Alan Braddock, Ph.D.: The Telescope of Modernity
Thursday, November 6, 2008, 6:00 - 7:30 PM
All UW Art History Lectures are FREE and open to the public and will be held in the Auditorium. Seating is limited. For more information or to RSVP, contact Nicole Bernard at 206.616.6544 or .
The Telescope of Modernity: Winslow Homer’s Sharpshooter, Gun Vision, and Post-Traumatic Realism
In several of his earliest graphic works, Winslow Homer represented telescopes affirmatively as signs of individual empowerment and communal progress, consistent with Enlightenment ideals of vision. After his experience as an artist-journalist for Harper’s Weekly during the Civil War, Homer returned to the theme of telescopic viewing in various ways, but his mature works embodied troubling new complexities about vision in modernity – notably its frequent association with violence and death. At the same time, Homer’s pictures indicate his recognition of the empowering potential of pictorial violence as an artistic device for attracting viewer attention in an increasingly competitive image market. This lecture – part of a larger project on “gun vision” in American art circa 1900 – interprets Homer’s art as exemplifying the dialectics of post-traumatic realism, an aesthetic impulse to replay, reconfigure, and exploit the impact of modern warfare.
Alan C. Braddock has been Associate Curator of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since July 2008. Prior to taking that position, he taught American art history at Temple University and Syracuse University. The author of a number of publications, his book Thomas Eakins and the Cultures of Modernity will be released by the University of California Press in early 2009.