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Art Matters Lecture - The 500 Faces of Teotihuacan with Matthew Robb (via Zoom)

Thursday, February 4, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Matthew Robb
Chief Curator, Fowler Museum

From 100 BCE to 600 CE, the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan dominated Mesoamerica though a complex mixture of religious, economic, and military power. As a city, it presented a unique and unprecedented environment for its inhabitants, drawn from all over Mesoamerica, to become citizens of a unique urban experiment. It did this through the deployment of specific kinds of objects and images in specific kinds of architectural and spatial contexts. This talk explores one of Teotihuacan’s most famous object types—enigmatic stone faces that seem to represent the city’s physical and material ideals. It is a tale of two canons: the modern canon of these objects, from their earliest discoveries in the 18th century to their presence in museum displays and private collections around the world, and the ancient canon of these objects as their makers might have understood it. In the modern canon, it is precisely the lack of contextual knowledge about these objects that allows them to serve as almost stereotypical representatives of Teotihuacan as a culture. In the ancient canon, it may be that the masks represent an ideal that in other Mesoamerican cultures was closely tied to the Maize God. Understanding these objects in this way gives us a sense of how Teotihuacan understood its place in a broader Mesoamerican history, and how these objects gave its citizens a vision of themselves as parts of a larger whole.

credit: Teotihuacan masks in the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, ca. 1940s.

Ticket Cost:
Virtual Experience via Zoom: FREE

Art Matters Lecture - Expert Hands, Infectious Touch: Painting and Pregnancy in Morisot’s "The Mother and Sister of the Artist" with Mary Hunter (via Zoom)

Thursday, March 4, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Mary Hunter
Associate Professor, Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University

When Berthe Morisot asked Edouard Manet to have a look at her recently completed portrait of her mother and pregnant sister in the days before the 1870 Salon, she did not expect him to completely repaint the depiction of her mother. "[I]t isn't possible to stop him," she wrote in distress to her sister. "He moves from the petticoat to the bodice, from the bodice to the head, from the head to the background." While Morisot sought Manet's expertise, she feared that the painting's public display would ruin her reputation as an independent artist as his heavy hand left too obvious a mark on her canvas.

This lecture explores the gender politics of occupational expertise-artistic and medical-through an analysis of Morisot's The Mother and Sister of the Artist. Firstly, it considers the significance of hands and touch in Manet's and Morisot's work, and secondly examines how the hands of male experts "infected" female spaces, including paintings and pregnant bodies.

credit: Berthe Morisot, The Mother and Sister of the Artist (detail), 1869/170. Oil on canvas. Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, 1963.10.186.

Ticket Cost:
Virtual Experience via Zoom: FREE

Parallel Stories (via Zoom): A Conversation with Claudia Rankine

Sunday, March 7, 2021
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
"Rankine’s voice is one of unrelenting candor: teaching, chastening, changing, astounding, and humanizing the reader." —Macalester University

Acclaimed author Claudia Rankine joins SBMA for a conversation "on the path to understanding.” The talk begins with a screening of selections from Situations, a series of ten short videos collaboratively produced by documentary filmmaker John Lucas and Rankine. In the words of their creators: “These are multi-genre responses to contemporary America. The videos exist around public experiences in individual lives. These experiences turn into situations that resonate with us not only as people, but as citizens.” The videos both emerge from and are in dialogue with Rankine’s 2014 hybrid prose-poetry book Citizen: An American Lyric, which likewise amplifies the micro and macro racist aggressions that occur throughout the social and political fabric of the United States. Rankine and Lucas admit us into the liminal "in between" spaces where we might travel toward trust, and offer us a look at the disturbing ordinariness of what we have come to a accept. Their work is an invitation to participate in an "experimentation in directness."

Claudia Rankine is the author of five books of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; three plays including HELP, which premiered in March 2020 (The Shed, NYC), and The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019; as well as numerous video collaborations. Her recent collection of essays, Just Us: An American Conversation, was published by Graywolf Press in 2020. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Claudia Rankine will join the NYU Creative Writing Program in Fall 2021. She lives in New Haven, CT.

Ticket Cost:
Virtual Experience via Zoom: FREE

What You Become in Flight: A Conversation with Ellen O'Connell Whittet (via Zoom)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

In this searingly raw and graceful first book, author Ellen O'Connell Whittet explores both the joy of learning to jump and the safety of landing. Sorrow, violence, love, fear, hunger, and pain run through this memoir that critics have called "enthralling, "poignant," and "exquisite." Join the author for a conversation that opens out the personal to the universal questions of self-worth, the desire to disappear, the loss and reclamation of our own voice, and what it feels like to look at a body and see a story.

Ticket Cost:
Virtual Experience via Zoom: FREE

Art Matters Lecture - The Art of Agnes Martin: Between the Lines of the Catalogue Raisonnéwith Tiffany Bell (via Zoom)

Thursday, April 1, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Tiffany Bell
Independent Scholar, NY

The research for the catalogue raisonné, by bringing together information about Agnes Martin’s complete body of work, has made it possible to better understand the development of her early work as well as some of the stylistic shifts and thematic changes throughout her career. This presentation describes the research for the catalogue raisonné, presenting anecdotes about newly found works and interesting discoveries, and provides examples of observations that have influenced a new understanding of Agnes Martin's art.

credit: Charles R. Rushton, Agnes Martin (detail), 1992. Silver gelatin print. © Charles Rushton.

Ticket Cost:
Virtual Experience via Zoom: FREE