M.A. student Jessica Yeargin presents paper at international conference

Posted: July 20, 2014

Jessica Yeargin, a master's degree student in the Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism program in the Department of Art and Design, presented a paper at the University of London in June 2014.

Her paper, The Brotherhood Gang: Peter Schjeldahl's Gang Theory applied to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, was included in the international conference, MODERNISM NOW!. MODERNISM NOW! is a three day international, interdisciplinary conference organized by the British Assocation for Modernist Studies and is designed to explore modernisms throughout the late nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The conference aims to discuss the past achievements of modernism, its possible futures, and to provide a review of current activity in the field.


Below is an abstract from Yeargin's paper.


"The evolution of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood has been discussed by great art historians such as Peter Corbett, Elizabeth Prettejohn, John Ruskin, and William Holman Hunt, himself. However, these art historians have not applied a contemporary 21st century art theory to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to provide a clear and concise reason for the formation and dissolution of the Brotherhood. If evaluated through the lens of American art critic, Peter Schjeldahl’s Gang Theory, the development and disbandment of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and most art movements becomes obvious.

According to Schjeldahl, gangs form as an educational collaboration of academic misfits. This collaboration becomes a hot bed of information and creativity amongst gang members. Nevertheless, a truly successful gang will dissolve) within three to four years. In The Brotherhood Gang, I apply Peter Schjeldahl’s Gang Theory principles to answer a series of questions.

By applying the Gang Theory principles to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, The Brotherhood Gang will address the causes for the varying artistic characteristics of Millais, Rossetti and Hunt from 1860-70. It will also explain the socio-economic undertones of modernity in the late 19th century which shaped this short lived movement. In addition, this study will utilize the Gang Theory to demonstrate why the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was predestined to dissolve."

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