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Michelangelo, globalization and photography are on tap for Syracuse Symposium events at Syracuse University
Michelangelo, globalization and photography are on tap for Syracuse Symposium events at Syracuse UniversityFebruary 05, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Michelangelo’s “Night,” the globalization of a binge economy in the 19th century and an exhibit of women’s portraits are the topics for the next series of events for the 2002 Syracuse Symposium “Exploring Beauty” Feb. 19 and 20. All of the events are free and open to the public.
? Jonathan Nelson, a research fellow at Harvard University and an instructor in SU’s Division of International Programs Abroad in Florence, Italy, will present “The Power of ‘Night’: Death, Disease and Beauty in Michelangelo’s New Sacristy” at 4:15 p.m. Feb. 19 in Gifford Auditorium, located in Huntington Beard Crouse Hall;
? Internationally known anthropologist Richard Wilk, chair of the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, will present “Gendered Food and Drink in the 19th Century: The Globalization of a Binge Economy” at 4 p.m. Feb. 20 in Room 341 of Eggers Hall; and
? Yvonne Buchanan, assistant professor of visual communications in the School of Art and Design, College of Visual and Performing Arts, will present “The Beauty Box Project,” an exhibition of 25 photographic portraits of women from April 20 to 27 in the Shaffer Art Building. The project investigates and confronts the dynamics for women and their audiences as women conceal and deny their individuality to offer themselves up to be “the ideal.”
Nelson will explore one of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures, “Night.” Casual viewers and respected scholars have long noted the surprisingly masculine body and unusual breasts of the sculpture. Nelson debunks the notions that these features reflect the artist’s sexuality or ignorance of the female body. His lecture will focus on a new interpretation of the sculpture that concludes Michelangelo used the body language of the sculpture to convey meaning and express beauty.
According to Nelson, the figure expresses active strength and established a new canon of female beauty in Renaissance Florence. In addition, the breasts have the physical signs of cancer, which compliments the funerary imagery of the Medici Chapel.
The author of dozens of articles and essays on Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture, Nelson recently completed a monograph of Filippino Lippi and has published his findings on the Michelangelo’s “Night” in the New England Journal of Medicine. He is organizing an exhibition of Michelangelo’s female nudes that will open in June at the Galleria dell’ Accademia in Florence.
Wilk has done extensive, on-site research with the Mayan people in the rainforest of Belize, Central America, in the West African countries of Ghana and Togo and in suburban California. He has published on topics as diverse as beauty pageants, household decision-making, economic anthropology and the effects of television on culture.
Wilk is perhaps best known, however, for his work with indigenous populations in Belize, research that began 25 years ago and continues today. His interest in anthropology was sparked by a trip to Mexico when he was a teenager, where he saw both modern poverty and ancient ruined cities. The first part of his professional career was devoted to the ancient ruins, where he has spent many summers excavating Mayan sites in Belize as well as Salado pueblos in Arizona.
Wilk’s research focuses on themes of social and economic organization of the household, an interest in consumer culture and the global media, and a continuing concern with ethical issues and practice in the field of anthropology.
He is currently co-editing a book on beauty pageants that includes 14 case studies from around the world. The book focuses on the naturalization of gender and on the ways beauty links previously isolated cultures into global hierarchies. He eventually hopes to bring these theoretical interests to bear on his household consumption work, looking at the way gendered experience is learned through processes of decision-making and consumption of food and clothing.
The Syracuse Symposium is an annual University-wide intellectual and creative festival hosted by The College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with schools and colleges from across the University. The opportunities provided by the symposium are consistent with initiatives in the University’s Academic Plan directed at expanding opportunities for multidisciplinary intellectual discourse for students.