Rebecca Zorach will be speaking at the Seminar in Renaissance and Early Modern Material Culture on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Her talk is entitled “Friedman’s Pencil and Kant’s Tattoo: Graphic Arts, Global Utopias, and the Acheiropoetic Social.”

Rebecca Zorach is Professor of Art History, Romance Languages, and the College at the University of Chicago, where she is also Senior Chair of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Zorach received her B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Chicago. Her research interests include Late Medieval and Renaissance art, primarily French and Italian; gender studies and critical theory; print culture and technology; new media, tactical media, and activism in contemporary art; contemporary Thai art; theories of imagination and the passions in the sixteenth century; and the politics of emotion in contemporary America. Zorach’s publications include The Passionate Triangle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); The Idol in the Age of Art: Objects, Devotions and the Early Modern World, co-editor, Michael W. Cole (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009); The Virtual Tourist in Renaissance Rome: Printing and Collecting the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (Chicago: Joseph Regenstein Library, 2008); and Blood, Milk, Ink, Gold: Abundance and Excess in the French Renaissance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005). Additionally, she has curated several exhibitions, including Our Demons, co-curator, Renee Stout, DOVA Temporary Gallery, Chicago (January-February 2011); Looks Like Freedom: art, politics, and urban space / around 1968 / Chicago, DOVA Temporary Gallery, Chicago (August-October 2008); and Paper Museums: The Reproductive Print in Europe 1500-1800, Mellon exhibition, Smart Museum, University of Chicago (February-May 2005, Chicago; Fall 2005, New York University).

Zorach’s talk, part of a project on art and intentionality, will bring together odd bedfellows: the infamous free-market economist Milton Friedman and the Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant. Friedman’s account of the production of a pencil is, Zorach will argue, based not only on a vision of society but also on an aesthetic (and crypto-theological) principle that Zorach will pursue through a discussion of Kant’s “purposiveness without a purpose” and attention to ornament, functional objects, and practices at the boundary of art and social life. Though he does not appear in the title, a key counterpoint for Zorach’s discussion will be Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti, author of the major Counter-Reformation text instructing artists and patrons on the proper iconographies and functions of art.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.