Goldberg Lecture to Address Protection of Cultural Heritage

goldbergposterbdanielsConcerns about cultural heritage feature prominently in the present humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq. With more than 250,000 dead and millions displaced, all aspects of daily life have been upended. Destruction of the region’s famed archaeological sites, most recently Palmyra, has prompted an outpouring of international concern. Despite many humanitarian interventions designed to address the current crisis in Syria and Iraq, there have been fewer efforts to protect the heritage that represents the cultural identity of Syrians and Iraqis inside both countries. What can we do to protect cultural heritage in this crisis?

Brian Daniels, director of research and programs, Penn Cultural Heritage Center, University of Pennsylvania Museum, will deliver the Norman L & Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture on Tuesday, September 22, in which he will discuss how the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq (SHOSI) Project has answered this question. His lecture, entitled Protecting Cultural Heritage in Syria and Iraq: Lessons Learned in the Present Crisis, will begin at 4:10 pm in Cohen Memorial Hall, room 203, followed by a reception in the atrium.

Daniels co-directs the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project, which aims to enhance the protection of cultural heritage by supporting professionals and activists in conflict areas, and leads a National Science Foundation-supported study about the intentional destruction of cultural heritage in conflict. He has worked with local communities on issues surrounding heritage rights and repatriation for more than fifteen years. He previously served as manager of the National Endowment for the Humanities regional center initiative at San Francisco State University, where he developed strategies for community engagement and outreach on folklore documentation. Daniels received his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sponsored by the Department of History of Art and the Archaeological Institute of America, the Goldberg Lecture is free and open to the public. Limited parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East. For more information, call the department at 615.322.2831.

History of Art Major Applied to a Range of Successful Careers

Why art history? What is the value of a degree in art history? Can an art history major ever be a powerful ticket to a successful career?

Skills learned in history of art courses were touted by alums from Princeton University’s art history department: “My art history education was the first step in training my eye to recognize the recurring signatures of price movement in the financial markets,” noted Jamie Crapanzano (Princeton, 2000), portfolio manager at Guggenheim Partners. “Majoring in art history brilliantly expanded my ability to solve problems in medicine,” said psychiatrist Jeremy Spiegel (Princeton, 1992), who fondly recalls “the nurturing and consciousness-expanding playpen” of the department of art and archaeology. “Majoring in art history allowed me to relate to and understand the psychology of the creative mind,” said Sara Dennis (Princeton, 1987), who has been senior vice president at top fashion companies, including Lands End.

Kevin Murphy, chair of Vanderbilt’s history of art department, directs our attention to recent articles about successful art history majors: The Huffington Post by Alena Hall; and The Daily Princetonian by W. Barksdale Maynard (Princeton, 1988).

HART Society to Host Summer Social on Friday, September 11

HART Society-01The History of Art Society is hosting a summer social on Friday, September 11, from 4 to 6 pm in the first floor lobby of Cohen Hall. Celebrate the start of the fall semester and enjoy presentations by HART faculty members on their summer research. Students are invited to mingle with the professors and enjoy light refreshments.

“It’s a fun, informative event and provides a way for new students to learn about the history of art department and get to know the professors and older students,” said Francesca Salvatore, president of the Vanderbilt History of Art Society.

Closing Reception for Space 204 Exhibit on September 10

DuanePaxsonThe Department of Art will hold a closing reception on Thursday, September 10, from 4 to 6 pm for Duane Paxson’s La Strega in Space 204, with the artist’s gallery talk at 5 pm.

Paxson’s La Strega (Italian for “the witch”) immerses the viewer “in an eerie story with a setting reminiscent of a dark woodland,” writes Keeley Harper in Nashville Arts Magazine. “The exhibit’s twisting trees and their shadows prompt the viewer to question what exactly may be residing in this grim yet beautiful forest.” Read more

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Space 204 is located at 25th Avenue South and Garland Avenue in the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center on the Vanderbilt campus. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm. On street parking is available along Garland Avenue and in the nearby parking lots.

Catch the Show Before the Curtain Closes on Friday, September 4

circusposterExperience the excitement of the circus this week with Thrills & Chills! The Fantastic World of the American Circus at the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery. Posters that advertised circus acts and banners giving a teaser to the wonders of sideshows are as colorful as the spectacles they promise and the true focus of this summer’s festive exhibition, which will remain on view in Cohen Memorial Hall until September 4.

Get your free popcorn just outside the gallery doors on Wednesday and Thursday, September 2-3, from 12 to 3:30 pm. Gallery hours this week (through Friday) are from 11 to 4 p.m. The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Avenue South, on the western edge of the Peabody College campus.

Thrills & Chills! The Fantastic World of the American Circus is organized by the Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph Mella, director, and Margaret Walker, art curator assistant.

Kevin Murphy Addresses Environmental Costs of Urban Teardowns

In 2013 alone, more than 500 houses were demolished in Nashville, Tennessee, a sharp increase from previous years. And hundreds of additional teardowns are expected in a city that’s projected to add a million residents over the next two decades.

Nashville is hardly the only North American city to experience a recent wave of teardowns. In Vancouver, a housing and real estate expert reports that the city issued more than 1.000 demolition permits in 2013. She points out that most of the demolitions are of single-family homes, and each send “more than 50 tonnes of waste to landfills.”

While preservationists have long decried the loss of historic fabric and cultural capital through teardowns, the environmental costs of demolition are increasingly coming to the fore. Read more

*Kevin D. Murphy is Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities and Professor and Chair of Department of History of Art at Vanderbilt University. This article originally appeared on The Conversation on July 21, 2015, and was reprinted by Time magazine on July 23.

HART Cosponsors International Symposium on Traditional Chinese Architecture

traditionalchinesearchitecture1A three-day international symposium on traditional Chinese architecture will be held July 23-25 at Vanderbilt University in Cohen Memorial Hall. The aim of the Senior Academics Forum on Traditional Chinese Architectural History is to advance the study of Chinese architectural history and forge connections between scholars of Chinese architecture across the globe.

“The history of Chinese architecture is a young but increasingly vibrant and important field, and forums such as this are vital to furthering the study and ensuring the protection of this important cultural tradition,” said Tracy Miller, associate professor of history of art, who organized and coordinated the event.

Professor Wang Guixiang of Tsinghua University, Beijing, PRC, and Professor Guo Qinghua of the University of Melbourne, Australia, established the forum only three years ago. Their goal was to bring the study of traditional Chinese architecture, the “classical” architecture of pre-modern East Asia, onto the global stage by providing a regular forum for the most active scholars in the field to gather and discuss their current research. Because each scholar is given 30-45 minutes to present his or her material to a small audience of experts, the level of scholarship and open discussion far surpasses the experience at larger conferences. The first of the meetings was held in October 2012 at the University of Melbourne and the second in December 2013 at Kinki University in Osaka, Japan.

To ensure that the results of the forum have an extended scholarly reach, the best essays presented will be considered for publication in the peer-reviewed Journal of Chinese Architecture History (Zhongguo jianzhu shilun huikan) published by Tsinghua University, who is the official co-organizer of the forum. Other sponsors are Vanderbilt University, College of Arts and Science, Department of History of Art, Asian Studies Program, Office of Arts and Campus Events, and Fine Arts Gallery.

traditionalchinesearchitecture2This year in addition to the forum there will be an exhibition of 100 photographs from the “Snow Draft Ingenuity in Craft: Traditional Chinese Architecture Photography Competition「雪花純生匠心營造」中國古建築攝影大賽.” Examples from each of the eight competition categories will be on view from July 22-31 on the first and second floors of Cohen Memorial Hall, the Sarratt Student Center box office, and the atrium of Buttrick Hall.

Viewing hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 pm; Saturday (Cohen Hall only), 1-5 p.m.; closed Sunday.
The exhibit is sponsored by China Resources Snow Breweries and Tsinghua University School of Architecture, Beijing, and Vanderbilt’s Department of History of Art, Office of Arts & Campus Events, and Fine Arts Gallery.

For more information on the forum and photography exhibition, see the forum website:

*Both images are examples from the “vernacular architecture” division of the Snow Breweries competition.