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UC San Diego Visual Arts Partners with Museum of Contemporary Art to Host International Artists

For more than two decades the UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (MCASD) have joined forces as leaders in local contemporary art to present the Russell Lecture Series, a program established by the late arts patron and philanthropist Elizabeth “Betty” W. Russell.

Image: Judith Barry’s, “Voice off,” 1998-1999

Images From Judith Barry’s, “Voice off,” 1998-1999 still image from 2-channel video projection, each projection approx. 16’ x 22’,© Judith Barry. Photo: Courtesy of Rosamund Felsen Gallery.

This year, the formidable team has invited established artist and writer Judith Barry to give the 2015 Russell Lecture at 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 in the Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. The Russell Lecture is free for all UC San Diego students, faculty and staff. It precedes Barry’s solo exhibition, “Voice Off,” which will run from Nov. 20, 2015, through Feb. 21, 2016 at MCASD.

Barry is an internationally recognized New York-based artist and writer whose multi-dimensional artistic practice integrates installation, architecture and design, film and video performance, sculpture, photography and new media. She has exhibited widely in venues such as dOCUMENTA, Berlin Biennale, Venice Biennale of Art/Architecture, Sao Paolo Biennale, Nagoya Biennale, Carnegie International, Whitney Biennale, Sharjah Biennale and the Sydney Biennale, among many others.

Beyond the large lecture setting, Barry, as well as each Russell lecturer, will conduct a seminar with UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts graduate students and faculty. In the past, Russell lecturers have used this forum as a workshop to delve deeper into the material presented at the museum or share a different facet of their practice.

UC San Diego Visual Arts Professor Anya Gallaccio explained that the Russell lectures guarantee that an artist with an international reputation visits San Diego.

“It is important for emerging artists to be able to engage with senior figures in the field of contemporary art,” explained Gallaccio. “We often ask the artist to send some readings or other material in advance of the visit so students are prepared for the seminar on campus.”

According to Cris Scorza, education director at MCASD, the collaboration between UC San Diego’s Division of Arts and Humanities and the museum has been very rewarding.

Image: Judith Barry’s, “Voice off,” 1998-1999

“This program pushes us to work together, be aware of what is happening at both institutions and present our audiences with unique opportunities to hear directly from well-established contemporary artists and thinkers.”

Beginning in 1980, The Russell Foundation began supporting student projects in visual arts at the university. In 1994, the foundation formalized these awards with the Russell Grant, an endowment of more than $300,000. Over the years, the Russell Grant has supported a range of innovative projects by undergraduate and graduate visual arts students, including support for exhibitions and travel for research.

For more information about the Russell Grant, the Russell Lecture Series and the Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego, visit the website.