Humanities Day 2021
Wu Hung: In the Name of Art—Destruction and Reconstruction
Humanities Day 2021 celebrates its 41st year of showcasing the power of art, literature, philosophy, music, linguistics, and languages. Each year, Humanities Day presents the public with a snapshot of leading humanities research at the University of Chicago.
World-renowned art historian Wu Hung will deliver this year’s Keynote Address, "In the Name of Art—Destruction and Reconstruction."
In human history, works of art are associated not only with creative imagination but also with constant destructive and reconstructive efforts. This presentation reflects on the destruction of Buddhist sites in China during the early 20th century, conducted not as iconoclastic acts but “in the name of art.” Political and economic factors undoubtedly contributed to such events, but was art historical scholarship itself also partially responsible for these tragedies? More important, how should today’s art historians and museum curators deal with this painful past?