Tag: Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown donates photographic archives to the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, University of Texas at Dallas

Carolyn Brown at the EODIAH Research Center at the Dallas Museum of Art

At the very beginning of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History nearly four years ago, Dallas’ most important documentary photographer, Carolyn Brown, indicated that she would like to make the Institute a major bequest: the photographs, negatives, and digital rights for her fifty-year career as a documentary photographer in the Middle East, Latin America, and Texas. For two years, she has worked with our own Lauren LaRocca to select from her body of work a comprehensive group for digitization on a state-of-the-art Hasselblad digital scanner acquired for her use by the Institute.

This process has yielded work for three exhibitions at the Institute’s DMA space and others throughout the state. Carolyn has also identified works of art and decorative art from the Middle East and Mexico in her personal collection, which she will bequeath to the Institute for the use of our students and for the enlivening of our seminar rooms and offices.

My own collaboration with Carolyn began almost two decades ago, and her bequest will give us the basis for an important collection of digitized images and prints that poetically record major ancient Roman, Islamic, pre-Hispanic, and viceregal sites in the Middle East and Mexico, as well as important series of photographs of Fair Park, Texas A&M, South Creek Ranch, the abandoned slaughter houses of northern Fort Worth, Lake Caddo, and other major architectural and natural sites.

We celebrate her in this issue and thank her for her profound generosity. Below, she describes her career and the gift in her own words.

Richard R. Brettell, Ph.D.

Founding Director

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair

Carolyn Brown and beloved dog Leroy

In 2016 I made the decision to will my extensive archive of still photography to the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. The archive comprises roughly 75,000 photographs (transparencies, digital scans, digital photographs, and prints) of architectural sites in the Middle East, Mexico and Central America, Dallas (including Fair Park), and the campus of Texas A&M University, College Station. In collaboration with the O’Donnell Institute, we are currently organizing and digitizing the archive, and over time will make the archive accessible through an online research portal. While old photographers finally pass on, their photographs can live on for hundreds of years.

 

My journey with photography began in 1969 when I lived in Cairo, Egypt for three years to study Islamic Art and Architecture at Cairo American University. We made weekly group field trips to ancient Fatimid and Mameluke mosques. I bought a Nikon 35mm camera to document each site, and discovered the thrill of photographing ancient buildings—a beginning of what would became not only a livelihood, but an obsession.

 

Many of these early photographs were hand-held slide images of Egyptians at the pyramids, colorful markets, religious feasts, and along busy streets among the remnants of ancient Cairo. After returning to the United States, I honed my skills, invested in high-end equipment and worked commercially as an architectural photographer–often returning to my beloved Middle East with my medium format Hasselblad to build a large image collection of some of the world’s most historic ancient sites. Over a period of fifteen years I travelled and photographed throughout Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Yemen and Turkey.

 

As the Middle East archive grew, in 1991 I began to photograph pre-Hispanic archaeological sites, viceregal churches, and natural landscapes in Mexico. Within ten years I had documented locations in more than twenty Mexican states, and throughout Guatemala. I began photographing church exteriors in bright sun for full color and sharpness. Then I discovered the interior. This space lives with a vitality of its own, breathing and moving in a tangle of decorated ceilings, altars, and walls of golden richness and delicately crafted forms. The explosive display of texture, color, and meaning within the church interior is but a portion of that ten year journey. The Snow-capped volcanoes of Popocateptl and Iztaccíhuatl perch outside the churches in Puebla and Tlaxcala, and the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico caress wide beaches of Veracruz and the Yucatan Peninsula, all bear witness to God’s majesty. At the end of winding dirt roads, across rich farmland and sometimes fog covered mountains, nestle pristine villages, each with a unique church in the village center or overlooking the world from a hilltop.

 

Carolyn Brown’s photographs installed at the Great Hall Entrance at Fair Park

 

With direction and inspiration from my dear friend Dr. Richard Brettell, in 2000 the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at Southern Methodist University sponsored the historic exhibition of my photography, Sacred Space: Man and the Divine in Mexico, Guatemala and Southwest United States. Rick curated a selection of 300 photographs, many enlarged to thirty feet in length, filling the Hall of State at Fair Park during the State Fair. Thousands of fair-goers, school, and organization tours visited this exhibit during its six week run.

 

Rick and I worked together again in 2005 on Crafting Traditions: The Architecture of Mark Lemmon for the Meadows Museum. I photographed Lemmon’s contemporary Dallas buildings for the exhibit and catalogue, and Rick curated the large format exhibit, designed by David Gibson.

 

Carolyn Brown, Triumphal Arch at Roman city of Palmyra, Syria, 1989, photograph

Today I continue to exhibit and produce photographs for books, most recently Dallas: Portrait of a City (2014), Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake co-authored with Thad Sitton TAMU Press (2015), and Architecture that Speaks: The Legacy of SCP Vosper, Texas A&M University 1928-1932 with David Woodcock FAIA and Nancy McCoy FAIA by TAMU Press (2017). Since 2015, I’ve produced rotating exhibitions of my work at the Edith O’Donnell DMA Research Center, curated by Lauren LaRocca, including The Middle East,The Tiled Churches of Puebla, and Pattern in Islamic Art. I also regularly exhibit at Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas.

 

Carolyn Brown, Workmen: San Francisco Acatepec, Puebla, Mexico, 1995

The beauty of photography is that by looking at a photograph, one can immediately experience long-ago moments. The places and people I photograph will always be remembered exactly as they were that day the image was made. These experiences are an important part of incredible memories and will forever be in my heart—they are an important part of who I am today.

Carolyn Brown

Islamic Art Revival Series Exhibition

Islamic Art Revival Series presents its first photography exhibition

THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE, Through the Lens of Three Women

At the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations

February 28 – March 25, 2018

Presented by the Islamic Art Revival Series (IARS) a program of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, an exhibition of photography by three Texas based women including Carolyn Brown, Tuba Koymen, and Farah Janjua.

Free Activities & Events to Enlighten and Inspire Friday, March 2nd

Opening Night Reception featuring Dr Nada Shabout as the keynote speaker. Dr Shabout is a Professor of Art History and the Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas. She is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA).

ISLAMIC ART REVIVAL SERIES

The Islamic Art Revival Series (IARS) is a program of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, designed to increase awareness and build bridges of cultural understanding through the arts. Started in 2011 by a cross-cultural coalition of businesses and nonprofit leaders, students and small business owners, the IARS includes a diverse group of women and men, who are passionate about sharing the rich cultural relevance of Islamic Art and to enhancing cross-cultural understanding. For more information, visit islamicartrevival.com.

TEXAS MUSLIM WOMEN’S FOUNDATION 

The Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation is a 501(c)(3) civic organization that empowers, promotes, and supports all women and their families through educational, outreach, philanthropy and social services. For more information, visit tmwf.org.


Report from the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History Research Center

“Patterns of Islamic Art” at the O’Donnell Institute Research Center at the Dallas Museum of Art, 2017, photograph by Carolyn Brown

 

We are excited to welcome everyone to join us this fall for our scholarly programs in the Research Center. Upon her completion of the first English-language translations of Paul Gauguin’s seven texts, UTD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Elpida Vouitsis discussed on August 29th how Gauguin’s writing style successfully communicates the duality of meaning in his artworks. In November our fellows have the special opportunity to visit the recent installation of Keir Collection objects with Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir. Our semester will conclude with a workshop by one of our new PhD fellows, Edleeca Thompson. Her research examines the myriad of ways museums display African art collections and how these design decisions effect interpretation.

The Research Center will host two new exhibitions this fall: Patterns in Islamic Art and Maya Trade and the Ulúa River Regions. I’ve curated a selection of Carolyn Brown’s photographs of Islamic architecture in the Middle East. Her images beautifully capture the nonfigural design elements in Islamic art: geometric, vegetal, and calligraphic. Patterns repeat and intertwine in colorful tiles on mosque façades and delicate stained glass that decorate intimate interiors. Our fourth vitrine installation, curated by DMA Curator Dr. Kimberly Jones, displays small ceramic vessels from the Ulúa region in Honduras. Despite their diminutive size, these objects were bound up in networks of trade and exchange throughout the Classic Maya kingdoms.

The Research Center promises to be a lively center of scholarly activity this fall with a new group of fellows from around the globe. We look forward to the coming year and welcome you to our many Fall programs. Visit our website at https://utdallas.edu/arthistory/programs/ and plan your calendar!

Lauren LaRocca

Coordinator of Special Programs

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History

Report of the Director

Richard Brettell - AH - Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair in Aesthetic Studies - Art History

Dr. Richard R. Brettell

In the land of art history, summer was the time to travel to research sites and work on projects before the busy fall at the O’Donnell Institute. EODIAH’s faculty, fellows, and graduate students have done just that as we continue to make an impact on art history throughout the country and the world. Two of our fellows, James Rodriguez and Kristine Larison, have been launched into the world, bringing news of EODIAH to their new homes in Indiana and Pennsylvania. Fellow Fabienne Ruppen from the University of Zürich visited museums and collections in the U.S. and Europe and spent time with her family in the Swiss Alps before returning to Dallas refreshed and ready to tackle her dissertation on Cézanne’s drawings. And Fellow Paul Galvez spent the summer in Princeton with trips to New England and California museums in his quest to finish his book on Gustave Courbet’s landscapes.

Our biggest achiever since our last newsletter was UT Dallas Distinguished Scholar in Residence Bonnie Pitman, who worked with EODIAH and DMA colleagues to create a pathbreaking conference at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Its focus was on partnerships between art museums and medical schools to cultivate the art of observation in medical students and physicians. By all accounts it was a great success. Congratulations, Bonnie–we await the story in the New York Times!

Assistant Director Dr. Sarah Kozlowski and I worked hard to further two of the Institute’s international partnerships. Sarah made an important trip to Naples to meet with our partner, Dr. Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Capodimonte Museum in that extraordinary city and to make headway on a multi-year project of collaboration between EODIAH, the Museum in Naples, and the Sorbonne in Paris. She reveals more below. I had a bracing tour of our new Swiss partner’s headquarters, The Swiss Institute for Art Research (www.sik-isea.ch/en-us). Located in a stunningly restored and expanded villa in the hills above Zürich, the Swiss Institute is the most important place globally for advanced research on Swiss Art.

Giacometti plasters in the Kunsthaus Zürich

Giacometti plasters in the Kunsthaus Zürich

Our ATEC-EODIAH faculty member Dr. Max Schich had a summer of global travel in his quest to make UT Dallas a world center for large data art history. He also is working on a promising partnership with the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich, whose former Director Dr. Wolf Tegethoff spoke at our founding. Under Max’s leadership we will see a steady stream of visitors from Munich to Dallas in the 2016-2017 academic year.

In one year, we have established alliances with important museums and institutes in three European cities. These are multi-year commitments that will insure that EODIAH has an important foothold in the places where our discipline was born.

This fall we welcome the return of Drs. Mark Rosen and Charissa Terranova, who each had academic leaves in 2015-2016 and are returning to the fold refreshed by a solid year of research. Each of their reports is below. While they were away, we constructed exciting new offices for these important scholars in the EODIAH complex at UT Dallas so that they can say farewell to their old offices in the Jonsson Building and come to be with us. This fall, we will ALL be together in the ATEC Building for the first time since our founding two years ago. We thank the new Dean of ATEC, Dr. Anne Balsamo, for allowing the Institute’s expansion in her wonderful building.

One of our most important accomplishments this past year has been to dramatically increase the Institute’s collection of scholarly books about art. This effort was begun at our founding with the gift of New York and London auction catalogues by the New York collectors Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Phillips. This gift has truly started an avalanche of books from institutional and private donors. The first was a complete set of contemporary auction catalogues from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and this was followed by the American auction catalogues and private library of the late Perry Rathbone, the distinguished museum administrator and scholar who recently died at his home in Connecticut. From this followed the gift of substantial parts of the art libraries of S. Roger Horchow and the late Nash Flores, each important collectors of art books in areas not covered seriously at UT Dallas. All of this material was capably catalogued and organized on our Cunningham-designed book shelves by students from The Greenhill School. We have also just acquired a private library devoted to Islamic art formed by Dr. Oliver Watson, the I.M. Pei Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at Oxford. This library will support ongoing study and research focused on the Keir Collection at the DMA.

About one 20th of the Comini library

About one 20th of the Comini library

And, if all of this was not enough, an Institute mailing that featured photographs of our book-lined offices so inspired the great art historian Dr. Alessandra Comini, Professor Emerita at SMU, that she has decided to bequeath her extraordinary library devoted to German, Austrian, and Scandinavian art as well as art produced by women artists to the Institute. When Sarah Kozlowski and I went with Alessandra through this private library, which approaches 30,000 volumes, we were in complete awe. The Comini library will be the largest gift of scholarly books in UT Dallas’s history.

This fall, our wonderful new staff member Lauren LaRocca is going to bring EODIAH-DMA alive. Lauren is curating an exhibition of Carolyn Brown’s architectural photographs of the Mexican Baroque city of Puebla and made possible a joint installation of global works of art in the DMA’s collection that use trade beads, the latter co-curated by the DMA’s superb Dr. Roslyn A. Walker, Senior Curator of the Arts of Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific and The Margaret McDermott Curator of African Art, and myself. Both installations will open this fall. Lauren has also worked with us and the DMA to create an incredible fall lineup of programs for the Institute at both the DMA and UT Dallas. And she worked with the DMA so that its new mobile app was conceived and worked through in EODIAH’s research center.

The DMA is our full partner, and it is exciting that we will do so much more in the Museum this year than we did in the months after the opening of our wonderful mirror-ceilinged space. We eagerly await the DMA’s new Director, Augustín Arteaga, so that we can work together even more. And we thank the departing Olivier Meslay for working so well with us thus far.

In the short two-year period since the Institute was founded, we have tried to become THE place for art history in North Texas and to make a global footprint as well. This next year will be devoted to hiring another O’Donnell Chair and to launching our Master’s Program in Art History. As we move forward, we are sprinting, not walking! What has made me the happiest is the number of individual donors who have decided to join us on our race toward excellence. Our wonderful Director of Development, Lucy Buchanan, will tell you all about our new friends!

 

Richard R. Brettell, Ph.D.

Founding Director, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair

Report from the EODIAH Research Center

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples on a Sideboard, 1900–1906, Dallas Museum of Art

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples on a Sideboard, 1900–1906, Dallas Museum of Art

We are excited to offer a full slate of programs for the coming semester. Fall workshops by guest speakers include the newly appointed curators at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dr. Jacqueline Chao and Dr. Qing Chang; Dr. Davide Gasparotto, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Getty; and Dr. Julian Henderson, Professor and Chair of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham.  As a testament to the richness of local scholarship, a number of workshops will be given by UT Dallas and UT Arlington affiliates including Dr. Roger Malina, Dr. Mary Vaccaro, and Dr. David McPhail in his new conservation lab at the UTD Bioengineering and Science Building. Our very own fellow, Fabienne Ruppen, will lead a discussion on Cezanne’s Still Life with Apples on a Sideboard in the DMA study room.

In September, fellows have the special opportunity to tour the contemporary art collection and library of art curator and collector Charles Dee Mitchell. October promises a lively conversation between Dr. Brettell and Dr. Alessandra Comini to discuss the making of cultural capitals as illustrated by Paris and Vienna. The semester will culminate with an enlivening lecture in late November by Dr. Phillipe de Montebello followed by our annual EODIAH dinner.

Carolyn Brown, Workmen: San Francisco Acatepec, Puebla, Mexico, 1995

Carolyn Brown, Workmen: San Francisco Acatepec, Puebla, Mexico, 1995

The Research Center will host two new exhibitions this fall; both explore the global trade of ideas and materials.  Carolyn Brown’s photography captures the innovative brilliance of Talavera tiled churches in Puebla, Mexico. I curated the installation in conjunction with the Crow Collection’s special exhibition Clay Between Two Seas: From the Abbasid Court to Puebla de los Angeles. Our second vitrine installation, a collaborative effort between Dr. Brettell and DMA Curator Dr. Roslyn Walker, showcases the museum’s vast collections of beaded objects.  The international trade of artworks like beads introduced a vivacity of color and design into works of art.

Finally, we’re thrilled to announce that DMA Curator Dr. Anne Bromberg will teach a UT Dallas graduate seminar at the Research Center in Spring 2017 on Indian Art. Dr. Bromberg will use the superb collections at the DMA, much of which has been acquired under her leadership. This is a unique opportunity for students to study with one of the foremost scholars of Indian Art.

Our institutional partnership with the DMA continues to thrive and develop in new ways.  We hope you’ll join us this fall for our many exciting programs!

 

Lauren LaRocca
Coordinator of Special Programs
The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History