The SHERA Board is pleased to announce the SHERA-sponsored panel to be held at the meeting of ASEEES in Boston from December 6-10 as well as two runners-up. While ASEEES does not have a mechanism for noting runners-up in the convention’s online or printed schedules, we would like to recognize particularly interesting panels as well as alerting the membership to their colleagues’ current and ongoing research. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a panel.
Final confirmation of acceptance of panels will not be announced until June 1. After that time, SHERA’s board members will pull together a list of all panels potentially of interest to the membership. Members are all invited to announce their panels, together with dates and times, on H-SHERA after acceptance notifications are sent out in early May.
The panel selected for 2018 is:
The Passion for Collecting: Collectors and Their Collections in Imperial Russia (1800-1917)
The panel is devoted to the history of private collections in the long nineteenth century in imperial Russia. It discusses collections, collectors and their collecting practices in order to explore collectors’ purposes and intellectual pursuits, the exhibiting and popularization of collected objects, art and artifacts, and debates triggered by collections’ display.
Chair: Kyeann Sayer, PhD Candidate (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)
Laura Schlosberg, PhD (Stanford University), “Zinaida Volkonskaia’s Allée de Souvenirs at the Villa Wolkonsky in Rome”
The paper examines Volkonskaia’s Allée de Souvenirs as a historical and autobiographical creation, a collection with both personal and educational purposes. While Diego Angeli identified the Allée as an expression of Volkonskaia’s nostalgia, the Allée presents a historical narrative, one in conversation with its Roman setting connecting Russia to European civilization.
Hanna Chuchvaha, PhD (Independent scholar), “Craftswomen and Stitches: Print Collections of Female Crafts in Late Imperial Russia (1860-1917)”
The paper analyzes the specific female collectors’ focus on objects associated with women, their pastimes, domesticity and femininity understood as an expression of both self and group identity. The paper explores the printed albums of female crafts collected and published by Sofia Davydova, Olena Pchilka, Princess S. N. Shakhovskaia, Natalia Shabel’skaia’s daughters, and Ebba Salwen.
Isabel Stokholm, PhD Candidate (University of Cambridge), “‘Having glimpsed the light, one does not wish for darkness’: Reform and Rehang in the Tretyakov Gallery, 1913-1917”
The paper explores four years of upheaval and change in the Tretyakov, bookended by the publication of its first scholarly catalogue in 1917. It examines how Russia’s artistic community engaged with the gallery when it was still finding its feet in the transition from private to national, following the death of Pavel Tretyakov fourteen years prior.
Discussant: Alla Myzelev, PhD (SUNY, Geneseo)
As noted above, we hope that all those attending the 2018 meeting will note the two submitted panels selected as runners-up:
Culture’s Industry, Industry’s Culture: Negotiation of Art, Craft and Industry through the Soviet Mid-Century
Christianna Bonin, Presenter and Chair, PhD Candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Olivia Crough, Presenter, PhD Candidate, Harvard University
Suheyla Takesh, Presenter, SMArchS Candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Maria Mileeva, Discussant, Teaching Fellow, University College London
Perhaps more than any other topos, the industrial factory has shaped conceptions of Soviet art in historical and contemporary imaginations. Its salience is evident in the divergent ways that artists, critics, and political officials debated and performed the effects of industrial mass production on art-making across the Soviet mid-century: from the 1920s, when the production line became the key to training “engineerartists” and socializing art by removing it from allegedly backward handcraft and bourgeois studio practices; to the 1960s, when a growing number of historians and preservationists viewed industrialization as a threat to traditional cultures and craft skills. Questioning culture’s changing relationship to labor and industry, this panel examines the effects of the industrial factory as both a real and imagined site on artists and their work. Our case studies focus on artists from or practicing across Central Asia, Russia, and the Middle East because their work critically reveals the extent of Soviet cultural and industrial hegemony, as well as shifts in the utility of local practice to industry before and after World War II. In each of our case studies, we consider the circulation and commoditization of objects and practical knowledge into market goods, collectibles and tourism industries. Countering the belief that modern industry eliminates craft or tradition, this panel reveals how these concepts operate in tandem in the Soviet context.
The first paper considers Varvara Stepanova’s role in the state publishing industry, as a woman designer and art director, parsing how publications such as 10 years of Soviet Uzbekistan (1934) produces relations between Central Asian culture, craft, and the cotton industry in the 1930s. The second paper analyzes a hybrid form of painting made by a young generation of Kazakh artists in 1960s Almaty. Aware that the introduction of industrial labor and a system of fine art education had deskilled or eliminated certain forms of Kazakh carpet-making, this group combined older carpet-making techniques with the primitivist aesthetics of Western artists in their paintings in order to perform their modernity internationally, while also appealing to state-led craft revival programs. The third paper examines the work of Iraqi artist Mahmoud Sabri, who studied in Moscow in the 1960s under socialist realist painter Aleksandr Deineka” and utilized the aesthetic and craft technique of Orthodox icon painting in works attending to the trauma of Communists’ repression in Iraq.
Exhibiting Artistic Change: Social and Aesthetic Dimensions of Art Exhibitions in Imperial Russia
This panel aims to explore the changing role, function, and format of art exhibitions in Imperial Russia. Advocating an interdisciplinary approach, the panel will address both the aesthetic and the social aspects of art exhibitions. The aesthetic aspect will include examination of the manner in which the state, academies, voluntary societies, art groups and individual artists represent their aesthetic agenda through the exhibition medium; the extent to which the exhibition can be instrumental in constructing and promoting national identity; and the ways in which art exhibitions affected the development of the art historical narratives. The social aspect will explore both the political and commercial dimensions of the exhibition practice: to which extent did art exhibitions contribute to the expansion of the public art scene in Russia? What was the role of the art market, state (censorship), voluntary societies, artists, critics and viewers in this process? How did the art exhibition as a marketing tool change over time and what were the social and artistic implications?
Chair: Aglaya Glebova, UC Irvine
Margaret Samu, The New School, Parsons School of Design, Art Exhibitions at Auctions and Estate Sales in St. Petersburg 1750–1850
Where could St. Petersburgers see and learn about works of art in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? Most scholarly literature about this period dwells on the absence of art on public view in the capital, relieved only by the triennial exhibitions at the Imperial Academy of Arts. Recent research, however, shows that exhibitions held before auctions and estate sales served as important venues for members of the literate classes to develop their knowledge of art and hone their connoisseurial skills. Because these exhibitions did not charge admission, nor require viewers to make purchases, they allowed non-elite classes the same opportunity to view art as the nobility who bought works for their collections. Drawing on newspaper announcements, sale inventories, and other primary sources, this paper will examine the role of these exhibitions in the development of taste and visual literacy in St. Petersburg before the mid-nineteenth century.
Nikita Balagurov, Higher School of Economics Saint Petersburg, Inventing the Russian School of Art at the 1882 All-Russian Exhibition
Abstract. In Moscow in 1882, the state-sponsored All-Russian Exhibition for the first time showcased achievements in the arts, along with those in heavy and light industries. Celebrating Tsar Alexander II’s reign, this Art Section, entitled “Twenty-Five Years of Russian Art”, became the first comprehensive survey of contemporary Russian art. By reconstructing the ideological, social and aesthetic aspects of the section, this paper scrutinizes this earliest attempt to formulate a narrative of a Russian “national school of art,” which was then further developed by the critic Vladimir Stasov in his influential essay by the same title (1882–1883) and in the founding of the Russian Museum of Alexander III in Saint Petersburg in 1898.
Andrey Shabanov, European University at St Petersburg, The End of the “Salons” in Russia and Western Europe
Abstract. The most defining professional emancipation of Russian artists in the late nineteenth century occurred with the privatization of art exhibitions — from an exhibition ruled by the Academy or other state-sponsored institutions, to one that was independently run. This change was realized by the Peredvizhniki (known in English as the Wanderers or Itinerants), which consisted of Moscow and St Petersburg artists who organized touring art exhibitions. The present paper will explore this major shift in exhibiting practices in Russia and its broader aesthetic and social implications. It will also examine how these changes related to similar late nineteenth-century institutional developments in Western Europe.
Maria Mileeva, University College London, Research and Teaching Fellow
Jane Sharp, Rutgers University