art history

Picasso and Abstraction: Encounters and Avoidance

Yve-Alain Bois
Professor, School of Historical Studies
April 6, 2016
Pablo Picasso did not speak often about abstraction, but when he did, it was either to dismiss it as complacent decoration or to declare its very notion an oxymoron. The root of this hostility is to be found in the impasse that the artist reached in the summer 1910, when abstraction suddenly appeared as the logical development of his previous work, a possibility at which he recoiled in horror. But though he swore to never go again near abstraction, he could not prevent himself from testing his resolve from time to time.

Restoration as Event and Idea: Art in Europe, 1814‒1820

Thomas Crow
Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
April 10, 2015
Crow examines the displaced and wandering existences of Jacques-Louis David and Théodore Géricault, both in geographical and psychological exile, during which each was forced to reexamine and reconfigure the fundamentals of his artistic life. The lecture is the third in the series of talks under the theme of “Restoration as Event and Idea: Art in Europe, 1814–1820” which is part of the sixty-fourth A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.

Paul Klee, Wilhelm Hausenstein, and the "Problem of Style"

Charles Mark Haxthausen
Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Art History, Williams College
February 25, 2014
In the art of Paul Klee (1879-1940), we find an unmatched pluralism of styles--figurative as well as abstract, geometric as well as biomorphic, linear as well as painterly, severe styles alongside more fluid ones, often within the production of a single year.

Malevich's Nervous System

Briony Fer
Professor of History of Art at University College London
February 4, 2014
In this lecture, Briony Fer, Professor of History of Art at University College London, will look at Malevich's systemic method, as it was elaborated in his work, writings, and teachings, and its ongoing relevance for subsequent generations of artists. Malevich's late work is examined as an intricate set of reflections on some of the problems raised by the systems that he set in the 1910s.

Malevich's Nervous System

Briony Fer
University of College London
February 4, 2014
In this lecture, Briony Fer, Professor of History of Art at University College London, will look at Malevich's systemic method, as it was elaborated in his work, writings, and teachings, and its ongoing relevance for subsequent generations of artists. Malevich's late work is examined as an intricate set of reflections on some of the problems raised by the systems that he set in the 1910s.

Art History Lecture Series, Orientations in Renaissance Art

Alexander Nagel
New York University
December 9, 2013
In this lecture, Alexander Nagel, Professor of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, illustrates some ways in which art produced during the Renaissance period points ­eastward towards Constantinople, towards the Holy Land, and to places further east, even as far as China. Nagel focuses on the forms this "orientation" took between 1492-1507, years during which new lands were being discovered, to great fanfare, but were still believed to belong to the continent of Asia.

Sperm Bomb: Art, Feminism, and the American War in Vietnam

Mignon Nixon
The Courtald Institute of Art
April 17, 2012

A blue mushroom cloud fills the page, its contour traced by the comet-like tails of shrieking heads whose gaping mouths spew out furious curses in a rain of profanity over needle-stiff bodies littering the ground. This lecture by Mignon Nixon borrows its title, “Sperm Bomb,” from Nancy Spero, who, in 1964, in response to the escalating American war in Vietnam, abruptly abandoned ­painting on canvas for more immediate means: gouache and ink liberally diluted with spit. Returning to the scene of war ­resistance and nascent feminism in the Vietnam era, Nixon reflects upon newly pressing questions of what art concerned with ­subjectivity brings to a situation of war.

This lecture was the final one in the series Art and Its Spaces, cosponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study and the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.