Friday, December 4, 2:00 - 5:00PM
Commentator: Jennifer Way, University of North Texas
Disentanglement: Baroque Furniture and the Self
Ethan W. Lasser, The Chipstone Foundation
An unusual group of small-scale side chairs rose to the height of fashion in Boston and London around 1700. Feather-light, with stick-like turned or sawn legs that appear to be placed under rather anchored into the seat, the chairs were notoriously weak, and prone to rock and wobble under the sitter.
Past scholars have considered the connections between the chairs and the broader histories of labor and consumerism. My essay proposes that the objects are closely connected to a set of broader philosophical debates about the relationship between people and things. The chairs show that objects could cultivate a sense of differentiation—a sense that the self was set apart from things—as effectively as any text.
Reconsidering a Familiar Face: John Singeton Copley's Portrait of Paul Revere
Rebecca Zurier, University of Michigan
Copley’s Paul Revere (1768) gazes out from so many history textbooks that we have trouble seeing it as a constructed work of art. It has become a national icon because of the apparent “directness” seen in its democratic subject--an artisan at work--its straightforward presentation, its compellingly realist technique. Yet a closer examination brings these supposedly American characteristics into question. Reconsidering Paul Revere provides an opportunity to rethink the fiction of realism and the construction of national identity.
All participants are welcome to join the presenters for an informal (pay-your-own-tab) dinner at a nearby restaurant after the seminar.
Papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Heather Radke at firstname.lastname@example.org,or call (312) 255-3524.
The Newberry Seminar in American Art and Visual Culture is co-sponsored by the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago, the Department of Art History at Indiana University, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago
Scholl Center for
American History and Culture
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago IL 60610
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