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Past Events

Frederick Baldwin and Wendy Watriss

LOOKING AT THE U.S. 1957 – 1986
From the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War,
and 16 years photographing in Texas

the co-founders of Fotofest, will present their new book and talk about 30 years of photographing, before they founded the largest international photography festival in the world in Houston.

October 27, 2009 
6:30pm Visual Presentation and Discussion
7:30pm Book Signing and Reception
at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Brown Auditorium Theater, 1001 Bissonnet

Introduction by Anne Wilkes Tucker , The Gus and Lyandall Wortham Curator of Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Poster for the This is the first time since the founding of FotoFest in 1983, that Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss will present their own photography in Houston. This talk is based on a large exhibition of their work presented by the Musee de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium this year, January – May 2009 and the book published by Mets & Schilt Publishers in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Book Cover


Free and open to the public.


at the University of Houston is sponsoring this event with Photo Forum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, FotoFest and Houston Center for Photography


Donna De Cesare

April 28th, 2009
Light Refreshments at 6:30pm
Presentation begins at 7pm
Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts Houston

"Esperanza," Los Angeles, 1994
Copyright (c) Donna DeCesare,1994

Award winning photographer, journalist and videographer, Donna De Cesare's ( groundbreaking reportage about the spread of US gang culture to Central America has won national and international awards including an Alfred Eistendstadt magazine photography award, a Canon photo essay award, Pictures of the Year, a top prize in the NPPA, the Dorothea Lange Prize, the Alicia Patterson Fellowship, the Mother Jones International Photo Fund Award, and an Emmy award (1996) for her video documentary "Killer Virus." A consultant to UNICEF, De Cesare is the recipient of the Soros Independent project fellowship and a Fulbright fellowship.


is co-sponsoring this event with UH partners

Visualistas: Friends of Visual Studies, Tenneco Lecture series, Texas Learning & Computation Center, Center for Immigration Research, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, Mexican American Studies, Sociology, Women's Studies

And community partners

Museum of Fine Arts Houston, C-47 Magazine, DeSantos Gallery, Fotofest, Houston Center for Photography, Institute for Hispanic Culture



Graphical Music by Suzanne Bloom, Visual Studies Affiliated Faculty

October 3 – December 7, 2008

Artist Talk: Thursday, November 6th, 6:30pm
Contemporary Arts Museum, Every Sound You Can Imagine

Suzanne Bloom
Danse Macabre (Modern Version) , 2007
archival pigment inkjet print, ed: 3
31 3/4" x 53"

Experimental musical scores are considered as works of visual art in Perspectives 163: Every Sound You Can Imagine. This group exhibition samples the wide array of notational strategies and explores the cross-fertilization between musicians and visual artists, revealing the vital connections between experimental sound art and cutting-edge visual art.

In the late 1940s, European music experienced a crisis of representation. The system of staff notation that, since the Renaissance, had served to fix musical works and to uniquely determine their performance began to give way to new compositional strategies that dispensed with the musical staff and, instead, populated the page with idiosyncratic symbols, diagrams, and written instructions. Such compositions were, in part, a response to electronic instruments that could record or produce not merely the twelve pitches of the European scale but what artist John Cage called “the entire field of sound.” They also revealed the influence of jazz, a renewed interest in improvisation, and the desire to dissolve the hierarchy between composer and performer. In the process, the bond between the visual score and the sounding substance of music was loosened, and the score achieved the status of an independent visual art.

Every Sound You Can Imagine traces these developments, from the first wave of experimental notation in the 1950s through its resurgence in the late 1990s, when musical notation sprang off the page and into video, photography, sculpture, and new media. The exhibition is guest curated by Christoph Cox in association with Toby Kamps, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and collector Robert Shimshak.

We the People... with Delilah Montoya, Visual Studies Affiliated Faculty

October 31- December 27, 2008

Artist Talk: Friday, November 7th, 6:30pm at the Art League Houston

Delilah Montoya
Desire Lines, Baboquivari Peak AZ, 2008


Visual Studies Affiliated Faculty Delilah Montoya's work can be seen in We the People... A multimedia photography and video installation with Soody Sharifi and Orlando Lara. Opening Reception, November 7, 2008, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Delilah Montoya collaborates with Orlando Lara to create related works which use the metaphor of desire lines to highlight how the strong desire to enter the United States overshadows the dangerous risks faced by the men, women, and children who cross over from Mexico through the Arizona-Sonora desert every day. (A desire line is a path developed by erosion caused by animal or human footfall, which usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination.) Their work includes a photographic panoramic desert landscape of migrant trails by Montoya and a video by Lara entitled, "Elizabeth's Story," which is filmed from the migrant's visual perspective, and is narrated by Elizabeth as she gives testimony to her heart rendering migration through the Arizona Dessert. The work of the two artists gives voice to the stories of the hundreds of thousands of people facing economic disaster in their homelands who immigrate to the United States every year to seek a better life, regardless of the very real possibility of death from exposure, betrayal by coyotes, or deportation or imprisonment by the US authorities.


Palladio Lecture Series by Michelangelo Sabatino

Andrea Palladio Five Hundred Years Later From the Pastoral Ideal to McMansions

Three Sundays, November 2, 16, and 23, 5:00–6:30pm American General Conference Room on the Mezzanine Floor, Audrey Jones Beck Building, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Andrea Palladio's upcoming 500th birthday (November 30, 2008) is a festive opportunity to reflect on his legacy in this Houston Seminar. The three-part lecture series by Michelangelo Sabatino (Visual Studies and Architecture) will introduce Palladio's domestic and public buildings in Italy and trace their influence in North America from the eighteenth century to the present. Sabatino will ask why Palladio has been appropriated in America and how misprisions have been useful in perpetuating his legacy. The series will demonstrate how the Palladian legacy has generated hybrid architectures with new meanings and expressions that are understood by the American audience.





Cinema Remixed & Reloaded with Carroll Parrott Blue, Visual Studies Affiliated Faculty

October 18, 2008 – January 4, 2009

Opening Reception: Friday, October 17, 2008, 9:00 – 11:00 PM
Artist Talk: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 2:00 PM
Contemporary Arts Museum, Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image since 1970

Collaborating with The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Cinema Remixed & Reloaded is the first exhibition to examine the critical contributions of black women film and video artists to the field of contemporary art. Featuring projections, installations, interactive CD-ROM projects, experimental film and video work the exhibition spans across generations and geographic boundaries to present work by more than 40 artists. Works by established artists who began working with the medium in the 1970s such as Adrian Piper, Carroll Parrott Blue, Senga Nengudi, Julie Dash, and Howardena Pindell, are presented along side of works created by mid-career and emerging artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Bernie Searle, Kara Walker, Marìa Magdelena Campos-Pons, Elizabeth Axtman, , Zoë Charlton, Jessica Ann Peavy, Tracey Rose, Lauren Kelley, Lauren Woods, and Xaviera Simmons. A significant catalogue co-published by The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, accompanies this exhibition and functions as an essential reader on the subject of black women artists and the moving image since 1970.

Reflecting Habitus curated by Tracy Xavia Karner

September 27th – October 6th, 2008

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 27th, 6-8pm
BERING & JAMES, 805 Rhode Place #500, Houston, TX 77019 P:713.524.0101


Reflecting Habitus brings together an international group of contemporary lens-based artists whose work coalesces as perspective, place, and time intersect. The notion of habitus comes from french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s work about the influences of the social spaces within which we live our lives. For Bourdieu, habitus is a system of dispositions—ways of seeing and understanding the world. Reflecting Habitus features the work of Shelley Calton, Catherine Cameron, Marie Docher, and Øyvind Hjelmen as they share visual narratives of desire, memory, dreams and fears—inviting viewers to experience four distinctive and intriguing habitus.

Well known Houston photographer, Shelley Calton, isolates physical and symbolic space of women’s lives in her series Invisible Thread. Elegant and tasteful whispers of lingerie from days past drape against the white backdrops of memory. Remnants of personal moments, nightgowns and slips reflect the private truths of individual women’s experience. Sensual and tactile, the images bring to mind the women who might have lived within these bits of silk and lace. Invisible Thread evokes the common thread that connects all women and the ways that feminine bodies have been covered, contained and desired. Calton’s soft focus and diffused light leaves to wonder how the satin felt as it slid against warm skin.

In Ego and Persona, Catherine Cameron creates a visual journey into the deeper recesses of her world. Working with themes of longing and memory, Cameron explores the blurred boundaries between a rich inner life and its external manifestations. Teacups and rumpled beds are interwoven with snowy moonlight nights and lakes shrouded in fog. Within the scarce Norwegian light, Cameron creates images that balance the ambiguity of endless twilight with times of personal warmth and intimacy. Steadfast in her investigations, Cameron faces moments of emotional dark and light with the same clarity of vision. The whole of a life with all its contours, complications, and comforts can be found in Ego and Persona. Cameron’s stunningly poignant and deeply evocative silver gelatin prints suggest a well seasoned, deeply passionate life that resonates strongly and widely.

What if the sky were to fall on our heads, Marie Docher asks in her series, Toutatis. In her photographic work, Docher often addresses broader aspects of the human condition through her own experience. Reflections of her habitus, her connection to the woods of Auvergne where she grew up and traces of travel, transformation and loss are recurrent themes in her work. In Toutatis, Docher uses the environmentally threatened yet stunningly sensuous landscape of the Camargue in southern France as a metaphor for our own vulnerable existence—as individual bodies and a global community. Toutatis refers to both an ancient Celtic god as well as an asteroid with an erratic orbit that brings it frightfully close to the earth. After unexplainably losing her hearing in one ear which resulted in a loss of equilibrium, Docher was reminded of the ancient Celts who were believed to fear only one thing—that the sky might fall. Her resulting skyless landscapes have a lunar quality with solid black expanses instead of skies. Strikingly beautiful, the deep, limitless expanse of space disorients the viewer, perhaps just enough to feel Toutatis’ divine intervention.

With transcendent vision, Øyvind Hjelmen has created a seductively beautiful world in Elsewhere. An ongoing, life long project Elsewhere is Hjelmen’s soothing response to the anxieties and distress of modern life. An exacting craftsman with a poet’s soul, Hjelmen’s silver gelatin prints call to mind the pictorialist tradition yet with contemporary sensibilities. Whether in individual prints or nestled in fine, handcrafted leather folios, moments of wonder and delight beckon. Sometimes crystal clear and other times obscured, but always deeply expressive. The intimacy of the small format is to be savored like a fine wine and explored with a full sensory palette—come close and breathe deeply—Hjelmen’s images unfold and expand. Each glimpse reveals another layer of charm and grace. Elsewhere is a magical space that enriches all who visit and stay awhile. –Tracy Xavia Karner, Guest Curator

Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand present "Forced Fields"

June 13 - July 13, 2008

Forced Fields video installation

Houston Center for Photography

Visual Studies Affiliated Faculty, Mary Magsmen and Stephan Hillerbrand's Forced Fields is a multi-media installation that explores ideas about the pressures of daily life through playful use of the children´s toy, an inflatable balloon. Using balloons as an alternative material to project into, onto and around, the image transforms into mesmerizing spheres of personal and psychological interaction. The balloon, filled with our own air, becomes a thin, transparent membrane that is simultaneously delicate, mutable and explosive. It is a lens that examines not only the role of the photographic image but our lives as well.

For a preview, view their YouTube video

Susan Meiselas: MINED IN CHINA and Other Collaborative Projects

Niu QuoZheng

Niu QuoZheng: Smoke No.038 (2006)
A lot of yellow smoke, SO2, gushes out of furnaces with outdated coking technique. Located in Henan.

When: Sunday, March 9 8:00pm - 9:30pm

As part of FOTOFEST2008-CHINA, Susan Meiselas will give a special presentation on her own work, from Carnival Strippers to Nicaragua, major curatorial projects she has done on Kurdistan, and, most recently, Mined in China. The presentation will be at DiverseWorks Artspace. Visual Studies is co-sponsoring this event with FotoFest, Diverseworks, and Houston Center for Photography.

Susan Meiselas is one of the world´s most respected photographers dealing with issues of war, political conflict and social issues. She is a member of Magnum Photo and a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award. Meiselas´ China project is in concert with China expert Orville Schell, from the Asia Society NY, and Chinese photographer GAO Lei. Mined in China will be exhibited for FOTOFEST2008 at the Houston Center for Photography.

This lecture will be hosted at DiverseWorks, 1117 E. Freeway, Houston, TX 77002 -1108.

Event is free, but reservations are needed. Space is extremely limited.


A Conversation about Feminine Beauty and the work of Miwa Yanagi

When: Monday, February 18 at 6.30pm
(A reception follows the program.)

Elevator Girl House B4 (1998)

Where: Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts-Houston

Moderator: Anne Wilkes Tucker, The Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at the MFAH

Panelists: Elizabeth Gregory, Professor of English and Director of Women’s Studies, University of Houston

Tracy Xavia Karner, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Visual Studies, University of Houston (Listen to this presentation)

James Hollis, Director, The Jung Center, Houston

Peggy Orenstein, internationally recognized writer, editor, and speaker

During her career, Japanese photographer Miwa Yanagi has created three distinct series that confront and disrupt the traditional roles of women, both within the social context of her home country and as these perceptions are translated across cultures. In this conversation, panelists will address the range of subjects represented in Yanagi’s work, including gender, identity, body image, age, feminism, and beauty, and how these concerns resound in present-day consumer, media, professional, and social cultures.

This program is generously cosponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Photo Forum at the MFAH, the Jung Center Houston, and the Women’s Studies and the Visual Studies programs at the University of Houston, and is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Image credits: Top: Miwa Yanagi, Elevator Girl House B4 from the series Elevator Girls, 1998, chromogenic photograph mounted on Plexiglas, Deutsche Bank Collection. © Miwa Yanagi
Lower: Miwa Yanagi, Snow White from the series Fairy Tale, 2004, gelatin silver photograph, Deutsche Bank Collection.© Miwa Yanagi

Listen to Tracy Xavia Karner's presentation


John Chervinsky: An Experiment in Perspective

In Motion…At Rest (2005)

When: November 15, 2007, 7pm
(Light refreshments at 6:30pm)

Where: 232 Hoffman Hall (PGH), UH Main Campus

John Chervinsky’s background in physics, chemistry, and materials science is evident in his ongoing series of conceptual still-lifes. Inspired by predecessors such as John Pfahl, he set out to explore issues of visual perception and photography in his ongoing series, “An Experiment in Perspective.”


Materiality to Hyperreality: Appropriated Media in Contemporary Art

Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillipps
Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillipps

When: April 24th, 2007, 7pm

Where: Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library, UH Main Campus

Four artists and one curator join together for a free public panel discussion on the seductiveness of contemporary media images and their influence on contemporary values. This debate inaugurates HCP’s exhibition Antennae (27 April - 3 June) which offers an ambitious view of the diversity of ideas and methodologies applied to contemporary photography and related media, dealing with issues ranging from the human pain and violence of the Iraq war to the culture of youth and beauty.


Jim Harithas, Station Museum of Contemporary Art

Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillipps

View event flyer »

Sally Mann to Keynote Visual Studies' Inaugural Conference

Sally MannWhen: March 23, 2007, 7pm

Where: Architecture Auditorium, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture

One of the most critically and commercially successful photographers of our time, Sally Mann has been anointed by Time Magazine as America's best photographer. Her photographs, imbued with a haunting poignancy, capture the intricacies of childhood, family intimacy, mortality, memory, loss, and landscape.

Sally MannWorking largely in black-and-white with nineteenth-century view cameras, with crude glass lenses and black, accordion-like hoods (the very kind used by Mathew Brady and his team during the Civil War), she produces, in the words of The Washington Post, "poetic, haunting images of extraordinary clarity and breadth that suggest both immediacy and a time long past."

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Cathy Stein Greenblat named 2007 McGovern Lecturer

Holding On, Letting Go, Remembering:

Reflections on Photography, Illness and Dying

Dance with Goldie

When: March 6, 2007, 6:30pm Reception, 7pm Lecture

Where: Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A Professor Emerita of Rutgers University, Cathy Stein Greenblat is both a visual sociologist and a documentary photographer who has explored, with extraordinary insight and compassion, the world of dementia, as experienced by family members, caregivers, and those who undergo the painful emotional and physical trials of Alzheimer's disease.

Her book, Alive with Alzheimer's (University of Chicago Press), combines photography and narrative to demonstrate, in the words of the medical journal Lancet, that this disease "does not inevitably mean a living death and the annihilation of self. The skilled and loving attention of carers who are not put off by odd behaviour, lack of recognition, or an "unpleasing" appearance can help the patient live as fully as possible and reconstitute a self, albeit a simpler, more visceral one."

The John P. McGovern Annual Award Lecture is an annual lecture series in family, health, and human values. The series is endowed by John P. McGovern, M.D., an authority on the body's responses to disease and one of the nation's most generous philanthropists, and himself the author or co-author of 252 publications, including 26 books.

Dave Anderson Public Lecture

Dave Anderson Photography
Dave Anderson Photography

When: February 19, 2007, 6:30pm

Where: Kiva Room, Farish Hall, UH main campus

Dave Anderson will talk about his work Rough Beauty, a photographic study of Vidor, Texas. Described as "one of the shooting stars of the American photo scene" by Germany's fotoMAGAZIN, Anderson's work can be found in major public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Worcester Art Museum and the George Eastman House. Anderson also photographed for Esquire, Stern and ESPN magazines.

Dave Anderson's lecture is co-sponsored with Watermark Gallery and TLC2.

Maps and Parking Information

John Paul Caponigro Public Lecture

Enlarge poster in new window »

When: January 17, 2007

Where: Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library, University of Houston

John Paul Caponigro is an internationally renowned artist, respected as an authority on creativity and fine digital printing. John Paul will share his experiences with, and thoughts on, photography during a time when the medium is undergoing extraordinary changes. He will share highlights from his series on water, one of the planet's most precious resources. His social concerns include not only environmental issues, but the uses, abuses, and influences of visual media. A Canon Explorer of Light and an Epson Stylus Pro, his clients include Adobe, Apple, and Kodak. Author of Adobe Photoshop Master Class, he is a contributing editor for Camera Arts and a columnist for Digital Photo Pro magazines and

John Paul Caponigro’s talk is sponsored by Canon.

For location information see, or for parking information see,