James Smalls, Visual Arts, Writes on Race, Gender, and Sexuality in The Conversation

On July 23, James Smalls, professor of Visual Arts and affiliate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, published an article in The Conversation that discussed the rationale behind his upcoming course, Roaming the Star Trek Universe: Race, Gender, and Alien Sexualities. Sensing that students often seem very “connected” but are simultaneously distanced from the overwhelming complexities of the world around them, Smalls set out to find ways in which to explore the difficult topics of race, gender and sexuality. “I found part of the answer,” he said, “by traveling back to the 1960s, when difficult social change movements around race (civil rights, black power), gender (the women’s movement) and sexuality (the gay and lesbian movement) were in full swing and paralleled the national obsession with technology, the space race and indulgence in popular culture as a way to both escape and liberate ourselves.”

“One way to do this,” he added, “is to ask probing questions so to get students thinking about ways in which interspecies conflicts among humans, Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, Andorians, Betazoids, Cardassians and Bajorans, to name a few, are portrayed and how they mirror or parallel disagreements between today’s nations, races, genders, religions and classes.”

Read “A teacher uses Star Trek for difficult conversations on race and gender” in The Conversation.

Maurice Berger, CADVC, Latest “Race Story” in The New York Times

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 the shifting attitudes toward the Confederate battle flag. “The image was at once mundane and historic. In Alabama last Wednesday, on the order of Gov. Robert Bentley, workers took down the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the state Capitol and were photographed as they did. The camera, whose role it was to record a reality — and thus to make visible its compelling details of the world — now documented a symbol’s imminent invisibility,” notes Berger, but adds, “In the end, retiring an icon is not the same as dealing with the underlying institutional, emotional, economic and historic complications that it represents.”

Read “Making a Confederate Flag Invisible” 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, Discuss Their Octava App with The Baltimore Sun

octavaLinda Dusman, Music, and Eric Smallwood, Visual Arts, were interviewed by The Baltimore Sun’s Tim Smith about their app Octava, which is designed to enhance the audience experience at symphony orchestra performances. Read the full article on the Sun’s website here.

“The app, called Octava, is aimed at enhancing the musical experience for listeners by delivering information via Wifi, synced with the music being played in the concert hall,” says Smith. In development for several years and formerly known as Symphony Interactive, the project received a $150,000 Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) grant in 2014 (read more here).

Maurice Berger, CADVC, Discusses “Revolution of the Eye” on WYPR

061915_bergerMaurice Berger, research professor and chief curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, was interviewed by WYPR’s Culture Editor for Maryland Morning, Tom Hall, about Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television, an exhibition now on display at the Jewish Museum in New York. Berger curated the exhibition, which has been co-organized by the CADVC and the Jewish Museum, and authored the companion book by the same name, published by Yale University Press.

Revolution of the Eye is the first exhibition to explore how avant-garde art influenced and shaped the look and content of network television in its formative years, from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s. “Television and modern art became mutually beneficial forces, starting really at the very early days of television,” Berger explained to Hall. “The pioneers of television…looked to modern art—they were fascinated by it—as something that could help them perhaps prove that television was a discerning medium.”

The exhibition will visit UMBC’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in Fall 2016.

To hear the full interview, which originally aired on WYPR’s Maryland Morning on Friday, June 19, click here.

Maurice Berger, CADVC, Latest “Race Story” in The New York Times

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 the work of Charles “Teenie” Harris, an African American staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier from the 1930s through the 1970s. Now held in the archives of the Carnegie Museum of Art, a selection of 80,000 images by Harris are now on display in “Teenie Harris Photographs: Cars,” second in a series of exhibitions that began with “Teenie Harris Photographs: Civil Rights Perspectives.” The museum “asked writers — including poets, playwrights and historians — to respond to ‘the social, cultural, and political content’ of Mr. Harris’s photos,” notes Berger.

Read “Past and Present Collide in Pittsburgh” 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.”

String Octets (4/2)

On Thursday, April 2 at 8:00 p.m. in the Concert Hall, UMBC music faculty and guest join forces with students to perform the titanic Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 by Felix Mendelssohn, and more rarely heard Octet, Op. posth. by Max Bruch. Featured performers will include UMBC string faculty Christian Tremblay and Airi Yoshioka, violin; Amadi Azikiwe and Nana Gaskins Vaughn, viola; Gita Ladd, cello; Laura Ruas, double-bass; and student performers Ariel Byrd and Erika Koscho, violin; and Michael Bradshaw, cello. Complete information is available by clicking here.

Out of Rubble (4/2 – 5/16)

OutOfRubble01The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture presents the exhibition Out of Rubble, which reacts to the wake of war — its realities and its representations. The rubble that each war leaves behind shapes today and tomorrow — physically, psychologically and spiritually. Responding to a wide range of violent encounters taking place over four continents, Out of Rubble presents works by seventeen artists and architects from over ten countries who consider its causes and consequences, its finality and future, moving from decimation and disintegration to the possibilities of regeneration and recovery. Featured artists and architects include: Taysir Batniji, Lenka Clayton, Andrew Ellis Johnson, Susanne Slavick, Monica Haller, Sara Pellegrini and DAAR, Simon Norfolk, Jennifer Karady, Heide Fasnacht, Wafaa Bilal, Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz, Enrique Castrejon, Rocio Rodriguez, elin o’Hara slavick, Osman Khan, Hirokazu Fukawa, Jane Dixon and Samina Mansuri. The exhibition is curated by Susanne Slavick, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

The exhibition’s opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 2, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.   The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and is located in the Fine Arts Building. Admission is free. For complete information, click here.