GAMBIER — The restoration of art looted during war and genocide is the subject of a yearlong series of cultural events that begins this month at Kenyon College.
Art and Identity: The Holocaust and Cultural Ownership in the 21st Century will explore the post-World War II effort to provide restitution to the victims of the systematic looting of art undertaken by the German Third Reich. The symposium consists of exhibitions, readings, discussions and lectures presented by Kenyon, the Kenyon Review and the Graham Gund Gallery. The fall schedule for Art and Identity begins with a showing of the 2006 documentary film The Rape of Europa on Monday, Sept. 24, at 4:30 p.m., in the Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater, 101 College Dr.
Stuart E. Eizenstat, former U.S. ambassador to the European Union, will deliver the opening address of the symposium on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. in Rosse Hall, 105 College Dr. Eizenstat was the chief White House domestic policy advisor to President Jimmy Carter and filled a number of diplomatic roles during the administration of President Bill Clinton. Under Clinton, Eizenstat spearheaded an effort to provide justice for Holocaust victims and negotiated agreements with European countries covering restitution of property and recovery of looted art and bank accounts.
The symposium, said David Lynn, editor of the Kenyon Review and professor of English, is an ambitious collaboration “to explore some of the longer-term repercussions that swept across our culture out of the trauma and aftermath of the Holocaust.” Profound questions have risen about the nature of the ownership of art. “The ethical obligations, let alone the legal complexities between national and international codes are muddied, to say the least,” he said.
The aftermath of the Holocaust has also helped bring issues regarding the looted and destroyed art from other cultures and other times into focus. “The conversation we will be having through Art and Identity will help us address cultures far beyond our own, far beyond this moment.”
Fall symposium events also include:
•The Nicole Krauss novel, The History of Love will be distributed for free at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market on the Mount Vernon Public Square on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 9 to 11 a.m.
•Native American poet Heid Erdrich will read from her work and discuss “Who Owns the Stories?” Sunday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Finn House, 102 W. Wiggin St.
•Lynn will lead a discussion on The History of Love, Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry St., Mount Vernon.
•Professor of English Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky will lecture on “The History of Love and the Art and Identity Symposium” and lead a discussion Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 11:45 a.m. at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County.
•Poet and translator Peter Cole, translator and Associate Professor of Spanish Katherine Hedeen, and Lewis Hyde, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing, will lead a panel discussion on “Translation, Authorship, and Ownership” on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 11:10 a.m. at the Finn House. Cole will do a poetry reading at 7 p.m. that same day at the Finn House.
•Elie Wiesel, author of more than 57 books including Night, an account of his captivity in a Nazi concentration camp, will receive the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. in New York City.
•Empty Bowls Dinner to raise money for Food for the Hungry takes place on Friday, Nov. 9, at 5 p.m., in the Alumni Dining Room at Peirce Hall, 201 College-Park St. The dinner is coordinated by the Kenyon College Craft Center and Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
•Jonathan Petropoulos will discuss “Nazi Art Looting: Culture, Barbarism, and the Quest for Identity among Perpetrators, Victims, and Their Heirs” Friday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. in the Community Foundation Theater. Petropoulos is a professor of European history at Claremont McKenna College and is an expert on Nazi looting and restitution.
•The Kenyon Review Literary Festival is an annual, all-day event that this year is a featured aspect of the symposium. Saturday, Nov. 10, the literary festival will stage writing workshops, panel discussions, and seminars. Speakers include Claire Lyons, acting senior curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Joan Breton Connelly, professor of classics and art history at New York University. The Kenyon College Bookstore, 106 Gaskin Ave., will host a literary magazine and book sale in conjunction with the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.
The capstone of the literary festival will be the Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture by author Nicole Krauss, who will discuss, The History of Love at 8 p.m. in Rosse Hall.
All events are free and the public is encouraged to attend. To learn more, call 740-427-5207.
Published on September 19, 2012