Presentations will take place via the video conferencing app ZOOM. Please register in advance in order to access the program.
In this illustrated lecture, Professor Denny will discuss the evolution of the Springfield Art Museums from his time working with the collections as a graduate student in the late 1960s, through five decades of using those collections as part of his teaching of Islamic Art and Art Museum Studies at the University of Massachusetts. Beginning with a catalog and exhibition of the carpet collection, then examining the ground-breaking exhibition The Image and the Word from the later 1970s, and Images of Paradise in Islamic Art from 1992, he will survey the increasingly prominent role of the Museums’ Islamic collections into the 21st century. He will also offer his perspective on how the Museums have evolved during a sometimes tumultuous and always exciting half-century of revolutionary changes in American art museums’ practice, professionalism, and place in America’s culture.
Presented by Walter B. Denny, PhD, Distinguished Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum Archives Project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
This program is supported by a grant from the Bridge Street Fund, a special initiative of Mass Humanities.
Walter B. Denny is Distinguished Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, specializing in the art and architecture of the Islamic world. From 2007 to 2016 he served as Senior Consultant in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After undergraduate study at Robert College (Istanbul), Grinnell College and Oberlin College, and graduate studies at Harvard and at Istanbul Technical University, he completed his Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard in 1970, beginning his teaching career at UMass/Amherst in September of that year. His research interests and publications concentrate in the Ottoman Turkish sphere, the history of Islamic carpets and textiles, and the thousand-year history of east-west interchange in European culture. Walter lectures frequently on a variety of topics in the U.S. and abroad. May 2020 marked the completion of his one-hundredth semester at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.