May 5, 2008 - Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) - Core at 25
May 5, 2008

Core at 25

Aaron Parazette, Soft Night, 1996, oil enamel on canvas, the MFAH; gift of Carol C. Ballard, Max and Isabell Smith Herzstein, Mickey and Jeanne Klein, and Karen and Stephen Susman. Copyright: Aaron Parazette.

Core at 25: Milestone Anniversary for the Artists’ and Critics’ Residency Program at MFAH Glassell School

Core Has Made Its Mark on the Art World and Shaped Houston’s Art Community

This May, an exhibition, a commemorative publication, and a benefit gala cap the 2007-08 anniversary year of the Core Program at the Glassell School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Over the past 25 years the Core program has become an internationally regarded platform, a destination for curators and critics seeking new talent, and a respected forum for artists, and critics to discuss, debate, and develop their work. Together, the events mark the program’s 25th anniversary and celebrate its ongoing commitment to the art community. The Core Program is headed by Joseph Havel, director of the Glassell School, and MFAH director Peter C. Marzio, who took the helm of the MFAH in 1982—the program’s founding year.

Over the years, ten Core artists have been featured in the Whitney Biennial Exhibitions, two have received MacArthur fellowships, and several have been selected to show their work at prestigious international biennials, including Venice, Istanbul, and Lyon. Additionally, the Core Program’s critical studies residents have gained similar recognition, assuming senior editing positions at prominent national art publications and publishing independently as well. While in Houston, Core residents not only define their artistic ambitions, but also bolster the local arts scene by teaching, engaging in community projects, and interacting with other artists. Many have made Houston their permanent home, further reinforcing and expanding the city’s population of working artists and writers.

The exhibition Learning by Doing: 25 Years of the Core Program at the MFAH, on view in the museum’s Audrey Jones Beck Building through September 1, follows the run of the 2008 Core Artists in Residence Exhibition, this year’s edition of the annual show of Core resident work, which was on view at the Glassell School of Art during the spring. Learning by Doing focuses on the experimental nature of the Core program, tracing its evolution through the work of its artists. The show presents a selection of paintings, drawings, photographs, and assemblages that have entered the collection since 1986, when the MFAH began collecting the work of Core fellows. Those artists presented include Mark Allen, David Aylsworth, Amy Blakemore, Dannay Yahav-Brown, Santiago Cucullu, Gilad Efrat, Sharon Engelstein, Francesca Fuchs, David Fulton, DeWitt Godfrey, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Michael Miller, Katrina Moorhead, Demetrius Oliver, and Shazia Sikander. Alison de Lima Greene, MFAH curator of contemporary art and special projects, coordinated the exhibition, in consultation with Mary Leclère and Joseph Havel.

Also in May, the museum will publish a major book about the program, Core: Artists and Critics in Residence. Contributors are: Allan Hacklin, former director of the Glassell School of Art and creator of the Core Program; Rachel Hecker, former associate director of the Glassell School of Art; Thomas Lawson, dean of CalArts; Lane Relyea, assistant professor of art, Northwestern University; and Claire Barliant, former Core critical studies resident and editor at Modern Painters magazine. MFAH staff members Peter C. Marzio, Joseph Havel, Alison de Lima Greene, and Mary Leclère also contributed to the volume, which will be available at the MFAH Shop, 713-639-7360.

Publication of the book will coincide with the annual Glassell School Benefit on Friday, May 2. The 25th anniversary is the theme of the event, which will include an auction of art by current and former Core artists.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)
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