Work In Progress Series – Patricia A. Morton, PhD

Work in Progress Series — Patricia A. Morton, PhD

Place or Nonplace: The City as Domain or as Field

Patricia A. Morton, Ph.D. Professor of Art History

In the early 1960s, faculty members at UC Berkeley developed rival theories of urban and architectural design and their relationship to place. Charles Moore and three other Berkeley architecture faculty wrote a manifesto, “Toward Making Places,” that was published in J.B. Jackson’s journal Landscape (1962). Moore and his co-authors valorized a geographic notion of place and called on architects to recover the symbolic function of design and create orderly, human-centric spaces. Contemporaneously, faculty in City and Regional Planning and East Coast planners challenged geographic concepts of place in Explorations into Urban Structure (1964) and proposed new models concerned with the pattern, structure, and dynamics of the metropolitan complex. Melvin Webber’s contribution, “The Urban Place and the Nonplace Urban Realm,” boldly asserted the primacy of “nonplace” community over geographic place in the modern city. Positing “community without propinquity,” Webber emphasized the importance of deracinated networks of human interaction to the modern city, anticipating later theories of networked urbanism. Comparing these two theories, I contextualize the concepts relative to postwar theories of ecology, mobility and landscape.


The Second Annual Wong Forum on Art and the Immigrant Experience


This symposium examines the idea of homeland in the art and visual culture from the region now called the United States. As a concept, homeland plays a vital role in the shaping of individual and collective identity. Most directly, homeland can be understood to signify a person or people’s place of origin. The concept is in this way deeply embedded in the specifics of location and lineage. At the same time, the term also connotes a more subjective and contingent set of allegiances, including those of family, community, nation, religion, race, ethnicity, environment, and experience. Through these bonds, identification with a homeland provides one of the main anchors of individual being, group cohesiveness, and social legitimacy. Forging such connections offers people roots, a framework for binding to others and, ultimately, a sense of place in the world. The notion homeland is, in this way, a positive cultural force.

At the same time, the idea of homeland has been an abiding source of contention, divisiveness, and violence. Human history is pervaded with trauma and injustice enacted over claims to homelands both actual and metaphorical. In this way, the assertion of a homeland has tested the very possibility of social cohesion and self-determination. In the United States especially, where an array of constituencies struggle—often inequitably—to build for themselves a sense of place and belonging, laying claim to a homeland has become synonymous with struggles over voice, power, and beliefs. This can be seen historically in the US histories of colonization, indigenous removal, African American enslavement, and other longstanding pattern of unofficial and state-sanctioned inequality toward minorities. In our recent moment of globalization, the visibility of the concept has grown, from the post-9/11 founding of the Department of Homeland Security to the unsettling strains of anti-immigrant sentiment that mar the current presidential contest.

We will explore how the visual arts provide a powerful means to negotiate the problems and possibilities inherent to the notion homeland. What roles have visual and material expression played in shaping both dominant and alternative visions of the US as homeland? How have these efforts influenced broader discourses of American identity—or failed to do so? How has the question of homeland influenced the form, content, and purpose of the artistic expression? How might studying evocations of homeland in art help us to better understand and historicize the term’s cultural value and impact? Particular attention will be given to the understanding the topic through the prism of dialogue, with the idea that art provides a unique medium for the exchange of ideas across boundaries of identity and experience.

Schedule of Events:

10-10:10 am — Welcome
10:10-10:30 — Framing Remarks, Jason Weems, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
10:30-11:00 — Edward Hopper’s Portable Homes, Leo Mazow, Curator of American Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
11:00-11:30 — Kara Walker, Imagining Home, Rebecca Peabody, Head of Research Projects and Programs, Getty Research Institute
11:30-11:50 — Questions

11:50-1:10 — Lunch Break

1:10-1:50 — Keynote Presentation: Home—So Different, So Appealing, Chon Noriega, University of California, Los Angeles
1:50-2:10 — Questions

2:10-2:20 — Short Break

2:20-2:50 — Homeland as Gesture: The Paintings of Maidu Artist Frank Day, Mark Minch, Sawyer Fellow, Tufts University/Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside
2:50-3:20 — Somewhere Else, But Here: Visual Ethnography and an American Islamoscape Between Imagination and Image, Maryam Kashani, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
3:20-3:50 — Smiling Faces Sometimes: The Homeland Portraiture of Tseng Kwong Chi, Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University
3:50-4:10 — Questions

4:10-4:45 — Moderated discussion with all presenters; audience participation encouraged

4:50 — Reception


For more information, contact

In Conversation with Susan Laxton

Susan Laxton specializes in the history and theory of photography, 20th century art, and critical theory. She also works as a CMP liaison to the art history department.

Fall Reception — Unruly Bodies

On Thursday, October 6, 6pm-8pm, UCR ARTSblock hosts its Fall Reception. This event is organized in conjunction with the City of Riverside’s First Thursdays ArtsWalk. Come check out the current exhibitions, including Unruly Bodies: Dismantling Larry Clark’s TulsaLaurie Brown: Earth EdgesRotation 2015: Recent Acquisitions; and Steve Rowell: Parallelograms at the California Museum of Photography, as well as Instilled Life: The Art of the Domestic Object at the Sweeney Art Gallery, and For the Record… Contemporary Videos from the Permanent Collection of the Sweeney Art Gallery in the Culver Center atrium. 

The reception is free and open to the public.

Between Paris and the ‘Third World’: Lea Lublin’s Long 1960s

Isabel Plante, PhD
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas,
Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina

Lea Lublin resided for the most part in Paris from 1964 on, and by 1965 she started orienting her work toward establishing a methodology for reading images, based on different parameters of perception and participation related to the devices involved in their exhibition. Until 1972 she articulated a considerable portion of her projects between Paris, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile. These networks of production and circulation were decisive in constructing the meaning of her works in terms of exploring the status of representation and culture. We propose a study that would restore the geopolitical density and translocal nature of her production of the long sixties.


Conrad Rudolph Awarded the CHASS Distinguished Research Lecturer Award

The College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences presents the 2015-2016 CHASS Distinguished Research Lecturer Award to Professor of Art History, Conrad Rudolph.

CRudolphDr. Rudolph is an art historian whose research focuses on the art of Medieval Europe, with special attention to the role of visual expression in the articulation of intellectual and theological concepts, and their dissemination into the broader culture. As a medievalist, Rudolph’s work is lauded not only for its historical rigor, but also for its conceptual daring and theoretical sophistication. Rudolph is known to be a scholar who fearlessly asks the big questions. He also possesses the rare gift of being able to make complex and historically distant imagery clear and compelling to a twenty-first century audiences.

His record of publication and scholarly activity (six books; countless articles and chapters, fellowships, and academic presentations) demonstrates a remarkably high and consistent level of production. Especially noteworthy, however, is his string of recent achievements: publication of an award winning book, his 626-page The Mystic Ark: Hugh of Saint Victor, Art, and Thought in the Twelfth Century, election as a fellow of the elite Medieval Academy of American, and perhaps most strikingly, his National Endowment for the Humanities-funded FACES (Faces, Art, and Computerized Evaluation Systems) project. This last project which mixes traditional humanistic scholarship with cutting edge digital facial recognition software to provide a new tool for identifying unknown sitters in artistic portraits. He is currently at work on a second and equally inventive project that uses spatial modeling technology to investigate the famous dome of the Florence Cathedral. Here, as in FACES, Rudolph enacts a rare and high-level integration of art history and the digital humanities.

Rudolph’s scholarship has had a profound effect on the study of medieval art and history at the highest levels. Yet, he has also committed himself to bringing this rigor and inventiveness to the classroom. Fueled by his passion and erudition as scholar, Rudolph is a demanding and inspiring teacher who has guided numerous UCR students into Medieval art.