Scholar Alexander Potts to speak on sculpture incongruity
Art historian Alexander Potts of the University of Michigan is this year’s speaker for the Sponenburgh Lectureship on the History and Aesthetics of Sculpture at the University of Oregon.
Potts will speak at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at the UO in Portland’s White Stag Block Event Room, 70 N.W. Couch St., and at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in Room 115 Lawrence Hall, 1190 Franklin Blvd., on the UO campus in Eugene. Both events are free and open to the public.
Potts serves as Max Loehr Collegiate Professor in the Department of History of Art at the University of Michigan. The title of his presentation is “The Public Value of Incongruity: Moore and Oldenburg in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Henry Moore and Claes Oldenburg played an important part in the public sculpture boom in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Moore produced conventional plaza sculptures while Oldenburg focused on Pop alternatives, but their work shared the intriguing affinity of incongruity. Moore’s sculptures, for example, were massive versions of smaller objects, making an impact as curious biomorphic shapes incongruously situated in architectural settings.
Potts’ scholarship considers topics such as sculptural aesthetics and the history of sculpture, experimental practices, and the aesthetics of realism in mid–and later twentieth century art, among other areas. His books include “The Sculptural Imagination: Figurative, Modernist, Minimalist” (2000) and “Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History” (1994 and 2000). He is completing a book on experimental forms of post-war realism, “Experiments in Modern Realism c1940-1965.”
The Sponenburgh lectureship was established in the UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts in 1997 through an endowment at the University of Oregon Foundation. Mark Sponenburgh was a UO sculpture professor whose gift supports the history, teaching and scholarship in sculpture at UO through the lectureship as well as the Sponenburgh Endowment for the History & Aesthetics of Sculpture, which provides travel grants to graduate students.