Department of Art and Art History News

Type Hike Receiving Press Coverage in Co.Design and More

Fri. November 18, 2016

national park service centennial poster
NPS Centennial by James Louis Walker


Type Hike is a collaborative design project that includes 60 designers and typographers. Each has created a unique design for a park they love in celebration of the National Parks Service centennial this past August. The project is organized by David Rygiol and Design lecturer James Louis Walker.

Recently, the project has been covered in articles by Co.Design, Communications Art Magazine, Étapes and Dribbble.

Lisa Laughlin Boyd: Supporting Diversity in the Arts

Thu. November 17, 2016

two people looking at artwork

Lisa Laughlin Boyd grew up around art and around those who created artwork. Attending Fort Worth Country Day School in Dallas, she would take the evening classes in drawing and sculpture at what is currently The Modern in Fort Worth. At the beginning of her undergraduate career, she attended Vanderbilt University before realizing that she wanted to pursue art history in earnest and transferred to The University of Texas at Austin. What she realized then, and continues to emphasize today, about the strength of the UT Department of Art and Art History was its diversity in course offerings and intellectual excellence. Over the course of her B.F.A. in Art History (1972), she was able to take courses in art history, studio art and design. The experience would influence her choice to continue on at UT, earning her master’s degree in art history (1976) where she focused on contemporary American architecture. “I had an advisor, Blake Alexander, who was the Architectural Historian in the School of Architecture as well as Dr. Tom Reese, who would later go on to the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. They helped me craft my master’s thesis on the work of Louis Kahn, specifically The Kimbell Art Museum and the Yale Center for British Art.”

But like other students who graduate from the Department of Art and Art History, Boyd’s life took an interesting turn. Some time after completing her master’s degree, Boyd went on to earn her M.B.A. in financial planning and become a Financial Planner in Dallas. She was brought back to Austin, and to her love of the arts, by the work of the administration at the Department of Art and Art History. “It was so exciting for me to be back in that [academic] environment where you work scholastically every day,” she said. “It was stimulating and different from what I was doing at home. I had a few friends on the council at that time and I just became very enthusiastic about bringing others aboard. Eventually, I just loved Austin enough to buy a lot and build a house and move here.”

As a society and as individuals, we’re at a moment when we’re being asked to invest socially and politically in the issues that matter to us. So we had to ask: How do you see the Director’s Council growing in the coming years and how can people get involved? “Well, first, you have to have the time,” said Boyd. “I always stress how much time you have to invest in the council and how much you get in return in terms of learning about your institution and your connections with UT.”

“In terms of where we’re going, the council is really looking to diversify, both in terms of experience with the University or Texas, and even with the arts,” said Boyd. “It’s important to get new blood and hear new voices.”

Boyd is a mainstay at Visual Arts Center events and the annual Open Studios, where the department opens its doors so that the public can get a glimpse of the work and workspaces of M.F.A. candidates in Studio Art and Design. A firm believer in supporting young artists across all disciplines, Boyd looks for work that stays with her long after initial viewing. “I don’t think of myself as a collector, per se,” Boyd said. “But I do collect.” As a practicing artist, Boyd prefers to paint representationally. However, when collecting works to decorate her own home, Boyd selects abstract works that challenge her. “It's all part of this huge tapestry of talent and creativity, you know?” Boyd reflected. “Back in the '60s or '70s, it might not have been considered valid to draw the figure or draw a landscape. But contemporary taste and criticism prize diversity and an appreciation for all sorts of expressions that enrich our lives.”

Boyd’s support for the arts, the Department of Art and Art History and individual artists’ work—whether in the form of an M.F.A. candidates’ work, the Director’s Council, or collaborating with architect Michael Hsu on the design of her home—comes from a sense that people should live with the objects that move them, that take them out of their own lives and enrich their experience. 

Troy Brauntuch Exhibits Work in Solo Show at Petzel Gallery

Thu. November 17, 2016

Untitled (Statue)
Pigment on cotton
100.75 x 55 inches

Troy Brauntuch, professor in painting and drawing, presents solo exhibition at Petzel Gallery in New York. The exhibition will be on view from November 3 - December 23, 2016.

In the introduction to a release from Petzel Gallery, Brauntuch's exhibition was described:

"An enormous painting of a nude welcomes the viewer: her arms are outstretched, her hands cropped, her torso slightly abstracted, her head tilts backward to the left into the dark blue background. Supposedly, she represents eternal beauty and perfection; however, the work is derived from a Heinrich Hoffmann photograph—a German propaganda image of a marble sculpture from the 1930s. A second picture in this gallery space closes in on an artist standing high atop a ladder, chiseling the head of a giant sculpture. Josef Thorak, Hitler’s most admired sculptor has been a source for various works by Brauntuch, who appropriated images of disinformation back in the 1970s when he was a member of the Pictures Generation, and sets the stage for this, Brauntuch’s sixth solo exhibition at Petzel."

Professor Margo Sawyer Invited to Two International Artist Residences this Fall

Wed. November 16, 2016



Professor of Sculpture & Extended Media Margo Sawyer will be in an artist-in-residence at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France for the month of November. The Brown Foundation Fellows Program, based at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes provides residencies of one to three months for mid-career professionals in the arts and humanities to concentrate on their fields of expertise.  Sawyer will be in residence with Emma Franz, an Australian filmmaker and musician, and Amina Gautier, a Brooklyn native and author of three award-winning short story collections. At the Dora Maar House Sawyer will continue her investigations on Synchronicity of Color.



In December, Sawyer will be an artist-in-residence at Franz Meyer of Munich, the world’s leading international studio in the field of artistic glass and innovative mosaic work in architecture. Franz Meyer exclusively executes the designs of work from independent artists and designers. Sawyer aims to investigate various methods of interpreting her artistic vision into architectural art glass and mosaics at Franz Meyer.

Professors and Alumni Speak at Oplontis Project Symposium at Montana State University

Wed. November 16, 2016


The Oplontis Project is a multidisciplinary study of Villa A (“of Poppaea”) and Villa B (“of Lucius Crassius Tertius”) at Oplontis within Torre Annunziata, Italy. Under the direction of Professor of Art History John R. Clarke and Director of the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy Michael L. Thomas of The University of Texas at Austin and in collaboration with Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei, an international team of scholars is working to publish definitive studies of all aspects of these sites.

In September, a symposium was held at Montana State University to share both the ancient and modern meaning concerning the “spirit of place” and the idea of “genius loci” in context of the two archaeological sites at the ancient Roman seaside town of Oplontis.

The symposium was recorded and can now be viewed on Youtube 

The symposium was organized by UT alumna Regina Gee (Ph.D. in Art History, 2003) and included John R. Clarke, Michael Thomas and alumnus Ivo van der Graaff (Ph.D. in Art History, 2013). The presenting scholars are part of a decade-long international collaborative study to preserve and publish the material record of this extraordinary joint site, and in so keeping it alive for future generations of scholars. In doing so, their inter-disciplinary, contextual studies illuminate how the physical setting influenced the culture and economics of this playground for Rome’s rich and famous on the Bay of Naples.