Venice Biennale to Showcase work of UT Austin Professor Teresa Hubbard and Colleague Alexander Birchler
Mon. November 14, 2016
Teresa Hubbard, professor of photography at the Department of Art and Art History and Alexander Birchler, a Swiss artist who is an affiliate research scholar at UT Austin, have been invited to create and showcase new work at the 57th annual Venice Biennale, one of the largest and most prestigious exhibitions of contemporary art in the world.
“Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler have a deft ability to create visually compelling works that reorder cultural myths while implicating the conventions of photography and film,” said Jack Risley, chair of the department of art and art history at UT Austin. “Hubbard brings an exacting standard to her collaborative work with Birchler, a standard that also characterizes her teaching at UT where she has a profound effect on our studio art program.”
Curator Philipp Kaiser of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia selected Hubbard and Birchler to show their work in the exhibition “Women of Venice” at the Pavilion of Switzerland. The exhibition explores the historical absence of artist Alberto Giacometti in the Swiss Pavilion at the Biennale. The artist was considered one of the most influential Swiss artists of the 20th century, but he repeatedly declined requests to represent Switzerland in the Venice Biennale.
In their work, Hubbard and Birchler use a documentary approach to delve into the archaeology of film. At the Biennale, they will present their film installation “Flora,” based on discoveries made in the course of their research on the largely unknown American artist Flora Mayo, who studied in Paris in the 1920s at the same time as Giacometti and became his lover. By weaving together fictional and documentary material, the artists reconstruct and re-imagine Flora Mayo’s life and work, while giving voice to her previously unknown son. Giacometti and Mayo’s relationship and their ensuing portrait reflect the creative energy generated by their collaborative artistic activity and also shed light on Giacometti’s early life.
This is the second time that Hubbard and Birchler have been invited to exhibit their work at the Venice Biennale. In 1999, curator Harald Szeemann invited them to participate in his group exhibition at the Giardini, “dAPERTutto.”
For the UT community, Hubbard and Birchler’s work will be on view at The Blanton Museum of Art in the summer of 2017 with Giant. “We are so fortunate to have internationally recognized artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler based in Austin and look forward to having Giant on view at the Blanton as their newest film debuts in the 2017 Venice Biennale,” writes Veronica Roberts, curator of modern and contemporary art at The Blanton.
Giant (2014), a three-channel video, takes as its subject a decaying movie set built outside of Marfa, TX for the 1956 Warner Bros. film Giant starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. After the filming was completed, the three-sided façade was left behind in the landscape. “Hubbard and Birchler explore the skeletal remains of the set as seasons change, day turns to night, and parts of the structure swing and fall off,” Roberts writes. “Scenes of a film crew recording the current conditions are juxtaposed with a Warner Bros. office in 1955, where a secretary types up the location contract for the motion picture that has yet to be created.” Giant will open to the campus and Austin community on July 9, 2017.
Associate Professor Nassos Papalexandrou Shares Research Findings in Menil Symposium
Wed. November 9, 2016
Nassos Papalexandrou, associate professor of Greek Art and Archaeology presented the results of his latest research in a symposium organized by the Menil Collection, Houston, TX, Rice University and University of Houston-Clear Lake (Collaborative Futures for Museum Collections: Antiquities, Provenance and Cultural Heritage, October 17-19, 2016). Papalexandrou’s paper is titled “Collecting Greek antiquities in the ‘60s: a group of Early Greek bronze horses in the Menil Collection.” The symposium presented the findings of scholars participating in the Collections Analysis Collaborative project (CAC), a research and educational initiative spearheaded by Rice University professor John Hopkins, a Ph.D. graduate of the art history doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin. CAC aims at investigating questions of cultural heritage in order to produce a deep, historical understanding of nearly 600 objects from the ancient Mediterranean in the Menil’s permanent collection. Papalexandrou investigated John and Dominique de Menil’s interest in Early Greek art and how it dovetails with their parallel interests in African and modern art and especially surrealism.
Julia Guernsey Published in Latin American Antiquity
Mon. October 3, 2016
Art History Professor Dr. Julia Guernsey's paper, "Water, Maize, Salt, and Canoes: Iconography, Economics, and Commodities at Late Preclassic Izapa" was published in the October 2016 journal Latin American Antiquity from the Society for American Archaeology.
In Memorium: Adam Boley
Thu. October 13, 2016
On Sunday, September 4, 2016, our community suffered the loss of a faculty member and alumnus, Adam Boley (M.F.A. in Studio Art, 2016).
Boley graduated from our M.F.A. program in Studio Art the spring of 2016 and came to the Department of Art and Art History staff in the Fall semester as a lecturer in photography. During his time with the department, Boley assisted artist Ann Hamilton in the execution of her work for the Dell Medical Center, O N E E V E R Y O N E. “I have many very beautiful photographs of Adam from the photography sessions for Dell,” writes Hamilton. “I think they capture—something in him, a lightness and weight, reflectivity, a humor. I watched him work with everyone we photographed, how he put everyone at ease and made the air lighter with his empathy. I will never watch a duck land down in water without thinking of him.”
Boley earned his undergraduate degree in Photography at St. Edwards University in Austin. His work has been in numerous exhibitions, including those at Time Waste Management in Orlando, Florida (2016); The Mom Gallery, Austin; 60 Orange St, Providence, Rhode Island (2015); Locker 95, Austin (2015); and Pump Project Art Complex in Austin (2014).
He was born and raised on a ranch outside of Georgetown, TX, and his work reflects a connection to the landscape and history of the state. “Texas was a central character in his work,” said Department of Art and Art History Chair Jack Risley. “He was able to channel the friction between its historic myth and its suburban present in work that captured both the serenity and violence of the rural landscape.”
Service for Boley took place in early September in Georgetown, TX.
Professors in Art Education Publish New Book, Are Honored by Texas Art Education Association
Wed. October 12, 2016
The last academic conference on the history of art education was held at The Pennsylvania State University in 1995. In 2015, recognizing a dearth of scholarship in historical research among visual arts educators, assistant chair of The University of Texas at Austin’s Art Education Program Dr. Paul Bolin and his colleagues Dr. Ami Kantawala (Teachers College, Columbia University) and Dr. Mary Ann Stankiewicz (The Pennsylvania State University) organized the first conference on the history of art education held in the last two decades. Research submitted to the conference, “Brushes with History: Imagination and Innovation in Art Education History,” would later give rise to the forthcoming publication, Revitalizing History: Recognizing the Struggles, Lives, and Achievements of African American and Women Art Educators.
Edited by Bolin and Kantawala, Revitalizing History recognizes the historical role that many overlooked individuals—particularly African Americans and women—have played in the field of art education, and acknowledges the importance of history and historical research in this digital age. “The history of art education, similar to the traditional canon of art history, has been dominated by white men like Walter Smith,” remarked Bolin. “My colleagues and I felt that an introduction, or a re-visitation to the contributions of other art educators on the periphery of our historical view would challenge our field with new and more complex stories that are yet in the making, and provide a platform to sustain a vibrant culture of groundbreaking scholarship in art education. The papers submitted from faculty and researchers across the US has proven this point.”
Historical inquiry forms the foundation for much research undertaken in art education. While traversing paths of historical investigation in this field visual art educators may discover undocumented moments and overlooked or hidden individuals, as well as encounter challenging ideas in need of exploration and critique. In doing so, history is approached from multiple and, at times, vitally diverse perspectives. Revitalizing History hopes to generate conversations through publication that will encourage more interest in histories of art education, but also more sophisticated and innovative approaches to historical research in this field. Contributors to the publication include Art Education assistant chair Dr. Christina Bain and lecturer Dr. Heidi Powell, in addition to five former graduate students of the Department of Art and Art History’s Art Education Program.
Bolin’s commitment to pioneering scholarship in the history of art education, advancement of the field, and his long-term contributions to the work of the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) have earned him the distinct honor of being inducted as a TAEA Distinguished Fellow at the association’s fall conference this November. Additionally, Dr. Heidi Powell will be awarded the TAEA Higher Education Division Outstanding Art Education Award that goes to the nominated individual who has significantly contributed to the field of art education on the state, local and national levels.