Art and Materiality (Research Institute)

In the past decade, a greater attention to the art object and its materiality has enhanced the study of art history, opening new avenues of investigation. Combined with more historical methodologies, the focus on the materiality of artworks is offering profound insights into their meanings. Artists across time and space have infused materials not only with ritual and symbolic significance but also social, political, and economic functions. Art historians, increasingly in collaboration with conservators and scientists, are gaining insight into the process of art making from raw material to finished object, the chaîne opératoire, as well as the strategic deployment of materials both for their aesthetic qualities and for their power to signify. The inquiry into an artwork's materiality raises questions about procurement, trade, value, and manufacturing on the one hand, and, on the other, about the materiality of mechanically reproduced objects or of ephemeral, durational, and conceptual works. Finally, as artworks move between cultures, their materials—whether feathers, shells, marble, or oil paint—are given new meanings, thereby accumulating additional interpretive layers.

The Getty Research Institute invites proposals from scholars and fellows on these and other issues related to the materiality of art.

The Classical World in Context: Egypt (Villa)

From the Bronze Age through late antiquity, the cultures of the classical world have interacted with the surrounding civilizations of the Mediterranean, Near East, and beyond through trade, warfare, diplomacy, cultural exchange, and other forms of contact. These interactions had a crucial, and often reciprocal, impact on cultural trajectories in both spheres. In the first of a series of scholarly programs and related exhibitions exploring these interconnections, the 2015–2016 Getty Villa scholars will focus on relations between the cultures of the classical world and Egypt from prehistory to the coming of Islam. Priority will be given to research projects that are cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, utilizing a wide range of archaeological, textual, anthropological, and other evidence.

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