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"Air Pollution in Nineteen-Century Brooklyn: William Merritt Chase at the Gowanus Canal" with the Huntington's James Glisson

Department: Art History

Date and Time: November 28, 2017 | 5:00 PM-6:30 PM

Event Location: HG 1010

Event Details


Please join us Tuesday, November 28th on campus as James Glisson, PhD, the Bradford and Christine Mishler Associate Curator of American Art, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens connects art with public health and sanitation issues in his talk at UCI’s Department of Art History annual Night at the Gateway on Tuesday, November 28th.

James Glisson will use William Merritt Chase (founder of Parson’s School of Design) landscape paintings to articulate how 19th century Americans understood pollution and vectors of infection in light of the miasmatic theory of disease. At the same time Chase was painting near the canal, its putrid soup of rotting animal carcasses and sewage stank up a large swath of Brooklyn and prompted a public health crisis. Dr Glisson considers how Chase’s landscape painting mirrored the protocols and practices of the field of introspective psychology, as described by Edward B. Titchener and William James.

* Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, built in the mid-1800to serve as a catch basin for Brooklyn’s raw sewage Manufactured gas plants (MGP), paper mills, tanneries, paint factories, and chemical plants operating along the canal later dumped industrial waste.The EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List on March 4, 2010. No environmental remediation has been undertaken to date, even though it’s now hosts a WholeFoods and expensive condos.

KEYWORDS: LANDSCAPE, POLLUTION, BROOKLYN, HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY, PAINTING, PUBLIC HEALTH, EPIDEMIOLOGY