Photography graduate student Anika Steppe’s exhibition, Kind of about Michigan, reviewed by The Austin Chronicle

“Marta Lee & Anika Steppe: Kind of About Michigan” at UT VAC

A road trip to adolescent haunts in Michigan results in a touching collaboration that stops short of sentimentality

Familiarity breeds abstraction. Handwriting mutates into barely legible strings, longtime friends create an ever-abbreviating verbal shorthand that at times elides the verbal altogether, and memories of long summers at your grandparents’ house distill down to and spark into remembrance by the pattern of their couch set. A shared road trip necessitates one kind of familiarity, and the return to places from your childhood unearths another. For “Kind of About Michigan,” two friends and University of Texas MFA students take on both. For the project, Marta Lee and Anika Steppe went on a summer road trip to adolescent memory pit stops in Michigan and chronicled alongside one another what they saw. The results are a touching collaboration that explores and ruptures the sentimentality of those intimacies.

The works often block off space in rectangular patches, bringing to mind a quilt and the comfort that comes with one. Photographs and paintings of buildings are composed such that they are patched together by bricks and peeling squares of layered paint. Cabin rooms and exteriors are color-blocked into rectangles of textile patterns, windows, grass, doorways, and blocks of sky. A tiny acryla-gouache painting by Steppe serves as a key. From Aunt Ter’s Quilt: North America as seen by Anika, age 7 shows in a few square inches a painted rendering of a literal quilt patch with a child’s warped sketch of the Michigan state outline. This outline is roughly repeated in Steppe’s photograph Mapping Michigan by Hand, which captures two individuals using hands to map the bipartite state, as many a Michigander has done. This resourceful shorthand for mapping the state alights on what the project is about, kind of about Michigan, but really about what place means and how one’s familiarity with it warps over time, loses specificity and becomes a general outline to fill with memory.

A favorite coupling is a photograph and painting, both titled Esther’s Bathroom. Displayed side-by-side, the works beautifully and distinctly show the same space, a bathroom wall with a mirror, delicately patterned over with the shadows of a fern outside. Lee’s pastel-hued painting features a robe on a hanger, presumably hung in front of the mirror also seen in Steppe’s black-and-white photograph, though it is more difficult to identify it as a mirror in the painting. The two tweaked, slightly hazy personal perspectives inform and clarify one another, as continues to be true throughout the exhibition.

The show brushes up against but succeeds in stopping short of sentimentality, because the artists are frank about a significant component of such a project and summer: boredom. There are endless anonymous buildings and waystations; time-killing games represented occasionally too literally (a life-size replica of a playing card feels off); and a goofy choreographed music video, the type you make with a friend you’re deeply comfortable with when you’ve run out of everything else to do.

UT Visual Arts Center, 23rd & Trinity

Through Oct. 20

Lecturer and former graduate student Bucky Miller in exhibition at FotoFest, re/thinking Photography: Conceptual Photography from Texas

FotoFest International and the Houston Center for Photography (HCP) present re/thinking photography, an exhibition highlighting contemporary conceptual photography in Texas.
re/thinking photography, opens October 20, 2017 at FotoFest, and the following Friday, October 27, 2017, at Houston Center for Photography. It is the seventh exhibition in the Texas Series, a biennial survey of Texas artists initiated by FotoFest in 2004, and co-produced with HCP since 2009.
re/thinking photography is a single exhibition split between the two venues; FotoFest, at their Washington Avenue Arts District venue at Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards Street; and Houston Center for Photography’s Museum District location, 1441 West Alabama Street, adjacent to the Menil Collection.
Featuring 18 artists, the exhibition presents a distinct view of contemporary art photography, installation and new media art from emerging and established artists. Selected by the creative teams of both organizations, the roster of artists represents the most diverse group since the beginning of the series. 


Bennie Flores Ansell (Houston)
Kalee Appleton (Dallas)
Drew Bacon (Houston)
Rabéa Ballin (Houston)
Rachel Cox (Dallas)
Joe Harjo (San Antonio)
Rosine Kouamen (Houston)
Peter Leighton (Austin)
MANUAL [Suzanne Bloom & Ed Hill] (Houston)
Mark Menjivar (San Antonio)
Bucky Miller (Austin)
Emily Peacock (Houston)
Molly Shigemoto (Dallas)
Sherwin Rivera Tibayan (Austin)
Kevin Todora (Dallas)
Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin (Houston)

Lab closure: Oct 12 at 3:30 pm for Pope.L lecture

Pope.L Lecture
ART 1.102
Art Building
October 12, 2017
3:30 – 5pm


b. 1955, Newark, NJ
Lives and works in Chicago, IL

Pope.L is a visual artist and educator whose multidisciplinary practice uses binaries, contraries and preconceived notions embedded within contemporary culture to create art works in various formats, for example, writing, painting, performance, installation, video and sculpture. Building upon his long history of enacting arduous, provocative, absurdist performances and interventions in public spaces, Pope.L applies some of the same social, formal and performative strategies to his interests in language, system, gender, race and community. The goals for his work are several: joy, money and uncertainty— not necessarily in that order.

Pope.L began his career in the 1970s, creating works that find their foothold in personal travail, reading philosophy, and performance and theatre training with Geoff Hendricks and Mabous Mines. He studied at Pratt Institute and later received his BA from Montclair State College in 1978. He also attended the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art before earning his MFA from Rutgers University in 1981. His first performances occurred on the street, and later at major and historic venues, such as Anthology Film Archives, Franklin Furnace, Just Above Midtown, Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, Performa, The Sculpture Center, and the 2002 Whitney Biennial in New York; MIT and Mobius in Boston; MOCA Los Angeles; Shinjuku Station in Tokyo; Diverse Works in Houston; Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead Quays, UK; Prospect.2 in New Orleans; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and CAM Houston, among others. Major performances include Baile (2016); The Problem (2016); Pull(2013); The Black Factory national tour (2002–2009); The Great White Way (2001–2002); Community Crawls (2000–2005); Eating the Wall Street Journal (2000); Black Domestic aka Roach Motel Black (1994); How Much is that Nigger in the Window(1990-1992); Times Square Crawl (1978); and Thunderbird Immolation (1978).

Recent exhibitions, performances, and projects include Whispering Campaign at documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017); Claim (Whitney Version) at the 2017 Whitney Biennial (2017); PLAMA (The Spot), a commercial commissioned for On the Tip of the Tongue at Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2016); Baile at the 32nd Biennal de São Paulo (2016); The Freedom Principle at ICA Philadelphia (2016) and MCA Chicago (2015); The Public Body at Artspace, Sydney (2016); Less than One at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016); Trinket at The Geffen Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2015); Black Pulp! at Yale School of Art, New Haven and IPCNY in New York (2016); Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, CAM Houston, and Studio Museum in New York (2014); Claim at Littman Gallery, Portland State University, Portland, OR (2014); Cage Unrequited at Performa, New York (2013); Forlesen at The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago (2013); and A Long White Cloud, Te Tuhi, Auckland, New Zealand (2013).

His work has also been the subject of important group and solo shows throughout the span of his almost 50-year career, including Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Craft and Design, Museum of Art and Design, New York (2013); superhuman, Central Utah Art Center, Ephraim (2012); Reenactor, Williams Center Gallery at Lafayette College, Easton, PA (2012); The Last Newspaper, New Museum, New York (2010); 30 Seconds Off an Inch, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2009); Corbu Pops, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (2009); Thirty Americans, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2008); Black Is, Black Ain’t, Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (2008); Drawing, Dreaming, Drowning at Art Institute of Chicago (2008); Art After White People: Time, Trees, and Celluloid . . . at Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA (2007); William Pope.L: The Black Factory and Other Good Works, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2007); 7e Biennale de l’Art Africaine Contemporaine, Dakar, Senegal (2006); Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2005); The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams (2004); The Big Nothing, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2004); Only Skin Deep, International Center of Photography, New York (2004); William Pope.L: the friendliest Black artist in America at ICA at Maine College of Art, Portland, DoverseWorks Artspace in Houston, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, ME, Artists Space in New York, and Mason Gross Art Galleries at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ (2002-2004); eRacism: Retrospective Exhibition, Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, Portland (2002); eRacism: White Room, Thread Waxing Space, New York (2000); Eating the Wall Street Journal and Other Current Consumptions, Mobius, Boston (2000); and Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949–1979, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1998).

Pope.L is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the the Bucksbaum Award, Joyce Foundation Award, the Tiffany Foundation Award, the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, the Bellagio Center Residency, Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship, Andy Warhol Foundation grant, Creative Capital Foundation grant, Franklin Furnace/Jerome Foundation grant, National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Artists Space grant, and more.


Lecture and demonstration by artist Julie Anand on October 19, 2017 at 2pm

Julie Anand
Itinerant Camera Obscura
Thursday October 19, 2017, 2:00pm
Photography Area Seminar Room (and outside)

Julie Anand is an Associate Professor of Photography at Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. An interdisciplinary thinker and maker, Anand has studied Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Photography. Anand’s mixed-media and photographic artworks draw on the ecological principle of interdependency. She will present her work: Itinerant Camera Obscura.

Conversation with photographer Mark Klett at The Harry Ransom Center September 14, 2017 at 7pm

Photographer Mark Klett and curator Jessica S. McDonald discuss Klett’s enduring engagement with the changing American landscape. Since participating in the renowned Rephotographic Survey Project (1977–1979), Klett has investigated time, perception, and the history of photography in projects such as Revealing Territory(1982–2004), Reconstructing the View (2007–2010), and Camino del Diablo (2013–2015). Co-sponsored by the Department of American Studies.

Click here for more info.

Professor Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler in Conversation with curator Veronica Roberts at the Blanton Museum Sept 7, 2017 from 6:30 – 7:30pm

In conversation with Blanton curator Veronica Roberts, the Austin- and Berlin-based artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler will discuss their film installation, Giant, and the experience of representing Switzerland in the current Venice Biennale.

The program will take place in the museum’s auditorium, located in the Smith Building across the plaza from the museum.

Hubbard/Birchler in Conversation with Curator Veronica Roberts

UMLAUF Prize 2017 winner and former MFA student Bucky Miller: Grackle Actions opening September

Exhibition Opening: September 5, 2017 from 6 – 8 pm

The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum (UMLAUF) is proud to announce that this year’s UMLAUF Prize winner is photographer and multi-media artist Bucky Miller. The UMLAUF Prize honors an outstanding graduate student in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin with an exhibition and lecture at the UMLAUF, and a cash award. After touring graduate student studios in April 2017, Juror Bill Arning selected third-year MFA candidate Bucky Miller.


World-renowned sculptor, Charles Umlauf, taught at The University of Texas for forty years, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1981. His work acknowledged his artistic forbears while presenting new approaches that looked toward the future. In that spirit, the UMLAUF Prize celebrates emerging artists. While the exhibition is popular with those familiar with our Museum, the Prize’s contemporary subject matter always brings an entirely new audience to our Garden.  


Miller is working on an exhibition of photographs and furniture that exploit the particularities of the architecture both inside the gallery and out in the garden.


Wednesday, September 27, 7pm
2017 UMLAUF Prize
A conversation with Bill Arning and Bucky Miller on the UMLAUF Prize 2017 exhibition.
 This lecture series accompanies each year’s exhibitions, supporting development of critical perspectives and encouraging a deeper understanding of art.
Free & open to the public.

Digital photography lab re-opens to students after renovation

The Department of Art and Art History celebrated the completion of the digital photography lab renovation on May 1. The renovation is the first of a three-phase project to revitalize the program’s facilities, thanks to funding from Elena and Everardo “Evvy” Goyanes.

Last updated in the 1960s, this phase of construction transformed an area from five separate film rooms into a large smart classroom teaching space with 12 new Apple computers, two high-resolution scanners and two flatbed scanners. One film room is still available for students, as beginning black-and-white photography is still taught using film. Once students move into color, they switch to digital.

“This is nice, because before we had to go downstairs for digital,” said Griffith Greer, studio art junior. “Now it’s in the same spot and a lot more convenient.”

Evvy Goyanes, a photographer himself, said it was delightful to see the completed work and the rest of the photography facilities. His wife Elena is a member of the Fine Arts Advisory Council, which has spent time looking at how to upgrade existing college facilities.

“I wish I had had a space like this,” he said as he toured the facility alongside department chair Jack Risley and College of Fine Arts Dean Doug Dempster. The couple also had a chance to meet with students in an advanced photography course and see some of their work.

“This lab renovation was much needed, and it is the kind of gift that will keep on giving to current and future photography students and artist educators,” said photography professor Teresa Hubbard. “We are so grateful that the Goyanes family have believed in the photography area enough to give us a grant for this important renovation.”The Goyanes with a group of photography students

Originally posted here.

Professor Anna Collette exhibits ‘Gathering Ground’ at Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY

Gathering Ground
Photographs by Anna Collette
May 3 – June 18

The upstairs gallery features a solo exhibit of the latest work by Brooklyn based photographer, Anna Collette, entitled ‘Gathering Ground’. In this series, Collette, captures vignettes of Live Oaks that were devastated by a flood in Central Texas. The once lush creek bed had been brought to a dry and ashen landscape, where the resilient Oak trees acted as a net, catching the scattered natural debris brought along with the momentous rush of water. Collette photographed the accumulation of limbs and branches caught in the trees. Week after week, she returned to the creek with a large 12×15 foot studio backdrop and made singular portraits of the trees and debris, fixating on their hanging limbs and severed sticks. The photographs, emphasizing the frail grey tree limbs strewn with forest material against stark white backgrounds, present haunting images of nature’s true power over our environment. Read more here.