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Visiting Fellow Archive (2004-2005)

Michael Fried


The Visiting Fellow Seminar Series 2004-2005 is Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities, Director, The Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University


Lecture / Seminar I: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
“Caravaggio: The Invention of Absorption”

Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio remains one of the most fascinating and revolutionary figures in the history of Western painting. In these sessions, Fried will argue that Caravaggio’s paintings of the 1590s and early 1600s saw the invention (or discovery) of “absorption” as a major resource for painting, with tremendous consequences for subsequent developments. Fried has written extensively on the importance of a problematic of absorption (and antitheatricality) in French painting and art criticism from the mid-18th century to the advent of Manet and his generation around 1860. This lecture/seminar extends the reach of Fried’s argument back to ca. 1600, when crucial aspects of the problematic of “modern” painting may be seen to have been conceived.

Seminar II: Monday, October 25, 2004 from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
“James Agee and Walker Evans: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”
Conducted jointly by Michael Fried, Walter Benn Michaels (English, UIC), and Kenneth W. Warren (English, University of Chicago)
Agee and Evan’s book (Agee’s text plus Evans’s photographs), published in 1941, is an American classic – a memorial to several weeks both men spent living with a tenant farmer family in Georgia during the summer of 1936. The book is of great interest from literary, political, photographic and phenomenological perspectives. The seminar will explore at least some of these perspectives through close reading and looking. For Fried, issues of antitheatricality in Agee’s text will be a central topic.

Seminar III: Thursday, October 28 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
“Some Problems in Recent Photography”

In this seminar, Fried will present some of the issues he engages in the book he is currently writing, “Ontological Work: Reflections on Some Recent Photography.” The session will focus on the work of three photographers: Jeff Wall, Thomas Struth, and Andreas Gursky.