An Art History of Materials I

Kerr Houston, professor of art history, theory and criticism, Maryland Institute College of Art

Over the past twenty years, art historians have become increasingly alert to the materiality of artworks: to the complex ways in which materials can dictate form, retain (or repress) traces of their manufacture, and imply particular symbolic associations. Artists in many cultures have long sensed the specific qualities of various materials and employed them to various ends – but emerging theoretical approaches and a search for alternatives to disembodied digital experiences have enriched and intensified what is often called the “material turn” in art history. This lecture will offer an introduction to these developments and will consider examples of materials used consciously and provocatively in several early cultural contexts, including medieval China and the Silk Road, Renaissance Europe, 18th century Britain, and Iroquoia.

$15 fee for guests and subscribers (no fee for members)

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Add to Calendar 20230926 America/New_York LECTURE: Kerr Houston, “An Art History of Materials I”