Exhibiting Ivory Today: Historical Artifacts in a Contemporary Context

A panel of experts in art history, law, and Arctic studies, spoke recently about historic significance of ivory as an artistic medium and the implication of new regulations on the transport of ivory nationally and internationally as part of efforts to protect elephants and other endangered species.

The speakers are Stephen J. Knerly Jr., Esq., of Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP; Genevieve LeMoine, curator, Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum; and Stephen Perkinson, Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Art History. They offer many perspectives on this issue.

Stephen Perkinson: “Lessons for Living: The Macabre in Renaissance Art”

Stephen Perkinson, Bowdoin’s Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Art History and guest curator, delivers the keynote address, “Lessons for Living: The Macabre in Renaissance Art” to open the Bowdoin Museum of Art exhibition The Ivory Mirror: The Art of Mortality in Renaissance Europe.

The Ivory Mirror explores the rich visual culture of mortality in Renaissance Europe. Exquisite artworks — from ivory prayer beads to gem-encrusted jewelry — evoke life’s preciousness and the tension between pleasure and responsibility, then and now.

Sponsored by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Free and open to the public.

Why Draw? Artist Natalie Frank on Drawings and their Subtexts

Natalie Frank’s widely exhibited and critically acclaimed illustrations of the “unsanitized” fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm ponder their implications for women, their bodies, desires, and fears. Illustrations of the tale “The Maiden Without Hands” are on view in the exhibition “Why Draw? 500 Years of Watercolors and Drawings at Bowdoin College.”

Elliot Bostwick Davis: “Reimagining ‘American’ Art: The MFA, Boston, and Museums of the Future”

In 2010 the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, opened its new wing dedicated to the Arts of the Americas, a transformation led by Elliot Bostwick Davis, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In her lecture, she reflects on the MFA’s evolution and what it means to tell the story of American art in an encyclopedic museum.

Perspectives from Postwar Hiroshima

Symposium: “Perspectives from Postwar Hiroshima: Chuzo Tamotzu, Children’s Drawings, and the Art of Resolution”

In conjunction with the exhibition Perspectives from Postwar Hiroshima: Chuzo Tamotzu, Children’s Drawings, and the Art of Resolution, leading artists, historians, and art historians offer their perspectives on the cultural implications of World War II – particularly the atomic explosion in Hiroshima – for Japan and for Americans of Japanese descent in the United States.

The event explores the important role that art can play in expressing and responding to political and social conflict.

Speakers include Yukiyo Kawano, artist, Portland, Oregon; Roger Shimomura, University Distinguished Professor of Art Emeritus, The University of Kansas; Mark Selden, professor emeritus of sociology and history, State University of New York at Binghamton; John K.W. Tchen, founding director, Asia/Pacific/American Institute; Aiko Izumisawa, independent scholar, Kagoshima, Japan; Michael Amano, Bowdoin Class of 2017; and Virginia Crow, Class of 2018.

Kendall Brown: Japanese Prints Renewed, The Agents and Tangents of Sosaku Hanga

Kendall Brown, professor of Asian art history at California State University-Long Beach, explores the post-war flourishing of the Sosaku Hanga or “creative print” movement in Japan through its American patrons and scholars and its emphasis on the materiality of woodblock prints.

Presented in conjunction with the installation of Sosaku Hanga at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Iconoclasm and the Power of Images

Contemporary vandalism of works of art by religious fanatics is only the latest episode in a millennia-long struggle to define and control the power of images that has erupted across cultural and religious boundaries. This evening offers the opportunity to explore iconoclasm in history, learn about its motivations, and reflect on the destructive and creative powers it unleashes.

Participating faculty members are Assistant Professor of Government Barbara Elias Klenner, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Meryem Belkaid, Associate Professor of Classics James Higginbotham, Professor of Religion Robert Morrison, and the Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Art History Stephen Perkinson. Museum Curator Joachim Homann moderated the event.

Organized in conjunction with the exhibition The Temptation of Saint Anthony.

Jens Daehner: “Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculptures of the Hellenistic World”

From the fourth century BCE to the first century CE, artists of the Mediterranean world created richly detailed bronze sculptures of unparalleled realism and expression. Only a few of these ancient masterpieces survive. Jens Daehner, associate curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum who recently curated a celebrated exhibition of Hellenistic bronzes for the Getty Museum, discusses the importance of bronze in antiquity and artistic innovations of the Hellenistic period.

Presented by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Richard Saunders ’70: Additional Observations on Identity in American Art

Richard Saunders ’70 discusses the emergence of portrait abstraction in the context of the broader history of American portraiture.

Saunders is a Walter Cerf Distinguished College Professor and director at Middlebury College Museum of Art. He is also an art historian and author of the recently published American Faces: A Cultural History of Portraiture and Identity (2016). He received his BA from Bowdoin, his MA in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware, and MA, M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale.

Presented by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.