Department of Art and Art History News

In Memorium: Adam Boley

Thu. October 13, 2016

woman swimming in water
 

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.”
 

two ducks
 

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.
 

Art and Art History Faculty Invited to Guest Lecture around the World

Thu. October 13, 2016

Design program Assistant Chair Carma Gorman
Design program Assistant Chair Carma Gorman

Design associate professor and assistant chair of the Department of Art and Art History’s Design Division Carma Gorman, Studio Art professor Michael Smith and Art History associate professor Dr. Penelope Davies have each been invited to give lectures in their specialty areas this fall.

In early October, Gorman gave a lecture called "What's American About American Design?" at the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State University, and the University of Richmond. Gorman proposes a new way of defining "American design," identifying some of its distinctive traits, and argues that the national peculiarities of U.S. design are in many cases direct responses to the globally anomalous characteristics of U.S. laws and standards.

Associate Professor Penelope Davies
Associate Professor Penelope Davies

Associate professor Davies gave a paper at The Alternative Age of Augustus conference in Cuma, Italy. Her paper, titled “Augustus’ Urban Renewal: Visionary or Derivative?”, challenges the characterization of Augustus as a visionary (e.g Favro 1998). Davies argues for the role of Republican government in preventing a unified building urban ‘program’, and the reluctance of those magistrates charged with construction to commit themselves to far-reaching public building policies. The change of urbanistic approach, she contends, came not with Augustus but with Julius Caesar.

Transmedia Professor Michael Smith
Transmedia Professor Michael Smith

Transmedia Professor Michael Smith will be speaking alongside Brandon Zech, Assistant Editor at Glasstire, at Artpace in San Antonio about the changing role of the artists and the artist as curator. As the two identities have become increasingly linked, there is a fluidity in a what role you take in the art world. The discussion hopes to parse out how this came to be.

Professors in Art Education Publish New Book, Are Honored by Texas Art Education Association

Wed. October 12, 2016

Dr. Paul Bolin
Dr. Paul Bolin, editor of Revitalizing History and 2016 TAEA Distinguished Fellow

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.

Heidi Powell
Dr. Heidi Powell, contributor to Revitalizing History and recipient of Higher Education Division Outstanding Art Education Award

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.

 


 

Khristaan Villela Appointed Director of Santa Fe Museum

Wed. October 12, 2016

Khristaan D. Villela
 
Khristaan D. Villela (M.A. in Art History, 1993; PhD in Art History, 2001) has been appointed Director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, N.M. Villela came to the museum from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD), where he was Professor of Art History and Scholar in Residence. 
 
Villela has curated exhibitions at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, the Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan, and the New Mexico History Museum. Most recently, he was consulting curator for Miguel Covarrubias: Drawing a Cosmopolitan Line at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.  Prior to his appointment at SFUAD, Villela was Eugene V. Thaw Professor of Art History at the College of Santa Fe and was the founding director of the Thaw Art History Center. He writes frequently for publications including New Mexico Magazine, El Palacio, ARTNews, Adobe Airstream, and he has a column in the Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo section. He is the author of Ancient Civilizations of the Americas: Man, Nature, and Spirit in Pre-Columbian Art (Miho Museum, 2011); The Aztec Calendar Stone (with Mary Miller, Getty Publications, 2010); and Contemporary Mexican Architecture and Design (with Ellen Bradbury Reid and Logan Wagner, Gibbs Smith Publications, 2002). He is working on a book on the contributions of the Mexican artist, collector and curator Miguel Covarrubias to Pre-Columbian studies in US and Mexico in the mid-twentieth century. Another book project is the first publication of an album of 1860s photographs, the Souvenir of New Mexico, assembled by a US Army officer in New Mexico Territory. The album includes what may be the first photos of the Navajo, as well as important images of the Navajo captivity at Fort Sumner, NM.

Q+A with Geo-Archeologist Giovanni di Maio

Wed. October 12, 2016

excavation site at Oplontis
 
The luxury villa, with its extensive gardens, water features, entertainment rooms, and baths, was a showy extension of an elite Roman’s political power and social clout. The Oplontis Project, housed in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas, has as its goal the excavation and the multidisciplinary study of Villa A (“of Poppaaea”) and Villa B (“of Lucius Crassius Tertius”) at Torre Annanziata, near Pompeii. Under the direction of John R. Clarke and Michael L. Thomas of the University of Texas at Austin and in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei, an international team of scholars and experts, including geo-archaeologist Giovanni di Maio, is working to publish a definitive studies of all aspects of these sites.
 
Di Maio recently visited the Department of Art and Art History to give a lecture on the excavation sites of Pompeii, Oplontis and Positano. We sat down with him to learn more about his work and collaboration with the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy
 

Why do you take into consideration the change of landscape? What insights does it lend?

It is so intriguing to see the evolution of the land, because everything changes. Nothing stays the same; it is interesting to see how things like human activity affect the land. 
 

Why do you think the secondary phenomena of the eruption have been studied so little?

Well, you work on the things that you can find; that’s the nature of archaeology. And we tend not to focus on the smaller stuff. For example, people tend to take more interest in the paintings and frescos than on the imprints or pottery that is found. However, it’s the sum total of the “smaller stuff” that sometimes creates the significant insights into what we know about the lives of those at Pompeii, Oplontis and Positano.
 

What are the roles of art historians at the excavation site?

Any kind of visual representation has a context. Much of what art historians do is make connections and interpretations, creating a narrative so that we can understand the purpose or function of what we have found. For example, the art historians worked on fragments of frescoes left in storage after the initial reconstruction of Villa A. By studying these fragments and putting them into the original perspective schemes they were able to recover the beautiful trompe l’oeil architectural decorations of two big rooms. These are exhibited in Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii, currently at the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University.
 

Did any ethical issues come up during the excavations?

This region of Italy has a long and rich history. For many in the region and in Italy, these excavations remind them that it was once a city; that once there was life, but it was suddenly stolen by a natural disaster. This changes the experience of seeing the casts of the human beings or the dog exhibited at Pompeii. The city acts as a living museum. It’s reasonable and proper to recognize and remember that they are remnants of lives lived and that they tell a story.
 

How are sciences, like geology, becoming an essential part of collaborative humanities?

Geology is fundamental to archaeology. There are problems with depth that must be considered, and geology becomes important when making considerations for the stability of buildings. You want to avoid knocking down or collapsing buildings. But there are also other considerations and insights to be made. We had paleobotanists look at the gardens at the villas, and their work showed that the gardens had been abandoned before the eruption. We have done residue analysis on 1300 lime jars that revealed many were actually later used to carry wine. Analysis of carbonized wood showed that they were growing very tall pines. Stone analysis revealed what quarries the building stones came from, which also signified the huge reach and wealth of Oplontis. Pigment analysis finds the composition of materials, so we can date objects. So science is fundamental in every part of archaeology, without it, we could not understand Oplontis as well as we do now.