The Meditative Surface
April 01 – May 16, 1984
Jasper Johns and the Meditative Surface
Location: The Renaissance Society
Admission: $3.00, $2.00 members
Carter Ratcliff, art historian and critic, will discuss the development of a meditative painting in response to the bravura of New York School action painting.
Carter Ratcliff is a contributer to Art in America, Arts Magazine, Saturday Review, Architectural Digest, Vogue, Artforum, Art International, Connaissance des Arts, Art Press, and other publications, and has held a wide range of curatorial and teaching positions throughout the U.S.
Woman with Book
Location: Law School Auditorium at the University of Chicago
Admission: $5.00, $3.00 Renaiss
Leo Steinberg will lecture on his study of the ways in which men from the 14th century to the present have perceived woman reading, that is to say, how men through the imagery of art, illustration, advertising, and so on, have regarded the female intelligence or women's claims to intellectual parity. The record of Western imagery since the 14th century reveals, as might be expected, a persistent sexism. The first paradigm of the woman with book is found to be the Virgin Mary; but the Madonna is also the paradigm of the woman whose reading is interrupted so she may fulfill her essential role as childbearer. It is astonishing to find that the tyype of woman as the interrupted or interruptable reader remains in force to this day. Other prototypes of the female reading are examined, notably Mary Magadelene, Francesca da Rimini, and Madame Bovary. The investigation proceeds roughly chronologically, covering questions of female literacy from the point of view of social class, the relative age of the reader, the spread of female literacy, the emergence of literatures catering specifically to women, and the sexual symbolism of the open, as opposed to closed, book. The study ends with the modern American advertiser's approach to the image of woman with book.
Leo Steinberg was born in Moscow and educated in London. He settled in New York after World War II, and has become one of the world's most eminent art historians and critics. His collected writing on modern art were published in 1972 by Oxford Univeristy Press under the title Other Criteria. His more recent books include Michealangelo's Last Paintings (Phaidon and Oxford, 1975) and The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and Modern Oblivion (Pantheon, 1984). In 1983 he became the first art historian to receive an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.