Irene Chan, Visual Arts and Asian Studies, is featured in an interview published by Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW), an arts center she first visited back in 1996 as a studio intern. She speaks about the development of her artwork, her use of materials, and her projects about racial and cultural identity. Read the interview here on WSW’s website.
In the latest essay for his Race Stories column in The New York Times, Maurice Berger, research professor at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, shares his take on the thousands of photographs flooding out of Ferguson, Missouri. “Historically, photography was integral to the fight against racism and segregation. Leaders from Sojourner Truth to Malcolm X embraced the photograph’s potential as evidence and its ability to combat stereotypes,” writes Berger. “But sometimes, as in Ferguson, the camera has served as a more spontaneous ‘weapon of choice,’ as the photographer Gordon Parks called it, wielded by the oppressed in moments of anger, fear or frustration.”
Read “In Ferguson, Photographs as Powerful Agents” and view the photographs at The New York Times Lens blog.
Berger’s Race Stories column, which appears monthly on The New York Times website, is “a continuing exploration of the relationship of race to photographic portrayals of race.”
Linda Dusman, Music, and Eric Smallwood, Visual Arts, in partnership with the School of Music at the University of Maryland, College Park, have received a $150,000 Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) grant for their work on the tablet app, Symphony Interactive. MII was created as a partnership between the State of Maryland and five Maryland academic research institutions (Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; UMCP; University of Maryland Baltimore; and UMBC), and is managed by TEDCO, created by the Maryland State Legislature in 1998 to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of technology from Maryland’s research universities and federal labs into the marketplace. The MII program promotes the commercialization of academic research conducted in the partnership universities. Symphony Interactive is only the second project within the humanities ever to receive an award from MII, and the first to be funded in the arts and humanities at UMBC.
Symphony Interactive provides contemporary audiences a novel way to engage with live orchestral performances. Through both text and images presented through a unique interface at the exact moment the information is most pertinent to the music, SI enables an enriched experience for users by allowing them to learn about the music and its cultural history during its performance. Acting as an informed “friend,” the app subtly provides information to enhance engagement, keeping the experience of the live performance paramount. During the grant period, the SI team will create a library for thirty of the most performed orchestral works, producing unique textual and visual information for each piece. Over the next nine months, the grant funding also will enable developing a more fully featured proof of concept application, expanding the social media extensions of the app, and performing valuable market research to aid in the commercialization process.
The Symphony Interactive project has been in development since 2011, with support from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Development has progressed through collaboration with many faculty, staff and students from Music, Visual Arts, the Imaging Research Center, Human Centered Computing, and the Department of Information Technology. Symphony Interactive has been tested in performances by the UMBC Symphony, and most recently at the National Orchestra Institute at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to visit the PAHB grounds, on the side facing Lot 8, on August 13 to witness the installation of eight large “earth cast” half-arches that will be set into the ground to create a public gathering space, provisionally entitled “Forum.” The half-arches are major pieces of this public art project, designed and produced by renowned artist Thomas Sayre. Final landscaping and a dedication of the artwork will take place in the fall.
“Rough, irregular, the color of the land we walk upon, the arches create a composition reminiscent of classic academic cloisters where light and shadow will dance across the highly animated, earthcast surfaces,” says the artist.
Please note that this installation will require the closure of Hilltop Road in this area of the campus all day on August 13 (and possibly on August 14), however, access to Lot 8 will not be impacted. Any deliveries to this part of campus during the installation should use the paved thoroughfare between ITE and Sherman Hall.
The Maryland Public Art Initiative (MPAI), was signed into law last year, and UMBC agreed to pursue a pilot public art project under this initiative on the PAHB. Thomas Sayre was selected following a national search conducted by UMBC in partnership with the Maryland State Arts Council. The selection committee voted Sayre’s concept as the most reflective of UMBC’s vision of a public art installation that invites community engagement, reflects the passage of time, and embraces the values and culture of UMBC.
Thomas Sayre has designed and built public art projects throughout the world and has participated in design teams for civic, educational and museum buildings. Along with architect Steve Schuster, Sayre is a founding principal in the multi-disciplinary design firm Clearscapes, based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sayre believes that art will only work when disparate opinions come together through collaboration to form a coherent vision.
The selection committee included Vice President for Administration and Finance Lynne Schaefer, University Architect Joseph Rexing, Sr. Project Manager Mickey Miller (University of Maryland, Baltimore), Alex Castro and Jan Goldstein (Maryland Commission on Public Art), Associate Professor Helen Burgess (English), Associate Professor Preminda Jacob (visual arts), Professor Timothy Nohe (visual arts, CIRCA director), Associate Professor Sandy Parker (geography and environmental systems), Professor Phyllis Robinson (biological sciences), Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Yvette Mozie-Ross, Associate Professor Liz Walton (dance) and architect Cliff Gayley (William Rawn Associates).
Niels Van Tomme, Visiting Curator of the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, has been named Curator of the 7th Bucharest Biennale (Bucharest International Biennial for Contemporary Art), to take place May 26 to July 17, 2016.
The Bucharest Biennale is interested in exploring links between creative practice and social progress, as well as correspondences between local and global contexts. Now in its tenth year, the Biennale continues to build a strong partnership between Bucharest—a geocultural space where the political is reflected in all aspects of life—and the rest of the world. In transcending specific geographical, historical, or political frameworks, it connects to a broader complexity, namely the one of “resistance” within the quotidian realm.
More information about the Biennale is available on its website.
In the latest essay for his Race Stories column in The New York Times, Maurice Berger, research professor at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, examines Dawoud Bey’s intimate and powerful 2007 portrait of Barack Obama prior to becoming president. The essay is being co-published by the Hillman Photography Initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art. “The photograph depicts its famously private and introspective subject only months before he was to step into the abyss of presidential politics. And it defines him free of the stereotypes and myths that have come to characterize his presidency,” observers Berger.
Read “Meditation on President Obama’s Portrait” and view the photograph at the New York Times Lens blog.
Berger’s Race Stories column has featured several essays centered upon race and photography, including Malcolm X as image maker, Ken Gonzales-Day, images of emancipation, the photographs of Deborah Will, and the civil rights work of James Karales.
The first long-term, artist-in-residence for UMBC’s Department of Visual Arts, hosted by IMDA and the Visiting Artists Lecture Series, is Slovenian artist Neja Tomšič. Tomšič will be in residence for five weeks this fall, from October 9 until November 12. There will be several public events and many opportunities to interact with Neja Tomšič.
Neja Tomšič co-founded the Museum of Transitory Art (MoTA) in 2008 and has been involved in strategic planning, international collaborations and development of an artist residency program. MoTA is a multidisciplinary platform dedicated to the research, production and presentation of transitory, experimental and live art forms. For the past two years Tomšič has also been in charge of MoTA’s educational programming and has developed an online platform, together with various Polish organizations, to archive and share public programs such as artists talks, workshops, discussions and symposia. She hopes to research practices of archiving transitory works and strategies for audience development and engagement.
This residency was made possible by CEC ArtsLink. ArtsLink Residencies offer artists and arts managers from 37 overseas countries five-week residencies at non-profit arts organizations throughout the US. The program enables artists and communities across the US to share artistic practices with artists and arts managers from abroad and engage in dialogue that advances understanding across cultures.
Please contact Lisa Moren, Visual Arts, for more information on exchanges with her this fall.