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The Renewing Museums Working Group

Old College Gallery temporary exhibitions, 2013

Attributed to Peter Lely, Portrait of a Woman, English, ca. 1780

In January 2013, the exhibition of the University of Delaware art collection in the Old College Gallery will be de-installed, to make room for two large temporary exhibitions: Gertrude Käsebier: The Complexity of Light and Shade (spring, 2013) and Goya’s War: Los Desastres de la Guerra (fall, 2013). Selections from the UD collection will be reinstalled in January 2014.

The goal of the Renewing the Museums Working Group is to design a new installation of the collection in Old College Gallery that best serves the interests of students, faculty and the curriculum. The installation will draw from the UD Art Collections, which encompass art that came to the University Museums through the Old College Gallery (formerly, the University Gallery), the gift of Paul R. Jones, and the President’s Office (transferred from Archives in 2007) and through gifts from individual donors. Particular strengths are in American and African American 20th century art, but the collection also encompasses Russian icons, Greek and Roman antiquities, Pre-Columbian artifacts, African Art, southwest pottery and a significant photographic collection, as well as prints and drawings.

Wendy Bellion is associate professor of American art in the Department of Art History. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in United States art and also serves on the Executive Committee for the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. Bellion is author of the book, Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (2011), in addition to numerous essays exploring eighteenth and nineteenth-century painting, drawing, waxwork, and theater within Atlantic world cultures of science, gender, and politics. She is currently at work on a book about public sculpture, iconoclasm, and commemoration in early New York.

Anne M. Boylan, Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies at UD, received the PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1973; she has taught at the University of Delaware since 1986. A social historian of the United States, she does research and teaches on women’s history, social and cultural history, voluntary associations, religion, and historical memory. She is the author of Sunday School: The Formation of An American Institution, 1790-1880 (1988); The Origins of Women’s Activism: New York and Boston, 1797-1840 (2002); and the forthcoming Women’s Rights in America: A History in Documents.

P. Gabrielle Foreman is a literary historian and the author of Activist Sentiments: Reading Black Women in the Nineteenth Century, many well-known essays and several editions including Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig, the Penguin Classics volume that first documented Wilson’s wide-spread success as an antebellum hair-care entrepreneur as well as her long post-vellum life as Boston’s "earnest and eloquent colored medium." Foreman has written on race, "optic history" and nineteenth-century photographic representation. In 2011, she joined the University of Delaware as the Ned B. Allen Professor of English and Professor of Black American Studies.

Elizabeth Higginbotham is a professor of Sociology at the University of Delaware with joint appointments in Black American Studies and Women’s Studies. She is a social scientist trained at Brandeis University with a board interest in American Studies and culture. At the Center for Research on Women at the University of Memphis, she was active in developing programming that brought issues of race and gender to the public. In addition to her academic accomplishments, like her book, Too Much to Ask: Black Women in the Era of Integration (University of North Carolina Press, 2001), Higginbotham has been active since 2007 on the Council for the Delaware Humanities Forum.

Julie L. McGee, an art historian with specialties in African American art and contemporary African art, has published widely on contemporary African American art and South African art, with particular focus on artist and museum praxis. She joined the University Museums of the University of Delaware as curator of African American art in 2008 after a dozen years on the faculty of Bowdoin College and a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She holds an appointment in Black American Studies as associate professor.

David Meyer teaches and oversees the sculpture program at the University. His work explores various concepts associated with experience through an abundance of non-traditional and traditional materials and processes. The work ranges from site-specific installation art and large-scale outdoor commissions to simple objects that compel the viewer to take a second look. He has had solo exhibitions in Philadelphia at the Skybox, San Antonio College, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City and as part of a residency at the Hellenic International Studies in the Arts in Greece; he has also participated in group exhibitions including the US National Botanic Gardens and the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington D.C., Arlington Art Center and at LG Tripp Gallery in Philadelphia.

Lawrence Nees has taught at the University of Delaware since 1978, where he is Professor in the Department of Art History. He is currently President of the International Center of Medieval Art. His books include The Gundohinus Gospels (Cambridge, Mass., 1987), A Tainted Mantle: Hercules and the Classical Tradition at the Carolingian Court (Philadelphia, 1991), Early Medieval Art (Oxford, 2002), and Perspectives on Early Islamic Art in Jerusalem (submitted for publication 2012). He served from 2003-2009 on the international Advisory Committee for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries Renovation Project at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Janis Tomlinson’s books include studies on the art of Spain and on the artist Francisco Goya and have been translated into Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. In 2001-2 she was the U.S. curator for the exhibition, Goya: Images of Women, a partnership of the Museo del Prado and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. She has contributed to Goya exhibitions arranged by institutions worldwide, including the Museo del Prado (Madrid), MUNAL (Mexico City) and the Nationalgalerie (Berlin) and has curated exhibitions on a wide variety of topics. Dr. Tomlinson’s awards include fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and with the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. A graduate of McGill University, she earned her MA and Ph.D. in the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been Director of University Museums at UD since September 2003.

The research interests of Peter M. Weil, Associate Professor of Anthropology, include public art forms and political processes in complex societies; African art; material culture and culture history; typewriters and the development of the culture of the office in industrial societies; African culture and history; and the Mande societies of West Africa. His recent publications in 2012 "Ephemera--Blicks Alive!: Gender and Context in the Use of Blickensderfer Typewriters in Original 1897-1918 Photographs." , ETCetera, No. 97; "Ephemera—Making It: Photographs as Evidence for Historical Processes in the Manufacturing of Typewriters," ETCetera, No. 96, December, pp. 6-9; 2005; and Masking for Money: The Commodification of Kankurang and Simba Mask Performances in Urban Gambia. In Money and Modernity in West Africa: Ethnographic Perspectives on Commercialization in the Mande Regions. Stephen Wooten and Jan Jansen, eds. Munster (Germany): Verlag Lit. Pp. 162-177.