6th Annual Dennis O’Keefe Memorial Lecture “Seeing Satire in the Peepshow”

NEW PALTZ– Reva Wolf, Professor of Art History at the State University of New York at New Paltz, will deliver the sixth annual Dennis O’Keefe Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 13, in Lecture Center 104 on the New Paltz campus. This event is free and open to the public.

S. W. Fores, Publisher, Billy’s Raree Show—or John Bull Enlighten’d, 1797

Wolf’s lecture, titled “Seeing Satire in the Peepshow,” examines the role of the peepshow in satire in eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Europe. Wolf said, “The image of the peepshow is common in European visual and literary satire of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Indeed, the peepshow—a popular street entertainment of its day that is considered to be a forerunner of the moving picture—comes to be a veritable synonym for satire. The metaphorical power of this equation of the peepshow with satire is especially evident in Spain, where Francisco de Goya mined it in two drawings. In recent studies, these drawings are understood as Enlightenment criticisms of popular entertainments or as fitting into a chronology of fantastic imagery. I shift the focus to show how Goya’s peepshow drawings belong to a broad European tradition and convey, with remarkable concision, the role of visual imagery in the creation of satirical humor.”

Reva Wolf is Professor of Art History at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She teaches and writes about art of the eighteenth century to the present. She is the author of two books, Goya and the Satirical Print and Andy Warhol, Poetry, and Gossip in the 1960s, and numerous articles. Recent publications include co-authorship of the exhibition catalogue The Spanish Manner: Drawings from Ribera to Goya (Frick Collection, New York, 2010) and the essay “Seeing Satire in the Peepshow,” in the book Seeing Satire, edited by Kelly Malone and Elizabeth Mansfield, forthcoming in 2013 from Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, University of Oxford. Wolf’s current work focuses on methodology, art and humor, the reception of art, and issues of appropriation and authenticity.

Professor Reva Wolf

She received her Ph.D. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and she has held fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, as well as other venues. She was a 2010-11 recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dennis O’Keefe graduated from New Paltz in 1973 and was a dynamic member of the college and community. His positive spirit inspired the lives of New Paltz faculty, staff, students and community members. O’Keefe’s diverse interests included Thomas Jefferson, architecture, weather, and New Paltz history. He served as a long-time staff member of the Sojourner Truth Library and with the New Paltz Volunteer Fire Department.

The Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library is an association of faculty, students, alumni and community members dedicated to promoting and enhancing the library as a shared resource. Membership in the Friends group includes borrowing privileges and access to campus parking. For further information please contact Morgan Gwenwald, Outreach Librarian, at 845-257-3677 or visit the Library Web site.