Terra Foundation for American Art Visting Professor

Flip, Linger, Glide: The Movements of Magazine Pictures and Their Publics, c. 1915

Thursday, 13 March 2014

16.00 - 18.00, Research Forum South Room

woman propped against the back of a chair reading a book
Coles Phillips, cover design, Good Housekeeping, February 1915

Speaker(s): Jennifer A Greenhill (Terra Foundation for American Art Visiting Professor, Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris; and Associate Professor of Art History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor Caroline Arscott

This lecture bypasses the reductive taste concepts that have ghettoized periodical illustration in art historical scholarship by focusing on the experience of engaging with it. Although some scholars have worked to legitimate illustration by treating it as fine art, this approach leaves to one side its intimate engagement with the viewer’s body as she flips through the pages of a journal, perhaps placing it on her lap or close to her face to scrutinize the details of an advertisement, say, or an image embedded in a story. What might we learn by attending to the experience of magazine pictures? What sorts of engagement do these images, and the journals that house them, invite and expect? Jennifer Greenhill investigates these questions by focusing on the work of the American illustrator Coles Phillips (1880-1927), drawing on recent theory on the experiential dimensions of reading, the art of mental picturing, and the haptic aspects of visual material.

Jennifer Greenhill is the author of Playing It Straight: Art and Humor in the Gilded Age (University of California Press, 2012), which considers how complex humorous strategies, such as deadpan and burlesque, inform the work of ambitious artists who were concerned to both conform to and slyly undermine developing senses of serious culture in the late nineteenth century. Greenhill is a co-editor of the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to American Art (to be published in early 2015), which offers a dynamic vision of the field of American art history by foregrounding intergenerational dialogues and debates between senior and emerging scholars.

This Visiting Professorship has been made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art www.terraamericanart.org

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