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Harvard Club of Boston

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Boston, MA 02115

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Bulfinch Awards Co-Keynote Lectures

Join the New England Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architectural & Art, in celebration of the 2019 Bulfinch Awards for two co-keynote lectures and a light breakfast. David Rau and Catesby Leigh will present back-to-back lectures at the Harvard Club of Boston on the morning of the Bulfinch Awards gala. Lectures are open to the public.

Classical Sculpture: A Lost Art? a lecture by Catesby Leigh

The Greeks defined monumentality in sculpture during the fifth century, B.C., and the classical standard they established in doing so held sway well into the Christian era. That standard re-emerged during the Renaissance, but it was losing traction by the time our nation won its independence. To understand why, one must distinguish between style and content in sculpture. The high-quality classical sculpture for which the Greeks and modern masters ranging from Michelangelo to Houdon are known is very complex in its formal content. Since the late 18th century, and partly thanks to Canova's "neoclassicism," the focus has been on style at the expense of content. The advent of photography in the mid-19th century reinforced this trend, and photography's vitiating influence on the academic tradition remains as powerful as ever. It's reasonable to ask, even at a time when classical architecture is enjoying a noteworthy resurgence, whether classical sculpture, as the Greeks understood it, is a thing of the past. Even if that is so, it does not mean sculpture has not continued to play an essential role in our classical institutional buildings and monuments.

Catesby Leigh has been writing about public art and architecture for over 20 years. Particular areas of interest have been monuments (and anti-monuments), institutional buildings, urban planning, and painting and sculpture. His commentary has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, City Journal, First Things, National Review, Weekly Standard, Claremont Review of Books, Modern Age, Arts & Antiques and other publications. Mr. Leigh is a co-founder and past chair of the National Civic Art Society, which supports the perpetuation of the classical tradition in the nation's public realm. Currently an NCAS research fellow, he is working on a long-term book project concerning the nature of monumentality and its American manifestations. He lives in Washington, DC..


David Rau

Reawakening

Architect David Rau will present “Reawakening,” a newly-expanded version of a brief TEDx Talk he first delivered at the TEDxRVA festival in Richmond, Virginia. This provocative and richly-illustrated presentation challenges current architectural theory dictating that new buildings must reflect the zeitgeist of their time, and then stakes out original territory vindicating Classical thought as a relevant - even vital - force in new contemporary architecture. The discussion hinges on the conventional notions of the future, where today’s culture might suggest an ever-accelerating advance toward modernity (based in part in 1920s Italian Futurism, but also postwar industrialization and popular culture, and the present ongoing technological revolution). By contrast, a review of the historic trajectory of architecture - and specifically the course of traditional building throughout the ages – reveals cyclical revivals of Classicism (or “recalls”), generally transmuted through the lens of new cultural imperatives, as can be seen in the birth of the Italian Renaissance, for instance. In charting a path forward, the talk concludes with a new vision of a sustainable, “whole architecture,” at once in sync with today’s millennial culture and American ideals of individualism and happiness, while also expressive of the ancient purposes of Classicism.

David Rau, AIA, is Principal in the design firm Hart Howerton, splitting his time between offices in New York and San Francisco. His portfolio of award-winning work at college campuses, urban communities, destination resorts, and cultural complexes nationwide includes the renovation of landmarks and the construction of new buildings, often in sensitive contexts. His work has been recognized by his peers with awards at the federal, state and local levels, and has been featured in the national design media. Recent work includes a pair of destination resorts for the luxury spa brand Miraval: one newly-opened at Austin, Texas, another forthcoming in Lenox, Massachusetts. Other notable projects include the renovation and expansion of The Homestead, the National Historic Landmark resort and spa in the mountains of Virginia; and a new private yacht club on the Chesapeake Bay at Gibson Island, Maryland. His project for Richmond’s Quirk Hotel, developed in a repurposed Neoclassical department store, was named one of Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s “Best New Hotels and Resorts in the World” upon its debut in 2016.

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Boston, MA 02115

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