Department of Art and Art History News + Announcements

Troy Brauntuch included in exhibition at Palazzo Grassi

Mon. April 14, 2014

Art gallery with two paintings
Installation image, Palazzo Grassi

Paintings by Professor Troy Brauntuch appear in The Illusion of Light at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Italy. The exhibition "explores the physical, aesthetic, symbolic, philosophical and political stakes of an essential dimension of human experience . . . light." Curated by Caroline Bourgeois, the exhibition includes Dan Flavin, Gilbert & Geroge, Robert Irwin, Danh Vo and many others.

Department of Art and Art History Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Mon. March 3, 2014

archival photo of people in painting class

The Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin will celebrate its 75th Anniversary with an open house, Saturday, April 5, 2–5 pm and alumni celebration reception. Inaugurated as the Department of Art in 1938, the department now supports degree programs in Art Education, Art History, Design and Studio Art, internationally recognized research centers and the Visual Arts Center, a vibrant exhibition space for contemporary art.

The 75th anniversary is a prime opportunity to reconnect with alumni and friends of the department, as well as learn about emerging technology in the arts. Alumni, the university community and the general public are invited to participate in a variety of demonstrations of new technology, view student art, hear presentations, take part in family friendly activities and more.

Following the open house, an alumni reception will be held in the Visual Art Center’s galleries. For more information on attending, please contact Katie Anaya,

Looking to the future, the department’s comprehensive programs speak to the rich academic experience fostered by the department’s faculty, students, alumni and The University of Texas at Austin as a whole. “The 75th anniversary represents the perfect time at which we can celebrate the shared history of our department’s community. We’re excited to engage with our alumni, along with our faculty and students, in continuing to create the very best environment for the practice, study and critique of the visual arts,” said Jack Risley, Department Chair and Ruth Head Centennial Professor.

Please visit for more information on anniversary events.

President Obama Responds to Ann John's Defense of Art History

Tue. February 25, 2014

handwritten note from Barack Obama to Ann Johns

Ann Johns, senior lecturer in Art History, has recently been in the news after she received a handwritten note of apology from President Obama. The note came in response to a message Johns submitted via the White House website in which she defended the field of art history after Obama made off-the-cuff remarks during a speech at a manufacturing plant in which he said "folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree". (He quickly added, "Nothing wrong with art history degree. I love art history.") According to Johns, her message "was not so much one of outrage at Obama’s statement, but rather a ‘look what we do well’ statement. I emphasized that as art historians, we challenge our students to think, read and write critically. I also stressed how inclusive our discipline is these days."

Read more about this story at UT Know »

Michael Smith performs John Cage piece at MoMA

Tue. February 11, 2014

John Cage's score for 4'33"

Studio Art Professor Michael Smith is one of several artists and musicians invited by the Museum of Modern Art in New York to present a performance of John Cage's "silent" composition 4'33" and activate the piece in their own way. The series of performances is presented in conjunction with the exhibition There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage's 4'33", on view in adjacent galleries.

Smith's performance will take place February 19 at noon in the Bauhaus Staircase on the second floor.

Department collaborates with Blanton Museum on exhibition

Thu. February 6, 2014

ancient pottery

Between Mountains and Sea: Arts of the Ancient Andes is an exhibition presented by the Blanton Museum of Art in partnership with the Department of Art and Art History that features a special selection of objects that illuminate the lifestyle, technological achievements, and ideology of pre-Inka cultures among the coastal Andes of South America.

The exhibition was conceived by the Blanton and guest-curator and department alumna Dr. Kimberly L. Jones (PhD in Art History, 2010), while she served as a UT Austin lecturer and curator of the Art and Art History Collection before her recent appointment as the Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Assistant Curator of the Arts of the Americas at the Dallas Museum of Art.

ARTnews recently included Between Mountain and Sea in a list of 13 museum exhibitions to see in spring 2014.