Art History and Sound Lecture Series

Marcel Duchamp, Nam June Paik and the Idea of Music

Thursday, 28 November 2013

18.00, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Violin with String, Nam June Paik (1963)
Violin with String
, Nam June Paik (1963)

Speaker(s): Simon Shaw-Miller (University of Bristol)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Irene Noy and Michaela Zoschg with Dr Katie Scott  Contact:

‘Marcel Duchamp has already done everything there is to do – except video. He widened the entry but narrowed the exit. That very narrow door is video art and only through video art can we get ahead of Marcel Duchamp.’ So said Paik in 1974. This paper pauses on the notion of ‘video’ (sight) and links it to ideas about music (sound), for it is with music that both Paik and Duchamp’s aesthetic have foundational roots.

Simon Shaw-Miller is Chair and Professor of History of Art at the University of Bristol, UK. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow and Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. His research interests are the history of art and music in the modern period (c. 1800-1960). He is specifically concerned with questions of interdisciplinary methodology, modernism, the concepts of visual music, musical iconography, synaesthesia, musical ekphrasis, and the aesthetics of the Gesamtkunstwerk. He has published widely on these topics, notably in his books Visible Deeds of Music: Art and Music from Wagner to Cage (Yale, 2002) and Eye hEar: The Visual in Music (Ashgate, 2013).

Following the workshop series Art History and Sound: The Listening Art Historian, this lecture series sets out to continue exploring the aural in art history. In three lectures to be held at The Courtauld Institute of Art during the autumn term 2013, art historians working in different areas and media will discuss the topic of sound and art history from a methodological point of view and engage the audience via a relevant expertise they have gained in their particular research field. The lectures will address topics related to both historical and contemporary instances of sound in art history, and present theoretical and methodological inquiries arising from this preoccupation.

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