Department of Art and Art History Lecture or Talk

Art educators Pam G. Taylor and Christine Ballengee-Morris visit UT Austin to discuss how to make an impact through arts learning

Thu. March 2, 2017

Part call to action, part heart-to-heart and part brass-tacks lesson-planning, the seminar and lecture by art educators and close colleagues Dr. Pam G. Taylor and Dr. Christine Ballengee-Morris at the UT Austin Department of Art and Art History delivered on the promise of sharing how to make a difference as visual arts educators.

two students crafting hybrid stuffed animals look to the right


During the seminar with upper level undergraduate Visual Art Studies students Taylor and Ballengee-Morris came ready to work—or to put the students to work. Believers in kinetic learning, the visiting scholars had students create “Franken-Pets” by assembling new, hybrid creatures from the parts of other stuffed animals they brought into the classroom. As students created their creatures, Taylor and Ballengee-Morris unpacked the art historical, cultural sensitivity and curriculum goals that could be interwoven into the lesson. 

“It’s not always recognized, but we have power in the art world,” said Taylor during the seminar as she made the case for teaching students how to become critical thinkers who can deconstruct our increasingly visually-oriented world. Later in the day, Taylor and Ballengee-Morris’ lecture would stress the same, while also unfolding a long history of friendship and academic collaboration that has sustained their practice as educators. Taylor is Professor of Art Education in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and her research interests include data visualization, hypermediation theory, and curriculum and assessment in art education. Ballengee-Morris is a professor in the Arts Administration, Education, and Policy Department and the American Indian Studies Coordinator for The Ohio State University, and the founding director of The Multicultural Center at OSU. Ballengee-Morris’ research interests include self-determination, identity development, Indigenous arts, and service-learning. Having known each other for 23 years, Taylor and Ballengee-Morris emphasized how their unique professional and personal experiences as researchers have influenced their collaborative endeavors.

student in profile with burnt orange shirt sews stuffed animal together

The two researchers encouraged students to develop their own networks to achieve the kind of change they want to see in the world. “We hope to create change agents that will spread these ideas in the community,” echoed both Taylor and Ballengee-Morris when talking about the goals of inclusivity, multiculturalism and interdisciplinary learning that are organic outcomes of a pedagogy based upon listening, challenging and changing together.  

Michael Smith traces origins of Baby Ikki persona in screening and panel conversation at Museum Brandhorst

Mon. February 27, 2017

A man facing the horizon dressed in diaper stares at desert sun
 
Transmedia professor Michael Smith will be speaking on a panel with art historian Helmut Draxler and artists Peter Wächtler and Jutta Zimmermann at the end of March. Panel discussion will focus on panelist engagement with post-apocalyptic narratives in their work.

The March 31 panel and screenings are among a series hosted by Museum Brandhorst titled “Post-Apocalyptic Realism: It’s After the End of the World. Don’t You Know That?”, which brings together artists who, “[take] the fragile status of mankind in the world as their starting point,” as the museum’s press relates. “Post-apocalyptic stories are also a continuation of one of modernity’s essential narratives: the narrative of the self which has lost its ground and place in a world that has long been out of joint. They are directed at a possible future while at the same time being profoundly anchored in the given reality of the present and past.”

In a description of Smith’s work and contribution to discussion, Museum Brandhorst’s program details,

“For over thirty years, video/performance/installation artist Michael Smith has built an extensive body of work based on two performance personae: Mike, a hopeful innocent who continually falls victim to trends and fashions outside his reach; and Baby Ikki, an ambiguously aged toddler who follows his impulses down unsupervised and often precipitous paths. Both characters are convenient narrative vehicles for Smith to engage the tragicomic aspects of contemporary culture, teasing out facets of loneliness, consumerism, and measures of success and failure. Following the screening of Baby Ikki’s trip to the Burning Man Festival (“A Voyage of Growth and Discovery”, Michael Smith and Mike Kelley, 2010, 87min), Smith will trace the origins of each persona back to the mid-1970s, discussing how feminism, the silent majority, blandness and the media informed their separate and arrested development.”

More details about the series and Michael Smith can be found at e-flux and Museum Brandhorst.  

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