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UAB to host 23rd annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History

  • February 05, 2018
Keynote speaker Meryl Bailey will speak about cultural heritage, art and the law.

art history 2018Praxiteles (attrib.), Apollo Sauroktonos (Apollo the Python-Slayer), c. 350 BC. Bronze, copper, and stone inlay; 150 x 50.3 x 66.8 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OHThe University of Alabama at Birmingham will host the 23rd annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History, a one-day symposium shared with the University of Alabama, Friday, Feb. 23, at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

The College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History will host the 2018 symposium; it alternates each year between the UAB and UA campuses. At the all-day event, students pursuing a Master of Arts degree in art history will present papers, followed by a keynote lecture. Begun in 1995, the symposium offers students the opportunity to present their research in a setting of their peers and distinguished scholars in the field of art history. Graduate students from UAB and UA, along with graduate students from neighboring universities, will present papers on a wide range of themes in art history, and undergraduate art history students will present lunchtime poster sessions.

The Department of Art and Art History will offer a special tour of the Birmingham Museum of Art prior to the symposium for prospective art history graduate students and symposium participants; to register, RSVP to Jared Ragland via email at by Feb. 19. 

meryl baileyMeryl Bailey, Ph.D.Meryl Bailey, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history at Mills College, will present the keynote lecture at 6 p.m., preceded by a reception. Bailey specializes in the Italian Renaissance, and teaches courses on medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art as well as seminars on art and the law. She received her B.A. degree in anthropology at Harvard, her J.D. at Harvard Law School, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history at the University of California, Berkeley. Bailey will speak about cultural heritage, art and the law in a lecture titled “Returning the Past: Cultural Heritage, Ethics, and the American Museum in the 21st Century.”

In 2004, the Cleveland Museum of Art purchased an extraordinary ancient Greek statue known as the Apollo Sauroktonos from an antiquities dealer. Eight years later, the museum acquired an important Roman portrait bust of Drusus Minor, son of the Roman emperor Tiberius, through the same source. Italian authorities quickly questioned the provenance of the bust, and in 2017 it was repatriated to Italy. But even though Greek authorities have long questioned the provenance of the Apollo, it remains on display at the Cleveland Museum. This lecture takes these two objects as a point of departure to discuss the law and ethics of collecting in the 21st century. Bailey will address the obligations of museums seeking to build and expand world-class collections, examine the impact of collecting practices on the destruction of cultural heritage sites, and consider the opportunities and limitations of partnerships and long-term loans as an alternative to the acquisition of antiquities.