Please mark your calendars for the second lecture in the 2016-2017 Art History Distinguished Speaker Series.
Dr. Gretchen Henderson
Thursday, Nov. 3 at 4:30pm
Ugliness: A Cultural View on Art History
Zimmerli Art Museum (Maxwell Multipurpose Room), Rutgers
Moving beyond the traditional philosophic argument of mere opposition to beauty, following ‘ugly’ bodies, and dismantling the meaning of ‘ugly’ across periods and continents, Dr. Henderson will explore how this word, which derives from “feared and dreaded,” provides a challenge to art history. As aesthetics tangle with political and cultural considerations, the values of ‘ugly’ carry loaded associations that perpetually shift – to the point that they can boomerang back at the eye of the beholder. Since ugliness both repels and fascinates, the concept has had a profound effect on the public imagination, in both positive and negative terms. Through the lens of art history, Dr. Henderson proposes that ugliness arguably incites change by provoking us to reevaluate our cultural borders, including bodies that have been included and excluded, to question our own place in the mix. Essentially, when ugliness transgresses cultural and aesthetic boundaries that define us in relation to ugliness, the process may allow us to redefine ugliness and, even, ourselves.
We hope to see you there!