College of Arts and Sciences

Distinguished Lecturer Series

The College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecturer Series brings world-wide expertise to Northeastern Indiana and the Purdue University Fort Wayne Community. In the fall, we bring in a world-class scholar from outside Purdue Fort Wayne. Each spring we feature one of our own exceptional faculty. 

The goal is a glimpse into the mind and heart of an expert, presented at a level that any interested person can learn from. The series began in 1982 and spans all the disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Distinguished Lecturer Series events are free and open to the public.

Michael Fried

Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University
J.R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities, Johns Hopkins University, 1986-2016

Michael Fried image 060514

Purdue University Fort Wayne's College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Department of International Language and Culture Studies presents art critic and historian Michael Martin Fried as the first 2018-2019 Distinguished Lecturer Series speaker. Fried will speak about the work of painter Édouard Manet.

Facingness Meets Mindedness: Édouard Manet's Luncheon in the Studio and The Balcony 
Friday, October 26 | 12:00 p.m.
Walb Student Union, Classic Ballroom
Refreshments will be served.

Michael Fried is one the most established and reputable art critics and historians alive today. His approach to criticism is closely linked with that of his mentor, the late Clement Greenberg, who Fried first encountered while an undergraduate at Princeton. Much like Greenberg, Fried was suspicious of academics and critics who insisted on critiquing modern art within a historical and/or cultural context, instead of formally examining the work of art on its own terms. Another of Fried's notable contributions was his staunch opposition to what he observed as the lack of differentiation between the work of art itself and the experience of viewing it, a phenomenon he described as "theatricality."1

During the summer and fall of 1868, Édouard Manet painted two remarkable pictures – the Luncheon in the Studio and The Balcony. Both pictures have long been puzzling to commentators: Manet’s paintings have often struck art critics and indeed ordinary viewers as almost defiantly unintelligible in narrative or dramatic terms, and that is true with a vengeance of the Luncheon and The Balcony. In this lecture, Michael Fried offers a detailed analysis of both pictures, relating them to Manet’s enterprise generally and also to the particular historical moment of their creation.

Fried's contribution to art historical discourse involved the debate over the origins and development of modernism. Along with Fried, this debate's interlocutors include other theorists and critics such as Greenberg, T. J. Clark, and Rosalind Krauss.

He began his career as an art critic while still a graduate student, writing monthly New York Letters for Art International. In the spring of 1965, he organized a major exhibition at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard of works by three contemporary painters, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Frank Stella.  In 1966-67 he organized the first retrospective exhibition of paintings by the late Morris Louis (Los Angeles, Boston, and St. Louis), and in 1969 a mid-career retrospective of sculptures by Anthony Caro (the Hayward Gallery, London). His early art criticism, including catalog essays, is collected in Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews (1998).2

1. https://www.theartstory.org/critic-fried-michael.htm

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Fried