Faculty Spotlight: ACMRS Affiliate Prof. Corine Schleif

ASU art historian Corine Schleif was awarded the prestigious Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin for spring semester 2016. As John P. Birkelund Fellow, Professor Schleif was among twelve public intellectuals selected to live and work at the Hans Arnhold Center at Wannsee, the residence of the banker Hans Arnhold and his family before they were forced to emigrate to the United States in the 1930s. The American Academy has close ties with leading academic, political and cultural entities on both sides of the Atlantic. Founded in 1994 by a group of prominent Americans and Germans, among them Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, and Richard von Weizsäcker, the institution furthers dialogue between individuals, institutions and businesses in the United States and Germany. The renowned breakfasts, dinners and receptions at this lake-side setting provide an ambience that fosters exchange among invited scholars, artists, writers, journalists and public policy makers.

At the Academy, Schleif pursued her book project on the reception history of the late-medieval artist Adam Kraft, as a way to highlight the subjectivity of historiography. Adam Kraft's sculptures have endured in public places in Nuremberg for over 500 years. They provide the basis for Schleif's explorations into the ways in which art has participated in religious rituals, economic developments, art-historical debates, political decision-making, and military strategies throughout the centuries. Patrons and sculptors carved themselves into the cityscape, thereby assuming important political and social positions. Early audiences employed the works not only to venerate the holy sacrament and to support public health but also to justify pogroms against Jews. The Nazis touted Kraft and his work as the most German in the most German of German cities. Allied bombers iconoclastically targeted this city at the close of WWII. In the last 75 years considerable efforts have gone into the restoration and conservation of this art, ensuring that it will endure as the focus of continuing fascination and study.

Click here to read more about Prof. Schleif and her research