Laura Kalba: Making Money: Semiosis and Sociality in Fin-de-Siècle France
Laura Kalba is the 2016-17 laureate of the Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies for Color in the Age of Impressionism: Commerce, Technology, and Art (Penn State, 2017). She is the Priscilla Paine Van der Poel Associate Professor of Art at Smith College. Derived from her new book project, Kalba’s lecture explores how the visual aspect of the Paris Bourse, freshly-minted coins, and local African currencies displayed in museums galvanized public debates about the true source and nature of economic value. Paying special attention to the failures and fissures of representation, it asks: How did places, objects, and images encode and enact shifting understandings of economic value? What role did contemporary notions of aesthetic value play in this slow and hesitant process? And, finally, how did making money relate to collective processes of making meaning, newly theorized by intellectuals?
Laura Kalba is Associate Professor of Art at Smith College. Selected from a pool of sixty nominated books, Color in the Age of Impressionism draws from multiple founts of expertise to trace the far-reaching repercussions of a new visual field around color in late nineteenth-century France. Laura Kalba outlines a new field of study around chromatics, at the intersection of technological innovation and class politics, of visual and commercial cultures, of modes of perception and aesthetic judgment.