2018-02-01 / Front Page

Winter Speaker Series Has More Than Just Art

By Jocelyn O’Neil

With only three presentations left, opportunities are running out to join in the Newport Art Museum’s (NAM’s) Winter Speaker Series before it wraps for the season. The seven-week series takes place Saturdays at 2 p.m., and hosts a different speaker every week. Celebrating its 90th year, the series incorporates wide-ranging topics that are not necessarily art-related.

NAM’s Executive Director Norah Diedrich spoke to the variation in subject matter, "Our mission as a twenty-first century art museum is to engage our audiences with works of art and experiences that bring new ideas to light.”

Next Saturday, Feb. 3, Carol Troyen, who is the Curator Emerita of American Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will present, "The Stories Behind the Art of Edward Hopper."

Hopper has created some of the most widely-known pieces in art history as he worked across several media, from oil paint to watercolors, and subject matter from both rural to urban landscapes. Troyen, a leading expert on Hopper, will share some of his greatest works and the stories that they tell.

On Feb. 10, Sarah Coffin, Curator and Head of the Product Design and Decorative Arts Department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, located in New York City, will present “Jazz Age Design: America Goes Global Then and Now.”

Coffin will discuss the effects globalization had on America’s taste in art, music and style. With the end of World War II, international travel bans were lifted, prompting people and ideas to mix and create like never before, Art Deco style being one of the most popular innovations of that time period.

The last presentation of the Winter Speaking Series, titled, “Drones: Technological Future of Unmanned Systems," will be hosted by John Jackson on Feb. 17. Jackson is a professor at the Naval War College, and has been teaching in the areas of national security, decision making, logistics, and unmanned/robotic systems for over 20 years.

According to the museum’s description of Jackson’s talk, this event is for all who’ve ever wondered, “What is the technological future of unmanned and robotic systems? or, “How will the use of drones change how countries engage in military conflicts in this century?” Jackson hopes to answer these questions and more.

“The broad array of topics presented in our Winter Speaker Series lecture program are the very same subjects contemporary artists are responding to in their work,” Diedrich said. “There is richness in diversity.”

Each talk is $15 for Museum members, $20 for non-members, and $8 for students. The talks are followed by Q&As, as well as a tea reception sponsored by Blenheim Newport. Tickets can be bought at the door on the day of the presentation, ahead of time on the museum’s website or by calling (401) 848-8200.

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