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The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture

The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture
Aphrodisias was home to a thriving cadre of high-end artists until the seventh century A.D., when an earthquake caused it to fall into ruin. In 1961, archeologists began systematically excavating the city, storing thousands of sculptural fragments in depots. When Abbe arrived there, several decades later, he started poking around the depots and was astonished to find that many statues had flecks of color: red pigment on lips, black pigment on coils of hair, mirrorlike gilding on limbs. For centuries, archeologists and museum curators had been scrubbing away these traces of color before presenting statues and architectural reliefs to the public. “Imagine you’ve got an intact lower body of a nude male statue lying there on the depot floor, covered in dust,” Abbe said. “You look at it up close, and you realize the whole thing is covered in bits of gold leaf. The replicas often deliver a shock. For many people, the colors are jarring because their tones seem too gaudy or opaque.

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What Would James Baldwin Do?. Classics and the Dream of White Europe James Baldwin, author and civil rights activist, has recently re-emerged in American life. Not in the Frederick Douglass sense of someone “who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more,” but rather in his own words, gloriously preserved by Raoul Peck’s Oscar nominated documentary, I Am Not Your Negro (2017). Peck based the film’s narration on Baldwin’s own writings, including notes from his unfinished work, Remember this House, a personal account of the lives and violent deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. The end product is, as the LA Times noted, “like Baldwin … unadulterated, uncompromising and unapologetic.” Although Peck has emphasized the decade-long search for the right format to use in bringing Baldwin’s words to life, the movie asserts its relevance for audiences today by juxtaposing historic footage of riot police and demonstrations with that of more recent events, such as the protests at Ferguson.

The Ancient Mediterranean Was Diverse. Why Do Some People Get So Upset When We Talk About It? These controversies in Classics mirror a broader questioning of the value of diversity in the US and British populations that have manifested in recent political elections and policy proposals--from Brexit to the Trump administrations proposals to restrict travel, build a wall on the US-Mexico border, and change the way visas are granted to work in the US. The rhetoric of inclusion has even been changed in the way the US government discusses citizenship--no longer is their a grant to help with "Citizenship and Integration", but "Citizenship and Assimilation" and the Department of Justice is looking to investigate Affirmative Action in colleges as if they believe that too many non-whites are getting into US colleges. What these people often have in common is a flexible understanding of whiteness that sometimes includes people of Near/Middle Eastern descent and sometimes doesn't.

An Investigation of Black Figures in Classical Greek Art Pitcher (Oinochoe) in the Form of the Head of an African, about 510 B.C., attributed to Class B bis: Class of Louvre H 62. Terracotta, 8 7/16 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 83.AE.229. Black Figures in Classical Greek Art Pitcher (Oinochoe) in the Form of the Head of an African, about 510 B.C.E., attributed to Class B bis: Class of Louvre H 62. Terracotta, 8 7/16 inches high (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 83.AE.229. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program) In ancient Greece, men often escaped their daily grind to socialize at a symposium, or formalized drinking party.

How Photography Was Optimized for White Skin Color Color photo of the emir of Bukhara; Sergey Prokudin Gorsky, 1911 At a very, very basic level, this is how common photographic film works: film is thin plastic covered in a layer or layers of photosensitive chemicals. When exposed to a very small amount of light — like the tiny amount that hits it when a photographer presses the camera’s shutter button — a subtle image, invisible to the naked eye, forms on the film. Developing the film makes the image visible (as a negative — the parts that were exposed to the most light are the darkest, this is inverted in the printing process). Color film is coated with many layers of chemicals, with chemicals keyed to different colors in the different layers. The earliest color photographs were actually made up of three separate black and white photographs, one taken through a red color filter, one taken through a green color filter, and one taken through a blue color filter.

Museums are struggling to train their mostly white docents to talk about race. Palace Shaw was standing in one of the galleries in Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art when she heard something that rattled her. It was the summer of 2017, and the show on display was Nari Ward: Sun Splashed, a large retrospective of the Jamaican American artist’s work. Shaw, who had recently graduated from college, was working as a “visitor assistant”—which meant, she says, being a “mediator between the art and the visitor, but also kind of a policing role where I was enforcing museum policy.” She spent long days on her feet watching visitors stream in and out of galleries. That June day, one of the museum’s volunteer guides was leading a tour of four school-age girls.

How Latinx Artists Were Shut Out Of Art History Artists who identify as Latinx — the gender-neutral term for a person of Latin American descent who lives in the United States — face unique challenges. Their work is often devalued vis-à-vis that of their Latin American counterparts, who enjoy what scholar Arlene Dávila calls “national privilege”: a geographical presence in Central or South America and access to local spheres of influence, as well as the perception of authenticity from predominantly white, North American stakeholders. Conversely, the work of Latinx artists — especially those who were born in the US, are undocumented or have been exiled from their native countries, or otherwise maintain no ties to them, especially if they are Black or Indigenous — has been mischaracterized as illegitimate by the same audiences. This stigma of nationalism is propelled, not challenged, beyond the 50 states. In the first chapter, “What is Latinx Art?

Research Shows White Privilege Is Real Photo NEW HAVEN — THE recent reunion show for the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live” re-aired a portion of Eddie Murphy’s 1984 classic “White Like Me” skit, in which he disguised himself to appear Caucasian and quickly learned that “when white people are alone, they give things to each other for free.” The joke still has relevance.

Where Should Art History Go in the Future? – Curricular changes rarely make headlines even in the confines of a college town, but after Yale University’s art history department announced plans to revamp its introductory survey courses with global offerings less focused on Europe and the United States, the news prompted a national outcry. As reported by the Yale Daily News this past January in a story that spread far and wide, the long-standing course “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” would be replaced by a selection of thematic classes: “Art and Politics,” “Global Craft,” “The Silk Road,” and “Sacred Places.” The “Introduction to Art History” would return in a revised form, the department said, and the “Renaissance to the Present” would still be covered—just not altogether in an exclusive introduction to the field. Nevertheless, the dismantling of a monolithic course into component parts was mourned by some with deathly rhetoric that compared faculty members to murderers and dictators.

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person  Years ago some feminist on the Internet told me I was “privileged.” “THE F&CK!?!?” I said. The Overlooked Role of Black Women in Renaissance Paintings In Murrell’s explanation of “Posing Modernity,” she argues, in reference to T.J. Clark’s seminal text “Olympia’s Choice,” that the depiction of the servant in Olympia represents fictional understandings of Blackness, from a European perspective, of “natural” servitude. She deconstructs this narrative, presenting the Black woman as a foil to the accompanying white woman’s exalted position across portrayals of Black and white women together. These works serve to perpetuate the inaptness of the Black female body for nudity, vouch for its ugliness, and dismiss it in aesthetic conversations, then and now. Much more than a visual rendering of a mythological tale, Titian’s Diana and Actaeon served to perpetuate a European Renaissance fantasy of what was visually interesting and societally accepted as beautiful at the time. Titian’s work acts to confine Black womanhood to a space of functional and visual servitude to white beauty.

1770s – Portrait of a Lady Holding an Orange Blossom The sitter’s ensemble has touches that show it is meant for daywear, like her cap and apron. Her dress is what modern historians call a ’round gown,’ which does not have a separate matching petticoat. She has accessorized with transparent silk: an apron, a fichu (handkerchief), and a cap; she also wears large cut-steel earrings and a set of double-stranded pearl jewelry.