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)
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)
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)
The Viceroy's House, the culminating architectural monument to the highly planned city of New Delhi, was erected as a full expression of British Imperial power in India. As an expression of empire, New Delhi gave physical form to the ideology of the British Raj. Its synthesis of indian stylistic motifs onto a frame mostly classical reflects in architectural form the self-identity of late British imperial rule. As a functioning monument, the Viceroy's House remained during the late Raj a clear a symbol of ultimate British authority. And yet the building was functionally and symbolically transformed to Rashtrapati Bhavan, or the President's House, with the creation of the Republic of India on January 26th, 1950. As an architectural symbol, it was reconfigured through strategic alterations of ceremonial behavior and the placement of objects to function as the architectural head of the Indian nation. Largely a ceremonial monument, this transformation of the building from the seat of Viceregal authority to housing the head of state of India was driven by a synthesis of nationalist ideologies developed in the struggle for independence. Rashtrapati Bhavan, like any postcolonial monument, bears a mixed legacy. Faltering and discontinuous, the transformations of the building through objects, behaviors, and interpretive histories have solidifed it as a proud monument to India appropriate to house the head of state. As a living monument, the postcolonial identity of India is consolidated in Rashtrapati Bhavan. A dichotomous symbol of freedom and oppression, the symbolic structure of the building and greater New Delhi interacts with Indian nationalism today in a somewhat contradictory way. As a flashpoint of critique and national pride Rashtrapati Bhavan reflects India's identity, defining a nation through its multiplicitous and contradictory legacies., 2007, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/14, 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)
deBoer, Anne Elizabeth (Anne Elizabeth deBoer) (Author), (Joseph Siry) (Thesis advisor)
A critical analysis of the literature on sustainable architecture through Sir Norman Foster's use of water technologies., 2012, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/810, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Katzin, Jeffrey James (Jeffrey James Katzin) (Author), (Katherine Kuenzli) (Thesis advisor)
Barnett Newman's "Stations of the Cross" series consists of fourteen abstract paintings created between 1958 and 1966, and is one of the artist's most unique works. This essay advances a new understanding of the "Stations" as concerned with destabilization of visual perception and the nature of human suffering, incorporating the elements of seriality and content which have been overlooked by pervious scholars. This is accomplished through direct dialogue with previous arguments, discussion of the Christian devotion after which the series was named, in-depth consideration of Newman's writings and statements, and a rigorous analysis of the fourteen paintings themselves. It is found that the "Stations of the Cross," while abstract and stark in appearance, are complex and full of meaning., 2010, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/550, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Burzinski, Alexa Marie (Alexa Marie Burzinski) (Author), (Claire Grace) (Thesis advisor)
Ed Ruscha’s photo books are among some of the most puzzling art objects produced in America during the 1960s and 70s. Each title reads like a set of instructions, usually consisting of a quantity (whether an exact number or a quantitative adjective) followed by a tangible, countable subject, which, in Ruscha’s case, ranges from gas stations to crackers to artificial plants. Though they appear to conform to the standard conventions of bound paperback volumes, and are nearly indistinguishable from any other one might find on a bookshelf, Ruscha's book projects of the 60s and 70s have come to be recognized as crucial to photography's development, encouraging new conceptual approaches to the medium and heightening interest in analyzing the built landscape.
Ruscha produced sixteen photo books between 1963 and 1978 in large editions of several hundred or thousand using high-speed professional presses, all of which were available for a relatively nominal price. Six of them incorporate the topography of Los Angeles, the artist’s adopted city including his first, Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963), and his third, Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), both arguably the artist’s most well known, as well as the most frequently addressed in the literature on Ruscha. Since their appearance in the mid-1960s, both have been situated into traditions ascribed to Pop, photo-documentary and conceptual art practices, but uncomfortably so in each case. Despite the wealth of scholarship on these books, they make fruitful case studies for addressing what has been, more or less, an overlooked question: what reading of 1960s greater Los Angeles do Ruscha’s photo books actually perform?
In my project I propose a new reading of Twentysix Gasoline Stations and Every Building on the Sunset Strip, one that investigates them in the context of theories on postmodern architecture and the urban experience. I offer a new term to describe them: postmodern topography. Using this definition and the writings of Fredric Jameson, Jean Baudrillard , Reyner Banham and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations and Every Building on the Sunset Strip theorize his term I have proposed.
Considering their inability to fit within existing terminology, Ruscha’s books are defined by contradiction, embodying a sort of “both/and” quality that both embraces and rejects the postmodern urban experience. In the case of postmodern topography: Twentysix Gasoline Stations and Every Building on the Sunset Strip appear to celebrate Los Angeles’s freeway system, as does Banham, yet Ruscha withholds the visual representation of roads and cars from his readers. While they seem to anticipate Venturi and Scott Brown’s conception of sign culture, the absence of cars and highways seems to void this, as well. While they seem to confirm Baudrillard and Jameson’s dystopic views of postmodern society, they also pose formal qualities that do not solely adhere to their grammar of flatness and surface. While the photographs contained within them are flattened, as well, the books themselves assume an architectural character that challenges this conception.
Postmodern topography embodies these books’ proclivity for tension and contradiction. Seeing that it is contradictory itself, it is only fitting that a curious term is used to define these equally curious publications. Taking this into account, Ruscha’s decision to publish books at the time at which he did seems to suggest that Twentysix Gasoline Stations and Every Building on the Sunset Strip comment on a particular time and place, that being Los Angeles in the 1960s., 2015, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1416, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)