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Watch virtual lectures on YouTube: KU Art History


2022 Franklin D. Murphy Lecturer: Dr. Alfreda Murck

February 11, 2022
5:30 pm
Spencer Museum of Art 211
Rethinking Guo Xi’s "Mountains have Three Distances"

The Three Distances are landscape compositional modes that were first described in a text attributed to the eleventh-century master Guo Xi. The compositions are described in Lofty Message of Forest and Streams, a text that Guo Xi’s son, Guo Si, compiled from his father’s teachings. They are high distance, deep distance, and level distance. Prior to the eleventh century, all three modes existed, but mountain landscapes dominated and no one wrote about them in “three-distance” terms.

This lecture will examine the late eleventh-century enthusiastic embrace of level-distance landscapes. Dr. Murck will suggest that flat, watery paintings were inspired by literary tropes that referred to living on rivers and lakes as a recluse or an exiled official. The high and deep distance landscapes had a wide range of positive meanings depending on the artist, context, and audience. In the charged factional atmosphere of the late-eleventh century, the level-distance landscape composition became a comment on leaving court service, either by choice or as punishment. These were not the sort of paintings welcomed by the imperial court.

April 8, 2022
5:30 pm
Spencer Museum of Art 211
Qiao Zhongchang's Illustration of Su Shi’s Latter Ode on the Red Cliff

In 1082, the exiled official Su Shi wrote Latter Ode on the Red Cliff. Forty years later, an artist named Qiao Zhongchang painted a dazzling interpretation of the enigmatic prose poem. At a time when the imperial court was promoting jewel-like polychrome painting, Qiao Zhongchang chose the monochrome ink-on-paper idiom promoted by Su Shi and friends. Very likely commissioned by the powerful imperial eunuch Liang Shicheng, who claimed Su Shi as his father, the long handscroll surprises with its originality of forms and quality of brushwork. The historical circumstances of 1082 suggest that Su Shi was carefully commenting on a recent military disaster. Forty years later, was the theme of war acknowledged in the painting? I will argue that the painter – by emphasizing certain motifs in the ode and by adding others – gave visual expression to Su’s guarded commentary on warfare.

Virtual Option, Zoom Webinar Registration: https://kansas.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bOaFpYDQSk6qfmmIi7R-6w


2021-22 Murphy Distinguished Alumni Lecturer: Robert Mowry

Collected Stones: The Essence of the Chinese Landscape
March 2, 2022
5:15 pm
Live broadcast on YouTube

Appreciated as abstract works of art, rocks served as the basic building blocks of Chinese landscape paintings. Magnified in scale, rocks become mountains. Once embellished with rivers, trees, and winding paths, the mountains become complete landscapes. In this lecture Robert Mowry explores how the Chinese artistic practice of collected stones reveals the sophisticated appreciation of sculptural form in the later dynastic era of China.


Intersections of Identity: Expression, Exchange, and Hybridity Lecture Series

Lectures will be presented live on the KU Art History YouTube channel

Rejecting the Feminist Label: Xiang Jing and the Construction of an Artist’s Identity
Quincy Ngan
Assistant Professor of Art of Pre-Modern to Contemporary China and Chinese Painting
Yale University
October 7, 2021; 7:00pmCT

Land and Sovereignty: The Foundation for Public Art and Studio Practice
Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds
KU 2021 Common Work of Art Creator
December 1, 2021; 5:15pmCT

Golem Girl: Being and Painting the Other
Riva Lehrer

Chicago based artist, writer, and curator
December 2, 2021; 7:00pmCT

Thinking Through Color: F. N. Souza's Black Paintings
Atreyee Gupta

Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art
University of California Berkeley
February 3, 2022; 7:00pmCT

Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin
Siona Benjamin

NYC based artist, speaker, and educator
March 10, 2022; 7:00pmCT

Interdependent: Strategies of Friendship and Care in Asian American Art
Laura Kina

Vincent de Paul Professor of Art, Media, & Design; Director of Critical Ethnic Studies
DePaul University
April 14, 2022; 7:00pmCT


Art History Department Colloquium Series
Email Prof. Maya Stiller for information on virtually attending

March 4, 2022
"What it’s like to be a museum curator and auction house consultant: Career insights from Robert Mowry, Alan J. Dworsky Curator of Chinese Art Emeritus"

April 1, 2022
Doctoral students Cara Nordengren and Sara Stepp will each present part of their dissertation research

May 6, 2022
Doctoral students Meng Tong and Maggie Vaughn will each present part of their dissertation research


Lectures in conjunction with Prof. Maya Stiller’s “Digital Humanities for (Art) Historians” graduate seminar.
These lectures will be virtual and open to the public, please email Prof. Stiller to attend.

Paul B Jaskot
Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Director, Duke Digital Art History & Visual Culture Lab
Duke University
January 19, 2022

Sarah Laursen
Alan J. Dworsky Associate Curator of Chinese Art
Harvard Art Museums
February 2, 2022

Edward Triplett
Teaching Fellow in Art, Art History and Visual Studies
Duke University
February 24, 2022

Dana Hogan
Ph.D. student in Art History
Duke University
March 2, 2022

In conjunction with Prof. Maya Stiller's "Ceramics of East Asia" course:

Seung Yeon Sang
Visiting Researcher, Department of Translation, Interpreting, and East Asian Studies
Autonomous University of Barcelona
“The Diffusion of Ceramic Technology from Korea to Japan and the Impact of the Imjin War (1592-1598)”
March 2, 2022


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