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Plaster Cast Collections And The 21st Century University

  • 21 Mar 2022
  • 7:00 PM (CDT)
  • Virtual

Plaster Cast Collections And The 21st Century University

AIA Society: Valparaiso
Lecturer: Verity Platt

Most collections of plaster casts in universities were put together in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, for the purposes of teaching the fine arts, art history, and classical archaeology. During the mid-20th century, casts fell out of favor and many were removed, dispersed, or destroyed. But how are those that remain displayed and experienced today? Taking Cornell University’s large collection as a representative case-study, this lecture explores how casts are used in modern-day pedagogical contexts, what they mean for contemporary students and scholars, and how they can spark important debates about issues such as the politics of classicism; whiteness, polychromy, and race; the ethics of collecting; and the relationship between casting and modern-day technologies of scanning and 3D printing.

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