Art Matters @ SBMA

Single Tickets

SBMA Member (Curators' Patron & above): FREE
SBMA Member (Collector's Patron and below): $10
Non-Members: $15
Student (Valid student ID required): FREE

Art Matters is presented by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and is a premier lecture series intended for continuing adult education in the history of art. Our distinguished speakers come from the Santa Barbara area, as well as across the country, and occasionally, abroad. Art historians, curators, and conservators offer fascinating insights into their areas of specialization. Tickets will be available for individual purchase. As always, students can enjoy free admission with valid student ID.

Upcoming Art Matters Lectures

February 14, February 21, February 28, March 7, March 14, April 25
4:30 – 6 pm

Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Torment of Saint Anthony (detail), 1487. Tempera on panel. Kimbell Art Museum.

Materials and Methods: Technical Study of Renaissance Chiaroscuro Woodcuts
Naoko Takahatake
Associate Curator, Prints & Drawings, LACMA
February 14

In recent decades, interdisciplinary technical study of works of art, pooling the expertise of art historians, conservators, and conservation scientists, has provided valuable new insights into artists’ materials and working methods. Such collaborative research has productively addressed a range of far reaching art historical issues, including questions of authorship, chronology, creative process, and artistic intention. This talk will consider some contributions of technical examination and scientific analysis to our understanding of Renaissance works of art on paper, focusing in particular on research on the chiaroscuro woodcut, a pioneering color printmaking technique.

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Making Connections: Representations of Reflections/Refractions of Light
Keith Christiansen
Chairman, Department of European Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
February 21

That art has this power to haunt us to such a degree that we scheme of ways to see what we have heard about or seen in reproduction or can easily access on the internet is one of those fascinating mysteries of modern life. A mystery, because it is by no means certain that the thing that haunts me will have the same effect on someone else. Because in the end, our responses to works of art are complex and personal and attempts to intellectualize the process seem to me doomed to failure. In this talk, Keith Christiansen shares some of his strategies for looking at Renaissance and baroque painting.

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Creole Degas
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby
Professor of European and American Art Since 1700, UC Berkeley
February 28

When Edgar Degas traveled across the sea to visit his Creole family in New Orleans in 1872, he continually expressed his anxiety about his sight and his difficulty apprehending or painting the black persons so novel to him. The artist claimed that the brevity of his visit justified his decision not to depict this foreign place so pervaded by a boldly visible racial difference. The unfamiliarity of the spectacle of blackness made Degas think about other French artists who might have attempted to meet such a challenge, for instance Manet. This talk analyzes the intersection of sight, blindness, race and Creole identity in the writings and art of Degas during this period in New Orleans and his return to Paris.

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A History of 3D in 12 Examples
Britt Salvesen
Curator and Head of Photography and Prints & Drawings, LACMA
March 7

3D: Double Vision (on view at LACMA through March 31, 2019) is the first American exhibition to survey a full range of artworks, dating from 1838 to the present, that produce the illusion of three dimensions. While 3D may seem to have a peripheral relationship to mainstream culture and traditional art history---catching our attention at "peak" moments and then disappearing again into obscurity---in fact it forms a continuous thread across modernity, taking many forms from the Industrial Revolution to today. This talk will explore the history of 3D with examples from the realms of art, science, and popular culture.

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View-Master: Novelty and Nostalgia
Britt Salvesen
Curator and Head of Photography and Prints & Drawings, LACMA
March 14

The View-Master is one of the most familiar, yet least investigated, formats of stereoscopic photography. This talk will outline its history, from its invention and debut at the 1939 New York World’s Fair to its 21st-century reinvention as a virtual reality system. After considering key products and marketing strategies, I will suggest some reasons for the View-Master’s absence from histories of mass visual culture and its enduring popularity among children and collectors alike.

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What Art Has to Say About the Law
Joan Kee
Associate Professor of Art History, University of Michigan
April 25

Beginning in the late 1960s, the contemporary art world was increasingly shaped by how its members engaged with the law. From contract-like conceptual artworks to confrontations with police and courts, artists like Suzanne Lacy, Ann Messner, David Hammons, Dennis Oppenheim, and Tehching Hsieh interacted with various facets of the law as an integral part of their creative process. Yet rather than focus on what art has done to law, contemporary artists produced works that raised pointed questions for lawyers, judges and for anyone interested in the legal institution.

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