Hawn Gallery presents Allyson Packer: Sounding – opening February 7


Allyson Packer: Sounding
On view February 7 – March 29, 2020

Monday – Thursday | 9 AM – 9 PM
Friday | 9 AM – 6 PM

Saturday | 12 – 5 PM
Sunday | 2 – 9 PM


Opening Reception with the artist | Friday, February 7 | 5 – 7 pm

The Hawn Gallery is pleased to present Allyson Packer: Sounding, a site-specific, interactive installation spanning all four floors of the Hamon Arts Library at SMU. With looping video, text-based instructions, and subtle interventions into the architecture and resources of the library, Packer offers viewers an encounter with the possibility of the infinite. While infinity may only exist as a concept, spaces like libraries, Packer argues, can suggest it. The building itself has clearly defined boundaries, and at any given time the physical and digital materials that make up its collection of resources can be quantified numerically. There is a sense of impalpable depth too contained within The Hamon Library, the sublime potential of what is already known, what could be known, what is not yet known, and what is unknowable. The exhibition’s title, Sounding, describes the process of measuring— originally with lead and line, today with sonar— the depth of a body of water, without making direct physical contact with it. Likening the contents of the library to a body of water, the pieces included in this installation act as sounding instruments to plumb the collection’s literal and metaphorical depths. Water, in many different forms, recurs thematically across the whole exhibition. It appears in direct citation of J.M.W. Turner’s paintings, in reference to a fountain outside of the library, in imagery based on folders containing sheet music from the Hamon stacks, and on the public computer desktops.

For several months, Packer has visited the library regularly. She spent long afternoons wandering the stacks, getting to know Hamon’s internal and external rhythms and overlooked quirks. This extended visitation with no other purpose allows her to develop an outsider’s peculiar knowledge of the place that’s at once intimate and remote. The resulting interventions into the space deviate only slightly from a patron’s usual experience of the library. Most are subtle to the point of precarity— the term that French art historian, Anna Dezeuze, in Almost nothing: Observations on precarious practices in contemporary art, uses to describe artworks that exist on the verge of disappearing into the fabric of the everyday (5). By existing on the border between perceptible and imperceptible, Packer’s work redirects viewers’ attention to their own bodies, and their awareness of their presence in a space.

Allyson Packer will speak about her work at the opening reception on Friday, February 7.

Artist bio

Allyson Packer makes artwork that engages viewers in an examination of the myths and values embedded in the built environment. Her installations and performances have been shown at Nahmad Projects (London), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), and Birds + Richard (Berlin), among other venues. Her upcoming solo exhibition, Inland Sea, will open at the Las Cruces Art Museum’s Brannigan Cultural Center in July 2020. Packer earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Denton, Texas, where she is a faculty member in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas.

Image courtesy of the artist.

Dezeuze, Anna. Almost Nothing : Observations on Precarious Practices in Contemporary Art. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017.



Remembering Emanuel Borok

We in the Hamon Arts Library were saddened by the news that our friend Professor Emanuel Borok passed away on January 4. Among others, there have been many wonderful tributes to Mr. Borok by the Meadows School of the Arts and the Dallas Symphony, detailing accomplishments both in artistry as violinist and in teaching throughout his remarkable musical career.

Additional online forums and social media sites mentioned Mr. Borok’s kindness and beneficence as colleague, teacher, and friend. In Hamon, we experienced the same. It was always a pleasure to assist him when he visited. Simple library transactions—requests for purchasing or locating specific performing editions of music–invariably morphed into friendly chats, many times switching playfully from English to German or some other language. Topics ranged from travel stories, to favorite composers, and on one occasion, a recommendation for the Martin Scorsese film documentary My Voyage to Italy. He also supported the library by donating music scores and recordings to the Hamon collections.

I addressed Mr. Borok as “Il Maestro” and he would gently shake his head against such grandeur in address. But the designation was entirely appropriate. Merriam-Webster defines maestro as “a master, usually in an art” including an “eminent…teacher of music.” He met all of these distinctions and did so as a generous, kind person. It was a privilege to know him and he will be missed.

We invite our readers to share their remembrances in the comments, below.

Listen to Emanuel Borok

Emanuel Borok and Friends, all Beethoven concert, February 06, 2012

Pam Pagels, Music and Theater Librarian, Hamon Arts Library

It’s 2020 by George! Rhapsody in Blue is in the Public Domain

It’s a new year for Public Domain Day! On January 1, 2020, works published in 1924 became available to the public for use because their 95 year copyright term expired. This year’s class includes the George Gershwin classic Rhapsody in Blue.

For works published before 1978 by the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, copyright term lengths in the United States were extended from 75 to 95 years. Therefore, with the arrival of each new year, a batch of previously protected works moves into the public domain. For example, once this act expired in 2019, works from 1923 became available to the public for the first time. Now in 2020, works from 1924 are available.

But what does it mean when a work’s copyright expires? Copyright is a bundle of rights, established in the U.S. Code, that helps authors of creative works protect their intellectual property. Rights holders have the exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, make copies and distribute, and perform and display their work.

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (1898-1937) premiered in 1924 and has remained popular ever since as a regularly performed concert work. The work has been arranged and recorded by numerous musicians. It has been used in advertising campaigns – most famously by United Airlines – and it has been arranged for different instrumentation, including organ and piano duets, as well as 1940s big band. Each of these performances, recordings, arrangements, broadcasts, and advertising uses has required permission from the Gershwin Family Trust to use the original work because the Trust still controlled the bundle of exclusive rights for the original work–that is, the printed notes of the music composition–up until 2019.

Now in 2020, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is in the public domain and available for adaptation and other creative uses. Gershwin melodies can be worked into new compositions, arranged for new instrumental (and vocal!) combinations, and adapted to an opera or Broadway musical.

In the Hamon Arts Library:

Rhapsody in Blue, facsimile edition with historical information and annotation
General Stacks ML96.5.G47 R3

The Annotated Rhapsody in Blue, Restored to Gershwin’s Original Manuscript by Alicia Zizzo
General Stacks M25.G47 R 1996

Rhapsody in Blue– piano solo
General Stacks M37 .G381 R 1924


Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin piano roll from 1925, Michael Tilson Thomas and the Columbia Jazz Band
Available online via Naxos Music Library

Rhapsody in Blue, performed by Leonard Bernstein and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, ℗1983
Available online via Naxos Music Library

Blog post: Pam Pagels, Music and Theatre Librarian, Hamon Arts Library, SMU
Featured image: George Gershwin, 1898-1937, half-length portrait, standing, facing left
Image source: George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Collaborative exhibition: RISO BAR – opening January 25th


JANUARY 25, 2020 – DECEMBER 15, 2020

Opening reception: Saturday January 25, 1-5 p.m.

Pollock Gallery

Expressway Tower Suite 101

6116 N Central Expressway, Dallas TX, 75206

The risograph is a printing technology defined by its relative simplicity and the possibilities for experimentation. Invented in Japan in the 1940s, the technology was imagined as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to the photocopy. In subsequent decades, riso has become a definitive creative tool for a global network of users including artists, designers, publishers and universities. RISO BAR is a collaborative exhibition that engages with the vast riso network, exploring the risograph’s potential as a tool for learning and experimentation.

Over the course of the exhibition, a risograph machine will be available for public use while the Pollock Gallery is open. The machine forms the core of the exhibition: it is what we learn with, practice with, and make with. Visitors to the Pollock Gallery are invited to use the risograph to create works of their own. A series of programmed workshops led by riso producers from Texas and elsewhere will allow visitors to develop and expand both their skills and knowledge of riso history and practices.These workshops will be free and open to the public.

In collaboration with SMU’s Hamon Arts Library, RISO BAR will include a curated collection of riso books and zines from all over the world, as well as fresh juices from Recipe Oak Cliff for sale to the visitors, playing off the idea of the bar.

RISO BAR is a space and long-term exhibition for collective learning and skill-building, a launching pad that will develop into an extant Riso press in Dallas after the exhibit concludes.

RISO BAR is a collaborative initiative between Strange Powers Press, May Makki, Finn Jubak, Recipe Oak Cliff and the SMU Hamon Arts Library.

 Strange Powers Press is a letterpress and risograph studio operating out of Dallas, TX.  Powered by a Riso GR 3770 and a Vandercook Proof Press, founders Mylan Nguyen and Taro Waggoner’s mission is to promote and publish interesting zines and prints as well as hold workshops on various forms of printmaking and making small publications.

Finn Jubak was born and raised in New York City, and received a BA in film from the University of Chicago in 2018. His work in photography and film engages the materiality of landscape and expressiveness of everyday objects. His images have been published in Hamburger Eyes and Aint Bad. He currently lives in Dallas.

May Makki is interested in collaborative systems and practices. She received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Chicago, where she focused on the relationship between art, technology, media, and politics. She is the curator of a private collection in Dallas, TX.   

Recipe Oak Cliff is a delicious food venture of The Susu Cultural Business Incubator dedicated to addressing food security issues and supporting health food entrepreneurs in South Oak Cliff, Texas.

The Hamon Arts Library serves SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the arts community. Its circulation and reference collections contain more than 180,000 items relating to the visual and performing arts. In addition, the Library has some 300 subscriptions to arts periodicals and provides access to more than 40 online resources that are specific to the arts.