M.F.A. candidates in Studio Art spend a nonstop weekend in New York City
Thu. March 31, 2016
Second year M.F.A. candidates in Studio Art traveled to New York City earlier this semester. However, this wasn’t a vacation weekend: the seven students visited over 25 galleries and six museums as a group (with time built into their schedule for additional individual visits to spaces of their choice).
“We got to see a lot of great art, courtesy of a tour with Gregory Volk,” says Laura Brown. “My favorite were the shows at Postmasters Gallery, which included a group show of small sculptures, all displayed on a huge, custom-made table, and another show of collaged embroideries by Sally Smart. We got to meet her and hear all about her process and practice from research to development to execution. As a person who really engages with process myself, that was interesting to hear about—especially since her materials and medium are not the most common or conventional.”
Gregory Volk, art critic, freelance curator and 2015 Viewpoint speaker, led the group on a day-long gallery tour that he organized. Volk even invited some of the exhibiting artists to come and talk to the students about their work.
“It was lovely to see Gregory again and to hear directly from gallerists and artists about the work we looked at,” Brown says, “It was great to hear Amy Sillman talk about her work and staying engaged with it after so many years of making and many life transitions. When I think about where I want to be in twenty years, I hope to have a practice with some longevity, and I know that doesn't just happen. It takes work and commitment and the ability to stay open and responsive to the world around you. I found it encouraging to meet artists at various stages of their careers and hear their experiences. Everyone has such a different story to tell.”
The trip is funded by an Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation grant as part of their Marketplace Empowerment for Artists program which works to provide professional artists with the skills necessary to navigate the contemporary art market. The students also met Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, 2015 UT Austin commencement speaker and College of Fine Arts Advisory Council member.
“Darren Walker really is the energetic, enthusiastic, magical person we were told he would be,” Brown says. “We all researched the history of the Ford Foundation, Mr. Walker's biography, and the changes he has brought to the organization before our trip. We had such a short time with him, but I could have sat there chatting with him for hours.”
While the four days of travel and a packed itinerary make a long weekend, the visit familiarizes the students to New York and allows them to meet artists, gallerists, and curators before returning to the quiet of their studios.
“My friends in New York simply seem over saturated. But that's not to say that one is better than the other,” Miller says. “For me it's a matter of temperament. I want to be able to focus on what's going on in my studio.”
Brown adds, “I grew up in rural places, so I am partial to smaller cities and communities. For its size, Austin has a good mix of galleries, studios, and active artists. I think that in smaller communities, there is a closer connection between artists and art appreciators. It's more accessible and human.”
Alumna Rachel Lee Hovnanian presents installation at 2016 Dallas Art Fair
Mon. March 14, 2016
Rachel Lee Hovnanian (B.F.A. Studio Art, 1982) presents Perfect Baby Showroom as the solo feature of Leila Heller Gallery at the sixth annual Dallas Art Fair April 15–17, 2016.