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Mar 05 2012

Scholars Address Social Impact of Modernism at NYIT Conference

Old Westbury, N.Y.  (March 5, 2012) –  Modernist visual art, literature, society, and politics of New York shaped the discussion of nearly 100 scholars, who attended NYIT's day-long interdisciplinary conference on March 2 at the Manhattan campus. The conference, organized by faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences, featured presentations on topics ranging from the global city to how economics and class issues from the Modernist period of the early 1900s have influenced current social movements such as Occupy Wall Street.

"Edward Hopper's painting, Solitary Figure in a Theater, is a postcard of Modernism," said Bryan Waterman, Ph.D., associate professor of English at New York University, during the conference's opening remarks. Hopper's 1904 painting, which resides in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, is one example of how the artist depicted individuals alone in settings typical of the period, such as in movie theaters, cafes, railroads, and gas stations. His figures are jarring in their beauty and loneliness, said Waterman.

This idea of contrasting urban life with the exploration of the inner self was a focus of conference presentations. Highlights included a plenary address by Marshall Berman, Ph.D., distinguished professor of political science at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His book, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity, is respected as a landmark study of modern culture.

"The Modernist Manhattan conference made for an extraordinary day, precisely the sort of thing that would have made Plato proud," says Tom Jacobs, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and event co-organizer. "Conversations were germinating everywhere ... in conference rooms, in hallways, and on the street afterwards. It was a real pleasure and honor to be a part of it."

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New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
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