Mack, Charles R. 1940–
Mack, Charles R. 1940–
Born May 23, 1940, in Baltimore, MD; son of Mary Catherine (a U.S. foreign service officer) Mack; married Ilona Schulze (a secretary), July 1, 1965; children: Katrina Anne. Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, A.B., 1962, Ph.D., 1972. Politics: Democrat.
University of South Carolina—Columbia, instructor, 1970-73, assistant professor, 1973-75, associate professor, 1975-85, professor of art, starting 1985, retired. Military service: U.S. Army, Intelligence Corps, 1962-65; became sergeant.
College Art Association of America, Renaissance Society of America, Southeastern Renaissance Conference, Southeastern College Art Conference (president, 1975-76; member of board of directors, 1984—), Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians (member of board of directors, 1984—).
Grants from Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1982 and 1984, American Council of Learned Societies, 1982, and National Endowment for the Humanities, 1984.
Pienza: The Creation of a Renaissance City, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1987.
Paper Pleasures: Five Centuries of Drawings and Watercolors from the Collections of the University of South Carolina and Members of Its Faculty and Staff, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1992.
(Editor and contributor) The Roman Remains: John Izard Middleton's Visual Souvenirs of 1820-1823, with Additional Views in Italy, France, and Switzerland, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1997.
(Editor, with wife, Ilona S. Mack) Like a Sponge Thrown into Water: Francis Lieber's European Travel Journal of 1844-1845, University of South Carolina Press for the South Caroliniana Library (Columbia, SC), 2001.
(Editor, with Henry H. Lesesne) Francis Lieber and the Culture of the Mind: Fifteen Papers Devoted to the Life, Times, and Contributions of the Nineteenth-Century German-American Scholar with an Excursus on Francis Lieber's Grave, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 2005.
Talking with the Turners: Conversations with Southern Folk Potters, foreword by William R. Ferris, introduction by Lynn Robertson, University of South Carolina Press in cooperation with McKissick Museum (Columbia, SC), 2006.
Contributor to Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. Contributor to art journals. Editor of Southeastern College Art Conference Review, 1973-75.
Charles R. Mack once told CA: "I am an art historian, teacher, and researcher, whose principal areas of concentration are fifteenth-century art and architecture in Italy and Etruscan and Roman art. I am also interested in the traditional folk pottery of the American Southeast. My primary research and publication efforts have been devoted to central Italian architecture and urbanistic studies centering around the work of Filippo Brunelleschi, L.B. Alberti, and Bernardo Rossellino. Articles have dealt with several Florentine palaces and monastic building programs and with the urban renewal of Renaissance Rome and Pienza.
"My research approach has made extensive use of Renaissance tax records and other archival documentation. I helped to formulate a new investigative technique involving analysis of area property statements, site plans, and building dates (these were applied to the Rucellai Palace in 1974 and the Spinelli Palace in 1983, both in Florence). My research has taken me to Italy as well as to Germany, and I am competent in both Italian and German.
"I have curated museum exhibits dealing with ancient art (1974 and 1977), the paintings of contemporary German artist Robert Bonsack (1975, 1979, and 1981), and currently I have a traveling photographic exhibit of Renaissance Pienza. I am organizing a show of Southeastern folk pottery and an exhibit of ancient coinage. I believe in a broad, interdisciplinary approach to the study of art history and in defining the cultural links of a period."
Mack served as editor, along with his wife, Ilona S. Mack, for Like a Sponge Thrown into Water: Francis Lieber's European Travel Journal of 1844-1845. The book looks at the ideas of Francis Lieber, who spent two decades teaching at South Carolina College. Lieber observed that, within the confines of the South, only individuals writing and protesting against slavery and for abolition appeared to attain any level of intellectual notoriety. This copy of Lieber's journals serves to throw some measure of light on the life of the man. Daniel Kilbride, writing for the Journal of Southern History, found the book to be "a vital window into the mind of an important and neglected nineteenth-century man of letters."
In his book Talking with the Turners: Conversations with Southern Folk Potters, Mack takes an in-depth look inside the world of potters working in the folk tradition of the South. According to Mack, folk pottery includes anything produced by an individual in some type of small shop or studio, as opposed to items that have been mass produced in a factory. The term "turner," which is the potters' preferred name for themselves, refers to the craftsmen who shape their clay projects using a spinning wheel with a platform for the material. Mack began interviewing turners in 1981, tape-recording their stories for posterity, and eventually compiling his varied findings and records into a complete book. The artists talk about all aspects of their work, from the act of creation to the needs of running a business. Their craft is a tradition that has been handed down through the generations, and Mack's book helps to immortalize the tales and steps associated with the art. In a review for Booklist, Brad Hooper found much of the text to include "precious information that should never be lost."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2005, Brad Hooper, review of Talking with the Turners: Conversations with Southern Folk Potters, p. 20.
Journal of Southern History, November 1, 2003, Daniel Kilbride, review of Like a Sponge Thrown into Water: Francis Lieber's European Travel Journal of 1844-1845, p. 901.