Who’s Who: Angeliki Lymberopoulou

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

I am Angeliki Lymberopoulou, and I am Senior Lecturer in Art History. Since I joined the Art History department at The Open University in 2004, I have been involved in the following modules (in order of level): AXR272; AA100; A216; A226; AD281; A275 (Classical Studies module); A354; AA315; A424; A843; A844; A847. My beloved and most precious ‘baby’ is AA315 (the highly successful and popular Renaissance Art Reconsidered), while an adorable close second is AXR272 (the very much praised Residential School in Art History). Both modules hold and will always hold a special place in my heart.

What are your main research areas?

My main research area is Byzantine art and culture, primarily of the later period (13th to 17th centuries) with a focus on cross-cultural interaction between Byzantium and the West; donors of lower class standing and income; artists; iconographical and stylistic exchanges and developments in late Byzantine art as a consequence of anthropological interactions; ‘globality’ of Byzantine (Cretan) art within its time, geographical space, cultural and religious make-up.

What Open Arts Objects films have you done? Are they related to your research or a module?

I recorded the ‘Noli Me Tangere’ icon at the British Museum, and for Critical terms I recorded ‘Iconography’ with Rembrandt Duits; both are directly related to my research interests and publications. Furthermore, they are directly related to the (now concluded) Level 3 Art History module (AA315), to the current MA in Art History (A843 and A844) and closely related to the Level 2 Art History module A226 (Exploring Art and Visual Culture).

What did you love most about doing an Open Arts Objects film?

I really loved the opportunity the Open Arts Objects filming presented me to view the ‘Noli Me Tangere’ icon with fresh eyes. In order to make the icon accessible to a wider audience, I had to step into the shoes of a non-expert, which offered me a different entry into exploring the panel – and I loved it even more for it!

What is your most significant publication or latest publication? How does it relate to the films?

I would like to think that my most significant publication is always the next one, since publishing entails a constant learning curve. As things stand, I would say  the ground-breaking publication facilitated by Leverhulme-funded research, Hell in the Byzantine World: A History of Art and Religion in Venetian Crete and the Eastern Mediterranean, Volume 1: Essays and Volume 2: A Catalogue of the Cretan Material, published by Cambridge University Press in 2020 (I edited volume 1 and co-authored volume 2 with my husband, Rembrandt Duits, also an art historian). The publication accompanies an open access database. 

I also co-edited Byzantine Art and Renaissance Europe, published by Ashgate in 2013. The whole concept of the volume is related to AA315 and to my research that explores the significance of the artistic production on Venetian Crete (13th-17th centuries).

 

What got you interested in Art History?

The magnificent Indiana Jones – because in Greece, where I did my BA, the study of Byzantine Art is grouped with Archaeology!

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

Who’s Who: Clare Taylor

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

I’m Clare Taylor, a Senior Lecturer in the Art History Department. I have been involved in Undergraduate and Postgraduate modules in Arts & Humanities and Art History from level 1 interdisciplinary modules, to Levels 2 and 3, and to our MA where I contributed teaching on studying interiors and on a mid-20th century pattern designer, Enid Marx. At present I am leading on Art History’s contribution to a new Level 1 module, Cultures (A112).

What are your main research areas?

I work on the historic interior, and particularly on the unsung contributions made by decorators and tradesmen to how our homes look. I’ve recently focused on eighteenth-century wallpaper made in Britain, China and France and those who made it, sold it and hung it but I am also interested in other areas such as textiles and leather hangings. I’ve recently received a Mellon Fellowship for the project, Gilt Leather Rooms: Decorating with Leather Hangings in Britain, c.1600–c.1800.

What Open Arts Objects films have you done? Are they related to your research or a module?

I’ve made two, and both are related to my research. One film is about a seemingly ordinary length of 1960s wallpaper and how it can become a powerful visual memory, as well as explaining how wallpaper can turn trends in fine art into mass market products. The second film is on Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, where I explore how this contemporary artist uses textiles to re-examine narratives of colonial expansion and maritime trade which are at the heart of British identity, turning the viewer’s gaze towards a different kind of colonial journey.

I also wrote a ‘Travelling Object‘ piece for the OpenLearn unit to support the OU’s co-production with the BBC, Civilisations. It is about an object made in London where products from China, India and Britain meet- a bed made for an eighteenth-century theatrical couple, the Garricks- since on A344 I wrote teaching on Chinoiserie in 18th century Britain,  including discussing Eva Garrick’s own Chinese silk robe.

What did you love most about doing an Open Arts Objects film?

I loved showing everyone the wallpaper, as it belonged to a member of my family- a real personal connection!

What is your most significant publication or latest publication? How does it relate to the films?

Definitely my first full  length monograph, which, although it’s on eighteenth-century wallpaper, also relates to how wallpaper has been seen through time. It’s often been ignored as a component of the interior, so my aim has been to pull it out into the foreground alongside textiles and furniture, and allow it to be considered as a key driver in taste.

 

What got you interested in Art History? a fun fact?

I did my Undergraduate Degree in Modern History, but really wanted to work with art. So, after my BA, I did a postgraduate course in Art Gallery and Museum Studies. This led to a career as a Curator and it was looking after artworks, researching them and above all sharing stories about them with visitors that led me into Art History.

A fun fact is I’m really a frustrated flower arranger. Christmas decorations are big in my house, and each year I make door wreaths for close friends and family using stuff I’ve gathered and materials from my hoard of decorations. So I enjoy the process of design and making as well as writing about it.

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

Who’s Who: Warren Carter

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

I am Warren Carter and I am a lecturer/staff tutor in the art history department at the Open University. Soon after joining I contributed a short piece to the MA; then as part of the A226 module team I was responsible for redoing the VLE for book 3; I have been chair of A344 since it began production; and I am the chair of A236 which will soon begin production.

What are your main research areas?

My current research interest is Mexican Muralism and the students on A344: Art and its Global Histories have regularly flagged this up as their favourite unit on the course.

I am also interested in art historical methodologies, in particular ones rooted in historical materialism and due to my co-editing of the anthology Renew Marxist Art History and my long running role in the seminar Marxism in Culture, I was invited to give a keynote at the recent conference at the Humboldt in Berlin on Marxism(s) in Art History (February 2020).

What Open Arts Objects films have you done? Are they related to your research or a module?

I have made the film on Frida Kahlo which is both related to my research on Mexican art and politics in the post-revolutionary period and it also fed into my writing for A344 (and I also wrote a ‘travelling object‘ on the painting to support the BBC/OU’s Civilisations). This is a much used and very popular resource for A level students doing art history as well as OU students taking A344. I also made the three OAO critical terms films on modernism with Paul Wood (I: What is Modernism? II: Modernism and the avant-garde;  III: Modernism and contemporary art).

What did you love most about doing an Open Arts Objects film?

The opportunity to take relatively complex ideas and make them accessible to as big an audience as possible. The feedback that I have had from A Level art history tutors has been wonderful and it is a lovely feeling!

What is your most significant publication or latest publication? How does it relate to the films?

My latest publication is an essay on Mexican Muralism in which Frida Kahlo figures: ‘The Slow Fuse of the Revolutionary Mural: Diego Rivera, Poststructuralism and Historical Revisionism’, Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, vol. 94 (December 2019), pp. 39-58.

What got you interested in Art History?

As a young teenager I bought and voraciously read The Great Artists which consisted of 96 issues devoted to individual artists from the Renaissance through to the present. It was published weekly from 1985 onwards. Why, I do not know as I was brought up in a working-class family and had never even been to a gallery. Anyhow, it sparked my love for the subject that I have never ever lost!

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

Who’s Who: Renate Dohmen

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

I am Renate Dohmen and I am an art historian. I contributed a discussion of women’s street art in Tamil Nadu, South India, to A844, the second year of the MA in Art History.

I was involved in the production of A344, Art and its global histories as editor and author for Block 3 Empire and Art: British India. I authored the chapters ‘Painting, Prints and Popular Art in British India’, and ‘Design Reform, Indian Crafts and Empire’ for Empire and Art: British India, the printed book for the block published by Manchester University Press. I also selected and introduced the texts for the block in Art and its global histories: A Reader, the course reader for A344, edited by Diana Newall and published by Manchester University Press. This work relates to my research on fine art exhibitions in British India at the time of the British Raj, for which I was recently awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.

What are your main research areas?

My main research focus is art history in relation to the global, which I explore in contemporary art and with regard to the visual culture of British India. I am interested decoloniality, indigeneity, gender and race, as well as issues of cultural translation and the transcultural.

In contemporary art I have worked on relational aesthetics in view of the global. In my monograph Encounters beyond the Gallery. Relational Aesthetics and Cultural Difference, I explore the work of the international art nomad Rirkrit Tiravanija, indigenous arts of the Shipibo-Conibo Indians of the Amazonian rainforest in Peru and the street art of women in Tamil Nadu, India. In the book I adopt Deleuze-Guattarean approaches to difference prevalent Eurocentric approaches in discussing these arts. More recently I am exploring questions of indigeneity and the contemporary in the work of the Cree artist Kent Monkman, one of the most prominent contemporary artists in Canada.

What Open Arts Objects films have you done? Are they related to your research or a module?

I have recorded a film on Tipu’s Tiger, 1780s or 90s (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) (I also wrote a ‘Traveling Object‘ on this work too).  I made a film on the Pilkington Album (1893-94), (University of Cambridge). The album was created by Millicent Pilkington, a well-to-do young British woman who spent time in British India in 1893 visiting friends and family and who recorded her experiences in water colours, photographs and ephemera which she carefully assembled in an album. The album is an example of the prominent but now forgotten visual practice of women in the nineteenth century.

Together with Kathleen Christian I have also made a short film on the complexities entailed in the term essentialism.

What did you love most about doing an Open Arts Objects film?

I am excited about Open Arts Objects because it allows me to communicate my passion for visual objects and their histories to a larger audience.

What is your most significant publication or latest publication? How does it relate to the films?

The book Empire and Art: British India which I co-authored and edited relates to my discussion of Tipu’s Tiger.

My research presented in the article ‘Memsahibs and the “Sunny East”: Representations of British India by Millicent Douglas Pilkington and Beryl White’ and my book chapter ‘Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India ’ inform the film about the Pilkington Album.

What got you interested in Art History?

I started out as a practitioner with an interest in painting, printmaking and the graphic arts and became hooked on art history through my artistic research into the visual world.

Bibliography:

Dohmen, R. (2019) ‘Counter-epistemologies of the global South: Indian floor drawings re-envisaged’, South Asian Popular Culture, vol. 4, no. 2, pp.1-10.

Dohmen, R. (2016) Encounters beyond the Gallery. Relational Aesthetics and Cultural Difference?, London, I.B.Tauris.

Dohmen, R. (2015) ‘Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India ’, in Henes, M and Murray, B H (eds) Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760-1900, Basingstoke, Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 42-64.

Dohmen, R. (2012) ‘Memsahibs and the “Sunny East”: Representations of British India by Millicent Douglas Pilkington and Beryl White’, Victorian Literature and Culture, vol. 40, no. 1, pp.153-177.

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

 

Who’s Who: Emma Barker

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

I’m Emma Barker, Senior Lecturer in Art History. I’ve worked at the OU for nearly 25 years  and have worked on most of the art history modules that have been produced during that time, including A216 Art and its Histories, AA318 Art of the Twentieth Century, A226 Exploring Art and Visual Culture, A344 Art and its Global Histories as well as several MA modules. I’ve also contributed to the interdisciplinary modules, A207 From Enlightenment to Romanticism and A105 Voices, Texts and Material Culture.

What are your main research areas?

My research focuses on French art of the late seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries, but I have also written about British art of the same period. I have a particular interest in parallel trends in French and British art during the ‘long eighteenth century’, such as the wide-ranging cultural phenomenon known as sentimentalism; changing representations of women, children and the family; and the image of the artist and the idea of genius in the Romantic era.

What Open Arts Objects films have you done? Are they related to your research or a module?

I have made two Open Arts Objects film that each focus on a single work of art. I’ve made one about Jean-Siméon Chardin’s Lady Taking Tea (1735), which relates to my research on the representation of women. It also draws on work that I did for A344 Art and its Global Histories, because of the impact of trade with the Far East evident in the painting. I’ve also made one about Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus (1601), which relates to a chapter that I wrote for A105 Voices, Texts and Material Culture, in which I used this picture to develop students’ skills of visual analysis and to explore changing conceptions of artistic value.

I’ve also made a film for the Critical Terms strand exploring the term ‘Classicism’, which relates to some of the teaching material in A344 about how classicism was spread throughout the world during the eras of colonialism and imperialism.

What did you love most about doing an Open Arts Objects film?

As with any teaching around a work of art, having to talk about it to an audience really focuses the mind on how the work itself addresses an audience.

What is your most significant publication or latest publication? How does it relate to the films?

My recent publications include an essay entitled ‘No Picture so Charming’: The Family Portrait in Eighteenth-Century France’, Art History, vol. 40 (3), 2017, pp. 526-53. Some of the portraits I discuss in this essay borrow from domestic scenes such as Chardin’s Lady Taking Tea. One of these portraits, for example, shows a family taking their morning coffee.

What got you interested in Art History? Fun fact?

When everyone in my class at primary school was asked to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up, I drew an artist at an easel. Sadly, the secondary school I later went to did not take art very seriously, so instead I became an art historian. I think I am probably a better art historian than I would have been an artist.

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

Material Mondays: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1968-69 Photo: Shunk-Kender © 1969 Christo

This work resonates with the lockdown, perhaps, because it emphasises the logistical challenges, and indeed the sheer labour, involved in the withdrawal of parts of the museum from view. In this period, we can still see the contents of those museums which have digital access, but their material characteristics are somehow more vivid because of their absence.

At a time when the physical sites of most museums are inaccessible, there is an opportunity to reflect on our experience of art, especially on features which may otherwise go unremarked. Since the lockdown, there has been enormous effort to disseminate online access to museum collections. These resources allow important elements of museums’ cultural work to continue. Equally though, they highlight those features of the experience of art that are now unavailable.

A project by the husband and wife artistic partnership Christo and Jeanne Claude, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Wrapped is an interesting one to consider at this strange moment. Christo and Jeanne Claude (Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon) are best known for their signature wrapping of buildings, monuments, even coastlines, in a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics.

In the case of Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Wrapped the building was entirely shrouded in 10,000 square feet of tarpaulin and rope by art students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The project was meticulously planned, both in relation to aesthetic and pragmatic considerations, including the need to leave space for ventilation and maintain entrance and exits to the building. Although the museum remained open during the two week-long exhibit, the interior showed a complementary work, Wrapped Floor and Stairway, the floor of an empty, newly-painted gallery swathed in cotton drop cloths.

This work resonates with the lockdown, perhaps, because it emphasises the logistical challenges, and indeed the sheer labour, involved in the withdrawal of parts of the museum from view. In this period, we can still see the contents of those museums which have digital access, but their material characteristics are somehow more vivid because of their absence. This materiality involves artefacts, spaces of display and buildings, but also the work of all kinds required to sustain such an institution, from the cleaners to conservators and administrators.

-Dr Kim Charnley, Staff Tutor in Art History, The Open University

Make your own Open Arts Objects film!

Open Arts Objects (OAO) is an open access platform which provides free films to support the teaching of Art History. This activity will teach you how to make your own film, based on the same questions that we use to make our professional films with curators and art historians. These are short films (between 2-5 minutes). You can see examples on our website and you can also see examples from other students on our youtube channel . You can also download a pdf of these instructions.

Choose an object/work of art:

From a gallery website, conduct a search to find an object of your choice. It can be anything: a painting, sculpture, a ceramic, metalwork, textile, print… We’ve also compiled a list of suggested websites and resources.

Once you’ve picked your object, answer the following questions (based on the same questions that we use to make our professional films with curators and art historians). Try to use your own words rather than copying what the museum’s website says. You don’t need to answer every prompt under each main question; these are just some suggestions and not each question will relate to the object/work of art you’ve chosen:

1.     Who are you? (Optional)

Introduce yourself and your interests (e.g. your favourite art or art history topic) in one sentence.

If you choose to share this on social media, you might not want to identify yourself. You do not have to introduce yourself by name.

2.     What is it?

In no more than two sentences, describe the main components of the object/work of art.

Does it have a title?

Who is the artist? Or is it anonymous?

What is its medium (painting, sculpture, textile, ceramic)?

Does it have a genre (portrait, landscape)?

What time period is it from?

3.     What is it made out of?

What material is it made from?

How do you think it would feel to touch or hold?

4.     What does it look like?

Are there decorative elements to it? Are these associated with a particular culture or region?

What colour is it?

Is there a subject matter?

What is the scale? (How big is it?)

Where is the viewer? (Are we looking up/down at the scene?) or if it’s an object, how might the beholder engage with it?

Can you describe the composition? (How are elements arranged in the space?)

If there are figures, can you describe their poses, gestures, expressions?

5.     What is its purpose/function?

Where is the object from?

Where did it end up?

Who created it and why?

For what purpose was it created? Does it still have the same function?

How was it used and by whom?

6.     What is its relevance for today?

Where is it housed?

Why is it important to study?

What does it tell us about the culture who produced it or used it?

How might it be related to a current issue or debate?

Presenting your object

Once you have answered the questions, rehearse your answers: how will you put these into your own words to present to camera?

Once you feel you are ready, have a go! Try not to look at your notes but present to camera as if you were talking to someone in person. Remember, it doesn’t have to be long: about 2-5 minutes should be enough to cover all the above points.

Tech spec:

On smart phone, make sure the camera is set horizontally, not vertically.

 

Once you are done, you can share it on youtube, (if you’re a minor, only if you have permission from your parents). Mention OpenArtsArchive in a comment and use the hashtag #myOAOfilm and we will add it to our playlist!  If you don’t have a youtube account, you can also upload to Instagram tv (IGTV) and tag @openartsobjects and use the hashtag #myOAOfilm. Alternatively you can email your video through wetransfer to openartsobjects@open.ac.uk along with your permission form from your parents to share on social media.

You can watch more students’ films here

 

 

 

 

{Art History Teaching Resources}

 

We realise this is an exceptional time and many of you will be struggling to suddenly take classes online or to help support students working from home. This will be on top of your own personal and professional hurdles in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Just a reminder that we have over 50 free films on the Open Arts Objects platform, many of which are directly related to A-level Art History. Some of these films are filmed inside museums that are currently closed and offer virtual handling sessions.

You might not also be aware that we have a list of our free open access courses on OpenLearn, which could be rather useful: from Renaissance Venice to Dutch painting to the Enlightenment to graffiti. Most of these are aimed at university level, but they are written in an accessible way: you might find an activity or two here that you could direct students to.

Open Arts Objects in schools

Over the last month, we’ve had the opportunity to come into classrooms and meet students. As part of our school visits we’ve had students make their own films on objects. We’re in the process of editing these films and we will be making the resources available so that students can make their own films from home. We think this might be a fun and engaging way students can keep occupied while they are stuck at home. More on that soon!

Critical Terms: new films

We also have a series of films on critical terms for Art History: MobilityEssentialismIconographyCommemorationGlobalisationClassicism, Hybridity and 3 on Modernism.

Finally, if there’s anything else we can do to make this time any easier for those of you who teach, for students at home, or for people who just need to keep occupied as they self-isolate, please do get in touch with suggestions!

Stay safe and well!

Leah Clark (Project Lead, Open Arts Objects)

Teaching Global Art History: Resources

We all would like to expand the scope of our teaching to incorporate a global art history, and many of us would also like to think about ways of decolonising the curriculum. But where to start?

Below are some links to free articles and resources that might help:

Other resources:

Teaching Resources

Critical Terms films: 

  • Hybridity: Leah Clark and Kathleen Christian discussing the term hybridity. Includes Mass of Saint Gregory, 1539, feather on wood, Musée des Jacobins and Apothecary jar, c. 1700, Puebla, Mexico, Tin-glazed earthenware, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 11.87.9.
  • Essentialism: Renate Dohmen and Kathleen Christian discussing the complexities of the term essentialism, exploring the ideas of art and culture it produced in the nineteenth century and what its legacies are today. Includes James Stephanoff, An Assemblage of Works of Art in Sculpture and in Painting, 1845; Johann Zoffany, Major William Palmer with his second wife, the Mughal princess Bibi Faiz Bakhsh; Rembrandt, Man in Oriental Costume.
  • Mobility:  Leah Clark and Kathleen Christian discussing the term mobility, and how it has changed the way we approach Renaissance works of art. Includes Holbein’s Ambassadors; Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and its circulation in print; a devotional diptych with a portrait of Joos van der Burch.
  • Commemoration:  Susie West and Leah Clark discussing commemoration and how it can be applied to works of art and architecture. Includes war memorials; tomb sculpture; Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, Tower of London.
  • a new film on Globalisation coming soon!

Open Arts Objects films: 

OpenLearn interactive on Travelling Objects, allows users to trace the travels of objects across the globe.

While not free, the Open University’s textbooks on Art and its Global Histories are worth checking out.

Teaching Global Art History: Challenges & Debates

On Tuesday 15th October 2019, the Art History department at the Open University will be hosting an afternoon event in London for teachers and museum educators on the challenges and opportunities of teaching Art History from a global perspective. We will draw upon our experience of co-producing BBC’s Civilisations and of creating our new third level module and its textbooks, Art and its Global Histories.

2019 marks fifty years since the foundation of the Open University. The department of Art History at the OU has followed its mission of widening participation, most recently with our Open Arts Objects project. The new A-Level Art History specification has widened the discipline by incorporating a global curriculum. It seems a crucial time to address how these changes in the discipline can attract and encourage new interests in, and new audiences for, Art History.

Bringing together a variety of educators who approach the history of art from many different perspectives, the event will enable conversations, brainstorming, networking, and reflection. The event is aimed at sharing best practice, providing an opportunity to reflect on where the discipline is and where it is going, and addressing some of the challenges of teaching Art History in a global age.

You can sign up for the free event here.