Department of Art and Art History News

Alumna Rachel Simone Weil collaborates with Rhizome

Fri. April 24, 2015

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white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Founder of FEMICOM Museum, Rachel Simone Weil (MFA in Design, 2014) works with Rhizome to preserve work by Theresa Duncan. The project and work was featured in artnet news.

Sandra Fernandez presents work at Arte Giappone

Fri. April 24, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background
 

Assistant Professor Sandra Fernandez presents work in an exhibition, Integrations, at Arte Giappone in Milan, Italy. The exhibition will be on view April 23 – May 8, 2015.

Alumni Spotlight: Melissa Warak, PhD in Art History, 2014

Wed. April 22, 2015

woman in black dress with green stone necklace posing for portrait

Linda Dalrymple Henderson: Readers will be interested to hear about your interdisciplinary research focus. Can you talk about that and what led you to your interest in music and art, even before arriving at UT Austin?

Melissa Warak: I grew up in a musical household. My mother had trained as a classical pianist and we listened to classical music on the radio all the time when I was a child. In college, I worked in college radio and loved learning about experimental music, which tied nicely to my studies of art history and English. I found all of these great connections among artists, composers, and musicians that interested me enough to want to write about them.
 
LDH  :   How did the graduate program at UT Austin help you develop your interests in art history and other fields?

MW: My graduate coursework in modern and contemporary art really helped me hone my interests in the 1960s and in sound art. I took courses in Music, Germanic Studies,  History, and American Studies to develop my research skills in cultural histories and production. I found that my Art History professors encouraged my outside interests in music and metaphysical philosophy and even arranged introductions to faculty members across campus. I also learned that many other departments at UT Austin value the interdisciplinary research skills developed in the art history graduate program.
 
LDH: What role did your time as a Vivian Smith Fellow at the Menil Museum play in your graduate work?

MW: This fellowship allowed me to work firsthand with objects and archival material related to my dissertation. I was able to dive into my work completely. I proposed an exhibition (Takis: The Fourth Dimension, on view until July 2015) that was approved even after I finished the fellowship. I also had the opportunity to organize a two-day symposium on art and music, for which I invited prominent scholars in the field. My fellowship at the Menil Collection also allowed me to develop professional connections and relationships with artists, art historians, and other specialists across Texas, which has served me well in my present position at the University of Texas at El Paso.  
 
LDH: How did the program at UT Austin prepare you for your current position at UT El Paso and your work as a liaison between the university and the Judd Foundation?


MW: I teach art from 1850 to the present at UTEP, so having access to a broad range of graduate classes in modernism, theory, and contemporary art has served me well. UT Austin has had several graduates write on Donald Judd, including Adrian Kohn and David Raskin, and of course, Dr. Richard Shiff is a wonderful source for any students investigating Judd's legacy in Marfa. One of the books featured front and center in Judd's library in Marfa is Dr. Linda Henderson's book on the fourth dimension and non-Euclidean geometry, so I have always felt that there are advantageous connections among scholars at UT Austin and Marfa.

Graduate students in Art History at UT Austin develop strong speaking agendas through conferences, symposia, and invited talks, so creating community becomes second nature to many of us. I also earned quite a bit of valuable teaching experience as a graduate student. As soon as I arrived at UTEP, I began to nurture the relationships between my department and the Chinati Foundation and Judd Foundation in Marfa. Given my relatively close proximity to Marfa (a three hour drive), I can take students every semester. My comfort in working with undergraduates allows me to get to know students so I may support their internship applications to the arts organizations in Marfa.
 
LDH: What advice would you give to students completing their graduate work at UT Austin?

MW: It feels so good to finish that thesis or dissertation and move forward. I loved teaching at UT Austin — it is an incredibly valuable experience — but it is also time-consuming to create courses and lectures. I was able to finish only through the support of outside fellowships that allowed me to write exclusively, so I would encourage graduate students to seek external funding. In applying for jobs, cast a wide net. In addition to seeking career advice from faculty members, graduate students should also take advantage of the wide network of Art History alumni.

Laurel Shear presents work in juried exhibition

Wed. April 22, 2015

abstract painting in beige, red and cream colors
Image courtesy of the artist

Work by Laurel Shear (MFA in Studio Art, 2015) was selected for a juried exhibition, Cultural Conversations, at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The exhibition will be on view May 8 – May 29, 2015.

Margo Sawyer included in Texas Abstract exhibition at Gallery Sonja Roesch

Wed. April 22, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Professor Margo Sawyer presents work included in a group exhibition at Gallery Sonja Roesch. The exhibition will be on view April 18 – May 16, 2015.