New Exhibition at MMA – “Struck by Likening”
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Tom Thomson (Canadian 1877 – 1917) The Birch Grove, Autumn, 1915–16, oil on canvas. Art Gallery of Hamilton
The McMaster Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Stuck by Likening: The Power & Discontents of Artworld Analogies”, curated by the Department’s own Professor Mark Cheetham. From the MMA’s website:
Levy Gallery (level 4)
19 August – 2 December, 2017
PUBLIC RECEPTION: Thursday, September 14, 6 – 8 pm
CURATOR’S TALK | Getting Some Distance on Likening: Wednesday October 4, 12:30 – 1:20 pm
Struck by Likening explores commonplace declarations such as “Tom Thomson is the Van Gogh of Canada” and Norval Morrisseau is “the Picasso of the North.” We may call these familiar comparisons “likenings.” Innocent though they might seem, we need to take likenings seriously. They occur with such frequency as to become largely unheard and invisible. They structure not only what we say about art, but literally how we see it. Likenings can trigger ‘ah-ha’ moments when we are ‘struck by likening’ in the sense of having an insight or they can commit us to dubious cultural assumptions.
Likening is a form of analogy, a process by which a connection is asserted between two distinct elements. Examples abound in pop culture (“Prabhu Deva [is] the Michael Jackson of India”), politics (“Nelson Mandela: The Lincoln of Africa”), science (Ernest Rutherford’s analogy between the atom and solar system), and the law, which argues from analogous precedents. Analogy is fundamental to the way we make sense of the world. Struck by Likening interrogates how we construct our views on artists, their works, and art history through analogy.
The exhibition has five viewing stations, each exploring the issues raised by likening. Questions of national aspiration, genius, gender, anachronism, inter-media comparison, humour, and cultural appropriation are brought into focus. Visitors will see likenings that seem right and lend insight and those that reinforce stereotypes. When comparing the comparisons on exhibit, are you inclined to accept or to resist likenings?
Works for Struck by Likening are drawn from the historical, modern and contemporary collection of the MMA, and loans from the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Museum London and the Corkin Gallery, Toronto. They include works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jack Chambers, George Grosz, William Hogarth, William Kurelek, Wifredo Lam, David Lucas, Norval Morrisseau, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Gerhard Richter, Tom Thomson, Harold Town, Homer Watson, and Edward Weston.
For more information on this exhibition, please visit the McMaster Museum of Art website.
Congratulations to the 2016–17 Graduates
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Zainab Al-Shalihi; Emily Baker; Adam Barbu; Samantha Chang; Michael Collins; Kathleen Cummings; Victoria De Chellis; Caroline Duffy; Lina El-Shamy; Rafael Goldchain; Zaneta Laurence; Madeleine Leisk; Debra Lustig; Shaun Midanik; Brittany Myburg; Hoang Anh Thu Nguyen; Meghan O’Callaghan; Carolyn Peralta; Rebecca Proppe; Juliana Ramirez; Shelby Ricker; Matthew Sova; Kaylee Verkruisen; Dana Weaver; Austin Yuen; Yuxing Zhang; Xinran Zhu
Sara Angel; Miriam Aronowicz; Olenka Horbatsch; Dana Katz; Adam Lauder; Elizabeth Moss; Colin Murray; Devon Smither
Doctoral Students Win Prestigious Awards
Monday, June 12, 2017
The Graduate Department of Art is pleased to announce the following award recipients and nominations.
Akshaya Tankha (PhD) has been awarded a Doctoral Fellowship at the Jackman Humanities Institute for 2017–18, where he will work on his dissertation thesis “The Aesthetics of Indigenous Difference in the Absence of Reconciliation in Late-Liberal South Asia,” within the context of the JHI’s theme, “Indelible Violence: Shame, Reconciliation, and the Work of Apology.”
PhD students Rachel Dewan, Dongwon Esther Kim, and Marina Dumont-Gauthier have each won 2017–18 SSHRC Doctoral Awards in support of the research and writing of their dissertation theses over the next 3 years.
Adam Lauder, who recently completed his PhD under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Legge, was recently nominated for a Governor General’s Gold Medal award.
A hearty congratulations to all of these students for their outstanding work and the impressive recognition that it has received!
Professor Giancarla Periti has been awarded the book prize by the AAIS
Thursday, April 27, 2017
The Department of History of Art/Graduate Department of Art is pleased to announce that Giancarla Periti’s In the Courts of Religious Ladies: Art, Vision and Pleasure in Italian Renaissance Convents (2016) is the recipient of the 2016 Book Prize in the category of Renaissance, 18th and 19th centuries, awarded by the interdisciplinary American Association for Italian Studies (AAIS). Periti examines the remarkable poetic and mythological art commissioned by aristocratic female monastic communities in Renaissance Italy. Nuns from the patrician class set aside considerations of austerity and poverty, to commission rich and sensually appealing artefacts inspired by the contemporary secular culture of courts. Works of art transformed monastic parlours, abbatial apartments, and nuns’ cells into ornate settings, thereby enriching—and complicating – any simple opposition of the religious and worldly spheres. Periti’s book shows how this courtly conventual art taught its viewers to use their eyes to gain insights about the secular world that lay beyond the bounds of their monastic walls.
Many congratulations to Professor Periti.
The book is richly illustrated thanks to the generous assistance of the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Publications Subsidy at Villa I Tatti. For more information, please visit the Yale University Press website.
Professor Jordan Bear awarded Historians of British Art Book Prize
Friday, January 20, 2017
The Department of History of Art/Graduate Department of Art is delighted to announce that Associate Professor Jordan Bear has been awarded the 2016 Historians of British Art (HBA) book award for a single-authored work dealing with a post-1800 subject, for his book Disillusioned: Victorian Photography and the Discerning Subject. Awards were granted in three different categories, and the winners were chosen from a nominating list of over eighty books from more than thirty different presses. In Disillusioned, Bear tells the story of how photographic trickery in the 1850s and 1860s participated in the fashioning of the modern subject. By locating specific mechanisms of photographic deception employed by the leading mid-century photographers within this capacious culture of discernment, Disillusioned integrates some of the most striking—and puzzling—images of the Victorian period into a new and expansive interpretive framework. Bear has also been awarded an Honorable Mention for the 2016 Sonya Rudikoff Prize for best first book in Victorian Studies, awarded by the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. Many congratulations on this achievement!
For more information on this year’s HBA Book Awards, please visit the Historians of British art website.
To find out more about Disillusioned, please visit the Penn State University Press website.