History of Art New Publication Lecture Series


HA New Publication Speaker Series 2016-17


September 12, MSUM Auditorium, 7pm   


Laura Smith “Beaded Buckskins and Bad-Girl Bobs: Kiowa Female Modernity, Industry, and Activism in Horace Poolaw’s Portraits

Book - Horace Poolaw: Photographer of American Indian Modernity, University of Nebraska Press, June 2016


A close study of Kiowa photographer Horace Poolaw’s (1908-1984) portraits advances our understanding of American women's modernist art production.   Poolaw was one of the first professional American Indian photographers.  Smith presents the Indian worlds framed by Poolaw as mutable, relational spaces where Kiowa mothers and daughters, middle-class white women, suffragettes, flappers, Hollywood film actors, field matrons, ethnologists, and Indian agents contested and accommodated new and old lifeways.  She discusses how several portraits by Poolaw reflect a variety of concurrent dialogues on modernity, beadwork, and a Kiowa female identity in the 1920s and 1930s.  This talk is being held in conjunction with the MSUM exhibition Up Cloche: Fashion, Feminism, and Modernity.



October 20, Green Room, Main Library 4TH Floor, 7pm


Jon Frey:  - This Past Before My Eyes is My Own": The role of literacy in the reuse of inscriptions in post-classical antiquity

Book – Spolia in Fortifications and the Common Builder in Late Antiquity, Brill 2015

By most accounts, the "meaningful reuse" of architectural fragments in the construction of buildings and monuments became a popular practice only in the late Roman and Byzantine Mediterranean.  For unlike prior instances of reuse, which had taken place everywhere throughout time, this new form of recycling seems to have been designed to draw attention to the object's previous life in a different setting.  This is most readily apparent in the case of inscriptions, which can be recognized in the walls and pavements of countless buildings of the Medieval period.  However, given the relatively low levels of Greek and Latin literacy in antiquity, it is worth asking whether these reused inscriptions were meant to be read, or whether it was sufficient that they be recognized as ancient writing. This presentation seeks to use the example of contemporary art as a way to approach the question and to advance the scholarly discussion, which remains divided on the issue.


November 15, Planetarium, 7:30pm


Susan J. Bandes:  - Mid-Michigan Modern Architecture

Book - Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie, MSU Press, October 2016.

By using 360 degree images on the dome of the Planetarium, audience members will be transported into the world of modern architecture in the mid-Michigan area. Lansing City Hall, churches, libraries and residences by nationally known architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Keck & Keck as well as regional architectural firms will be explored as will the stories behind these commissions. The lecture presents some of the findings from the new publication, "Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie," MSU Press, publication date October 1st. It coincides with an exhibition of mid-Michigan modernist residences on view (Oct. 8-March 15) at the Michigan Historical Museum, Lansing.


Spring 2017


February 21, Green Room, Main Library 4th Floor


Candace Keller: - Imaging Culture: Understanding Portraiture by Malick Sidibé


Book - Imaging Culture: Photography in Mali, West Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017)


Black-and-white portraits by award-winning photographers Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta brought African photography to the forefront of international fashion, fine art, and popular culture toward the end of the twentieth century. Imaging Culture contextualizes their images among those of locally celebrated peers to explore the meaning, function, and aesthetic significance of photographs produced in Mali, West Africa, from the 1930s to the present.




March 21, Green Room, Main Library 4th Floor


Karin Zitzewitz:  - #lovewins:  Sly Religiosity and Queer Politics in the Secular Museum


Book - The Art of Secularism:  The Cultural Politics of Modernist Art in Contemporary India (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2014).


As 1990s Indian politics became dominated by Hindu chauvinism, gay painter Bhupen Khakhar harnessed Hindu image practices to explore gay love.  Simultaneously, Cuban-American, gay artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres turned to Catholic ritual to confront AIDS and the homophobic politics that helped it spread.  How do these works of art, steeped in religiosity, use the secular space of the art museum to prove the truth of love?


April 4, Green Room, Main Library 4th Floor


Lily Woodruff:  Art as Combat Sport: The Sociological Art Collective's Populist Aesthetics


Publication- Disordering the Establishment: Participatory Art and Institutional Critique in France, 1958-1981


The Sociological Art Collective emerged out of the social and political upheavals of late-1960s France. During the following decade the group executed projects that aimed to reveal social rifts, challenge political repression, and undermine the lassitude of the everyday, as well as liberate the field of sociology from its positivist rationalism.