British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Event Details

Why Victorian Art?

Time: February 6, 2009 from 9am to 5:30pm
Location: Martin E. Segal Theatre, Graduate Center
Street: 365 Fifth Avenue
City/Town: NY, NY
Event Type: symposium
Organized By: Contact: Roberto C. Ferrari
Latest Activity: Feb 1, 2009

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Event Description


A symposium, open to the public, organized by the Department of Art History,
The City University of New York, The Graduate Center

In American academia, British Victorian art has been perceived pejoratively as regressive relative to French art's trajectory toward modernism. In sharp contrast, English departments in the United States have encouraged the study of British Victorian literature since it was first set down on paper, with postmodern scholars championing Victorian literature's handling of issues from colonialism and racism to aspects of gender and sexual identities. The Victorians were the dominant imperial power and leaders of the industrial world at the dawn of the twentieth century, but the study of Victorian visual art and culture is still largely looked upon unfavorably in the United States, with American museums only rarely mounting exhibitions about Victorian art. Recently, this trend has been slowly changing. More students are pursuing dissertation topics in the areas of British Victorian painting, sculpture, architecture, and photography. Furthermore, conferences such as the 2008 annual meeting of NAVSA acknowledge the rising importance of Victorian art, including interdisciplinary panel sessions on topics such as sculpture and global contexts, queer visualities, and Darwinism and the arts. "Why Victorian Art?" will bring together scholars to address two critical issues: why the study of Victorian art has been overlooked in the U.S., and how a closer examination of Victorian art can provide new or alternative perspectives in the study of nineteenth-century art and culture.

Schedule of Events:
8:30 – 9:00 AM

9:00 – 9:15 AM
Welcome: Kevin Murphy (CUNY Graduate Center)
Introductory Remarks: Roberto C. Ferrari (PhD Student, CUNY Graduate Center)

9:15 – 10:50 AM
Jason Rosenfeld (Marymount Manhattan College)
"Not Stokstad-Worthy?: Mainstreams of Modern Art and John Everett Millais"

Kathryn Moore Heleniak (Fordham University)
"The Victorian Prelude: New Subjects, New Patrons, New Public Collections as Seen Through the Lens of William Mulready's Career"

Richard Kaye (Hunter College/CUNY Graduate Center)
"You May Safely Gaze: The Conservatism of Contemporary Victorian Art Criticism"

10:50 – 11:00 AM

11:00 AM – 12:35 PM
Geoffrey Batchen (CUNY Graduate Center)
"Perplexity and Embarrassment: Photography as Work"

Talia Schaffer (Queens College/CUNY Graduate Center)
"Why Victorian Crafts?"

Peter Trippi (Editor of Fine Art Connoisseur)
"The Challenges of Exhibiting Victorian Art in America: A Case Study"

12:35 – 2:00 PM
Lunch on your own

2:00 – 3:30 PM
Margaret R. Laster (CUNY Graduate Center)
"Victorian Art and American Gilded Age Collectors: Henry G. Marquand and Catherine Lorillard Wolfe"

Catherine Roach (Columbia University)
"Why Not?: Victorian Paintings-within-Paintings"

Jordan Bear (Columbia University)
"Knowing Too Much?: Victorian Photography Now"

Andrea Wolk Rager (Yale University)
"Art and Revolt: The Work of Edward Burne-Jones"

3:30 – 3:45 PM

3:45 – 4:30 PM
Elizabeth C. Mansfield (New York University)
"What Is Victorian Art?"

4:30 – 5:30 PM
Reception in Art History Lounge

For more information, contact Roberto C. Ferrari at

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