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2. Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 1: Why Abstract Art?

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 1: Why Abstract Art?

Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, , is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on March 30, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe begins with Jackson Pollock at a key moment in the emergence of a new form of abstract art in the mid-1950s. Building on Ernst Gombrich's Mellon Lectures of 1956, Varnedoe begins by asking: Can there be a philosophy of abstract art as compelling as Gombrich's argument for illusionism? What is abstract art good for? And finally, what do we get out of abstract art?

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3. Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 6: Abstract Art Now

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 6: Abstract Art Now

Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this sixth and final lecture of the series, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 11, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe returns to a question raised in lecture one: Can an argument be made for abstraction as a legitimate part of both our cognitive process and our nature as a modern liberal society? Varnedoe leads the listener through a tour of Richard Serra's , making an impassioned case for abstraction as an art of subjectivity- an art dependent on experience, human invention, and constant debate.

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4. The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art

The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art

Christopher Rothko, son of the artist and editor of his father's book, The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art. “One of the most important artists of the 20th century, Mark Rothko (1903–1970) created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting over the course of his career. Rothko also wrote a number of essays and critical reviews during his lifetime, adding his thoughtful, intelligent, and opinionated voice to the debates of the contemporary art world. Although the artist never published a book of his varied and complex views, his heirs indicate that he occasionally spoke of the existence of such a manuscript to friends and colleagues. Stored in a New York City warehouse since the artist’s death, this extraordinary manuscript,” probably written around 1940–1941, was finally published in 2005. Titled The Artist’s Reality, “this revelatory book discusses Rothko’s ideas on the modern art world, art history, myth, beauty, the challenges of being an artist in society, the true nature of ‘American art,’ and much more.” In this lecture recorded on June 11, 2005, at the National Gallery of Art, Christopher Rothko, the artist’s son, describes “the discovery of the manuscript and the complicated and fascinating process of bringing the manuscript to publication.” (Quotations from Yale University Press) Copyright © 2005 by Christopher Rothko

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5. Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Art

Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Art

Mary Morton, curator and head, department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. A portrait of Joseph Roulin, the postman made famous by Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) in a series of portraits, was on view at the National Gallery of Art for the first time thanks to a loan from the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, The Netherlands. Portrait of Monsieur Roulin (1889) hung alongside the Gallery’s own Roulin’s Baby (1888), a portrait of the postman’s daughter Marcelle as an infant. In honor of this historic pairing, the Gallery mounted the exhibition Celebrating Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Art, which opened to the public on June 8, 2014. To mark the exhibition closing on September 7, 2014, Mary Morton presented a lecture on the riches of the Gallery’s Van Gogh paintings. In addition to seven other paintings on view, two new Van Gogh works have arrived within the last year at the bequest of renowned philanthropist, art collector, and Gallery benefactor Paul Mellon (1907–1999). The paintings had been in the home of Mellon’s wife, Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, until her death at age 103 on the Gallery’s anniversary, March 17, 2014.

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6. Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 3: Minimalism

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 3: Minimalism

Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, , is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 13, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe contrasts multiple forms of minimalism in the 1960s, as seen in the works of Donald Judd, Robert Morris, and James Turrell, and examines, among other things, the degree to which this art is quintessentially American.

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7. Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 5: Satire, Irony, and Abstract Art

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 5: Satire, Irony, and Abstract Art

Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, , is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this fifth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 4, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe explores the 1980s, when Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claus Oldenburg, and others confronted the ironic relationship between abstraction and the representation of man-made objects, thus producing a politicized critique of abstraction. Varnedoe concludes by looking at artists including Gerhard Richter and Cy Twombly, whose varied approaches shifted abstract art from its position as the ultimate modern art to one of many options.

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8. Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 2: Survivals and Fresh Starts

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 2: Survivals and Fresh Starts

Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, , is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 6, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe discusses the reactions of artists such as Jackson Pollock and Jasper Johns to prewar traditions of constructivism, and the initiation of new movements that utilized similar forms but with very dissimilar premises. While raising the question of whether abstract art can have a fixed meaning, he argues that abstraction provides no respite from interpretation or retreat from the contingencies of art history.

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9. Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 4: After Minimalism

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 4: After Minimalism

Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, , is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 27, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe marks 1968 as a turning point in minimalism, when a new organicism emerged in the work of Richard Serra and Eva Hesse. A change in scale and in relationship to the body and to landscape is epitomized in works such as Walter De Maria's , Michael Heizer's , and Robert Smithson's .

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10. Van Gogh: The Face in the Mirror

Van Gogh: The Face in the Mirror

George T. M. Shackelford, deputy director, Kimbell Art Museum. In this lecture recorded on February 2, 2014, at the National Gallery of Art, George Shackelford discusses Vincent van Gogh's remarkable portraits of himself and others—beginning with his earliest drawings from 1880 after his move to Brussels to his last paintings, completed in 1889. Using Van Gogh’s letters in context, Shackelford describes the artist’s desire to analyze and fix his own image. He argues that Van Gogh put more of himself, his feelings, and his thoughts into his work than any other artist of the 19th century. Ultimately, Shackelford concludes that Van Gogh’s “whole art is that mirror on himself.”

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11. Introduction to the Exhibition — Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

Introduction to the Exhibition — Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth S. Lapatin, associate curators of antiquities, The J. Paul Getty Museum To celebrate the opening of Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World on December 13, 2015, exhibition curators Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth S. Lapatin present some 50 bronze sculptures and related works, dating from the 4th century BC to the 1st century AD. They span the Hellenistic period when the art and culture of Greece spread throughout the Mediterranean and lands once conquered by Alexander the Great. Through the medium of bronze, artists were able to capture the dynamic realism, expression, and detail that characterized the new artistic goals of the period. Power and Pathos brings together works from world-renowned archaeological museums in Austria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Georgia, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the United States. On view through March 20, 2016, the exhibition presents a unique opportunity to witness the importance of bronze in the ancient world, when it became the preferred medium for portrait sculpture.

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12. Speaking Pictures: Poetry Addressing Works of Art

Speaking Pictures: Poetry Addressing Works of Art

John Hollander, Sterling Professor of English, Yale University. Works of art are silent; poetry speaks its mind. Painting is mute poetry, poetry a speaking picture. Beginning with classical writers, poet and literary critic John Hollander explains that art and literature have developed a wide variety of relationships over the course of 2,000 years. In this lecture recorded on November 4, 2001 at the National Gallery of Art, Hollander specifically explores the ekphrastic relationship between a particular work of visual art or architecture and a particular poem. The word ekphrastic comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, meaning “out” and “speak,” respectively—to give voice to the silent work of art by speaking for it, out of it, or, in so many ways, to it. Hollander distinguishes between actual and notional ekphrasis, invocations of actual works of art versus speaking of fictional works that exist only in description. He then reads from works by very different contemporary poets and connects them with corresponding works of art that the poems had in mind or in view.

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13. National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

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14. The Rite of Spring: Race, Dance, and Modernism in 1913

The Rite of Spring: Race, Dance, and Modernism in 1913

Sarah Kennel, associate curator, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art Sarah Kennel, National Gallery of Art curator behind the exhibit Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music, discusses the critical reaction to the Rite of Spring at its 1913 Paris premiere in this lecture recorded on July 21, 2013. Kennel explores possible connections between the ballet’s choreography and contemporary dance practices that transformed popular culture in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Though on the surface the avant-garde choreography for the Rite of Spring seems wholly antithetical to the forms of popular dance, critics repeatedly invoked the same terms to describe the bodily movement in both dance styles. Furthermore, a choreographic analysis of the Rite of Spring reveals several moments in which Nijinsky appears to have “poached” certain movements from popular dancing, as well as from other movement traditions, including classical ballet, suggesting that the Rite of Spring’s modernism was partly shaped by a dialogue with mass culture.

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15. FAPE 2009: The Role of Art and Architecture in Civic Buildings

FAPE 2009: The Role of Art and Architecture in Civic Buildings

Panelists: Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States; Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for and Joseph Urban Professor of Design and Architecture, New School; and Robert Storr, dean, Yale School of Art. Moderated by Molly Donovan, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art. In this special lecture podcast recorded on May 12, 2009, the National Gallery of Art, in conjunction with the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, hosted this panel discussion on the role of art and architecture in the civic sphere, at home and around the world.

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16. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and the 1963 Exhibition of the "Mona Lisa"

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and the 1963 Exhibition of the

Margaret Leslie Davis, author. In her book , Davis weaves together the enchanting saga of America's first museum blockbuster show and how the first lady made it happen. In this Notable Lectures podcast, recorded on January 4, 2009, as part of the Gallery's winter lecture series, Davis discusses the details of the 's visit to the National Gallery of Art and the "Lisa Fever" that ensued.

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17. Building a Collection: Photography at the National Gallery of Art

Building a Collection: Photography at the National Gallery of Art

Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art In 1990 the National Gallery of Art launched an initiative to acquire the finest examples of the art of photography and to mount photography exhibitions of the highest quality, accompanied by scholarly publications and programs. In the years since, the Gallery’s collection of photographs has grown to nearly 15,000 works encompassing the history of the medium from its beginnings in 1839 to the present, featuring in-depth holdings of work by many of the masters of the art form. The Gallery’s program of photography-related exhibitions and publications is now considered among the best in the world. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of this initiative, the Gallery presents three major exhibitions in 2015 exemplifying the vitality, breadth, and history of its photography holdings. Two of these exhibitions opened simultaneously on May 3, 2015: In Light of the Past: 25 Years of Photography at the National Gallery of Art and The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Acquired with the Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund. In this lecture held in honor of opening day, Sarah Greenough provides a brief history of the growth of the Gallery’s photography program and an overview of both exhibitions. On view through July 26, 2015, In Light of the Past demonstrates how the Gallery’s exemplary holdings reveal the evolution of the art of photography. On view through September 13, 2015, The Memory of Time explores the work of 26 contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history.

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18. FAPE 2015: The Role of Art in Diplomacy: Cultural Citizens

FAPE 2015: The Role of Art in Diplomacy: Cultural Citizens

Panelists include Theaster Gates, artist, and director of arts and public life, resident artist, and lecturer, department of visual arts, University of Chicago; Yo-Yo Ma, cellist; and Darren Walker, vice president, Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, and president, The Ford Foundation. Moderated by Molly Donovan, associate curator of modern art, National Gallery of Art. The National Gallery of Art, in collaboration with the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), hosted a panel discussion on the role of cultural citizens on April 20, 2015 in the East Building Atrium. Molly Donovan moderates a conversation with Theaster Gates, Yo-Yo Ma, and Darren Walker on the impact of cultural exchange and its ability to forge ties among communities.

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19. Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959 – 1971, VI: Some Art Is Hard to See

Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959 – 1971, VI: Some Art Is Hard to See

Jane McFadden, department chair of humanities and sciences, ArtCenter College of Design. For the public symposium held on November 19, 2016, in conjunction with the exhibition Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959 – 1971 at the National Gallery of Art, Jane McFadden describes how Virginia Dwan offered pivotal support to artists expanding the field of sculpture beyond the gallery in the late 1960s. Exploring these early endeavors, McFadden considers what unseen histories might emerge from understanding Dwan as a central collaborator in well-known works of land art. By tracing the resonance of key works like Michael Heizer’s Double Negative beyond established interpretations of site and land art, McFadden draws from the shadows the ghosts and other hallucinatory effects of this historical moment that are difficult to see.

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