German Studies Lecture Series: Elena Zanichelli

German Studies Lecture Series: Elena Zanichelli
Event Speaker(s)
Elena Zanichelli, Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor, Spring AY 21-22
Date Range
Tue May 17th 2022, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 216 and Zoom


Through artistic and aesthetic practices, this lecture raises the question as to how the distinctions between the traditional family modes are visually negotiated today. The idea of questioning family values and their functions in social life is closely linked to the feminist and civil rights debates of the 60s and 70s, when the private domain of the family household has been reconceptualised as antipodal to the workplace and its implicit division of labour. The lecture reflects on the programmatic, artistic, and technological re-conceptualisations of family values, investigating the way in which the value of the post-familial family (Ulrich Beck/ Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim) is conceived in institutional frameworks such as the exhibition art space. To do so, it analyses the ways in which cultural techniques, private spaces, and reification of emotions have been introduced in art production, ranging from the construction of a family history to the galleries and museums for contemporary art and visual culture. This negotiates a normative definition of the image of the nuclear family, which still affects contemporary politics or seems to do so.

Elena Zanichelli is a Berlin-based art historian, critic, and curator. She is ​the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor in Spring Quarter ​of 2022 at the Stanford University Department of German Studies and is currently a board member of the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States a​s well as co-director of Mariann Steegmann Institute. Art & Gender, University of Bremen. Her research interests include the intersections between (contemporary) art and feminism, visual culture​, and the value and consumption of privacy in the arts. Apart from her teaching, she has worked on numerous exhibition projects, including the documenta 12 (Kassel, Germany 2007). Her curations include Women in Fluxus and Other Experimental Tales –Eventi Partiture Performance (Reggio Emilia, Italy 2012/13); Jean-Jacques Lebel –Dada Venus(Berlin Haus am Waldsee 2000). For FKW// Journal for Gender Studies and Visual Culture she co-edited (with V. Schulte-Fischedick) the special issue no. 70 (2022), how :// do we speak #feminism?// new global challenges. Her book Private – please enter! Rhetorics of Privacy in the Arts of the Nineties was published in 2015. She is currently working on a research project entitled "Family Values–On the visual re-articulation of a rather conflictual model.”