Martin Kemp

Splashing Around in Art and Science from the Renaissance to Now

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Certain kinds of art and science originate in the intuiting of deep structures that lie behind appearance—what Martin Kemp, emeritus research professor in the history of art, Oxford University, has called "structural intuitions." Some of the structures are static, relying upon fundamental forms of geometry; some disclose the process itself, like splashing; and others are the result of complex processes, like folding. In this dinner discussion, Martin Kemp will speak on themes that run across art, architecture, design, and various sciences from the Renaissance to today.

Observer Effects invites thinkers to present their highly integrative work in dialogue with the fields of art and science. This lecture series takes its title from a popularized principle in physics that holds that the act of observation transforms the observed. Outside the natural sciences, the idea that the observer and the observed are linked in a web of reciprocal modification has been deeply influential in philosophy, aesthetics, psychology, and politics.

Emily Berçir Zimmerman

Martin Kemp is an emeritus professor of art history at Trinity College, Oxford University. He was trained in natural sciences and art history at Cambridge University and at the Courtauld Institute, London.

He has written, broadcast, and curated exhibitions on Leonardo da Vinci and on imagery in art and science from the Renaissance to the present day. Books include The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (1992) and The Human Animal in Western Art and Science (2007). He has published extensively on Leonardo da Vinci, including the prize-winning Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man (1989 and 2006). His book on the newly discovered Leonardo portrait, La Bella Principessa, was written with Pascal Cotte. He is currently writing a book on iconic images, from Jesus Christ to Coca-Cola.

Martin Kemp
Studio 2
April 6, 2011, 6PM

EMPAC 2010-2011 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust), and the New York State Council for the Arts. Special thanks to the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts for support of artist commissions.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
State of the Arts - NYSCA