Synopses & Reviews
Inspired by the thirteenth annual Artefacts meeting, held in Washington, DC in October 2008, Analyzing Art and Aesthetics
(Artefacts series, Vol. 9) investigates the materiality of science and technology, focusing on art and aesthetics.
How have artists responded to developments in science and/or technology, in their own times, or from the past? Moreover, how have art forms as diverse as glassblowing, sculpture, drawing, and painting responded to discourse and achievement in the arenas of science and technology, or inspired innovation and discovery in these fields?
Rather than limiting the discussion to art alone, the conference organizers also invited participants to consider aesthetics, a field originally conceived as the philosophy of beauty, but reframed in recent years to include the scholarly consideration of sensory responses to cultural objects. When considered as aesthetic objects, how do scientific instruments or technological innovations reflect and embody culturally-grounded assessments about appearance, feel, and use? And when these objects become museum artifacts, what aesthetic factors affect how they are exhibited? For all of these questions, the participating scholars looked for answers in the material objects themselves. By doing so, the conference--and this volume--reconsidered how science, technology, art, and aesthetics impact one another.
This volume includes contributions from 19 leading scholars based in the academic arena as well as the museum world in a diverse range of disciplines who explore the significance of artistic interventions into scientific discourse as well as the impact of science and technology on the development of art ranging from the late eighteenth century to the present. The essays have been broken into three sections, each with its own introduction that will enable readers to focus on overarching categories: Artists Interpret Science and Technology; Aesthetics of Technology; and Models as Aesthetic Objects.
This ninth volume of the Artefacts series explores how artists have responded to developments in science and technology, past and present. Rather than limiting the discussion to art alone, editors Anne Collins Goodyear and Margaret Weitekamp also asked contributors to consider aesthetics: the scholarly consideration of sensory responses to cultural objects. When considered as aesthetic objects, how do scientific instruments or technological innovations reflect and embody culturally grounded assessments about appearance, feel, and use? And when these objects become museum artifacts, what aesthetic factors affect their exhibition? Contributors found answers in the material objects themselves. This volume reconsiders how science, technology, art, and aesthetics impact one another.
About the Author
Anne Collins Goodyear, PhD, is Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and Professorial Lecturer in Art and Art History at George Washington University. She is coeditor, with James W. McManus, of Inventing Marcel Duchamp: The Dynamics of Portraiture (Washington, DC: National Portrait Gallery, 2009) and has published numerous essays exploring intersections between modern and contemporary art and portraiture with science and technology. Beginning June 1, 2013, she will assume her new position as Co-Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
Margaret A. Weitekamp, PhD, is a curator in the Space History Division at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum, where she oversees over 4,000 pieces of space memorabilia and space science fiction objects. She wrote Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: Americas First Women in Space Program (2004), winner of the Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature from the American Astronautical Society. She earned her BA at the University of Pittsburgh and her PhD at Cornell University.
Table of Contents
Series Preface by Martin Collins
Foreword by G. Wayne Clough
Models as Aesthetic Objects
Chapter 1 Using Science to Parse the Body: Some Artful Methods for Learning Medicine by Katherine Ott
Chapter 2 The Disappearing Model: Harvard’s Glass Flowers and the Perils of Trompe l’Oeil by Ellery Foutch
Chapter 3 “A Track Across What Is Now a Desert”: A. H. Munsell’s Quest for a System of Color by Erin McLeary
Chapter 4 Models: Assembled Realities in Architecture and Engineering by Dirk Buhler
Aesthetics of Technology
Chapter 5 Karsh: Image Maker:Bringing Artifacts to an Art Show by Bryan Dewalt
Chapter 6 Softening the Orbiter:The Space Shuttle as Plaything and Icon by Margaret A. Weitekamp
Chapter 7 The Kilmer Complex: Artificial-Tree Cellular Towers and Landscape Aesthetics by Bernard Mergen
Chapter 8 Form Over Function? Technology, Aesthetics, and Identity at the National Museum of Scotland by Alison Taubman
Chapter 9 Split + Splice: An Experiment in Scholarly Methodologyand Exhibition Making by Martha Fleming
Artists Interpret Science and Technology
Chapter 10 Mercurial Pigments and the Alchemy of John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark by David Bjelajac
Chapter 11 C. A. A. Dellschau: An Outsider Artist and the Dream of Flight by Tom D. Crouch
Chapter 12 African Cultural Astronomy and the Arts: A Preliminary Enquiry by Christine Mullen Kreamer
Chapter 13 The Mathematical Paintings of Crockett Johnson, 1965–1975: An Amateur and His Sources by Peggy Aldrich Kidwell
Chapter 14 Art in the Context of a Science Institution: A Case Study of the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences by J. D. Talasek
Chapter 15 Retaking the Universe: Art and Appropriated Astronomical Artifacts by Elizabeth A. Kessler
Chapter 16 The Medium as Message in Contemporary Portraiture by Anne Collins Goodyear
Collaboration in Action: Three Perspectives on the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship Program
Chapter 17 Contemporary Art Informed by Science: The Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship by Jane Milosch
Chapter 18 The Influence and Inspiration from Taking Part in the Smithsonian’s Artist Research Fellowship Program by Shih Chieh Huang
Chapter 19 Light at the Museum by Lynne R. Parenti
About the Contributors