Department of Art and Art History News

Dr. George Flaherty releases new book exploring civil unrest and cultural revolution during 1968 Olympic games

Wed. August 31, 2016

Dr. George Flaherty
Dr. George Flaherty

University of California Press has published Art History professor Dr. George Flaherty's Hotel Mexico: Dwelling on the '68 Movement. Initially a dissertation, Flaherty's book explores the ways that events surrounding the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico served as the field for a dramatic upheaval in Mexican culture and how the city itself became a medium of communication.

Flaherty will be discussing his book with Laura Gutierrez, of the Department of Theater and Dance, at the LLILAS Faculty Book Presentation on September 2, 2016 at noon at the Benson Latin American Collection.  

Assistant Professor Nicole Awai included in exhibition at Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York

Fri. August 19, 2016

 A detailed look at Awai's piece titled, "I Vant To Be An A-Lone Star"
Nicole Awai, I Vant To Be An A-Lone Star, 2011 (detail)

Assistant professor Nicole Awai was featured in Sploch, a two-venue exhibition on the Lower East Side curated by Eileen Jeng. The exhibition was on view at Sperone Westwater Gallery from July 7 - August 12, 2016.

Splotch featured artists whose work involves a methodical and controlled process of creating seemingly free form or random daubs and spots. The title of the exhibition is inspired by Sol LeWitt’s fiberglass pieces titled Splotches and the working drawings or “footprints.” Lewitt’s 12-foot long sculpture Splotch #3, 2000, which was previously shown at The Met in 2005, and the working drawings will be exhibited for the first time at Lesley Heller Workspace, the other venue of the exhibition.

Splotch includes works by Nicole Awai, Lynda Benglis, Trudy Benson, Matias Cuevas, Lucky DeBellevue, Alex Dodge, Mary Heilmann, Andreas Kocks, Sol LeWitt, Emil Lukas, Riad Miah, Takesada Matsutani, Landon Metz, Angel Otero, Otto Piene, David Reed, Taney Roniger, Brie Ruais, Julia von Eichel, Terry Winters, and Jian-Jun Zhang.


Interview with Erica Baum

Tue. July 19, 2016

red photograph of a woman juxtaposed with book pages
Erica Baum, "Investigation", 2014

Erica Baum was previously exhibited in The Visual Arts Center in 2012. This interview shows her unique perspective on the intersection of text and image.



David Brooks Presents Solo Exhibition in Connecticut

Thu. June 23, 2016

man peaks through sculpture
Mr. Brooks looks through his piece ‘Migratory Species (Habitat Formation)’. Photo by: Michelle Mcloughliln

Continuous Service Altered Daily is a site-engaged sculptural array, or, as David Brooks refers to it, an “asteroid field without a distinctive beginning or end.” Brooks has disemboweled a beacon of agricultural technology, a 1976 John Deere 3300 series combine harvester, into hundreds of individual components, ranging from the iconic and specific to the common and standard. He has arranged every part, with not a single piece excluded, in an ambling procession that begins in the Museum’s front plaza, winds through the Atrium, front first-floor galleries, the inner courtyard, and ends in the Sculpture Garden. The project is understood as one continuous action that is expressed in a myriad of sculptural moments. From the macro to the micro, Brooks’s installation concurrently zooms in and out of view, wedging us inside the far off and the up close.

Brooks’s method of presentation offers the machine’s shell and innards in varying degrees of material transformation: 1) in its weathered condition, but with its trademark John Deere green still visible; 2) sandblasted to remove all evidence of wear and tear, returning the object back to its material origin; 3) brass plated; 4) powder coated, elevating the individualized status of the pieces as precious objects. Brooks uses the distinctive form and function of the disassembled combine analogously, allowing it to mirror the philosophical impasse at which we find ourselves as our hyperkinetic era faces an escalating ecological crisis.

David Brooks was previously an Artist-In-Residence of The Visual Arts Center in 2014. Continuous Service Altered Daily is open at The Aldrich Contemporary Art until February 5, 2017. 

Adam Crosson Presents "Room with a View" Exhibition

Thu. June 23, 2016

black and white blurry abstract image
Photo by: Adam Crosson
I continually trace between the language of urban densities and peripheral spaces of dissolve—each condition becoming recognized in the other, the results are photographs, sculptures, and installations referencing uncanny instances of time and place. In these conditions my works formulate place as vestige where a vernacular is gathered through distance, as from the passing train in the landscape or from a bird’s-eye view overhead. Recently I have been mining roadways and streetscapes for signs in varying states of obsolescence. I produce facsimiles of these structures as sculpture and I also work with these signs in-situ, converting them into large cameras from which I make photographs from their position and point of view.

Rebecca Solnit discusses America’s “amnesiac landscape” as one of erasure, razing the structures of our history as means of escape and control. I use my work as a tool to investigate the American ruin, an endangered species as Solnit describes. In a nation of erasures it is necessary to detect emerging conditions of the ruin as structures that are calibrated with America’s amnesiac tendencies. The lights that still glow in an otherwise sign of nothingness seem to state, in a very distinct way, the ironies undergirding a nation of erasures.

When signs lose their subjects, their information panels, they become infrastructural relics. Instead of signifying points of commerce through sign as metaphor, they signify—through metonymy—the very antithesis of a functioning capitalist economy, summed up in terms of stagnation, ends, lack, and ultimately, the ruin. There is an untethering of the literal sign structures from the commercial buildings on which they were previously attached. They become individually autonomous within a post-commercial taxonomy.

My photographs come out of an ethos of photography as ritual as opposed to reflex. I make each camera that I use and generally I make two types of photographs. One type emerges directly from my appropriation and conversion of empty signs or otherwise underutilized spaces into cameras while the other type is of open water conditions in South Louisiana. I find that the first type is anchored in logic, in a set of rules that determine all variables involved while the second type is open, floating at the water’s edge.

The sign structure photographs are typically composed of a strict grid of individual images, resulting in many slightly shifted perspectives of streets, parking lots, and strip malls; they have a complicated or ambivalent relationship to place while the waterscapes are saturated in a specific and poetic connection to place. The open water photographs are made at the infrastructural ends where blacktop or gravel meets water at land’s edge. I have been focusing these efforts in the South Louisiana landscape, where land’s edge is swiftly losing ground. These open water photographs have larger image diameters that overlap; the photographs are large in scale, opening the viewer to the sublime sense of the landscape that I experience beyond the levees.

The two ways in which I make photographs seem to be anchors along my own gamut of how I experience conditions of place. By working both centrifugally and centripetally, moving from the urban-out and the rural-in, my work remains in flux, continually disassembling notions of boundary and threshold.
Adam Crosson was born in Arkansas in 1982. He holds an MFA from The University of Texas at Austin and a BARCH from the Fay Jones School of Architecture. Crosson was recently awarded a Core artist-in-residence fellowship through the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for the 2016-17 term. In 2014, Crosson was awarded the inaugural Dean's Royal College Exchange Fellowship allowing him to spend a term at the Royal College of Art, London where he participated in two group exhibitions. In 2014, Crosson was also awarded the Umlauf Prize and a fellowship to attend the Vermont Studio Center residency program. Recent solo exhibitions include Soft Wax at Pump Project, and Intermodal at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and museum, both in Austin. In 2015, Crosson was included in group exhibitions in Providence, RI and Houston, TX. He has organized exhibitions in Texas, London, and Vermont.
The exhibition is presented by Co-Lab Projects and will be on view from July 2 - August 6, 2016.