Samuel Russell Endowed Lecture
333 E River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455
The 2022 Samuel Russell Endowed Chair Lectures will feature talks by Professor Jennifer Marshall and Associate Professor Laura Kalba from the Department of Art History. Both Kalba's and Marshall's talks will ask us to consider moments when the interests of both art-making and money-making overlapped, revealing how both aesthetics and the market are highly social, highly symbolic forms of power.
This event is free and open to the public. Complimentary appetizers and desserts will be served during the reception, with a cash bar.
"Artist's Stories / Geology Stories: William Edmondson and the Medium of Extraction"
This talk draws from Art History Professor Jennifer Jane Marshall's forthcoming book on the American artist, William Edmondson (ca. 1874-1951). Active during the Great Depression in Nashville, Tennessee, Edmondson is best remembered as the first Black American artist to anchor a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art. In "Artist's Stories/ Geology Stories," Professor Marshall will look closely at Edmondson's sculptures of animals and angels—hand-carved in North American limestone—in order to consider how the self-taught artist participated in, dramatized, and so also revised modern extractive economies of removal and circulation.
"A Visual History of the Paris Stock Exchange, c. 1808-1908"
Writing in the 1860s, French novelist and art critic Champfleury described the auction house as “a bourse for art objects, where in the process of finding its buyer and seller, every item produces feverish currents.” Reflecting the speculative nature of art collecting, comparisons between the financial and art markets became increasingly commonplace in the mid-19th century.
Looking at the architectural history of the Paris Bourse and the abundant visual imagery depicting the early nineteenth-century, temple-like monument, this presentation by Art History Associate Professor Laura Kalba aims to provide a different perspective on the historical relationship between art and ‘the market.’ It shows, more specifically, how the Paris stock exchange functioned as an intensely visual—artful even—public performance, resting on the relentless exchange of representations. Far from being inherently resistant to representation, the financial world emerged, in fact, as a privileged site for understanding the ways money and visual media worked hand-in-hand to shape modern society.
Laura Anne Kalba’s research examines the history of the fine, decorative, and commercial arts in a range of national and colonial contexts from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
Her publications reflect her interdisciplinary training and wide-ranging interests in the history of technology, media studies, and the social life of visual and material forms. Her first book, Color in the Age of Impressionism: Commerce, Technology, and Art, received the 2018 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award of the College Art Association and the 2016–17 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies. Published in 2017 by the Pennsylvania State University Press, it examines the impact of new color technologies on French visual and material culture, from the early commercialization of synthetic dyes to the Lumière brothers' perfection of the autochrome color photography process. Some of her research on this topic has appeared in Representations, Modernism/Modernity, History and Technology, as well as several exhibition catalogs.
Her current book project is a study of the ways that images, objects, and places encoded and enacted shifting notions of economic value from the railway mania of the 1840s to the First World War. Tentatively titled Signification, Style, and Society in the Golden Age of Finance Capital, this project has received funding from the American Council of Learned Societies, enabling Kalba to spend the 2018-19 academic year as a research associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. A related article is forthcoming in The Art Bulletin (March 2020).
Jennifer Marshall (Ph.D., UCLA, 2005) specializes in the art and visual/material culture of the United States (colonial period to 1960s). In her classes, Professor Marshall uses images as a fresh way to understand America’s complex cultural history. Courses include ArtH 3005 "American Art," ArtH 3577, "Photo Nation: Photography in America," ArtH 5565, "American Art of the Gilded Age," ArtH 5575, "Boom/Bust: American Art from the Roaring Twenties to the Great Depression," and graduate-level seminars. Professor Marshall’s research focuses on issues of materiality and modernity in early twentieth-century American art and aesthetics. In her first book, Machine Art, 1934 (University of Chicago Press, 2012), she offers a critical history of the Museum of Modern Art’s landmark Machine Art show. An exhibit of airplane propellers, ball bearings, pots, pans, and Petri dishes, Machine Art offered Depression-era Americans a concrete way of coming to terms with modern abstract value. (This book was awarded the Dedalus Foundation's 2013 Robert Motherwell Book Award.) Professor Marshall’s other publications include, “Toward Phenomenology: A Material Culture Studies Approach to Landscape Theory“ (Landscape Theory, eds. James Elkins and Rachel Ziady DeLue, Routledge, 2007), “Clean Cuts: Procter & Gamble’s Depression-Era Soap-Carving Contests“ (Winterthur Portfolio, Spring 2008), “In Form We Trust: Neoplatonism: the Gold Standard, and the Museum of Modern Art’s Machine Art Show“ (Art Bulletin, December 2008). Prior to joining the Art History Department at the University of Minnesota, Professor Marshall served as Acting Assistant Professor of American Art History at Stanford University (2006-08), and held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2005-06).