Department of Art and Art History Faculty

Jason Urban's The Formalist's Library exhibition opens at SNAP Gallery

Thu. March 23, 2017

open book with concentric black rectangles

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.

Hotel Mexico awarded the Arvey Foundation Book Award from the Association for Latin American Art

Mon. March 20, 2017

depiction of book cover with blue tinted skyline of mexico and title of book
Hotel Mexico: Dwelling on the '68 Movement by George Flaherty


Each year the Association for Latin American Art (ALAA) selects a book representing the best scholarly work published on the art of Latin America from the Pre-Columbian era to the present for the Arvey Foundation Book Award. This year, the selection committee honored Art History assistant professor George Flaherty with that award for his most recent book, Hotel Mexico: Dwelling on the '68 Movement (University of California Press, 2016).

“In his abundantly detailed, thoughtful, and theoretically sophisticated study, Flaherty engages a pivotal episode, the 1968 massacre of 300 student protestors in Mexico City ten days before the Olympics,” said Charlene Villaseñor Black, ALAA Chair, during the award presentation. “Flaherty considers Mexico in 1968 and its cinematic, photographic, and literary afterimages in an analysis of the diverse ways in which the Tlatelolco Massacre is remembered, evoked, and memorialized.”

Flaherty publishes primarily on Latin American and U.S. Latino visual and spatial cultures since 1940, with emphasis on Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. His research and teaching interests extend to Cuba, film and media studies, postcolonial and subaltern studies, and the historiography of global contemporary art. Hotel Mexico investigates the spatial dimensions of the 1968 student-led protest movement in Mexico City and its representation. 

Professor Joan Holladay Invited to Lecture at Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures in Hamburg

Mon. March 20, 2017

woman in black blazer standing to the right of her power point presentation
Dr. Joan Holladay


The Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures engages in fundamental research on the diversity of manuscript cultures. In early March, the center invited Art History Professor Joan Holladay along with scholars of manuscripts from across the globe to share their research in Hamburg, Germany during a workshop titled, “The Illustration of History in Medieval Manuscripts.”

Meant to address the question of the illustration of historical texts in both Western European and Persian traditions, the colloquia in March brought together specialists from Europe, the United States and Turkey, to provide a comparative approach to many common questions in the field. Holladay’s presentation focused on her research in western medieval art, specifically focusing on cases where manuscript illustrations depart from patterning manusc imagery after its accompanying text and choose to depict family trees.

“My paper examined three different kinds of chronicles whose illustrations depart from this expected pattern in which the images illustrate events narrated in the text,” writes Holladay. “All three replace such narrative imagery with family trees, diagrams that are not generated by the text. If the choice of narrative episodes to illustrate the events in more typically illuminated chronicles reveal an understanding of the text, I ask: ‘How do such family trees elaborate, supplement, or gloss the text?’”
 

UT Austin professors speak out against proposed elimination of NEA and NEH

Thu. March 16, 2017

In a bid to reduce domestic spending, the White House has proposed the elimination of multiple federal programs including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in its budget priorities, according to details outlined by The Hill and The New York Times.

This is not the first time that the NEA and NEH have come under fire. In the 30-year history of the NEA, the agency has continued to work to support excellence in the arts and humanities despite continuous political opposition. In response to the recent threat to both agencies, a host of arts leaders at UT Austin have spoken out against the latest budget proposal, including Art History Professor Eddie Chambers, Art History Professor John Clarke, and Stephen Enniss, director of the Harry Ransom Center.

UT Austin professors have argued against the notion that the combined budgets of the NEA and NEH—totaling some $148 million each (about .5% of the requested $54 billion increase in defense spending)—will move the needle on reducing deficit spending. “Given that cutting the NEH/NEA will do virtually nothing to positively impact the nation's deficit, this planned axing represents a serious diminishment in the cultural and educational life and health of the nation,” writes Chambers in The Dallas Morning News. “Doubtless we would all agree that the nation continues to grapple with monumental problems on a great many fronts, but the continued operating of these agencies is most assuredly not among these problems. Quite the reverse.”

Since 1984, the NEA and NEH have contributed an estimated $14,942,822 to the success of multiple projects across the university as well as faculty publications and research benefiting the UT student body, the city of Austin and the wider scholarship of arts and culture. Among them, Art History Professor Jeffrey Smith has seen his research sustained over 25 years by NEH support, beginning with a subvention grant from the NEH in 1984 for New Perspectives on the Art of Renaissance Nuremberg: Five Essays, a book he edited to a six-month research fellowship from the NEH in 2008, which ultimately grounded the research presented in his book, Dürer (London: Phaidon Press, 2012).

As Chambers made clear, the NEA and the NEH are vital to the cultural and educational health of the nation, including those that affect the academic and professional lives of those on the UT Austin campus. Speaking on behalf of the Oplontis Project, an archaeological study devoted to the excavation, study, and publication of the site of Oplontis in Italy, professor John Clarke spoke to The Daily Texan, “It’s impossible to think about continuing research without the NEH, particularly since the humanities are so terribly underfunded in general. The important part of the NEH is to remember that the humanities feed into and overlap with both the hard and soft sciences, so it’s literally a way of bridging disciplines.”

It remains to be seen how the Budget and Appropriations committees will handle the White House budget, but as professors from the Department of Art and Art History know and will attest, the NEH and NEA are critical to America’s legacy of artistic excellence and cultural investment.
 

Dance with flARmingos: Kristin Lucas interviewed by Oregon Public Broadcasting on the latest evolution in her work with virtual reality

Mon. February 27, 2017

“As a December snowstorm raged around OSB’s office in downtown Portland, the artist Kristin Lucas was dreaming of flamingos.”

And so begins the podcast episode “Oregon Virtual Reality Incubator Takes Artists Into New Worlds” from Oregon’s NPR station. The host, Aaron Scott featured the artists and work from an Augmented/Virtual Reality Artist Residency, including Transmedia professor Kristin Lucas.

screen shot of a virtual reality flamingo dance and in the left corner a person
film still from Dance with the flARmingos: Multispecies Dance

Kristin Lucas' virtual reality project, Dance with flARmingos: Multispecies Dance is a poetic proposition that re-imagines kinship between humans and flamingos from the ethical distance of a Mixed Reality experience. However, Dance with flARmingos, has been a long time in the making and functions as the umbrella title for a series of Augmented Reality projects Lucas has produced since 2015. The latest iteration of the project, Multispecies Dance, takes the series in a new direction, utilizing new Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies, including the Microsoft HoloLens and HTC Vive. Lucas' project is inspired by writings on ecology and feminism, and involves partnership with a wetlands reserve organization in the Mediterranean where she recently adopted flamingos as a part of a conservation effort. Production support for Multispecies Dance is being provided through residencies affiliated with Oregon Story Board/Upfor Gallery (Portland), Harvestworks (New York) and Printscreen Festival (Tel Aviv).

To listen to the podcast, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting’s website.
 

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