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.
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.
Professor Emeritus Paul P. Hatgil Honored with Distinguished Alumnus Award
Sun. October 9, 2016
As a testament to his lifelong dedication to the fine arts, the Massachusetts College of Art is awarding Professor Emeritus Paul P. Hatgil (1950-1985) with the honor of Distinguished Alumnus. The ceremony will take place on November 4, 2016 at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.
Elizabeth McClellan honored with this year’s UMLAUF Prize and exhibition
Wed. September 7, 2016
EchindaLabs, performance-based installation work of Elizabeth McClellan (M.F.A. Studio Art, 2016) will be featured with previous UMLAUF prizewinners in the UMLAUF 25th anniversary retrospective exhibition November 4, 2016 – January 29, 2017.
Don Bacigalupi, founding president of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and juror of the 2016 UMLAUF Prize, selected M.F.A. graduate Elizabeth McClellan as this year’s winner. In Bacigalupi’s statement, he remarked, “EchindaLabs is a complex, multi-faceted Gesamtkunstwerk by Elizabeth McClellan that reflects the extraordinary boundary-breaking creativity seen in some of today’s most advanced and cross-disciplinary art practices.” He adds, “the work operates in the nexus of art and medical science, a fertile territory staked out previously by artists as diverse as ORLAN and Virgil Wong. Complex ethical issues abound in the real world of rapidly advancing genome-editing technologies, and McClellan capably invites us in for consideration.”
When museum visitors walk onto the set of EchindaLabs, they will learn about genetic skin modifications and explore the possibilities of using viral biomes to decorate the skin through a series of videos, brochures, photographs and human interaction with the “EchindaLabs receptionist”. McClellan created the experience based on the recent innovations in gene editing technology and her fascination with its implications on politics, science and the future of our bodies.
Exhibition Opening is Friday, November 4 from 5–7pm.
Visual Arts Center to Receive Grant from National Endowment for the Arts to Support Exhibition
Tue. May 17, 2016
The Visual Arts Center (VAC) at The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a $45,000 grant to support a multi-part exhibition by Mexico City-based artist Victor Pérez-Rul curated by Leslie Moody Castro (M.A., Art Education, 2010). This grant is part of more than $82 million approved by NEA Chairman Jane Chu to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.
“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from the Visual Arts Center at The University of Texas at Austin offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”
The VAC has partnered with UT’s Center for Latin American Visual Studies (CLAVIS) and Energy Institute, as well as the Mexican American Cultural Center for a project that will explore the human consciousness of energy systems. Between Aug. 12 and Sept. 22, Pérez-Rul will collaborate with participants in art, physics, engineering, architecture and design to create an installation that recycles solar power into kinetic and sonic energy to power an immersive and interactive environment within the VAC. In addition to the installation at the VAC, maquettes of the artist's related work with solar-powered pods that emit sound and light at night will be exhibited on the outdoor plaza of the Mexican American Cultural Center. Both installations will be on view from Sept. 23 through Dec. 10. Moody Castro will document the exhibition's open lab and inventions with a catalog and a website.
“With the gracious support from the NEA, the Visual Arts Center will provide a unique learning platform for both collaborators and audiences that is tightly linked to our mission to educate through process,” said VAC Director Jade Walker. “Having an artist and curator in residence for such a long period of time allows for important relations to be built and true experimentation to happen throughout the course of the project.”