Department of Art and Art History Graduate Students

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 (M.A. 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 Wilfredo 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.

Bethany Johnson exhibition at Moody Gallery

Fri. October 24, 2014

printed lines and illegible text on paper
Image courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery.

Bethany Johnson (M.F.A. Studio Art, 2011) presents new work in Field Notes at Moody Gallery. The exhibition presents a selection of drawings "that reference the careful study of natural sciences." The exhibition will be on display October 25 through November 26.

Dorota Biczel receives SSRC Dissertation Research Fellowship

Mon. September 1, 2014

green department cube logo

Dorota Biczel (Ph.D. candidate in Art History) received a Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship. She will travel to Peru.

Biczel described, "My dissertation investigates public roles of broadly understood architectural and artistic interventions realized in Lima, Peru, between 1978 and 1989. Artistic collectives that emerged from the radicalized scene in and following 1978—Paréntesis, EPS Huayco, Los Bestias, and Taller NN—insisted on the radical redefinition of artistic publics in Peru."

Elizabeth McClellan and Megan Hildebrandt exhibit at Art.Science.Gallery.

Fri. October 24, 2014

ink on paper manipulated by weather
Elizabeth McClellan, Storm Shapes, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist

Elizabeth McClellan (M.F.A. candidate in Studio Art) and lecturer Megan Hildebrandt present work in group show X Marks The Spot at Art.Science.Gallery. The exhibition will be on display October 25–November 23.

Mike Osborne exhibits at Holly Johnson Gallery

Thu. October 9, 2014

photograph of street at intersection after rain
Mediterranean Avenue, 2014, archival inkjet print on dibond. Image courtesy of the artist and Holly Johnson Gallery.

Mike Osborne (M.F.A. Studio Art, 2006) presents work in Monopoly at Holly Johnson Gallery. The exhibition will be on display October 11 through December 20. From the press release:

Monopoly revolves around the historical connection between the iconic board game and the Atlantic City street grid that served as its template. Catalyzed by "The Search for Marvin Gardens", a 1972 essay by John McPhee, Monopoly translates the board's Mondrian-like map into photographs that grapple with the city's complicated past and present. This gesture of converting abstractions-the purple rectangles known as Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, for example-into carefully rendered representations of actual places is mildly absurd but also serious, an oblique means of reflecting on the problems that have plagued many American cities over the last half-century. 

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