Art and Contemplation: 2015-2016 Department of Art History Speaker Series

What do we do when we behold a work of art? In most cases, art offers itself as a trigger for contemplation. Careful looking and reflection are the traditionally expected responses. Such sustained focus may feel harder to muster in our increasingly distracting world, but museums and galleries continue to function as a secular site for contemplation (and in fact often market themselves as offering just such opportunities). And of course the great belief traditions all over the world incorporate the visual arts in their practices, promising contact with or understanding of the divine through contemplation of images or spaces. Aesthetic appreciation has long been identified with pausing to reflect on the art object. But there is also a noteworthy currency to thinking about mindful attention to art; it is a practice of which artists, educators, and museum professionals seem increasingly aware.

This year, the Department of Art History will host three distinguished speakers on the topic of art and contemplation:

September 25, 2015
6pm, OEC Auditorium
Dr. Walter S. Melion
Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Art History at Emory University
Dr. Melion has published widely on Dutch and Flemish contemplative images, practices, and theories in the early modern period. Dr. Melion's presentation is the keynote event for the annual graduate student symposium on the following day, for which he will also serve as respondent.

March 4, 2016
6pm, OEC Auditorium
Dr. Wei-cheng Lin
Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago
Dr. Lin is a specialist in Chinese art and architecture, with a focus on how Buddhist practices and funerary rituals intersect with architecture.

April 8, 2016
6pm, OEC Auditorium
Dr. Deborah Haynes
Emerita Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder
Trained in both studio art and the study of religion, Dr. Haynes has published broadly and also focused on an artistic practice. Her writings and her art are both informed by extensive experience with yoga and various meditation traditions.


All events are free and open to the public and handicap accessible. For accessibility requests contact: (651) 962-6315.

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Speaker Series