Past News at Kluge-Ruhe

Howard Morphy lecture at Morven • Wednesday March 18, 2009

Dr. Howard Morphy will present the John W. and Maria T. Kluge Distinguished Lecture in Arts and Humanities on Monday, April 6th at 6:00 pm at Morven Farm. The lecture is the second one in a series initiated in 2008 to honor the Kluges for their commitment to the arts and humanities at the University of Virginia.

In Mediating Forms: The Spiritual and Personal Dimension of Yolngu Portraiture Dr. Morphy argues that the presence of a person and attributes of a person’s ‘biography’ are two relatively autonomous components of portraiture. He develops a comparative argument, considering commonalities between different artistic practices including conventional Western portraiture based on likeness, abstract expressionism, North West Coast Native American art and Indigenous Australian art. This broader perspective reveals commonalities across cultures that deepen understanding of portraiture as a process for mediating indentity.

Dr. Morphy (BSc, MPhil London, PhD ANU) is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Research School of Humanities at the Australian National University. Prior to that he held the chair in Anthropology at University College, London and spent ten years as a curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. He co-edited two of the main source books in visual anthropology, The Anthropology of Art: a Reader (2006, with Morgan Perkins) and Rethinking Visual Anthropology (1997, with Marcus Banks). He has written extensively on Australian Aboriginal art including Aboriginal Art (Phaidon, 1998).

Dr. Morphy began advising John Kluge on Aboriginal art in 1995 and was instrumental in establishing the Kluge-Ruhe Collection at the University of Virginia. He co-edited Art From the Land: Dialogues with the Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Australian Aboriginal Art and has served as adjunct curator for the collection since 1998.

The lecture is free but advance reservations are required. The lecture is now full, but you may call to put your name on the waiting list. To do so, please call (434) 244-0234 or email the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. Shuttles will be provided to Morven from the Kluge-Ruhe Collection and the UVA Art Museum departing at 5:15 pm. For more information please contact the Kluge-Ruhe Collection.

Aboriginal Art Exhibit and Symposium at Cornell • Tuesday February 17, 2009

Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University is showing an important exhibit of early Western Desert paintings from the collection of John and Barbara Wilkerson, January 10 – April 5, 2009. Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya was curated by Australian art historian Roger Benjamin from the Power Institute at the University of Sydney. The collection of 48 paintings, in acrylic on board and canvas, are some of the early works by founding members of the western desert contemporary art movement including Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula and Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi. The opening reception, held on Friday, February 13.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Cornell hosted a one-day symposium, Papunya Then and Now, on Saturday, February 14, 2009. Kluge-Ruhe curators Margo Smith and Dominique Cocuzza were among 90 attendees, which included academics, collectors and enthusiasts from around the world. Benjamin presented the keynote address. Other speakers were Fred R. Myers, Silver Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at New York University; Vivien Johnson, Professor in the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales; Jennifer Biddle, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics, University of New South Wales; and Paul Sweeney, Manager of Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs.

Bobby West Tjupurrula, Joseph Jurra Tjapaltjarri and Ray James Tjangala created a ground design measuring approximately 10 × 10 ft. in the exhibition gallery. Materials for the ground design, including sand, plant fiber and ochres, were shipped from Australia. Relatives of the original Papunya painters, West, Jurra and James are accomplished contemporary artists whose work is represented by Papunya Tula Artists. West discussed the installation with Fred Myers in front of a large crowd in the gallery following the symposium.

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art has programmed a number of lectures, receptions and a film series to accompany this exhibit.

Image: Detail of Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi, Mystery Sand Mosaic, 1974 ©2009 Aboriginal Artists Agency, Sydney.

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