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Research and Academic Explore

“Always About to Take Place”: Glenn Peers on the Byzantine Fresco Chapel

Originally adorning a small Greek Orthodox chapel in Cyprus, from 1997 to 2012 these Byzantine frescoes were installed in a specially built space, an “infinity box” that feels akin to being inside an architectural reliquary, at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. The history of the Byzantine Fresco Chapel tells a story of nation-states in conflict, restitution and mediation, and the capacity of images to transform across time and environments.

TRANSCRIPT

Recorded March 12, 2021.

Glenn Peers is professor in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University, and professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a fellow at the Hebrew University Institute for Advanced Study in Jerusalem, a Whitehead Professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Books include Subtle Bodies: Representing Angels in Byzantium (University of California, 2001), an examination of frames and framing in Byzantine art titled Sacred Shock: Framing Visual Experience in Byzantium (Penn State University, 2004), Orthodox Magic in Trebizond and Beyond: A Fourteenth-Century Greco-Arabic Amulet Roll (La pomme d’or, 2018), and Byzantine Things in the World, which accompanied an exhibition he guest-curated at the Menil Collection, Houston (2013). He was a fellow at the Clark in spring 2021, during which time he worked on a study of the post-human and media theory in Byzantine culture.