4-3&4-2014 Erika Doss
Presenter: Dr. Erika Doss, Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame
Dates: April 3-4, 2014
Bio: Dr. Erika Doss is professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in American, modern, and contemporary art and cultural studies.
Public Talk Details:
Date: April 3, 2014 from 7:00-8:30pm
Location: Rockwell Hall, Lecture Hall 1, Duquesne University
Title: The Aesthetics of Victimization: Commemorating Loss, Violence, and Catastrophe in Contemporary Public Art
Abstract: Over the past few decades, thousands of newly dedicated memorials to the subjects of slavery, terrorism, war, massacres, school shootings, religious persecution, natural disasters, and disease, among others, have materialized in various national landscapes. These victim memorials represent part of a larger commemorative movement that art historian Erika Doss calls memorial mania: a preoccupation with issues of memory and history accompanied by urgent desires to express those concerns in public spaces and places. Examining recent commemorative projects in France, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, the United States, and elsewhere, this talk situates contemporary victim memorials in revisionist understandings of history, including ethical imperatives to remember those who have been forgotten or marginalized, a strong emphasis on linking the past with the present, the haunting specter of postcolonial victimization, and heightened expectations of emotionally engaged forms of public culture that may act as transformative sites of conscience.
Date: April 4, 2014 from 12-2pm
Location: Berger Gallery (College Hall 207), Duquesne University
Title: Vandalism, Removal, Re-Siting, Destruction: The Dilemma of Public Art's Permanence
Abstract: Public art is often equivocal, unresolved, and ambivalent. Its meaning is neither inherent nor eternal but processual: dependent on a variety of cultural and social relationships and subject to the volatile intangibles of multiple publics and their fluctuating interests and feelings. Consequently, public art that contradicts, violates, or condemns presentist concerns and beliefs may be defaced and despoiled. Some works may be removed, re-sited, dismantled, and/or destroyed. This symposium examines the dilemma of public art's permanence, particularly when it embodies values or supports beliefs no longer considered viable among various publics. Focusing on both historical and contemporary examples, it contextualizes how and why public art is sometimes vandalized and removed and provides a theoretical overview of the subject, asking: What are the ethical and political terms of public art's damage and destruction? Do such acts constitute public dissent? Is it legitimate to erase aberrant historical memories? What are the alternatives to the defacement and destruction of public art?
All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served at the symposium.
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