Thomas Hardy’s career in architecture prior to his work as an author
undoubtedly influenced his novels. This thesis explores how Hardy’s work in restoration caused him to adopt preservationist views, which are present thematically in Far from the Madding Crowd, Under the Greenwood Tree, and The Woodlanders.
The Victorian debate between preservation and restoration revolved around how best to care for historical buildings. Restorationists believed that a building’s style should be restricted to one particular moment, which meant eliminating all conflicting styles. They also prized a building’s function over its history or human connections and remade a building’s failing parts in fresh materials. Preservationists, on the other hand, like Hardy, believed that a building should remain in as close to an unaltered condition as possible because of the history and human connections attached to the space. Throughout his career as an architect, Hardy helped restore many medieval churches, which he later came to regret. His firsthand experience with the negative effects of restoration is presumably what turned him against the practice and toward preservation. Hardy’s 1906 “Memories of Church Restoration,” which he presented to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (a preservationist group of which he was a member), presents his definition of preservation as a moral duty to maintain the human associations contained within an architectural space or risk emotional distress. Hardy’s novels exemplify and complicate this definition. While Far from the Madding Crowd and Under the Greenwood Tree straightforwardly present Hardy’s vision of preservation, The Woodlanders demonstrates the limits of humanity’s valuing the past too highly., 2017, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1788, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Eng, Brandon Philip (Brandon Philip Eng) (Author), (Claire Grace) (Thesis advisor)
Although recent years have seen an increase in scholarly attention to the work of American artist Paul Thek (1933-1988), these efforts remain concentrated on a limited number of his works. In particular European scholars have focused on his installations from the early to mid 1970s, while American scholars remain fixated on his participation in the New York art scene of the 1960s and his "meat pieces" from that period. By taking the latter as a starting point I analyze themes that run throughout Thek's work from the middle to late 1960s, with three distinct series or works as case studies. This period is a critical junction in Thek's career as he began to experiment with new material and theoretical vantage points. Each chapter also considers to various degrees, Thek's thematic interest in time in relation to various contemporary genres including Pop, Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Performance, and others., 2015, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1472, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Usdan, Samuel Colin (Samuel Colin Usdan) (Author), (Joseph Siry) (Thesis advisor)
Relative to older museum types, the contemporary art museum is unique as it has yet to reach maturity. In the 1960s, the relation between artist and medium began to change, resulting in an expansion beyond the traditional media of painting and sculpture. Works in non-traditional media such as large-scale installations, performances, conceptual pieces, or audiovisual presentations were rejected by Modern art museums, prompting the creation of alternative exhibition venues. In the 1980s, curators began to recognize the cultural value of these works, and started to design museum programs to accommodate them. This essay will examine the development of the contemporary art museum through a rigorous analysis of the history, design, planning, execution, and curatorial life of two built examples; the Wexner Center for the Arts (Peter Eisenman, Columbus, 1989) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Boston, 2006).
The Wexner Center was built on the campus of Ohio State University and was intended to inspire the creation of new art while facilitating the exhibition of existing works. Its architecture is inspired by the site’s history as an armory building, expressed by the fractured brick turrets that compose its southern elevation, as well as an urban planning error between the campus and city, articulated by two sets of grids that structure its volumes and permeate its spaces.
The ICA, constructed as a new museum facility for an existing institution, is cantilevered over the Boston Harbor. Intended for exhibition, its transparent glass fa’ade frames views of the harbor, allowing the museum to enter into a dialogue with its environment rather than isolating its visitors from its surroundings. Its gallery spaces, however, are shielded from distraction and aesthetically mimic those of Modern art museums.
Contemporary art looks outwards by relying on content derived from societal conditions. To create an appropriate environment for contemporary art exhibition, contemporary art museums must look outwards as well. The architecture of both the Wexner and the ICA instill an awareness of architectural and historical context in the visitor as they circulate through the museum spaces. My objective is to examine how art, architecture, culture, and curatorship influenced the creation of the contemporary museum for contemporary art., 2015, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1478, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Collectivism, Surveillance, and Gender in the Work of Equipo Crónica, 1964-81
Frohardt, Emma Rowan (Emma Rowan Frohardt) (author), (Olga Sendra Ferrer) (Thesis advisor), (Claire Grace) (Thesis advisor), Wesleyan University Art History (Degree grantor)
During the years of 1964-1981, the Spanish art collective Equipo Crónica produced hundreds of paintings, prints, lithographs and sculptural series. Emerging from the collective Estampa Popular, their artistic practice firmly situated itself within the lineage of societal critique by means of manipulating popular visual culture. They tested the boundaries of Francisco Franco’s authoritarian regime (1939-1975), appropriating form and image to critique not only the oppressive structures and ideologies but to question the role of the artist during a time of conflict and censorship. While the period of post-war art in Spain represented a time of prolific artistic production and resistance, the available anglophone scholarship on Equipo Crónica is scarce. Conceived through an examination of gaps in existing literature, this thesis aims to reframe their critical collective practice as counter-image to the regime., In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
In 1901, the nineteen-year old Pablo Ruiz Picasso moved to Madrid where he became the artistic director of a small art and literary magazine, "Arte Joven." The writers contributing to the magazine belonged to the Spanish literary group now known as the Generation of 1898 and were concerned with the cultural regeneration of Spain after its loss in the Spanish-American War. This thesis first analyzes the writings of Arte Joven and then the drawings that Picasso contributed. The final chapter analyzes how Picasso fit into the Arte Joven group and Madrid, often finding himself on the artistic margins. Understanding Picasso in this way helps to show what was influencing his work at the time and how he tried to create his own artistic identity. This thesis project hopes to add to the studies of Picasso by focusing on an often overlooked time and project in his career., 2010, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate how artists ? using Kara Walker and Shimon Attie as prime examples ? challenge the temporal limits of culturally traumatic historical events through appropriation and reclamation of the authorial voice of history. Furthermore, I will argue that Harper?s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) (2005) by Walker and The Writing on the Wall: Projections in Berlin?s Jewish Quarter (1991-3) by Attie accomplish the daring historical feat of representing the experiences of descendants of distinctly racialized individuals who have been oppressed, silenced, and otherwise unable to construct their own societally acceptable histories, specifically unassimilated Jews in Berlin in the 1920s - 1930s and African Americans in the antebellum era. In this thesis, I argue that Walker and Attie act as historical interventionists by manipulating archival visual representations of the ?reality? of highly volatile histories which are indelibly impressed upon their heritage., 2018, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1951, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
In the years since his untimely death in 1994, the career of Chinese avant-garde artist, Li Yuan-chia (1929-1994) has piqued the interest of a rather limited number of scholars. Yet those who have faithfully committed the time to acknowledge, document, and interpret the deeper symbolic implications of Li?s work, do so with great sentiment and confidence in the profound individuality of his practice. I am certainly no exception. Academic discourse concerning Li?s art remains unjustifiably scarce and a further investigation of his unique, transnational oeuvre to be imperative. This thesis has emerged from an adamant conviction in Li?s exceptional contribution to art history and contends that the conceptual significance of his art is at its crux paradoxical, characterised by utmost formal simplicity yet retaining an infinite complexity.
Li?s limited edition White Book (1965) lies at the heart of my thesis. Despite its relative obscurity today, the monochromatic visual language of its ten hand-printed geometric abstractions provides a primary point of departure for my discussion of his artistic practice. White Book is a precursor to some one hundred and fifteen catalogues and books made by Li, but as I argue, it can be read to represent the epitome of Li?s philosophies and beliefs, and his conceptual artwork is best characterised and understood through its context. The first chapter of my thesis thus commences with a detailed formal analysis and critical appraisal of White Book and its ten engravings, turning to consider elements beyond its formal qualities and apparent conceptual significance, to include an investigation of Li?s use of cryptic mathematical equations within the titles of each engraving. The concluding interpretations of this introductory assessment of White Book, will reveal the profound philosophical intricacies and conceptual complexities of Li?s creative insight, broach the historical and cultural importance of Li?s neglected abstract oeuvre within the grand narrative of the Chinese avant-garde.
My following chapter details the implications of Murilo Mendes?s later 1966 preface to White Book and builds upon my previous elucidation to consider the artistic influences, surrounding Li following his migration to Bologna. My examination of the impact of Li?s westward migration, stylistically exemplified by his incorporation of western notions of abstraction and European modernism, with the philosophical and religious ideologies of his cultural heritage, broaches the trajectory of my last chapter. Finally, I extend my interpretations to examine Li?s wider creative practice, particularly with regard to his conception of the Comic Point, to illuminate the symbolic significance of his geometric visual language as a representation of his cultural, familial and self-identity; and also, an act of resistance against the prejudiced institutionally-constructed definitions and limitations concerning who could or could not make art., 2018, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/2081, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Wolf, Gavriella Mara (Gavriella Mara Wolf) (Author), (Joseph Siry) (Thesis advisor)
Fashion and architecture are two design practices that today cross paths, overlap, work in dialogue, and are occasionally conflated as creative strategies dependent on branding, presentation, and emergent technologies. This thesis investigates the contemporary relationship between fashion and architecture, and how the relationship between the two media has become more fluid due to the work of certain designers in each field. I sought out to understand the enabling strategies and motivations behind this complex relationship.
The first chapter returns to the mid-nineteenth and turn of the twentieth century to explore the historical relationship between fashion and architecture. Beginning with ideas of dress reform and anti-fashion, artists maintained diverse opinions as to what fashion was and, in contrast, what they imagined it could be. Architects so vehemently opposed mainstream fashion that they designed fashions of their own, translating an artistic aesthetic into the applied arts of both fashion and architecture. Vestiges of this early modern period persist in the architectural and fashion industries today. In this early modern period, fashion was a concept, not an industry, and certainly not an art form. The design and production of garments, however, offered opportunities of art and dress coalescing, delivering a new platform for aesthetic ideas to be carried into everyday life.
The second chapter looks at the work of key architects who have expanded their brand to the design of more than architecture, and who have become icons in their own right, deemed “starchitects.” My choice example is Zaha Hadid, who has transformed from a successful architect known for her daring architectural style as well as her bold fashion sense, to a designer of fashions of her own. Comparisons can be drawn between her fashion designs and her buildings, demonstrating an awareness of the shared formal properties between fashion and architecture, and Hadid’s ability to translate her trademark style into different artistic media. Hadid’s expansion of her own brand from an architect to a starchitect designer of fashion conveys a keen awareness for marketing and self-presentation not ordinarily identified in the architecture industry. The third chapter delves into the fashion industry to examine the work of unconventional fashion designers, regarded as avant-garde artists, who strategically incorporate architectural properties and techniques into their garments. Fashion designers have credited architecture for inspiring their work and artistic processes, but have made no public attempts at becoming architects of anything other than their own clothing. Issey Miyake and Hussein Chalayan are two fashion designers with very different aesthetics and approaches, but both utilize technology to incorporate architectural forms and surface strategies into their designs.
Technological practices have enabled the crossovers between these industries, as the artists explored in this thesis use digital fabrication to experiment with surface of building or garment, blurring the boundary between fashion and architecture. Zaha Hadid, Issey Miyake, and Hussein Chalayan are all standouts because they have forged this communication with other media. Each of these artists has different reasons for their personal interest in the opposite industries of architecture or fashion, but they have found this crossover dialogue to be paramount to the achievement of an avant-garde brand. As each seeks unique strategies of fabrication as well as presentation, they strive to make the conventions of their media unconventional, turning to the opposite practices of fashion or architecture to do so., 2015, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1346, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
This thesis uses three case studies of Chinese villages--Liangjia, Huaxi, and Wencun--to assess different approaches of China's rural modernization after industrialization. Parts of this thesis trace the history of development of these villages before Deng Xiaoping's Reform and Opening Up. The thesis introduces transitions of architectural styles, impositions of planning schemes, and a variety of types of patronage. When analyzing villages, this thesis focuses on villages' topographic, economic, political, and transportational contexts. Administrative structures, selections of architects, popular reactions of the architecture, and the ideology that drove design processes are explained. Ultimately, villagers' (or governments') efforts to modernize these villages ended up creating social inequality and nostalgic futurity. Shen Juntai's thesis provides a narrative for the possibilities of Chinese rural modernization through the lens of architecture and planning., 2018, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1968, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Kim, Sara (Sara Kim) (Author), (Nadja Aksamija) (Thesis advisor)
I take the MFA byobu as the primary source and focus on the visual and material evidence the work encompasses in itself. In the first chapter, I report the formal analysis of a folding screen, so-called European King and Members of His Court, which I have conducted with the generous support of the researcher, conservators, and curator at the Department of Japanese Art at the MFA Boston. Based on the new findings and remaining mysteries of the object, the subsequent chapters are dedicated to reevaluate the hypotheses regarding its production and usage discussed by the earlier scholars and propose a new theory according to my own analysis. The second chapter aims to understand the production of the MFA byobu and Western-influenced Japanese art in general. Similarly, the third chapter deals with the ways in which folding screens were utilized in the society of the sixteenth and seventeenth century Japan and the impact to the owners and viewers in the specific societal and political context., 2019, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/2164, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Boyd, Nicole Elizabeth (Nicole Elizabeth Boyd) (Author), (Nadja Aksamija) (Thesis advisor)
Until the mid-1950s, the seventeenth-century Italian painter, Guido Cagnacci (1601-63) was relegated to the fringes of Baroque art historiography. Because he is still a new figure of scholarly interest (especially beyond the Italian peninsula), studies on this artist are blatantly underdeveloped in comparison to those on his better-known contemporaries. Particularly confounded by the shifts in quality exhibited in the painter?s earliest works, many scholars tend to overgeneralize his style (maniera) according to the more consistent pictorial elements they observe in his mature output. The paintings encompassed by this latter body of work were produced from the late 1630s until his death in 1663, and primarily portray nude figures rendered with a harmonious synthesis of classicism and naturalism as well as an uncanny eroticism that is nowhere to be found in his early canvases. Ultimately, these images help nourish a caricatured image of Cagnacci (who had a reputation for salacious behaviors) as a ?sensualist? whose works reflected his eccentric quotidian existence. Conceived in response to the lack of nuance in this profile, this study aims: (1) to arrive at a definition of Cagnacci?s maniera that takes into account and rationalizes both his early and late output; (2) to contextualize this maniera within the traditions of seventeenth-century painterly practices; (3) to explore how his compositions would have been understood and defined by contemporary artists and theorists; and finally (4) to better delineate the intentions that ultimately fueled his painterly output. In three chapters, I demonstrate how, through seemingly systemized signing practices and compositional choices, Guido Cagnacci persistently sought to refashion his identity as an artistic creator., 2018, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1994, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
This thesis examines Bessie Harvey’s artwork under the thematic groupings “landscape,” “labor,” and “the Bible.” I argue that she mines the fetishized aspects of United States history out of the physical landscape in order to foreground that haunting structures that are engrained in the land itself, depictions of the laboring body, and interpretations of the Bible. By applying the framework of “haunting,” I further situate Harvey’s body of work as a critical approach to the canonical history of the United States, the art historical canon, as well as the biblical canon., 2017, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1878, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
According to standard interpretations of the Tibetan diaspora, with the incorporation of Tibet into the Peoples Republic of China in the 1950s, all art in Tibet itself is degenerate, and the Tibetans in exile are framed as the sole custodians of their imperiled traditions. However, is it accurate to portray the 5.4 million Tibetans who still live in Chinese-occupied Tibet as having utterly repudiated their culture? This study seeks to answer this question through a comparative study of the parallel developments in diaspora of Tibetan Buddhist sculpture, based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in workshops in exilic Dharamsala, India and in Chengdu, the major Chinese city closest to geographic Tibet., 2012, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/872, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Feminist Activism through Art in the Italian Sessantotto The Work of Giosetta Fioroni, Marisa Merz, and Carla Accardi
Blumstein, Cara Joan (Cara Joan Blumstein) (author), (Claire Grace) (Thesis advisor), (Camilla Zamboni) (Thesis advisor), Wesleyan University Italian Studies Art History (Degree grantor)
This thesis examines the work of Giosetta Fioroni, Marisa Merz, and Carla Accardi in the context of the year 1968 in Italy. Within Italy, 1968 marked the beginning of a tumultuous period of student and labor protests. As inequality worsened, citizens began to expect more from their government and previously private-sphere issues transitioned into public causes. Despite the light shed upon these issues, the social and political movements of sixty-eight neglected to account for issues faced by the women relegated to private and domestic realms. Though feminist movements in Italy are associated with the early-to-mid seventies, a formal analysis of the works of these three artists demonstrates a feminist consciousness, expressed through visual art, that predated the formation of Italian feminist movements. Chapter 1 considers Fioroni’s La spia ottica (The Peephole) and the gendered politics of spaces and structures of viewing. By constructing a private bedroom in a public gallery and placing a peephole between them, Fioroni disrupts the gendered constructs that keep private and public separate from one another. Chapter 2 discusses Merz’s Altalena per Bea (Swing for Bea) and Merz’s refusal to separate her domestic labor from her artistic labor, asserting them as equally valuable. Finally, Chapter 3 begins with a discussion of Accardi’s Formalist roots and the relocation of her calligraphic patterns onto clear plastic tents. The second half of the chapter examines Accardi’s involvement in the Italian feminist movements of the 1970s., In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)