Michael Leja, professor of history of art and director of program in visual studies, University of Pennsylvania, will present the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture in Art History on Thursday, December 4, at 4:10 p.m. in 203 Cohen Hall. His lecture is entitled “Cubism in Bondage: Morgan Russell’s Synchromism,” with a reception to follow in the atrium.
Leja (PhD, Harvard University) studies the visual arts in various media (painting, sculpture, film, photography, prints, illustrations) in the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily in the United States. His work is interdisciplinary and strives to understand visual artifacts in relation to contemporary cultural, social, political, and intellectual developments. He is especially interested in examining the interactions between works of art and particular audiences.
Synchromism was an art movement founded in the early 1910s by two American artists living in Paris at the time, Morgan Russell (1886-1953) and Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1890-1973). With Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Russell created an avant-garde style of colorful abstract painting. Seeking a spiritual exaltation equivalent to that produced by music, with which he also experimented, Russell combined abstract shape and color in paintings.
Leja’s book Looking Askance: Skepticism and American Art from Eakins to Duchamp (2004) traces the interactions between the visual arts and the skeptical forms of seeing engendered in modern life in northeastern American cities between 1869 and 1917. It won the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize in 2005. Leja was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.
Sponsored by the Department of History of Art, the Goldberg Lecture is free and open to the public. Limited parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East.