Department of Art History – UW–Madison College of Letters & Science Mon, 14 Oct 2019 13:02:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Interview with an Auditor: Dr. Beth Neary Mon, 14 Oct 2019 02:05:12 +0000 The Department of Art History would like to introduce our new series: Interview with an Auditor! The department will be sharing interviews with various auditors during the course of the upcoming 2019–2020 academic year. Everyone has interesting stories to tell and we hope to shed light on our auditor’s stories and experiences within our classrooms. 


Our first auditor interviewee, Dr. Beth Neary, is a pediatrician and graduate of the UW-Madison’s medical school who first took an art history class when she was in high school in New Jersey and then later, in college, an introductory course on architecture where she met her husband. While Beth did not pursue art history or architecture in college, she took a winding path through an anthropology, then business major before settling on nutrition. It was through her studies in nutrition that led her to medical school, where she graduated at the age of thirty-six. After retiring from her career in pediatrics, Beth began to think about what she had put on hold, which included art history. 

Art history has always been part of her life, as she traveled on vacations with her family where they inevitably ended up in art museums. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, in particular, became one of Beth’s favorite museums to visit as her daughter worked there for several years. Her daughter originally trained as a lawyer, but began painting as a form of therapy and eventually began pursuing her MFA at Boston University. These trips and interactions with art provided Beth with a sense of relief and release from the stress surrounding a career in medicine. 

Relief, release, and calm are all emotions that Beth’s favorite artwork, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, France, evokes when she visits. The display of Monet’s work at the l’Orangerie provides an immersive viewing experience that allows for her to become lost in the painting and truly relax. 

Since auditing art history courses, Beth has noticed a change in the way that she looks at art within the museum setting. Learning more about the works, Beth realizes that before she didn’t fully understand certain works of art as she was unaware of the details and stories that they each have to tell. 

The first course that Beth audited was Professor Phillips-Court’s Spring 2019 class on the art of Rome and Florence. Italy is an especially meaningful place for Beth, as she traveled there often with her daughters and architect husband, who took them on “dark church tours” around the country. These memories greatly influenced her choice to audit Professor Phillips-Court’s course, especially since her husband had recently passed away. After her husband’s death, Beth has looked toward these art history courses as a form of therapy. She currently is taking Professor Pruitt’s course on the history of architecture in twenty buildings as a way to stay connected to her husband. Dr. Beth Neary has shown that art has the ability to inspire, calm, incite emotion, and even the ability to heal. 


By Tania Kolarik

Workshop with Professor Lea Stirling Wed, 09 Oct 2019 20:34:26 +0000 Researchers in Art History and Archaeology can expect to study old objects, but they may also find that they need to handle old data: Victorian-era publications, original excavation notebooks, or other archival records. These old sources can be tantalizing or frustrating in their brevity or the different expectations of recording (such as an 18-page article in 1903 summarizing the finds from 1200 Roman tombs Sousse, Tunisia). Outmoded assumptions about gender, class, or colonialism may be jarring but provide a good reminder of the intellectual filters through which objects and knowledge pass in reaching us. At the same time, old sources enrich research because they are the eyewitness account of early discoveries and monuments that often no longer exist. Digitization projects have made much early data more accessible. The researcher must seek information, consider social context, and attempt new synthesis to enrich current research. In this workshop, I use examples from my own research projects to explore the problems and rewards of working with old data.

Date: November 5th, 2019
Time: 12:00–1:00pm
Location: University Club, Room 212 (Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar Room)

Please RSVP to if you would like to attend the workshop. All are welcome!

See the Center for Visual Cultures website for more information.

Matt Westerby to Join CASVA Mon, 07 Oct 2019 09:48:34 +0000 Starting in October, Matthew Westerby (Ph.D. 2017) will join the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) in Washington, D.C., as a Postdoctoral Research Associate for Digital Projects. In addition to his responsibility for ongoing digital projects at CASVA, the two-year appointment will support his research on 12th century sculpture and manuscripts from monastic centers in the Eastern Pyrenees.

CFP: Library Architecture (due November 25, 2019) Sat, 05 Oct 2019 20:57:29 +0000 Call for Papers: Library Architecture in North America  (Workshop, Madison, WI, March 26–28th, 2020)

Department of Art History, Madison, WI, USA, March 26–28th, 2020
Submission Deadline: November 25th, 2019
Keynote Speaker: Kenneth Breisch, USC
Organizer: Maxi Schreiber (Darmstadt/UW-Madison), Post-Doctoral Fellow 2019–20

Click Here for a longer description of the call for papers.

Caption: James Hunt Library, North Caroline State University, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Faculty Spotlight: Thomas Dale “Race and Globalism in the Roman Empire and Medieval Venice: A Conversation” Sat, 05 Oct 2019 20:31:38 +0000 Professor Thomas Dale (Art History), with Professor Nandini Pandey (CANES), will participate for this Medieval Studies Brown-bag Research Colloquium. They will discuss research in progress and compare approaches to race and globalism in the Roman Empire and thirteenth-century Venice. Among the questions to be addressed are: How did these societies interact with and include diverse populations? How did they understand ethnic and racial difference? What are some visual and narrative ways they used to represent diversity, and what problems / questions do these raise?  What do we learn by comparing / contrasting these two case studies and what are the ramifications for our understanding of race and globalization today?

Student Spotlight: Michael Feinberg Mon, 30 Sep 2019 20:21:03 +0000 Ph.D Candidate Michael Feinberg will be discussing his research on transatlantic implantation as part of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Germany. This conversation draws upon his dissertation work in addition to materials he discovered as part of his summer research residency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Student Spotlight: Fernanda Villarroel’s Public Humanities Professional Development Workshop Thu, 26 Sep 2019 14:50:06 +0000 Assistant Director of Public Humanities Aaron Fai will facilitate a small group workshop of common professional development skills for publicly minded humanities scholars. Joining the workshop will be our 2019 Humanities Without Walls fellow, doctoral candidate Fernanda Villarroel (Art History). Workshop attendees will be paired with a scholar with similar professional goals to identify individual goals, and discuss career possibilities as well as challenges.

This workshop is by registration only and will be capped at twelve. Lunch will be provided. To register, please submit one paragraph (300-words maximum) describing your interest in a public humanities career (whether academic or non-academic) and one associated goal for the next year. Also please let us know of any food concerns. Submit your request directly to Aaron Fai (

Ibrahim Mahama Artist Talk “Freedom, Art, Production” Thu, 19 Sep 2019 01:49:20 +0000 Ibrahim Mahama is a Ghanaian contemporary artist and founder of the Savanah Center for Contemporary Art in Tamale, his hometown. He is represented by White Cube gallery in London His work has been, among other venues, at Documenta14 in 2017 and the Venice Biennale in 2015, 2017, and 2019. “A Straight Line Through the Carcass of History” is part of the Ghana Pavilion in Venice this year, designed by David Adjaye and including work by John Akomfrah and El Anatsui.

Mahama explores the poetics of labor and the spectral politics of global trade, as engraved in the failure, decay, rupture, and resilience of materials and structures. With the collaboration of an ever-expanding network of people, he has created large scale public interventions sewing together worn jute sack formerly used to extract cocoa and charcoal from Ghana. Occupying spaces and buildings as core elements of his artworks, he digs into defunct infrastructures still informing every day practices to set the ground for lasting social change.

This event is co-organized by the registered student organization Art + Scholarship in Theory and Practice, the Art History Department, and the Department of Design Studies.

For more information:

Student Spotlight: PhD Student Kendra Greendeer’s co-curated Exhibition “Intersections: Indigenous Textiles of the Americas” Open Now! Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:05:16 +0000 kg

Student Spotlight: PhD Student Kendra Greendeer has co-curated “Intersections: Indigenous Textiles of the Americas” at the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery within the School of Human Ecology. This exhibition brings together textiles of several Indigenous groups to explore material interrelationships among Indigenous cultures that have long engaged in intricate networks of exchange throughout the Americas. The exhibition is currently open and will run through December 6th, 2019.

Opening Reception: September 19th, 5:00–7:00pm at the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery

For more information:

The Middle Ages Today Mon, 09 Sep 2019 02:21:38 +0000 Professor Jennifer Pruitt and Phd Student Ahmed Abdelazim will be participating in a special Humanities Now event.

The topic is all about how – and why – the Middle Ages matter today. With public violence increasingly on display in our society, is history, too, under siege? We’ll talk about everything from the Crusades to Game of Thrones to white supremacy to how popular images of the medieval past connect to notions of race and religion, today.