Annual Rutgers Art History Graduate Student Symposium: Making a Spectacle

The Rutgers Department of Art History is hosting its 8th Annual Graduate Student Symposium:

Making a Spectacle: Audience and the Art of Engagement


Friday, April 20, 2018, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Alexander Library, Pane Room

169 College Ave, New Brunswick, NJ 08901


Keynote Speaker: Bridget Alsdorf, Princeton University


“The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.” – Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, 1967


What is spectacle and how do we represent it? What is at stake in these representations? How does spectacle operate in different spaces and eras? For centuries, artists and critical thinkers have reflected on the nature of spectacle and its role within society. In a famous philosophical text, French theorist Guy Debord offered one possible definition, which highlights the impact of visual culture on communal relations. His observation remains equally relevant today, in a world saturated with images and divertissements that clamor for our attention and influence the ways we interact with each other.


With this surfeit in mind, the Rutgers University Art History Graduate Student Organization invites proposals that address any of the above-mentioned questions. Abstracts are welcome from all historical periods, geographical areas, and cultural, theoretical, and methodological perspectives. Submissions within the fields of art and architectural history, archaeology, history, and visual and material culture will be considered for 20-minute presentations in English. After the symposium, one paper will be selected for publication in the 35th volume of the Rutgers ArtReview (pending the outside reader review).




8:30-9:00 | Registration and Breakfast


9:00-10:20 | Session One: Spectacular Processions


Britt Boler, Florida State University

“Performing Pilgrimage and Processing through the Bamberg Heiltumbuch”


Joana Konova, University of Chicago

“Politics and Spectacle in the 1571 Triumph for Marcantonio Colonna”


Suheyla Takesh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Funerary Processions and Passion Plays in Mahmoud Sabri’s Work”


10:20-10:40 | Coffee Break


10:40-11:40 | Session Two: Spectacle and Memory


Isabelle Gillet, University of Michigan

“The Display of Monarchy as Spectacle in Eugène Lami’s Quadrille de Marie Stuart


Josie Johnson, Brown University

“Soviet Spectacular: The Red Square Parade in Photographs, ca. 1930”


11:40-1:00 | Lunch


1:00-2:00 | Session Three: Spectacularizing the East


Dina Murokh, University of Southern California

“Facing the Subject: The Chinese Museum in the Antebellum United States”


Y. L. Lucy Wang, Columbia University
“‘À Côté de Celles de l’Égypte et de l’Assyrie’: Exhibiting a Global Architectural Taxonomy at Louis Delaporte’s Musée Indo-Chinois”


2:00-2:10 | Coffee Break


2:10-3:10 | Session Four: Performing Spectacle


Matthew Teti, Columbia University

Shout: Chris Burden’s Parody of Countercultural Protest”


Lyndsey Vader, Ohio State University

“Contemporary Acts of Spectacle and Sensorial Counterpublics in Yanira Castro’s Court/Garden (2014)”


3:10-3:20 | Coffee Break


3:20-4:45 | Keynote Address


Dr. Bridget Alsdorf, Princeton University

“GAWKERS: Flânerie for the Masses in Fin-de-siècle France”