From Visual Arts Center

Slide Slam at the Visual Arts Center

Mark Dion bird watching (left), David Brooks with fish (right)
Mark Dion bird watching (left), David Brooks with fish (right)

In September the VAC’s artist-in-residence David Brooks gave a talk detailing the inanimate material culture that formed the basis of his current exhibition Repositioned Core, in which a geologic core sample bisects the space of the Vaulted Gallery. As a contrast to the inert and the geological, Brooks has invited artist Mark Dion to join him in a dynamic Slide Slam, delving into the liveliness and diversity found within the animal kingdom. Join Brooks and Dion as they argue the virtuosity of one species over another, comparing research and past work to illustrate the exuberance of animate life hovering atop the lifeless geological.

Learn more about the artists and join us November 3!

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Open house at the Department of Art and Art History

This Saturday, April 5, the Department of art and Art History will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. Stop by the department and the Visual Arts Center between 2 – 5 p.m. and join the activities! The VAC will have a guided tour of our senior thesis exhibitions at 2 pm and the entire department will be buzzing with demonstrations, exhibitions, activities, and tours! Visit our website for a schedule of events and tag your photos #utaah75 when you visit!

university-of-texas-at-austin, department-of-art-and-art-history, 75th-anniversary

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Saturday Tour at the Visual Arts Center; Exploring Grids and Geography and Girls Gone West


Join us on a guided tour to discover and discuss artworks inspired by travel at the Visual Arts Center (VAC) on February 22, 2014 at 2:00. This tour highlights the artworks of both Dean Fleming’s exhibition Grids and Geography and Girls Gone West, a dynamic multi-media group show consisting of five of the department’s alumni. Through active participation and discussion, we invite you to have fun exploring these various artworks!


 The exhibition of Fleming’s work is made up of over twenty mesmerizing 4X4-inch gouache studies from his 1964 journey from Morocco to the Greek island of Lesbos. We welcome visitors to lose themselves in the beauty of the paintings’ rich colors and succinct symmetry. Dean Fleming is known for his large abstract geometric paintings done in acrylic. Often described as hard edge, minimalist, and proto-op-art, Fleming would argue that his artistic freedom lies in other’s inability to label his work. Visitors of the VAC have the opportunity to explore early work that has influenced his contemporary pieces. Vibrant reds fill the works from Egypt while deep blues fill pieces from his travels in Algeria.  Does the psychology of color affect his works? Dean Fleming was born in Venice, California in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. Reflecting on the want and misery of the Great Depression, as well as, the materialism that followed, he expressed in an interview that the hardships of his time inspired him to live a life full of experiences rather than things. In his paintings, it appears that it has been these travels and experiences that have affected what and how he creates art.


During our tour we will also consider how different exhibitions at the VAC are a compliment to Grids and Geography. By looking at other artworks, we can find answers to the questions we seek from art. Girls Gone West chronicles the week-long road trip by the five young UT graduate artists Ally Acheson-Snow, Karina Eckmeier, Maia Schall, Allie Underwood, and Chantal Wnuk as they experience the monumental Earthworks located throughout the American Southwest. Just as Fleming discovered the importance of travel in shaping our life and not our studies, each artist discovers what “going west” means for herself and reflects that idea in her own artwork. You will have the chance to observe all different types of medium from Fleming’s paintings to video installations created by Eckmeier and Underwood. Get ready to travel to faraway places during our tour at the VAC on February 22, 2014 at 2:00.

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2013 Holiday Museum Crawl

2013 holidaycrawl

Enjoy festive music, hot beverages, special discounts and a prize drawing!

‘Tis the season to shop local, and Austin’s Cultural Campus is offering a shopping event to get everyone in the holiday spirit! Downtown Austin is a cultural destination, where unique shops within walking distance of one another offer museum-quality gifts that allow you to make meaningful purchases that support art, history and science in your city.

The Blanton Museum of Art, Bullock Texas State History Museum, Harry Ransom Center, LBJ Presidential Library, Texas Memorial Museum, and the Visual Arts Center have joined forces to present the 2013 Holiday Museum Crawl on Saturday, December 7, with festive music, hot beverages and special discounts for those who mention the Austin Cultural Campus.

By shopping in Austin museums and cultural centers, you can find distinctive gifts, such as original art work, nature-themed jewelry, dinosaur goodies, collectibles, souvenirs or the official state ornament. For a gift that lasts all year, purchase a membership and receive a free gift at some locations while supplies last. Sign up at any location to be entered in a special prize package drawing.

Explore Austin’s museum shops online:

Blanton Museum of Art

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Harry Ransom Center

LBJ Presidential Library

Texas Memorial Museum

Visual Arts Center

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Explore Austin’s Cultural Campus!

In 2010, administrators from two of Austin’s most popular museums put their heads together to brainstorm ways they might help one another publicize events. The brainchild born of that conversation was Austin’s Cultural Campus, a pedestrian-friendly destination offering exhibitions that highlight visual and literary arts, history and science. In addition to rich cultural experiences, visitors can enjoy performances, shopping, dining and much more.

Seven organizations comprise Austin’s Cultural Campus (ACC) and all are located on or near the University of Texas at Austin campus within walking distance of each other—the Blanton Museum of Art, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Visual Art Center, and Landmarks (the public art program of the University of Texas).

Click here to watch a short video about ACC.

“ACC partners with local organizations to offer new and creative ways for visitors to experience member institutions,” explains Kathleen Stimpert, Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Blanton and one of ACC’s founders. “Over the years these have included segway tours with SegCity, bike tours with Mellow Johnny’s, music crawls with the Butler School, and a Holiday Shopping crawl.”

You can pick up a rack card at any of the member institutions for descriptions and a map of their locations. Keep up with ACC special events on this blog or our Facebook page.

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“Diffuse Reflection Lab” at the Visual Arts Center

LPSEach spring and fall semester the Visual Arts Center’s Vaulted Gallery is transformed by emerging national and international artists who are invited to the VAC to create new, site-specific installations. This spring, the Vaulted Gallery is filled not with paintings or photographs but a two-story structure created by Seattle-based artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, known collectively as Lead Pencil Studio.

Han and Mihalyo’s structure, titled Diffuse Reflection Lab, is a mixture of dioramas and engaging, interactive spaces—one room, modeled after a café, is filled with magazines, tables and chairs, often occupied with visitors or studying students. Drawing inspiration for their installation from the shiny newness of downtown Austin, against what they found to be an otherwise modest city fabric, and the notoriously intense Texas light, Lead Pencil Studio fills these spaces with an array of reflective surfaces and objects. Each wall, room and object is used to consider different reflective surfaces and their properties, as well as how the reflection of light informs and defines spaces.

Students from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Art and Art History and School of Architecture played a vital role in the completion of Diffuse Reflection Lab. Working alongside Lead Pencil Studio, these students enjoyed the valuable opportunity to have hands-on involvement in all aspects of the installation—from planning and development, to implementation and staging.

To gain insight into the artists’ perspective on Diffuse Reflection Lab be sure to check out the VAC’s recent artist documentary on Lead Pencil Studio.

Diffuse Reflection Lab is on view through May 11 at the Visual Arts Center.

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