Department of Art and Art History News

Space, Place, Trace: Sturctures of Feeling and Hubbard/Birchler's Giant by Jana La Brasca

Fri. June 26, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

The Ballroom Marfa blog features a paper presented by Jana La Brasca (graduate student in Art History) entitled "Space, Place, Trace: The Structures of Feeling and Hubbard/Birchler's Giant."

Janaye Brown participates as summer resident at Bruce High Quality Foundation University

Fri. June 26, 2015

photo of legs beneath the knee standing in light from door
Image courtesy of the artist.

Janaye Brown (MFA Studio Art, 2013) is a summer resident at the Bruce High Quality Foundation University through August. Stay updated by liking the BHQFU Facebook page.

See how (and where) faculty spend their summer (Part 1 of 2)

Fri. June 26, 2015


piles of books and papters with lap top on table

Eddie Chambers is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Roots and Culture: The Making of Black Britain. Upon the book’s completion, it is scheduled to be published by I.B. Tauris. Roots and Culture sets out to chronicle the evolution of Black Britain as a distinct cultural entity—a nation within a nation.

The book's thesis is that right from the earliest times of Caribbean migration to Britain in the decades of the mid twentieth century, Black people have had cause or need to fashion distinctly different manifestation of cultural expression that existed in marked contrast to the cultural sensibilities demonstrated by the so-called 'host' community. Even though Caribbean migrants essentially arrived as British subjects, they found that their Britishness and the Caribbean brand of British culture that they brought with them counted for little or nothing, amongst their fellow Brits. Instead, Caribbean migrants were obliged to formulate new ways of existing. surviving, and living, in what was in effect a culturally hostile environment.

three people kneel around amphora in archaelogical dig
Jenny Muslin (right) instructs UT Austin undergraduates Lillie Leone and Michael Kilgore on the intricacies of Roman wine amphorae.

The Oplontis Project returns to the Bay of Naples for its tenth season of field work, under the direction of John Clarke and Michael Thomas (director of the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy and PhD in Art History, 2001). As in year’s past, the project brings together UT Austin faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and international scholars as part of its multi-disciplined study of two sites, Villas A and B at Oplontis, both located a few miles from Pompeii. This year’s excavation continues in Oplontis B, which is led by field director Ivo van der Graaff (PhD in Art History, 2013), who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Jenny Muslin (graduate student in Art History) is leading the study of over 1000 Roman wine amphora found at the site.

people on boat in river with river bed in background

Julia Guernsey travels to Guatemala to work with archaeological materials from the site of La Blanca and to begin research on a new book. In July, Guernsey will present a paper titled Captives and Social Discourse in Late Preclassic Mesoamerica at the annual International Congress of Americanists.

digital rendering of person in installation with green floor

Amy Hauft is working on part of a project for Old Dominion University’s Gordon Gallery. It is a large installation and this summer is devoted to working on the floor portion of it. With the help of Eric McMaster, Hauft is 3D modeling and cutting out the parts on the CNC router over the summer. The site-responsive installation will be on view in 2017.

photograph of three story library from balcony
Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, Germany. Image courtesy of Linda Henderson.

Linda Dalrymple Henderson is in Berlin for several weeks this summer, doing research at the Staatsbibliothek. Henderson is working through the remarkable journal Die Uebersinnliche Welt (The Unseen World) of which Wassily Kandinsky was a reader (numerous issues are preserved in his archive in Munich). Published monthly from 1893 to the 1920s, it was an international spiritualist journal filled with both the latest occult news but also any scientific developments that supported interest in unseen worlds, such as X-rays, radioactivity, and electrons. It is an ideal vehicle for tracking the international cultures of science and occultism shared by modern artists all over Europe.
Henderson will speak in Madrid on June 26 at an art/science session organized by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in conjunction with the 2015 conference of a network of astrophysicists researching dark matter and dark energy, who call themselves “The Invisibles.”  She is on a panel on the theme of “Dimensionality” with Harvard physicist Lisa Randall, whose ideas about our four-dimensional space-time world being embedded in a 5-dimensional “bulk” were part of the background for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

photograph overlooking balcony with mountains in far background

Joan Holladay continues to work with the designer on her upcoming publication, Gothic Sculpture in America 3: The Museums of New York and Pennsylvania. The book will be available in spring 2016. Holladay will finish an invited article on royal iconography. She will also complete the book she has been plugging away at for ages on imagery with genealogical content in the high and late middle ages.

woman sits at desk with piles of paper spread out in front of her

Susan Rather is working her way through copy-editor’s queries and making other adjustments to her 600 page book manuscript. Later, Rather will deal with page proofs, galleys, and indexing. The American School: Artists and Status in the Late-Colonial and Early National Era is forthcoming in fall from Yale University Press and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. These processes will take a lot of her focus this summer. Rather states, “But for any of us, drawing a long-LONG-term project to a close is pretty exciting—even if it doesn’t look like it!”

photograph of dark room with window overlooking yard

Richard Shiff works on exhibition essays scheduled for Bridget Riley, early art of Piet Mondrian, Jasper Johns, and Georg Baselitz. Shiff will also be researching the late work of Barnett Newman for an academic journal. Additionally, he will work on an essay on problems of pictorial resolution for a journal of semiotics. Longer term projects include work on a book on Donald Judd and writing on A.R. Penck that will may appear in an exhibition catalog. Shiff continues to work on a book of previously published essays.

From the Death of Pachyderm to The Internet of Things: A profile of alumnus Alex Freeman

Thu. June 25, 2015

photograph of man wearing brown jacket in front of structure

“I studied at UT Austin at a very interesting time,” said Alex Freeman (MA in Art Education, 2009). “I saw the rapid advancement of certain mobile and social technologies.”

Originally trained as a painter, Freeman worked as a framer and then as a gallery assistant in Houston before entering the Art Education graduate program.

“After a bit of soul searching, I realized that my favorite part of the position at the gallery was talking to people about the art,” described Freeman.

His thesis focused on the historical importance of art critic Charles Caffin (1854–1918). Freeman explains, “it was the technology and the communication channels Caffin used that were of most interest to me—an idea that still plays out today with artwork via websites, blogs, and social media.”

While a graduate student, Freeman used Pachyderm, a microsite builder which used Flash, to create sites for the collections at Mexic-Arte Museum and The New York Graphic Workshop: 1964–1970 exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art.

“I thought I had found my marketable niche as a Flash-based museum interpretive designer,” remarked Freeman. “Then the iPhone came out and smashed my dreams because Flash was all but dead when that happened.”

During his time creating Pachyderms and obtaining grants for digital projects, Freeman worked with Rachel Varon (BA in Art History/MA in Art Education, 2002/2007), who worked for the New Media Consortium (NMC). The connection would later result in Freeman’s recruitment into a position with the NMC.

“My work at Mexic-Arte and the Blanton provided me with the opportunity to experiment on digital projects that directly connected my coursework with actual museum practice,” said Freeman. “I don’t think I would have been into creating digital interpretives or using social media as much, had I not had an avenue to see how it worked in the real world.”

With Pachyderm out the door, Freeman was forced to apply his interests and knowledge in a different way to his work at NMC.

“Writing, lecturing, and creating digital assets—skills I gained in grad school—are key to the work that I do now at the NMC on the Horizon Project,” said Freeman. “The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition is a longitudinal study on the trends, challenges, and technology poised to impact teaching and learning over the next year to five years. It has generated a lot of buzz within museums circles.”

Freeman’s NMC report was released at the Smith Symposium at Balboa Park and again at the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting. In addition to releasing the report, Freeman was recently awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant to pursue an online continuing professional development course for librarians and was also awarded a national leadership grant valued at $500,000 for a similar project for museums.

Later, Freeman was invited to present the NMC report to the IMLS board of directors. While in Washington D.C. for the IMLS presentation, Freeman was invited to attend an award ceremony at the White House, where Michelle Obama was in attendance.

“She [Mrs. Obama] said we could take the cocktail napkins but needed to leave the silverware,” laughed Freeman.

Eddie Chambers publishes articles in Nka and Afterall Journal

Thu. June 25, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Eddie Chambers published articles in Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art and Afterall Journal, Issue 39.

The May 2015 issue of Nka results from a 2014 CAA Panel Chambers organized and Rose G. Salseda, PhD candidate in Art History, participated.