e-Conversation. the newsletter of the School of Arts and Humanities at The University of Texas at Dallas

Faculty Focus

Fred Curchack

Fred Curchack has been extremely busy: he performed the role of Nagg in Samuel Beckett's "Endgame" at Dallas' Undermain Theatre in April. His "Synthesis: An Idiot's Guide to Death and Rebirth" had its world premiere at the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, California in February. Fred served as the author, sound designer, composer, director and solo performer. Fred was also the author, director, designer, composer and performer (with Laura Jorgensen) of "Milarepa," which was written up in the Dallas Morning News in January. 2009 was also a productive time for him, as he wrote and directed "Highlights from The Great Eastern Sun Trilogy," "Sacred Laughter: Commedia for Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle," and "Monkey: The Quest to the West," among others.

Enric Madriguera

guitarEnric Madriguera spent March 24 - 28 at The University of Texas at Brownsville campus for the Guitar Ensemble Festival, and returned with an armload of awards - two for first place and one for second! The UT Dallas duos (Abby Dignan/Richard Green and Dan Hodan/Charlie Watson, pictured at right) also performed well in the master classes. Madriguera reports that along with certificates, the winners received "the joy and satisfaction of being well-prepared for the events and seeing people of like interests and passions."

Creative Writing Faculty

The Creative Writing faculty are engaged in a new series of initiatives to maintain and increase enrollments in creative writing classes at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The newly instituted sophomore-level, prerequisite courses in creative writing are burgeoning and have been highly successful. This spring, "Sojourn" (UT Dallas' literary journal for the arts) published a special "Best of" issue, which was be the final edition of the student-run magazine under the old name. Matt Bondurant will function as the faculty sponsor and de facto executive editor of a newly formatted and renamed version of the publication starting next fall. Professors Bondurant, Reynolds, and Briante recently traveled to Denver for the Associated Writing Program (AWP) annual meeting, where four UTD graduate students ran the first-ever booth at the AWP Book Fair and Exhibit, distributing information about Creative Writing and the Arts & Humanities program, along with current issues of "Sojourn." Susan Briante has also been nominated for a $50,000 United States Artists fellowship.

Zsuzsanna Ozsváth

In January, Zsuzsanna Ozsváth was named a member of Governor Rick Perry’s Holocaust and Genocide Commission, which will be instrumental in advising the creation of Holocaust courses in high schools as well as advising colleges to design curricula on the subject.

Peter K.J. Park

UT Dallas Arts and Humanities Assistant Professor Peter K.J. Park was awarded a Herzog Ernst Fellowship of the Forschungsbibliothek in Gotha, part of the University of Erfurt in Germany, to conduct research in Germany on the roots of scientific racism. The award will make it possible for him to live three months in Gotha, where he will use a renowned, former ducal library that houses one of the most significant collections of early modern publications in Germany. Park, whose research focuses on the intellectual and cultural exchange between Europe and Asia in the 18th and early 19th centuries, begins the fellowship in the summer.

Robert X. Rodríguez

Robert X. Rodríguez recorded "Tentado por la samba" for cello and piano on the CD "Seven World Premieres" (Carlos Prieto, Cello; Doris Stevenson, Piano), and has performed with the San Diego Symphony, the Jalisco Philharmonic, the Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, and The University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble, among others. Most recently he took part in the New York premiere of Norton Juster's beloved "romance in lower mathematics," setting "The Dot and the Line" to music at Copland House, narrated by Jamie Bernstein.

John Pomara

John Pomara had a solo exhibition, "Arrival and Departure," at the Barry Whistler Gallery Jan.17-Feb. 28, 2010. He exhibited oil enamel paints on aluminum, along with large-scale digital photographs. There will be a review of the exhibition in an upcoming issue of the national magazine "Art in America."

Rick Brettell

Rick Brettell has curated and written catalogues for two exhibitions at the MAC (McKinney Avenue Contemporary). Both are exhibitions of works by long-time friends of his — both artists in Austin — who incorporate "art history" into the practice of art. Ginger Geyer makes tour de force sculpture in glazed porcelain, and her exhibition is entitled "The Porcelain Reformation." Ken Hale makes landscapes out of art, thus the title of his exhibition "Ken Hale: Art into Landscape", a riff on Kenneth Clark's great book, "Landscape into Art." Both exhibitions kicked off on April 10.

Mark Rosen

Mark Rosen gave a lecture on May 5 at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. He used Duccio's "Raising of Lazarus" (in the Kimbell collection) as a jumping-off point to explore the theme and visual resonance of this subject throughout Christian art. As a tale of restoring a dead body to life (told in John 11:1-44), the theme prefigures Christ's own resurrection, yet the story is frequently narrated in a significantly different manner: filled with witnesses, anecdotes, and details appealing to the viewer's senses. The lecture discussed the earliest known depictions of the narrative, those that are contemporary with Duccio's (most notably by Giotto), and later versions (most notably Sebastiano del Piombo’s great altarpiece, now in the National Gallery, London). Rosen also organized a session (together with Ittai Weinryb of the Bard Graduate Center in New York) for the 45th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo entitled "Sculpture and the Medieval City." It received sponsorship from the International Center for Medieval Art (medievalart.org). Four scholars are participating, from the University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University; the University of Manitoba (Canada); and the University of Salerno (Italy). This session, which takes place on the evening of May 13, aims to explore the role, meaning, function, and even dysfunction of sculpture in the medieval city. From the ontological value of their being objects occupying space, sculpture has always been part of an environment. This session asks how the use and re-use of sculpture shaped the medieval city's definition of itself, how sculpture illuminated medieval daily life, and how meaning was generated through the performance of sculpture, its interaction with its site, and its adaptation of pictorial themes resonant to local populations.

Todd Fechter

Todd Fechter is finishing up a campus animation project for Dr. Calvin Jamison (Business Affairs). The project involves creating a virtual model of the entire UT Dallas campus, allowing prospective students to see where new buildings will go, and eventually will allow the student to virtually place him or herself "into" the campus to get a feel for the location. Todd is also working with Tim McLaughlin, Head of the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University, on a three-year project for the National Science Foundation. The two schools, along with a university in Germany and a high school in San Antonio, are creating animated shorts focusing on communication between students who are working on projects but are separated by distance. They hope that companies like Pixar, who are starting to outsource many of their projects, will benefit from these shorts.

Frank Dufour

And in patriotic news, Frank Dufour has recently become an American citizen!