Hawn Gallery presents: Information/Object: Late 20th-Early 21st Century Artists’ Books

The Hawn Gallery presents

Information/Object: Late 20th – Early 21st Century Artists’ Books

On view: February 1 – March 8, 2019
at the Hawn Gallery, located in the Hamon Arts Library, SMU

Public opening reception Friday, February 1st, 5 – 7 pm
Gallery Talk at 5:45 pm

The contemporary artist’s book is a cultural phenomenon that has changed the landscape of artistic production. It has now replaced the livre d’artiste – a luxury item combining images with poetry or fiction – with works that are inexpensive, formally innovative, modest in scale, and frequently self-made by artists.

Contemporary artists who explore the book format have challenged the form of the book as an information package, extended the idea of the book as object, and introduced a new medium of artistic expression. The tremendous explosion of titles of artist book works and zines has made the artist’s book-work an accessible and affordable work of art, introducing key contemporary artists to an alternate audience. The resulting dialog between the artist, the page, and the reader is consistently up for grabs, expanded and transformed through unexpected formats and novel, timely, and often controversial content.

Drawing upon SMU Libraries’ collections, publishers, and collectors of artist’s books, this exhibition surveys the recent history of one of the most important cultural trends in contemporary art.

Featured image: Courtesy of LaGail Davis, General Operations Manager, Hamon, and curatorial assistant

Film Review: Roma

Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma begins quietly and thoughtfully with the character, Cleo, played beautifully by Yalitza Aparicio, who serves a well-to-do family in their home in a suburb of Mexico City.  Her life, seeming so insular and placid, will expand to engulf the film’s universe.  Every action and word of hers has a hidden meaning, and minor gestures seen early in the movie will be echoed by more serious and violent actions later.  

Continue reading “Film Review: Roma”

Bernardo Bertolucci: 1941 – 2018

Bernardo Bertolucci’s recent death left us with an unsolvable problem.  Over the course of a fifty-year career, he wrestled with ideas both grand and small, from the tragically human to the sublimely divine.  His focuses were on sex and growing old, politics and youth, and the ways in which we define ourselves and how systems inevitably try to break those selves. He examined relationships – those between men and women, people and politics, parents and children, and the seemingly unbridgeable gap of class. As is the tendency with art, especially when it’s at its best, it’s never quite clear how we’re supposed to interpret Bertolucci, how we’re supposed to “figure it all out.”  His films were critical of oppressive regimes and systems, and yet those regimes and systems were filled with people who were beautifully, messily, sympathetically human. His style was maximalist and loud, and he reveled in the visceral and the glorious and the taboo. His work screamed from the screen even when his characters whispered.  His films were always beautiful, even when their subjects weren’t.

Continue reading “Bernardo Bertolucci: 1941 – 2018”

Collection spotlight: William Lester artwork and papers

William Lewis Lester was born in Graham, Texas in 1910.  In 1924, he moved to Dallas with his family and attended Bryan Street High School. Lester spent his senior year at Woodrow Wilson High School where he graduated in 1929.  By 1931, Lester was already showing his work with other Dallas artists, such as Jerry Bywaters, Alexandre Hogue, and Reveau Bassett at the Joseph Sartor Galleries in Dallas. A year later, he would have a one-man show at the gallery. In February 1932, Lester and his contemporaries exhibited paintings at the Dallas Public Art Gallery, then temporally located on the second floor of the Majestic Theatre Building on Elm Street, under the title, Exhibition of Young Dallas Painters (All young men under thirty years of age).  The New York City-based magazine, The Art Digest, published an article entitled “Young Texans, All Under 30, Show in Dallas” in their March 15, 1932 issue. It attests to the vitality of that current Dallas art scene:

The future of a community’s art interests rests to a large extent upon the development of its youthful artists.  Realizing this, the Dallas Public Art Gallery recently arranged a group show of paintings by nine young Dallas artists, none of them older than 30.  The interest the public showed and the encouragement given the “Nine” including – Gerald Bywaters, John Douglass, Otis Dozier, Lloyd Goff, William Lester, Charles McCann, Perry Nichols, Everett Spruce – gives an indication of the aliveness of artistic creation in the Texas city.

Several of these Texas regionalist artists formed a solid bond and promoted their interpretation of austere Texas and Southwest landscapes and everyday scenes through their paintings and prints.  Lester became known for his scenes of arid landscapes and everyday life in the southwest, mainly Texas and Oklahoma. Lester’s early work reflects the group’s style and subject matter, which he continued through the 1940s. In the 1950s, his work took a turn toward the abstract, an approach to painting that Lester chose to develop throughout the remaining years of his career. The William Lester collection includes artwork, clippings, correspondence, documents, photographs, publicity, and published works relating to his art and teaching career at the University of Texas at Austin.

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources Online here:


Image: Courtesy of William Lester artwork and papers,Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Mike Morris: Thoughts on books & videos, plus a few recommendations

Given the Hawn Gallery’s location in the Hamon Arts Library, one of the goals of the exhibition program is to reveal the natural intersections between art, artists, books, videos or other resources SMU Libraries provides. This posting is for those bibliophiles and videophiles who love to learn about what other people are reading and watching. When asked what books and videos have influenced his work, Mike Morris, artist of the film, ARK, and adjunct film studies professor at SMU, offered the following titles with a few extra recommendations.

·         Are there titles on particular artists or topics that you would say informed your work? If so, how?

Since this particular project was so engaged with working from the archive as source material, it would be difficult not to think about artists like Bruce Conner, Craig Baldwin, Stan Vanderbeek, or Jesse McLean. Conner, in particular, is notable for having used popular stock images to examine certain unconscious libidinal tendencies of society. His films like A Movie, Crossroads, or Report reveal many unspoken things that end up recorded in images and brought to light through montage. I hoped to do something similar with the footage used for ARK.

Continue reading “Mike Morris: Thoughts on books & videos, plus a few recommendations”

Discovery in the Bywaters’ Archive: 1932 Exhibition by Young Painters

As a curator, I am always amazed at what I come across in the Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest.  Upon recently discovering a small brochure entitled “Exhibition by Young Painters” published in 1932 in the archive, I noticed the names of two former SMU students listed among the ‘young painters’ – James D. Brooks and Jerry Bywaters. The exhibition was assembled by the College Art Association and held at Ferargil Galleries in New York. Competition was tough – only 40 works of art were selected from among the 500 submissions in the United States to be included in the exhibition. The New York Herald Tribune reported “….the painters represented seem to be sincere, industrious types, unmistakable concerned to arrive at a serious goal” (October 2, 1932). Both Brooks and Bywaters would continue as artists and establish their art careers in different parts of the country – Bywaters in Dallas would become a leading figure with the Texas regionalists’ art movement in the 1930s, and Brooks in New York would serve as a first generation member with the abstract expressionists’ art movement in the 1940s.

Ferargil 2 001 - Copy
Foreword and listing of exhibiting artists from CAA 1932 Exhibition by Young Painters

Continue reading “Discovery in the Bywaters’ Archive: 1932 Exhibition by Young Painters”

ARK: exhibition now extended to December 9th!

ARK: Featuring a new experimental 35 mm film by Mike Morris
Now open through Sunday, December 9th
M – Th, 8 am – 9 pm; F, 8 am – 6 pm; Sat, 12 pm – 5 pm; and Sun, 2 pm – 9 pm
Free to the public | 214-768-3813

Ark new 2

Featured image: ARK, film still, 35 MM, footage from G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library, SMU
is curated by Emily Rueggeberg
Special thanks to Brad Miller and Friends of SMU Libraries
Sponsored by the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection

Who is Jerry Bywaters?

The Jerry Bywaters Special Collections at the Hamon Arts Library is an archival collection of art, documents, and other rare or unique materials largely from the Southwest region. But who is the man for this eponymously-named collection, Jerry Bywaters?

Jerry Bywaters (1906 – 1989) filled many roles in the development of the arts in Texas and the Southwest.  He was, in addition to being an artist, director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, chairman of the Division of Fine Arts at Southern Methodist University and director of its Pollock Gallery.  Throughout his career, Bywaters worked to strengthen awareness of Texas and the Southwest art arena, and to define the unique qualities that set it apart from other regions.  He taught and influenced many people, including other artists, art historians, those associated with Texas and Dallas museums, SMU art department faculty members, and countless students.  Bywaters donated his archival material to SMU at intervals from 1980 until his death in 1989.  Later the Bywaters family decided to give the rest of his archives, which had been stored in his home, to SMU.  In 1990, the collection was relocated to the new Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library and housed in the appropriately named Jerry Bywaters Special Collections Wing, constructed with funds from the Margaret and Eugene McDermott Foundation of Dallas.

Bywaters graduated from SMU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism in 1926 and the following year received another Bachelor of Arts degree in General Literature.    It was not until his last year in college, when he took an elective course in painting from Ralph Rowntree (1889 – 1992), a respected artist and art instructor at SMU, that Bywaters began to think about a career in art.   In a 1940 letter to Carl Zigrosser, then director of the Weyhe Gallery in New York and soon to become curator of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bywaters writes:

Last year in college I took an elective art course and that set me off into the unknown field.  Still evading things I went to Europe and liked the wrong kind of art, studied under the wrong teachers at the League in N. Y. (except Sloan).  I was still too young to know what I wanted (21) and my folks were too good to me about travel.  Trip to Mexico in 1928 started me thinking at last.  Rivera and Orozco etc. were just starting. 

In the early 1920s Bywaters began collecting art and museum catalogs, clippings, correspondence and photographs focusing on the cultural history of Texas, Dallas, and the Southwest, and continued to do so during his career as an artist, critic, curator, museum director, and teacher.  This material helps shed new light on the historical development of Bywaters’s career and the development of the arts in Dallas.  The Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest also contains works on paper by Bywaters and a few of his contemporaries  including Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Bowling, Don Brown, Mary Doyle, Otis Dozier, Edward G. Eisenlohr, Alexandre Hogue, DeForrest Judd, William Lester, Blanche McVeigh, Merritt Mauzey, Perry Nichols, Boardman Robinson, Everett Spruce, Thomas M. Stell, Jr., and Janet Turner. This collection and many others are located in the Bywaters Special Collections Wing, named in his honor.

To view the online holdings and artists represented in Bywaters Special Collections, please visit https://www.smu.edu/Libraries/hamon/bywaters.

Image: Jerry Bywaters, self-portrait, 1969, pencil on paper; Paper: 30 x 24 inches, Gift of Pat Bywaters, Katie Bywaters Cummings, and Leigh Bywaters Swanson (JB.09.2).

Courtesy of the Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University.


Continue reading “Who is Jerry Bywaters?”

Artstor Workshop: Basics and Beyond

The Artstor Digital Library is an image database of 2 million images from 300 of the world’s leading museums, photo archives, scholars, and artists.


Alhambra: detail of arcade between the Sala de los Mocarabes and the Courtyard of the Lions, 14th century
Granada, Andalusia, Spain

If you are new to using Artstor or experienced and would like to know more about its recent platform and collections, please attend one of the upcoming 50-minute workshops at the Hamon Arts Library, Hawn Conference room, 1st floor.

Tuesday, October 2nd, at 11 am
Wednesday, October 3rd at 2 pm

This workshop will cover:

  • Getting access and registered users ability to download content, create image groups, and share content
  • Search – basic, advanced, and filters
  • Organizing image groups and tagging
  • Sharing – downloading and exporting to power point
  • Interacting with the images and presenting them

Questions? Please contact Beverly Mitchell, Art & Dance Librarian at bmitchel@smu.edu.


Feature image: Artstor logo, courtesy of Artstor
Image of the Alhambra: Artstor, Art History Survey Collection

New digital collection: Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers

Selected items from this fabulous archival collection held in Bywaters Special Collections are now available online! Items include fashion design sketches created by Nancy Hamon during the 1930s as well as photographs of Jake and Nancy Hamon attending their annual theme parties in Dallas during the 1950s-1970s. The collection offers valuable insights into Dallas social and cultural history. See the following link: https://www.smu.edu/Libraries/digitalcollections/jnh.

More information about the Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers can be found in the detailed finding aid here: https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/smu/00259/smu-00259.html

Image Courtesy of Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University