Arts & Culture

All Arts & Culture

  • Pair of music professors to collaborate on improvisation project

    Headed by University of Guelph English professor Ajay Heble, the international “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” project recently secured a $2.5 million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Harvard affiliates Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African-American Music, and Jason Stanyek, visiting associate professor of music, are among the project’s research collaborators. All told, researchers representing 18 universities from across North America, Europe, and Australia will work as co-investigators on the seven-year initiative.

  • Harvard Map Collection digitizes historic Cambridge and Boston atlases

    The Harvard Map Collection’s atlases of historic Cambridge have much to reveal about the city and the University’s past. Looking at these oversized documents one learns, for instance, that 135 years ago, Harvard students boarded their horses in the University stables where the current-day John Harvard’s Brew House operates, and that, as of 1903, the John Harvard statue sat not outside University Hall but by Memorial Hall. Now the Map Collection has made it easier for those researching local history to use its Boston and Cambridge atlases by digitizing these volumes and making them available online to the public.

  • New journal casts a critical look at the ‘Swinging Sixties’

    From the New Left to the sexual revolution, scholarship on 1960s America has focused primarily on social protest and the counterculture. Now, John McMillian, a lecturer on history and literature, plans to expand how we think about one of the nation’s most complex and colorful eras.

  • Ulrich explains that well-behaved women should make history

    Most bumper sticker slogans do not originate in academic publications. However, in the 1970s, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich penned in a scholarly article about the funeral sermons of Christian women that “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” The phrase subsequently gained wide popularity, appearing on T-shirts, coffee mugs, and other items — and it’s now the title of Ulrich’s latest book

  • Study abroad program sings

    This summer, five Harvard College students exchanged dorm life for West African village life to investigate the role of music and dance in Malian culture. As participants in Harvard’s summer study-abroad program “Music and Dance in Mali — Ethnography in Practice,” the students had the opportunity to live among and learn from some of the most talented artists in Mali.

  • Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art announces landmark gift

    The Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art (CTSMA), a leading research center of the Harvard University Art Museums, has announced a major gift of Barnett Newman’s studio materials and related ephemera through the generosity of The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation.

  • Peter and Anne Brooke give collection to HUAM

    Peter A.B. ’52, M.B.A. ’54 and Anne Brooke of Boston have announced plans to bequeath their collection of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings to the Harvard University Art Museums (HUAM).

  • New exhibit at Houghton Library features decorated papers

    In the 1930s when Boston bookbinder and society matron Rosamond B. Loring (1889–1950) was unable to find ornamental papers she considered good enough to serve as end leaves for her books, she took matters into her own hands, teaching herself to make what are known in bookbinding as “decorated papers.” Her initiative, especially with paste papers, led to a revival in the craft and to an extensive personal collection comprising some 10,000 pieces, examples of which are on display at Houghton Library as part of a new exhibition.

  • Bright, imaginative season in offing

    Here’s a party for you. Julius Caesar is sipping wine with Don Juan, Figaro, Mozart, and an art teacher from the Bronx. Two atomic bomb theorists are in deep conversation, while a troubled teenager talks with his 6-foot rabbit. A South African satirist is there in drag. A Jewish trick-rope artist brings a circus tent of odd friends. Shakespeare is there, too. He brought a lost play.

  • New research challenges previous knowledge about the origins of urbanization

    Ancient cities arose not by decree from a centralized political power, as was previously widely believed, but as the outgrowth of decisions made by smaller groups or individuals, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh.

  • El Saadawi explores notion of creativity

    Activist, author, psychiatrist, and playwright Nawal El Saadawi delivered the Harvard Committee on African Studies’ annual Distinguished African Studies Lecture on Oct. 9 in the Tsai Auditorium at the Center for Government and International Studies.

  • Life lessons

    On a sultry August day three decades ago, historian Jean Strouse ’67 stopped in Harvard Square to buy daisies. She walked on to the nearby grave site of diarist Alice James, who died in 1892.

  • Light Prop shines again

    This Saturday (July 21), one of the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s most unusual artworks will get a new lease on life.

  • In brief

    ‘HUCTW Creates’ showcases range of talents “HUCTW Creates: The Visual Arts,” a group art exhibit featuring visual artist members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) will be up through July 31 at Gutman Library, 6 Appian Way. The closing reception will be held July 31 from 5 to 7 p.m.

  • In search of grammatical architecture behind words

    When not in a classroom or laboratory, Maria Polinsky spends time doing fieldwork off the southeast coast of Africa, in Madagascar. She studies Malagasy, a melting-pot language whose influences start in Borneo and now borrow from Swahili, Arabic, and French.

  • With a little help from his PC

    With “The Ringo Starr Fine Art Show” paying a visit to 60 Church St. in Harvard Square for a three-day stint starting today (June 7), some might assume that the man who rocked the kit for the most influential band in the history of rock ’n’ roll has traded in his sticks for paint and brushes. Not so. The beloved Beatle actually uses a computer to make his art. (Fans of Starr’s musical work, meanwhile, can relax: his 15th solo studio album is forthcoming.)

  • From reality TV to reality (really)

    Nate Dern isn’t really a geek, but he plays one on TV.

  • Laurence Coderre sings the praises of China

    Laurence Coderre came upon her concentration in music and East Asian studies almost by accident.

  • Blodgett Artists-in-Residence named

    The Harvard University Department of Music has announced that the Chiara Quartet has been named Blodgett Artists-in-Residence for 2008-11. The Chiara (“clear, pure, or light” in Italian) will be in residence at Harvard for four one-week periods each academic year beginning in October 2008. Recently awarded with the Guarneri Quartet Residency Award for artistic excellence by Chamber Music America, the Chiara Quartet’s other honors include a top prize at the Paolo Borciani International Competition, winning the Astral Artistic Services National Audition, and winning First Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

  • Germanic Languages and Literatures names 2006-07 prize winners

    The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures recently announced its 2006–07 award winners. Prizes to undergraduate and graduate students total $9,000.

  • Looking for language’s universal logic

    To Gennaro Chierchia, language’s innumerable combinations and subtle changes of structure and meaning are a window onto the human mind.

  • Nieman Foundation announces U.S., International Fellows for 2007-08

    Thirty U.S. and international journalists have recently been named to the 70th class of Nieman Fellows at Harvard University.

  • David Benjamin Lewin

    At a Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences May 1, 2007, the following Minute was placed upon the records.

  • ‘By force of thought’

    To say that János Kornai has led an interesting life would be an understatement.

  • Using arts to better the art of teaching

    On a recent Saturday morning, music fluttered up and out of the basement of the otherwise quiet Science Center. Inside a windowless classroom, two dozen students sat and listened to one of their peers sing a song she had written as part of her homework.

  • ‘Walls of Tehran’ panels to explore art, propaganda

    An afternoon panel in association with “Walls of Martyrdom” — a photography exhibit of Tehran’s propaganda murals by Ph.D. candidate in public policy Fotini Christia — will be held May 18 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS). Sponsored by the Weatherhead Center, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Office of the Provost, the event and exhibit (set to run May 18 through June 15 in the South Concourse Gallery of CGIS) are free and open to the public.

  • Arts First edges toward the edgy in conceptual public art display

    With John Harvard looking on, four students and their instructor, local artist Gary Duehr, put the finishing touches on their creation, what one of the students referred to as an “interactive piece of visual art.”

  • ‘Accidental opera composer’ speaks

    As a young man, John Adams didn’t like opera. “I never listened to opera as a kid. I didn’t like the operatic voice or the stiff posturing of opera performances.”

  • In brief

    Concert to honor music faculty A farewell concert featuring the music of Harvard Department of Music faculty Julian Anderson and Joshua Fineberg will be held May 21 at 8 p.m. in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall. Anderson, the Fanny P. Mason Professor of Music, and Fineberg, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities, will be leaving the University at the end of the academic year.

  • Heading disaster off at the pass

    Before Hurricane Katrina, you could walk along a street in New Orleans and look up to see a ship glide by — with an ocean of water held in check by just one dike.