• WILLIAMSTOWN, Massachusetts
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  • September 12, 2014

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Clark Art Institute

“Sculpture and Photography: The Art Object in Reproduction,” a Clark/Getty Symposium organized by the Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program, will be held Saturday, September 27 from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm in the Clark’s auditorium. The keynote lecture for the symposium will be delivered by Geraldine Johnson, University of Oxford, on Friday, September 26 at 5:30 pm in Hunter Studio at the Lunder Center at Stone Hill.

The Symposium—convened by Megan Luke, assistant professor of art history, University of Southern California, and Sarah Hamill, assistant professor of modern and contemporary art, Oberlin College—explores the intersections between sculpture and photography to assess the current roles of photographic reproduction in art historical writing and the impacts of new media on art practices.


Photographic reproductions of sculpture are routinely considered as transparent documents or supplements to the written word. This Symposium places this practice under scrutiny by considering how photographs translate sculptural space into two dimensions. The Symposium examines how photography, as both an art practice and pictorial tool, mediates the history of sculpture, and even informs our perception of sculpture’s space. It also attempts to determine photography’s special role, particularly in relation to writing, in the art history of sculpture.

The Symposium is framed around two interrelated questions: How does photography narrate a history of sculpture? How does photography picture spatial experience?

Participants include: Suzanne Blier, Harvard University; Peter Geimer, Freie Universität Berlin; Geraldine Johnson, University of Oxford; Anne McCauley, Princeton University; Stephen Melville, Ohio State University (Emeritus); Alina Payne, Harvard University; and David Rodowick, University of Chicago.

Megan Luke and Sarah Hamill are preparing a manuscript that considers the role of the photography of sculpture in the writing of art history, aesthetics, and media theory. Their book project, provisionally titled Sculpture and Photography: The Art Object in Reproduction, recently was awarded a two-year Collaborative Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Geraldine Johnson, professor of history of art, University of Oxford, received a BA in comparative literature from Yale University, an MA in art history from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in history of art from Harvard University. She has held a number of prestigious grants and fellowships, including those awarded by the Harvard Society of Fellows, the Leverhulme Trust, Villa i Tatti in Florence, the Henry Moore Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, and the Mellon Foundation. She has published widely on the history of sculpture from the late medieval period to the present day, as well as on the visual arts more generally in early modern Europe. Her research interests also include the history of photography, the historiography of art history, and women and the visual arts.

This Symposium is the first of a two-part event co-sponsored by the Clark's Research and Academic Program and the Getty Research Institute. On Saturday, October 25, the second part of the Symposium will be held at the Getty.


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