HAAARCH!!! 2015

HAAARCH!!! is a yearly showcase of undergraduate research, creative work, and achievement. This forum provides students the opportunity to exhibit, present and promote their research and experiential learning activities.

HAAARCH!!! 2015 will take place in the Cloister and University Art Gallery of the Frick Fine Arts Building on March 23, from 4-6 pm.

HAAARCH!!! 2015

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    Katherine Rhame

    Katherine Rhame is a junior double majoring in Neuroscience and the History of Art and Architeture.  Her research project for HAA 1010 on Visualizing Heritage in Pittsburgh looks at the connection between the culture of Austrian Empire when Austria held significant power and land, and how that image was chosen to represent ideas of identity among the Austrian immigrants when designing the Austrian Nationality Room (dedicated in 1996).

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    Jinghan Xu

    Jinghan Xu is a junior majoring in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh.  She is pursuing minors in Museum Studies and Studio Arts.  Her hometown is Qingdao city in Shandong province, China.  For her project in HAA 1010 she has chosen to work on the political ramifications of the Confucian themes so prominent in the Chinese Nationality Room that opened in 1939, during a period of civil disorder in China.

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    Sara Savage

    Sara Savage is a senior pursuing a degree in Studio Arts and Art History with a minor in Museum Studies and a certificate in Gender Studies. She was selected to participate in this summer’s Honors Wyoming Field Study course where four students spent two and a half weeks working on intense independent studio projects. The artwork Sara produced in Wyoming focused on the identity of the land and what it meant for her to exist within it. Sara’s other art revolves around identity as she works with personal experience and self-identities to bring attention to the complex identity of Otherness. This semester, her interest in identity is tied into the work she is doing in HAA 1010: Approaches to Art History, where she is doing extensive research on the Syria-Lebanon Nationality Room and suggests that it represents an Ottoman identity that memorializes both Christian and Muslim traditions.

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    Yehan Hu

    Yehan Hu is a junior student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in History of Art and Architecture. After graduating from the Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China, he came to the United States in 2012 for college. He has currently been building an original visual novel video game with friends.  He is enrolled in HAA 1010 and is working on the Indian Nationality Room, its construction technology and historical models.

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    "Religion Transformed: The Christian Roots of a Secular Russian Craft," by Alli Mosco

    A modern staple of Russian identity in craft is the lacquer miniature. These crafts are typically small boxes, such as snuffboxes, powder boxes, and cigarette cases, which are covered in paper-mache and painted with miniature scenes of folk life, fairytales, and traditional songs. These crafts have been in production for nearly one hundred years, starting with the very early rise of communism and flourishing in the Soviet era.

    The origins of these objects are important because they are rooted in another longstanding Russian tradition – Orthodox icon painting. The villages that now produce lacquer boxes once were known for their skills and techniques in painting figures of the Orthodox Church for hundreds of years. Of course, once the Church became a target of the communist age and Orthodox icons became obsolete, these villagers had to take the skills they had from icon painting and transfer them to the secular imagery of the lacquer miniatures.

    The aim of my paper is to explore how deeply connected these two forms of art are. While they may be opposites in medium and subject matter, their connection is deeply rooted in the painterly style that stems from Byzantine Orthodox Christianity. Previous scholarship has only touched the surface on this connection. They may acknowledge the similarities in style, but they ignore the implications of using a Christian aesthetic in secular imagery. This scholarship also does not recognize the presence of Christian symbols and motifs apparent in many of these lacquer miniatures. St. George, a figure who appears in both icon paintings and in lacquer, will function as a case study to further demonstrate the way that religious imagery was appropriated to conform to secular, even Soviet, ideals.

    For more information about Alli, go here.

     

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    Allison Mosco

    Alli is a senior completing a double major in the History of Art and Architecture and Nonfiction English Writing, with a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. She has served as an undergraduate teaching assistant and is currently interning at Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery.

    Alli wwill be presenting on the topic of "Religion Transformed: The Christian Roots of a Secular Russian Craft" at HAAARCH!!! 2015.

     

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    "Reinforcing Femininity: Exhibiting the Empress Dowager and Marie Antoinette in the 21st Century," by Liyi Chen

    Life-size screen projection of a collection of black and white photographs of an empress dowager and a marble bust of a queen are two feature works in two exhibition: Power Play: China’s Empress Dowager in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington D.C. (September 24, 2011-January 29, 2012) and Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louise XIV to Marie-Antoinette in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (November 17, 2012 – March 31, 2013). How these very controversial royal women, who lived at the end of Imperial China and Monarchical France, were presented to the general public belies attitudes toward royalty and female leadership on the part of the curators?

    Exhibiting infamous historical figures could be sensitive, even in domestic context, and the complexities add up when the exhibits take place in international context. Curators faced a challenge about how to present these historical women who were seen as fashionistas, as well as head strong and powerful political advocates for change. From the wording of titles, public releases and wall text, to the arrangement of objects, the overall perspective presented of these historical figures does not emphasize their power or authority as leaders, but rather their adherence to tradition. Such a strategy for presentation was not declared by the curators, but nonetheless is the result as I will show through my analysis of the exhibits.

    The research consists of analyzing the exhibited objects singly and as a group as well as their presentation in the exhibit, analysis of the exhibition catalog and visitor feedback, and interviews with Curators including Mr. David Hugge, the Curator of “Power Play” and Head of Archives at Freer/Sackler Gallery and Martin Chapman, one curator of the “Royal Treasure” and Curator in charge of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. My goal is to evaluate the curatorial approach and methodology that framed these two exhibits and to raise both the curators and public’s awareness while approaching historical artworks that embody controversial historical figures and eras.

    For more information about Liyi, go here

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    Liyi Chen

    Having studied in China, Canada, Austria and France, Liyi Chen is currently a fourth year HAA major and interning with the department’s online journal “Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture.” She was an undergraduate assistant at the University Art Gallery and Visual Media Workshop. She received a Brackenridge fellowship to conduct her honors thesis on 21st century re-presentations of the Empress Dowager and Marie Antoinette, a cross cultural comparison project overseen by Dr. Katheryn Linduff and Dr. Shirin Fozi. This semester she continued working on her thesis in Dr. Kirk Savage’s Honors Research Seminar. She is a member of the Flight 93 Memorial Research Team. She is also working with archives in the university’s special collection to conduct a research project on French Nationality Room.

    At HAAARCH this year, she will be presenting on her honors thesis, entitled "Reinforcing Femininity: Exhibiting the Empress Dowager and Marie Antoinette in the 21st Century."

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    Maddi Johnson

    Maddi Johnson is a sophomore in the Architectural Studies Program. She is a Pittsburgh native. Art and architecture have always been an area of focus in her life. She chose architecture as a path after involving herself with the functional arts.  Her primary background lies in furniture and textiles.  In architecture she believes in simplicity and likes to study and embrace ideas from Modernism. Her favorite architect is Philip Johnson. She travels frequently to experience architecture first hand. She intends to attend grad school for architecture and previously attended a Creative Arts High School. 

    At HAAARCH 2015, Maddi will be presenting on her project for HAA 1913.  

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    "Methodical Suffering: Chinese Buddhism as a Tool in Zhang Huan's Early Performance Art," by Sarah Horton

    At 11:30 am, on a sweltering June morning in 1994, a nude Zhang Huan sat down in a run-down public restroom in Beijing’s East Village, covered in a mixture fish oil and honey. Immediately swarmed by flies, Zhang maintained that position with perfect stillness for an hour, despite the stench and stifling 100° heat. Zhang allowed the flies to cover his body and did not react even as they entered his ears and nose, drawn to the viscous liquid coating his skin. Accompanied only by a few artist friends who would document this feat of endurance, Zhang went to this filthy public restroom to complete a work of performance art, a form of art practice banned in China, titled 12 Square Meters.

    This early performance by Zhang is one of his many works that demonstrate an engagement with elements of Chinese traditional culture. This is particularly the case with Chan Buddhism, a popular sect of Buddhism native to China with a focus on reaching buddhahood through self-contemplation. While Zhang never promoted his early work as engaged with traditional concepts, such engagement is made incredibly apparent in his later, international work. Focusing on 12 Square Meters, and in his referencing other relevant works by the artist from the 1990s, this thesis will examine the functional role of Chinese Buddhism in Zhang’s early performances. As these performances are ephemeral, I will rely on photographs, videos, and records documenting Zhang’s works. My research also depends on a wealth of information on Zhang and his art practice, as well as Buddhist ideology, in order to illuminate connections between Zhang’s work and practices such as meditation and self-immolation. This investigation will be carefully situated within the context of the specific social and political circumstances faced by Chinese artists in the last decade of the millennium, because these circumstances directly impacted and restricted the nature Zhang’s art practice. Ultimately, I seek to demonstrate that in 12 Square Meters and Zhang’s other work from the 1990s, Chinese Buddhist concepts are employed as tools or methods that the artist applies to the ideas he seeks to address in his performances. I will argue that these early works, born out of the repressive artistic conditions of the 1990s in China, display a level of engagement with Chinese traditional culture that is more subtle but no less powerful than Zhang’s later international art practice.

    For more information about Sarah, click here

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