Category: art

New LDSOA director Chris Garvin

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garvin_chris.jpgEach fall brings many new faces to campus, but this semsester marks the beginning of a new era at the Lamar Dodd School of Art with the arrival of its new director, Chris Garvin. Learn more about Garvin, his background and vision for the school in this extended Q&A (an abridged version appeared in the Sept. 2 Columns):

Chris Garvin comes to UGA from The University for the Arts in Philadelphia, where he served as program director. An interactive designer and creative director in the private sector for many years, Garvin has written and spoken extensively on the complexity of contemporary design and business practice, and its implications on the future of design and education. He spoke with Columns upon his arrival to UGA this summer.

Alan Flurry: You are a professor and an artist, how do those two fit together?

Chris Garvin: There are parts of my life that I act as a designer, as an artist, an educator, an entrepreneur, and I embrace them all. I’m never scared to be a hybrid, to have ‘and’ be in there. Part of my experience is writing curriculum and programs at universities and getting them off the ground, building coalitions and curriculums so that things can happen. I’ve done that looking at those projects as a designer, and I’ve used those designer skills to help me become a better educator.

The thing that makes them part of me is that I use the same thinking processes in all of them. I think about audience differently in each, and I think about the group and the collaborations differently.

AF: That takes a lot of confidence, but also a lot of humility – it can seem like a contradiction.

CG: It can, and I have often said, “I have just enough ego to try this, but not so much ego that I need to own it.” And it’s helped me a lot in building things; many times in academia, the ownership is what can kill interesting projects and keep them from getting off the ground.

AF: You come to UGA from a big city setting, how is that related to your vision for the school of art?

CG: So I grew up in a formerly big city, Buffalo. I went to grad school at Ohio State, then I lived in New York City for ten years, and that’s an education in itself, then in Philadelphia. And those are two very different American metropolises, and they work very differently.

I moved to New York to be a designer, with a painting degree, so some of my vision comes out of my own experience. I was trained in a great art school in a large research university, where I gained the confidence to use those skills in a variety of different ways.

For example, I could talk to computer scientists; I borrowed projectors for my thesis exhibit from the football team; I had an office in a center shared between the art school and the computer science school, all very formative experiences. Being a painter and working in those critiques, I learned the idea of abstracting things, moving across disciplines, across mediums, and in a contemporary business world that would be called ‘knowledge transfer.’ It’s incredibly marketable. So I like to say I was accidentally marketable because of my education, but it wasn’t so much an accident as that academic environment.

For me, the most exciting thing about UGA is that the pieces of that same ecosystem are here. Helping to build those connections where our graduate and undergraduate students can excel in whatever they want to do, that their vision of success is not just the gallery show, not just working at a design firm, but it’s a variety of different things that they choose, we have the ability to do that here. Few places in the world have the academic ecosystem available to make that kind of malleable, exciting graduate that can go out into the world and do whatever they want.

LDSOA alums in residence at Bemis Center

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Plakas1.jpgCongratulations to Rachel Dubuque (MFA '13) and Justin Plakas (MFA '12) who were selected to live and work at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NB this summer:

The two are part of an international group of 18 artists who were selected out of a pool of 800, working on individual projects for a funded cycle of three months.

"It has been an amazingly transformative experience," Plakas said.

GMOA Museum Mix features Pylon, Athens cultural scene exhibits

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Museum_Mix_DJ_Michael_Lachowski_in_1983.jpg

A late-night art party at the Georgia Museum of Art this Thursday night from 8- midnight will harken back to the 1970s and 1980s music and art scene here in Athens and is surely not to be missed.  Known as Museum Mix, this free event will feature snacks and refreshments, access to all of the museum’s galleries until midnight and a DJ set by Michael Lachowski, co-founder of and bass player for the seminal athens band Pylon.

The summer Museum Mix is inspired by the exhibition "Shapes That Talk to Me: The Athens Scene, 1975-85." The DJ will be Michael Lachowski, co-founder of and bass player for the seminal Athens band Pylon. Lachowski will play records that Pylon members and others listened to during the early years of the Athens music scene, including music by Pere Ubu, The Ramones, Public Image Ltd, Talking Heads, Cabaret Voltaire, Elvis Costello, Suicide, Kraftwerk and many more.

Lachowski, who also handles public relations for the museum and helped organize "Shapes That Talk to Me," said, "The social scene that the early Athens music scene came out of was based around art students, art faculty and visual art itself-but our parties were also fueled by new music from outside Athens. Because access to new music was always a challenge, the communal sharing of new acquisitions in social contexts was taken seriously. While we were dancing and cavorting, we were absorbing an education in music-the influences that shaped Pylon and other bands-and that's the music I want to revisit at this hot summer Museum Mix."

The “Shapes That Talk to Me” exhibit and the Museum Mix event are being held in conjunction with Art Rocks Athens, a festival exploring the works of art and music that established Athens as a cultural center.  Art Rocks Athens and the accompanying exhibits and events is continuing the tradition of UGA and the Athens cultural scene influencing each other. Through December, venues across Athens are taking part in the collaborative celebration with exhibitions, films, lectures and more.  View more about Art Rocks Athens here.

Microscopic photos spotlight the art of science

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thale cressWhile they are often identified as poles, a spectrum or even a line of demarcation from one kind of investigation into another, science and art can and occasionally do cohabitate, as in the case of UGA research scientist Stefan Eberhard, who utilizes scientific instrumentation for creative purposes:

Art Maymester in NYC

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NYCCOMBO.jpgMore on this soon, but 30 students (graduate and undergraduate) in the Lamar Dodd School of Art enjoyed a great experience on a new Maymester program in the spring - a field study in New York City. Students had the opportunity to visit all the big museums plus a number of galleries throughout the city, interact with many UGA alumni as well as incoming LDSOA director Chris Garvin. Now that's a fun way to learn.

Image collage courtesy of Marni Shindelman.

Creative Curricula

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Costumes_du_ballet_Parade.jpgThe future of higher education is always a hot topic - though it can be difficult to predict from this side of the arch, front-loaded as we are with the present, if not the past. That being said, there are important elements of what we do and teach that, if arranged differently, could re-inforce traditional disiciplines and provide next-generation skills in the context in which they will be needed.

For example, this Baltimore Magazine article highlights a ground-breaking new partnership between the Maryland Institute College of Art and John Hopkins University Carey Business School. Right in the middle of it, of course, is a former UGA undergrad:

“I was looking for a mix of MBA and design,” says first-year Design Leadership student Julie Buisson, a native of France who has lived in the U.S. for the past 10 years. Buisson moved from Athens, GA, to Baltimore for the Design Leadership program after discovering it through a Google search. Dressed in a bulky, mustard-yellow sweater and holding a mug of coffee and a well-loved Moleskin journal, Buisson fits the picture of an art student, though she earned her undergraduate degree—in marketing, with an emphasis in sales—at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

“At Georgia, all of my friends were art students,” she says. “They showed me a different way of working. I took some art classes, and I realized that creativity is something you work on just like anything else.”

With the Design Leadership program, she’s filling a gap in her education. It’s the same for her classmates, who come from varied backgrounds, including architecture, nonprofits, photography, and even the oil industry. “There is something more that’s driving us,” says Buisson. “We all believe we should be trained as creatives—it’s just as important as being trained in analytics.”

Read the whole thing. The 'business model to bridge different worlds,' as construed in the article, cuts in many different directions, far beyond just business. When one of the architects of the new program says

“The business person who’s got that more humanistic platform is going to be less brittle than someone who’s just trained in business.” 

it is not to take anything away from business - rather it is to add to it. We must be sufficiently secure in our disciplines to consider expanding them, joining them, disrupting them, in the common parlance. To enhance our graduates' skills and abilities is the key. The academic capacity is here - a large liberal arts learning environment has everything. Let's encourage people - faculty, students, staff - to discover new ways to integrate our strengths and leverage our collaborative capacity.

Image: Costumes for the Ballet russes Parade, 1917. Répertoire de la compagnie des Ballets russes directed by Serge Diaghilev; Argument : Jean Cocteau, Musique : Eric Satie. Décors et costumes : Pablo Picasso. Chorégraphie originale : Léonide Massine. via Wikimedia Commons.

Art Rox at LDSOA

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TwoWomenThreeQuilts.jpgBeginning May 23, 2014,  the Lamar Dodd School of Art will host a retrospective exhibition of art from the period 1975-85, presented by the Art Rocks Athens Foundation:

Athens, Georgia is well known for its vibrant music scene. What is less known, however, is that artists from the era of 1975-85 gave rise to the music, and then their music went on to influence the art. Art Rocks Athens Foundation, a non-profit organization, was formed to explore and document that time period, and to present a retrospective of the work of artists who were living and making art in the vortex of creativity that centered on Athens. Through the conservation of both artworks and music-related artifacts, Art Rocks Athens Foundation seeks to make a verifiable record of this history and its lasting importance to the town so many people love.

To bring in the wider world, he invited nationally known artists like Elaine de Kooning, and Phillip Guston who became artists in residence. They brought not just knowledge, but also a willingness to share their experiences, that only became more precious over time. When the Art Department began teeming with students, Lamar Dodd persuaded downtown business people to rent the empty spaces above their shops for use as artists’ studios. Thus, town united with gown, and from this atmosphere where innovation and collaboration were the order of the day, the Athens artists gave form and substance to the Athens music scene.

Many campus entities - the Special Collections Librairies, Willson Center, many Franklin College departments and individual faculty members - have been doing yoeman work to re-assemble many of the principles and tell the stories of the Athens music scene. As this picture takes shape, we re-affirm what's been obvious all along - that the art scene and the music scene continue to be mutially informing, supporting and essential to each other and the wonderful musical and visual art that gives this little town its flavor. This exhibition at Lamar Dodd should be great. Support the Art Rocks Athens. And don't forget to enjoy the show.

Image: "Two Women Three Quilts," 1975, 66" X 88", Oil on canvas, Neill Slaughter.

Athens Music Project Symposium April 17

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Pylon-40Watt-1979Besides providing a gratuitous opportunity to post this phot of Pylon from 1979 (wow), the Athens Music Project, a Willson Center Research Cluster featuring Franklin faculty, is presenting the community with signifciant cultural dividends:

The Athens Music Project will hold its first symposium April 17 from 4-8 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries at the University of Georgia.

The AMP is a Faculty Research Cluster of the UGA Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and is co-directed by Susan Thomas, an associate professor of music and women's studies, and Jean Ngoya Kidula, associate professor of music and African studies. The event is co-sponsored by the Willson Center and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

The AMP provides a platform for research, creative development and shared expertise in, about and for Athens' diverse musical communities. 

...

Michael Lachowski, a member of the Athens band Pylon and currently the public relations coordinator at the Georgia Museum of Art, will give a keynote talk on "How Art Turned Into Music: The ‘Athens Music Scene.'" The talk will be followed by a roundtable on "Hearing the Past and Seeing the Future: The 40 Watt" that will feature Lachowski, 40 Watt Club owner Barrie Buck and Velena Vego, the club's talent buyer. Christopher Lawton, director of the Georgia Virtual History Project, will moderate the discussion.

To find out more about other parts on the program, see here. But I highlight the keynote as a point of emphasis: the Athens music scene enjoys a kind of mystique that flows from and into its world renown. But the mystique is difficult to quanitfy so hasn't been to any great extent. So good for Kidula and Thomas for presenting a platform to delve into these mysteries further - may the best parts remain shrouded, but let us enjoy the discussion and perhaps further celebrate this catalyst for the rich pageant that surrounds us.

Image: Pylon plays at the original non-commercial location of the 40 Watt Club (Myers Building, third floor, 171 College Ave.) in 1979.

LDSOA professor Hwangbo in Huffington Post

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Hwangbo_Huff PostImi Hwangbo, a professor in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, currently has a show on view at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery on West 26th Street in New York City.  Ridley Howard, a painter in New York, is an alumnus of the Lamar Dodd School of Art, interviewed Hwango for the Arts Page of the Huffington Post.  "Portals:  Interview with Imi Hwangbo" by Ridley Howard is a fascinating discussion of her three-dimensional drawings in cut paper.

RH: Some works in this New York show are based on traditional Korean wrapping cloths. Can you talk about how you became interested in that as a subject?

IH: I've always been attracted to the aesthetics of traditional Korean decorative art. Pojagi are functional, four-cornered cloths that are tied in bundles to carry domestic objects. As artworks, they are embroidered drawings on fabric. They are often decorated with patterns and imagery that convey Korean folk beliefs, with plants and animals that offer protection from harm, and express desires for wealth, longevity and fertility.

I wanted to work from these patterns, and stay faithful to the notion of a decorative object that is alluring to the eye and highly crafted over its entire surface. I also like the notion of decoration as a visualization of desire -- as a gesture that covers a surface, repetitively and obsessively, with an iconography of desire.

RH: From what little research I've done, certain eras of Pojagi almost look like op-art and early modernist painting. Do you see your work as a means of subversion? Or is it more reverential?

IH: Pojagi patterns can have specific meanings within that particular cultural tradition. But at the same time, they can embody strategies that are recognizable in modernist painting. I like the notion of women artists in traditional Korea, inventing a modernist aesthetic with scraps of fabric. Their names are lost to history, so their identities can only be guessed through their inventiveness and craft. I'm drawn to the contradiction of that anonymity and the intimacy of the handwork. So perhaps you could consider it an homage.

Read the full interview. Great job, Howard and Hwangbo.

Image: Diviner (detail), 66" x 28" x 3", archival ink on hand-cut mylar, 2010

Cortona Student and Faculty Reunion

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main area of CortonaThe Lamar Dodd School of Art will host to a reunion of the UGA-Cortonese as students and faculty gather to celebrate the 44th anniversary of UGA's premier Studies Abroad Program.

The program has grown and changed a great deal over the course of its four-decade existence, though so much about the immersive small town experience remains the same. The medieval hilltown of 1,200 tucked in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains, so close to the art centers of Italy but far enough away to preserve the quiet and solitude of Tuscany, continues to attract our best artists. And the experience has lifelong impact, creating friends of UGA as far afield as can be imagined. Among the reunion of students and faculty, along with several of our past directors of the program (including program founder Jack Kehoe) there will also be a closing reception for the LDSOA exhibition, La Mostra Cortona 2013, featuring works by Shawn Ireland. The reception and reunion are both at 3 p.m. in the school of art.

Join us at LDSOA on Saturday to celebrate Cortona!

Image: The lovely city on the hill.