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Wyeth Lecture in American Art 2015: The Art of the Name: Soldiers, Graves, and Monuments in the Aftermath of the Civil War

In this lecture, presented on October 21, 2015, speaker Kirk Savage of the University of Pittsburgh discusses the massive physical displacement of bodies during the Civil War, the scale of which was unprecedented in U.S. history. Equally if not more troubling, the war caused a shocking metaphysical displacement of bodies from their names, creating legions of the “unknown” (bodies without names) and the “missing” (names without bodies). This lecture examines how art was invoked and deployed to come to terms with what Savage calls the "metadata crisis" of the war dead. At once material and immaterial, the art of the name provides a lens through which to plumb the transformations in personal and national identity wrought by the catastrophe of mass warfare.