22 February 2008

... and I quote: Hermione rules!

Art history can be fun (I'm at College Art in Dallas). This morning at the Rauschenberg session, we talked about copying and it soon turned to appropriation. Yesterday or sometime, rephotography was used for Sherrie Levine-ish appropriation. I've never heard rephotography used in this way. I think of it much more for the folks who do reconstructions of the western surveys. Today in a manuscript session, we heard about quotations in subject matter or composition. And one of the papers was entitled "What's in a name?" Other papers in the manuscript session talked about workshops and inheritance or family operations, and the women usually weren't mentioned unless they happened to take over the family operations. In grad school, Nancy Stowell and I "invented" Hermione van der Goes as the unknown early Netherlandish painter. Perhaps there really was a Hermione, the widow or sister of Hugo van der Goes, who goes largely unsung because she happened to be a woman.

I found it interesting that quotation, copying, imitation, inspiration, and appropriation have all been used with varying amounts of art historical weight. In some settings, it's been considered ironic. In other, normal or ironic.

The word of the conference that I wasn't familiar with is indexical. I'm probably way behind since several people used it with ease.


nigel fowler said...

It is well known within inner art historical circles that Hermione painted all of Hugo's work, despite the fact that lady painters were strictly forbidden by law in the 15th century lowlands; indeed they were forbidden throughout all the drearier parts of Europe. In this respect women and aristocrats shared a common burden, namely that the arts were too trifling (in the case of aristocrats) and too august (in the case of women), and discoveries of creative output in either case usually resulted in floggings.

This form of discrimination was thus held in common by Edward deVere, Earl of Oxford, and Hermione van der Goes, and in fact they had an affair and lay about loudly proclaiming that she was really Hugo and he was really Will Shakespeare.

Unfortunately the Great Fire of London destroyed almost all records of this alliance.

shermaniac said...

Nancy and I don't know how we could have missed the Shakespeare connection. Clearly our reading of archival losses due to natural causes or war has not been as compleat as it should have been.