Whistler’s Cities, Our Cities

Friday, September 29, 2023,

Virtual event

Join the Colby College Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Asian Art for Whistler’s Cities, Our Cities. This program will consider artist James McNeill Whistler’s urban imagery in the context of Washington D.C. and Waterville, Maine, the two cities hosting the exhibition Whistler: Streetscapes, Urban Change. What parallels exist between the European metropoles Whistler pictured in the late nineteenth century and these places today? What lessons can we learn to build inclusive and sustainable cities?

This program will be set up as a Zoom webinar; please register here to receive the link to join the program.

This virtual program will be introduced by Elisa Germán, the Colby Museum’s Lunder Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies, and will include panelists David Park Curry, curator of Whistler: Streetscapes, Urban Change; Ben Lisle, assistant professor of American Studies at Colby College; and Scott Kratz of the 11th Street Bridge Park project. Diana Greenwold, Lunder Curator of American Art at the National Museum of Asian Art, will moderate the discussion.

The program is free and open to all. It will be recorded and available for viewing (with captioning) on the Colby College Museum of Art’s website and social media channels. The related exhibition, Whistler: Streetscapes, Urban Change is on view through October 22, 2023 at the Colby College Museum of Art. The exhibition will then be on view from November 18, 2023 through May 4, 2024 at the National Museum of Asian Art.

Whistler: Streetscapes, Urban Change is a project of the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies and is made possible with support from the Lunder Foundation.

James McNeill Whistler, The Village Sweet Shop, 1886. Etching in dark brown ink on ivory laid paper. Only state. The Lunder Collection, 2013.486. 


About the speakers

David Park Curry, Independent Scholar and Guest Curator

David Park Curry was a 2020–21 Senior Fellow at the Colby Museum’s Lunder Institute for American Art. Dr. Curry holds a Ph.D. in the history of art from Yale University. His work as a curator has included key roles at the Freer Gallery of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Curry is the author of James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art (1984); his 2004 monograph, James McNeill Whistler: Uneasy Pieces, followed the 2003 Freer exhibition Mr. Whistler’s Galleries, which featured Curry’s reconstruction of the Arrangement in White and Yellow (1883) the artist’s controversial installation of etchings as a total work of art.

Benjamin Lisle, Assistant Professor of American Studies at Colby College

Benjamin D. Lisle’s work examines urban geography and cultural history in the United States after World War II. He is the author of Modern Coliseum: Stadiums and American Culture, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2017.

Scott Kratz, Building Bridges Across the River Senior Vice President & 11th Street Bridge Park Director

For the last ten years, Scott has been working with the East of the River based non-profit Building Bridges Across the River and the Washington DC city government to transform an old freeway bridge into a park above the Anacostia River. The old 11th Street Bridges that connect Capitol Hill with communities east of the river reached the end of their lifespan, Scott is working with the community to use the base of one of the bridges to create a one-of-a-kind civic space supporting active recreation, environmental education and the arts. Scott leads the team that is designing, building and one day operating the park. Beyond the park’s physical construction, he has led the effort to ensure long term residents can stay and thrive in place through a nationally recognized equitable development plan that includes affordable housing, workforce training, preservation of Black owned small businesses and arts / culture strategies.

Elisa Germán, Lunder Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies, Colby College Museum of Art

Elisa Germán is responsible for the museum’s exhibition and collection related to prints, drawings, and photographs, with a special focus on James McNeill Whistler in the Lunder Collection. She oversees the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies, which includes the University of Glasgow, and the Freer Gallery of Art at the National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution. She has previously held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Harvard Art Museums, where the most recent exhibition that she co-curated is on view, “American Watercolors, 1880 – 1990: Into the Light.” Elisa Germán received her Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture from Boston University, where her dissertation focused on printmaking in Madrid after the Spanish Civil War.

Diana Greenwold, Lunder Curator of American Art

Diana Greenwold specializes in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American fine and decorative arts. She is particularly interested in stories of trans-national exchange and the ways objects carry and transform culture. From 2014 to 2021, Diana served in various curatorial positions, ultimately as Curator of American Art, at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine. There, she oversaw the museum’s collection of over 11,000 American paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Her recent exhibitions include Mythmakers: The Art of Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington (2020) and In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, 1950–69 (2018). At the PMA, Greenwold also spearheaded the multi-stage reinterpretation of the Winslow Homer Studio. Diana Greenwold received her Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley, where her dissertation focused on immigrant craft workshops in New York and Boston settlement houses.

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