Department of Art and Art History News

Jason Urban presents exhibition at Lawndale Art Center

Mon. November 2, 2015

shadow of plant on white wall
Image courtesy of the artist.

Jason Urban will present his project A Library for Soft Rains at Lawndale Art Center. The exhibition will be on view November 20, 2015 – January 9, 2016.

Troy Brauntuch presents solo exhibition at Petzel Gallery

Mon. November 2, 2015

One black panel and two white panels with ghostly circular drawings
Image courtesy of the artist.

Troy Brauntuch will presents a solo exhibition entited, Early Work, at Petzel Gallery in New York. The exhibition will be on view November 4, 2015 – January 9, 2016.

Jacky Cardenas awarded 2015 TAEA Student Teacher of the Year

Thu. October 29, 2015

woman posing for photo in front of brick wall
Image courtesy of Jacky Cardenas

Undergraduate in Art Education Jacky Cardenas was recognized the TAEA Student Teacher of the Year.

The award is given to one TAEA member from each division who is nominated and has significantly contributed to the association and to art education on the state, local and/or national levels.

In her nomination, Christina Bain wrote:

As a co-director/president of UT Austin’s Artists in Action Group (UTAIA), Jacky has demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities. Jacky’s efforts greatly contributed to UTAIA receiving one of the UT Tower Awards in 2014, recognizing the organization’s work for service learning/community outreach.

Jacky believes that art can be used as a tool to improve our quality of life and brighten our communities. She is one of the most reliable and personable student leaders that I have worked with at UT Austin. Her leadership style is inclusive—always seeking to work collaboratively toward common goals. Jacky’s involvement in student leadership extends far beyond her dedication to UTAIA and the undergraduate Art Education program. Some of the groups Jacky volunteers with include: The Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Via Colori, The Memory Project, Austin Animal Shelter, Clean Up Austin, and Celebracion. Recently, she was featured in an Ethics Unwrapped video.

Jacky is a student leader who “walks the walk” and demonstrates by example. She is committed to her studies as well as serving those around her. UT Austin’s motto “What Starts Here Changes the World” is one that Jacky exemplifies through her actions as an inspirational student leader.

Excerpt / Julia Guernsey and Michael Long, “Middle Preclassic figurines and ancient antecedents for themes of embodiment, fragmentation, and social order"

Thu. October 29, 2015

photo of circular stone carved with mesoamerican glyphs
The Coyolxauhqui Stone, c. 1500. Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan (Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City), photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The following excerpt is from a paper by Dr. Julia Guernsey and Ph.D. candidate in Art History, Michael Long entitled, “Middle Preclassic figurines and ancient antecedents for themes of embodiment, fragmentation, and social order." The paper will be published in an upcoming volume on witchcraft in Mesoamerica, forthcoming in 2016 from University Press of Colorado.


Even at La Blanca, where figurine fragments associated with Mound 1 were obviously not cached with care, but instead deposited along with domestic refuse, it is interesting that the structure itself — a massive symbol of the body politic — was constructed of fill that included body fragments that were linked to other disembodied parts scattered throughout the domestic space of the site. We think it possible that such practices linked the community together, not only by means of the broken fragments, but through the memory of their once complete wholes, which symbolized the communal labor necessary to construct the massive structure….

Fragmentation was also envisioned and shared by all levels of Mesoamerican society already by the Preclassic period, and enacted in both the public and private sectors. We believe that the domestic evidence of figurine fragmentation is particularly important to emphasize, because it underscores the “folk” or community-based ritual practices that served to sustain issues of personhood, embodiment, and the disassembly/fragmentation of the self. Many of the ideas documented ethnohistorically or ethnographically in later years engage with strikingly similar notions of bodily fragmentation and social integration/disintegration that are presaged by the patterns of Preclassic figurines but that, nevertheless, must be problematized within a conceptual matrix that was influenced by a European fascination with similar concerns.


Julia Guernsey received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1997, and has taught ancient Mesoamerican art and culture history in the Department of Art and Art History at the UT Austin since 2001. Her research and publications continue to focus on the Middle and Late Preclassic periods in ancient Mesoamerica, in particular on sculptural expressions of rulership during this time. She also continues to participate on the La Blanca Archaeological Project, which is exploring this large site that dominated the Pacific coastal and piedmont region of Guatemala during the Middle Preclassic period.

Michael Long is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Art History. His dissertation research focuses on the development and role of stairway monuments in Classic Maya art and politics. In particular, he investigates how the writing and imagery included with these monuments create theatrical contexts for elite interaction. In addition to his interests in Classic Maya architectural spaces, Michael also maintains research interests in the phenomenological analysis of Mesoamerican sculpture and the interaction between memory and artefact in prehistoric art.

Faculty, students, alumni speak at Art Education conference, Brushes with History

Thu. October 29, 2015

people sitting in auditorium listening to lecture

Dr. Paul Bolin served on the organizing committee for the conference, Brushes with History: Imagination and Innovation in Art Education History. The conference takes places at the Teachers College at Columbia University November 19–22, 2015.

Department of Art and Art History faculty, alumni, and students presenting include:

Dr. Christina Bain, “The Fabric of Our Lives: Discovering Art Education History Through Puppets, Place, and Pedagogy”

Dr. Heidi Powell, “Becoming a Curator of Memories: Memorializing Memory and Place in Art Making for Art Education”

Amanda Barbee (M.A. in Art Education, 2015), “Red Scaring Students: The Cold War’s Effects on American Education”

Debra Hardy (M.A. in Art Education, 2015), “The Detrimental Effects of McCarthyism on African-American Art Institutions”

Kirstie Parkinson (M.A. in Art Education, 2015), “Life and Work of Helen Gardner: Examining Art Through the Ages”

Elise Chevalier (M.A. candidate in Art Education), “Lessons From Dorothy Dunn: The Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School”

Allison Clark (M.A. candidate  in Art Education), “(Re)Telling Stories in Art Museums as a Wartime Service, 1917-1918”

Rebecca Dearlove (M.A. candidate in Art Education), “The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Film: How Educational Film Programs Responded to Social and Cultural Changes in the United States”

Michelle Voss (M.A. candidate in Art Education) “Women’s Work: Art Education for Women in Late 19th Century America”

Early bird registation available through November 1, 2015.