This James C. Meade Friends’ lecture is free for members and $12 for non-members. Tickets are available at the door only. Seating is first-come, first-served.
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Landscape Unmoored: Painting Alongshore in Modern America
By Kimia Shahi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Southern California
Saltwater shorelines are dynamic meeting points between ocean and land, sites of encounter, mobility, and ecological interconnection. To visitors and inhabitants alike, they can be particularly prismatic places, reflecting and refracting different perspectives on the natural world and our relationships to it. This talk explores the significance of shorelines in the work of 19th- through-21st-century painters such as William Trost Richards, Edward Mitchell Bannister, Winslow Homer, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ruben Tam, and Kay Walkingstick. Together, these artists’ diverse approaches to picturing rocky coasts, water and waves, urban harbors, and tourist destinations attest to the shore’s enduring status as a source of artistic inspiration and innovation. By unmooring our vantage points from the fixed boundaries of terra firma, these artworks challenge us to think more expansively about the nature of the American landscape. They offer new insights into how the thresholds of the sea have shaped notions of place, identity, history, and the environment in the work of some of our most powerful visual thinkers.
Dr. Kimia Shahi is the Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Southern California. She researches, teaches, and writes about histories of landscape, geography, empire, and environment in modern and American art and visual culture. She is currently working on a book that examines how coastlines were pictured and mapped in the United States during the 19th century. Dr. Shahi received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and has held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Winterthur Museum. At present, she is also a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, where she is researching art and U.S. environmentalism in the 1970s.
Credit: Joseph De Martini, The Green Wave, 1937. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. WPA Collection, 1942.021. Image by Google.