German artist Käthe Kollwitz’s reception in the Global South has only recently begun to be considered. Known for its socialist and anti-war sentiments, her work was largely introduced to South Africa by exiles fleeing Nazism, and her prints became an important touchstone for many of the country’s politically minded artists in the years leading up to and during apartheid.
Looking to Kollwitz’s 1905 cycle, Peasant’s War, Jessica Williams will explore how these images circulated among South Africa’s Left and how her work came to influence an entirely new generation of lesser-...
In 1943, the museum was gifted 25 stone fragments from the Tianlongshan cave temples in China’s northern Shanxi province. Beginning in the late 1920s, the reliefs and sculptures were removed from the site and published by art dealer Sadajirō Yamanaka, sparking interest among collectors worldwide. This talk will highlight a collaboration with Harvard students that investigates the creation of the works, their meaning in Buddhist medieval China, their sale and journey to their current home, and the ravaged site they left behind.
This seminar will explore how photographers from the Civil War era constructed landscapes of slavery. What symbols and facts did they draw upon, and what narratives and interpretations were they in dialogue with and which did they promote?
The fable of the 19th-century European “discovery” of Japanese prints and their catalytic effect on Impressionist painting is by now comfortably worn, threadbare even. But what were painters in Europe actually encountering?
In this talk, curator Rachel Saunders will take a close look at a major new acquisition that shines a distinctly different light on European interest in “Japanese art,” and the ways in which this new category was constructed in Japan itself.
One of the best documented Egyptian rituals—occurring in both cultic and funerary contexts—is known as the Opening of the Mouth ritual. Performing this ritual was believed to animate statues and temples, while also restoring the senses of the deceased, thus ensuring that they could eat, drink, and breathe in the afterlife. Textual and iconographic references to the ritual are found in different time periods, from the Old Kingdom through the Roman Period.
In this lecture, Mariam Ayad uses the Opening of the Mouth ritual as a case study to illustrate the power of imagery and the...
The Harvard Art Museums collections have played an important role in the popular undergraduate course Stories from the End of the World, taught by Harvard Divinity School professor Giovanni Bazzana. This fascinating course, which is part of the Harvard College Program in General Education, explores why humans have always imagined the end of their worlds. In this conversation, Professor Bazzana and Jen Thum of the Harvard Art Museums will discuss their recent online collaboration for the course and what students learned about artists’ apocalyptic inspirations over time.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online
Ana Paiva is a computer science professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, and is investigating the design of intelligent interactive systems by creating “social agents'' that can interact with humans in a natural manner. Over the years, she has developed this field by engineering social agents that exhibit specific capabilities, including emotions, personality, culture, nonverbal behavior, empathy, and collaboration, among others.
Join Paiva to learn about her current investigation into the conditions and mechanisms that drive societies of agents and...
This session includes brief talks, followed by a roundtable discussion, by academics and museum professionals who focus on Dutch and American art and history. Speakers will discuss specific objects—ranging from the 17th to the 21st century—that have posed interpretive and museological challenges. They will also present new possibilities for considering the relationship between slavery’s past and present-day racial injustice.
This is the fourth and final session of Art Museums and the Legacies of the Dutch Slave Trade: Curating Histories, Envisioning Futures, presented...
Renowned writer Jamaica Kincaid and groundbreaking visual artist Rosana Paulino will discuss their explorations of the legacies of slavery in their work. They will be joined in conversation by eminent art historian Cheryl Finley.
The hearth of Olmec civilization is located in the tropical lowlands of Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast region, in the majestic archaeological site of San Lorenzo. The inhabitants of this first Olmec capital developed a distinctive geo-political territory and managed complex trade systems. The Olmec also created spectacular earthen architecture and magnificent stone sculpture—including the famous Colossal Heads—that reflect their stratified social organization and centralized political system backed by religion and directed by hereditary rulers.
Cecilia Puga is the Director and founding partner of CECILIA PUGA – PAULA VELASCO ARQUITECTURA. Since 1995 she has developed her professional practice independently in Santiago, where she has carried out design projects at different scales and programs, from single-family homes (most notably the House in Bahia Azul), to collective housing, educational and industrial equipment, and urban design such as the renovation of public spaces in Cerro Toro. She has developed her academic activity at Universidad Católica de Santiago, at ETH Zurich’s School of Architecture, Austin’s University of...
Egyptian makers were skilled at using only a few materials to create a rich variety of textiles, but we rarely have detailed information about the people who made them or their artistic processes.
Join conservation fellow Julie Wertz to explore what close looking, microscopy, and micro-analytical techniques can teach us about the materials and methods these unknown makers used to create beautiful and functional art objects.
In conversation with: Harvard Dance Center returning visiting artists Peter Chu, Chanel DaSilva, and Shamel Pitts.
Choreographers and dancers are problem-solvers. They move through crises rather than around them. Join us this spring for community gatherings with Harvard Dance Center’s exceptional teaching artists in a series of artist-led dialogues that explore how artistry, identity, and advocacy take shape in turbulent times.
The "Resetting the Table: Food and Our Changing Tastes" exhibition at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology explores food choices and eating habits in the United States, including the sometimes hidden but always important ways in which our tables are shaped by cultural, historical, political, and technological influences.
Join us on this special virtual talk and tour at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology with Joyce Chapli, guest curator and Harvard University James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History; Janis Sacco, Director...
This session brings together historians and art historians whose work has, on the one hand, been grounded in art museum collections and, on the other, challenged traditional museological narratives of slavery’s legacies in the Netherlands and the Americas.
Since we are unable to welcome you into the museums at this time, we are bringing our experts to you in the online series Art Study Center Seminars at Home.
Otto Piene (1928–2014) was a pioneer in multimedia and technology-based art, creating a large, kaleidoscopic body of work based on the intersections of art, science, and nature. In this session, curatorial fellow Lauren Hanson and museum data specialist Jeff Steward share their research into the 2019 gift of Piene’s sketchbooks—a visual archive of over seven decades of artistic practice—and how the bound pages of these “...
If hearts are in harmony, do we have to travel for a meeting of minds to take place? Matthew McKelway retraces the paths of two such “meetings,” legendary for never having taking place, but depicted, nevertheless, by Kano Sansetsu (1590–1651) on a pair of folding screens. Thanks to McKelway’s research, the screens are now titled A Visit to Li Ning’s Secluded Dwelling and Wang Ziyou Visiting Dai Andao.
We are convinced that interactions with natural phenomena, in addition to optimizing resources, deeply link architecture to its surroundings.
These interactions give a real and intense meaning to the spaces, awakening the most emotional dimension of architecture, transforming inert matter into something alive. Every time architecture makes these natural phenomena evident and “the invisible” appears, the link with the natural environment is established again, providing life to the building and turning the experience into something transcendent, sensitive and deeply connected to...
Syd Carpenter’s ceramic sculptures raise issues about race, life, memory, magic and the human condition. Her work can be viewed in museums across the nation and her recent bodies of work have focused on generational, African-American owned farms in the South. We are honored to to visit with Carpenter as she speaks about her work through images and discussion of her process. Host Fabio J. Fernández will guide the discussion through a range of topics including access, mentorship, and community as part of The Artist’s Studio series.
Curators will discuss their work on groundbreaking projects in the Netherlands and the United States, namely the Rijksmuseum’s current Slavery exhibition, the Rembrandthuis Museum’s exhibition Here: Black in Rembrandt’s Time, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s reinstallation of its permanent collection, and the Museums Are Not Neutral initiative. They will reflect on the broader call for museums to recognize the relationship of their collections to slavery and to present-day racial injustice.