“An embarassment of riches”

12 Nov

That’s how Prof. Jim Van Dyke described the art lectures at Oberlin lately. Earlier this week we saw artist and MacArthur grant winner Judy Pfaff come into town, and tomorrow we have two more lectures. At 4:30 in classroom 1, Dr. Anne Hemreich is coming from Case Western to speak on “What is so British about British Art?” If you haven’t heard yet, the Allen Memorial Art Museum is currently having an exhibition of British Art, and the talk is sponsored by both the AMAM and Chloe Hamilton Young Fund.
Then, at 7:30 tomorrow, Prof. Marcello Barbanera of the Universita di Roma (aka University of Rome for you non-Italian speakers). His lecture title is “the Metamorphosis of Ruins for Cultural Identity.” His abstract is after the jump.

“Ruins are emblematic of transience and yet also of persistence over time. Both dimensions are crucial to understand the meaning of ruins, which are comprehensible as a historical phenomenon only from a cultural perspective. This presentation will elaborate on how a ruin can be interpreted as an object that speaks to us of the past. Ruins may seen today a matter mostly for archaeology specialists but they had interpast much a wider relevance due to their semantic ambiguity, on one hand as metaphors for roman poets of the vicissitudes of the fate, symbol of the decay of a universe without God for Christians, yet on the other hand as a powerful allegory of rebirth of the ancient culture in the Renaissance and beyond. This talk explores the perception of the ruin from the perspective of ancient Greek and Roman culture down to present thought, ditinguishing the appreciation for ruins among early Humanists from that of the 18th century philosopher Diderot or Marcel Proust in the 20th. I will consider also how one treats or should treat ruins, cares for them, studies them, and how powerful their meaning has been over the centuries.”

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Posted by on November 12, 2008 in Uncategorized


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