Department of Art and Art History News

Janaye Brown participates as summer resident at Bruce High Quality Foundation University

Fri. June 26, 2015

photo of legs beneath the knee standing in light from door
Image courtesy of the artist.

Janaye Brown (MFA Studio Art, 2013) is a summer resident at the Bruce High Quality Foundation University through August. Stay updated by liking the BHQFU Facebook page.

See how (and where) faculty spend their summer (Part 1 of 2)

Fri. June 26, 2015


piles of books and papters with lap top on table

Eddie Chambers is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Roots and Culture: The Making of Black Britain. Upon the book’s completion, it is scheduled to be published by I.B. Tauris. Roots and Culture sets out to chronicle the evolution of Black Britain as a distinct cultural entity—a nation within a nation.

The book's thesis is that right from the earliest times of Caribbean migration to Britain in the decades of the mid twentieth century, Black people have had cause or need to fashion distinctly different manifestation of cultural expression that existed in marked contrast to the cultural sensibilities demonstrated by the so-called 'host' community. Even though Caribbean migrants essentially arrived as British subjects, they found that their Britishness and the Caribbean brand of British culture that they brought with them counted for little or nothing, amongst their fellow Brits. Instead, Caribbean migrants were obliged to formulate new ways of existing. surviving, and living, in what was in effect a culturally hostile environment.

three people kneel around amphora in archaelogical dig
Jenny Muslin (right) instructs UT Austin undergraduates Lillie Leone and Michael Kilgore on the intricacies of Roman wine amphorae.

The Oplontis Project returns to the Bay of Naples for its tenth season of field work, under the direction of John Clarke and Michael Thomas (director of the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy and PhD in Art History, 2001). As in year’s past, the project brings together UT Austin faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and international scholars as part of its multi-disciplined study of two sites, Villas A and B at Oplontis, both located a few miles from Pompeii. This year’s excavation continues in Oplontis B, which is led by field director Ivo van der Graaff (PhD in Art History, 2013), who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Jenny Muslin (graduate student in Art History) is leading the study of over 1000 Roman wine amphora found at the site.

people on boat in river with river bed in background

Julia Guernsey travels to Guatemala to work with archaeological materials from the site of La Blanca and to begin research on a new book. In July, Guernsey will present a paper titled Captives and Social Discourse in Late Preclassic Mesoamerica at the annual International Congress of Americanists.

digital rendering of person in installation with green floor

Amy Hauft is working on part of a project for Old Dominion University’s Gordon Gallery. It is a large installation and this summer is devoted to working on the floor portion of it. With the help of Eric McMaster, Hauft is 3D modeling and cutting out the parts on the CNC router over the summer. The site-responsive installation will be on view in 2017.

photograph of three story library from balcony
Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, Germany. Image courtesy of Linda Henderson.

Linda Dalrymple Henderson is in Berlin for several weeks this summer, doing research at the Staatsbibliothek. Henderson is working through the remarkable journal Die Uebersinnliche Welt (The Unseen World) of which Wassily Kandinsky was a reader (numerous issues are preserved in his archive in Munich). Published monthly from 1893 to the 1920s, it was an international spiritualist journal filled with both the latest occult news but also any scientific developments that supported interest in unseen worlds, such as X-rays, radioactivity, and electrons. It is an ideal vehicle for tracking the international cultures of science and occultism shared by modern artists all over Europe.
Henderson will speak in Madrid on June 26 at an art/science session organized by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in conjunction with the 2015 conference of a network of astrophysicists researching dark matter and dark energy, who call themselves “The Invisibles.”  She is on a panel on the theme of “Dimensionality” with Harvard physicist Lisa Randall, whose ideas about our four-dimensional space-time world being embedded in a 5-dimensional “bulk” were part of the background for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

photograph overlooking balcony with mountains in far background

Joan Holladay continues to work with the designer on her upcoming publication, Gothic Sculpture in America 3: The Museums of New York and Pennsylvania. The book will be available in spring 2016. Holladay will finish an invited article on royal iconography. She will also complete the book she has been plugging away at for ages on imagery with genealogical content in the high and late middle ages.

woman sits at desk with piles of paper spread out in front of her

Susan Rather is working her way through copy-editor’s queries and making other adjustments to her 600 page book manuscript. Later, Rather will deal with page proofs, galleys, and indexing. The American School: Artists and Status in the Late-Colonial and Early National Era is forthcoming in fall from Yale University Press and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. These processes will take a lot of her focus this summer. Rather states, “But for any of us, drawing a long-LONG-term project to a close is pretty exciting—even if it doesn’t look like it!”

photograph of dark room with window overlooking yard

Richard Shiff works on exhibition essays scheduled for Bridget Riley, early art of Piet Mondrian, Jasper Johns, and Georg Baselitz. Shiff will also be researching the late work of Barnett Newman for an academic journal. Additionally, he will work on an essay on problems of pictorial resolution for a journal of semiotics. Longer term projects include work on a book on Donald Judd and writing on A.R. Penck that will may appear in an exhibition catalog. Shiff continues to work on a book of previously published essays.

Barry Stone presents work in group exhibition at The Center for Photography at Woodstock

Fri. June 26, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Barry Stone (MFA in Studio Art, 2001) presents work in a group exhibition, Mine.Yours.Ours, at The Center for Photography at Woodstock. The exhibition will be on view June 27 – September 7, 2015.

Q+A with alumna Sarah Conell, as she prepares for a fully funded PhD program in Art History

Thu. June 25, 2015

woman with curly hair and glasses poses for portrait

Sarah Conell (BA in Art History, 2013) grew up in Seguin, Texas before attending UT Austin. She is from a family of teachers and has completed two years of Teach For America. In August, she will begin a fully funded PhD program in Art History at the University of Pittsburgh. Conell answered a few questions by email.

Where did you grow up and how did you arrive at UT Austin?

Sarah Conell: I grew up in Seguin, Texas. I began my college career concentrating in Studio Art at San Antonio College, where I earned my Associates of Arts. Here I had the great fortune of taking an art history course with Dr. Debra Schafter (MA/PhD in Art History, 1989/1997). Through this experience, I was encouraged to pursue art history at The University of Texas at Austin.

My parents both attended the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio and were delighted when I was accepted at UT Austin. To announce this wonderful news, I purchased a variety of Longhorn “swag.” I presented these gifts to my parents and waited for their reaction. Confusion quickly turned into joy.

Why did you decide to study Art History?

SC: Though my early experiences with art history were numerous and inspiring, the decision to pursue Art History as a major was prompted by a course taken with Dr.  Schafter at San Antonio College. This survey course became my favorite, and I looked forward to completing the assignments. During this time, I was afforded the opportunity to intern with the Education Department at the McNay Art Museum, which cemented my decision to change from creating art to studying the history of art.

For the past two years you have been doing Teach For America. What has been the most rewarding aspects of participating and how did your Art History degree help you?

SC: Over the past two years, Teach For America has been intensely educational for me. Art History has informed the thought process I use to address issues in the classroom, as well as the issues the organization hopes to address in the wider educational system. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of being a teacher has been seeing students change their opinions of themselves. This has been the result of achieving academically, learning how to empathize with their peers, or feeling part of a group when they had previously felt like an outsider.

You studied abroad through the Learning Tuscany program. How did that lead you to your Undergraduate Art History Honors thesis topic and eventually your area of interest?

My experience during the Learning Tuscany program was the impetus for shifting my concentration in art history from Nazi propaganda posters to gothic art and architecture. I first learned about Santa Maria della Spina as part of a project on Pisa that I completed for one of Dr. Ann John’s courses. This small church, built in the 14th century, received a Passion relic from Christ’s Crown of Thorns. The implications of the church’s location, design, and relic led me to continue reading about relics from this time period, as well as the chapels, reliquaries, and churches that housed them.

In your spare time, you've been reading books that inform your future graduate research area. What books were you reading?

Over the past two years I have read books and articles by Caroline Bynum, Jacqueline Jung, Mitchell Merback, Beate Fricke, and Cynthia Hahn. Two of my favorite readings were: Dr. Mitchell Merback’s book Pilgrimage and Pogrom: Violence, Memory, and Visual Culture at the Host-Miracle Shrines of Germany and Austria and Dr. Jacqueline Jung’s article “The Tactile and the Visionary: Notes on the Place of Sculpture in the Medieval Religious Imagination.”

Michael Smith presents Excuse me!?!...I’m looking for the “Fountain of Youth,” a solo exhibition at Greene Naftali Gallery

Thu. June 25, 2015

man sits in front of monument alone while sun sets
Michael Smith, Fountain of Youth State Park, Journey No. 1 (Obelisk), 2015. Photo by: Michael Kirby Smith.

Michael Smith presents Excuse me!?!...I’m looking for the “Fountain of Youth,” a solo exhibition at Greene Naftali Gallery in New York. In a new project centered on a timeworn theme, Smith’s iconic performance personae Mike and Baby Ikki embark together on the quest for youth, chronicled in a hand-woven tapestry, six-channel video installation, sculpture, photo series, drawings, and a ballet choreographed by Stephen Mills of Ballet Austin with music by Mayo Thompson. The exhibition will be on view June 25 – August 14, 2015.