Department of Art and Art History Alumni

Alumna Rachel Simone Weil curated Hardware Not Responding, on view at the Fine Arts Library

Sat. March 28, 2015

text on top of gradient iamge of old NES nintendo control

Rachel Simone Weil (MFA in Design, 2014) curated the exhibition Hardware Not Responding. The exhibition will be on view at the Fine Arts Library March 27 – May 1, 2015. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, April 1, at 5 pm in the Fine Arts Library.

While its earliest videogame consoles are not well known in the US, Sega made an impact with its third entry into the console market, the Sega Genesis. The Genesis became a runaway hit and fast rival to Nintendo in the late 1980s and early 1990s, built on the slogan that “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t.” In the early 1990s, Sega and Nintendo battled for the top spot in the game console market, and it seemed likely that Sega—with sizable game sales and fan following—would come out ahead.

Yet just a few years later, Sega would be plagued by missteps and poor reception to its next-generation game console releases. The Sega Dreamcast, released in the US in 1999, would be Sega’s final videogame console before refocusing its business on arcade machines and game software.

Hardware Not Responding playfully asks the viewer to consider whether history could have been different for Sega and for videogame consoles today. Were some ideas underdeveloped? Too cumbersome? Or perhaps too ahead of their time?

Hardware Not Responding is curated by Rachel Simone Weil with support from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the Fine Arts Library. Display items are on loan from the UT Videogame Archive and from the FEMICOM Museum.

Eric Zimmerman presents solo exhibition art Art Palace

Fri. March 27, 2015

graphite drawing of crocodile in water
Albino Crocodile (Cave of Forgotten Dreams), ink on paper, 22 x 30 inches

New work by Eric Zimmerman (MFA in Studio Art, 2005) is featured in a solo exhibition, Elegy for Left Hand Alone, at Art Palace in Houston, Texas. The exhibition will be on view April 10 – May 9, 2015. From the press release:

Zimmerman’s new drawings, sculpture, zine, and sound piece contained in the exhibition are references to the human place within the world and our effect upon it. Present in this new work is an oblique questioning of the way in which we construct knowledge and a direct interrogation of our need for explanation, quantification, and understanding. A subversion of these needs is sought by placing a range of images and objects within context and proximity of one another in order to establish a series of open-ended and leading propositions.

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Terah Walkup, BA in Art History, 2007

Fri. March 27, 2015

woman with yellow curly hair and glasses wearing black turtle neck poses

Terah Walkup (BA in Art History, 2007) is a research associate in the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Professor Glenn Peers: What informed your decision to move into curation rather than a scholarly track? How would you advise others who wanted to follow in your path and what other career options would that open to them?

Terah Walkup: I grew up in a household with little tags pasted underneath each piece of furniture listing the previous owners, their life dates, and location…so working in an art museum and doing provenance research was quite natural to me! As a freshman in 2003 I volunteered at the Blanton Museum of Art as a student docent. It was an exciting time because construction had just begun on the new museum building. During the four years I worked at the Blanton I gained an invaluable introduction to various aspects of museum work including education, audience development, and event planning.

Volunteering and internships are one of the best ways to gain the experience necessary to begin a museum career. One of my favorite memories of being an art history undergraduate was spending hours in the Fine Arts Library. It’s a great place to satiate curiosity once you become comfortable with a piano hanging over your head! Before joining the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art as a curatorial research associate, I worked as a museum educator. That position required me to lecture about works of art across all of the Art Institute of Chicago’s collections and exhibitions. So having a broad knowledge base was essential.

GP: After you received your BA in Art History from UT Austin, you attended Northwestern University. How did you decide that graduate school was right for you?

TW: Whether or not to pursue graduate school is a difficult decision, particularly as the experience differs greatly from undergraduate studies. One of the most crucial skills to hone before embarking on any graduate degree is effective writing. The Art History faculty was my most valuable resource in that regard. After a study abroad trip to Sicily led by you [Professor Peers], I engaged in a long-term research project under your mentorship during which you guided me through the process of scholarly investigation.

Also extremely helpful was a seminar on Feminism and Visual Culture that I took with Professor Reynolds. She helped us navigate challenging texts of critical theory while treating as fellow inquirers — a great preparation for graduate coursework. The application process is not only a personal commitment but a collaborative process with your professors, and I remain very much indebted to Professor Waldman who graciously devoted hours to helping me craft my writing and to Professor Smith who lent encouragement and generous advice.

I would encourage current undergraduates interested in pursuing graduate work in art history to take a wide range of art history courses and take advantage of the number and range of humanities courses offered at UT Austin.

Participate in class — you will get to know your professors, peers, and find your voice. Connect with current graduate students in the department. Expose yourself to new research by attending lectures hosted by the department and events at the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. Finally, it’s never too late to begin learning a foreign language. I rely on my knowledge of German and French regularly in my research and curatorial work.

GP: What aspects of the Art History program and your other experiences at UT Austin prepared you for your current work/research?

TW: One of the best things about the Department of Art and Art History are the people. Get to know your professors and peers in the department and find ways to collaborate on projects! I joined the Undergraduate Art History Association and after a few years took on a leadership role that connected me with fellow students who have since grown into stellar artists, museum professionals, and innovative leaders in the art world.

Get to know your campus resources. I consider my curatorial internship at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, where I learned to handle original works of art and the fundamentals of collections care, to have been a critical initial training in curatorial work. I was fortunate to work with curators in the Photography Department who walked me though the stages of exhibition planning and preparing objects for display. One of my projects was to catalog and house a box of photographic military portraits by E. O. Goldbeck. After working my way through the 200 records in the box, I asked about my next assignment and my supervisor walked me into the vault and showed me the remaining 50 or more boxes in the queue! There were almost 45,000 portraits and I had only made a dent over the course of the year.

GP: What current projects do you have coming up?

TW: As a research associate in a curatorial department my work involves exhibition management, art historical research on the permanent collection and loans, and educational programming. Though it closes in May, we are beginning the planning process of deinstalling an exhibition of international loans, Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections. I am organizing a celebratory symposium that will take place at its close. Looking forward, I am working on an exhibition opening this summer that explores Dionysos as the god of wine and theater. It’s a collaborative effort between two curatorial departments and will pair Classical antiquities with early modern prints. Perhaps someday I’ll be able finish cataloging those photographs…only 44,000 to go!

Related topics:

Student Spotlight: Meet some of our newest BA in Art History graduates
Student Spotlight: Meet some of our our newest BFA and BA Studio Art graduates
Student Spotlight: Meet Caleigh Taylor, BFA in Visual Art Studies

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Karen Cervantes, BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2013
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Lucy Parker, BFA in Studio Art, 2012

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Lucy Parker, BFA in Studio Art, 2012

Thu. March 26, 2015

rhinstone on black cloth next to two casts of stone
Image courtesy of Lucy Parker

Associate Professor John Stoney posed alumna Lucy Parker (BFA in Studio Art, 2012) a few questions over email.

John Stoney: When, in your undergraduate career, did you begin to think about where you wanted to be after school? How and why did you choose New York and what were your other options?

Lucy Parker:
It has always been important to me that I try and live in new places, so I knew that sometime after graduating I'd want to go somewhere, as early as freshman year, and it could have been anywhere. Some friends and I applied for the Undergraduate Professional Development Travel Grant and organized a trip to NYC senior year, and the subsequent trip was the first time I visited the city. Upon graduating I still had no definite idea of where I would go, but throughout undergrad, I made contacts — through professors, other undergraduate students, grads, and visiting artists — with people in New York. Those relationships made NY feel like a viable (and less intimidating) place to move and start a career.

JS: What was the best and worst of your first year in New York?

LP: The best thing was exploring and being exposed to so many great things in one place. Going to the Metropolitan Museum for a dollar, seeing amazing gallery shows for free and comedy shows for almost nothing, Central Park, cheap dumplings, meeting a diverse group of truly impressive people, and interacting with other artists.

The worst is just figuring out how to put your life together! I was poor, lonely, totally overwhelmed, and didn't feel like myself for longer than I expected. Slowly things have come together; it has just been told a matter of being very patient.

JS: You are currently working at Diana al-Hadid's studio. How did that happen and what do you do?

LP: Diana was a visiting artist in the Vaulted Gallery at the VAC when I was a senior, and we met when I volunteered to help install her work over a month-long period. We met again when some fellow students and I visited her at her studio while in New York, on the travel grant trip. I got to know her and some of her assistants and heard about the job through them!

I have been there for a year now, first being trained by Diana and a more experienced assistant. I'm now mostly working on and overseeing the fabrication of her panels, as well as assisting in sculptures. I also train new assistants.

JS: Outside of your job do you have time (and space!) to peruse your interests? In a place where everything is happening all the time, how do you balance your time?

LP: I'm not going to lie, it's a struggle! I don't currently have a studio space, for both a lack of time and money, but I do what I can at my desk space at home. The greatest New York challenge is definitely finding a balance between work, personal life, and art practice — I am still working it out.

But constraints can be generative too! While looking for ways to work in my small space, I've been saving for a faceting machine, to cut gemstones for both my sculptures and also as a means of income. I see it as practical and aesthetically interesting solution to making work.

I am still trying to do and see as much as I can! I try to keep a schedule of going to the galleries in Chelsea and the Lower East Side once a month. The openings in Bushwick are also a priority and easy to walk to right after work.

JS: Now that you have had several years perspective, what are your thoughts about your time at UT Austin? What advice would you give to graduating students?

LP: Be ambitious. Try to be open and really absorb everything you see and hear. I feel like I got everything I wanted out of undergrad (being part of an energetic art community, a show in the VAC, the travel grant, working and meeting artists and critics, learning the ins and outs of how the art world works) by trying to follow that advice. And read the things that are given to you in class!! I can't tell you how much I miss smart people giving me a curated reading list and then dedicated time for having a conversation about it...

Also, I'm still kicking myself for not taking performance, so do that if you are curious and still haven't done it!


Student Spotlight: Meet some of our newest BA in Art History graduates
Student Spotlight: Meet some of our our newest BFA and BA Studio Art graduates

Student Spotlight: Meet Caleigh Taylor, BFA in Visual Art Studies
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Karen Cervantes, BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2013
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Terah Walkup, BA in Art History, 2007

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Karen Cervantes, BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2013

Fri. March 27, 2015

woman in black shirt posing for portrait in front of dark back drop

Karen Cervantes (BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2013) teaches at Zavala Elementary School in Austin, Texas.

Professor Christina Bain: What has surprised you about teaching these past few years?

Karen Cervantes: The students’ engagement is crucial to the whole art lesson. The more engaged they are, the better the effort in their work and the more meaning they add to their artwork. I’m surprised at how well I’ve learned to think on my feet because no matter how organized and planned I’ve been, something unexpected always comes up like fire drills, paint spills or never-ending waiting time. Also, the environment in the art classroom is completely different from the students’ regular classrooms and I’ve been learning to embrace the differences. It’s okay to have an organized “chaotic” art class.


CB: What aspects of the program at UT Austin most prepared you for post-grad life?

KC: My art education classes completely changed my perspective on how to view art and its significance in our society. Art can be an educational tool, a voice, an opinion... not just a hobby. Elementary students can be taught about big ideas such as social justice, identity, and culture. Elementary art doesn’t just have to be the basics of art or cookie-cutter art; it can be full of meaning and importance too. My passion for art and for teaching has grown and it’s all thanks to my amazing and unforgettable professors Dr. Christina Bain, Dr. Paul Bolin and Dr. Kara Hallmark.  

CB:   What advice would you give to graduating students?

KC: Once you’ve landed the job, building your classroom environment is completely on you. I did not want to emphasize my classroom rules my first year and mid-year, I was having a ton of behavior problems. Lesson learned. You can still be the cool hip art teacher but with some cool hip structure in the classroom. As a second year teacher, I take advice from veteran teachers all the time and one I keep hearing is to be consistent with your consequences. Don’t be afraid when administrators or mentors come watch you teach. Their criticism or suggestions can end up helping you and how things flow in the classroom.

Related topics:

Student Spotlight: Meet some of our newest BA in Art History graduates
Student Spotlight: Meet some of our our newest BFA and BA Studio Art graduates

Student Spotlight: Meet Caleigh Taylor, BFA in Visual Art Studies
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Lucy Parker, BFA in Studio Art, 2012
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Terah Walkup, BA in Art History, 2007

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