Advanced Humanities Research at Yale
On Thursday, October 20th, the six students in the new Advanced Humanities Research (AHR) course travelled to New Haven, Connecticut for a guided tour of the Yale University Art Gallery. Even though most such tours focus on the artworks collected and displayed within the museum, the objet d’art on this visit was the building itself, designed by American architect Louis Kahn in 1953. Students had already seen a documentary film, studied drawings, and read critical essays (from sources such as Perspecta and other architectural journals) about the work of Kahn—on Thursday, they got to step inside the work and experience the space first-hand, learning about its history from concept to construction as well about the practical challenges curators face, when wedding the building’s American High Modernist aesthetic to other artistic visions, from medieval Christian altarpieces to African funerary sculptures.
Because the AHR students are studying Modernism generally, they also spent time taking in paintings by Duchamp, Kandinsky, Rothko, and Pollack, among others, reflecting on what “doing art” can mean in the context of bold stylistic and formal experimentation.
Of course, there was also time to pause at the Roman busts for a photo and grab some Wooster Street (Frank Pepe’s) pizza, too!
-- Evan Clary, AHR Instructor and English Department Chair