Sept. 27, 2007
DALLAS Ė The Dallas Museum of Art named two Vasari Award winners for 2007: Randall C. Griffin, Associate Professor of Art History, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, for his book Winslow Homer: An American Vision (Phaidon) and Anthony Alofsin, the Roland Gommel Roessner Centennial Professor of Architecture and Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, for his book When Buildings Speak: Architecture as Language in the Habsburg Empire and Its Aftermath, 1867-1933 (University of Chicago Press).
This year marks the 22nd instance of the Vasari Award, which is given to an author working in Texas whose book provides insight into works of art or aspects of art history and theory that enriches the understanding of visual arts. Criteria for the award include originality and depth of scholarship, quality of book production and visual presentation of material, as well as significance for the field of specialization and the literature of art history. The Dallas Museum of Artís Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Library sponsors the Vasari Award, which recognizes an outstanding scholarly publication by an art historian in Texas.
The award of the Vasari prize to two notable works this year is a testimony to both a very strong field of candidates, and, more generally, to the development of the field of art history in Texas. Compared to even a few years ago, the Vasari Award jury agreed that it was remarkable to see such a rich and diverse group of publications dealing with many different areas in the arts. Both Dr. Alofsinís and Dr. Griffinís books are ground-breaking, conceptually exciting and visually beautiful contributions to their field. This was the intention of Harry Parker III, then the Director of the Museum, when he initiated the Vasari Award in 1984. The joint award symbolizes the fact that art history publication in Texas has come of age.
Anthony Alofsinís book When Buildings Speak: Architecture as Language in the Habsburg Empire and its Aftermath, 1867-1933 deals with the different local styles of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in an innovative way, calling attention to little considered works from all over the empire in the late 19th and early 20th century. He argues that these styles created an expressive and very human kind of communication in buildings ranging from crematoria to post offices, developing an emotional way of communication similar to language. Alofsin then goes on to state that the way modernism developed in this area grew out of these local styles, with their distinctive cultural and political contexts. As a result, modernist architecture in the remnants of the Habsburg Empire had a unique character.
Randall Griffinís book Winslow Homer: An American Vision also makes an argument for local and popular influences on the growth of Winslow Homerís distinctively American art. He explores the way that Homer worked throughout his life to generate art rooted in American traditions, from landscape and genre scenes to popular prints and illustrations. Homerís work in graphic design and his unflinching realism led to dramatic works like Breezing Up or his hunting and fishing scenes. Far from depending on Old World culture or apologizing for American cultural backwardness, Homer is seen as celebrating the indigenous and unrefined aspects of the American landscape ó both cultural and natural ó in a manner to rival ambitious contemporary European art.
Judges for the 2007 award were Dr. Anne Bromberg, Head Juror and The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art of the Dallas Museum of Art; Dr. Kelly Donahue-Wallace, Associate Professor and Chair, Division of Art Education and Art History, School of Visual Arts, University of North Texas; and the winner of the 2006 Vasari Award, Dr. Adam Herring, Associate Professor of Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves more than one-half million visitors a year, offering more than 5,000 education and public programs annually, designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
The Museum is located just south of Woodall Rodgers Freeway with driveways on both Harwood and St. Paul providing access to the underground parking garage. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Thursday, when the Museum stays open until 9 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays, New Yearís Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
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