VSRI Events

VSRI Seminar Series MDA 599: Material Evidence

SOS 250

USC Professor of Art History AMY OGATA, leads a seminar of interdisciplinary cutting-edge research discussions, based on pre-circulated readings. The seminar is open to unenrolled attendees, with guests:

Daniela Bleichmar, USC, Early Modern Spanish Colonial Evidence (March 25)
Lynn Swartz Dodd, USC, Archaeological Evidence (January 28)
Ruth E. Iskin, Ben Gurion University, on Nineteenth-Century Posters (February 18)
Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Universiteit Utrecht, on Materiality and Crime (January 21)
Debora L. Silverman,UCLA, on Belgian Colonial Culture (March 11)
Willa Z. Silverman, Pennsylvania State, Luxury Books (February 25)
Allison Stielau, Getty Pre-Doc and Yale, Early Modern Metalwork (April 8)
Justin H. Underhill, USC, Digital Materiality (April 15)
Ann Marie Yasin, USC, Late Antiquity and Material Evidence (February 4)

For more information, please visit the course website:http://materialevidence.vsri.org/ 
To RSVP and receive access to readings and the course syllabus, please email: VSRI@USC.EDU 

 5th Annual Anne Friedberg Memorial Grant Lecture: "The Application of Animation: Instruction, Instrument, Interface" 

Amber Bowyer
USC PhD Candidate, Critical Studies
Tuesday, January 20
Doheney Memorial Library, Music Library, Herklotz Room

Bowyer situates the experiments of Animator Max Flesicher in the rich multimedia markets of the teens and twenties. She illustrates how they set the stage for technological innovations with moving images for the century to come, establishing animation as the instrument of instruction and interactivity any graphical interface user or guitar hero knows it to be today. 


If Spain were a Bordello: Musings on a National Eros

Maite Zubiaurre 
Professor in Spainish, Portuguese, and Germanic Languages, UCLA
Wednesday, January 28
SOS B 40

Professor Zubiaurre will discuss sexual indeterminacy and pastiche in early twentieth- century erotic Spain or “España verde,” a Spain that is sparkling, dynamic, uninhibited, freed from tradition, happily oblivious to sexual constraints and gender norms—so radically different from the typical historical rendering of the country as a somber, identity-searching nation. 

Co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, USC, and the Del Amo Foundation, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Contemporary Seminar Series: "Critical Paradigms in Contemporary Indian Art" 

Saloni Mathur
Associate Professor of Art History, UCLA
Friday, January 30
Graduate Fine Arts Building
                                Please RSVP to VSRI@USC.EDU


Image: Vivan Sundaram, Bourgeois Family: Mirror Frieze, from “Retake of Amrita” Series, 2001 (digital photomontage, 38.1cm x 66.04cm). 

USC-LACMA History of Photography Series: "Full Exposure: Art and Pornography in Los Angeles"

Saturday, February 7
Panel: 4-5:30pm, LACMA Brown Auditorium
Reception: 5:30-6:30pm
Film Screening: 7:30pm, LACMA Bing Theater 


Rebecca Morse, Associate Curator, Wallis Annenberg Photography Department

Mike Sager, Journalist and Author

A.L. Steiner, Artist and Professor, USC Roski School of Fine Arts

Linda Williams, Professor of Film & Media and Rhetoric, UC Berkeley

Moderated by Ryan Linkof, Assistant Curator, Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and Director of USC-LACMA History of Photography Series

Organized in conjuction with the LACMA exhibition Larry Sultan: Here and Home, this panel will examine the historical relationship between art and pornography, with a particular focus on Los Angeles. Home to some of the world's largest adult film and media companies, Los Angeles is arguably the center of global porn production. Since its emergence as a mainstream consumer amusement in the 1960s, the outcast cousin of the Hollywood entertainment industry has been a source of inspiration for generations of artists working in the city. Sultan's renowned project The Valley, in which he documented pornographic film sets in suburban San Fernando Valley homes, reframes cultural perceptions of the industry by highlighting domestic details and showing the actors off camera and between takes. The series will serve as a point of entry into a broader discussion of artist interactions with sexually explicit content. A screening of P. T. Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997), the acclaimed film examining the late 1970s heyday of the adult industy in the San Fernando Valley, will follow the panel. 

For more information about the USC-LACMA History of Photography Series, please visit: https://dornsife.usc.edu/vsri/vsri-lacma-events/ 


Book Launch: The Poster: Art, Advertising, Design, and Collection, 1860s-1900s

Ruth Iskin
Professor of Art History in the Department of the Arts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Wednesday, February 18
                                SOS 250
                                Please RSVP to VSRI@USC.EDU



Please join us as Ruth Iskin discusses her new book on 19th-century posters. 

Contemporary Seminar Series  

Jane McFadden
Associate Professor and Chair, Humanities & Sciences, Art Center College of Design 
Friday, February 20
                                Graduate Fine Arts Building
                                Please RSVP to VSRI@USC.EDU



The Unruly PhD

Rebecca Peabody
Head of Research Projects and Programs at the Getty Research Institute 
Tuesday, March 10
SOS 250 
                                Please RSVP to VSRI@USC.EDU


In her latest book, The Unruly PhD, Rebecca Peabody Rebecca Peabody presents a collection of first-person stories examining the many paths towards the PhD, as well as the detours along the way.

The first ten to RSVP to VSRI@USC.EDU will receive a complimentary copy of the book


USC-LACMA History of Photography Series: "Sensing Memory: THe Haptic and Kinesthetic in George Eastman's Camera Body"

Monday, March 23
Doheny Memorial Library, 233



Makeda Best, Assistant Professor of Visual Studies, California College of the Arts

Comment: Matthew Fox-Amato, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Washington University in St. Louis

Scholars have increasingly turned to considering the multi-sensorial and inter-sensorial history of photography. Contemporary writing on the senses and photography examines how photographs have been touched, worn, adorned, traded, and collected. This scholarship overlooks the crucial role of the camera apparatus itself. When the Rochester-based inventor George Eastman (1854–1932) introduced the first mass-market camera in 1888, the Eastman Company expressly linked memory and photography through the user’s haptic and kinesthetic experience of the device. This presentation will examine how the design for the new camera, as well marketing that accompanied it, engaged the user’s non-visual senses in this process of recording scenes for memory.

Contemporary Seminar Series: “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957"

Helen Molesworth
Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Friday, March 27

Graduate Fine Arts Building
                                Please RSVP to VSRI@USC.EDU


Image: Hazel Larsen Archer, Elizabeth Jennerjahn and Robert Rauschenberg in Merce Cunningham's dance class 

Contempoary Seminar Series: "Bipedal Modernity" 

Judith Rodenbeck
Assistant Professor, Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside
Friday, April 17

Graduate Fine Arts Building
                                Please RSVP to VSRI@USC.EDU


This talk takes as its starting point a short text by the philosopher Giorgio Agamben, who locates the first fully scientific physiological description of the mechanics of walking alongside the chronophotography of Etienne-Jules Marey, the incipience of Taylorization, and the disappearance of walking as an everyday practice. Folding the history of the late 19th century onto the 21st, the talk surveys the mood and politics of today’s proliferation of artists’ walking projects as well as of developments in robotics of both “walking” and “feeling” machines. 



Visual Studies Research Institue Annual Conference: Material Evidence 

April 30-May 1

Co-Sponosored by the Academy for Polymathic Study



This conference examines the question of material evidence and the ways that it intersects with, opposes, and/or redefines visual knowledge. Scholars will address how the technical examination of objects and the use of both new and old tools—from microscopy, chemistry, and photo enlargement to digital manipulation—have rendered new knowledge.

For more information, please visit the conference website: materialevidence.vsri.org

USC-LACMA History of Photography Series: "A Matter of Memory: Photography and Objecthood into the Digital Age"

Tuesday, May 5
University Club, Scriptorium 



Lisa Hostetler
, Curator-in-Charge, Department of Photography, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film

Comment: Suzanne Hudson, Assistant Professor of Art History and Fine Arts, USC

It is now an axiomatic truth that technological advances have made the photographic print increasingly rare outside of the art world. This paper examines how a number of prominent contemporary artists have explored photography's changing relationship to personal and collective history. If memory is inextricably intertwined with photographic images, as many scholars have argued, how will the absence of a photographic artifact change the way in which we see, discover, and interpret the past? Some artists seem to dig deep into the materiality of photography as though searching for the locus of memory, while others incorporate found and vernacular photography into their work in a variety of ways. Such works highlight the presence of the photographic object, meditating on the shifting photographic landscape. The presentation will analyze this trend within contemporary art photography, and suggest potential interpretations and possible avenues of theoretical inquiry.

Past Events


 The Art of Controversy
A conversation with Victor Navasky
and Jon Wiener

Thursday, September 12



The Rise and Fall of Cartoon Physics
Scott Bukatman, Professor of Art & Art History, Stanford University

Thursday, October 3

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