Department of Art and Art History News

Q+A with Shelby Johnston, undergraduate in Art History

Thu. January 28, 2016

woman poses for photograph in front of scenic view
Johnston on the Palazzo Piccolomini Loggia in Pienza

How did you learn about the Undergraduate Research Fellowship and what was the process of applying like for you? Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do?

Shelby Johnston: Dr. Ann Johns, my thesis adviser, recommended I apply for the Undergraduate Research Fellowship. In addition, I discussed the process with Jessica Thompson, an art history major who had received the fellowship the prior year. In August I started on the application. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and needed to see how that corresponded with my thesis, which helped me in the application process.

Photograph of Italian landscape
The view of the hanging gardens from the Palazzo Piccolomini Loggia. In the way background Mont' Amiata is covered with fog in Pienza.

What sites or artifacts were most important for you to visit? How does the in-person experience of your research topics change or influence your ideas?

SJ: I was in Siena, Italy for the majority of my trip, but I also took a day trip to Pienza. The sites that were the most important for me to see were the Piccolomini Library, which is located in Siena’s Duomo, the façade in Piccolomini Square, and the Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza.

My senior thesis is on Pope Pius II and his legacy in Siena and how his patronage affected the city. The in-person experience is so different from researching online and looking at photos from books. Art History and art historical research so heavily relies on the visual aspect of things and being able to see Pius II’s projects as well as the Piccolomini Library in person greatly benefited my thesis research, especially since Pius describes all of his projects in his Commentarii. There are certain details that you cannot retain from seeing a photo or reading about a place. Being able to actually walk around these places you can make your own observations and that can influence your ideas. Pius II’s descriptions have more meaning now that I have seen some of the places he describes. For example Pius II describes the view of Mount Amiata from the Palazzo Piccolomini loggia in Pienza and compares it to Petrarch’s Mont Ventoux. If I had not seen this view myself how could I truly understand Pius II’s inspiration?

christmas tree by sculpture of man in courtyard
Piazza Salimbeni in Siena decorated for Christmas (I was there the week before Christmas).

What was the funniest or most surprising experience during your travel?

SJ: Well, Italy is always bound to be an adventure. When traveling there during the off-season not as many restaurants are open and different sites and buses don’t have their normal hours. Probably the most surprising thing that happened occurred on a day trip from Siena to Pienza. Normally the bus first stops outside of Pienza and then again in the square just outside the medieval gate. Of course it being the off-season the bus did not make its second stop.

By the time we were leaving Pienza I realized the bus wasn’t stopping and ended up getting out at the next stop and spending that day in Montepulciano instead. However, this mishap turned into a wonderful day nonetheless. We met Adamo the owner of Cantina Contucci who is featured in Rick Steves’ travel books on Italy. He was delightful and gave us a personal tour of his winery.

fresco of man shaking hand of woman with battle in background
The fresco Meeting Between Frederick III and Eleanor of Aragon and Canonization of Saint Catherine from the Piccolomini Libraryin Siena. Pius II is the figure in the center.
 
What's next for you in this upcoming semester?

SJ: I will finish writing my senior thesis “Pope Pius II: The Building of a Legacy in Siena” and present it at the Undergraduate Art History Symposium in April.
 

Georgia Carter (M.F.A. Studio Art, 2015) presents work at Lawndale Art Center

Wed. January 27, 2016

three graphic drawings hanging on white wall
Photo by Sandy Carson. Courtesy of the Visual Arts Center

Georgia Carter (M.F.A. in Studio Art, 2015) presents new work in "Grisaille" at Lawndale Art Center. The exhibition will be on view January 22 – February 27, 2016.

2016 CAA reception and sessions to note

Mon. January 25, 2016

image of washington monument with orange flowers in foreground

Join the Department of Art and Art History reception and meet fellow alumni, students, and faculty. The reception will be held Friday, February 5, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Bookmark sessions that including faculty, students or alumni listed below. See the full schedule at collegeart.org.

Wednesday, February 3

The Artist-Critic: History, Identity, Work
9:30 a.m. – noon
No Destination: Regina Rex’s Consensus, Katie Geha, Ph.D. in Art History, 2012, currently at Dodd Galleries, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia

CAA Promotion and Tenure Guidelines For Design Faculty
12:30 – 2 p.m.
Carma Gorman, assistant chair and associate professor of Design

The Language Of Fame and Failure In The Renaissance
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Chair: Jeffrey Chipps Smith, Kay Fortson Chair in European Art

The Art Of Assembly: Urban Space and Crowd Control In The Middle Ages
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Chair: Gillian B. Elliott, Ph.D. in Art History, 2005, currently at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

The Modernities Of French Art and Its History, 1780 To The Present
2:30 – 5 p.m.
French Art at the End of Modernism: The Case of Supports/Surfaces, Allison Myers, M.A. in Art History, 2009, Ph.D. candidate in Art History

Thursday, February 4

Everything Disappears
9:30 a.m. – noon
Co-Chair: Alexander Dumbadze, M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History, 1999/2005, currently at The George Washington University

Why Review?
9:30 a.m. – noon
Discussant: David Raskin, Ph.D. in Art History, 1999, currently at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Without Borders: The Promise and Pitfalls of Inter-American Art History
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Co-Chair: Breanne Roberston, M.A. in Art History, 2005, currently at American University

Out Of Time and Out Of Place: Comparative Approaches In Art History
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Between Reality and Transcendence: Byzantine Modernism in the Mid-Twentieth Century, Jessamine Batario, M.A. in Art History, 2012, Ph.D. candidate in Art History

Another 5x5: Mining the DC Area’s Distinct Culture
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Co-Chair: Zoe Charlton, M.F.A. in Studio Art, 1999, currently at American University

Pacific Standard Time North: San Francisco Art, 1960 -1980
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Visualizing Political Prisoners in Third World San Francisco, Tatiana Reinoza, M.A. in Art History, 2009, Ph.D. in Art History

Art and Citizenship in Contemporary Social Practice
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Panelist: Erin Duganne, M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History, 1997/2004, part of Borderland Collective

Friday, February 5

Housework: Contemporary Art and the Domestic
9:30 – noon
The Inseparable Connectivity of It all: Amanda Ross-Ho’s White Goddesses and Vintage Macramé Books, Susan E. Richmond, M.A and Ph.D. in Art History 1995/2002, currently at Georgia State University

Before the Selfie: Promoting the Creative Self in Early Modern Northern Europe
12:30 – 2 p.m.
Bavarian Apelles: Hans Wertinger’s Inserted Self-Portrait from the Landschut Court of Ludwig X., Catharine Ingersoll, M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History, 2009/2014, currently at Virginia Military Institute

Female Piety and Visual Culture in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Hispanic World
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Chair: Cristina C. Gonźalez, M.A. in Art History, 1999, currently at Oklahoma State University

Controversy, Censorship, and Conundrums: Finding Connections in Teaching
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Co-Chair: Ruth Stanford, B.F.A. in Studio Art, 2000, currently at Georgia State University

Publishing in European Postwar and Contemporary Art: New Prospects in Research and Translation
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Rewriting the Arts in France since 1945, Catherine Dossin, Ph.D. in Art History 2008, currently at Purdue University

Department of Art and Art History, UT Austin Reception
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Department of Art and Art History alumni, faculty, and students are invited to a reception at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Park Tower Suite 8219, Lobby Level.

Saturday, February 6

Copy That: Painted Replicas and Repetitions before the Age of Appropriation
9:30 a.m. – noon
Chair: Valerie L. Hellstein, M.A. in Art History, 2001, currently at The Willem de Kooning Foundation

Formalism Before Clement Greenberg – Part II
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Discussant: Richard Shiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, Professor of Art History

Aesthetics of Displacement: The Graphic Evidence
2:30 – 5 p.m.
The Moon Reader: Touch in Translation, Teresa Jaynes, B.F.A. in Studio Art, 1980, currently artist-in-resident at The Library Company of Philadelphia

 

Tamara Johnson presents work at Cue Foundation

Thu. January 21, 2016

orange rope sculpture twisted leaning against white wall
Image courtesy of the artist.

Tamara Johnson (B.F.A. Studio Art, 2007) presents work at Cue Art Foundation. The exhibition will be on view February 13 – March 23, 2016.

Faculty, alumni and students present work at MASS Gallery

Tue. January 19, 2016

Staycation text in yellow in an arc on pink background

Staycation opens January 22, 2016 at MASS Gallery. The exhibition includes work by Jeana Baumgardner, Anthony Creeden (M.F.A. candidate in Studio Art), Ryan Davis (B.F.A. Studio Art, 2006), Caitlin Halloran (M.F.A. candidate in Studio Art), Dan Sutherland (associate professor of Studio Art), and Raymond Uhlir (B.F.A. Studio Art, 2002). Staycation will be on view through February 27, 2016.