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Syracuse University hosts Winslow Homer symposium Sept. 25-26

September 18, 2009

Rob Enslin
(315) 443-3403

Winslow Homer’s time at Houghton Farm in downstate New York is the subject of a major symposium at Syracuse University. “Winslow Homer in the 1870s: A Time of Crisis in American Culture” is a free public symposium on Sept. 25-26. The event is in conjunction with the landmark exhibition “Winslow Homer’s Empire State: Houghton Farm and Beyond,” running through Oct. 11 at SUArt Galleries.

The Homer symposium is part of the 2009 Syracuse Symposium and the Andrew W. Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor, both organized and presented by the SU Humanities Center. For more information, call (315) 443-7192.

“Homer made a series of visits to the farm, where he painted many young women and neighborhood children. These watercolors possess a certain assurance that previously did not exist in his work,” says Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, as well founding director of the SU Humanities Center and principal investigator of the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor. “This new approach ultimately set the stage for his famous English watercolors of a few years later.”

Lambert adds that Homer’s work at Houghton Farm reflected the nature of the times. “The 1870s were an explosive time in American history, which encompassed Reconstruction, a major depression and dramatic changes in art and culture. Homer’s subjects began to exude a loss of innocence that paralleled what Americans were feeling.”

The first day of the symposium, aimed at secondary school students, begins at 10 a.m. in Shemin Auditorium with a multimedia production of “Winslow Homer and the Democratic Vista,” starring Robb Goldstein. The second day, geared toward university students, art historians and the general public, begins at 9 a.m. in Slocum Auditorium with presentations by keynote speaker Sarah Burns (Indiana University), guest curator David Tatham (Syracuse University), Judith C. Walsh (SUNY Buffalo State College), Kenneth Haltman (University of Oklahoma), and Erin Crissman (the Farmer’s Museum. For a complete schedule, visit

Syracuse Symposium, a semester-long festival whose theme this year is “Light,” and the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor are administered for The College of Arts and Sciences by the SU Humanities Center. The Humanities Corridor is an interdisciplinary partnership among SU, Cornell University and the University of Rochester.

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