Department of Art and Art History News + Announcements

Raul De Lara Wins $10,000 Prize

Tue. October 22, 2013


Raul De Lara, currently a junior in the design program, won the $10,000 prize in the Austin edition of the Herradura Barrel Art Program. Ten Austin artists created artworks under only one rule: they have to use a tequila barrel.

The prize also gives Raul a chance at the finals held in Miami later this year, and a grand prize award of $100,000. The Herradura Barrel Art Program is held in eight cities across the country, where judges select one artist to advance to the finals.

De Lara’s work is influenced by the folklore surrounding the Mexican agave, creating a form of the god Quetzacoatl using only the tequila barrel. He was featured in The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, Alcalde, explaining his process and ambition:

“I would love to wake up and go to sleep only making art. Whether it’s doing studio work or commissions for hotels, restaurants or people. I just want to create for people. The cash helps, but more importantly, the connections I made there and being able to say I won helps in the eyes of people that require reassurance [about my ability], which is nice.”

Visit the competition’s website for more images of De Lara, the award presentation and artworks at the event.

Image courtesy of @HerraduraTeq.

Julia Guernsey named grand prize winner of 2013 Hamilton Book Awards

Mon. October 21, 2013

Julia Guernsey receiving 2013 Hamilton Book Award

The Department of Art and Art History congratulates Professor and Associate Chair Julia E. Guernsey on being named the grand prize winner of the 2013 University Co-Op Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards for her work “Sculpture and Social Dynamics in Preclassic Mesoamerica.”

The Hamilton Awards are among the highest honors of literary achievement given to published authors at The University of Texas at Austin. This year’s winners were announced Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Four Seasons Hotel.

In “Sculpture and Social Dynamics in Preclassic Mesoamerica,” Guernsey focuses on the significance of an enigmatic but abundant type of Preclassic monumental stone sculpture known as the “potbelly,” and she links its development to the social and political transformations that accompanied the formation of the first state-level societies in Mesoamerica. This book is a unique study that bridges the domains of art history, archaeology and anthropology in an exploration of the social role of sculpture during the Preclassic period in ancient Mesoamerica.

"I am thrilled by this honor, and delighted to share this research recognition with two other colleagues from the College of Fine Arts," Guersey said. "It was a great year for COFA, and a wonderful testament to the quality and diversity of research that takes place within our college."

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 University of Texas at 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.

Beili Liu collaborates on public art project, THIRST

Wed. October 2, 2013

white tree lit by spot lights at night

Associate Professor Beili Liu is part of a team of people invited by Women & Their Work to collaborate on the recently unveiled public art project THIRST, which memorializes the loss of over 500 million trees that died in the drought of 2011 and raises awareness of the importance of water conservation.

The stunning installation on Lady Bird Lake (between South Lamar and the adjacent pedestrian bridge) will be on display through December 20.

Learn more about the project at thirst

Update on CSAI’s Undergraduate Excavation Fellowship

Mon. September 30, 2013

people looking at artifacts at excavation site

The Center for the Study of Ancient Italy (CSAI) announced the CSAI Undergraduate Excavation Fellowship early in the spring semester of 2013. Open to all undergraduate Art History majors at The University of Texas at Austin, the fellowship was intended for a single fellow. After reviewing the applications, it became clear that there were two outstanding applicants, Hallie Brewer and Arjun Reddy. With the generous support of Jack Risley, Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, CSAI was able to offer fellowships to both of these outstanding students. The fellowships fully supported Hallie and Arjun to spend two weeks at CSAI’s excavation project (The Oplontis Project) at the ancient site of Oplontis, near Pompeii. The Oplontis Project is in the process of a large-scale study of two sites identified with ancient Oplontis and buried some 28 feet beneath the modern town of Torre Annunziata: Villa A (sometimes called the Villa of Poppaea) was designed for leisure, whereas Oplontis B was a busy distribution center for wine. Both fellows participated in all aspects of the project, including excavation, masonry analysis, ceramic study, wall-painting study, and archival work.

Hallie Brewer discusses the experience:

“At Oplontis, my text-book knowledge was augmented by the empirical and physical experiences on the sites and by daily interactions with various experts. I was involved in all aspects of archaeological work, including fieldwork, post-processing of artifacts, analysis and preservation. This summer left me better informed and more competent in the field, and with a desire to continue my studies of Rome and Pompeii. Any future success I may achieve in the fields of Art History or Classical Archaeology will be, in large part, owing to my involvement with the Oplontis Project.”

Assistant Professor Kristin Lucas featured in Art in America

Tue. September 17, 2013

cover of Art in America

Assistant Professor in Transmedia Kristin Lucas is featured in the September 2013 issue of Art in America. Read the interview online.

Lucas also held a residency at Eyebeam in New York, April through August of this year and will be the inaugural-year Artist in Residence at Signal Culture in the coming year.

Lucas recently joined the faculty in the Department of Art and Art History. She previously taught at Bard College in New York.