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UTCP Lecture “Pseudomorphism: What to Make of Look-alikes?”

Tuesday | September 14, 2010 | 6:30–8:30 pm
Auditorium | Bldg 18 | The University of Tokyo, Komaba [map]

The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy presents

What to Make of Look-alikes?

Yve-Alain Bois
Professor, School of Historical Studies
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | 6:30–8:30 pm
Auditorium | Bldg 18 | The University of Tokyo, Komaba

Language: English
Admission free | Open to Public

The striking similarity between two objects produced by different cultures at different moments of history fascinated anthropologists, archeologists and linguists in the 19th century. Their standard explanation of this phenomenon were either diffusion (via human migrations) or the universality of human nature, both of which are highly suspicious to modern scholars. Yet, given the ongoing practice (of art critics and curators) of drawing connection based on formal similarities, one must ask: can resemblances teach us something or are they totally irrelevant?

About the speaker:

2010-09-yab-portrait.jpgA specialist in 20th-century European and American art, Bois is recognized as an expert on a wide range of artists, from Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly. He has curated and co-curated several influential exhibitions in the past decade, including “Piet Mondrian, A Retrospective” (1994–95); “L’informe, mode d’emploi” (with Rosalind Krauss, 1996); and “Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry” (1999). His books include: Matisse and Picasso (1998), for which he received the Alfred H. Barr award in 2001; Formless: A User’s Guide (with Rosalind Krauss, 1998); Painting as Model (1990); and Art Since 1900 (with Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, and Rosalind Krauss, 2004). Bois is currently working on several long-term projects, including a study of Barnett Newman’s paintings, the catalogue raisonné of Ellsworth Kelly’s paintings and sculptures, and the modern history of axonometric projection.

Doctorat de IIIème cycle (PhD), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 1977; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Attaché de recherche, 1977–81, Chargé de recherche, 1981–83; Johns Hopkins University, Visiting Associate Professor, 1983–84, Associate Professor, 1984–89, Professor, 1989–91; Harvard University, Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Professorship of Modern Art, 1991–2005, acting chair, Department of History of Art and Architecture, 1999–2000, chair, 2002–05; Institute for Advanced Study, Professor, 2005–; Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, 2002; Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bibliography for the lecture
Selected list of Yve-Alain Bois’s publications (–2009)

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