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One Day University with the Richmond Times-Dispatch

October 14, 2017 9:30 AM – 4:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Is that Really Art? Understanding and Appreciating Modern Painting

Tina Rivers Ryan / Columbia University and Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo)

Here's a question that all art lovers today have had to ask themselves: How do you look at a painting of a woman made of geometric shapes and shadows? What about a canvas painted a single, solid color? Or covered in paint drips? Or printed with a photographic image? Do any of these really count as "art," let alone as "paintings?" And how do you know which ones are "good?" 

The key to answering these questions is to understand that modern art is a conversation, a dialogue between artists about the very nature of art that has been going on for generations. In this talk, we will look closely at four paintings, culled from the movements of Cubism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop, in order to understand how artists in different times and places have explored these fundamental issues in their work. After learning to look at these modern works, we will consider whether this conversation is still unfolding: are we still making "modern" art, or did modernism end, giving way to something altogether different?

Tina Rivers Ryan / Columbia University and Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo)
An art historian by training, Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is currently Assistant Curator of contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. She holds a BA from Harvard, three Master's Degrees, and a PhD from Columbia, and has taught classes on art at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Pratt Institute, and Columbia, where she was one of the top-ranked instructors of the introduction to art history, "Art Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Art." A regular critic for Artforum, her writing has also appeared in periodicals such as Art in America and Art Journal, and in catalogs published by museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Tate. As a public speaker and scholar, Dr. Ryan has delivered lectures on topics ranging from Michelangelo to Warhol in more than 50 cities internationally.

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Albert Einstein: His Genius, Life, and Universe

David Helfand / Columbia University

Einstein’s name is synonymous with genius. His wild-haired, thoughtful-eyed face has become an icon of modern science. His ideas changed the way we see the universe, the meaning of truth, and the very limits of human knowledge. This course will examine how Einstein’s youthful philosophical questioning led to a revolution in science. We will discuss his creation of special and general relativity, and particularly how these epochal theories emerged from his seemingly simple questions about how we experience the world. His preference for easily-visualizable thought experiments means we will be able to engage deeply with the science with very little mathematics. Einstein also pioneered quantum mechanics, only to reject its strange consequences and eventually devote his life to overturning it through a unified field theory.

Einstein’s elevation to worldwide fame was closely tied to political and social developments such as World War I, Zionism, and the rise of the Nazis. As he became an incarnation of genius, people sought out his views on everything from world peace to the nature of God – and his opinions often had surprising links to his scientific work. The picture of Einstein we end up with is a figure somehow both revolutionary and deeply traditional, emblematic of the modern age and also profoundly uncomfortable with it.

David Helfand / Columbia University
David Helfand is a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University where he served as chair of the Department and co-Director of the Astrophysics Laboratory for 15 years. He is President Emeritus of the American Astronomical Society and of Quest University Canada. He has received the Columbia Presidential Teaching Award and the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. He is also the author of the new book, "A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age."

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM
Lunch Break

1 hour and 15 minute / Lunch Break

Students will have a 1 hour and 15 minute lunch break.

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Hamilton vs. Jefferson: The Rivalry that Shaped America

Louis Masur / Rutgers University

Hamilton is experiencing a well-deserved revival. Often forced to take a back seat to other Founding Fathers, his vision of America as an economic powerhouse with a dynamic and aggressive government as its engine has found many followers. Hamilton helped get the Constitution ratified, helped found the Federalist Party, and served as the first Secretary of the Treasury. An orphan born in the West Indies, he was like a son to George Washington and perhaps should have been like a brother to Thomas Jefferson.

But Jefferson fought bitterly against the Federalists and his election as president ushered in the "revolution of 1800." Ironically, it would be Hamilton who helped assure Jefferson's triumph over Aaron Burr. Jefferson articulated a different vision from Hamilton's, promoting an agrarian democracy built upon geographic expansion—an "empire of liberty," he called it. In 1793, he would resign as Secretary of State to protest Hamilton's policies. In retirement, Jefferson would reflect on the differences between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans and express fear for the future of the new nation.

Louis Masur / Rutgers University
Louis Masur is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He received outstanding teaching awards from Rutgers, Trinity College, and the City College of New York, and won the Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University. He is the author of many books including "Lincoln's Last Speech," which was inspired by a talk he presented at One Day University. His essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and Chicago Tribune. He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and serves on the Historians' Council of the Gettysburg Foundation.

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Untangling the Web: Why the Middle East is a Mess and Always Has Been

Ori Z. Soltes / Georgetown University

The problems of the Middle East are usually considered from far too narrow a viewpoint. There are experts and authorities who understand the ins and outs of one or two aspects of it, but rarely does one encounter a discussion that encompasses the extraordinary array of complications that make this region so difficult. The intention of this lecture is to make that array of complications more accessible. The goal is not to propose a specific solution, but to explore and explain the problem as a starting point for thinking about solutions, and to present different issues evenhandedly, from different perspectives, which is also too rare in discussions of the region.

The Middle East is a web in which threads interweave in a snarling tangle: religion, ethnicity, politics, nationality and economics. This class will attempt to unravel—to isolate and elucidate—the threads that make up the web, as opposed to re-organizing them into a nice, neat tapestry. Neatness is hardly possible, but clarity is. To ignore any one of the threads is to ignore what to some group is important. The audience will not walk away imagining that the region may be easily disentangled or that it is a problem easily solved—but that it may be understood.

Ori Z. Soltes / Georgetown University
Ori Z. Soltes teaches theology, philosophy, politics and art history at Georgetown University. For seven years, Professor Soltes was Director and Chief Curator of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, where he curated over 80 exhibitions focusing on aspects of history, ethnography and contemporary art. He has also curated diverse contemporary and historical exhibits at other sites, nationally and internationally. He is the author of sixteen books, including "Untangling the Web: A Thinking Person's Guide to Why the Middle East is a Mess and Always has been."

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