Visual Arts

World-class art lecturer comes to UK

When it comes to important art events, one thing can never be ignored: funding.

It's nice to say how much we like the arts, how much we enjoy the (free) events such as art fairs and Gallery Hop, but it's quite ­another thing to pony up the money to ­provide for the hosting of a world-class art event in Lexington.

So we have the Bingham Family of Louisville to thank for the next such event: this week's Thomas D. Clark Lecture at the University of Kentucky.

This year's lecturer is internationally recognized art historian Thomas Crow. ­Currently the Rosalie Solow professor of modern art at New York University, Crow is the former director of the Getty Research Institute, editor of ArtForum magazine, and the author of several art-history books and articles. His lecture, ”Composition and Decomposition in ­Girodet's Revolt of Cairo,“ will offer contemporary insights into the work by the Romantic French artist.

The lecture is held in ­conjunction with the ­university's Mary C. Bingham seminar, a highly competitive biennial course for upper-division undergraduates.

”One professor is selected to lead the seminar and chooses an interdisciplinary group of only 10 students,“ says Edward Stanton, this year's seminar leader. ”It's a mix of studies that the student doesn't experience in their academic track.“

Organized through UK's Gaines Center for the Humanities, the content of the course changes each semester. This semester's course, led by Stanton, a Hispanics studies professor, is ”Seeking Goya: A Trans-Atlantic Journey.“ It focuses on art history and ­cultural studies.

”A lot of people aren't aware that the University of Kentucky Art Museum and Berea College have lovely prints by Goya,“ Stanton says. In addition, the University of Louisville has a complete set of Goya's Los Caprichos, etchings completed in 1799 as a critique of contemporary Spanish society.

In choosing Crow as the lecturer, Stanton opened up the critical thinking of his students, and of Lexington as a whole.

Crow's ”early work is in 18th-century French art,“ he says. ”In choosing a ­lecturer, I chose someone with a ­background in a related, but not necessarily identical, topic. He'll be speaking on work from the same time as Goya, which provides for comparison.“

The seminar ends with travel fellowships for ­students and professor to spend two to three weeks to visit and explore the subject of their studies in further detail. This summer, Stanton will accompany his students to Fuendetodos, Spain, to visit the birthplace of Goya and then to Madrid to see his larger works on display.

Thursday's lecture is free to the public.