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Open Now
Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400
Open Now
Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400

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Public Program

Vivian L. Smith Foundation Symposium

How does the definition of transgression shift from the physical act of crossing boundaries to the conceptual territory of moral violations? As artworks accumulate different meanings over time, some interpretations vary radically from the artwork’s original context. Scholars Keith Moxey (Barnard College/Columbia University), Amy Knight Powell (University of California, Irvine), and Karen Overbey (Tufts University) consider the balance between interpretive freedom and historical responsibility. Symposium moderator Jessamine Batario is a doctoral candidate in art history at The University of Texas at Austin, and this year’s Vivian L. Smith Foundation Fellow.

Program schedule:
“Introduction: Horizontals, Verticals, and the Risks of Being Wrong” Jessamine Batario, Vivian L. Smith Foundation Fellow

“The Rectangle’s Transgressions”
Amy Knight Powell, University of California, Irvine
Amy Knight Powell will discuss the long history of the rectangular format in picture-making, from early books to the present screen, to question the way we see and think.

“Whose Middle Ages? Reception, Revision, and Responsibility”
Karen Overbey, Tufts University
Karen Overbey will analyze the history of white supremacist appropriation of medieval imagery to advocate for the engagement of contemporary historians to correct misconceptions of the middle ages.

“Art History’s Transgressive Temporalities”
Keith Moxey, Barnard College/Columbia University
Keith Moxey will compare two fifteenth-century paintings, a Van Eyck altarpiece and a Shen Zhou landscape, in order to present two different modes of temporal understanding that ultimately asks us to consider art history’s present potential.