Poet and Art Critic John Yau to speak at UT

A Thing Among Things Yau

Poet and Art Critic John Yau

Public Lecture: Thursday April 9, 2015, 7:30 PM
Room 109 – Art and Architecture Building

Poetry Reading: Wednesday April 8, 7 PM
Hodges Library Auditorium

Sponsored by VADSCO, UTK School of Art, and the Department of English

John Yau is a poet, fiction writer, critic, publisher of Black Square Editions, freelance curator, and an Associate Professor in Critical Studies at Rutgers. His recent books include A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2008) and Further Adventures in Monochrome (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). His reviews have appeared in Artforum, Art in America, Art News, Bookforum, and the Los Angeles Times. He was the arts editor for the Brooklyn Rail from 2006 to 2011. In January 2012 he started the online magazine HyperallergicWeekend with three other writers.

In 1996, he curated Ed Moses:A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawingsfor the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. In 2010, Yau helped organize Oil and Water for Stephen Harvey Fine Art Projects. In 2012, he organized Broken/Window/Plane for Tracy Williams, New York City.

He has collaborated with many artists, including Norman Bluhm, Ed Paschke, Peter Saul, Pat Steir, Jürgen Partenheimer, Norbert Prangenberg, Squeak Carnwath, Thomas Nozkowski, Max Gimblett, and Richard Tuttle, on different projects. These collaborations have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City: the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; and the Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, Australia.

He has received grants and fellowships for his poetry, fiction, and criticism from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, Peter S. Reed Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation. His awards include a General Electric Foundation Award, a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the Brendan Gill Award. In 2002, he was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.

The University of Tennessee Hosts Major International Printmaking Conference


March 18-21, 2015 The University of Tennessee hosted more than 1,500 printmakers from around the world for the SGC International Conference. Held at the Knoxville Convention Center and on the UT campus, the conference included keynote addresses, panel sessions, technical demonstrations, a product fair and numerous exhibitions. The conference web site is: http://web.utk.edu/~sphere.

Numerous exhibitions and events were held during the conference that were free and open to the public. Taken as a whole, March was printmaking month in Knoxville!

A two-page PDF with a listing of exhibitions and events is posted at:

For more information, contact Beauvais Lyons (blyons@utk.edu).

Graphic Design and Smart Communities Initiative Making Impact


Midway through its first year, the Smart Communities Initiative at UT has already made a major impact—both on the students and faculty involved in the projects and on our first-year partner, the city of Cleveland, Tennessee.

This year, faculty and students in twenty courses are working on thirteen projects as part of the initiative. One of the projects is developing a marketing and branding plan for Cleveland.

Just before the winter break, Cleveland city officials came to campus for a two-hour presentation by Associate Professor Deb Shmerler’s senior graphic design class, which spent last semester doing research to lay the groundwork for the branding campaign.

Through interviews, discussions, and an online survey, Shmerler’s students learned that Cleveland residents want to retain their community’s history and balance its southern charm while embracing industry. Cleveland residents are also determined to counter urban sprawl with small-town ingenuity, capitalize on the beauty of the surrounding area, and promote a healthful, balanced lifestyle.

A small group of Shmerler’s students have traveled to Cleveland this month to present their findings to the Cleveland City Council. They’ll spend the rest of the semester developing visual ideas for the city’s brand and preparing a final report.

SCI is a key component of Experience Learning—the Universities new Quality Enhancement Plan, part of our reaccreditation process for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Read more about the Smart Communities Initiative here.

Aliza Nisenbaum, Spring 2015 Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Lecture


School of Art – Aliza Nisenbaum, Spring 2015 Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Lecture
Thursday, Feb. 19, 7:30pm, Rm 109, A+A Building 

“Hybridizing a tradition of French fin-de-siecle and post-war American intimism with a decidedly personal, non-traditional subject matter and galvanic palette, Nisenbaum makes portraits of undocumented “illegal” Latin American immigrants, hand-written letters, books, and bouquets of flowers. Her ornate works, which are also known to feature patterned textiles and lush surfaces, are richly and compactly crafted in bright, dense hues. They are as much about painting as what they depict. In what she does, the intimacy of paint is indissociable from the intimacy of what she portrays and how she portrays it– tête-à-tête, close up, some times cropped, often filling up, but never over-crowding the space of the picture. And yet for all their intimacy and the signifiers through which it is traditionally, if anachronistically portrayed– letters, books, and flowers– Nisenbaum paintings’ nevertheless raise doubts about the feasibility of intimacy, perceiving it less as a fact of life than an ethical mode, won through the increasingly rare act of paying attention.” Chris Sharp
Aliza Nisenbaum (1977, Mexico City) received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005. Recent one and two-person exhibitions include: Aliza Nisenbaum, White Columns, New York; Portraits, Letters, Books and Flowers, Lulu, Mexico City (2014); Aliza Nisenbaum and Tadhg McSweeney, Kevin Kavanagh gallery Dublin, Ireland (2013); Aliza Nisenbaum at Immigrant Movement International, Queens, New York (2013); Holly Coulis and Aliza Nisenbaum, Susanne Hilberry gallery, Detroit, MI (2013). We Remembered, We Anticipated a Peacock and We Find a Peony, Patricia Treib and Aliza Nisenbaum, Golden gallery, New York (2011); Aliza Nisenbaum New Paintings, Julius Caesar, Chicago (2011). In 2014 she won a Rema Hort Mann Award, and was included in the “Future Greats” section of Art Review Magazine. Her recent show at White Columns was reviewed in Art in American and this months’ issue of the Brooklyn Rail.

Two Printmaking Graduate Students Receive Fellowships

BJ and Raluca

B.J. Alumbaugh and Raluca Iancu, both printmaking graduate students in the UT School of Art have been recognized in two separate, highly competitive fellowship competitions.

B. J. Alumbaugh, a second year graduate student has been selected to receive the 2015 SGCI International Graduate Fellowship for $1,000. The fellowship will support a project that he will complete during his thesis year, and will be exhibited at the 2016 SGC International conference in Portland, Oregon next March.  Alumbaugh will be presented the award during the upcoming SGC International Conference to be held in Knoxville in March. Alumbaugh received his BFA degree from the University of Northern Iowa and worked at Yee Haw Industries before starting his graduate studies at Tennessee.

For his project he will create an immersive space utilizing variable editioning. On his project Alumbaugh states “I am interested in the ways we take in and reproduce information, whether it is through CMYK printing or RGB on-screen viewing, we absorb information through highly evolved, codified systems. These systems are exactly calibrated, and in most cases, their underlying mechanics are invisible to us when viewing them. I enjoy seeing what happens when these color registration systems are disrupted to reveal what lies underneath. When broken down, they create new and dynamic visual languages to be experienced in a much different way than their original intent. I want to create a space for rich commentary on variable methods in contemporary printmaking, and I see this project as a way to focus on process as the subject matter itself.”

Third-year graduate student Raluca Iancu has been selected to receive the 2015 Frogman’s Print and Paper Workshop Graduate Fellowship.  As recipient, she will present an exhibition of her work at the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts on the campus of the University of South Dakota in July 2015. In addition to the solo exhibition, Iancu will also have her course fees waived to attend the Frogman’s 2015 Print Workshop.  Iancu, who completed her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and received the J. Wallace & Katie Dean Graduate Fellowship
during her first year at UT, will be the third graduate student from UT to be selected for this award since it was established eight years ago. The subject of Iancu’s art is crashes of various sorts; cars, planes, boats and trains. Iancu is interested in the media representation of such crashes, their trivializing by over exposure and the loss of empathy for the victims.

Alumbaugh Website: www.bjalumbaugh.berta.me
Iancu Website: www.ralu.ca

MFA Students to Showcase Work in NYC

The University of Tennessee MFA students return to NYC to show their best work.
Please join us on Thursday night, February 12th from 6—9PM at the UNIX Gallery (http://www.unixgallery.com) at 532 W 24th street, for a reception and alumni reunion celebrating Orange3. Orange3 runs from February 10-14,
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. This annual exhibition, now in its 3rd year, features the work of 13 graduate students currently in pursuit of their MFA at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The inaugural Orange Exhibition opened in February 2013
at White Box in NYC, and Orange2 opened in Chicago last February at

Co-Prosperity Sphere.
The experience of showing work in a prominent gallery setting such as UNIX, is one of several experiences that help graduate students build their professional skills— a significant aspect of sustaining a successful professional practice as an artist or designer.
Featured in this exhibit is work from five concentration areas in the MFA UT program: Printmaking, Sculpture, Transmedia Design, Ceramics and Painting.
Artists whose work is included are:
Natalie Petrosky
Petrosky_StillLifeStill life, Acrylic paint and fabric on canvas, 90”x60”, 2014
Thomas Wharton
2_wharton_thomas_3Land Ho, paint marker, graphite, oil pastel, acrylic ink, spray paint, collaged paper, and digital print on panel, 46” x 47”, 2014.
Peter Cotroneo
3_cotroneo_01The Perils of a Seafaring Man, oil, charcoal, and enamel on canvas. 45”x 51”, 2014
David Harman
Make it SoMake It So, oil on panel, 5” x 7”, 2014
Kevin Varney
Varney-Orange3ImageEvent Horizon, Steel, Light Bulb, Photography Umbrella, Motor, 75” x 32” x 32”, 2014
Elysia Mann
5_ElysiaMannEmbarrassment of Riches, mixed drawing, print media on paper and balsa, 70” x 14” x 50”, 2014
BJ Alumbaugh
6_Alumbaugh2Static Variation No. Series, Silkscreen Print, 30”x40”, 2014
Abigail Lucien
James Boychuck Hunter
8_JamesB-H (1)Slow Passage #1 and #2, Photo etching, 45 x 35 inches, 2014
Kevin Kao
9_kevinrkao_BouffantBouffant, Terracotta, 16″ x 10″ x 9″, 2014
Shannon Herron
Please Call Stella; vinyl letters and audio, 2014
Christopher Spurgin
Spurgin UnixUntil the end, or whenever , A/V installation, 2014
Martin Lang
langBreathing Through Foods, Video, 7:14m, 2014


Tanja Softic to Visit UT


The University of Tennessee Print Club will host Tanja Softic for a public lecture on Thursday January 29, 7:30pm, in Art and Architecture room AA109. On Monday February 2nd, from 4-5pm Softic will also participate in an artist’s tour of the exhibition “Drawn from the McClung Museum,” McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture on the UT campus.  Both events are free and open to the public. During her visit she will also work with students on an editioned print and present a mezzotint demonstration.

Tanja Softic is a Professor of Art at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Softic studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Sarajevo and earned her M.F.A. in Printmaking from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia in 1992. From 1991-92, she printed at Kathy Caraccio Etching Studio in New York. She works across the media of printmaking, drawing, photography and book arts. She is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Grant, National Endowment for the Arts/ Southern Arts Federation Visual Artist Fellowship and Soros Foundation—Open Society Institute Exhibition Support Grant. Her work is included in numerous collections in the United States and abroad, among them New York Public Library, Library of Congress Print Department and New South Wales Gallery of Art in Sydney, Australia. She participated in 12th International Print Triennial in Cracow, Poland and won a First Prize at the 5th Kochi International Triennial Exhibition of Prints, Ino-cho Paper Museum in Kochi, Japan in 2002. She completed print projects at Flying Horse Press, Tamarind Institute and Anderson Ranch’s Patton Print Studio.

Tanja Softic website: http://tanjasoftic.com/


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