Geske Lectureship in the History of the Arts

2014 Geske Lecture Judith Ivey: "An Evening with Judith Ivey"

actress and director

7 p.m. Monday, April 14, 2014
Sheldon Museum of Art's Ethel S. Abbott Auditorium
A reception will follow the lecture in the Great Hall. Free and open to the public. Read more about this lecture.

Read more about the Geske Lecture Series

About the Series

The "Norman and Jane Geske Lectureship in the History of the Arts" was established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts in 1994. The Geskes made a deferred gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to create this series, which funds visits by prominent authorities on the history of the visual arts, music, theatre, dance, film and architecture.

"I think a study of the history of the arts is one of the most secure means of gaining an understanding and appreciation," Norman Geske said. "We talk about art appreciation all the time, but we talk about it mostly in terms of how to do it. History is equally important, and perhaps in some instances, more important." (Lincoln Journal-Star, Jan. 15, 1995)

The series lectures are meant to advance the field with creative writing and thinking on subjects that reflect the importance of historical perspective in all the arts. The Norman and Jane Geske Art History Lecture Series provides not only the campus community, but also the general public, with new insights into the history of the arts.

"From my own point of view, the character and importance of a given work of art, whether it's a painting or a play or a string quartet, is largely dependent on its history," Geske said. "How did it come about, both in terms of broad social factors and in terms of the personal, psychological and physiological character of the artist involve? To my mind, it's the best way to arrive at something approximating art appreciation, to get at something more than the superficials that you'd find in program notes or exhibition catalogs." (Omaha World-Herald, Dec. 30, 1994)

This series pays a fitting tribute to the Geskes longtime service to the arts. Norman Geske, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, received degrees from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. He came to UNL in 1950 as assistant director of the university art galleries and became director in 1956. Involved in the creation of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Geske served as its director until his retirement in 1983. He was instrumental in creating the Interstate 80 Bicentennial sculpture project, the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney and the Mary Riepma Ross Film Theater. Geske received an honorary doctorate from Doane College in 1969, the Governor's Arts Award in 1979, the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Kearney in 1980, the Mayor's Art Award in 1987, and the Lincoln Foundation's Sower Award in 1991.

Jane Geske, a native of Sutton, Neb. and an alumna of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, was a former director of the Nebraska Library Commission and served as president of the Nebraska Library Association and the Nebraska Committee for Cultural Resources, the predecessor of the Nebraska Arts Council. She was also a founding member of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, the Friends of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries and the Nebraska Center for the Book, which has named its annual award for service to literature in her honor. Mrs. Geske won the Mayor's Art Award in 1994. The Geskes owned and operated the Estuary Bookstore in Lincoln, which specializes in literature and the arts. They are also Founders of the UNL Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

The UNL Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts has provided interim funding for the Norman and Jane Geske Art History Lecture Series until the Geskes' donation becomes available in order to honor them and to repay them for their many contributions to the arts of this state. We are extremely grateful for the Geskes' generosity in the creation of this important series.

Past Lectures

Hilary Lewis - 2013
“Philip Johnson: The Art of Architecture”

Veronica L. Passalacqua - 2011
“Archival Encounters”

Gwendolyn Wright - 2010
“Frank Lloyd Wright’s Progressive Suburbia”

Dr. Wu Hung - 2009
"Contemporary Chinese Art and China's Urban Transformation"

Dr. Bart van Oort - 2007
"Speaking or Singing? Translating Early Music"

Dr. William Wallace - 2006
"The 'Biggest Ass in the World': Michelangelo as Writer"

Felicia Londré - 2005
"Much Ado About Shakespeare on Midwestern Frontier Stages"

Dr. Theodore Stebbins, Jr. - 2003
"Painting in Venice: A Personal Point of View"

Dr. Tom Conley - 2003
"Undercurrents of New Wave Cinemas"

Joan Acocella - 2001
"Nijinsky and the Idea of the Mad Genius"

Dr. Charles C. Eldredge - 2000
"The Floor of the Sky: Prairie Landscapes in North America"

Dr. Alberto Perez-Gomez - 1999
"Charles-Etienne Briseux and the Limits of Instrumentality in Architectural Theory"

Susan McClary - 1998
"Rap, Minimalism and Structures of Time in Late 20th Century Culture"

Marvin Carlson - 1997
"Booth, Lincoln and Theatrical Reception"

Linda Nochlin - 1996
"Cezanne's Portraits"

Norman Geske - 1995
"Why Art History: An Exploration of Tem and Ptah"