Terra Foundation Essays

The Terra Foundation Essays series provides an international forum for the thorough and sustained exploration of fundamental ideas and concepts that have shaped American art and culture over time. Exploring and illuminating a selection of ideas that have been particularly salient within the production and consumption of art in the United States over three centuries, the Terra Foundation Essays present original research by an international roster of established and emerging scholars who consider American art in its multiple, trans-geographic contexts. The essays in each volume expand the conceptual and methodological terrain of scholarship on American art, offering comparative models and conceptual tools relevant to all scholars of art history and visual culture, as well as other disciplines within the humanities.

Rachael Z. DeLue (Princeton University) serves as series editor for the Terra Foundation Essays. She specializes in the history of American art and visual culture, with particular focus on landscape representation, intersections between art and science, and the visual culture of race and race relations in the United States.

The Terra Foundation Essays are published by the Terra Foundation for American Art and distributed by University of Chicago Press.

Scale (Volume 2)

Edited by Jennifer L. Roberts
(Publication date: September 2016)

This volume, the second in the Terra Foundation Essays series, aims to open a dialogue on scale in American art history by showcasing the new forms of historical and theoretical awareness that a focus on the subject can bring. The literature on scale—both in the American art field and in art history generally—is scattered, fragmentary, inconsistent, and insufficiently theorized, despite its profundity as a social and cultural metric. Scale is the aspect of material production that has been most spectacularly evacuated from contemporary art history and its cognate disciplines, dependent as they are on photographic and digital reproduction and the heedless expansions and contractions that these technologies allow.

To reintroduce scale as a central facet of art-historical thinking is, therefore, to raise questions and problems that have been largely invisible to the discipline in the past half-century. Attending to scale forces, in particular, a heightened recognition of the properties of materials and to the kind of technical knowledges held by makers but (usually) not by historians. Matter is not infinitely scalable; inasmuch as attention to scale forces attention to this resistance and reality of matter, it is also crucial as a bulwark against uncritical celebration of the increasingly rapid dematerializations of digital global culture. With texts addressing subjects as varied as the viewer’s physical relationship to Barnett Newman’s abstract canvases, the arduous cross-disciplinary engineering behind the sculpting of Mount Rushmore, and the charged significance of liberty poles in the landscape of eighteenth-century New York, Scale argues for a reconsideration of the specificity of scalar relationships in American art and visual culture and the original material and political insights such a reading reveals.

Scale (2016)
256 pages
6.7 x 9.5 inches
80 color illustrations

978-0-932171-59-7 (paper)
978-0-932171-60-3 (e-book)

Scale Contributors

Glenn Adamson, “Imprints: Scale and the Maker’s Trace” (with Joshua G. Stein)

Glenn Adamson is a curator and theorist who works across the fields of design, craft and contemporary art. He was until March 2016 the Director of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. He has previously been Head of Research at the V&A, and Curator at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee. His publications include Art in the Making (2016, co-authored with Julia Bryan Wilson); Invention of Craft (2013); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (2011); The Craft Reader (2010); and Thinking Through Craft (2007).

Wendy Bellion, “Mast Trees, Liberty Poles, and the Politics of Scale in Late Colonial New York”

Wendy Bellion is associate professor of art history at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (University of North Carolina Press, 2011), which was awarded the Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in American Art by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She has lectured and published widely on the art of the British Atlantic world and early modern Americas, and she has held fellowships with organizations including the Terra Foundation for American Art, the NEH, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts. Her current book project, What Statues Remember, explores issues of iconoclasm, reenactment, and historical memory in New York City.

Wouter Davidts, “‘As Pointless as a Yard Rule’: Barnett Newman and the Scale of Art”

Wouter Davidts lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. He is adjunct professor at the Department of Architecture & Urban Planning, Ghent University, and teaches at the Royal Conservatory, Antwerp. He is author of Bouwen voor de Kunst? (A&S Books, 2006) and coeditor of The Fall of the Studio (Valiz, 2009), CRACK: Koen van den Broek (Valiz, 2010), and Luc Deleu—T.O.P. office: Orban Space (Valiz, 2012). He curated Abstract USA 1958–1968: In the Galleries at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede (2010) and, most recently, The Corner Show at Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp (2015). He is currently working on a book-length project on size and scale in postwar American art entitled Larger than the Body, for which he received a Terra Foundation Research Travel Grant in 2015.

Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, “Blow-Up: Photographic Projection, Dynamite, and the Sculpting of American Mountains”

Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby is professor of the history of art and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley. She is author of Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France (Yale University Press, 2002); Colossal: Engineering the Suez Canal, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and Panama Canal (Periscope Publishing, 2012), which concerns Franco-American rivalries of scale; and Enduring Truths: Sojourner’s Shadows and Substance (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Her current book in progress, Creole Looking: Portraying France’s Foreign Relations in the Nineteenth Century, examines France’s relationship to the Caribbean and Americas.

Christopher P. Heuer, “Arctic Matters in Early America”

Christopher P. Heuer is acting Director of the Research and Academic Program at the Clark Art Institute and faculty at Williams College. He is the author of The City Rehearsed: Object, Architecture and Print in the Worlds of Hans Vredeman de Vries (Routledge, 2009) and co-author of Vision and Communism (The New Press, 2011). The recipient of Fulbright, Getty, Mellon, Kress, Humboldt, and CASVA fellowships, he taught for many years at Columbia and Princeton Universities. Heuer remains a founding member of the media collective Our Literal Speed, based in Selma, Alabama. His new book on the Renaissance arctic, Into the White, is forthcoming from Zone Books/MIT Press.

Jennifer L. Roberts (volume editor), “Introduction: Seeing Scale”

Jennifer L. Roberts is the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Her current research and teaching is focused on craft and materiality theory, print studies, and the history and philosophy of science. She is the author of three books spanning American art from the 1760s to the 1970s: Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History (Yale University Press, 2004), Jasper Johns/In Press: The Crosshatch Works and the Logic of Print (Harvard Art Museums/Hatje Cantz, 2012), and Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (University of California Press, 2014). She is also coauthor of the Prentice Hall textbook American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity (2007).

Joshua G. Stein, “Imprints: Scale and the Maker’s Trace” (with Glenn Adamson)

Joshua G. Stein is founder of the Los Angeles–based studio Radical Craft and the codirector of the Data Clay Network, a forum for exploring the interplay between digital techniques and ceramic materials. Radical Craft (www.radical-craft.com) operates as a laboratory for testing how traditional phenomena (from archaeology to craft) can inflect the production of urban spaces and artifacts, evolving newly grounded approaches to the challenges posed by contemporary virtuality, velocity, and globalization. He has taught at the California College of the Arts, Cornell University, SCI-Arc, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. He was a 2010–2011 Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture and is currently professor of architecture at Woodbury University.

Jason Weems, “Scale, a Slaughterhouse View: Industry, Corporeality, and Being in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago”

Jason Weems is associate professor of American art and visual culture at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Barnstorming the Prairies: How Aerial Vision Shaped the Midwest (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) and is currently working on the intersection of art and archaeology in the Americas. He is also curator of the 2015 exhibition Interrogating Manzanar: Photography, Justice, and the Japanese American Internment. He has held fellowships from the Hellman Foundation, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, the Terra Foundation for American Art, ACLS, the University of California, the University of Michigan, and Stanford University.

Picturing (Volume 1)

Edited by Rachael Z. DeLue
(Publication date: March 2016)

The history of American art is a history of objects, but it is also a history of ideas about how we create and consume these objects. As Picturing convincingly shows, the critical tradition in American art has given rise to profound thinking about the nature and capacity of images and formed responses to some of most pressing problems of picturing: What is an image, and why make one? What do images do?

The first volume in a new series on critical concerns in the history of American art, Picturing brings together essays by a distinguished international group of scholars who discuss the creation and consumption of images from the early modern period through the end of the twentieth century. Some of the contributions focus on art critical texts, like Gertrude Stein’s portrait of Cézanne, while others have as their point of departure particular artworks, from a portrait of Benjamin Franklin to Eadweard Muybridge’s nineteenth-century photographs of the California Coast. Works that addressed images and image making were not confined to the academy; they spilled out into poetry, literature, theater, and philosophy, and the essays’ considerations likewise range freely, from painting to natural history illustrations, travel narratives, and popular fiction. Together, the contributions demonstrate a rich deliberation that thoroughly debunks the notion that American art is merely derivative of a European tradition.

Picturing (2016)
216 pages
6.7 x 9.5 inches
62 color illustrations

978-0-932171-57-3 (paper)
978-0-932171-58-0 (e-book)

Picturing Contributors

Rachael Z. DeLue (series and volume editor), “Picturing: An Introduction”

Rachael Z. DeLue is a professor in the Art & Archaeology Department at Princeton University. She specializes in the history of American art and visual culture, with particular focus on landscape representation, intersections between art and science, and the visual culture of race and race relations in the United States. DeLue is currently at work on a study of Charles Darwin’s diagram of evolution in On the Origin of Species, as well as a book about impossible images. Her publications include George Inness and the Science of Landscape (2004), Landscape Theory (2008), co-edited with James Elkins, and Arthur Dove: Always Connect (2016).

Michael Gaudio, “Magical Pictures; or, Observations on Lightning and Thunder, Occasion’d by a Portrait of Dr. Franklin”

Michael Gaudio is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Minnesota. He specializes in the visual arts of early modern Europe and the Atlantic world, considering the visual arts in relation to early modern science, religion, and cultural encounter. Gaudio is the author of Engraving the Savage: The New World and Techniques of Civilization (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and is currently completing a study of the hand-made bible concordances created by the seventeenth-century English Protestant community at Little Gidding, England. Other publications consider landscape painting in nineteenth-century America and the history of scientific illustration.

Ulla Haselstein, “Learning from Cézanne: Stein’s Working with and through Picturing”

Ulla Haselstein is Chair of the Literature Department at the John F. Kennedy Institute of North American Studies at the Freie Universität, Berlin. Her research focuses on American literary modernism and postmodernism, and literary theory. Haselstein is currently completing a book on Gertrude Stein. Her most recent book publications in English include several co-edited volumes, among them The Cultural Career of Coolness: Discourses and Practices of Affect Control in European Antiquity, the United States, and Japan (Lexington Books, 2013), The Pathos of Authenticity: American Passions of the Real (Winter, 2010), and The Power and Politics of the Aesthetic in American Culture (Winter, 2007).

Matthew C. Hunter, “Did Joshua Reynolds Paint His Pictures? The Transatlantic Work of Picturing in an Age of Chymical Reproduction”

Matthew C. Hunter is a professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. His research focuses on art and architecture of the eighteenth century with special attention to intersections among art, science, and technology. His publications include Wicked Intelligence: Visual Art and the Science of Experiment in Restoration London (University of Chicago Press, 2013) and The Clever Object (Wiley, 2013), co-edited with Francesco Lucchini. He is currently writing a book on Joshua Reynolds’s experimental chemistry and the longer history of temporally evolving chemical objects in the British Enlightenment.

Elizabeth W. Hutchinson, “Conjuring in Fog: Eadweard Muybridge at Point Reyes”

Elizabeth W. Hutchinson is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Barnard College-Columbia University. Her areas of specialization include North American art through World War I and feminist and cultural theory. She is particularly interested in the relationship between the visual culture of a variety of North American groups and its viewers and the ongoing impact of the colonial history of the Americas. Hutchinson is the author of The Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturation in American Art, 1890–1915 (Duke University Press, 2009), and her current research focuses on the issue of sovereignty over land and self-representation, considering among other things portraits of Native Americans from the colonial period to the twentieth century.

Robin Kelsey, “Pictorialism as Theory”

Robin Kelsey is the Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography in the Department of History of Art & Architecture at Harvard University. A specialist in the histories of photography and American art, he has published on such topics as survey photography, landscape theory, ecology and historical interpretation, and the nexus of art and law, and he is currently researching a book about photography in Cold War America. Kelsey is the author of Archive Style: Photographs and Illustrations for U.S. Surveys, 1850–1890 (University of California Press, 2007) and Photography and the Art of Chance (Harvard University Press, 2015).

Upcoming volumes

Circulation (2017)
Edited by François Brunet with essays by Thierry Gervais, Tom Gunning, J. M. Mancini, Frank Mehring, and Hélène Valance

Experience (2017)
Edited by Alexander Nemerov with essays by Michael Amico, Lucy Mackintosh, Jennifer Jane Marshall, David Peters Corbett, Xiao Situ, and Robert Slifkin

Intermedia (2018)
Edited by Ursula A. Frohne