Department of Art and Art History Art History

Associate Professor Stephennie Mulder was interviewed on RT America

Fri. April 3, 2015

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Associate Professor Stephennie Mulder was interviewed on RT America about ISIS' destruction of artifacts.

Alumna Natalia Majlup speaks out against Disappearance of Lima Murals

Tue. March 31, 2015

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Natalia Majlup, PhD in Art History, 1995 and director of the Lima Museum of Art, spoke out against the removal of historical murals.

Majluf also expressed concerns over potential damage to Parque de la Exposición which is the site of the Mistura festival.

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

Fri. March 27, 2015

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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 Ann 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 Louis A. Waldman who graciously devoted hours to helping me craft my writing and to Professor Jeffrey Chipps 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

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

Thu. March 26, 2015

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Jenna Ahonen

Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Art in Art History

Tell us a little about your background.
I have grown up all over the world but I graduated from high school in Southlake in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I decided to attend UT Austin mainly because of how highly regarded it is as a university but also because I was interested in exploring a diverse new city like Austin at the same time.

What lead you to your research topic?
My research topic focuses on the manifestation of the Constructivist art and architecture movement in Finland due to Russia's influence. Focusing on the Constructivist movement was ideal for me as it incorporated both of my degrees. In addition, my entire family is Finnish so I already had an interest in the specific region.

What was the greatest thing you learned from working with your faculty advisors throughout the program?
It may sound cliché, but I'm truly thankful for how supportive my faculty advisors have been throughout my entire time at the university. They have all taught me that it is completely possible to achieve everything one step at a time, whether it be my aspirations to double major or write a senior thesis.

What are your plans for the future?
Who knows! I have learned to love the process of design throughout my time in the architecture school but am not so sure that I am fully committed to designing
such large scale projects as buildings in the future. I find myself more interested in designing on a much smaller scale and am looking to working either in the industrial design or fashion design field upon graduation.


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Erin Coupal

BA in Art History

Tell me a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Austin. After graduating from high school in 2005, I went to a small college in Portland, Oregon for a few years. In 2008, I returned to Austin to pursue my interest in art conservation. I volunteered at Women & Their Work gallery, worked as an artist's assistant, and interned with a local conservator. While my work experience was invaluable, I needed to finish my degree in order to continue in my chosen field. I was already working with the Landmarks collection and given how invested I already was in the art community in Austin and the wealth of resources available at UT Austin, it made sense for me to stay in Austin to finish my degree. I currently work with the prints and drawings collection at the Ransom Center and continue to work with Landmarks.

What lead you to your research topic?
My interest in art conservation stems from a desire to ensure access to and support for art in every capacity. In every form of art (visual, musical, performance, literary, etc.) there is incredible expressions of individuals and communities. Creative expression is a universal one, so the work I do in some small way contributes to protecting that.

What was the greatest thing you learned from working with the faculty throughout the program?
My time at UT Austin has been a busy one (at one point I was juggling 4 jobs while in school full time). My various professors have certainly inspired my path. Dr. Stephennie Mulder, who specializes in Islamic Art and Architecture, has imparted a passion that extends beyond the academic realm. She incorporates her work as an archaeologist and her passion for the protection of cultural heritage into both her classes and her work with the UT Antiquities Action group. Dr. Jeffrey Chipps Smith, who specializes in Northern Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture, truly opened my eyes to the depth with which one can become acquainted with their chosen field. His high expectations of his students has pushed me many times to dig deeper into my research.

What are your plans for the future?
This summer, I will be volunteering in the paper conservation lab at the Harry Ransom Center, gaining valuable knowledge and experience in that specific field of conservation (so far, I have only worked with three-dimensional objects). I will be taking some additional chemistry and studio art classes, and eventually, will apply for a graduate program in art conservation. It is my hope to eventually work as a conservator with an emphasis on public art, be that around a city or in a museum.


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Jessica Thompson  

BA in Art History
Recipient of a Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Office of the Vice President and the Research or Conference travel Scholarship from the Office of Undergraduate Research to conduct a site visit in Pisa, Italy.

Tell me a little about yourself.
I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I’m a transfer student from another university, where I was an Illustration/Art History double major. I developed an interest in Museum Studies and wanted to come to a place where I had more resources to pursue a museum career. UT Austin has a great Art History program and the university is so big that you can pursue any interest you want. It turned out to be the perfect place for me.

What lead you to your research topic?
My research project is an extension of a paper I wrote for Art Historical Methods, the senior level research methodology class for Art History majors, about Nicola Pisano’s pulpit for the Pisa Baptistery. I became really interested in the Baptistery and its civic significance in medieval Pisa, and decided to pursue it for my honors thesis.

What was the greatest thing you learned from working with the faculty throughout the program?
I think the greatest thing I learned from working with my faculty advisor is the value of collaboration and communication. Dr. Ann Johns, my advisor, is incredibly supportive. She's helped me find sources, given me additional readings, and has asked a lot of questions that helped me think through my ideas and synthesize the information I've found. She’s challenged me to think deeply and critically about my project and working with her has been really rewarding.

What are your plans for the future?
I hope my future finds me working somewhere in museum education. I’ve been working with Teen Programs at the Thinkery for the past year and absolutely love it; I really enjoy sharing my passion for art and education with others.


Related:

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 Terah Walkup, BA in Art History, 2007

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