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03/20/2019 11:30 AM ISAW Galleries

Exhibition Gallery Talk: Object Histories

Kate Justement

Join us in the galleries for a 20-minute in-depth discussion of a single object from Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes. Every Wednesday from March 6 - May 29 we will focus on one object and explore its specific history, iconography, and manufacture in this brief lunchtime talk. Each discussion will feature a different object, and visitors are welcome to return for a fresh conversation each week.
03/25/2019 06:30 PM Center for Ballet and the Arts, NYU, 16-20 Cooper Square

Afternoon of a Faun: Nijinsky, Robbins and Antiquity

Exhibition Event

This event will explore Afternoon of a Faun in three parts: its classical roots, Nijinsky’s Faun, and Robbins’ Faun. Please register via the Center for Ballet and the Arts.
03/27/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Feeding Civilizations: A Comparative Long-Term Consideration of Agricultural and Culinary Traditions across the Old World

Lecture 1: Domestication, Demography, and Settlement: Alternative Mathematics for Early Agriculture

Dorian Q. Fuller

This lecture, the first in a four-part lecture series, will reconsider the origins of agriculture based on recent empirical evidence that tells us both how grain crops were domesticated and how slowly this process unfolded, in West Asia, East Asia, parts of Africa, and India. Archaeobotany is providing a growing evidence base for the ways in which plants became adapted as crops through morphological changes, which were in turn tied to shifts in human practices. The co-evolution was slow, however, and it will be argued that the more revolutionary shift towards agricultural economies was substantially later (a few millennia) than the start of domestication itself. Agricultural economies can be defined as those systems in which wild foraging came to make a much reduced or even marginal caloric contribution to diet, and efforts at food production began to take place at a landscape scale.
03/28/2019 06:00 PM ISAW

Pilgrimage to an Imagined West: Antiquity and the Early Ballets Russes

Exhibition Lecture

Lynn Garafola

“We were all revolutionists in those days ... fighting for the cause of Russian art,” Serge Diaghilev, the founder and longtime director of the Ballets Russes, told American critic Olin Downes in 1916. “We have tried, ... to build up an art expressive in every phase of the Russian temperament.” Raised in Perm at the foot of the Ural Mountains, Diaghilev began his artistic journey in the Russian heartland, and the early years of the Ballets Russes were filled with its sounds, stories, and images. But the Mediterranean world also beckoned, and its call led to the creation of several ballets set in antiquity, in the imagined heart of the West. This talk will explore the idea of antiquity in the Ballets Russes as an assertion of Western identity amid the exotic splendors of Russianness.
04/03/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Feeding Civilizations: A Comparative Long-Term Consideration of Agricultural and Culinary Traditions across the Old World

Lecture 2: From Sustainability to Investment Agriculture: Logics of Productive Consumption and Disparity

Dorian Q. Fuller

Lecture 2 in a four-part series — Between the Neolithic origins of agriculture and the establishment of hierarchical, urban societies, key agricultural transformations took place. These included both the expanded production of staple grains, underpinned by innovations in agriculture, and the development of additional domesticated crops, especially perennial trees and shrubs. Innovations varied across Old World regions, but included the deployment of animal labour in tillage (in West Asia), control of water (in Yangtze China), new crop combinations and rotations that improved maintenance of soil fertility (in North China), but also interdependent specialization in pastoral versus crop production (in parts of Africa). Post-Neolithic agricultural innovation also included the domestication of perennial tree fruits and vines, from olives, grapes and dates in the West, to peaches and jujube in the East, to cotton, mango, and citron in India. These new perennial crops required a new time perspective, investment for yields 5, 10, or 20 years in the future, and with nothing like the caloric return of grains. This only became possible through the development of secure, longer-term land tenure, and made sense in terms of a logic of production for trade, as agricultural produce became part of the emerging commodification that was early cities.
04/05/2019 09:00 AM ISAW Lecture Hall

MATERIA III: New Approaches to Material Text in the Ancient World

Conference organized by Joseph Howley (Columbia University), Stephanie Frampton (MIT), and David M. Ratzan (ISAW Library)

The MATERIA Conference is a series of colloquia dedicated to presenting new research on books and other media in antiquity, bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines—history, literature, epigraphy, papyrology, archeology, manuscript studies, etc. The first two MATERIA meetings, held at 2016 (Columbia University) and 2017 (MIT), pursued a more traditional focus on the book and the literary in order to advance a broader understanding of the history of the book in the Roman world. With MATERIA III at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, we extend this discussion to consider approaches to material text in Greco-Roman antiquity and other ancient civilizations between 500 BCE and 500 CE in terms of, but also beyond, the category of “the book.”
04/08/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Feeding Civilizations: A Comparative Long-Term Consideration of Agricultural and Culinary Traditions across the Old World

Lecture 3: Sticking with the Spirits: Eastern Cuisines, Grain Wines, and Civilization

Dorian Q. Fuller

Lecture 3 of a four-part series — While regional variation in the production of food and farming systems underpinned trajectories towards civilization, these foodstuffs were transformed in distinctive ways that defined, or perhaps flavoured, regional civilization. In other words how the raw became the cooked constructed distinct regional styles of culinary civilization. This can be derived from the observation that the early Near East developed cereal farming in the absence of cooking ceramics, with an emphasis on flour and bread (a theme of the next lecture), whereas East Asian societies were making pots and boiling in them millennia before the first hint of cultivation. This lecture explores the patterns of cooking and brewing in East and South East through a triangulation that includes the archaeological tools of food processing, the genetic variations in crops that indicate past selection for aesthetic or culinary traits like stickiness, and ethnographic or historical sources on how foods were prepared, and understood as they were consumed routinely or ritually.
04/11/2019 06:00 PM ISAW

Moving in Parallel: Ancient and Modern Dance Makers

Exhibition Lecture

Tom Sapsford

Classics scholar and former Royal Ballet dancer Tom Sapsford examines the cultural impact of dance in classical and modern contexts. By putting the professional and personal lives of dancers from the ancient Mediterranean world and early twentieth-century Paris side by side, this lecture explores how these temporally disparate dance makers gained their specific expertise, practiced their art, and realized their aesthetic aims.
04/13/2019 01:00 PM ISAW

Sketching from Models: Exhibition Event

Joan Chiverton

Illustrator and teaching artist Joan Chiverton leads an afternoon of figure drawing in conjunction with Hymn to Apollo. Participants will develop their sketching skills and discover new ways of seeing as they draw live models in poses inspired by images of dancers depicted in ancient artifacts and modern performances by the Ballets Russes.
04/17/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Feeding Civilizations: A Comparative Long-Term Consideration of Agricultural and Culinary Traditions across the Old World

Lecture 4: Baking up Western Civilization and Some African Alternatives

Dorian Q. Fuller

Lecture 4 in a four-part series — Baked bread is both basic to west Asian civilization and distinctive of it in the global context. The origins of cereal agriculture in Western Asia preceded the development of cooking pots, but instead processing focused on production of flour and breads. This is most obvious in the widespread archaeological distribution of ovens from southeastern Europe through the Indus and up the Nile to Nubia. It is also reflected in the relative prominence of querns for grinding, as well as new archaeobotanical techniques for identifying crumbs of bread or crusts of porridge. At first bread may have been the distinctive new cereal food, unlike anything that was easily cooked from wild gathered foods. But later bread lent itself to portability, and therefore to sharing among traders, travellers, and across the echelons of society. It complemented the cheeses and butters that pastoral producers might also make portable. Bread could be shared as offerings to distant gods alongside odours of incense and roast sacrificial meats.
04/23/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Beyond Meaning

The Form, Substance, Color and Pattern of Shang Things

Roderick Campbell

The mesmerizing yet enigmatic zoomorphic motifs found on Shang and Western Zhou bronze ritual vessels have captivated the imaginations of generations of scholars and generated interminable debates as to their meaning (or lack thereof). Less often appreciated is the fact that these ancient Chinese bronzes were only part of larger assemblages of ritual paraphernalia or tomb offering and their décor was an instantiation of a wider visual culture. Even more radically, I would argue that they are but one manifestation of an alternative, relational ontology of representation and being. I will use the concept of skeumorphy to open a window into the sets of relations between representations and things at the Shang capital in the last centuries of the 2nd millennium BCE, proceeding through the play of form, substance, ornament and writing across of an array of Shang material culture.
04/28/2019 07:30 PM Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York City

Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung Design Dialogues

(with Works & Process at the Guggenheim)

Inspired by Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes, which is the first exhibition to focus specifically on the role of ancient world in the work of the Ballet Russes, costume designers Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung will use original Ballets Russes costumes and designs as their point of departure for this Works & Process costume and dance commission. Please register via the Guggenheim Museum website.
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