Unboxing the Canon

Linda Steer

“Unboxing the Canon” takes a closer look at the history of Western art. We might be seduced by the pretty packaging, such as soft brush strokes, brilliant colors, grand gestures, expert carving, even traditional iconography. But what happens when we take a deeper look? When we open the packaging and see what might have been invisible, or what is a cultural blind spot? Join Professor Linda Steer and listen in for a take on art history that connects the past to the present, critiques the canon, and reveals what might not be immediately apparent in Western art and its institutions. read less

Episode 14: Visible/Invisible
Oct 26 2022
Episode 14: Visible/Invisible
Episode 14: Visible/Invisible In this final episode of Season 2, we re-think art historian Linda Nochlin’s famous question “why have there been no great women artists?” through an intersectional lens that addresses work by women artists of colour. This episode examines co-host Madeline Collin’s research on visibility, invisibility and marginalization in the work of contemporary artists. We talk about the politics of looking and how we might think about the gaze in the work of Kara Walker, Teresa Margolles, Ana Mendieta, and Mari Katayama. We also consider the notion of the absent body and its trace in several works of art.          Sources + further reading: “All That’s Left: The Art of Teresa Margolles.” The Critical Flame. http://criticalflame.org/all-thats-left-the-art-of-teresa-margolles/. “Ana Mendieta - MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art. https://www.moma.org/artists/3924. Burton, Laini, and Jana Melkumova-Reynolds. “‘My Leg Is a Giant Stiletto Heel’: Fashioning the Prosthetised Body.” Fashion Theory 23, no. 2 (2019): 195–218. Campion, Chris. “Punk Prosthetics: The Mesmerising Art of Living Sculpture Mari Katayama.” The Guardian, March 6, 2017, sec. Art and design. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/mar/06/mari-katayama-japanese-artist-disabilities-interview. “Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta.” NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. https://nsuartmuseum.org/exhibition/covered-in-time-and-history-the-films-of-ana-mendieta/. “‘Each Bubble Is a Body.’ Teresa Margolles.” Seismopolite. http://www.seismopolite.com/each-bubble-is-a-body-teresa-margolles. “Kara Walker. Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b’tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart. 1994.” The Museum of Modern Art. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/110565. Matsumoto, Masanobu. “Meet the Rising Japanese Artist Who Uses Her Amputated Legs to Question What Is a ‘Correct Body.’” ARTnews.Com. April 27, 2022. https://www.artnews.com/art-news/artists/meet-japanese-artist-mari-katayama-1234626715/. McKeon, Lucy. “The Controversies of Kara Walker.” Hyperallergic. March 19, 2013. http://hyperallergic.com/67125/the-controversies-of-kara-walker/. Nochlin, Linda. “From 1971: Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” ARTnews.Com. May 30, 2015. https://www.artnews.com/art-news/retrospective/why-have-there-been-no-great-women-artists-4201/. “Teresa Margolles.” Peter Kilchmann Gallery.  https://www.peterkilchmann.com/artists/teresa-margolles/overview/sonidos-de-la-muerte-sounds-of-death-2008. Wuertz, Christopher Alessandrini, Stephanie. “Remembering Ana Mendieta.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/perspectives/articles/2021/10/from-the-vaults-remembering-ana-mendieta. Credits Season 2 of Unboxing the Canon is produced by Professor Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Our sound designer, co-host and contributing researcher is Madeline Collins.  Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The theme song has been adapted from “Night in Venice” Kevin MacLeod and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Grants from the Humanities Research Institute and from Match of Minds at Brock University support the production of this podcast, which is produced as an open educational resource. Unboxing the Canon is archived in the Brock Digital Repository. Find it at https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/14929   You can also find Unboxing the Canon on any of the main podcast apps. Please subscribe and rate our podcast. You can also find us on Twitter @CanonUnboxing and Instagram @unboxingthecanon or you can write to unboxingthecanon@gmail.com
Episode 13: Primitivism & Its Legacies
Mar 24 2022
Episode 13: Primitivism & Its Legacies
Episode 13: Primitivism & Its Legacies This episode looks at the emergence of the concept of Primitivism in the 19th century and examines how it was used in the 20th century. We cover different kinds of historical Primitivism, and problematize this Euro-centric term. After considering historical artists, we turn towards contemporary artists who interact with this legacy. Artists covered include Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Wifredo Lam, Fatu Feu’u, Zak Ové, and Romuald Hazoumé. Sources + further reading: Aesthetica Magazine. “Romuald Hazoumé.” https://aestheticamagazine.com/romuald-hazoume/ Brick Bay Sculpture Trail. “Fatu Feu’u - Orongo on Exhibition at Brick Bay.” https://www.brickbaysculpture.co.nz/fatu-feuu-orongo “Henri Rousseau.” National Gallery of Art. https://www.nga.gov/features/slideshows/henri-rousseau.html. Higgins, Katherine. “About the Artist: Fatu Feu’u.” The Contemporary Pacific 27, no. 1 (2015): VII. Kramer, Charles, and Grant, Kim. “Primitivism and Modern Art.” Smarthistory. https://smarthistory.org/primitivism-and-modern-art/. LACMA. “The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness.” http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/invisible-man-and-masque-blackness. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Surrealism Beyond Borders.” https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2021/surrealism-beyond-borders. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Reconfiguring an African Icon.” https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2011/reconfiguring-an-african-icon. Mitter, Partha. “Extract - Surrealism’s Tricky Global Transformation.” The Art Newspaper, February 8, 2022. https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2022/02/08/extract-or-surrealisms-tricky-global-transformation. Obuobi, Sharon. “British Museum’s First Commissioned Caribbean Sculptures Tower Over Its Great Court.” Hyperallergic, September 8, 2015. http://hyperallergic.com/235163/british-museums-first-commissioned-caribbean-sculptures-tower-over-its-great-court/. Tate Modern. “Modernism.” https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/m/modernism. Tate Modern. “Who Is Wifredo Lam?” https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/wifredo-lam/who-is. Tuuhia, Tiare. “The Tahitian Woman behind Paul Gauguin’s Paintings.” Art UK, September 2021. https://artuk.org/discover/stories/the-tahitian-woman-behind-paul-gauguins-paintings.   Music Credits: Igor Stravinsky. “L'Adoration de la Terre” from The Rite of Spring, 1927. National Orchestra of France. Entretiens d'André Breton avec André Parinaud. 1952. Ubuweb. https://ubu.com/sound/breton.html “A New Day in Samoa” -- Audio from a Documentary, n.d. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_New_Day_in_Samoa.webm soundskeep. Recording of Motorcycles, 2014. https://freesound.org/people/soundskeep/sounds/236986/   Credits: Season 2 of Unboxing the Canon is produced by Professor Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Our sound designer, co-host and contributing researcher is Madeline Collins.  Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The theme song has been adapted from “Night in Venice” Kevin MacLeod and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Grants from the Humanities Research Institute and from Match of Minds at Brock University support the production of this podcast, which is produced as an open educational resource. Unboxing the Canon is archived in the Brock Digital Repository. Find it at https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/14929   You can also find Unboxing the Canon on any of the main podcast apps. Please subscribe and rate our podcast. You can also find us on Twitter @CanonUnboxing and Instagram @unboxingthecanon or you can write to unboxingthecanon@gmail.com
Episode 12: Where is the Land in Landscape?
Jan 27 2022
Episode 12: Where is the Land in Landscape?
Episode 12: Where is the Land in Landscape?   “Where is the Land in Landscape?” investigates the histories of landscape painting in the canon of Western Art and assesses a few contemporary works of art that counter European modes of thinking about land, territory, nature and the environment. In the first part of the episode we cover historical painters working in Dutch, French, British and American landscape traditions. In the second part we at contemporary art including Cherokee artist Kay WalkingStick’s paintings of place and space, the protest performance art piece Mirror Shield Project: Water Serpent Action at the Oceti Sakowin initiated by Cannupa Hanska Luger and Rory Wakemup, and Rebecca Belmore’s Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother.   Sources + further reading: Adams, Ann Jensen. “Competing Communities in the ‘Great Bog of Europe’: Identity and Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting.” In Mitchell (see below). Auricchio, Authors: Laura. “The Transformation of Landscape Painting in France.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/lafr/hd_lafr.htm. Baetjer, Authors: Katharine. “Claude Lorrain (1604/5?–1682).” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/clau/hd_clau.htm. Belmore, Rebecca. Artist’s website. https://www.rebeccabelmore.com/. Benally, Razelle. How to Build Mirror Shields for Standing Rock Water Protectors, 2016. https://vimeo.com/191394747. Cole, Thomas. View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow. Metropolitan Museum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/10497. Hanska, Cannupa. “MIRROR SHIELD PROJECT.” Accessed December 12, 2021. http://www.cannupahanska.com/mniwiconi. Harris, Beth and Steven Zucker. "Constable and the English Landscape." Smarthistory, August 9, 2015. https://smarthistory.org/constable-and-the-english-landscape/. Liedtke, Authors: Walter. “Landscape Painting in the Netherlands.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/lpnd/hd_lpnd.htm. Mitchell, W. J. T. Landscape and Power.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. Morris, Kate. Shifting Grounds: Landscape in Contemporary Native American Art. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2019. Tate. “Landscape – Art Term.” Tate. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/l/landscape. WalkingStick, “Kay. Artist’s website. http://www.kaywalkingstick.com/.   Music Credits: Alfred Cellier (British) - The Pirates of Penzance (Overture) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DOyly_Carte_1957_-_The_Pirates_of_Penzance_01_-_Overture.ogg Hector Berlioz (French) - Symphonie Fantastique 2nd movement excerpt https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hector_Berlioz_Symphonie_fantastique_2nd_movement_excerpt.mp3 Patrick Gilmore (American) - When Johnny Comes Marching Home https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:When_Johnny_Comes_Marching_Home,_U.S._Military_Academy_Band.wav Standing Rock Water Protestors https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Call_to_block_Pipeline_CannonBall_,North_Dakota_SACRED_STONE_CAMP.webm   Credits: Season 2 of Unboxing the Canon is produced by Professor Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Our sound designer, co-host and contributing researcher is Madeline Collins.  Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The theme song has been adapted from “Night in Venice” Kevin MacLeod and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Grants from the Humanities Research Institute and from Match of Minds at Brock University support the production of this podcast, which is produced as an open educational resource. Unboxing the Canon is archived in the Brock Digital Repository. Find it at https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/14929   You can also find Unboxing the Canon on any of the main podcast apps. Please subscribe and rate our podcast. You can also find us on Twitter @CanonUnboxing and Instagram @unboxingthecanon or you can write to unboxingthecanon@gmail.com
Episode 11: On Disability
Oct 29 2021
Episode 11: On Disability
This episode of Unboxing the Canon introduces the topic of disability and the visual arts, looking at both historical and contemporary examples. We consider the near absence of visible disability in the history of Western art and discuss how some contemporary artists are representing disability in powerful ways. Beginning with Diego Velázquez’s 1656 painting Las Meninas, this episode  examines it and other historical works through the ideas of contemporary artist, writer and disability activist, Riva Lehrer. Then we turn towards the work of Persimmon Blackbridge, a Canadian artist whose work touches on disability, institutionalization, censorship, and queer identity. We demystify the artist-genius myth and end with a brief discussion about how curatorial choices can make art more accessible.   Sources + further reading: Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. “Persimmon Blackbridge.” https://bodiesintranslation.ca/persimmon-blackbridge/. Diamond, Sara. “Still Sane.” Interview with Persimmon Blackbridge. Fuse Magazine, Fall 1984, 30-35. http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1844/1/Diamond_Sane_1984.pdf  “Las Meninas - The Collection - Museo Nacional Del Prado.” https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/las-meninas/9fdc7800-9ade-48b0-ab8b-edee94ea877f. Lehrer, Riva. “Presence and Absence. The Paradox of Disability in Portraiture.” In Contemporary Art and Disability Studies, 185–202. New York: Routledge, 2019.  Riva Lehrer – website. https://www.rivalehrerart.com. “Perejón, Buffoon of the Count of Benavente and of the Grand Duke of Alba - The Collection - Museo Nacional Del Prado.” https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/perejon-buffoon-of-the-count-of-benavente-and-of/724b1f54-4ea6-465e-9d49-fd2999884e4c. Sandals, Leah. “8 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Art and Disability.” Canadian Art. March 3, 2016. https://canadianart.ca/features/7-things-everyone-needs-to-know-about-art-disability/. Schönwiese, Volker, and Petra Flieger. “The Painting of a Disabled Man from the 16th Century - a Participatory Action Research Project,” n.d., 44. http://bidok.uibk.ac.at/projekte/bildnis/bildnis-ambras/handout_san_francisco.pdf Siebers, Tobin. “Disability aesthetics and the body beautiful: Signposts in the history of art.” Alter (4), vol 2, 2008, 329-336 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alter.2008.08.002. Stewart, Sophia. “Enough with the Ableist Worship of Frida Kahlo.” Hyperallergic, July 15, 2021. http://hyperallergic.com/662606/frida-and-my-left-leg-emily-black/. Tangled Art + Disability. https://tangledarts.org/. “Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y - The Collection - Museo Nacional Del Prado.” https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/artist/velazquez-diego-rodriguez-de-silva-y/434337e9-77e4-4597-a962-ef47304d930d?searchMeta=velazquez. Wexler, Alice, and John K. Derby. Contemporary Art and Disability Studies. Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies. New York, NY: Routledge, 2020.   Music Credits: Jarolslav Jezek, Bugatti Step (1931). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jarolslav_Jezek_Orchestra_Bugatti_Step_1931.ogg Robert Schumann. Scenes from Childhood, Op. 15 No. 3: Blind Man’s Buff, n.d. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Schumann_-_scenes_from_childhood,_op._15_-_iii._blind_man%27s_buff.ogg.   Credits Season 2 of Unboxing the Canon is produced by Professor Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Our sound designer, co-host and contributing researcher is Madeline Collins.  Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The theme song has been adapted from “Night in Venice” Kevin MacLeod and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Grants from the Humanities Research Institute and from Match of Minds at Brock University support the production of this podcast, which is produced as an open educational resource. Unboxing the Canon is archived in the Brock Digital Repository. Find it at https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/14929   You can also find Unboxing the Canon on any of the main podcast apps. Please subscribe and rate our podcast. You can also find us on Twitter @CanonUnboxing and Instagram @unboxingthecanon or you can write to unboxingthecanon@gmail.com
Episode 10: Thinking and Rethinking Orientalism
Sep 17 2021
Episode 10: Thinking and Rethinking Orientalism
Episode 10: Thinking and Rethinking Orientalism In this episode, called “Thinking and Rethinking Orientalism,” we examine Orientalism as a particular version of the Western gaze that influenced many 19th century European painters. The Western or European gaze treats non-Western subjects as different and inferior, but also as exotic, mysterious, or enticing. After examining the orientalist visual tropes in paintings by Gérôme and Delacroix, we turn towards contemporary artists. Moroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi creates meaningful portraits of Muslim women that challenge perceptions of Arab female identity. Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was an Iranian artist whose works combine Eastern and Western influences into a unique sculptural style. We take a look at her series Fourth Family.   Sources + further reading: Edward W. Said. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1979. Nancy Demerdash. “Orientalism.” Smarthistory. https://smarthistory.org/orientalism Eugène Delacroix. The Death of Sardanapalus, 1827. Oil on canvas, 12 ft 10 in x 16 ft 3 in. (3.92 x 4.96 m), Musée du Louvre, Paris. https://collections.louvre.fr/ark:/53355/cl010065757 Kathryn Calley Galitz. “Romanticism.” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/roma/hd_roma.htm British Museum Blog. “How Did the Islamic World Influence Western Art?” British Museum Blog.  https://blog.britishmuseum.org/how-did-the-islamic-world-influence-western-art/ British Museum Blog. “An Introduction to Orientalist Painting.” British Museum Blog. https://blog.britishmuseum.org/an-introduction-to-orientalist-painting/. Jean Léon-Gérôme. The Slave Market, 1871. Oil on canvas, 59.7 x 74.9cm. Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio. https://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/art/explore-the-collection?id=11295788 “Lalla Essaydi,” http://lallaessaydi.com/1.html “Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibility. Mirror Works and Drawings, 1974–2014. Guggenheim Museum. https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/monir  Hussein Bicar. http://hbicar.com/biography.html   Abdul Qader Al Rais. http://admaf.org/artists/abdul-qader-al-rais Charles Hossein Zenderoudi. http://www.zenderoudi.com/english/artwork.html   Music Credits Amitchell125.  Beethoven. Opening of String Quartet No. 1. 1801. CC BY-SA 4.0 Rimsky-Korsakov. Scheherazade, Symphonic Suite, Op. 35. The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Monteux. Violin solo by Naoum Blinder. CC0 1.0 JuliusH. Bandari - Persian Arabic Music - Khaliji Drum and Nay Flute. Pixabay license. Andrewfai. Enti w Ana arabic song OUD Cover. Pixabay license. Bagher Moazen. Struggle. We played a 10 second sample of this work. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode   Credits Season 2 of Unboxing the Canon is produced by Professor Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Our sound designer, co-host and contributing researcher is Madeline Collins.  Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The theme song has been adapted from “Night in Venice” Kevin MacLeod and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Grants from the Humanities Research Institute and from Match of Minds at Brock University support the production of this podcast, which is produced as an open educational resource. Unboxing the Canon is archived in the Brock Digital Repository. Find it at https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/14929   You can also find Unboxing the Canon on any of the main podcast apps. Please subscribe and rate our podcast. You can also find us on Twitter @CanonUnboxing and Instagram @unboxingthecanon or you can write to unboxingthecanon@gmail.com
Episode 9: Portraits of Rulers
May 20 2021
Episode 9: Portraits of Rulers
In this episode, “Portraits of Rulers,” I take a look at the history of portraits of rulers in the canon of Western art and examine how portraits engage with structures of power. Beginning with French and English royalty in the 17th and 18th century, I end with a visual analysis of Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of former American President Barack Obama. Focusing on these rulers allows us to see how European portrait conventions use a number of visual cues, from clothing, pose, setting, and the objects included within the painting, to convey wealth, power and the right to rule. Examining a portrait of late 17th-century Queen Marie Antoinette allows us to see gender differences in royal portraiture. Looking closely at Obama’s portrait reveals the ways in which Wiley both adopted and refined European portrait conventions in a way that makes his portrait stand out among portraits of other American presidents.          Sources + further reading:  Kirsty Oram. “Charles I (r. 1625-1649).” The Royal Family, December 30, 2015. https://www.royal.uk/charles-i. Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. “Anthony van Dyck, Charles I at the Hunt – Smarthistory.” Accessed March 7, 2021. https://smarthistory.org/anthony-van-dyck-charles-i-at-the-hunt/. Hyacinthe Rigaud. Louis XIV (1638-1715). 1701. Oil on canvas, H. 2.77 m; W. 1.94 m. Louvre. https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/louis-xiv-1638-1715. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. Marie Antoinette in Court Dress.” Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/656452. “President Barack Obama.” Accessed April 7, 2021. https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.2018.16. America’s Presidents: National Portrait Gallery. “America’s Presidents: National Portrait Gallery.” Accessed April 7, 2021. https://americaspresidents.si.edu/. Vinson Cunningham. “Kehinde Wiley on Painting President Obama, Michael Jackson, and the People of Ferguson.” The New Yorker. October 22, 2018. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/kehinde-wiley-on-painting-president-obama-michael-jackson-and-the-people-of-ferguson. Greg Allen. “There Is No Obama Chair.” Greg.Org. Accessed April 7, 2021. https://greg.org/archive/2018/02/18/there-is-no-obama-chair.html.   Music Clips Thomas Lupo, “Fantasia,” c. 1620-30. Lupo was a court musician under Elizabeth I Queen of England and later worked for the household of Prince Charles who would become Charles I, King of England. Performed by John Sayles. http://www.jsayles.com/familypages/earlymusic.htm Jean-Baptiste Lully, “Ouverture” from the French opera “Cadmus et Hermione.” Harpsichord arrangement by Jean-Henri d'Anglebert. c. 1763. Lully knew Louis XIV from a young age and worked for the King’s court from 1632-1687. He was Master of the King’s music and director of the Royal Academy of Music. Performed by Eddie Konczal. https://www.soundclick.com/music/songInfo.cfm?songID=3795127 Joseph Haydn, “Symphony 85,” aka “La reine,” from Paris Symphonies, c. 1785. This symphony was a favourite of Queen Marie Antoinette of France, hence its nickname. This is a sample from a performance conducted by Ernest Ansermet in 1963. Obama’s favourites. You can find Barack Obama’s list of favourite songs from 2018 here: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/barack-obama-2018-favorite-songs-list-773419/ Unfortunately they are all under copyright, so they could not be included in the podcast.   Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Additional music in this episode is from Bach, “The Well Tempered Clavier,” Book I, BWV 846-869, musicians unknown. We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.
Episode 8: Appropriation and Copying
Nov 25 2020
Episode 8: Appropriation and Copying
Episode 8: Appropriation & Copying November 25, 2020. In this episode, “Appropriation & Copying,” I take a look at the ways in which artists refer to the work of their predecessors through copying and appropriation. Art instruction uses copying as a method to learn. In addition, artists refer to their predecessors in a myriad of ways by quoting or remaking existing works of art. We can think of the history of Western art as a conversation between works of art, past and present. Appropriation differs. Appropriation art takes a known work of art and uses it in a way that reveals something about the original, but also creates a new work of art. Sometimes the differences between the original and the new work of art are theoretical, yet not visible. As a form of cultural critique, appropriation can reveal sublimated meanings in a work of art, political meanings, or socio-cultural meanings. While the verb “appropriate” has various meanings, in this episode, to appropriate means taking a work of art and re-making it in a way that reveals the original’s meaning and simultaneously creates new meanings for the appropriation. This episode will briefly consider the modern work of Manet and Duchamp before turning towards contemporary art by Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, and Yasumasa Morimura, all of which appropriate the content or forms (or both) of the canon of Western art.   Sources + further reading: Detroit Institute of Arts, “Officer of the Hussars,” Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015), https://www.dia.org/art/collection/object/officer-hussars-98007   Marcel Duchamp,  L.H.O.O.Q., https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/74/Marcel_Duchamp%2C_1919%2C_L.H.O.O.Q.jpg   Alexxa Gotthardt, “The Japanese Photographer Placing Himself in Art History’s Most Famous Scenes,” Artsy, October 18, 2018, https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-yasumasa-morimura-places-art-historys-famous-scenes   “Rijksstudio,” Rijksmuseum, https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio.   Tate, “Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus – Look Closer,” Tate https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/kara-walker-2674/kara-walkers-fons-americanus   Kara Walker, “I’m an Unreliable Narrator,” Tate, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV_L3fceGNA   “Kara Walker,” Kara Walker, http://www.karawalkerstudio.com   “2019,” Kara Walker, http://www.karawalkerstudio.com/2019    “Kehinde Wiley Studio - Brooklyn, NY,” https://kehindewiley.com/   Mimi Wong, “Ego Obscura,” Art Asia Pacific Magazine, http://artasiapacific.com/Magazine/WebExclusives/EgoObscura   Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Additional music in this episode is from Bach, “The Well Tempered Clavier,” Book I, BWV 846-869, musicians unknown. We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.
Episode 7: Musing on Museums
Nov 4 2020
Episode 7: Musing on Museums
Episode 7: Musing on Museums November 4, 2020. This episode, called “Musing on Museums,” takes a look at the history of the modern Western museum and considers what stories museums tell and how. From wunderkammern and other private collections to the British Museum and the Louvre, museums are intimately connected to power. Contemporary artists Fred Wilson, Spring Hurlbut, and James Luna reveal the hidden histories of collecting and collections and ask us to think about what is collected and how those collections are organized. By troubling organization systems, contemporary artists uncover new ways of finding meaning in museum collections. Sources + further reading: The British Museum. “The British Museum Story.” https://www.britishmuseum.org/about-us/british-museum-story. Clarke, Bill. “Spring Hurlbut: Deadfall Dialogues.” Canadian Art. April 15, 2010. https://canadianart.ca/interviews/spring-hurlbut/. Corrin, Lisa G. “Mining the Museum: An Installation Confronting History.” Curator: The Museum Journal 36, no. 4 (December 1993): 302–13. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2151-6952.1993.tb00804.x. “Fred Wilson.” Pace Gallery.  https://www.pacegallery.com/artists/fred-wilson/. Hill, Richard William. “Remembering James Luna (1950–2018).” Canadian Art. March 7, 2018. https://canadianart.ca/features/james-luna-in-memoriam/.  “History of the Louvre.” Louvre Museum. https://www.louvre.fr/en/histoirelouvres/history-louvre. Hurlbut, Spring. “The Final Sleep.” https://www.springhurlbut.com/the-final-sleep. “Institutional Critique – Art Term.” Tate. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/i/institutional-critique. Raicovich, Laura. “What Happened When Fred Wilson Dug Beneath a Museum’s Floorboards.” Hyperallergic. August 16, 2019. https://hyperallergic.com/507245/mining-the-museum-an-installation-by-fred-wilson/. Rodini, Elizabeth. “A Brief History of the Art Museum.” Smarthistory. June 1, 2019. https://smarthistory.org/a-brief-history-of-the-art-museum/. -------. “2. Museums and Politics: The Louvre, Paris.” Smarthistory. June 1, 2019. https://smarthistory.org/museums-politic-louvre/.
Episode 6: Light and Luxe
Oct 21 2020
Episode 6: Light and Luxe
In this episode, called “Light and Luxe,” we take a look at the connections between Dutch painting, trade, and luxury during the so-called “Dutch Golden Age” of painting. We will focus on post-1650 genre painting as well as a new form of still life painting called Pronkstilleven (loosely translated as “ostentatious” or “sumptuous” still life) that emerged around the mid-17th century. Artists covered include Vermeer, Gerard ter Borch, and Willem Kalf.   Sources + further reading:   All episodes of this podcast, along with transcripts, are archived in the Brock University Digital Repository: https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/14905   “Complete Catalogue of the Painting of Johannes Vermeer.” Accessed October 19, 2020. http://www.essentialvermeer.com/vermeer_painting_part_one.html.   Denny, Walter. “Islamic Carpets in European Paintings.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.  https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/isca/hd_isca.htm.   Franits, Wayne. "Genre Painting in Seventeenth-Century Europe." In Blackwell Companions to Art History: A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art, by Babette Bohn, and James M. Saslow. Wiley, 2013.   Kalf, Willem. Still Life with a Chinese Bowl, Nautilus Cup and Other Objects. 1662. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza.  https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/kalf-willem/still-life-chinese-bowl-nautilus-cup-and-other-objects.   Liedtke, Walter. “Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) and The Milkmaid.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/milk/hd_milk.htm   Ter Borch, Gerard. Lady at Her Toilette. 1660. Detroit Institute of Arts. https://www.dia.org/art/collection/object/lady-her-toilette-63323.   The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Nautilus Cup. Dutch, Utrecht.” https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/193582.   Tokumitsu, Miya. “The Currencies of Naturalism in Dutch Pronk Still-Life Painting: Luxury, Craft, Envisioned Affluence.” RACAR : Revue d’art Canadienne / Canadian Art Review 41, no. 2 (2016): 30–43. https://doi.org/10.7202/1038070ar.   Vermeer, Johannes. The Milkmaid. C. 1660. Rijksmuseum. Accessed October 14, 2020. https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/SK-A-2344.   Vermeer, Johannes. Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman aka The Music Lesson. Early 1660s. Royal Collection Trust. Accessed October 14, 2020. https://www.rct.uk/collection/405346/lady-at-the-virginals-with-a-gentleman.   Vermeer, Johannes. The Lacemaker. Louvre. 1669-70.  Museum. https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/lacemaker.   “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry.” Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, USA. https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2017/vermeer-and-the-masters-of-genre-painting.html.   Wieseman, Marjorie E., Wayne Franits, and H. Perry Chapman. Vermeer’s Women: Secrets and Silence. New Haven and Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum, in association with Yale University Press, 2011.   Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Additional music in this episode is from Bach, “The Well Tempered Clavier,” Book I, BWV 846-869, musicians unknown. We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.
Episode 5: Taken from the Headlines
Oct 7 2020
Episode 5: Taken from the Headlines
Episode 5: Taken from the Headlines   October 7, 2020    “Taken from the Headlines” considers European history painting, its roots and its legacies. What exactly are history paintings? And why are they significant in the canon of Western art? In this episode of “Unboxing the Canon” Dr. Steer examines these questions along with some historical examples before turning to the present moment to consider how artists use this genre today and reflect on some of its limitations. This episode covers the concept of istoria and Renaissance narrative paintings, dramatic 19th century history paintings in France and their relationship to politics, and contemporary Indigenous work dealing with the trauma of the residential school system in Canada.   Sources + further reading: Alberti, Leon Battista. On Painting. [First appeared 1435-36] Translated with Introduction and Notes by John R. Spencer. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1970 [First printed 1956]. http://www.noteaccess.com/Texts/Alberti/index.htm   David, Jacques-Louis. The Oath of the Horatii. 1784. 3.30 m x 4.25 m. Louvre. https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/oath-horatii   Géricault Théodore. The Raft of the Medusa. Salon de 1819. 4.91 m x 7.16 m. Louvre. https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/raft-medusa.   Garneau, David. “Writing About Indigenous Art with Critical Care.” C Magazine 145 (March 10, 2020). https://cmagazine.com/issues/145/writing-about-indigenous-art-with-critical-care.   Madill, Shirley. “Key Works: Robert Houle, Sandy Bay Residential School Series, 2009.” Robert Houle: Life and Work. Art Canada Institute - Institut de l’art canadien. Accessed September 30, 2020. https://www.aci-iac.ca/art-books/robert-houle/key-works/sandy-bay-residential-school-series   Monkman, Kent. Painting. https://www.kentmonkman.com/painting   Morgan-Feir, Caoimhe. “Kent Monkman: History Painting for a Colonized Canada.” Canadian Art. January 26, 2017. https://canadianart.ca/features/kent-monkman-critiques-canada-150/.   Zappella, Christine. “Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.” i Smarthistory, August 9, 2015, accessed October 1, 2020. https://smarthistory.org/michelangelo-ceiling-of-the-sistine-chapel   Zucker, Steven and Beth Harris “Raphael, School of Athens.” Smarthistory, December 15, 2015, accessed October 1, 2020. https://smarthistory.org/raphael-school-of-athens     Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. Sound effects in this episode obtained from www.zapsplat.com We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.
Episode 4: Swallowed Whole
Sep 30 2020
Episode 4: Swallowed Whole
In this episode, called “Swallowed Whole,” Dr. Steer considers Gothic cathedrals as an art form and examines their relationship to European power structures. The episode begins with the earliest Christian art, in the catacombs of Rome, and ends with a brief consideration of the role and function of Western European churches today. This episode also covers the important role of relics in Medieval Christianity, the rise of pilgrimage culture in Europe and its connections to economics and architectural innovation, as well as the affective impact of the interior spaces of cathedrals.   Sources + further reading:  “A Beginner’s Guide to Romanesque Art – Smarthistory.” https://smarthistory.org/a-beginners-guide-to-romanesque-art/. “Basilica of San Vitale.” http://www.turismo.ra.it/eng/Discover-the-area/Art-and-culture/Unesco-world-heritage/Basilica-of-San-Vitale. “Feminae: Details Page.” https://inpress.lib.uiowa.edu/feminae/DetailsPage.aspx?Feminae_ID=31968. Harris, Beth and Steven Zucker. "Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres." in Smarthistory, December 18, 2015. https://smarthistory.org/cathedral-of-notre-dame-de-chartres-part-1-of-3/. “Medieval Chartres- The North Transept Rose Window.” http://www.medart.pitt.edu/image/France/Chartres/Chartres-Cathedral/Windows/Transept-windows/121A-North-Rose/Chartres-121NorthRose.HTM. “More Oude Kerk - Amsterdam Art.” https://www.amsterdamart.com/events/516/more-oude-kerk. Oude kerk. “Sarah van Sonsbeeck.” https://oudekerk.nl/en/programma/sarah-van-sonsbeeck/. Sorabella, Jean. “Pilgrimage in Medieval Europe.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pilg/hd_pilg.htm.  “Visit the Catacombs.” http://www.catacombepriscilla.com/visita_catacomba_en.html.   Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. The Gregorian chanting was adapted from ramagochi’s “Binaural catholic gregorian chant mass liturgy” licensed under CC BY 3.0. We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.
Episode 3: Tear Down the Monuments!
Sep 23 2020
Episode 3: Tear Down the Monuments!
This episode takes a look at the history of monuments and examines some of the issues surrounding monuments today. It considers the history of the Robert E Lee monument Richmond Virginia, its signification in relation to the history of equestrian sculptures, and considers its role now. The removal of confederate statues in the American South is part of a worldwide movement to confront the violent legacy of colonialism, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the attempted genocide of Indigenous people, and other atrocities committed by Europeans and settlers.  In the wake of the #blm movement and the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada, this episode asks: what should we do with these monuments now? Dr. Steer examines several options and their implications, such as putting the monuments in a museum or park, contextualizing them, creating new monuments and new works of art, destroying the monuments, or leaving them as is.      Sources + further reading: artnet news. “Tear Down the Confederate Monuments—But What Next? 12 Art Historians and Scholars on the Way Forward.” artnet news. August 23, 2017. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/confederate-monuments-experts-1058411. “Equestrian Sculpture of Marcus Aurelius – Smarthistory.” Smarthistory.  Accessed September 21, 2020. https://smarthistory.org/equestrian-sculpture-of-marcus-aurelius/. France-Amérique. “The French Origin of Robert E. Lee’s Statue in Virginia.” France-Amérique, June 25, 2020. https://france-amerique.com/the-french-origin-of-robert-e-lees-statue-in-virginia/. “Jen Reid: Bristol Black Lives Matter Statue Removed.” BBC News, July 16, 2020, sec. Bristol. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-53427014. “Leopold II: Belgium ‘wakes up’ to Its Bloody Colonial Past.” BBC News, June 12, 2020, sec. Europe. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53017188. “Musée d’Orsay: Antonin Mercié David.” Musée d’Orsay website. Accessed September 16, 2020. https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/sculpture/commentaire_id/david-331.html?cHash=0ab0a872c7. “Sights | Memento Park Budapest.” Accessed September 16, 2020. http://www.mementopark.hu/pages/sights/. Squires, Camille. “Defend History. Tear down the Confederate Statues.” Mother Jones (blog). Accessed September 21, 2020. https://www.motherjones.com/anti-racism-police-protest/2020/07/confederate-monuments-iconoclasm/. Tait, Allison Anna. “Dead White Men Get Their Say in Court as Virginia Tries to Remove Robert E. Lee Statues.” The Conversation. Accessed September 21, 2020. http://theconversation.com/dead-white-men-get-their-say-in-court-as-virginia-tries-to-remove-robert-e-lee-statues-140813. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. 2015. http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf   Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.
Episode 2: Reversing the Gaze
Sep 16 2020
Episode 2: Reversing the Gaze
In this episode we examine contemporary Cree artist Kent Monkman's diptych mistikôsiwak on view now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  The monumental paintings were completed in 2019 and are called Welcoming the Newcomers and Resurgence of the People.  In his words, Monkman aims to “reverse the gaze” from white settlers looking at Indigenous people to Indigenous people looking at settlers. Welcoming the Newcomers adapts figures and poses from a variety of works of art that depict the Indigenous people of Turtle Island from the point of view of white Europeans and settlers to present a different story and a different point of view about first contact. Resurgence of the People uses Emmanuel Leutze's 1851 Washington Crossing the Delaware as a source to picture contemporary immigration from Monkman's point of view.   Sources + Further Reading Artist Interview—Kent Monkman: mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 20, 2019.  https://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/video/collections/modern/kent-monkman-great-hall-mistikosiwak-wooden-boat-people Delacroix, Eugène. The Natchez. 1823–24 and 1835. Oil on canvas. 35 1/2 x 46 in. (90.2 x 116.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436180. Gotthardt, Alexxa. “How Contemporary Artists Have Used ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’ to Challenge History.” Artsy, February 14, 2020. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-contemporary-artists-washington-crossing-delaware-challenge-history. Griffey, Randall. “Kent Monkman Reverses Art History’s Colonial Gaze.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 17, 2019. https://www.metmuseum.org/blogs/now-at-the-met/2019/kent-monkman-mistikosiwak-wooden-boat-people-colonial-gaze. Loggans, Regan de. “Mistikôsiwak: Monkman at the Met.” Canadian Art, April 29, 2020. https://canadianart.ca/essays/mistikosiwak-kent-monkman-at-the-met/. Madill, Shirley. “Introducing Miss Chief by Shirley Madill,” Art Canada Institute - Institut de l’art canadien. https://www.aci-iac.ca/the-essay/introducing-miss-chief-by-shirley-madill. Michelson, Alan. “Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware.” In “Native Perspectives,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/the-american-wing/native-perspectives. Monkman, Kent. Welcoming the Newcomers, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 132 x 264 in. (335.28 x 670.6 cm). Monkman, Kent. Resurgence of the People, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 132 x 264 in. (335.28 x 670.6 cm). Phillips, Ruth B. and Mark Salber Phillips. “‘Welcoming the Newcomers: Decolonizing History Painting, Revisioning History.’” Art Canada Institute - Institut de l’art canadien. https://www.aci-iac.ca/the-essay/decolonizing-history-painting-by-ruth-b-phillips-and-mark-salber-phillips. Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang.  “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1.1 (2012): 1-40. https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/18630/15554 Zygmont, Bryan. "Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware." Smarthistory, August 9, 2015. https://smarthistory.org/leutze-washington-crossing-the-delaware/.   Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.
Episode 1: Revealing a Portrait
Sep 9 2020
Episode 1: Revealing a Portrait
Episode 1, "Revealing a Portrait," considers what the canon of art history is, and looks to a painting by contemporary African American artist Titus Kaphar to consider what it excludes. It also addresses the notion of “subject positions,” a way of acknowledging  who we are and how that influences what we see and how we look at art. Kaphar’s work aims to make the invisible visible, and to reveal those figures that have been excluded from art history. His work highlights the Black experience, which has been overlooked in traditional art history courses, museums and other art institutions.    In his powerful 2017 TED Talk, Kaphar demonstrates to the audience how European art has erased Black people, and how those people might be brought to the forefront. He uncovers his slightly altered copy of a 17th century family portrait by Dutch artist Franz Hals. He then proceeds to white out the prominent figures with a mixture of white paint and linseed oil, eventually revealing a small Black boy in the group.   Kaphar notes that “Historically speaking, in research on these kinds of paintings, I can find out more about the lace that the woman is wearing in this painting -- the manufacturer of the lace -- than I can about this character here, about his dreams, about his hopes, about what he wanted out of life” (Kaphar, Can Art Amend History?). Episode 1 asks listeners to think about the role of history in art and the ways in which historical art is connected to contemporary culture. Sources + further reading: Brock University. “Human Rights and Equity.” Accessed August 28, 2020. https://brocku.ca/human-rights/. Gagosian. “Titus Kaphar,” May 3, 2020. https://gagosian.com/news/2020/05/03/titus-kaphar-macarthur-foundation-fellow-video/. Hals, Frans. Family Group in a Landscape. 1645-1648. Oil on canvas, 202 x 285 cm. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Inv. no. 179 (1934.8). Available from: https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/hals-frans/family-group-landscape Kaphar, Titus. Shifting the Gaze, 2017. Oil on canvas, 83 × 103 1/4 in. (210.8 × 262.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, William K. Jacobs Jr., Fund, 2017.34. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Image courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, CUR.2017.34_Jack_Shainman_Gallery.jpg). Available from: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/224267 Kaphar, Titus. Can Art Amend History? 2017. TED Talks. https://www.ted.com/talks/titus_kaphar_can_art_amend_history. Kaphar, Titus. Can Beauty Open Our Hearts to Difficult Conversations? 2020. TED Talks. https://www.ted.com/talks/titus_kaphar_can_beauty_open_our_hearts_to_difficult_conversations. Kaphar, Titus. https://kapharstudio.com/. Mar Borobia. “Family Group in a Landscape.” Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/hals-frans/family-group-landscape. Museum of Ontario Archaeology. “Wampum,” January 23, 2015. http://archaeologymuseum.ca/wampum/. van Welie, Rik. "“What Happened in the Colonies Stayed in the Colonies: The Dutch and the Slave-Free Paradox." In Misevich, Philip, and Mann, Kristin, eds. The Rise and Demise of Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Atlantic World. Melton: University of Rochester Press, 2016. 100-127.   Credits Unboxing the Canon is hosted and produced by Linda Steer for her course “Introduction to the History of Western Art” in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. Brock University is located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Our sound designer and editor is Devin Dempsey, who is also reading these credits. Our logo was created by Cherie Michels. The music for this podcast has been adapted from “Night in Venice” and “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0. We are grateful to Alison Innes from the Faculty of Humanities for her sharing her podcasting wisdom and offering support. This podcast is funded by the Humanities Research Institute at Brock University.