Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Laying the Foundation: UNT Art Faculty, 1890-1970

Dr. Jack Davis Talks about the Exhibition

Today I attended a special event held in Denton, Texas at UNT on the Square, an art gallery maintained by the University of North Texas. The occasion was a meeting of the Texas Art Collector's Organization hosted by Dr. D Jack Davis and Herbert Holl, the curators of the show "Laying the Foundation: UNT Art Faculty, 1890-1970." Dr. Jack Davis is a professor emeritus at the University and a former dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design. Holl is he director of the UNT Institute for Advancement of the Arts. This exhibit highlighted the history of the art program at the university from 190 until 1970, providing many examples of the work of the various artists who served on the faculty during those years. "I have wanted to do something like this for a very long time," says Davis. "All of the years I was involved in administration in the arts program, I recognized that we had a rich legacy. We wouldn't be where we are today had we not had these faculty members building the program." The exhibition shows works in all sorts of mediums: paintings in oil, tempera, and casein, sculptures in bronze, granite, stone, and walnut, serigraph prints, collage, Among the early works are those of Martha Simkins, a well-known portrait painter who taught at Denton from 1901 to 1906. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Texas Writers Talk

Speaking at "Texas Writers Talk"
This weekend the Philosophical Society of Texas met in Dallas at the Adolphus Hotel. "Texas Writers Talk" was the group's theme this year, thanks to the motivation of its president Fran Vick, the well-known and accomplished publisher. Vick assembled a group of writers, most of whom live in the state, to talk about their work. Also, the participants were asked to comment on the impact digitization might have on the world of writing and publishing. Steven Davis and Mark Busby provided overviews of Texas literary history. Panels saw stellar fiction writers including Elizabeth Crook, Jane Roberts Wood, and Stephen Harrigan appear on the dais, along with poet Karla Morton and writer Paula Mitchell Marks. The audience was large and very attentive, filled with questions and insights about the status of Texas writing. I was a member of a panel that addressed the subject of researching and writing Texas history. Also speaking with me were Randolph B. Campbell, James Crisp, Andres Tijerina and Gregg Cantrell. I addressed questions of historical research, noting that the primary task of the historian is interpretation rather than the rote assembling of facts. A panel with Kent Calder of the Texas State Historical Association, Ron Crisman of the University of North Texas Press, and Caitlin Churchill of the Texas A&M University Press addressed the future of digitization, all of them agreeing that there are profound changes on the horizon.