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James Elkins - “Problems Teaching Visuality Across the University”

The department will begin the spring quarter of 2017 with a series of events featuring renowned art historian and theorist James Elkins. Professor Elkins will be visiting from the School of the Art Institute for Chicago where he is the E.C. Chadbourne Professor in the Department of Art Theory and Criticism.  

A leader in the field of art history and visual studies, Elkins has authored and edited 48 books and his writings have been translated into 18 different languages from Catalan to Turkish. Over this substantial body of work, Elkins has adopted an interdisciplinary approach to the study of visual culture.

He has explored the process of creation and the materiality of medium in What Painting Is (Routledge, 1998), the challenges of interpretation in On Pictures and the Words that Fail Them (Cambridge University Press, 1998 reprinted 2011) and the affective experience of the viewer in Pictures and Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings (Routledge, 2004). Elkins’ visit will open with a lecture on Friday, April 7th, 2017 in which he will share his thoughts on the future of art history, visual studies, and the science of images.  The following week, Elkins will meet with Art and Art History majors and conduct critiques, visit classes and lead a faculty seminar.

Elkins’ visit was generously sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.  If you are interested in making a gift to support the new Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building, please contact Lawrence Donatoni at (408) 554-2324 or via email.