All lectures take place in the Cantor Auditorium from 4:15 to 6:15 PM. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, and some lectures sell out in advance. For more information, see the Registration Form or call 650.723.3482
HOUSE OF THE MUSE: STANFORD COLLECTIONS
Wednesdays, February 7, 14, and 21
Speaker: Patrick Hunt
The idea of a museum derives from the Classical philosophy that the resident Muse of History inspires remembering and understanding the past in order to inform the present. How do the arts of different cultures reveal an individual culture’s values as well as what might be universal? How could seeing art as history be perhaps more revealing than merely the subject of art history? The Cantor Arts Center’s visual arts collections are wonderful learning resources. We will explore these Stanford collections:
- Eternal Egypt’s River of Life in the Desert: “Round the decay of that colossal wreck…”
- Classical Greece and Rome, Understanding Greek Vases and Sculpture: “Celebrating Wine, Beauty, and Song from Cities, Tombs, and Monuments”
- Timeless Treasures of China from Neolithic Prehistory to Imperial Splendor: “Jade, the Stone of Heaven, with Exquisite Bronze, Priceless Porcelain, and the Arts of Infinite Patience”
INTIMACY AND THE ART OF VISUAL STORYTELLING
Wednesday, February 28
Speaker: Ed Kashi
In the digital age, we are deluged with visual information and an overabundance of images. What distinguishes Ed Kashi’s work is the intimacy and complexity of his storytelling. This lecture will span a range of stories, issues and approaches that represent the frontiers of visual storytelling, from smartphone photography to short documentary films. The lecture will touch on such diverse issues as Syrian refugees and the impact of oil in the Niger Delta to stories closer to home about immigration and aging.
THE ART OF ORIENTAL RUGS AND THEIR REPRESENTATION IN WESTERN ART
Wednesday, March 7
Speaker: Herant Katchadourian, MD
Oriental rugs represent a cross between art and crafts. During the Renaissance, images of oriental rugs became prevalent in western paintings. In some instances, the name of the artist came to identify the rug. And long after these original rugs had disappeared, their images survived in the works of art. In the first part of the presentation, we will discuss rugs as an art form focusing mostly on Anatolian carpets, which usually appear in western art. The second half of the presentation will discuss images of art in the works of Hans Holbein, Gentile Bellini, Jan van Eyck, and more, and in modern times, in numerous Orientalist paintings and the work of Mary Cassatt, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and others.
THE ART OF DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY
Wednesday, March 14
Speaker: Herant Katchadourian, MD
The Divine Comedy is one of the greatest works of western literature, and its narrative and dramatic elements have lent themselves for pictorial representation. This is particularly true for the Purgatory, whose seven stages correspond to the Seven Cardinal Sins. The first part of the presentation will introduce The Divine Comedy as a literary work and discuss its three parts: Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. In the second part, we will move on to the illustrations in the work of Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, and Gustave Doré; in particular on the Seven Cardinal Sins. Additionally, we will discuss the work of artists who have selectively depicted one or another of the individual sins.
FROM JUDY CHICAGO TO CINDY SHERMAN AND BEYOND: TRANSFORMATIONS IN ART AND FEMINISM FROM THE ’70S TO NOW
Wednesday, March 21
Speaker: Kevin Muller
In the 1970s, Feminist Art garnered the attention of the art world and beyond. By the following generation, however, many young female artists had eschewed the imagery and strategies of their predecessors. For some viewers familiar with established practices, this new art appeared to possess little to no feminist content. But many of these young artists were simply shifting the terms by which an art by, for, and of women could be interpreted and understood. This lecture focuses on the art and career of two notable artists: Judy Chicago and Cindy Sherman. Each is representative of their generational outlook and each significantly shaped the art of others. When examined in historical perspective, their art and career trajectories illuminate not only changes in art and art practice, but the ways in which women artists responded to larger cultural and political shifts in American life.
THE ADVANTAGES OF OBSCURITY: SAN FRANCISCO WOMEN ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISTS
Wednesday, March 28
Speaker: Susan Landauer
Among the essential features of Abstract Expressionism in San Francisco was its lack of patronage—yet there were great advantages to this situation for women. Unlike their counterparts in the East, women artists in San Francisco never had to contend with what Alfonso Ossorio called the “doctrinaire powerhouses” that excluded them, leaving them free to pursue their own artistic inclinations. This presentation will discuss the women who benefited from working in a far less chauvinistic environment—artists like Jay DeFeo and Sonia Gechtoff, whose reputations have eclipsed those of their husbands—and Deborah Remington, who co-founded the legendary Six Gallery where Allen Ginsberg marked the “semi-official” launch date of the Beat movement with his famous reading of Howl in 1955. The relationship between painters and Beat poets will also be examined.
JOAN MITCHELL: PAINTING AS CATHEDRAL
Wednesday, April 11
Speaker: Patricia Albers
Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) came of age as an artist in the 1950s New York of the Cedar Tavern and the Artists’ Club. The physicality of her mark making—her commitment to abstraction, and her love of oil paint itself, not to mention her toughness—identify Mitchell as a New York School artist. Yet she spent more the path laid out by Abstract Expressionism, her work kept evolving and was, in the end, unclassifiable. Mitchell’s mature art addresses memories of her feeling for particular places at particular moments. It shuttles between European pastoralism and New York swagger. It balances planning and surrender. Ultimately, it swings open a window to something beyond everyday awareness, transubstantiating pigment into light and turning painting, as she put it, into “cathedral.”
ENRAPTURED BY THE LIGHT: TURNER, MONET, AND SARGENT IN VENICE
Wednesday, April 18
Speaker: Denise Erickson
A magical city of water and reflections, Venice has cast its spell over painters since it emerged from the lagoon long ago. Drawn to this fairytale city in the 19th century, three great painters—one British, one French, and one American—discovered a personal source of inspiration in the jeweled romance of Venice. The captivating allure of its exoticism and faded splendor inspired them all, as well as the incomparable envelope of transparent color and light unique to La Serenissima. This lecture explores how each artist brought his own view to the city and how Venice transformed his way of seeing the world.
THE ART OF MAKING SPACE PUBLIC
Wednesday, April 25
Speaker: Barbara Goldstein
Artists working in the public realm can accomplish far more than placing a beautiful artwork on a pedestal or in a plaza. Their work can transform space, stimulate human interaction, and help define community. This lecture will explore trends in public art over the last 30 years, from artists on the design team, to environmental art, new technologies, and art that promotes social justice.