April 29 Douglas Gabriel

Friday, April 29, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Revolution from 360 Ft. Below: On the Pyongyang Metro and the Problem of Ground

Douglas Gabriel
Ph.D. Student, Northwestern University

Among the deepest subway systems in the world, the Pyongyang Metro is marked by a radical disjunction with the space of the North Korean capital above it. Rather than referencing street names or landmarks above ground, each of the 17 stations on the Metro’s two lines is named after and elaborately designed according to a revolutionary theme, ranging from Camaraderie to Prosperity. Further, the Metro stations contain no maps of Pyongyang, and, in turn, city maps do not indicate the locations of the Metro stations. Frequently, the Pyongyang Metro is characterized as, on the one hand, a conspicuous form of propagandistic brainwashing, and, on the other hand, the result of a militaristic effort to conceal the locations of underground sites that could potentially serve as emergency bomb shelters. In contrast, this paper draws on visual evidence as well as previously unutilized primary sources in order to demonstrate that the bifurcation of the Metro and the city space stems from a highly singular understanding of the relationship between material reality and revolutionary ideas. I argue that the architectural design, lighting, sound, and mosaic murals of the Metro stations form a complex system of aesthetic effects aimed at suspending the North Korean revolutionary project within a dialectic of ground and transcendence.

Friday, April 29, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

VMPEA: Feb. 24, Insoo Cho.

Insoo Cho

Associate Professor, Korea National University of Arts

From Spirit Tablets to Portraits: Ancestor Worship and Portraitures in Korea


During the Chosŏn dynasty, the art of portrait painting enjoyed great prominence and was valued with high esteem. Often the most famous and skillful painters were hired to execute these venerable images. These portraits have been closely associated with ancestral worship and served their functions effectively in Confucian rites.

From the early Chosŏn period, Neo-Confucianism was adopted as the national ideology in Korea, and Confucian scholars made wooden name tablets inscribed with wishes for the spirits of the deceased ancestors to stay around even longer. With the elapse of time, however, the use of portraits in ancestor worship was allowed and gradually adopted as a social custom. The portrait paintings, as a result, were considered important objects for descendants to communicate with ancestors and express their filial piety.

This lecture will discuss the relationship between ancestral name tablets and portraits as well as the significance of portraits in rites of homage to deceased ancestors during the Chosŏn Dynasty. It also examines the process of adaptation and modification of Western painting style via China which enabled Korean painters to produce more realistic effigies.


Friday, Feb 24, 4-6 p.m.  CWAC 156

May 6-7, Screens in East Asia Symposium


A Symposium Organized by the Center for the Art of East Asia,
Department of Art History, University of Chicago, May 6-7, 2011
Location: Franke Institute for the Humanities, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago IL

The folding or standing screen is a mobile partition that creates a space at the same time that it acts as a division between spaces and groups of figures. As a fixture of daily life and ceremonial culture in East Asia for more than a thousand years, the screen deserves to be considered from multiple perspectives, including those of archaeology, architecture, literature, art, history, gender, and sociology. This symposium explores the complexity of screens as an art form in two and three dimensions, one that frames, divides and conceals and creates spaces and is produced in a variety of materials.

Friday, May 6

9:00 am Welcome and opening remarks

9:30 am-12:30 pm
Panel 1—Partitioning and Defining Space— Chair, Ping Foong, University of Chicago

Guolong Lai, University of Florida, “Warring States and Han Screens in Archaeological Contexts”

Katherine Tsiang, University of Chicago, “Pluralities of Screening and Representation in Late Northern Dynasties Burials”

Wei-cheng Lin, University of North Carolina, “Screening the Chinese Interior: Architectonic and Architecturesque”

Dawn Odell,Lewis and Clark College, “Screens and Thresholds of Insecurity in Colonial Jakarta”


2:00-5:00 pm
Panel 2—The Screen in Ritual and Performance—Chair, Judith Zeitlin, University of Chicago

Melissa McCormick, Harvard University, “The Partitions of Parturition: White Screens and Disbodied Birth”

Hyunsoo Woo, Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Displaying Authority: Screen Paintings of the Joseon Court”

Elizabeth Lillehoj, Depaul University, “Screens as Record Paintings and Records of Painted Screens in Japan”

Jie Dong, Chinese Academy of Art, “Screens in Late Ming Printed Plays and Related Materials in Woodblock Prints”


Saturday, May 7
9:00-11:15 am
Panel 3—Illusion and Representation—Chair, Janice Katz, Art Institute of Chicago

Eleanor Hyun, University of Chicago, “The Illusion of Things: Choson Dynasty Ch’aekkori Screens”

Chelsea Foxwell, University of Chicago, “Triangulations: Art and Historicity in a Nineteenth-Century Screen by Shibata Zeshin”

Dana Leibsohn, Smith College, “Asia Remade: The Fate of the Foreign in the Visual Culture of Spanish America”


Panel 4—Medium and Materiality—Chair, Shih-shan Susan Huang, Rice University

Yukio Lippit, Harvard University, “The Screen-in-Itself: Surface and Materiality in Japanese Byobu”

Jenny Purtle, University of Toronto, “Circulation of Screens and Painting Styles: Jianyang Printed Books and Northern Fujian Painting

Reginald Jackson, University of Chicago, “Ellen Gallagher and Tawaraya Sôtatsu Meet on the Gold Leaf Grid”

Wu Hung, University of Chicago “Front and Back: Emperor Kangxi’s Screen and the Notion of Historical Materiality,”


* This symposium is made possible with generous support from the Japan and China Committees of the Center for East Asian Studies, the Adelyn Russell Bogert Fund of the Franke Institute for the Humanities, and Mrs. Beth Plotnick.

Persons with a disability who believe they need assistance are requested to call 773 702-8274 in advance.

For addition information see: