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Painting a picture of history

Queen’s University professor Gauvin Bailey (Art History) is one of only two scholars outside the United States to win the award from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. With the funding, Dr. Bailey is undertaking the first comprehensive study of the arts and architecture of the French Atlantic Empire.

His forthcoming book, Art and Architecture in the French Atlantic World, will be the first book that examines both the artistic and architectural heritage of the French Atlantic Empire and looks at the connections and interactions between its many colonies.

Queen's professor Gauvin Bailey has earned funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

“For almost two decades I have worked on the arts and especially architecture of colonial Latin America, including both the Spanish and Portuguese empires,” says Dr. Bailey, Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art. “But it has always fascinated me that there was a third Catholic empire in the Americas at the same time which covered a similarly vast territory with its own cities, country mansions, and missions, yet which is virtually unknown to Latin Americanists. That empire is the French Atlantic Empire, extending from West Africa to Lake Superior, and from Lake Superior to French Guyana.”

The funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship will allow Dr. Bailey to conduct research travel and visit buildings, museums, and archives in distant places which would not otherwise be possible to visit. One of the really exciting things is that in places like Martinique or French Guyana some of the buildings have never even been researched before.

“They are interested in funding me because I am taking a topic that is generally only studied on a country-by-country basis and moving it beyond geographic barriers,” explains Dr. Bailey. “As in Canada, the United States has a huge French heritage that is frankly very little known and the funding agency probably saw that by placing it in the context of the Canadian, Caribbean, and African heritage that the book would be able to ask larger questions about the nature of this vast empire and the ways in which its arts and architecture expressed particular ideologies and attitudes.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $17.9 million in grants for 233 humanities projects. These include research for a book on a Hollywood-based Jewish spy ring that infiltrated and sabotaged Nazi and fascist groups in the U.S. in the 1930s and 40s, and the conservation of artifacts pertaining to the history of the Ancestral Pueblo people, homesteaders, and the Manhattan Project held by the Los Alamos Historical Society.

For more information on the grant visit the website.

An ode to Gordon Lightfoot

[Carolyn Smart and Gordon Lightfoot]
Carolyn Smart speaks with Gordon Lightfoot during the launch event for “50-plus Poems for Gordon Lightfoot,” an anthology of poetry in honour of the music legend. (Supplied photo)

Imagine being a teen girl in late-1960s Toronto and meeting Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot – the patron saint of the city's arts scene at the time - and in his own home no less.

That personal connection is the inspiration for Carolyn Smart’s (English) contribution to a newly-published book of poetry called 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot.

A lifelong Lightfoot fan, Ms. Smart was contacted by Fred Addis, the curator for the Stephen Leacock Museum in Lightfoot’s hometown of Orillia and the organizer of the project, to provide a piece for the anthology. She was honoured just to be asked.

“I was just thrilled out of my mind. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me because, in fact, the poem that I wrote for this anthology tells the story of a true event that happened to me when I was in Grade 13,”she says.

As Ms. Smart, a published poet with six books to her credit who teaches Contemporary Canadian Literature and Creative Writing at Queen’s University, tells the tale, she and a pair of friends got up the courage to knock on the door of Lightfoot’s house.

As they tried to talk their way past the housekeeper Maria, who said the singer was not home, Lightfoot himself intervened.

“She was protecting him. He was preparing for his upcoming Massey Hall concert and just at that point we said ‘Well, we can hear him in here.’ She said ‘No he’s not here.’ He came down the stairs and he invited us in and he had Maria serve us tea,” she says. “We all sat around in his living room, had tea and chatted away.”

Guitarist Red Shea then entered the room and told Lightfoot that it was time to go. But the good times weren’t over for Ms. Smart and her friends.

“He went out one door and we went out the front door and were sort of floating around on the sidewalk and at that point two girls approached us from our high school – girls that we did not like,” she recalls with a laugh. “And at that exact moment Gord and Red Shea drove by and Gord honked his horn and waved at us. And these girls said ‘Oh my God, Oh my God’ and we said ‘Oh yeah, we’ve been hanging out with him.’

“It was the most amazing event, so that’s what I wrote the poem about.”

At the book’s recent launch in Toronto, with Lightfoot in attendance, Ms. Smart was among nine poets to read their piece while several musicians played songs and recounted what Lightfoot has meant to their careers.

“Each of the musicians spoke so generously about Gord and his kindness and his support of them when they were up-and-coming,” she says. “Throughout the evening it became crystal clear, as if I didn’t know it already, what an important impact he has had for generations in this country, both in music and in literature. He was just charming to me afterwards as usual, just the kindest, most respectful person. It was wonderful.”

Three other members of the Queen’s community are also in the anthology: Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke, who earned his PhD from Queen's; Daniel David Moses, a professor in the drama department; and Ms. Smart’s former student Darryl Whetter, now a professor at Université Sainte-Anne.

The Isabel Goes Alt with two new shows

A new music series aimed at bringing some of Canada’s most sought-after young performers to Kingston will continue in 2015 with performances by Owen Pallett and the Barr Brothers.

Owen Pallett will take to the stage at the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Feb. 6, with The Barr Brothers performing on March 13 .

Owen Pallett will be playing at the Isabel on Feb. 6. (Photo Supplied)

Composer, violinist, keyboard and vocalist Owen Pallett is well regarded for his distinct use of a loop pedal as part of his experimental sound. A classically trained violinist, Pallett composed his first piece at age 13, as well as two operas while in university. In 2006, Pallett, who was then performing under the moniker Final Fantasy, won the Polaris Music Prize, and was nominated again in 2013 for his newest album, In Conflict. A sought after collaborator, Pallett has recorded and toured with Arcade Fire, The National, Franz Ferdinand, and many others. He has also been a musical guest on the CBC Radio program, The Vinyl Café.

The Barr Brothers are a Montreal-based folk quartet comprised of Andrew and Brad Barr, Sarah Page and Andres Vial.  Known for an eclectic sound the incorporates everything from R&B to West African music, the band released their debut, self-titled LP in September 2011 and have been winning accolades ever since. After a performance on The Late Show with David Letterman in November 2014, the host jokingly offered to manage the JUNO-nominated band. The Barr Brothers have performed all across the world, including as headliners at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

The Barr Brothers are playing in the Isabel Goes Alt series on March 13. (Photo supplied)

Tickets for Owen Pallett are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the performance.

Tickets for the Barr Brothers are $20 in advance, and $25 on the day of the performance.

All tickets are general seating.

In order to make ticket prices accessible for students, the Isabel Goes Alt series is sponsored by Burgundy Asset Management.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Isabel’s website

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is a hub for artistic study, creation, exhibition and performance at Queen's. It is home to the Department of Film and Media and also provides learning and working space for the university's other creative arts disciplines.

The Isabel was made possible by a transformational gift from Alfred Bader (Sc'45, Arts'46, MSc'47, LLD'86) and his wife, Isabel (LLD'07) as well as the financial backing of the federal and provincial governments, the City of Kingston and additional philanthropic support.

 

Membership offers perks for art patrons

[Agnes Membership]
Membership at the Agnes Agnes Etherington Art Centre provides access to special events featuring artists and curators. (University Communications)

Art lovers in Kingston and around the globe now have a new way to support the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

The gallery began offering direct memberships earlier this fall. The response to the gallery’s new membership platform has been strong, with 170 people signing up in the first month.

“Membership provides a way to bring together those — across campus, in the region and beyond — who appreciate the visual arts. Our members will sustain and advance the Agnes as a leading art museum and a hub for arts supporters,” says Jan Allen, director of the gallery.

All membership categories boast a “+ one” feature, through which an additional member is included free of charge.

“Viewing and learning about art is often best experienced with a friend; “+ one” encourages this social dimension of the gallery,” Ms. Allen says.

Membership benefits also include:

  • Free gallery admission, email bulletins and the gallery’s print newsletter.
  • Discounted access to fee-based courses, programs and ticketed Agnes events, as well as special members’ events and gatherings with visiting artists, curators and scholars.
  • Additional behind-the-scenes access and annual recognition events for Curator’s Circle and Director’s Circle members.

Members also have opportunities to get involved in the work of the gallery. A steering committee will meet in January 2015 to craft plans for The Agnes Society, a group for active volunteers.

“Interest in our programs and collections is high, and attendance has increased. To expand opportunities and respond to new possibilities, we hope to draw on the energy and ideas of our supporters,” Ms. Allen says. “We already benefit from a dedicated core of volunteers who assist us with collections, gallery tours and research resources, and we anticipate The Agnes Society will build on this success.”    

To recognize the many contributions of the Gallery Association (GA), an independent charitable group that supported the Agnes up until this year, the gallery is offering GA members free Agnes membership. To take advantage of this special offer, they must apply for Agnes membership by Dec. 31, 2014.

Membership forms are available online at www.agnes.queensu.ca or at the gallery.

Student's video captures Queen's spirit and thousands of views

[Ryan Lee]
Ryan Lee (ArtSci’16) created the online video "We Are the Gaels," which has drawn more than 12,000 views in two days. (University Communications)

Ryan Lee (ArtSci’16) set out with the goal of capturing the spirit of Queen’s University in a two-minute online video.

He succeeded.

Posted to YouTube on Monday, “We Are the Gaels” has already attracted more than 12,000 views. It’s fast-paced, polished and, if you have any connection to Queen’s, it will leave your spine tingling.

Perhaps, no surprise then, the video is drawing waves of praise.

“I’m blown away by the reception,” says Mr. Lee. “I did not imagine that it would reach that many people.”

The video took no small effort to complete. Coming in at just over two minutes, Mr. Lee says it took more than 72 hours to edit. Footage was taken throughout this year’s Orientation Week and Homecoming as well as during some early mornings.

“This is the most time I have ever spent on a video,” he says.

Spending the extra time at the university filming, he says, brought him closer to the Queen’s community and what it offers. It was a wonderful experience.

“It wasn’t really so much what I learned about Queen’s but it reinforced what I already knew about it,” he says. “That it really is awesome and that the people here are amazing.”

Mr. Lee is currently the president of the Queen’s Film Production Club and chair of the ASUS Film Committee. He first caught the videography bug through a Grade 8 project, continued to hone his skills and eventually was paid by his high school to create a video. He would then go on to create Reel Videography through the Summer Company program in his hometown of Peterborough.

A rare mathematics and film major, he says videography is an area he would like to continue to explore.

“It’s definitely a potential,” he says. “I’m still trying to figure that out myself but I want to continue my business and expand it to the greater Kingston area and beyond.”

Raising community, holiday spirit through sing-a-long

  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Members of the Queen's University and Kingston community take part in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long on Friday at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Darrell Bryan, adjunct lecturer with the Queen’s School of Music, performs in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Gordon Craig, adjunct assistant professor at the Queen’s School of Music, leads the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Students from the Queen’s School of Music participate in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Students from the Queen’s School of Music participate in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.

The Queen’s School of Music’s Messiah Sing-a-Long, a holiday-season tradition at Queen’s University, was held for the first time at the recently-opened Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Friday, Nov. 28.

Queen’s and Kingston community members turned out in the lobby area to listen to and take part in George Frideric Handel’s choral masterpiece.

An honorary degree for Pinchas Zukerman

  • [Pinchas Zukerman]
    Principal Daniel Woolf offers introductory remarks while Boris Castel, Pinchas Zuckerman and Gordon Smith (left to right) look on.
  • [Pinchas Zukerman]
    Pinchas Zukerman addresses the audience after receiving his honorary degree.
  • [Pinchas Zukerman performing]
    The Zukerman Trio including cellist Amanda Forsythe and pianist Angela Cheng performed before a sold-out crowd at the Isabel as part of the honorary degree presentation.

World-renowned violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman added another accolade to an already impressive list of accomplishments this weekend: honorary graduate. Mr. Zukerman, who also serves as music director for the National Arts Centre, accepted his degree after intermission during a sold-out performance at the Isabel on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Gordon Smith, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science, and Boris Castel, Professor Emeritus (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) and editor of the Queen's Quarterly, joined Mr. Zukerman for the brief ceremony. A busy touring schedule prevented Mr. Zukerman from receiving his degree at a fall convocation ceremony.

 

An honorary degree for a renowned musician

One of the world’s most celebrated violinists will be receiving an honorary degree from Queen’s.

Pinchas Zukerman will receive an honorary degree on Nov. 29th. (Photo provided)

Pinchas Zukerman, a renowned musician and conductor who also serves as music director for the National Arts Centre (NAC), will receive his degree in conjunction with a performance at the Isabel on Nov. 29, rather than at a convocation ceremony where such degrees are normally conferred. Mr. Zukerman’s busy performance schedule prohibited him from attending one of the five fall convocation ceremonies. His 2014-15 schedule includes more than 100 performances worldwide.

Born in Israel in 1948, Mr. Zukerman arrived in the United States in 1962 where he studied at The Julliard School. After establishing a career as a concert violinist, he turned his attention to conducting, where he has developed an equally outstanding reputation. Mr. Zukerman has led many of the world’s top ensembles, and is currently serving his sixth season as principal guest conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, U.K.

Among his many accolades, Mr. Zukerman has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, was the first recipient of the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence, and was the co-winner of the International Levintritt Competition, a highly prestigious international competition for classical pianists and violinists, which he won when he was just 19 years old.

Mr. Zukerman’s extensive discography contains more than 100 titles, and includes two Grammy awards and 21 Grammy award nominations.

He has also been celebrated for his commitment to music education. Mr. Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology in the arts. In Canada, he has established the NAC Institute for Orchestra Studies and the Summer Music Institute, which encompasses the Young Arts, Conductors and Composers programs.

Mr. Zukerman will perform with the Zukerman Trio (cellist Amanda Forsythe and pianist Angela Cheng) at the Isabel  Saturday, Nov. 29. The performance is sold out.

 

 

 

Impressive incunabula

Queen’s Library has mounted Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing. The exhibit features material from the Library collection and two works owned by Principal Daniel Woolf, whose research interests include the global history of historical writing. Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer, sat down with Principal Woolf to discuss his incunabula and the other books in his collection. 

  • [Incunabula]
    Featured in the exhibit is a leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle printed by Hartmann Schedel in 1493, on loan from the private collection of Principal Daniel Woolf.
  • [Incunabula]
    Students, staff and faculty attended the opening of Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing, on Monday, Nov.10.
  • [Incunabula]
    Some of the pieces in the exhibit feature "marginalia," or notes from readers found in the margins of the texts.
  • [Incunabula]
    Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing is on display at the W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library through Dec. 1.

MK: What is the significance of the works you have loaned to the Library for the exhibit?

DW: One of them is a whole book, a chronicle that came out in 1481 of which the Library in fact owns a slightly earlier edition printed elsewhere. It’s interesting to compare the two. The other is a leaf from the famous Nuremberg Chronicle that came out in 1493.

The full book, which is missing one or two leaves, was written by Carthusian monk Werner Rolevinck. It’s distinctive as being only the second book since printing was invented to be written by a then-living author. Up to that point, the first books printed were the classics and works such as the Bible.

The Nuremberg Chronicle was the giant history of the world published in 1493 by Hartmann Schedel. That’s not the book’s actual title, but it was called that because Schedel was based in Nuremberg.

MK: Your rare book collection includes many titles besides the incunabula. Can you tell me more about your collection and how you acquire the books?

DW: I have a fair number of books from the 16th century and a lot from the 17th and 18th centuries. Occasionally I stray over into the 19th century.

When I first started out, I was going into antiquarian books shops. That is a relatively slow process if you are looking for particular titles. Over the last few years, it has become much easier to buy unusual books through vendor sites like abebooks.com. But now I am increasingly going directly to individual booksellers who are now well aware of my interests. If they get something interesting, they will dangle it in front of me.

MK: Do you collect rare books as a hobby or for research purposes?

DW: Both. There is a theme to the works I collect. They are all works of history or antiquarian scholarship or antiquarian topography written between the 16th to 18th centuries. I will have at one point used other copies of almost all of them in my research over the last 30 years.

MK: Are there any good stories behind some of the books you own?

DW: Some of them have had very interesting “provenance” in past ownership. One is a copy of an early 17th century printing of an Elizabethan English translation of an early 16th century history of Italy by Francesco Guicciardini. The book itself is a very interesting and important work and it’s a nice early edition. But what gives it added value is the book plate, which indicates it belonged to Victorian poet Matthew Arnold.

Others are interesting because they have all sorts of notes. I have one book in which somebody has interleaved the actual book with lots of other leaves, on which they have added their own notes or “grangerizing” interesting things they found relevant to the book. That process, known as “extra-illustrating,” was very popular in the 18th century.

MK: Why should people visit the exhibit at the Library?

DW: The exhibit is fabulous because these aren’t just old books. They’re among the rarest in the world and they appeared right at the dawn of printing. Just consider how many people have owned those books in their 500 year history. When some of these were printed, Columbus had not yet sailed. They are here now and they will be here 200 or 300 years from now — they are survivors.

Considering it was a new technology, the quality of the printing and the paper was remarkable. The quality of the printing is so much superior to most later printing. If you have seen some 19th century books in the Library, often the pages are not in good shape because they were printed on pulp paper that was treated with an acid, which has made the pages brittle over time. Most of these incunabula were printed on a paper based on rags. It’s much tougher. The books are beautiful works of art.

Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing continues at the W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library (Douglas Library) through Dec. 1.

A Union of researcher and artist

A Queen’s graduate student will “exhibit” her research on Nov. 14 in a space usually reserved for sculptures and paintings.

The Union Gallery has invited Carina Magazzeni (MA’16) to discuss the way her research relates to the artworks currently on display at the gallery. The artist will also attend and talk about his work at the same time.

[Jude Griebel, Stepping Out]
Carina Magazzeni (MA'16) will discuss the connections between her research and the work of artist Jude Griebel, including his piece "Stepping Out" (above) that is currently on display at the Union Gallery.

Jocelyn Purdie, the director of the Union Gallery, says Visual Bites in Context was born out of a desire to open up new avenues of interdisciplinary programming at the gallery.

“Visual Bites in Context is a new and exciting way to discover the research taking place within the Queen’s community,” she says. “We hope the event sparks some interesting discussion around the connections between artists and researchers in different disciplines and facilitates a deeper understanding of their work.”

Ms. Magazzeni, a master’s candidate in the cultural studies program, will talk about how her research connects with Jude Griebel’s sculptures, which fuse human anatomy with allegorical counterparts. Ms. Magazzeni’s research focuses on the visual consumption of the non-human animal body through the art of taxidermy, and the changes in perception of those works after they’re removed from a natural history museum setting and placed within an art gallery.

“When I heard about the event, I thought it was a great way to present my research in an intellectual space without the pressure of a large conference,” Ms. Magazzeni says. “I also liked the idea of connecting with people across disciplines, especially artists. It’s been great bouncing ideas off of Jude.”

Visual Bites in Context will take place on Friday, Nov. 14 at 4 pm, followed by the closing reception of the current exhibitions from 5-7 pm. Located on the ground floor of Stauffer Library, Union Gallery is a space where exciting visual art fresh from the artist’s studio challenges and surprises visitors. Exhibitions and events bring together students, faculty, staff and community members to meet the artists and chat among friends about the work on display. 

Jaime Angelopoulos and Derrick Piens who are featured in the other exhibition at the gallery, will give a talk on Thursday as part the fine art program’s 2014-15 Visiting Artist Lecture Series. The Toronto-based artists will present their lecture at 2:30 pm at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (28 Division St.), room 100.

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