sculpture at the Sculptor's Workshop at Aphrodisias"in the Journal of Roman Archaeology; and has submitted for publication (in Oxford Studies on the Roman Economy)  “Local Sculptors, Local Markets: The Economy of Marble Sculpture at Aphrodisias in Caria.” She is presently working on an Indiana University Art Museum exhibition entitled The Colors of Classical Art, scheduled for the Fall 2014. Her co-Curator on the project is one of our former graduate students, Juliet Istrabadi, who is Acting Curator of Ancient Art. An exciting and valuable component to this exhibition will occur in the classroom. This Fall Julie is teaching a seminar that focuses on student research that will be included in an on-line exhibition module that accompanies the show. In Spring 2013 a similarly focused class will be offered to undergraduates.  Finally, Julie has received a generous subvention from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, Harvard University, to help with the publication of the monograph, The Sculptor’s Workshop at Aphrodisias. Mainz am Rhein, Philipp von Zabern (forthcoming).

I have begun my long-term art history across the Sudanic Corridor project. I organized and chaired a panel on the archaeological, historical, musical, and art historical interactions between Ghana and Mali at last year’s African Studies Associating conference, and gave a quick introduction to the project at Denison University. After co-authoring with Diane Pelrine the overview essay on African art history for Oxford Bibliographies (On Line)-African Studies, I was invited to serve on their Editorial Board. I continue on the Editorial Board of Africa Today, and I am very pleased to say that my book series with Indiana University Press, African Expressive Culture, has now published over 30 scholarly books. I spent this past summer writing a proposal to create a minor in African Expressive Culture, which will be grounded in our university’s fantastic African Studies Program but will, I hope, be a valuable part of the new School of Global and International Studies.

After a one year hiatus, our new undergraduate art history association is really getting off the ground, thanks to Michelle Facos and an impressive amount of student interest. AHA, our graduate students’ Art History Association continues to soar, with three to four outstanding Brown Bag research lectures every semester and their extremely successful annual Spring Symposium.

As I hope you know, our graduate students do very well out in the world. Here are some highlights. Kate Lemay spent a year in Santa Fe as a Research Scholar at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's Emily Landau Research Center in American Modernism and then became an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Auburn University at Montgomery. Even before gaining her Ph.D. (expected this Spring) Teresa Wilkins has become the Exhibits Coordinator for the Seminole Tribe of Florida's Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. With M.A. in hand, Emily Wood just became a Curatorial Assistant at the Whitney Western Art Museum, in Cody Wyoming. Paul Davis has spent the past year on a highly prestigious Mellon Foundation post-doctoral fellowship in South Africa. Lindsey Hansen received an equally prestigious Newberry Library-Ecole nationale des chartes Exchange Fellowship and is spending the next six months in Paris. Rebecca Fenton represented our department at the annual Graduate Student Seminar of the Chicago Art Institute, and was selected to return to give a public lecture, which she did quite successfully this September.

All the best, and please stay in touch,

Patrick McNaughton
Chair, Department of the History of Art
Chancellor’s Professor of Art History