Department of Art and Art History Art History

Jeffrey Smith speaks at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland

Thu. November 6, 2014

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Jeffrey Smith presents a talk entitled Staging Faith in South Germany: The Triumphal Reworking of Catholic Devotional Spaces around 1600 at the symposium Reworkings: Musical Re-elaboration and Cultural Context at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Musik Akademie Basel, Switzerland, on November 21, 2014.

Jeffrey Smith speaks at conference organized by Ricci Institute

Sun. November 2, 2014

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Jeffrey Smith presented a talk entitled “The Jesuits and their Artistic Diaspora in Germany” at the Jesuit Survival and Restoration: 200th Anniversary Perspectives from Boston and Macau conference organized by the Ricci Institute in Macau, China, on October 28, 2014.

Penelope Davies lectures at Brown University

Thu. November 6, 2014

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Penelope Davies presents a lecture, "Damned by Feigned Praise: the Role of Architecture in Julius Caesar's Death," at Brown University as part of a series in archaeology. The lecture will take place November 12.

Linda Dalrymple Henderson receives 2014 SLSA Lifetime Achievement Award

Tue. October 28, 2014

woman with short hair posing for portrait wearing red scarf and black shirt
Photo by Stan Schnier.

Linda Dalrymple Henderson was honored by the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. During the award presentation at the annual conference, SLSA stated, "Her work has helped to redefine the ways in which scholars now understand the development of modern and contemporary art, particularly its relationship to science and mathematics."

Chair of the Department of Art and Art History Jack Risley remarked, “The SLSA is spot-on when they describe Dr. Henderson as ‘a model of interdisciplinary enquiry and academic generosity.’ Linda is a legendary scholar and equally known as a fierce advocate for her students.”

Henderson’s extraordinary research, the enduring impact of her mentorship, and long-time contributions to the SLSA were among the many reasons for her recognition.

“I’m thrilled and humbled at this award,” Henderson described. “In 1993, I had started regularly attending the conferences of what was then the Society for Literature and Science (SLS). Finding such a stimulating group of colleagues working across disciplinary boundaries, I began inviting art historians and artists to participate on SLS panels.”

She continued to invite over 40 colleagues to SLS events. “In 2003, we had a large enough contingent to militate for the addition of 'Arts' to the name. As a result, an important new space has been created for interchange among arts-related scholars and technology-oriented practitioners at SLSA.”

The department congratulates Henderson on this award.

“Art Historians are not only judged by the depth and originality of their research, but also for how effectively they open up intellectual possibilities for subsequent generations of scholars,” said Risley. “That is Dr. Henderson’s legacy.”

Graduate student researchers find hidden treasures within Blanton's Tate gift

Wed. October 29, 2014

painting with surrealist figures and animal against dark background
Leonora Carrington, Casting the Runes, 1951. Image courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art.

When the Blanton Museum of Art announced in August that it had received over 120 Latin American artworks from alumni Judy and Charles Tate, the news came as no surprise to a handful of Art History students hard at work on the catalogue for the collection.

Dr. Penelope Davies, assistant chair and professor of Art History, explained, “It’s one of the strengths of our program that students have numerous opportunities to gain experience outside of the classroom. These experiences prepare them for their careers and position them well in an increasingly competitive job market.”

Art History graduate students Dorota Biczel, Doris Bravo, Claire Howard, Mari Rodriguez, Alexis Salas, and Abigail Winograd, as well as alumna Amethyst Beaver researched and wrote contributions to the collection’s catalogue.

“Working on an exhibition or being part of the catalogue writing team makes the work we do as graduate students or emerging art professionals feel relevant and tangible,” described Amethyst Beaver (MA in Art History, 2011), who became a curatorial assistant at the Blanton in 2012.

The students’ research for the catalogue often complemented work they were doing for their dissertations, but it also allowed them to branch out and discover new artists, periods, or regions outside of their research interests.

“The entries that I wrote pertain to Argentine art in the late twentieth century, and my work similarly engages in detailed, object-centered analysis of artworks,” explained Alexis Salas. “Working on the catalogue brought me into contact with an edgy, quiet, graphic work of art by Emilio Renart that expands my understanding of what Argentine artists were doing in the 1960s.”

Doris Bravo was able to uncover new facts about one work. “Tarsila Do Amaral's Barco drawing from 1924 was actually a trial. She made several variations of this drawing for Oswald de Andrade's manifesto, Pau Brasil,” said Doris Bravo. “One of the things I enjoy most about being an art historian is playing detective. With this work I had little to go on — the artist's name, the year, the media, measurements. So I focused my search on that information, and I eventually arrived at the trials for this book.”

“While spending more time researching Joaquin Torres-Garcia’s work, I was hoping I could find a more complex way of discussing his work. I was curious to find out whether his accomplishments amount to more than just inverting the hierarchies of Western art. While space was limited for my entry, I did learn a lot,” added Dorota Biczel.

Wifredo Lam, Sans titre (Untitled), 1945. Image courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art.

The addition of the Tate Collection not only enhanced the Blanton’s Latin American holdings, but allows for new connections to be made between works on the university campus.

“I was excited to see more Surrealist works enter the Blanton's collection,” Claire Howard explained. “Especially the paintings by Wifredo Lam and Leonora Carrington. It is also great to have a Frida Kahlo drawing to complement the portrait of her by Diego Rivera that the Blanton already had, as well as her Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird in the Harry Ransom Center's collection.”

“This gift renews the university’s and the Blanton Museum's commitment to the field of Latin American art, which as a former graduate student, is particularly exciting to me,” added Amethyst Beaver.

The Tate Collection comprises approximately 120 modern and contemporary Latin American works from artists such as Tarsila do Amaral, Lygia Clark, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Mérida, Wifredo Lam, Armando Reverón, Diego Rivera, Alejandro Xul Solar, and Joaquín Torres-García, among others. The collection catalogue includes a preface by The University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers, Blanton Director Simone Wicha in conversation with Judy and Charles Tate, and an essay by Beverly Adams, curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton, with contributions by curatorial research assistant Beth Shook and others.

La línea continua, an exhibition that presents approximately 70 works from the Tate Collection, is on display at the Blanton now through February 15, 2015. The companion catalogue is available at the Blanton Museum shop.

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