Williams College Honors Art History Graduate Students

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 1, 2021—The Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art, offered in collaboration with the Clark Art Institute, will celebrate the program’s 14 graduates at its Graduate Symposium on Friday, June 4. Graduates will present papers and participate in the annual M.A. Hooding Ceremony. However, due to the COVID restrictions, this year’s event is closed to the public.

Papers are based on a Qualifying Paper (QP) undertaken during a student’s course of study in the Program and further developed over an intense sequence of practice runs before a joint faculty-student committee, with additional training in public speaking and other skills pertinent to the critical debate and the arts of persuasion. The Graduate Symposium constitutes a significant event for the art history community in Williamstown.

The Class of 2021 graduates’ paper topics are as follows:

Diane Ahn will discuss artist Candice Lin’s expansive understanding of the material qualities of porcelain in relation to its racialized and gendered associations with the body in “Metonymic Porcelain: Material Embodiment in Candice Lin’s ‘Hard White Body’ Series.”

Gabriel Almeida will examine the conflict between experience and abstraction, aspirations and interpretation, and the expectations of modern and postmodern painting in the artistic vision of Carmen Herrera in “Painting Modern Life: Carmen Herrera’s Blanco y Verde, 1959-1971.”

Jessie Elizabeth Alperin explores the simultaneous renewal of sculpture and poetry in the late 19th century through the call and response of the two mediums in the form of the illustrated book. In “Sculpting Poetry, Drawing Sculpture: Charles Baudelaire and Auguste Rodin’s The Flowers of Evil as a Sculptural Book,” Alperin will demonstrate how the two arts unfold across the book’s pages to create an experiential, imaginative, and coupled process where the act of reading also becomes an act of looking.

Natasha Coleman proposes that French artist, Jean-Leon Gérôme (1824-1904), was actively engaging with new ideas regarding the origin and diversity of man, the nature of beauty, and sexual attraction that were circulating in London in the Spring of 1871 where the artist had fled during the Franco-Prussian War.

Zoe Dobuler’s paper, “To Stand at the ‘Top of the World’: Race and Place in Tavares Strachan’s Arctic,” follows the contemporary artist Tavares Strachan to the North Pole, exploring hemispheric geographies and racial histories through the lens of this unique topographic site.

Mariana Fernández will explore the iterative process of home-building as it relates to transnational migrant economies in “Entre aquí y allá: Carmen Argote’s Perpetual Dream Homes.”

Focusing on the totemic wooden sculptures of Kenzi Shiokava, Nolan Jimbo’s paper, “Woodwork and Waiting: Kenzi Shiokava and the Labor of Assemblage,” will propose that the artist reconceives the historically additive technique of assemblage as a slow, labor-intensive process of reduction.

Charles Keiffer will explore the ways landscape photography has been used to mediate popular understanding of America’s opioid crisis in the years between 2016 and 2020 in “The Visual Culture of the Opioid Crisis.”

Elisama Llera will look at the role of a Byzantine textile within the French Medieval Christian reliquary of St. Austremoine, arguing that we can read the silk wrapping as performing a holy resurrection of the saint whose body it clothed, in “Silk as Skin: The Mozac Byzantine Hunter Silk in the Reliquary of Saint Austremoine.”

Alice Matthews will depart from the future outlined by the hegemonic Space Age (e.g. The Jetsons) for three alternatives that imagined and enacted liberation from the systems of anti-Black racism, white settler colonialism, and gender hierarchy through interdisciplinary practices of anti-mastery in “Walking on the Moon: Visiting Alternative Futures in the Space Age.”

Selin Ozulkulu will analyze the late-19th century global artist network of Jean-Léon Gérôme, Osman Hamdi Bey, and Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin to explore each of their varying claims of authenticity through the intersection of temporality, space, and gender in “Materializing Authenticity, Manifesting Orientalism Globally.”

Oliver Ruhl will investigate issues of miniaturization and replication amidst the contested binaries of the natural and the urban in Henri Rivière’s Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower and its referent, Katsushika Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji in “Antipodal Syntheses: The Eiffel Tower and Mount Fuji | Rivière and Hokusai.”

Troy Sherman will explore how the concept of environment altered the political investments of architecture during the 1960s and 70s in “The Disneyland of Design: Architecture and Its Environments in Aspen, Colorado.”

Yubai Shi’s paper, “Zineb Sedira’s Gardiennes d’images: Narrating through Linguistic and Visual Code Switching,” will explore the visual, textual, and linguistic modes of code-switching as they are implicated in the postcolonial relationship between Algeria and France in Zineb Sedira’s 2010 video installation Gardiennes d’images (Image Keepers).

Published June 1, 2021