Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Season of Salon Thursdays at the Dahesh

Artist Jacob Collins

Once again, the Dahesh collection sponsors a captivating roster of speakers and topics for their popular Salon Thursdays events.  These wonderful events are completely free to the public, and start at 6:30 PM.  They are conducted in the lovely gift shop itself, located at 145 Sixth Avenue, on the corner of Dominick Street, one block south of Spring Street.  The events are wheelchair accessible.

Since opening its richly appointed gift shop in 2012, the Dahesh has used the new location as a home for Salon Thursdays lectures, featuring both history and insight from leading arts scholars.   Attendees can also look through the new store, which includes beautiful things for the home, reproduction prints and posters, and an impressive collection of scholarly books on the Classical tradition.

The 2014 Winter/Spring Salon Thursdays is extremely ambitious this year.  Next on the calendar are:

Thursday, February 6: The Artist’s Model in Nineteenth-Century Russia: Images and Reality -- Artists’ models are an essential part of academic studio practice, but their work is often overshadowed by the creative accomplishments of the painters and sculptors who employ them. In this presentation, Margaret Samu opens up the artist’s studio in 19th-century Russia to examine the work of models both inside and outside the Imperial Academy of Arts.

Margaret Samu teaches in the Art History Department of Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University, and also lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she studied 18th- and 19th-century art with an emphasis on Russia and France. In 2007 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and spent a year at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts. Dr. Samu is currently working on a book-length project titled Russian Venus.

Thursday, March 6: Orientalist Architecture in New York -- Architectural historian Joy Kestenbaum traces the Orientalist influence on New York City architecture from the mid-19th century through the 1920s, covering buildings and interior spaces that still survive as well as others no longer standing, including the diverse styles, sources and historic context of the City’s temples and synagogues, theaters, park structures, commercial and residential buildings.

Joy Kestenbaum is an art and architectural historian and librarian who served as chair of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America. She has been on the teaching and library faculty of Queens College (CUNY), Pratt Institute, New York Institute of Technology, and Purchase College (SUNY), and was also Director of the Gimbel Art and Design Library at The New School. A consulting historian for numerous award-winning preservation projects, she has also lectured widely on Jewish architects and synagogue architecture.

Thursday, April 3: Designing a Thoroughly Modern Atelier -- Join Jacob Collins, New York City artist, teacher, and founder of the Grand Central Academy, for a provocative, free-wheeling exploration of what led him to found a modern art school patterned after the 19th – century atelier; the challenges of such an endeavor, and the future of classical training for young artists.

Jacob Collins is the founder and director of the Grand Central Academy in Manhattan and is a respected artist, teacher, and role model in the field of contemporary realism. Combining a technique reminiscent of the nineteenth-century American realists with a freshness of vision scarcely encountered among today’s traditional painters, Collins’ works form that rarest of unions where classic beauty and striking originality meet as harmonious equals. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College and attended the New York Academy of Art, École Albert Defois. Collins’ work has been widely exhibited in North America and Europe and his work is included in several American museums.

Thursday, May 1: Have Caryatids, Will Travel: Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Architecture in Motion -- When an unknown ancient craftsman first decided to substitute a sculpted female body for a load-bearing column, a curiously contradictory element entered the architectural vocabulary: a “caryatid” is a fixed, structural member who, by virtue of her human form and gesture, suggests a capacity for movement. Such figures appeared only rarely during antiquity, yet the nineteenth century witnessed a surge in the caryatid’s popularity, with female architectural supports popping-up across European cities from London to Berlin. By following a sequence of these ‘modern’ caryatids – copied, modified, multiplied and re-deployed in the projects of Karl Friedrich Schinkel – Steven Lauritano considers how and why this particular motif contributed to the Prussian architect’s conception of historicist design.

Steven Lauritano is a PhD candidate at Yale University in the Department of the History of Art. Currently, he serves as a fellow in the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he is completing his dissertation research on the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the re-conception of spolia in 19th-century design.

Thursday, June 5: Nineteenth-Century Exoticism and the “Oriental African” -- At once compelling and repulsive, the figure of the black “Oriental” represented the ultimate exotic “other,” the inverse of the European, and helped to define the complex topography of nineteenth-century Orientalism in a variety of ways. Black figures embodied sexuality, aggression, servitude, barbarism, and ethnographic degeneration, defining themselves and by association, the Orient. Art historian Adrienne L. Childs addresses the dynamics of race and the exotic in the cultural consciousness of the 19th century.

Adrienne L. Childs is an independent scholar, art historian and curator. She specializes in race and representation in European and American art from the eighteenth century through the twentieth century, with a particular interest in exoticism and the decorative arts.

Your correspondent is a great believer in the Dahesh and its mission.  It is the only institution in the United States devoted to academic art of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The genesis of the collection was assembled by Salim Moussa Achi (1909-1948), who envisioned a museum of academic European art.  Perhaps one day the dream will become a reality once again.  For the past several years the Dahesh has been a museum without walls, as significant portions of this important collection have traveled the world in various shows and exhibitions.  For further details about Salon Thursdays and the gift shop, call the Dahesh at 212.759.0606.

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