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Greek sculpture of woman with percussive instruments

The Sound of Sculpture: Listening to Early American Art

Monday, March 14, 2016
4:00 pm
Heritage Room, Shriver Center

For a topic, would you mind if I spoke about sound in relation to art-historical studies, instead of the more natural topic, that is, visual culture and visual perception?  I am currently working on a book project that is about iconoclasm, and that tries to locate the destruction of works of art (public monuments, for the most part) within urban landscapes that are at once ritualized, processual, and affective.  This has led to my delving into questions of how everyday people in late colonial New York (when/where these acts of iconoclasm occurred, for the most part) mobilized sound -- both actual and imaginative (such as the imagined speeches of marble statues and other kinds of monuments) -- to organize political landscapes.  I've been particularly interested in how such rituals of sound helped to create the very conditions for political iconoclasm during the outset of the American Revolution.  Another way of putting this is simply to ask:  what does iconoclasm sound like?

Wendy Bellion is Associate Professor of art history at the University of Delaware.  She is the author of Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America, which was awarded the 2014 Charles Eldredge Prize in Outstanding Scholarship by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  She has lectured and published widely on the art of the British Atlantic world and early modern Americas.  Her current book project, What Statues Remember, explores iconoclasm, reenactment, and historical memory in New York City.

Reception to follow.

Wendy Bellion
Wendy Bellion
Associate Professor of Art History, University of Delaware