Studio Art undergraduate Raquelle Reeves presents work in international exhibition
Fri. February 26, 2016
Studio Art undergraduate Raquelle Reeves presents work in IRL:URL. This group exhibition will be on view at The James Black Gallery.
Alumnus Louis Hicks looks back on journey from UT to D.C.
Wed. February 24, 2016
“The university was a dominant presence for everyone in the city,” Louis Charles Hicks, Jr. said. “My dad insisted that I go to UT.”
Hicks was born in East Austin 1951 and lived there though the 1970s. The Vietnam War raged on in the background of Hicks’ studies. He completed a B.A. in psychology in 1975. After spending some time substitute teaching for Austin Independent School District, Hicks was encouraged to return to the university for teacher certification.
Instead, Hicks found himself completing a B.F.A. in Studio Art by 1978—focusing on design under late professor Leonard Ruben.
While completing his B.F.A., Hicks worked for the Austin Public Libraries and his supervisor encouraged him to apply for a position as the new Curator/Director of the George Washington Carver Museum (later named the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center).
“At that time, it was just one building, the former library was renovated and was connected to the newly constructed branch library. I was tasked with the job of creating the first exhibition for the Carver. I had never stepped foot in a museum, I didn’t know what I was doing. But because of my training through my professor—he trained us to take problems and issues and come up with creative solutions. It was through this guidance that I was able work for three months over the summer in the Austin History Center Archive even though there was no formal program set up to train me in what was needed to run a museum.”
Hicks worked at the Carver Museum for eight years and created exhibitions that explored African American history in Austin.
“Subsequent exhibitions that we developed at the museum over the years, were things that I was curious about because I did not know anything about black history in Austin nor the history that was beyond my grandmother’s generation,” said Hicks. “So through those efforts, I was able to take my interests and marry them with things that were brought to us, proposals, by people within our community as well as opportunities through partnering with organizations like Laguna Gloria.”
He found himself at Howard University where he wrote his thesis, “An Examination of the Aesthetics and Functions of Selected Works of Art of the Voodoo Religion in Haiti” and continued working in the museum field. He has worked in and around museums for over thirty years and is currently the director of grants and special projects at Humanities DC.
“My sense of design was developed through design class projects where we had to take a proposed problem and create a physical art project from it,” said Hicks. “We were also challenged with solving a problem within a short three hour session of class. That training taught me to think really broadly, to not be confined with what’s before me but to engage all of my senses and contacts to draw upon to take what I had and make what I needed.”
The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center has mounted a special photographic retrospective of From the Grounds Up: A Retrospective, originally organized by Hicks in 1983. The retrospective will be on view through March 21, 2016.
Bucky Miller reflects on his time in London as RCA exchange student
Thu. February 25, 2016
Each fall, Royal College of Art, London (RCA) sends one graduate student to study at UT Austin, and the Department of Art and Art history sends one graduate student in their third semester to study in London. Bucky Miller, M.F.A. candidate in Studio Art, studied in London last fall.
First, an American man wearing all denim and an eye patch picked me up at Heathrow and took me to meet Genie, who was to live my life for a while. I was in London as an exchange student at the Royal College of Art Program in Sculpture, where I would spend four months working and researching through the seemingly limitless layers of history that describe that city.
The majority of the pictures I made during my trip, the majority of the research I accomplished, will hopefully find their own versions of sense over the coming months. But some pictures are outliers—one-offs or tangents that could easily slip through the cracks. I shared some of these tangents on the website of the Walkative group. Here are a few more:
THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART
I was housed alongside nearly seventy M.A. students inside the RCA Sculpture studios. The student body is so large that I don’t even think I met everyone in Sculpture, let alone the other disciplines, but I miss the ones I met. It is quite an international group, and I was one of only a few Americans.
Once, standing outside the pub opposite the RCA, I heard a man with an American accent say, “do you know Ari?”
“Sorry?” I said.
“Is your name Bucky? Do you know Ari? I’m Matt. I think I met you in Arizona in like 2006.”
(Studio Table) Here is a detail of my studio table. The studio spaces at the RCA are communal, and I was surrounded by wonderful people: one from Chile who made a sinking Moai and was charting the Rhubarb Triangle, one from Germany who was collecting novelizations of Dirty Dancing from the £1 store, one from South Korea who made a campfire without fire, and one from Japan whose art defies explanation but who seemed to be ruining televisions toward some fruitful end. In other parts of the building, somebody was preparing to launch a duck decoy with a brick while some others were conducting a ballet starring camp chairs.
At one point I made a drawing out of a bran flake. I tried to bring it home in a box of tea but it didn’t survive the flight.
London contains—by my count—276 museums; these gave me a map for my research. I went to as many as I could—up to five in one day—acting simultaneously as tourist and collector, getting lost in displays and wall text until I realized that I had forgotten to eat and scrambled off to find a sandwich. Actual museums that I visited, with made-up yet accurate names, include:
- The Middle-Class Living Rooms Museum
- The Museum of Famous Fat Men of the 1940s
- The House Where Freud Died
When I go over the blur of floor plans in my head, attempting to separate all those collections, I am surprised at how little overlap there is. Still, I believe these places can be united—not just museologically, but through fiction.
There are also museums that are built entirely out of photographs, but I will write more about that at a later date.
LIFE IN LONDON
I lived in Waterloo with Barbara and Simon. They had two cats, called Gilbert and George. I had my pig, Pig, who learned to fly in the downstairs kitchen. I learned to love QI. Sometimes there were visitors. Once, there was a Hanukah party.
Somebody informed me that all swans in England belong to the Queen, and that tampering with a swan was a serious offense. Generally I am more nervous that a swan will tamper with me. These two factors—combined—may explain why I did not photograph any actual swans.
I felt more comfortable photographing the other waterfowl in the Royal Parks, and it seemed a lot of the tourists had the same idea. It was one of a few indulgences I permitted myself; I didn’t ride the London Eye or take a Haunted Bus Tour, but the birds were free.
This is me. At one point I agreed that I was a heron. Heron Bucky still lives in London, patrolling the banks of the Thames for fish and discarded Shrek plushies, while I’m back in the States. I miss him.
It was immediately clear to me that pigeons in London are surprisingly handsome. This fellow, who is really pretty average by London standards, hung out on the balcony at Tate Modern. I lived relatively close to the Tate and found myself there all the time, taking in their massive collection bit-by-bit. One day I might only look at Arte Povera stuff, the next Nam Jun Paik, and one specific Dorothea Tanning painting on the third. There were at least a couple visits where I only looked at the pigeons, who had a great view out over the Thames at a point where the buskers sang American folk songs.
This bird is a horse. It is about the size of a typical London swan, but I’m pretty sure it does not belong to the Queen. Photographed for scale.
I’d been in the UK for less than two weeks when I wound up on a farm in Cuckfield, West Sussex, for a performance art festival. In this picture, a performer hides in the lettuce patch, wearing lettuce and talking on a lettuce phone about the latest happenings in British politics (Jeremy Corbyn had just been elected leader of the Labour Party). All the work was heartfelt, different, and, for me, slightly mind-bending. Overall the day was produce-heavy: I was given blackberries straight from a bush, I photographed a cabbage, I sang to a pear, and I fell in love with a cauliflower.
London contains a lot of art. So much art, in fact, that I’m not sure how to distill it here.
Before I left Texas I made loose plans to travel, to see more of Europe. It didn’t really happen. I did make it to Cambridge once—and here’s their Polar Research Institute—but I was completely consumed by the ecstatic act of existing inside of London. I saw no reason to leave.
All images courtesy Bucky Miller.