New York artist to spend time, display modern art on campus

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The UT Visual Arts Center announced Monday that New York artist Mika Tajima will spend three weeks on campus in the Artist-in-Residence program this semester.

Tajima, who currently lives in New York, manipulates multiple media in her modernist work. Tajima’s sculptures, paintings and other visual creations have been displayed in museums across the U.S., as well as the South London Gallery. Her work with each media is combined to create art installations that surround viewers as they walk through the display.

“You walk in and you’re not really sure if you’re behind the scenes on the set of a play or in another world,” said Calandra Childers, public relations manager for the Seattle Art Museum, where other projects by Tajima have been on display since July. “People have been spending a lot of time in the exhibit and are really excited to see something this different.”

The work Tajima created for the Visual Arts Center, entitled “The Architect’s Garden”, combines sculpture and projected images inspired by UT and the city of Austin. Tajima is scheduled to be at UT from Aug. 30 until Sept. 15, and her work will remain on display on campus throughout the fall semester.

Jade Walker, Visual Arts Center director, said she and other program directors have been interested in bringing Tajima’s work to UT for some time.

Aimee Chang, Manager of Public Programs at the Blanton Museum of Art, is curating the Tajima display at the Visual Arts Center and said she has followed the artist’s work since 2006. Chang said she loves the way Tajima incorporates geometric extraction with physical movement taking place in her created space.

“I’m very interested in spaces that are activated and art that can reach out and interact with people,” Chang said. “A lot of her installations are usually spaces where things happen — spaces that are art in themselves but also serve another activity.”

Chang said Tajima’s focus for “The Architect’s Garden” was to create a space that could also serve as a classroom where learning and conversation could take place. Walker said this focus will become evident through the programs presented by the Visual Arts Center and the Blanton Museum of Art, which will highlight the exhibit and shed light upon Tajima’s inspiration.

Both organizations are sponsoring an “artist talk” Aug. 30 at the Blanton in which Tajima will discuss her display in depth, Walker said.