NEXT TOPIC' is a monthly lecture series at CentralTrak Artists’ Residency and Gallery which aims to foster critical discussions on contemporary art issues among Dallas artists, thinkers, critics, educators, theorist, and shapers across DFW area. These events are free and open to the public.
For questions, suggestions or ideas about our future sessions, please email NEXT TOPIC Program Chair Mona Kasra.
Dates: Feb 6, March 6, April 3, May 1
Dec 5, 7 pm:
*****Due to inclement weather and public safety concerns, our Next Topic session scheduled for this evening, Thurs, December 5th, has been canceled. The panel will be rescheduled for a date soon to be announced.******
On December 5th CentralTrak’s NEXT TOPIC ends the fall semester by bringing together Leigh Arnold , curator of the current exhibition 'Sadie Hawkins’, educator Shilyh Warren, and visual artist and poet Rosemary Meza. The three guests will discuss feminism in art and how the pairing of the two has evolved over the years. Which glass ceilings remain to be shattered? Is feminism even important in contemporary art? Do artists care and should they? We hope you can join us for conversations that are bound to challenge preconceived notions of gender roles and female
This session will be moderated and lead by Aja Martin.
Leigh A. Arnold
A curatorial fellow at the Nasher Sculpture Center and consulting curator for the exhibition “Robert Smithson in Texas” at the Dallas Museum of Art on view through April 2014. She has previously held the position of research fellow at the Dallas Museum of Art for the special project “DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present,” which culminated in an exhibition and online publication in the spring of 2013. Arnold is currently working on her PhD in Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas where she plans to write on Robert Smithson's relationship to Texas. Arnold is the curator of the CentralTrak exhibition “Sadie Hawkins”.
Dr. Shilyh Warren
Teaches a range of courses in film studies, including documentary, independent and experimental cinema, world cinema and women's cinema. She has also taught film studies and gender studies at North Carolina State University and Duke University.
She received her MA and PhD in Literature from Duke University. She also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College, where she earned an undergraduate degree in Women's Studies.
Currently at work on a book manuscript about feminist film culture, theory, and practice of the seventies, her most recent articles are forthcoming in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media.
DesPlas is a visual artist and poet from Dallas, TX. She received her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas. Ms. MezaDesPlas has exhibited locally and internationally in museums and galleries including New Mexico Museum of Art, Wade Wilson Art (Santa Fe, NM), ARC Gallery & Educational Foundation (Chicago, IL), A.I.R. Gallery (NYC,NY), Espace Kiron (Paris, France), and Actuel’Art Lagalerie (Paris, France). She will present a paper titled “Desire: The Norm of Imperfection” at the Mod Art’13 Conference in Istanbul, Turkey in November 2013. In April 2014 she will be exhibiting in Shenyang, China in “Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art”. Ms. MezaDesPlas is also a writer and selfpublished a poetry chapbook in 1995 called The Laughter Between My Legs. She is featured in the 2007 video Triumph of our Communities: Artists and Organizations produced by the Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University. MezaDesPlas has taught at El Centro College in downtown Dallas since 1999.
Nov 14, 7 pm:
CentralTrak Next Topic is pleased to host a two-part series of reflective discussions on contemporary art practices in the Middle East pertaining to the ongoing political turmoil, war, and conflict in the region. Participating speakers in the upcoming session will discuss the rich contemporary art scene in the neighboring countries Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. In spring 2014, Noah Simblist will continue this topic by giving a lecture on current art practices in the geographical region of Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon.
Dr. Nada Shabout, an Associate Professor of Art History and the Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Institute (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas.
Morehshin Allahyari, a new media artist and an art activist, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Art and Technology department at the University of Texas in Dallas and the art director of Siamak Pourzand Foundation.
Tuba Öztekin Köymen, a Dallas/Fort Worth artist and designer, and Adjunct Professor of Photography at the Texas Christian University.
Dr. Nada Shabout-
Talk: “In lieu of Revolutions: New Hot Spots for Art"
At the start of the 21st century, and as old cities of the Arab World, the traditional cultural hubs in the region (Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus) are dismantled through wars, invasion and revolts, new global cities promoting new art centers (Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi) are on the rise. The new cities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are arguably peculiar in their identity and politics. This talk explores the reasons behind this cultural shift and thedynamics of the new global cultural bubble.
Bio: Nada Shabout is an Associate Professor of Art History and the Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Institute (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas, USA. She is the Consulting Director of the Research Center on Arab Modernity at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar. She is the Senior Curator for the inaugural exhibition at Mathaf, Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art, and curator of Interventions: A dialogue between the Modern and the Contemporary. Her teaching and writing interests are in the area of Arab and Islamic visual culture, theory and history, imperialism, Orientalism and globalization. She is the author of Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, University of Florida Press, 2007; co-editor of New Vision: Arab Art in the 21st Century, Thames & Hudson, 2009; and the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA).
Talk: “Iranian art scene”
In the last 5-6 years, the Iranian art scene has gone through a sudden yet interesting shift from traditional to new media art. Morehshin Allahyari will talk about the contemporary Iranian art scene with focus on art and technology and some of the most interesting works of some the Iranian new media artists, art galleries, and festivals.
Bio: Morehshin Allahyari is a new media artist and an art activist. She was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007. Her creative and research interest encompasses experimental 3D animation, digital filmmaking, installation, performance and extensive activity as a cultural curator. Coming from a social science background, the topics of her practice include political and social art, creative writing, art activism, community building and collaborative art. Morehshin’s animated films and curatorial projects have received world wide acclaim. She has been part of many national and international exhibitions, festivals, and conferences in Europe, the Middle East, North and South America. She recently recieved the Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough award from Dallas Museum of Art and was an artist in residence at the Film and Media program at the Banff Centre in summer of 2013. Morehshin is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Art and Technology department at the University of Texas in Dallas and the art director of Siamak Pourzand Foundation.
Tuba Öztekin Köymen-
Talk: “Resistgezi: The power of resistance, social media and collective life.”
Looking at Gezi Park events. On May 31st, Taksim Square and Gezi Park, which is a public domain with a lot of trees, in Istanbul Turkey were occupied by the people who tried to save the space. This event transformed the public for the following two weeks until they were violently evacuated by the police. Köymen will give a talk on how, for the participants, this event turned into an artistic, transformative experience and functioned as a vehicle for creative self-expression in a public space.
Bio: Tuba Öztekin Köymen is an artist and designer who lives and works in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. She was born in Turkey and graduated in 1995 from the Department of Graphic Design at Bilkent University. In 1999, she received an MFA in Photography and Digital imaging from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Köymen has had solo exhibitions locally and internationally in museums and galleries including the Center of Documentary Studies at Duke University, Light Factory (North Carolina), Austin College (Sherman, Texas), and the Museum Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. Köymen has organized or assisted in the organization of many exhibitions of photography and art — including the Istanbul Biennial — and has led or participated in workshops, collaborative projects, and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. She is currently an adjunct professor of Photography at the Texas Christian University. She will be at Austin College, Sherman as a visiting professor in Spring of 2014.
Oct 3, 7 pm:
Location: The Dallas Contemporary/ dcU
161 Glass St Dallas, TX 75207
Modern society and technology have made it very easy for the average individual to experience art passively without careful contemplation or necessary productive reaction. Many have combated this by developing artwork that aims to inspire more active social engagement. During the month of October Dallas will premiere the work of three renowned ‘Social Practice’ artists: Janeil Engelstad, founder of the ‘MAP’ project, and two ‘Nasher Xchange’ Artists Vicki Meek, independent curator and cultural critic, and Rick Lowe, creator of the widely successful ‘Project Row Houses’. CentralTrak brings these artists together for one night only, through the gracious hosts of The Dallas Contemporary (dcU), for a panel discussion that promises to be both lively and informative.
The founder of MAP (Make Art with Purpose) is organizer and producer of the ‘Dallas MAP Project’, A festival and exhibition of projects that restore and preserve the environment, promote social justice and advance human knowledge and well-being, Dallas - Fort Worth. She is an internationally known Artist, lecturer, social practitioner, Fulbright Scholar and an advocate for critical cultural development through the arts.
A nationally recognized artist residing in Dallas whose public arts commissions and installation artworks are noted for engaging their viewer in an effort to foster dialogue on difficult subject matter. Meek is an independent curator and writes cultural criticism for her blog, Art & Racenotes. She is currently the Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center and serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for National Performance Network.
Rick Lowe –
A Houston-based artist who is internationally respected for one of the most successful community art projects in the world, ‘Project Row Houses’, located in Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood. In addition to Project Row Houses, Lowe has worked as a guest artist on a range of projects, including the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Public Library; Small Business/Big Change in Anyang, South Korea, the Borough Project for the Spoleto Festival 2003 in Charleston, S.C.; and the Delray Beach Cultural Loop in Florida to name only a few.
Greg Metz has held a Senior Lecturer position in the Arts and Performance program since 1994. He holds a B.F.A. degree in from East Texas State University (1974) and an M.F.A. degree in from Indiana University (1979). He was awarded a fellowship to study at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art (1973) and Indiana University Graduate Program. He has exhibited artworks nationally and internationally in a variety of venues including: Grand Palace, Amsterdam, Koln Cathedral, Koln Germany, General Post Office, Dublin, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Washington National Mall, Dallas Museum of Art, San Antonio Art Museum, Arlington Art Museum and numerous public and private collections. His work is primarily issue oriented and political in nature focusing on art as propaganda and editorial, earning him reviews in San Francisco's Art Week, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Mother Jones, San Diego Chronicle, Boston Herald, Washington Times, NPR radio, New York Times as well as numerous regional publications.
Sep 5, 7 pm:
'NEXT TOPIC' returns for the fall season with a series of illuminating events kicked off by two in-depth conversations on creative computation and techniques by which artists can enhance their expression through computer science and engineering.
- Paul Fishwick, Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology and Professor of Computer Science at University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)
- Ira Greenberg, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering & Director of Center of Creative Computation at Southern Methodist University (SMU)
Title: Making Code Drip
Speaker: Ira Greenberg
Trained as a painter, I explored the visual world studying rhythm, pattern. color, form and the problem of discretely recording this infinite data onto a static, flat, finite surface. Over time the motif and resultant "painting/data" transitioned from landscape, to tree, to foliage, to pure marks and patterned color fields. At some point I realized I was painting algorithms, which coincided with a growing interest in computer graphics. It also slowly dawned on me that if I could learn to master "computation" as a craft oriented medium, I could essentially create multi-dimensional worlds, paintings that moved, evolved and ultimately emerged–perhaps even not completely under my own explicit control. This transition in my work–from paint to code–occurred approximately 15 years ago.
My work today, looking in from the outside, can be misconstrued as computer science research; it's not. I'm not sure if it's "Art" either. However, it's work I continue to be intrigued by.
Title: Creative Automata
Speaker: P. Fishwick
There was a time when artists and computer scientists were one. This was a time dominated by the creation of automata made of metal and wood, and extravagantly crafted. With relatively new computing technology, we revisit this mode of "coding" and "computing" through immersive games such as Minecraft and maker-culture with micro controllers and 3D printing.
The session will be followed by Q&A with the audience.
March 21, 7 pm:
Artist and curator Nathan Green, artist and UTD Professor John Pomara, and artist and educator Kim Camdus Owens will discuss issues surrounding CentralTrak's current exhibition 'Failing Flat: Sculptural Tendencies in Painting,' a group exhibition of paintings that exist in a dual state of objecthood and the pictorial, featuring the work of Ivin Ballen, T.J. Donovan, Faith Gay, and Shane Tolbert, curated by Nathan Green.
April 4, 7 pm:Rebecca Carter Artist Lecture
Rebecca Carter's works explore states of intimacy and alienation as they shift through reading, touch, and other states of reception. She engages processes of appropriation, tracing, erasing, reconstructing, and the performative in various media, notably the groundless thread drawing and video. She holds an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in Studio/Art History and Women's Studies from Oberlin College. www.rebeccacarter.org
April 18, 7pm: Panel discussion on ‘Art Writing & Art Criticism in Texas', addressing:
Why 'Art Criticism'? Do we need it?
Is there a clear mission for art writing, criticism, or the role of the critic?
What's the role of expertise in writing art criticism? Does the art critic need training in art?
What's the difference between art criticism and art reporting?
What is the art critics's part in shaping an art scene?
How is social media and citizen journalism affecting the domain of 'Art Criticism'?
What is the present condition of 'Art Criticism' in Dallas?
- Frances Colpitt is the Deedie Potter Rose Chair of Art History at TCU and a specialist in contemporary art, theory and criticism.
- Charles Dee Mitchell is a freelance writer and a contributor to The Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, and Art in America.
- Peter Simek is the arts editor for D Magazine, where he manages, edits, and serves as the primary movie critic and reporter for FrontRow.
- Charissa Terranova is Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. She is a scholarly writer and freelance curator and critic working both nationally and internationally.
- Jerome Weeks is the Art & Seek producer-reporter for KERA and a professional critic for more than two decades.
May 2, 7 pm: Panel Discussion on 'Creating an Art Community/Scene’
- Peter Doroshenko is the Executive Director at the Dallas Contemporary, Texas.
- Kevin Ruben Jacobs is the owner of Oliver Francis Gallery, an independent/artist run experimental art space in Dallas.
- Lucy Kirkman is a current member of Socialized Contemporary Artists Bureau Collective (S.C.A.B). She co-runs DTFU, an alternative gallery space in Dallas.
- Richard Patterson is an artist currently based in Dallas, Texas. He is one of the Young British Artists (YBAs).
- Leigh Arnold is Research Project Coordinator at Dallas Museum of Art.
May 16, 7 pm: “Not On Speaking ‘Terms’: Trauma and Beauty” with Denise Prince
This NEXT TOPiC session is focused on the work of Denise Prince — a featured artist in CentralTrak’s upcoming exhibition “That Mortal Coil”— who will be present, but in a performative capacity only.
In her series of photographs in "That Mortal Coil," Prince quotes constructed images used in a Missioni fashion campaign from 2009. The artist states, “I began working with and against the strategies of this catalog, photographing people who have experienced severe physical trauma from accident, birth defect or assault to surpass standards of representation.”
In lieu of a traditional artist’s talk, Prince has invited her psychoanalyst (Lacanian) to process her work in an experimental live “couch session,” in which Merward will conduct critical commentary on Prince’s work while she sits present, but silent.
May 30, 7 pm: "That Mortal Coil" Panel Discussion
This NEXT TOPIC panel discussion will focus on issues surrounding CentrralTrak's exhibition "That Mortal Coil: Rebuking the Ideal in Contemporary Figurative Art," a group exhibition of artworks that reject to honor prescribed aesthetic standards, apologetic modesty or polite behavior and instead generously search for beauty in the varied spectrum of the human condition. Artists included in this exhibition: Seth Alverson (Houston), R.E. Cox (Dallas), Brian K. Jones (Dallas), Denise Prince (Austin), Ari Richter (New York), Nina Schwanse (New Orleans/Los Angeles) and Taro-kun (Yokohama, Japan).
- Heyd Fontenot is an artist, curator and current director of CentralTrak - The University of Texas at Dallas Artists Residency. He is the curator of "That Mortal Coil."
- Daniel Kusner is a writer, editor, and producer based in Dallas, Texas.
- R.E. Cox is one of the participating artist in "That Mortal Coil." Cox creates fleshy sculptures using orthopedic compression hosiery and any assortment of found objects.
- Charissa Terranova is Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. She is a scholarly writer and freelance curator and critic working both nationally and internationally.
June 13, 7 pm: Nina Schwanse - Artist Lecture
Nina Schwanse (born Los Angeles, CA) is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in New Orleans. She is one of the exhibiting artists in CentralTrak's current exhibition "That Mortal Coil," with her video work Squirting.
Schwanse chooses to work with her own body as a primary subject and material, distorting her image with both cosmetics and characterizations, sometimes employing drag performance à la Victor/Victoria. In her video piece Squirting, the bikini-clad Schwanse, presents herself as object d’art on a plinth, disappearing in degrees with the aid of green-screen technology and a squirt-bottle of paint. It’s a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t reverse strip tease. This progression is life-imitating-art-imitating-porn-imitating-death.
Schwanse has been included in screenings and exhibitions internationally and is a member of Good Children, an artist-run gallery in New Orleans.
This session will be moderated and led by Beth Taylor, director of Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, Texas.
This fall, Next Topic will examine new media art.
Oct. 11th: UT Dallas arts and technology (ATEC) professors Frank Dufour and Thomas Riccio,
They will be discussing their collaborative multi-media exhibition Not So Indifferent, which is currently on display in the CentralTrak gallery. The exhibit combines digital media with site-specific design to create an existential drama – a performance that features the viewing public as lead actors.
“Not So Indifferent can be experienced as an interactive multimedia poem. A film is continuously read and analyzed by a program installed on three computers. Each computer generates sounds extracted from the film, or inspired by it, and displays images from a large database of clips that represent our collective visual and televisual memory,” said Dufour.
Oct 25: Paula Gaetano Adi,
Gaetano Adi is an artist and researcher working in sculpture, performance, interactive installation and robotic agents. Using the human and nonhuman body as a point of departure, her work deals with different cultural studies of technoscience, particularly in regard to human subjectivity and how they can be reflected through art. Gaetano Adi holds a MFA with emphasis in Arts & Technology from The Ohio State University. She is currently Assistant Professor of New Media in the University of North Texas - College of Visual Arts and Design.
Nov 8: Alejandro Borsani,
Borsani is a new media artist whose work is an active exploration of the nature of perception and media representation. He holds a MFA in electronic arts from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York and a MFA in electronic visualization from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Nov 29: Brittany Ransom,
Ransom is an artist and educator working in interactive installations, electronic art objects, and site specific interventions that strive to probe the line between human, animal, and environmental relations while exploring emergent technologies. She received her MFA with a focus in New Media Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dec 13: A panel discussion with "Co- Re-Creating Spaces" artists Morehshin Allahyari, Kristen Cochran, Cassandra Emswiler, Greg Metz, Karen Weiner, and Michael Corris, together with curators Carolyn Sortor and Mike Morris, moderated by Mona Kasra.
The panel will discuss the works in the exhibition and, time permitting, explore larger questions regarding the systems or spaces we inhabit and how artists are contributing to their re-imagining and re-creation.
CentralTrak wishes to thank NEXT TOPIC Advisory Board, whose ideas, input, and enthusiasm continue to guide our programming.
NEXT TOPIC Advisory Board 2013
NEXT TOPIC is founded and organized by artist and Centraltrak resident Mona Kasra.