Since the opening of the Belk Visual Arts Center in 1993 the art department, in conjunction with The Friends of the Arts at Davidson College, has sponsored the annual Art Department Guest Lecture Series. Noted art historians and critics come to campus to deliver a public lecture and present a seminar for art majors. Visiting lecturers have included the following:
In January 1998 Chicago art critic Dennis Adrian was invited to campus to speak on "Roger Brown and His Time" in conjunction with an exhibition in the William H. Van Every Gallery titled "Roger Brown and Friends." Mr. Adrian authored the text of the accompanying catalog and critiqued the work of studio art majors.
Professor of Art History at UCLA, prolific writer and lecturer, recipient of many prestigious fellowships, and champion of the marginalized— visited Davidson in the fall of 1994. His public lecture, "Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the PeopleStarry Night.
Noted American art historian and Ruth N. Halls Professor Sarah Burns from Indiana University presented "Being Big: Winslow Homer and the American Business Spirit" in the fall of 1996. She followed the lecture the next day with a seminar entitled "The Price of Beauty: Art, Commerce, and the Late 19th-Century American Studio Interior."
PETRA T. CHU
Professor of Art History at Seton Hall University, Petra T. Chu visited Davidson in the spring of 2008 and discussed the self-portraits of Gustave Courbet, a French realist painter who described himself as "the most arrogant man in France." Her lecture was entitled "Growing Up In 19th Century Paris: Courbet's Self-Portraits as Bildungsroman."
Famed philosopher and art critic Arthur Danto spoke on "The Sistine Ceiling: Restoration and Meaning" at the winter 1999 Reynolds Lecture. He also led a seminar around the question "Can the eye be legitimately regarded as historical?" and provided individual critiques to studio art majors.
As a leading voice of the early feminist movement and of the social-political approach to art history and criticism, Carol Duncan was welcomed to Davidson in the winter of 1994. She teaches art history at Ramapo College of New Jersey and has authored The Pursuit of Pleasure and The Aesthetics of Power. While on campus Professor Duncan delivered "Public Spaces, Private Interests: The Shaping of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," and conducted a seminar for majors on the museum world's reaction to her article entitled "The MoMA's Hot Mamas."
Renowned Stanford University art historian Albert Elsen was the inaugural lecturer for the series in November of 1993. Recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on Rodin, Professor Elsen lectured on "Auguste Rodin's The Burghers of Calais" and spoke with art majors in a hands-on seminar around Jean d'Aire, the sculpture that provides the focal point in the atrium of the new Belk Visual Arts Center. (Note: Died February 2, 1995.)
Class of 2000, artist, author and professor delivering two lectures entitled How I Designed and Built My Green, Sustainable Home in Asheville, NC and Harmonia: How Sacred Geometry Shaped the Renaissance.
Lisa Howorth, who authored Yellow Dogs, Hushpuppies, and Bluetick Hounds: The Official Encyclopedia of Southern Culture Quiz Book and taught at The Center for the Study of the American South at the University of Mississippi, visited in March of 2000. Her seminar and lecture, "Southern Art and Southern Religion," centered on self-taught artists such as Bill Traylor.
JOHN DIXON HUNT
Not only students and faculty, but regional garden enthusiasts as well, welcomed John Dixon Hunt, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania and founding editor of Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, to campus in November 1999. Professor Hunt's topic, "Garden in the City of Venice, Epitome of State and Site," drew from his recent book Greater Perfections: The Practice of Garden Theory and his work on the restoration of the Palazzo Patarol gardens in Venice.
NINA ATHANASSAGLOU KALLMYER
University of Delaware's Nina Athanassaglou Kallmyer gave the spring 1998 lecture entitled "In the Year 1832: Art and Ideology in the Time of Cholera," an examination of Eugene Delacroix's portrait of Paganini, who was suffering from the disease. In her seminar with the majors she addressed the issue of style and expression in the work of that artist.
Revealing his family's experience in pre-war Vienna, Joseph Koerner demonstrated in "The Family Portrait" that art history and one's personal history can be intertwined. In his seminar Professor Koerner, who was teaching at Harvard in the fall of 1995, shared his thoughts on creativity and the subject of his latest book, Caspar David Friedrich.
Continuing with his scholarly interest in gardens, Professor Larry Ligo in January 2001 invited Michael Leslie, Dean of British Studies at Oxford and a Rhodes University faculty member, to speak on "Landscape and Liberty: English Verdure, English Culture 1600-1800." This was preceded by a seminar discussion with art majors of Joseph Addison's Pleasures of the Imagination and associated texts.
Harvard University's Gleason Professor of History of Art and Architecture and noted Frank Lloyd Wright scholar Neil Levine presented the spring 1997 lecture, "The Significance and Legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture." Davidson's Phi Beta Kappa chapter helped sponsor this lecture in connection with an exhibition of works by Pedro Guerrero, personal photographer of the famous architect for 20 years.
ESTILL CURTIS PENNINGTON
Estill Curtis "Buck" Pennington shared his special, often-humorous insights into Southern culture in February 1995. The Curator of Southern Painting at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia presented the lecture "Forsaking All Others: The Unfortunate Marriage of Elvis Presley and Mrs. Jefferson Davis," followed by a seminar on "Learning by Looking: Southern Painting in its Cultural Context."
François Pouillon, Director of Studies at Paris's School for Advanced Study in Social Sciences and a visiting fellow at Princeton University, visited campus in March of 1998. Sponsored jointly by the Public Lectures Committee, Dean Rusk Center, and the History and Art departments, Professor Pouillon spoke on "Nineteenth-Century Orientalist Painting."
April 2000 brought Richard Powell, Duke University's John Spenser Bassett Professor of Art History, to campus for a lecture, "What Becomes a Legend Most?: Reflections on Romare Bearden." A noted author and art historian, Professor Powell was the guest of honor at a reception by the Black Student Coalition and led a seminar for art majors on "Modern African-American Artists."
Robin Rhodes visited Davidson in the spring of 2009. He is Associate Professor, Department of Art, Art History, and Design and Concurrent Associate Professor, Department of Classics at the University of Notre Dame, College of Arts and Letters. Rhodes' lecture title was Corinthian Contribution to the Doric Order (and a Few Other Things). He was invited to Davidson by Professor Larry Ligo whose Capstone Seminar class plans to visit Greece in April 2009.
IVAN A. SCHULMAN
In March 2006 Professor Emeritus of Spanish American and Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois and research professor at Florida International University, visited Davidson. Professor Schulman is a noted scholar of the work of writer and revolutionary, José Marti. His evening lecture was entitled "Orientalisms: Art and Literature." The following day he conducted a seminar for art students entitled "From Painting to Poetry" using Gerome's painting, "Pollice Verso" to show how it became a poem in Marti's "Versos libres."
Curator of the Department of Graphic Arts at the Louvre and Director of the Delacroix Museum in Paris, Arlette Sérullaz marked the 200th anniversary of the famous artist's birth with "The Image of Eugène Delacroix in 1998, the Bicentennial Year" in the fall of 1998. At the invitation of Professor Shaw Smith, whose scholarship centers on Delacroix, she continued this theme the following day in her seminar for art majors on "Eugene Delacroix: The Repercussions of the Bicentennial Year."
Richard Shiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art at the University of Texas at Austin, presented "Matisse and the Wheelwright" in November of 2000. The following day he met with art majors to discuss his recent writing on contemporary artist Chuck Close.
World-renowned art historian and critic Leo Steinberg spent several days on campus in January 1995. He conducted seminars and informal talks on "Why I Am Unfit to Speak about Contemporary Art", "Picasso's Self-Portrait, 1907 (Prague)", and "The Nature of the Spectator's Participation in a Work of Art," and then delivered the annual Reynolds Lecture, "The Outrageous Secrets of Michelangelo's Famous Pietà."
In November 1997 Kristine Stiles of Duke University explored the impact of the powerful images called to mind by words such as "mushroom-shaped cloud", "Three Mile Island", "radioactive half-life", and "Chernobyl" in her lecture "Remembering Invisibility: Documentary Photography in the Nuclear Age." The next day art majors continued the discussion in a seminar on how photographers who specialize in the subjects of the nuclear age construct that history.
Spring 1994 brought Paul Tucker, professor of art history at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, to Davidson. Professor Tucker writes and lectures extensively on Impressionism and shared his expertise in a public lecture, "Claude Monet's Paintings of the Gare St. Lazare and Issues of Modernity in Impressionism." The following day he met with art majors to lead a seminar on Monet and Impressionism.