Art History adds Ph.D program, names Tejada as endowed chair

José Bowen

Art History adds Ph.D program, names Tejada as endowed chair

Roberto TejadaFollowing an international search, the Division of Art History in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has announced the appointment of Roberto Tejada (right) as the new Distinguished Endowed Chair in Art History, effective Aug. 1, 2010.

The new endowed position was made possible by an anonymous gift of $2 million, intended to help launch a new Ph.D. program in art history at SMU in the fall of 2011. It will be the first art history Ph.D. program in North Texas and one of only a few in the state.

“Although our donor wishes to remain anonymous, we express our gratitude for this generous support of a major goal of the Second Century Campaign – strengthening our academic programs and increasing the number of endowed academic positions,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The appointment of Dr. Tejada and this innovative new doctoral program in art history leverage the unique resources of the Meadows Museum and the cultural richness of our region.”

A well-known specialist in modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino/U.S. visual culture, Dr. Tejada is also a highly distinguished teacher, art critic, poet, curator and editor. Ramón A. Gutierrez, Preston & Sterling Morton Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Chicago, said that Tejada is regarded as “one of a very small handful of top Latino art historians/critics and as one of Latin America’s most important thinkers in the field.”

“We are thrilled to have Professor Tejada as our new endowed chair,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “He has formidable scholarly, curatorial and editorial credentials that will transform SMU’s already excellent art history program into one of national and international prominence, particularly in the arena of Latin American and Iberian studies. Building on the excellence of our existing faculty’s expertise in Colonial Latin America, Pre-Columbian art, and medieval Spain, and also on the strengths of the Meadows Museum and its renowned collection of Spanish art, Dr. Tejada will be a magnet for Ph.D. students around the world.”

Tejada comes to SMU from the University of Texas-Austin, where he is an associate professor in the art and art history department. Previously he taught at the University of California-San Diego, where he was one of 8 prominent scholars specifically hired by the university to promote interdisciplinary research and create synergies among departments, programs and research centers.

Professor Tejada also has lived in Mexico City, taught at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and curated for the Museo de las Artes in Guadalajara. He spent 7 years as executive editor of Artes de México, one of the continent’s leading arts journals, and was on the editorial team of Vuelta Magazine in Mexico City, published by the late Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, which focused on the arts, culture and politics of Latin America. He has published books on Mexican photography and on the artist Celia Alvarez Muñoz as well as numerous articles.

An accomplished poet, Tejada founded and is now co-editor of Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, one of the premiere bilingual journals of poetry, poetics, and visual arts from the Americas. He will continue to publish the journal at SMU.

The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Tejada earned his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies (art history, English, comparative literature and media studies) at the State University of New York-Buffalo and his B.A. in comparative literature at New York University.

The international search for the new chair was led by SMU University Distinguished Professor in Art History Greg Warden. The search committee included numerous prominent scholars, among them W.J.T. Mitchell of the University of Chicago and Annabel J. Wharton of Duke University.

The division’s new Ph.D. program will feature a curriculum with two areas of concentration: one geographic, covering Latin America, Iberia and the Americas; and the other media-based, focusing on technologies of visual communication.

The Ph.D. curriculum is called RASC/A (Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture,) says Janis Bergman-Carton, chair of art history at SMU. “Rooted in the fields of both art history and visual culture studies, RASC/A builds upon the strengths of the present faculty with renewed emphasis on historical and new media, architecture and the city, and performance and ritual,” she adds. “Emphasizing spatial as well as visual culture, RASC/A extends the department’s commitment to the study of visual technologies, while also advancing transnational scholarship in arts of Latin America, Iberia, and the Americas.

“Dr. Tejada’s extensive work on photography and modern Mexican, Chicano, and Contemporary Latino art history makes him the ideal candidate for this exciting initiative.”

> Read more from SMU News

June 29, 2010|News|

Calendar Highlights: April 13, 2010

Chicano scholar Julian SamoraSinging strings: The Meadows Guitar Ensemble presents music spanning 3 centuries from Spain, South America and the United States at 8 p.m. April 13 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Free. For more information, contact the Division of Music in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, 214-768-1951.

Perkins Interdisciplinary Dialogue: The work of Julian Samora (right), the founder of Latino studies, becomes a case example of how a scholar addresses social justice in his work in an upcoming Perkins Interdisciplinary Dialogue. “A Struggle for Social Justice: The Chicano Voice of Julian Samora – How Does His Legacy Respond to Conservatives’ Attacks on Churches That Preach Social Justice?” takes place April 14 in the Prothro Hall Refectory, Room 104. The discussion will be moderated by Anthony Cortese and Susanne Johnson of the Department of Sociology in SMU’s Dedman College. Light dinner at 6:30 p.m., discussion 7-8:30 p.m. RSVP to Rachel Lamb, Perkins School of Theology.

Meadows Dean Jose Bowen performing with JampactMeadows at the Bath House: SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts presents a concert of art, music and dance with the band Jampact and digital artists Carola Dreidemie, assistant professor in the Division of Art, and Richard Klein. Jampact features Meadows Dean José Bowen (right, piano), Buddy Mohamed (bass), and Meadows faculty members Kim Corbet (trombone and synthesizer), Akira Sato (trumpet) and Jamal Mohamed (drums). SMU dance students Albert Drake and Tawanda Chebikwa will also perform. The show begins at 8 p.m. April 17 in the Bath House Cultural Center at Dallas’ White Rock Lake, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Tickets are $10 each. For more information, contact Kim Corbet.

Cowboys chat: The SMU Athletic Forum welcomes Dallas Cowboys owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones, noon-1:30 p.m. April 20 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $60 each. For more information, contact Brittany Timmerman, 214-768-4314.

Clements Center Brown Bag Lecture: Clements Center Fellow Raul Coronado will discuss “A World Not to Come: Revolution, Modernity, and Latino Literary History, 1810-1860” at noon April 21 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Sponsored by SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies. Bring your lunch.

April 13, 2010|Calendar Highlights|

Faculty, students collaborate in ‘Meadows at the Bath House’

BL Lacerta poster for Meadows at the Bath House seriesFaculty and students in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts have found a new way to blend their talents. “Meadows at the Bath House,” a new series of performances that cross genres and disciplines, opens at 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at Dallas’ Bath House Cultural Center.

The series reflects the Meadows School’s interest in expanding its interdisciplinary offerings in the community, fostered by Dean José Bowen.

“In any given show you’re likely to see musicians working with dancers, poets and/or actors,” says Kim Corbet, series producer and Meadows music history faculty member. “Behind the scenes, there may be collaborations with the advertising department or film students documenting or using their talents as a component within the show itself.”

The inaugural show features the music and dance explorations of BL Lacerta. The interdisciplinary ensemble includes three musicians and two dancers: Corbet on trombone and synthesizer, Kevin Hanlon (Associate Professor of Music Composition) on guitar, and pianist David Anderson of SMU’s Huffington Department of Earth Sciences. The Meadows-trained dancers are Tawanda Chabikwa (M.F.A. ’10) and Jennifer Mabus (B.F.A. ’93).

“The group rigorously rehearses improvisationally, with dancers routinely making music and musicians moving on stage with the dancers,” Corbet says.

The second show, set for 8 p.m. Nov. 13, features the Meadows faculty jazz quintet Jampact along with videographers and movement artists. The group includes Meadows Dean José Bowen (piano) and Meadows faculty members Akira Sato (trumpet), Jamal Mohamed (drums), Buddy Mohamed (bass) and Corbet.

Tickets to each performance are $5. The Bath House Cultural Center is located at 521 E. Lawther Drive on the east side of White Rock Lake. For more information, contact Kim Corbet at 214-542-5663 or visit the Bath House Cultural Center website.

Read more from SMU News

October 27, 2009|Calendar Highlights, News|

Two winners announced for inaugural Meadows Prize

eighth blackbirdGrammy-winning new music ensemble eighth blackbird (right) and New York-based public arts organization Creative Time have been selected by SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts as recipients of the inaugural 2009-2010 Meadows Prize, a new international arts residency.

The announcement was made Oct. 14 at the “Act 3, Scene I” gala at the AT&T Performing Arts Center by José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School.

“The opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center is making a huge impact on the world’s perception of Dallas as a great city for the arts,” said Bowen. “To help make Dallas a great cultural capital, we must also become known as a center for the creation of new works, building a community that nurtures its own and tolerates artistic risk the same way we embrace entrepreneurial risk. To further that goal, in partnership with the Dallas arts community, the new Meadows Prize will bring artists with an international reputation to Dallas each year to produce an artistic legacy for the city.”

The prize includes housing for a one-to-three-month residency in Dallas, transportation expenses, studio/office space and project costs, in addition to a $25,000 stipend. In return, recipients are expected to interact in a substantive way with Meadows students and collaborating arts organizations, and to leave a lasting legacy in Dallas, such as a work of art that remains in the community, a composition or piece of dramatic writing that would be performed locally, or a new way of teaching in a particular discipline.

eighth blackbird formed in 1996 when its members were students at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Since then, they have appeared in concert halls and festivals worldwide; released four acclaimed CDs, including the Grammy-winning strange imaginary animals in 2008 (Best Chamber Music Performance); received numerous grants and awards; and commissioned and premiered new works by eminent composers, including Steven Reich’s Double Sextet, which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.

During their time in Dallas, eighth blackbird will introduce new music and provide workshops for chamber ensembles with the Meadows School and other local schools as well as the wider community. Their legacy for the city will be a curated music series in partnership with the Dallas Arts District.

Founded in New York in 1974, Creative Time has a history of commissioning, producing and presenting adventurous public artworks. During the 1980s and 90s it broadened the definitions of both art and public space, presenting projects on sites from billboards to landmark buildings to deli cups, and encouraging artists to address timely issues such as domestic violence, AIDS and racial inequality. Creative Time also promotes collaboration within the creative community, partnering with such organizations as Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2007 Creative Time expanded to national and international projects, working with artists, sites and partners in cities such as New Orleans, Baltimore, Chicago and London. In 2008 Creative Time was hired by the city of Louisville to develop its first Public Art Master Plan.

Through the Meadows Prize, Creative Time’s consultants will make several extended trips to Dallas over a year’s period to develop recommendations for growing and nurturing the Dallas arts community. The group intends to lead discussions, identify stakeholders, and help participants agree on goals and a plan of action. The aim is to bring together artists, collectors, gallery owners, arts organizations, urban planners, schools and city officials to lay the preliminary groundwork for a process that will lead to a master plan for the arts in the city.

The new Meadows Prize replaces the Meadows Award, which was given annually from 1981 to 2003 to honor the accomplishments of an artist at the pinnacle of a distinguished career. The Meadows Prize will be presented each fall to up to four artists. Recipients must be pioneering artists and scholars with an emerging international profile, active in a discipline represented by one of the academic units within the Meadows School: advertising, art, art history, arts administration, cinema-television, corporate communications, dance, journalism, music and theatre.

Above, eighth blackbird members (back row, left to right): Nicholas Photinos, cello; Tim Munro, flutes; Matthew Duvall, percussion; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; (front row) Matt Albert, violin and viola; Lisa Kaplan, piano. Photo by Luke Ratray.

Read more about the selection committee and process from SMU News
Learn more about eighth blackbird
Visit the Creative Time website

October 20, 2009|News|

Tune In: When computers leave the classroom, so does boredom

Jose Bowen on 'Teaching Naked'Colleges worldwide are investing millions in “smart” classrooms, but Meadows Dean José Bowen has challenged his colleagues to “teach naked” – by which he means, sans machines. Dean Bowen believes too many professors use PowerPoint as a crutch rather than a creative tool – and class time should be reserved for discussion, he contends, especially now that students can download lectures online and find libraries of information on the web.

Statistics back him up: A study published in the April 2009 British Educational Research Journal found that 59 percent of students in a new survey reported that at least half of their lectures were boring, and that PowerPoint was one of the dullest methods they saw. They gave low marks not just to the popular slide-display program, but to all kinds of computer-assisted classroom activities, even interactive exercises in computer labs.

“The least boring teaching methods were found to be seminars, practical sessions, and group discussions,” said the report. In other words, tech-free classrooms were the most engaging.

Read more from The Chronicle of Higher Education, and watch Bowen’s video on “teaching naked.” video

August 17, 2009|Tune In|
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