Desert Distortion and Elemental Immediacy

Dr. Celina Osuna
University of Texas, El Paso

Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 4:00-5:00pm
INTS 1154 or via Zoom


Dr. Osuna will discuss desert distortion, a technique rooted in experimentation and play. The theoretical work of desert distortion is to provide an inexhaustive set of lenses for engaging with histories, boundaries, bodies, cultures, and languages that reveal the abundance and value of desert places.

Osuna’s research offers distortion as a generative mode of engaging desert agency to unsettle old understandings of them as alien or static and allow for experiencing dynamic deserts anew. This is an invitation to inhabit the deserts of literature and other cultural productions in order to create new collaborations of thought and practice in times of ecological emergency.

Dr Celina Osuna is an artist and assistant professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research examines indigenous and Latinx environmentalisms and aesthetics in desert literature.

Join in person or via Zoom.

Sponsored by the Department of Media and Cultural Studies and the Being Human Initiative at the Center for Ideas and Society.

Laura / Aura. Tête-à-tête with a Renaissance Bust

Lecture by Jeanette Kohl at Freie Universität Berlin, April 25, 2023.

Tête-à-tête with a Renaissance bustThe lecture is dedicated to an attempt at a “phenomenology” of female bust portraits of the Quattrocento. The focus is on the enigmatic bust of an unknown woman by Francesco Laurana in the Viennese Kunstkammer, which is characterized by its unusual polychrome. In the context of a comparative object analysis and against the cultural-historical background of a Petrarchan topic, the question of how this and other female busts ‘communicate’ with the viewer and what significance their fragmentary object character has will be pursued. Although not primarily motivated by the art-historical “passion for identifying” (Didi-Huberman), the considerations ultimately lead to a proposed new identification.

Read more (in German) at
Dr. Kohl’s presentation will be streamed live via WebEx. To register, email


Vision, Touch, and Memory. Rembrandt’s Aristotle with the Bust of Homer.

Lecture by Jeanette Kohl as part of the exhibition Idols & Rivals at the Kunsthorisches Museum in Vienna.

Rembrandt, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653

Rembrandt, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653

A contextualized interpretation of Rembrandt’s famous Portrait of Aristotle with the Bust of Homer (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), this lecture discusses the importance of sculpture as a key medium of memory. A detailed analysis will show how Rembrandt transformed established thought patterns of competition (among the arts, among artists, with antiquity) and traditional art-historical dichotomies (seeing vs. feeling, materiality vs. intellect, presence vs. impermanence) into a remarkably complex play across genres creating a painted philosophy of touch.

Read more (in German) at
View Dr. Kohl’s entire presentation at


Professor Johannes Endres recieves fellowship at the IAS (Institute for Advanced Study) at Van Mildert College, University of Durham, January-March 2023

At Durham, Professor Endres will work on his current book project on “Style” as an interdisciplinary category of the study of texts, images and music. As part of his project, he will be in close collaboration with Professor Jonathan Long from Durham’s School of Modern Languages & Cultures. Professor Long is also the co-director of the Center for Visual Arts and Culture at Durham. The collaboration is based on their mutual research interest in German Literature, literary theory, and the study of visual culture in relation to literary artefacts.

Art History Doctoral Candidate, Cambra Sklarz, presented at the Getty Graduate Symposium on February 3, 2023

etty Graduate Symposium2023The Getty Research Institute hosted the fifth annual Getty Graduate Symposium, which showcased the work of emerging scholars from art history graduate programs across California. Organized into three sessions, the symposium included nine individual presentations, panel discussions moderated by faculty mentors, and Q&A sessions with the audience. 

Congratulations to Cambra Sklarz for being recognized for her outstanding work.

Cambra’s presentations, The Artist and the Ecosystem: Strategies for the Use and Reuse of Materials in Early America can be viewed online via the Getty Research Institute’s YouTube channel:

The full program can be found here.




Jeanette Kohl receives year-long fellowship at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study

Jeanette Kohl has been awarded a year-long fellowship at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS) for the 2022-2023 academic year.  The fellowship has been awarded to advance Dr. Kohl’s book project ‘Sculpture. A History in Sources and Commentaries’. The project continues and expands her scholarship on portrait sculpture and will result in a sourcebook on the discourses around the medium of sculpture in European art histories.

Dr. Jeanette Kohl- HIAS