Lydia Gasman, a longtime art history professor at the University of Virginia, and a renowned art scholar and historian, passed away January 15 at the age of eighty-four. Gasman taught at the university for twenty years, from 1981 to 2001. David Summers, a former university professor and a close friend of Gasman, said she was an inspiring teacher, with large classes and many admiring students. He described her as a “truly brilliant person,” and said he believes she was still painting and writing “right up to the end.” According to Summers, Gasman, who painted in a surrealist expressionist style, was an authority on Picasso and the interpretation of his paintings and writings. She hailed from Romania and graduated from the University of Bucharest in 1948 with degrees in humanities and law. She then studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Romania and gained acclaim as a skilled painter. Despite her success, Gasman was dissatisfied with her life in a communist state and fled to Israel, then later moved to Paris and finally to New York, Summers said. In New York, she earned both her master’s and doctorate from Columbia University. Gasman went on to teach art history at Vassar College from 1968 to 1972 and then at University of Haifa, Israel from 1972 to 1975.
- 25 The Daily Iowan reports that the UI Museum of Art Envisioning Committee met on January 22 to discuss preliminary proposals of a new museum—including a new location in the Old Capitol District, said Kathleen Edwards, the museum’s chief curator and an adviser to the committee. Panel members said they like the idea of a site that would make the museum—which was damaged by the 2008 flood—centrally located. Susan White, a committee member and a University of Iowa associate professor of art and art history, said the previous location of the museum on the west bank of the Iowa River did not provide a lot of foot traffic, and that she would like to see the museum near the hub of the university. “I am very interested in having a lot of students involved actively in the museum activities,” she said.
- 21 University of Virginia’s Art Museum recently acquired several new pieces, including notable additions to its print collection, according to the university’s paper, the Cavalier Daily. Among the museum’s new features are two works by printmaker Wassily Kandinsky. The pair of pieces, which are titled Kleine Welten VI(Small Worlds VI) and Kleine Welten VIII (Small Worlds VIII), 1922, “broaden [the museum’s] ability to have a conversation about the ability of abstract art during that period in a way [it] couldn’t before,” curator of exhibitions Andrea Douglas said. The museum also purchased a print by Auguste Rodin, an artist known mostly for his sculptures. A print titled, Les amours conduisant le monde(Love Turning the World) (1881), is one of only thirteen printed by the artist. “It’s very important for history of that particular artist,” Douglas said. “It shows him working in another medium.” A lithograph by Rudolphe Bresdin was purchased, as well. Bresdin’s La Sainte Famille aux Cerfs (Holy Family with Deer), 1871, shows “the intricacy of press,” Douglas said, adding that the lithograph is “very lush and full, and very interesting from the point of view of the viewer.” Additionally, the museum will welcome purchased prints by English artist Walter Crane, who is known for his book illustrations. Apart from expanding its print collection, the museum purchased a small plaster bust by Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage: Gamin, made around 1929.The University of Wisconsin-Parkside will break ground on February 9 for a thirty-four-million-dollar addition and renovation of the Communication Arts Building on the southwestern corner of the campus. Completion is scheduled for 2011, and that summer will bring some of the greatest inconvenience: the complete rebuilding of the Communication Arts parking lot and the addition of forty spaces. Timing the work for that summer will cause the least inconvenience, said John Desch, the campus planner. Along with project design architect David Lang of HGA in Milwaukee, Desch gave a series of presentations yesterday afternoon for interested members of the university community. One of the questions was how much disruption there would be. “We don’t really know yet the level of disruption,” Desch said. That will depend on the contractor’s needs. “We’re assuming the worst.” This will be the most complex project since the university was built, he said. Neither the new residence hall nor the remodeling of the student center displaced many people. This time classes must continue. The project will add about seventy-one thousand square feet of new space, mostly for the music department, and renovate about ninety-two thousand square feet of space. Although the cost was originally estimated at thirty-eight million dollars, the sour economy means the state will save about four million dollars, Desch said.
- 17 The New York Times reports that the University of Pennsylvania is now home to the papers of the Jewish American author and rabbi Chaim Potok, the university announced Friday. Potok, the author of The Chosen, My Name is Asher Lev, and other works about the struggle between religious and secular Jewish life, died in 2002 at age seventy-three. An alumnus of the university, he bequeathed his papers to Penn, where he also taught. The collection includes writings, correspondence, lectures, sermons, article clippings, and fan mail, including a letter from the Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. The collection will be housed in the university’s rare book and manuscript library.
- 12 The Academy of Art University will be subject to quarterly reviews by a Board of Supervisors committee and could face a new housing fee after some city leaders heard testimony Monday about the university shrinking the housing supply and failing to comply with city codes for years, reports the San Francisco Chronicle "This is an institution that has made a mockery out of any number of duly passed codes," said former Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin, who used his first formal appearance before a board committee since he was termed out a year ago to blast the academy for "years of empty promises." "Nobody else gets away with dragging their feet for the better part of the decade," Peskin told the board's land use committee. The for-profit university is one of the city's largest landlords and its shuttle buses and buildings dot the San Francisco landscape.In court papers filed in federal court last Friday, Yale argued that a lawsuit by the government of Peru over ownership of ancient Inca artifacts should be dismissed in Connecticut court, according to the Yale Daily News According to the papers, too much time has passed since Yale acquired the artifacts. Yale argues that Peru’s claim to the artifacts is no longer valid because of a Connecticut law that establishes a three-year statute of limitations which Yale argues applies to Peru’s claims.. Peru has responded that, under Peruvian law, claims like this one are not subject to such restrictions. If the federal court sides with Yale and dismisses Peru’s case, it would end a year-long legal dispute and an international property rights battle spanning almost a century. In December of 2008, Peru first sued Yale for possession of artifacts taken from Peru by the scholar Hiram Bingham III between 1911 and 1915. The lawsuit sought the return of the ancient relics and more than seventy-five thousand dollars in damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and fraud. In 1921, Yale argues in Friday’s papers, the university returned dozens of boxes of those artifacts. Peru knew the university would keep the remainder, Yale’s lawyers claim. According to Friday’s filing, Yale then displayed the remaining pieces at the Peabody Museum and published books describing the pieces. None of these actions met with any complaint from Peru at the time, Yale claims in the documents. In fact, Peru later invited Bingham back to the country and even named a highway after him. It was only in 2005 that Peru seriously tried to reclaim the items. The lawsuit was nearly avoided when the dispute came close to a settlement in 2007. Yale agreed to give legal rights to some of the artifacts, which would have traveled in a joint exhibit funded by Yale and then returned to a museum in Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital. But Peru pulled out of the deal because of a disagreement over how many artifacts would be returned. When Peru’s suit came at the end of the next year, Yale filed to move the case from Washington, DC, to Connecticut, arguing that Washington had no jurisdiction over the matter. Peru responded to that motion, and Friday’s documents are a response to that response. “In the twenty-first century, long after everyone with any personal memory of the expeditions had died, Peru claimed that Yale had not returned enough of the artifacts and demanded that it now return any artifacts that Bingham had exported from Peru,” Yale attorneys wrote in Friday’s documents.
- 11 Tate has announced the appointment of Anne Wagner to the newly created post of the Henry Moore Foundation Research Curator at Tate. The post is funded by the Henry Moore Foundation. Wagner has been professor of modern art at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1991. As the Henry Moore Foundation Research Curator, Anne will work closely with Tate’s team of twentieth-century curators to promote the understanding and appreciation of Henry Moore through scholarship, displays, and leadership of a range of academic and educational initiatives. In collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation, Tate aims to undertake a program of curatorial and scholarly work that will signal the artist’s importance in twentieth-century art. Through a series of displays, Tate will explore new contexts for understanding Moore’s work. Wagner will lead on this project, devising displays and cataloging Tate’s extensive holdings of Moore’s sculptures. Liaising with the Henry Moore Foundation, she will also stimulate new research on Moore within the UK and internationally through seminars, conferences, and publications, as well as contribute to a variety of educational programs at the museum. Wagner studied at Yale University and Brown University and has a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Prior to her current role at Berkeley she was associate professor there from 1988 to 1991, and associate professor at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has lectured widely around the world and is the author of several books including: Mother Stone: the Vitality of Modern British Sculpture; Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux: Sculptor of the Second Empire; and Three Artists (Three Women): Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner, and O’Keeffe. She has also contributed to many exhibition catalogues and journals, including Artforum, Sculpture Journal, and October.
- 06 A major new partnership has been established between the University of York and one of the UK’s leading art institutions, according to the York Press The university’s department of the history of art has developed the new accord with Tate Britain. From this academic year, a curator from Tate Britain will be teaching a full MA module in the department every spring term. Meanwhile, an art historian from York will spend an equivalent amount of time working on research and exhibition projects at Tate Britain. The partnership, which will run initially for three years, is the first time Tate has entered into a curatorial exchange of this nature. Professor Mark Hallett, the head of history of art at York, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration and exchange. It offers our MA students the chance to work with internationally renowned curators and for colleagues to pursue research in the world’s leading collection of British art.” Judith Nesbitt, chief curator at Tate Britain, said: “As a former University of York student, I am especially pleased to welcome the new staff exchange. It will provide an exciting opportunity to introduce works from the Tate Collection to new generations of art history students. In turn, the visiting scholars from York promise to bring valuable skills and insights into Tate.”
- 04 The American Academy in Rome recently named as its director Christopher Celenza, a professor in the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures and director of the Singleton Center for the Study of Pre-Modern Europe, both in Johns Hopkins’ Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Celenza’s three-year term will begin in July, and he will return to his posts at Homewood upon its conclusion. Celenza will be the twenty-first director of the 115-year-old academy, one of the leading American overseas centers for independent study and advanced research in the fine arts and the humanities. “I am honored to be able to serve the American Academy in Rome, an institution I, like many others, deeply admire,” Celenza said in an announcement from the academy. “Its integration of the arts and humanities, its central place in what has long been one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and its rich tradition of fostering the work of Americans abroad fill me with inspiration.”An expanding private university accused of repeatedly flouting San Francisco’s planning rules could soon become the target of a lawsuit, reports the San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco officials are scheduled to meet behind closed doors this week to discuss whether the City will sue the Academy of Art University for a long list of alleged planning code transgressions. After city planners in recent years warned academy officials of planning code violations, such as the conversion of residential and industrial buildings and churches into classrooms without securing permits, the academy agreed to work to rectify the violations. But planning commissioners appeared to lose patience with the university after a new violation in the South Beach neighborhood was reported to them during a November 12 hearing. “So you’re telling me that you acquired a property,” Commissioner Hisashi Sugaya said to Academy Planning director Paul Correa during the hearing, “and you’ve already started to put educational uses in the building when you know that’s an illegal use?” “Yes, that’s what the academy did,” Correa replied. Correa said the academy is working to legalize all of its operations.