The Humanities Project Events for February 2008

Janet Berlo Quilt
Janet Berlo, Kimono.
Exhibition continues through February 18, 2008
Janet Catherine Berlo: Kimono Quilts 2004-2007
Art and Music Gallery, University of Rochester

Janet Catherine Berlo is Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies, in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Rochester. The co-curator of Wild By Design, she is also a quilter. Her research interests include American vernacular visual culture, and Native American art.

Rochester Organ
Rochester replica of a rare Casparini organ
February Lecture Series Schedule
The Organ in Society: Culture and Technology
Lecture Series with Munetaka Yokota
"Tracing the Organ Masters' Secrets: The Art of Voicing Organ Pipes in Baroque Style"
Christ Church, 141 East Avenue, Rochester [google map]

  • Friday, February 1, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 5, 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, February 8, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, February 15, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Master organ builder Munetaka Yokota will give a series of lectures with demonstrations in Christ Church as he voices the pipes of the new organ there.

The Organ in Society Project takes advantage of the installation of this new organ that is a precise replica of a rare Casparini organ built in 1776 in Lithuania. Upwards of nine years of research and six years of planning involving five of the top American organ builders, Steve Dieck, George Taylor, Paul Fritts, Martin Pasi and Bruce Fowkes, have culminated in the new instrument. This Casparini replica will be the first organ in the United States built completely in a late-eighteenth century northern European style and it will change our understanding of compositions from this period and earlier, including those of Johann Sebastian Bach. This new instrument has been painstakingly reproduced by international experts working at the Göteborg Organ Art Center (GOArt) in Sweden and is now largely in place in Christ Church.

Mr. Yokota's job, however, has really only just begun. This master organ voicer has begun the process of voicing each and every one of the two thousand pipes that make up the instrument. Each pipe has been carefully crafted according to Casparini's original design by the pipe makers. The art of voicing consists of physical adjustments of a variety of construction parameters of the pipes that can greatly change the sound produced and the response of the pipe to the players' pressing of the keys. In addition, the voicer must adjust and balance the sound of the instrument so that all of the pipes can complement each other and form a balanced and complete instrument.

Janet Berlo
Janet Berlo
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Janet Catherine Berlo: "American Quilts as American History: The Lives and Works of Five Quilters"
3:00 p.m., Memorial Art Gallery Auditorium

Janet Catherine Berlo (Curriculum Vitae) is Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies, in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Rochester. The co-curator of Wild By Design, she is also a quilter. Her research interests include American vernacular visual culture, and Native American art.

About the talk: Five American quilters, working from the 1830s to the present, illuminate the diverse lives and concerns of female textile artists, and provide a window into American social history through the objects they made. Hannah Stiles, an upper-middle class woman in Philadelphia created a portrait in cloth of Philadelphia in its heyday. Mary Ricard's late 19th century Crazy Quilt is a rich collage of Victorian aesthetics. Harriet Powers, born a slave in Georgia, made the two most famous American quilts that provide insight into the lives of freed blacks in the late 19th century. Nora Ezell, from rural Alabama, has been making award-winning quilts for decades, breaking up and re-ordering traditional patterns in her own distinctive way. Terrie Mangat, one of the leaders in today's Studio Quilt Movement, combines folk and vernacular imagery into remarkable works of art that illustrate the global reach of contemporary culture. Each artist displays a unique sensibility, while demonstrating why quilts have sometimes been called "the great American art form." Some of the works in this talk are by quilters featured in the Wild By Design exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery.

This talk is sponsored by the Memorial Art Gallery and is free with Gallery admission.

Thomas DeFrank
Thomas DeFrank
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Thomas DeFrank: "The 2008 Presidential Campaign: A Reporter's Notebook"
5:00 p.m., Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library

Thomas DeFrank, the Nation's leading President-watcher, best-selling author, and Washington Bureau Chief, New York Daily News, examines the state of the Presidential campaign. DeFrank speaks two days after Super Tuesday, the February 5 galaxy of 20 Presidential primaries. He will describe who's ahead and why: also, other contenders, where each party's campaign goes from here, and the 2008 political climate.

Joel Speerstra
Joel Speerstra
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Italian Baroque Organ Showcase Recital
"Musical Pictures from the High Baroque"
Joel Speerstra, Organ
5:30 p.m., Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave., Rochester, NY 14607 (Hours, Maps and Directions)

Surrounded by beautiful pictures from the High Baroque, the Italian organ at the Memorial Art Gallery is a perfect venue to explore just how important visual images were to our favorite Baroque composers. From biblical stories, to Greek classical myths to imitations of pastoral scenes, much of baroque "instrumental" music was often far from abstract! The concert this afternoon will present keyboard pieces from mostly around 1700 that all were designed not just to communicate a visual idea on paper, but to use that idea to inspire and teach students to rise to new challenges and be actors at the keyboard.


  • Pachelbel and the Singing Muses
  • Kuhnau and the Madness of King Saul
  • Young Sebastian's Brother Goes to War
  • Pasquini and the Cuckoo Bird
  • Sweelinck, Bach and the Tragedy of Euridice
David Wallace
David Wallace
Friday, February 29, 2008
David Wallace: "Jeanne d'Angleterre: Discovering Margery Kempe, 1434/1934"
2:00 p.m., Robbins Library

David Wallace is currently the Judith Rodin Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his PhD at the University of York, and has been a visiting Fellow at both Cambridge and Oxford, and a visiting professor at the University of London and Princeton University.

About the talk: 1934 was the most important year of the twentieth century for English Medieval Studies: it saw the discovery both of the unique manuscript of Malory's Morte Darthur and of The Book of Margery Kempe. This paper discusses what Margery Kempe had to be at the time of her discovery for an English audience. It shows how early readers struggled with recently-empowered terms of analysis such as hysteria and neurosis while yet acclaiming Margery as an English Joan of Arc; it considers how occlusion befell the female scholars associated with these great discoveries. Finally, it argues that the powerful cathection with the 1430s felt by England in the 1930s can indeed teach us new things.

The presentation is designed to spark discussion and should interest modernists, feminists and historians of upstate New York as well as medievalists.

Exhibition continues through March 16, 2008
Wild By Design: Two Hundred Years of Innovation and Artistry in American Quilts
Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave., Rochester, NY 14607

quilt banner
Detail, late 19th century Crazy Quilt, M.M. Hernandred Ricard

For two centuries, there have been quilt makers who pushed the boundaries of tradition and functionality to create works of art for both use and display that were experimental and innovative for their time.

This exhibition was organized by the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In Rochester, it is underwritten by Lynne Lovejoy.

Exhibition continues through March 16, 2008
Michael James: Reinventing Quilts in a Digital Age
Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave., Rochester, NY 14607

Michael James Quilt
Michael James, Momentum (2003). Photo: Larry Gawel

Michael James is Ardis James Professor in the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, where he teaches courses in textile design and quilt studies, and is a Faculty Fellow of the International Quilt Study Center.

James earned his MFA degree in Painting and Printmaking from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1973, and his BFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, which in 1992 conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts for his work in the area of studio quilt practice. A Fellow of the American Craft Council, James's work is included in numerous collections, including the International Quilt Study Center, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Mint Museum, the Indianapolis Art Museum, the Racine Art Museum, and the Newark Museum. He is a recipient of several NEA Visual Artist Fellowships. His work is the subject of the monograph Michael James Studio Quilts published in 1995 in Switzerland. He has written and lectured widely and led workshops on quilt design throughout North America, Europe and Japan. As a male quilt artist he is unusual; his graphically bold art quilts are an excellent complement to the historic quilts in Wild By Design.