Blog Subscription via

May 14, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011 - No comments

ARCA 2011 Student Perri Osattin on Art History and Her Passion for Turkish Architecture and Art

Perri Osattin at Ephesus, Turkey
ARCA Blog: What is your academic background and how did you come to commit to a summer in Umbria studying art crime?
"I graduated last June from Williams College with a BA in art history, as well as a concentration in Middle East studies and a certificate in Spanish language and culture. I first became fascinated by art history during high school when I took a required art appreciation course and studied art in Spain for a month, both under the tutelage of enormously enthusiastic teachers. After ultimately scrapping my plan to study journalism, I arrived at Williams knowing that I wanted to pursue art history, in addition to my life-long passions for Spain and the sea (as a sophomore, I participated in a semester-long maritime studies program in Mystic, Ct.; unusual programs are clearly my forte). Precisely because it was not the most obvious place to continue my particular course of study, Turkey intrigued me from the start, but of course its art and architecture also reflect its unique position as the meeting point of 'East' and 'West' and of various religious and ethnic cultures.
"While studying abroad at Bogazici University in Istanbul, I discovered modern Turkish art and researched the architecture of the former capital's old Jewish quarters, and I was lucky enough to explore archaeological and religious sites throughout the country, including Cappodoccia, the eastern borders with Iran/Armenia/Georgia, the Black Sea region, and the Aegean coast.  
"As may be the case for many of the program's New York participants, the NY Times article about ARCA from a few years ago caught my eye immediately. I have worked at an art gallery, an art museum, a few history museums, and a historic site, but my mother was a criminal prosecutor and my father was an investigator of various kinds, so fighting crime is in my blood!"
ARCA Blog: The program culminates in the writing of a publishable article. What area of art crime or cultural protection would you like to research?
"I'm not positive yet, but I am very interested in the subtleties of modern museum security and how, at some institutions, it now takes its cues from sophisticated airport security models and uses other techniques which are commonplace in traditional law enforcement. I am also curious about the legal and political status of cultural patrimony in Turkey, particularly after visiting the ruins of Pergamum and learning that the site has experienced an Elgin-marbles type of situation with Germany."
ARCA Blog: Do you have a current fascination with an artist or period of art?
I'm always most interested in whatever I'm learning about at the moment, but since graduating (and fortuitously learning that a suite-mate of mine from Turkey shares my passion) my love for the work of Vladimir Kush has resurfaced. His paintings combine surreal and often ironic or humorous subjects with hyper-realistic technique, as well as some of the most richly saturated and iridescent hues I've ever seen.
ARCA Blog: Have you traveled or lived in Italy and what would you like to do there when you are not attending lectures?
"Strangely enough for an art history student, I have never been to Italy. I definitely plan to travel and see Italy's cultural heritage, in its various forms, and to sample some amazing food and wine. I am especially looking forward to perhaps attending my first real opera with some of the other program participants, and getting to know the people of Italy."
ARCA Blog: Amelia has many venues for playing live music. Are you a musician?
"I studied music for most of my life, but have not touched an instrument in several years. However, I still really enjoy the social, yet intimate vibe of local music joints and really love to dance, so hopefully my evenings in Amelia will be full of music!"