Newsletter 2022: Faculty News
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Gülru Çakmak served her third and final year as the Graduate Program Director, implementing three major diversity and equity initiatives: Graduate Diversity Fellowship, Holistic Admissions Rubric, and the annual Graduate Student Departmental Climate Survey. Gülru also served on the search committee for a lecturer in African and African Diaspora Art History. She was nominated by the Dean and the Provost to HERS Leadership Institute, a national leadership development program for women in academia. A recipient of the Chancellor’s 2021-22 FlexLearning Fellowship, in collaboration with Professor Ho, Gülru developed and implemented a fully online component for the department’s popular survey course Art-Hist 110 “Introduction to Global Art History: Renaissance to Modern.” She worked on her book manuscript on the Ottoman painter Osman Hamdi and studied Ottoman language. She edited two special issues in research journals (“Rethinking Race and Representation in Art History and Material Culture of the Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Francosphere” in H-France Salon, and “Nineteenth-Century Visual Technologies in Contemporary Practices” in 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth-Century). She appeared on a BBC television programme on the French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme (“Fake or Fortune?” Season 9, Episode 2). She submitted articles for publication and was invited to give guest lectures.
Walter Denny continued his work as Chair of the Visiting Committee for the Department of Textile Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum, and his busy schedule of consulting projects and online lectures in the U.S. and abroad. Members of his Museum Studies seminar took a behind-the scenes look at two Met departments in early April. Slides for digitization (English, Russian, and French architecture) and new digital photography in Washington and New York museums are in process at the University’s Digital Scholarship Center. This spring Walter celebrated at the Met the delayed tenth anniversary of the 2011 opening of the new Islamic galleries he helped to plan and organize. In May 2022, between commencement and grades submission deadline, he made a 96-hour round trip to Bosnia for a Ph.D. thesis defense and public lecture at the University of Sarajevo.
Sonja Drimmer enjoyed an active year back in the classroom, which included field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with students in her Early Medieval Art Class, and to see the exhibition, Imperial Splendor: The Art of the Book in the Holy Roman Empire, 800-1500 at the Morgan Library & Museum with graduate students in the same class. In her spring undergraduate seminar, The Art of the Book, students made great use of the burgeoning collection of medieval manuscripts and facsimiles in Special Collections and University Archives at the Du Bois Library, which made several exciting acquisitions this year. She also gave numerous invited lectures and participated in a workshop on the future of medieval studies at Yale's Whitney Humanities Center. Her publications this past year include "Connoisseurship, Art History, and the Paleographical Impasse in Middle English Studies" in Speculum, the journal of the Medieval Academy of America and a public piece, "How AI Is Hijacking Art History," which was published in The Conversation. Also see her recent podcast “Thinking Broadly: Rolls, Codices Codicology, Connoisseurship, Paleography, and Media ‘Revolutions.’”
Ximena Gómez was on research leave as a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art. The fellowship allowed her to work through a backlog of archival documents and make progress on her book, which examines the artistic contributions of Indigenous and Black confraternities to the creation of the visual culture of colonial Lima. She completed her time as co-chair of a blue-ribbon commission for the Institute of Andean Studies on “Engaging Africans and their Descendants in Andean Studies.” She published an article in Colonial Latin American Review and an essay in the edited volume Indigenous and Black Confraternities in Colonial Latin America. She also gave invited talks at The Ohio State University, Harvard, the University of Essex, and the University of Edinburgh.
Christine I. Ho experimented with different subjects and modes of teaching this year. She taught a graduate seminar on eco-critical art history, and worked with Professor Çakmak on an online-only section of the department’s survey of global art history. She also had the pleasure of visiting the Art History Society and discussing NFTs with the department’s majors. Over the year, she gave five talks on topics that ranged from Ai Weiwei’s use of the furniture joint to the 1950s visits by the Japanese artists Maruki Iri and Akamatsu Toshiko to China. Even though opportunities for research travel continue to be limited, she also revised two articles for publication, focusing on new areas of research on craft and decoration.
Karen Kurczynski curated “Sideshow: Nicole Eisenman’s Modernist Inspirations” (September 23, 2021–May 1, 2022) at the University Museum of Contemporary Art and advised Curatorial Fellows Cecily Hughes and Tirzah Frank on their exhibition “We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Transportive Art” (March 24–May 1, 2022 and Fall, 2023). With Professor Ximena Gómez, she continued planning for the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Race and Visual Culture in the Americas, 20th-21st Centuries” for 2022–2023. Her Spring “Drawing in Color” seminar included talks by Art professor Mahwish Chisty and visiting artist Laylah Ali. She continued the Service Learning project in Contemporary Art 327/627, with UMASS students visiting high schools in Holyoke and Springfield and hosting their UMCA visits. She workshopped her scholarly article “Disidentifying with Whiteness: Steve Locke’s ‘#Killers’” with 5C Art History and Afro-American Studies and worked on essays on Asger Jorn and Cobra. She will travel to Santa Fe, NM, in August, 2022, to study Native American modern and contemporary art with a grant from the Whiting Foundation.
Laetitia La Follette gave talks at NYU, UCLA, and the Museum of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco this past year. She continues as president of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), navigating a second year of COVID. At the AIA’s annual conference, virtual once again due to the pandemic, she focused her presidential plenary on Decolonizing Archaeology and community collaborations in the US and around the world. For her Vexed Antiquities class this spring, she brought in a series of guest speakers, including Sadler provenance curator Dr. Victoria Reed (MFA Boston), NAGPRA expert and Native American scholar Dr. Joe Watkins, as well as art history alums Henriette Kets de Vries (MA*03), curator at the Smith College Museum of Art and Daniel Healey (’12), now of the Antiquities Task Unit, Office of the Manhattan DA.
With the support of UMass, Tim Rohan had a productive sabbatical year working on his book about Manhattan interiors. In October 2021, he co-organized a two-day conference about the campuses of UMass Amherst and UMass Dartmouth for UMass Brut, the advocacy group for modernist architecture in the UMass system. He chaired its introductory panel and led a tour of the Amherst campus. Tim also organized events for the Historic Interiors Affiliate Group of the Society of Architectural Historians, including an online book talk and a panel at their annual conference. He enjoyed speaking at the 50th anniversary celebration of Paul Rudolph’s First Church in Boston.
Monika Schmitter transformed from “virtual” Chair to “real” Chair this year, her second in the position. In the Fall, she gave a virtual talk about her book The Art Collector in Early Modern Italy, now finally published. Monika also discussed the book on May 24 at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She presented the paper “Negative Findings and the Nonextant: The Case of the Cremonese Ceiling” at the Renaissance Society of America conference in Dublin, Ireland, and published an article on Giorgione’s Tempest in this year’s issue of Studies in Iconography. She was selected to participate in the Mellon Faculty Leadership Development Program organized by the Five College Consortium.
In September 2021, Meg Vickery took over as Undergraduate Program Director for the department after Nancy Noble became Associate Dean of Advising in HFA. In addition to the usual duties, Meg spearheaded an effort to bring sheep to graze on campus. With colleagues, Britt Crow-Miller and Kelly Klinger both of the Environmental Conservation Department, they presented the sheep as a means of understanding the vital role sheep have played in culture and the landscape for millennia and asked students and the public to re-imagine how our landscapes can be better managed in a low-to-no carbon world. As part of this work, she oversaw several Independent Studies with Art History majors, wherein students explored the role of sheep and wool in art over the centuries and around the globe.
Her chapter, “Pedagogic Landscapes: Recreation, Play, and Danish Infrastructure Design” came out in the Routledge Handbook of Infrastructure Design: Global Perspectives from Architectural History, and her “Introduction” to Part IV was published in The Women who Changed Architecture (PAP, 2022). In the Summer of 2022, she will begin researching the work of the landscape architect, Marjorie Allen and her promotion of the Adventure Playground as a means of connecting children and the landscape.