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Goldberg Presented Two Lectures in China


Associate Professor of Art Stephen J. Goldberg presented two lectures in the People's Republic of China in conjunction with the second Chinese Calligraphy Workshop organized by the Calligraphy Education Group (CEG) of the Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA).

"Melancholy Overcomes the Boatman: On the Aesthetic Reception of a Calligraphic Text," was presented in June at the College of Art and Media, Beijing Normal University. It began with a question: What is it that we attend to in the aesthetic reception and formal description of a calligraphic text inscribed in caoshu, or cursive script? It was argued that, to be true to the inscriptional nature of Chinese calligraphy is to recognize the formal "structure" as epiphenomenal, as an "emergent" property of the temporal development and spatial unfolding of the characters in the time of the writing, and its reenactment in the aesthetic reception of a calligraphic text. The inscription of a character is thus dynamic and emergent: a continual movement toward structure. Goldberg concluded with an analysis of a passage from Lotus Under the Autumn Moon, a poetic inscription in cursive script, by the Ming scholar-painter and calligrapher Chen Shun (1483-1544), in the Jeanette Shambaugh Elliott Collection at Princeton University.

"Art and the Authority of Excellence" was presented in July at the Shanghai International Cultural Association. Goldberg examined the relevance of the classical tradition of Confucian philosophical reflection for the aesthetic appreciation and historical understanding of the visual art of the Confucian scholar-gentleman. He began with a passage from the Lunyu or Analects of Confucius and concluded with a discussion of three works by the great Ming painter Shen Zhou (1427-1509).

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