Jason Urban's The Formalist's Library exhibition opens at SNAP Gallery
Thu. March 23, 2017
From the 1940's zines devoted to H.P. Lovecraft to the Soviet underground press samizat, the recent work of Studio Art faculty member Jason Urban mines the rich landscape of print history. His prints, drawings, paintings and installations have been featured in numerous venues nationally and internationally, and, most recently, brought him to The University of Alberta. Urban was invited to lecture about his work and research in conjunction with the opening of The Formalist’s Library at The Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists (SNAP) Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta.
In The Formalist’s Library, Urban meditates on the structure of the traditional brick-and-mortar library as a vehicle for delivering information as we move from the physical to physible. The Formalist’s Library is an ongoing series exploring various aspects of library architecture and systems and the lifespan of printed media in both the micro (daily) and macro (centurial) sense.
The Formalist's Library is on view March 16, 2017 - April 22, 2017.
Q+A with Alumna and Curator Rebecca Giordano
Wed. March 22, 2017
Curator Rebecca Giordano (M.A. in Art History, 2015) is one of the founding members of the curatorial collective, INGZ, a collaboration that grew out of Art History Associate Professor Cherise Smith's Historicizing the Politics of Identity seminar. March ON!, an exhibition curated by Giordano, is currently on view at the Christian-Green Gallery through April 15, 2017.
On Friday, March 24, INGZ and the UT Austin campus will welcome Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell for a public conversation at the Hogg Auditorium. A film screening of "Get in the Way: The Journey of John Lewis" will precede the panel, but tickets are required.
On Thursday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. there will be a reception and conversation between Giordano and artist Nate Powell at the Christian-Green Gallery.
Can you tell me how the March ON! exhibition came together?
I began thinking about this exhibition after reading the first volume of March back in 2014. John Lewis' personal story is certainly a compelling and important one. But it is actually the quality of the brush-and-ink illustrations made me think this graphic novel would make a fantastic exhibition. While they are, of course, comics, they are also extraordinary drawings that address essential political issues of the last century. The illustrator, Nate Powell, is an old friend of mine. I approached him about two years ago to discuss the idea of building an exhibition around the original drawings.
How do you approach curating an exhibition based on a comic? How has your work as an art historian or a curator previously crossed paths with this medium?
In general, comics are accessible. They are considered a low medium, a literally pulp form. The flip side of this disregard is that people are eager to pick them up and tear through without recognizing how much work they do to read them or feeling intimidated by the theme or content. This affords a unique opportunity for drawing out a nuanced and layered perspective and interesting, fine-tuned illustrations for a broad (and sometimes unsuspecting) audience, which March does very well.
This is my second exhibition of comic artwork. The first was In Heartbeats: The Comic Art of Jackie Ormes, which showcased work from four newspaper series by the first African American woman cartoonist. (One of Ormes’ comics is also on display in March ON!) I approached both shows archivally, putting these fantastic comic artworks in conversation with other kinds of cultural production. Because of the historic content and the necessity for visitors to spend time actually reading the text on the page, March ON! required a different curatorial approach. One question I had was about how to curate work from a comic book. These drawings are reproduced in an award-winning and best-selling graphic novel, so how could I approach this to make an exhibition that is interesting and does something different than the book? The exhibition March ON! features more than 50 original drawings from March by Nate Powell. I included a variety of ephemera and works of art by other artists to help fill out the historical period that the graphic memoir covers. Documentary photographs by Charles Moore and Spider Martin and pamphlets and newsletters from the activist James Farmer's archive (all of which came from the Briscoe Center here on campus) along with comics from the 1950s and today addressing racial justice, and protest albums from the era are on display to help visitors think about how the ideas behind the Civil Rights Movement spread in material ways.
What conversation or question do you hope to inspire with this exhibition?
March ON! offers UT a place to reflect on the relationship between a particular historic moment and our own using outstanding and innovative visual culture that centers Black experience. This is an undeniably important contribution to our campus culture. One really fantastic aspect of March as a graphic novel series is that there are so many points of entry for different people. Curating from more than 600 pages required selecting what events and ideas covered in the three volumes to represent in the exhibition. I chose to highlight the breadth of Lewis' story to invite as many connections as possible, whether it be a shared concern for social justice, empathy for the violence of racist treatment, the excitement of finding community as well as the difficulty of bridging differences within a movement, or using art to voice a deeply felt political position. The exhibition—like the books themselves—doesn't let you forget the past or the present. While there is no one thing that I hope visitors take away, I hope the exhibition offers an opportunity to reflect on the many roles people can play in social movements including the ways that the strategies that proved successful were developed, honed and carried out by ordinary people for ordinary people.
What are INGZ’s future plans?
INGZ is motivated by a creative approach to curating as a political practice. We like to rethink what happens in galleries, with whom, and how the curatorial process changes when we move beyond traditional models. For us, that can mean shifting our approach to the time and space of an exhibition—what does it do to offer two exhibitions back-to-back by the same artist in two very different spaces on the same campus, as we did with LaToya Ruby Frazier: Riveted? It can also mean seeing what comes out of condensing a semester-long performance series into three days to create a viewing and performing experience with density and in support of emerging and ongoing webs of connection and participation as we undertook with Sampling. Our current projects include a collaborative expanded video and a work that intends to bridge the worlds of inspirational speaking and chatty memoir through performance art. We like questions that emerge at limits. We also like archives. To that end, we are exploring how we create faithful archives of our own processes and projects. Online, this can be found out ingzcollective.org.
Alumnus Ender Martos exhibits temporary, site-specific installation in pop-up exhibition/designer showcase
Wed. March 8, 2017
East Side Collective and Atmosphere Coworking will showcase a temporary, site-specific installation and new works from Department of Art and Art History alumnus Ender Martos (B.F.A. in Studio Art, 2008) on March 9, 2017. The opening reception for the event is on Thursday, March 9 from 7 – 11 p.m. and will be on view until March 23.
Martos specializes in creating colorful experiences of optical movement, shifting the viewer’s perception of the space and materials as they move around the work. “When light interacts with the translucent material, light travels in, through and out creating a sense of movement,” he writes. For this site-specific installation, Martos will be using commercial monofilament wire, aluminum and concrete to activate the space with the intent of initiating an immediate, joyful visual impact.
East Side Collective is a studio space shared by creative minds cofounded by Jared Hass, Tim Derrington, and Javier Martin. This entity helps lead Austin into thoughtful, innovative design while offering an authentic piece of Austin's creative culture. Atmosphere Coworking builds strong connections with others in the Austin digital creative and design community.
Work by MFA candidate Ingrid Tremblay featured in exhibition Tumble
Tue. March 7, 2017
M.F.A. candidate in Sculpture Ingrid Tremblay featured alongside Allison Wade in the exhibition titled Tumble at Slow gallery in Chicago.
The Moon from alumnus Jarrod Beck opens at Smack Mellon
Sun. February 12, 2017
Jarrod Beck (M.F.A. in Studio Art, 2007) combined text, collaborative performances, and a site-specific installation in his latest exhibition at Smack Mellon in New York titled The Moon. For the duration of the exhibition, a 60-foot-diameter, handmade paper moon will hover over the gallery floor and reach upward into the coal trough ceiling infrastructure.
The Moon began as an epic poem, begun in the summer of 2014. Themes include environmental devastation, the AIDS epidemic, and queer collectivist anarchism.
Initial reviews for The Moon can be read at The Brooklyn Paper.
Exhibition on view: Jan 14 - Feb 26, 2017
Opening reception: Jan 14, 2017, 5-8PM