Schedule of Seminars and special events
Saturday September 7th
William Mumler and the Invention of Spirit Photography
Presented by Alessandro Keegan
William Mumler, depending on whom you speak with, was either the pioneering figure in the history of spirit photography, or an elaborate hoax-maker. Alessandro Keegan, an art historian and painter of spiritualist imagery himself, separates the man from the myth with his slideshow/lecture on Mumler.
Collecting Grimoires and Spell Books presentation
Presented by Pam Grossman and William Kiesel
Grimoires are essentially instruction books on how to either create magic objects, such as amulets or talismans, or how to cast spells or summons spirit entities. William Kiesel is a long-time collector and researcher on this subject, and has published his findings through his own Ouroboros Press, an underground imprint. Pam Grossman is the author of the new title Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power and will talk about the resurgence of witchcraft as a form of contemporary feminism.
The Atalanta Fugiens and the 16th Century Alchemical Experience
Presented by Brian Cotnoir
Atalanta Fugiens (1617/18), by the alchemist and physician Michael Maier, is one of the most sought-after alchemical texts, having presented the process of transmutation through fifty enigmatic copper plates whose full meaning arises only through an active engagement with its multimedia materials (text, images, and music). Esoteric historian Brian Cotnoir will trace the origins of this remarkable work and explore the book’s strategies through his own multimedia presentation using various published versions of the Atalanta Fugiens and recordings.
Interior Life: Photography’s Place on and off the Wall in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries
Presented by Erin Waters
Using images from her expansive collection of interior photographs, Waters will explore how people displayed images in their homes and dorm rooms between 1880 and 1920. Drawing from contemporary periodicals, she will bring attention to the sometimes heated discussions about the “proper” ways to decorate with snapshots, family photographs, stock photography, and ephemera. She will touch on ideas of personality expressed through interior design evident within both the “cozy corner” fad and the “room collage.” Both design trends relied heavily on photographs as fodder for decoration and were well documented in subsequent photographs by their creators. The ephemeral nature of these interiors leaves us only these resulting photographs as evidence that these amazingly personal interiors existed.
Cabinets of Curiosities in Academic and Research Libraries: Collections and Sensibilities.
Presented by Will Baker
This talk explores current scholarly interest in exhibiting and collecting cabinets of curiosity literature as a response anxieties about the digital information revolution. From roughly the 16th through the 19th centuries, a number of affluent eccentrics in Europe and America amassed extensive collections of anomalies in natural science and other cultural oddities. Their "cabinets of curiosity" were then documented and promoted through the publishing of lavishly-illustrated catalogues; and it is from these types of alluring antiquarian books that current academic and research institutions have been able to re-invent the physical library as a relevant social space not replicable in the digital world. Will Baker's talk both defines what this strange literary sub-genre consists of and how this material has been recently collected and exhibited at an institutional level.
A Dream Today: Imagined Landscapes, Liminal Spaces, Speculative Futures, and Alternate Histories in Black Literature and Music
Presented by Stacey Robiunson
From Martin Luther King's “I Have a Dream” and “Mountaintop” speeches; to artistic ecosystems invented on record albums such as “Electric Ladyland” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience and “Chocolate City” by Parliament; to singles like “Love City” by Sly & the Family Stone and Prince's “Erotic City”; and novels such as “The Oxherding Tale” by Charles Richard Johnson and “Mind of My Mind” by Octavia Butler—these and many other examples deal with mental constructions that act as a safe-havens from the terror inflicted upon blacks in the external world. The dream of MLK has proven especially prophetic of the porous membrane between fantasy and fact and remains a powerful slogan (and memory) in the ever-evolving landscape of civil rights.
Sunday September 8th
Free Appraisal Clinic
Time to clean out the attic! Have you ever wondered if those old books and ephemera in the attic or basement have any value. Here's your opportunity to have an expert give you an estimate of value. The appraisal
The Comic Art of Charles Williams (1955-1998)
Presented by Philip March Jones.
Charles Williams is an early African-American auteur in the comics genre. His work first emerged in the 1950s, and developed throughout the 1960s and '70s, with serial figures and superheroes who became increasingly politicized. Williams also made paintings, drawings, and sculptures, as well, many that included symbols and icons from mainstream comic book superheroes such as "Batman" and "Superman." He died in the early 1990s of HIV/AIDS. Philip March Jones chronicles the entire output of Williams in a one-hour presentation that reinserts this lost artist into the larger history of Afrofuturism and comics history.
Show & Tale: My Favorite Things (Children's Book Edition)
Moderated by Martie McNabb, Founder, Show & Tale, Every Thing Has a Story
Whether they are a present-day favorite or from your or an ancestor’s past, bring the children’s book (or photo of it) that was well read & well-loved over the years. Was an ancestor or is a family member a children’s book author or illustrator? Did you inherit a classic or obscure children’s book? Or does a present-day children’s book remind you of yourself when you were a child? What book is or was your child’s favorite? One you read now or read to him/her over & over again at bedtime? Bring a piece of your personal book history & share its story. Show & Tales is like Antiques Roadshow meets The Moth, or your favorite Pinterest board come to life! Everyone is welcome to share with a 3-5 minute time limit. No judges, no prizes, no competition. And no need to practice! Just show your object and share its tale Just want to come and listen? Awesome. Observers always welcome.
Charles A.A. Dellschau and the Mythology of Flight
Presented by Stephen Romano and Brian Chidester
This exhibition and related talk (by curator Brian Chidester and gallerist Stephen Romano) features several never-before-exhibited works by the artist (Dellschau) whom author Edward Gomez referred to as one of "art brut and outsider art's holiest grails".