Monday, August 21, 2017

Ainu skull stolen in 1879 makes historic return from Berlin

Fukimo Yoshigaki, The Asahi Shimbun
August 3, 2017

"An Ainu skull that was dug up by a German grave robber in 1879 has finally returned from Berlin to its homeland in Hokkaido.

The repatriation at the behest of the Japanese government makes Germany the first nation to officially return the remains of an Ainu individual.

A handover ceremony was held at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin on July 31, and the skull was placed temporarily in a charnel house for displaced Ainu remains at Hokkaido University on Aug. 2.

An Ainu ritual to pray for repose of soul of the dead, called “icarpa,” is scheduled to be held Aug. 4.

“The remains of our ancestor must be pleased to be back home,” said Tadashi Kato, executive director of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido, after placing the skull in the charnel house. “We would like to give it a hearty icarpa, and tell it how pleased we are to have restored its honor and dignity.”

The skull had been in the collection of Berliner Gesellschaft fur Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte (Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology, and Prehistory).

An academic journal said it had been “dug up under cover of night” from a cemetery in Sapporo.

The Berlin-based private academic society agreed for the return as it was “collected through an inappropriate process.”

The ceremony at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin was attended by Kato and Alexander Pashos, who heads the society.

Thousands of Ainu remains were exhumed mostly for anthropological inspection, often without proper consent of families, and some were taken abroad, starting in the latter half of the 19th century.

Hokkaido University used to have more than 1,000 sets of specimens in a collection. After a public outcry, it built the charnel house in 1984 to give them proper respect as deceased people."

More here

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New York’s Museum of Sex Plans an Ambitious Expansion (and a Tryst With Musée d’Orsay)

Sarah CasconeartNET News

"As the Museum of Sex (MoSex) turns 15, it’s experiencing some growing pains—perhaps inevitable for a teenager—needing to enlarge its footprint to accommodate more visitors and house more artworks. But executive director and founder Daniel Gluck is facing these challenges head on, with ambitious plans for an expansion and new partnerships with a wide range of cultural institutions, as the museum looks to expand its curatorial scope over the next four years.

Founded in 2002, MoSex celebrates New York City’s sexual diversity, and showcases the best scholarship on sex and sexuality—the first institution of its kind in the US. “The original vision for the Museum of Sex really hasn’t changed over the years,” stated Gluck in a email to artnet News. “What has grown is our ability to execute.”

“Our goal is to simultaneously feature exhibition in the arts, sciences, and social anthropology at any given time. We’ve recently focused more in the arts, while most of our previous exhibitions had focused on social anthropology. In the next four years we hope to refocus in these areas, exploring areas such as religion, wartime, the Weimar, and the singularity,” he added. “There are countless subjects we wish to explore within our exhibitions and programming. Sexuality is a subject that everyone can connect with, a uniquely powerful way to broaden understanding of human culture.”

With a nearly endless amount of subject matter to potentially cover, it’s no wonder that the museum is looking to expand, having already grown from 10,000 to 22,000 square feet. In the upcoming expansion, yet to be finalized, Gluck plans to add new galleries, an event space and auditorium, and a screening room."

Friday, August 18, 2017

CAA 2018 Funding: CAA-GETTY International Program

The CAA-Getty International Program, generously supported by the Getty Foundation, provides funding to between fifteen and twenty art historians, museum curators, and artists who teach art history to attend CAA’s Annual Conferences. The goal of the project is to increase international participation in CAA, to diversify the association’s membership, and to foster collaborations between North American art historians, artists, and curators and their international colleagues.

Since it began in 2012, the program has brought ninety scholars to the conferences, from forty-one countries located in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America. Each year, a preconference colloquium on international topics in art history inaugurates the week, kicking off four days of conference sessions, meetings with new colleagues, and visits to museums and galleries. Subsequent to these events, the program has generated many scholarly collaborations, including publications, conferences, and exhibitions.

In 2017, CAA organized a reunion to celebrate five successful years of the CAA-Getty International Program. Twenty alumni were selected to present papers at the Annual Conference in New York, held February 15-18, 2017. Organized into four sessions about international topics in art history, these Global Conversations were chaired by distinguished scholars from the United States and featured presentations by the CAA-Getty alumni. The papers from these sessions are now archived on the CAA website.

The 2018 CAA-Getty International Program will support fifteen art historians, museum curators, and artists who teach art history to attend the 106th Annual Conference, taking place in Los Angeles from February 21–24, 2018. The grant covers travel expenses, hotel accommodations for seven nights, per diems, conference registrations, and one-year CAA memberships. The program will include a one-day preconference colloquium on international issues in art history, to be held at the Getty Center on February 20, at which grant recipients will present and discuss their common professional interests and issues. Attendance at the preconference is limited and by invitation only. This year the grant also will fund five alumni from the CAA-Getty International Program to participate in the preconference colloquium and speak at a session during the conference. As they have in previous years, representatives from CAA’s membership will host program participants during the conference week.

Applicants must be practicing art historians who teach at a university or work as a curator in a museum, or artists who teach art history. They must have a good working knowledge of English and be available to participate in CAA events from February 21–24, 2018. Only professionals who have not attended a CAA conference previously, and who are from countries underrepresented in CAA’s membership are eligible to apply. The grant excludes scholars from North America, Western Europe, and Australia, whose countries are well represented in CAA. It further excludes scholars who have received funds from American foundations or research institutes to participate in conferences or residencies in the United States. Applicants do not need to be CAA members. This grant program is not open to graduate students or to those participating in the 2018 conference as chairs, speakers, or discussants.

Please review the application specifications and complete the application form. If you have questions about the process or are unsure of your eligibility, please email Janet Landay, project director of the CAA-Getty International Program.
Applications should include:
A completed application form
A two-page version of the applicant’s CV
A letter of recommendation from the chair, dean, or director of the applicant’s school, department, or museum

Please send all application materials as Word or PDF files to Janet Landay no later than Monday, August 21, 2017. CAA will notify applicants by Monday, October 2, 2017.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Call for Papers: Collections, Collectors and Practices of Representation Special Issue, The Brazilian Journal Sociedade e Cultura

Deadline for submissions: 5 November 2017

The Brazilian Journal Sociedade e Cultura invites potential articles for the special issue: Collections, Collectors and Practices of Representation

Editors: Manuel Ferreira Lima Filho (Universidade Federal de Goiás) e Edmundo Pereira (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro/Museu Nacional).

The journal SOCIEDADE E CULTURA publishes the call for articles for the thematic dossier "Collections, Collectors and Practices of Representation", organized by Manuel Ferreira Lima Filho (Federal University of Goiás) and Edmundo Pereira (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro / National Museum). The publication is scheduled for v.21, n.1, 2018). Articles written in Portuguese, English or Spanish will be accepted in accordance with the journal's rules (available, and regarding the topic proposed by the editors, as follows:
The organization of the “Collection, Collectors and Practices of Representation” dossier has as a conceptual subsidy the fact that the generation and administration of 'collections' have been organized in practices linked to multiple projects: disciplinary, development and autonomization of scientific and artistic fields; of power and governability, of invention and audio-visual administration of the nation and the empire. In this context, a set of ethnographic and analytical concerns have been defined, in particular, in the acts of collecting, in the debate about the formation of archives (Museums, Libraries, Herbariums, Zoological and Botanical Gardens); the distinctive organization of the Sciences and the Arts; and, recently, the generation of counter-representations by groups historically represented in regimes of subalternization (indexed in referents as 'primitive', 'traditional', 'folkloric'). These investments, focused on complex symbolic economies, highlight the relationship between researchers and interlocutors in the objectification of 'cultural' and 'natural' diversity (from catalogs of herbal plants and herbs, to collections of objects, and collections of poems, songs and melodies) with the aid of multiple audiovisual technologies for mediation of observation and experience.

In this way, the dossier will focus on articles that give ethnographic attention to collecting processes related to: the critical reflection-synthesis of epistemes from different historical periods and the role of social and natural sciences in national and imperial scenarios; the resumption of 'objects' and 'materialities' in the thematic scenarios of science and the arts; revisions of museum processes related to the organization of collections, technical reserves and modes of exhibition.

Papers may be submitted in Portuguese, English or Spanish. Please use the reference guide (…) when preparing your manuscript.

The contributions should be sent directly to the organizers:
Submission deadline: November 5, 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Call for Papers: ‘Museum universalities in Western cultural capitals in the nineteenth and early twentieth century’

Université de Paris-Nanterre, Friday 17th November 2017
Around 1900, each Western capital offered its visitors, a particular representation of human universality through its collections of arts, archaeology, applied arts and design, natural sciences, sciences and ethnography. Different circumstances had contributed to the expansion of these collections (e.g. colonialism, art markets, donations), so that the acquisition of new objects often anticipated reflection on their epistemological raison d’être within a given institution. In addition, other factors influencing the development of Western museums included: intellectually, the move from Enlightenment’s encyclopaedism to subject specialisms; economically, the industrial revolution and new commercial interests; politically, the emergence of new nation-states and empires; socially, the growth of the bourgeoisie and new entertainment spaces. Hence, all these developments, in parallel to the growth of the collections, prompted discussion on museum taxonomies, and on the display of objects.

At the same time, historians were dealing with similar methodological questions in their own attempts to write universal histories. However, the reciprocal impact of historiographical and museological reflections on ideas of universalities has rarely been explored.

The workshop will bring together researchers from both museum studies and history to stimulate discussion across disciplines and national contexts. We invite proposals for papers relating to:
-Definition of ‘universalities’ in museums – particularly in relation to contemporary developments in historiography, in the philosophy of history, and in the history of disciplines.

-Case-studies from ‘universal museums’ in Europe and North-America –we are particularly interested in discussions regarding museums in London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Rome, Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC.
-International exhibitions – in particular their relations with museums and the development of collections.

Important information:
Papers – abstract: 300 words (20 minutes papers)

Deadline for abstract submission:
13th September 2017. Please send abstracts to: Authors will be notified by the 30th September 2017.

Please note: we aim to publish a selection of the papers from the workshops of the ‘Universal Histories, Universal Museums’ research project as a journal special issue.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Call for Papers: Remarkable Things: The Agency of Objecthood and the Power of Materiality, March 2018

Apotropaic art, symbols or objects are those which have – or are reputed to have - the power of averting evil influence or ‘bad luck’.

The very idea of an apotropaic object stands at the centre of theory seeking to concretise objecthood and materiary power. Apotropaic things are, in their very nature, possessed of an agency that both transcends their status as a material object yet is also inextricably tied to it: their physicality enables them to be purposefully placed in liminal spaces or carried close on the body; the materials they are made from carefully chosen and frequently bizarre or rare; their form, shape and construction often highly specific and closely allied to tradition and ‘folklore’.

Therefore, the repellence of forces which are abstract and amorphous relies intrinsically upon the materiality and apparent ‘concreteness’ of specific objects. In turn, the ways in which society, throughout time and across culture, has attempted to reconcile the seemingly dialectical nature of such items stands at an interdisciplinary confluence.
Material of this kind is not confined to any one culture, time or place, thus necessitating interdisciplinary exploration as to the variety of theoretical and methodological frameworks that might assist in unpacking and articulating the status and significance of such objects and - perhaps more importantly - how we have come to classify them. Therefore, this conference is concerned with objects which have, or are perceived to have, inherent 'power' or 'mobility'. It will explore:
The sorts of objects that have been perceived in this way and how objecthood is tied to their interpretation and significance;
The way such objects operate/are believed to operate;
How these sorts of objects construct and convey their power/meaning;
The role these objects have played in different disciplines, both focally and epistemologically;
The ways in which such objects have shaped culture, custom, behaviour, thought and academic discourse;
The ways in which different disciplines have dealt with such objects and their ramifications;
Whether or not we continue to create ‘talismans’, 'fetishes', and ‘relics’, etc., or attribute these concepts to objects extraneously;
Finally, how seminal principles outlined by figures such as Gell, Mitchell and Pietz, who have authoritatively theorised on objecthood and agency, play out practically and contextually. [1]

Such objects might include religious icons, jewellery, biological specimens, clothing, funerary equipment, materia medica, portraiture or relics, and their perceived ‘power’ might be grounded in faith, ritual, superstition, biopolitics, cultural memory, memorialisation, consumerism or even medical adherence.

In our modern era, the nature of ‘objecthood’ is undergoing great change; ‘virtual reality’ and the rise of virtual museums, online collections, 3D printing, and sensory simulation ensure that objecthood, and our [un]changing relationship with it, is as relevant as ever. Amidst the evolving status of objecthood, do we continue to create apotropaia? If so, where might we identify them? How might we extend this concept to scientific, medical or technological 'objects', if at all?

This conference will investigate how recent developments in the study of material religion, neuroarchaeology, semiotics and phenomenology might help us better understand not only such objects themselves, but also their many guises and surprising pervasiveness, as well as our ongoing attempts to typologise and demystify them.

Following the conference, we intend to submit proposal to Warwick Series in the Humanities (in partnership with Routledge) for a collected volume.

We therefore invite abstracts of up to 300 words for 20-minute papers on topics including, but not limited to:
The breadth and fluidity of the apotropaic as a category of material, and the sorts of material - both ancient and modern - that has been responded to as apotropaia;
The proximity of ‘apotropaic’ (or similar) objects and their conceptualisation to our early understandings of medicine and disease;
The significance and power of naming such objects – ‘apotropaic’, ‘relic’, ‘icon’, ‘totem’, ‘talisman’, ‘fetish’, etc.;
Our need, both socio-culturally and intellectually, to typologise, classify and deconstruct such material;
The role of collectors and collections in our relationship with these objects;
The potential for developments in Neuroarchaeology, Phenomenology, Semiotics and Material Religion to further our understanding of these objects, their function, creation and perception as well as our ongoing intellectual fascination with them;
Whether we can separate the conceptual toolkit and terminology typically used to discuss and categorise these objects from their often-problematic origins in colonialism, racism, and modes of exoticisation or othering;
The role of medicine, science, technology and the rapidly changing nature of ‘objecthood’ in the modern creation, perception and definition of such objects;
The sorts of present-day ‘objects’ which have 'power' over us, or the sorts of objects we invest with similar/‘equivalent’ ‘power’ today.

We also welcome proposals for workshops of between 40-60 mins on particular genres or case studies of material, museum collections or related projects.
To propose a workshop, please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words detailing the theme, structure, duration, perceived outcomes including activities/item handling and any specific resources required.

Keynote Speakers:
Professor Patricia Spyer (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)
Dr Lambros Malafouris (Oxford University)

Send all abstracts to along with your name (if more than one for workshops, please give name of all contributors), title/position, and institutional affiliation.

Deadline for submissions: 1st December 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lecture Opportunity: 'Fake Indians & False Narratives: Panel Discussion on Commodifying Culture to Sell Contemporary Art', Santa Fe

Friday, August 18 at 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM MDT
Peters Projects, 1011 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe

Join us for 'Fake Indians & False Narratives: Panel Discussion on Commodifying Culture to Sell Contemporary Art'. Eileen Braziel, Director of Peters Projects, will lead a discussion surrounding current issues on indigenous identity in the mainstream art world.

Panel guests include: Dallin Maybee, Director of SWAIA; Manuelito (Manny) Wheeler, Director of Navajo Nation Museum; John Lukavic, Associate Curator of Native Arts at the Denver Art Museum.

Artists Patrick Dean Hubbell, Nicholas Galanin, Kent Monkman, and Will Wilson will also join the discussion.

The panel continues to grow with interested participants, so check here for updates.

The event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Lecture Opportunity: New Book Showcases the Acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection of Native Pottery, Santa Fe

Spoken Through Clay
Native Pottery of the Southwest
The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
Charles S. King

SAR honorary director, Eric S. Dobkin, will be in Santa Fe to launch the new book written by Charles S. King, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest(2017, Museum of New Mexico Press). Book signings will take place at the Antique American Indian Art Show on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 6 pm by author Charles S. King and on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at 1 p.m. by collector Eric S. Dobkin at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. The new book by Charles S. King showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the Eric S. Dobkin collection, covering a wide range of contemporary Native artists and important historic pieces. SAR members who show their membership cards will be admitted to the American Indian Art Show at no charge on Wednesday only. There will also be a private book signing at SAR with the authors and featured artists in the book.