Posted in February, 2016

Happenings at Bard

Panel Discussion in Conjunction with Exhibit: Photographs of Educated Youth: Images of the Chinese Youth Sent to the Countryside during the Cultural Revolution 1966-1976

educated youths0004Curated by Patricia Karetzky,
Oskar Munsterberg Chair of Asian Art, Bard College

The show comprises twenty-five photographs of the Cultural Revolution in China from the perspective of the youth sent to the countryside. The photographer, Tang Desheng, a youth himself, embedded himself in the movement traveling throughout China for ten years documenting the lives of displaced youth.


Campus Center
Bard College
April 1-30, 2016,
Opening Reception Wednesday, April 13 5-6, Refreshments served.

Panel Discussion with Thomas Keenan, Robert Berkowitz, Drew Thompson, Gilles Peress and Robert Culp
Weis Auditorium, April 13, 2016, 6-8 pm

Faculty News

A Talk by Susan Aberth at NYU

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.05.14 AMLanguage of the Birds: Occult and Art
80WSE Gallery, New York University
January 12 – February 13, 2016

Curated by Pam Grossman
Opening reception: Wednesday, January 13, 6 – 8pm
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 10:30am – 6pm

Language of the Birds: Occult and Art considers over 60 modern and contemporary artists who have each expressed their own engagement with magical practice.  Beginning with Aleister Crowley’s trance portraiture and Austin Osman Spare’s automatic drawing of the early 20th century, the exhibition traces over 100 years of occult art, including Leonora Carrington and Kurt Seligmann’s surrealist explorations, Kenneth Anger and Ira Cohen’s ritualistic experiments in film and photography, and the mystical probings of contemporary visionaries such as Francesco Clemente, Kiki Smith, Paul Laffoley, BREYER P-ORRIDGE, and Carol Bove.

The concerns and influences of each of these artists are as eclectic as the styles in which they work. While several of the pieces deal with “high” or ceremonial magic, others draw from so-called “low magic” practices and have deeply chthonic roots. The approaches in technique are varying as well, with some doing years of research and preparation for the act of creation, and others working entirely intuitively. Regardless of method, Language of the Birds suggests that all are part of the same lineage: one that pulls on threads from the esoteric web of alchemy, Hermeticism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, divination and witchcraft.

The exhibition takes its name from the historical and cross-cultural notion that there is a magic language via which only the initiated can communicate.  Often referred to as the “language of the birds,” it is a system rumored to operate in symbols, and to be a vehicle for revealing hidden truths and igniting metamorphic sparks.

The artists in Language of the Birds can be considered magicians, then, when seen through this mythopoeic lens. A visual vocabulary is offered up by them, so that we all might be initiated into their imaginal mystery cults and dialog with the ineffable. They speak to us in secret tongues, cast spells, and employ pictures for the purpose of activating profound change in both themselves and in us.  By going within, then drawing streams of imagery forth through their creations, each of these artists seeks to render the invisible visible, to materialize the immaterial, and to tell us that we, too, can enter numinous realms.

Special Events Related to the Exhibition

Weds, Jan 13: Opening Reception   6-8pm

Weds, Jan 27: Performance of “The Language,” a theatrical piece written by playwright Matthew Freeman, commissioned for Language of the Birds.    7pm – Free and open to the public.

Fri, Feb 5 – Sun, Feb 7: The Occult Humanities Conference at NYU Steinhardt – a weekend long symposium of 14 lectures and performances which explore the influence of magical thought upon art, history, and contemporary culture.  Tickets required – SOLD OUT.

Weds, Feb 10: “Art Workings” Lectures and panel discussion with Professor Susan L. Aberth, Jesse Bransford, and William Breeze, moderated by exhibition curator, Pam Grossman.   7pm – Free and open to the public.


Link to Language of the Birds: Occult and Art




Faculty News

Olga Touloumi to speak at CAA

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 12.47.29 PMOn the Visual Front: Revisiting World War II and American Art

Time: 02/05/2016, 9:30 AM—12:00 PM
Location: Virginia Suite, Lobby Level

Chairs: John W. Ott, James Madison University; Melissa Renn, Harvard Business School

War Rooms and the Question of Mediation
Olga Touloumi

Targeting Asianness in World War II: Military Manuals, Visual Markers, and Racial Fictions
Jason D. Weems, University of California, Riverside

Art and Race in Arizona: The 1943 Exhibition of Negro Art at Fort Huachuca
Betsy Fahlman, Arizona State University

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Place
Sascha T. Scott, Syracuse University

‘Operation Crossroads’: American Abstraction in the Atomic Age
Jody Patterson, Plymouth University

Discussant: Melissa Renn, Harvard Business School