American Art and Visual Culture Seminar: Paula Lupkin, Washington University St. Louis and Jennifer Greenhill, University of Illinois

American Art and Visual Culture Seminar
Friday, February 26, 2010

3 pm to 5 pm

“Adolphus Busch’s Lager Landscape”
Paula Lupkin, Washington University St. Louis

At the turn of the twentieth century brewer Adolphus Busch built an industrial empire on his famous lager beer: Budweiser. Its center was the mammoth redbrick brewery on the south side of St. Louis but its boundaries encompassed a wider web of industrial, commercial, and recreational spaces: railroads, depots, hotels, office buildings, saloons, and amusement parks. Built, owned, or controlled by Busch, these elements map the dynamic spatial and architectural relationship between industry and ethnic culture, and between production and consumption at the turn of the twentieth century. This paper presents Busch’s lager landscape as a complex architectural phenomenon designed to promote and legitimize the consumption of beer in the years before Prohibition.

“Burlesquing the Beast: William Holbrook Beard and the Museum Movement”
Jennifer Greenhill, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In 1869, the humorous animal painter William Holbrook Beard attempted to revise his reputation for jocularity by designing a mammoth sculptural complex, which he hoped would be built beneath Central Park.  These underground galleries would have linked the park and the art museum New Yorkers planned to build above ground, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  But Beard’s scheme never made it past the planning phase. This chapter considers what kind of intervention Beard’s complex would have made in an art world developing its first monumental public museums.  What would it have said about those institutions?  And where, in relation to these edifices, would it have situated Beard’s humorous aesthetic?

Commentator: Sarah Dreller, University of Illinois at Chicago