In Memoriam: Distinguished Professor Mary Sheriff

Art Department faculty, staff and students are greatly saddened by the recent death of Mary Sheriff, W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Art History, former chair of the department, and much-admired colleague and teacher here at UNC at Chapel Hill since 1983. Words cannot express fully how much she will be missed in Hanes Art Center. You can read a more detailed obituary here:
















The Ackland Museum Remembers Dr. Sheriff

From Catherine Soussloff, University of British Columbia: Dear Jim Hirschfield: I wanted to send you and the department my deepest sympathies on the passing of Professor Mary  Sheriff, who I considered a friend and excellent colleague. I replaced Mary for one year when she went on Sabbatical leave in 1986-87, as a visiting Lecturer. At that time, I was fortunate to teach my first graduate seminar. I was also fortunate to make the acquaintance of many wonderful colleagues in the Art Department and elsewhere at UNC, Chapel Hill. Because of Mary and those colleagues, I was fortunate to obtain a tenure track position at UC Santa Cruz, where I taught for 24 years.

I have not seen Mary in a number of years, but I have always regarded her highly as an outstanding scholar (I have assigned her books and articles in my courses) and a truly inspired mentor and feminist. Please accept my condolences, and please put me on a mailing list with information about her memorial at UNC. Thanks so much. As ever, Catherine

Catherine M. Soussloff, Ph.D.
Visiting Lecturer, College de France, 2015
Professor, Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory
Associate, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
University of British Columbia
6333 Memorial Rd., Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2 Canada

From Russell Goulbourne, King’s College London: Dear Professor Hirschfield

I write on behalf of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at King’s College London to express my sincere condolences to her colleagues, students, family and friends on the death of Professor Mary Sheriff.

I know of Professor Sheriff’s work as a fellow eighteenth-century scholar. What’s more, we were looking forward to welcoming her to King’s as a Visiting Professor next semester. The illness that has taken her from us so quickly and so cruelly has robbed us all of a fine scholar and one of the best representatives of the Republic of Letters: we are much the poorer without her.

With my best wishes

Russell Goulbourne

Russell Goulbourne | Professor of French Literature | Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
King’s College London | Virginia Woolf Building | 22 Kingsway | London WC2B 6LE


Congratulations to Faculty Jina Valentine and Lien Truong on their 2016-2017 NCAC Fellowships!

17 artists from across the state received the 2016 – 2017 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award. Artists receive a fellowship to support creative development and the creation of new work. Recipients were selected by panels comprised of artists and arts professionals with expertise in each discipline.

The N.C. Arts Council’s Artist Fellowship program operates on a two-year rotating cycle by discipline. Songwriters, Composers, and Writers are eligible to apply for the Tuesday, November 1, 2016 deadline.

Jina Valentine (Visual art)

Jina Valentine’s work at once invites and defies close reading. Using text as both content and form, she manipulates and obscures the message through cuts, overlays, and acidic ink materials that literally devour the paper on which it’s printed. She entices viewers to contemplate the intricacies of her lace-like drawings and collages, which seem to promise meaning in the accumulation of visual mark-making and clues, but often leaves them yearning for what they can’t see in the spaces and voids.

Recently, Valentine has employed new methods to explore her ideas. “In the past few years, my practice has become more politically engaged, collaborative, experiential, and experimental,” she explained. “It still includes the manipulations of objects, paper, and writing, but it also involves animation, performance, archiving, facilitating public dialogues, imagining new pedagogies, and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

One of these efforts was the Black Lunch Table gatherings she co-organizes with New York-based artist Heather Hart at institutions across the country. Valentine and Hart invite participants to engage in roundtable discussion on a variety of topics, ranging from implicit bias to the authorship of art/history. They also stage Wikipedia edit-a-thons which teach participants to author their own pages, with a focus on adding and improving articles on artists of the African Diaspora.

Valentine graduated with an M.F.A. from Stanford in 2009 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has had numerous exhibitions and residencies, including at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. This year, the Black Lunch Table project was awarded a Creative Capital Emerging Genres grant and an Institute for Arts & Humanities Fellowship.

Lien Truong (Visual art)

The physical practice of painting connects Lien Truong to practitioners and cultures through time.

“The act of manipulating pigment over a support simultaneously embraces centuries of historical drawing and painting, art made integral with religious principles and cultural ideologies,” she explains. “I am at once undeniably seduced by the sensation and process of pushing material over a surface and at the same time curiously fixated on the present-day relevance and discoveries of these primordial acts.”

As a Vietnamese refugee and U.S. citizen, Truong understands the “increasing complications of social and cultural identity in our eternally migratory world.” Using textiles as her material to reference centuries of colonialism and trade, she updates the 19th-century genre of history painting using motifs that borrow from eastern and western traditions. Her work resides in a hybrid space between these worlds, illuminating new ways of conceiving and presenting landscape, architecture, and the figure.

Truong ‘s work has been published in New American Paintings and ARTit Japan and been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, The National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Galerie Quynh in Ho Chi Minh City, The Oakland Museum of California, among many others. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Find out more about Truong at

Gesche Wuerfel has 2 solo shows as part of the Click! Triangle Photography Festival

Both of Gesche’s shows are part of the Click! Triangle Photography Festival.

  1. Oppressive ArchitectureCAM Raleigh, on view through December 4. Gesche will be giving guided tours of the exhibition on November 6th at 2 pm and December 4th at 2 pm (free and open to the public).
  2. Plantation Still Lifes, Horace Williams House, Chapel Hill, on view through October 30. Reception, Suncay, October 16, 2-4 pm
















In Memorium: Alumnus Charles Davis (1939-2015)

The Art Department would like to remember Charles Davis (PhD 1973), who died in Munich on October 26th, 2015. From his obituary in the Burlington Magazine: “He was born in Burlington, North Carolina, on 19th October 1939 and in 1973 he received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; his dissertation was entitled ‘Studies in the Sculpture of Bartolomeo Ammannati’. He began his research in Florence in 1968, and from 1969 to 1971, with a Fellowship from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, continued his studies on Italian sculpture at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. This focus, and his research in Florence during these years, became the foundation upon which his later studies dedicated to Italian cinquecento sculpture, painting and architecture rest.” You can read more here.

Alumnus Chris Musina opening solo show at Lump in Raleigh















Chris Musina: Just Another Animal

When: Oct. 7-29

Reception: Oct 7, 6-9 p.m.



It’s the quotidian nature of the trash—an issue of Country Living magazine, a crushed 7 Up can, a Starbucks cup, a Back to Nature brand snack box—and the realistic style of Chris Musina’s oil painting that really get you. Or OK, actually, it’s the way these elements combine with the two-headed possum that dominates the scene, one head snarling, the other gazing accusingly at the viewer. Musina, a Richmond, Virginia-based artist who earned a graduate degree in art at UNC-Chapel Hill, imbues his studies of how animals are represented in visual culture with a bleak, nihilistic, almost post-human vision. He paints and draws his way into dark places where the wild encroaches on the domestic, and vice versa. After this opening reception, Musina’s anti-anthropocene exhibit Just Another Animal is on view at Lump through Oct. 29. —Brian Howe

6–9 p.m., free,

Update from Alumnus Eric Pickersgill

Fall 2016 Studio Update!

Removed, TEDxPantheonSorbonne” Paris, 2016 / 24″ x 20″ Pigment Print, Edition of 20

So much has happened this hot summer and I am excited to announce several lectures, upcoming shows, and the video of my Paris talk via TEDxPantheonSorbonne. Also included is a teaser of my newest series titled “NoShow” that will be released in two weeks. I hope you enjoy this update I and would love to hear from you about what you have been up to. Thank you!


The Merchandise Revolt / Lianzhou Foto Festival / Lianzhou, China
I am beyond thrilled to announce that Removed will be included in this years Lianzhou Foto Festival in China. My work was selected by curator Francois Cheval, head of the Nicephore Niepce Museum in Chalon-sur-Saône. The exhibition runs from 11/19 – 12/06 and I am so excited to attend the festival!

reset / Garis & Hahn / New York, NY

Reset, curated by Kimi Kitada is an official event of #NoTextWeekend which was founded by the hilariously funny, talented, and beautiful Allison Golderg and Jen Jamula of Blogologues. You missed the opening but you still have the rest of the week to catch several pieces from Removed as well as the work by Fischer Cherry, Sarah Hardie, Ian Hatcher, Jenn Hyland, and Allison L. Wade. I will return to NYC and Garis & Hahn to speak about my work on September 25th, 2016 at 4pm.

Events / Lectures

9/25 @ 4-6PM – “reset”, Group Show Artist Talk / Garis & Hahn / New York, NY

9/29 @ 7PM – “A Million Reasons Not To Take a Photograph, New Work and Artist Talk with Eric Pickersgill” / The Light Factory / Charlotte, NC
10/6 @ 6PM – Grand Opening Speaker, Eric Pickersgill / Kibbitznest / Chicago, IL
10/7-8 – Roving Reviewer / Atlanta Celebrates Photography Portfolio Review / Atlanta, GA
10/29 @10-4PM / Speaker at TEDxCharlotte / Charlotte, NC
New Work

In the next two weeks I will be releasing my newest series titled NoShow. The project involved traveling around the United States this year photographing at as many fake Facebook events as I could. The series includes audio interviews with the creators of these events and a portrait session via webcam. Official press release and new website to follow soon!


Click here to watch my talk at TEDxPantheonSorbonne in Paris.

In Print / Online

I was featured as “Guest Editor” for the summer “Social Media Issue” of Resource Magazine and love the way this issue came together!

ved was also mentioned in this piece by Wallace Witkowski for MarketWatch discussing the research and new book by Dr. Larry Rosen called “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World”.

Collaboration with Precision Creations

During my talk at TEDxBend I mention my wife and I’s change of device use habits. Our bedroom is a space that we consider a no phone zone which not only allows for several hours of more sleep each week but also affords us time alone with one another where we can reflect on our day. My parents, Cindy and Glenn Pickersgill own a small metal art business and together we created this sign. More information can be found here. 

Beyond how the sign reminds us to put our phones down, the REMOVED.SOCIAL Faraday Sleeve by Silent Pocket is still my favorite way to have my device out of sight and out of mind. 

Congratulations to HVA lecturer Mary Reid Kelley on being named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow

Mary Reid Kelley, who was a Hanes Visiting Artist in 2014, has just been named a 2016 MacArthur fellow. More info from their website:

Mary Reid Kelley is an artist who makes arresting, playful, and erudite videos that explore the condition of women throughout history. Drawing on literary and historical material, the videos involve intensive research and critical reassessments of standard historical narratives. Reid Kelley is involved in every aspect of the videos’ creation—from writing the scripts (typically in highly structured poetic verse), to designing the sets, props, and costumes, to performing the leading roles—and all of the videos are produced by her and her partner, Patrick Kelley, at their private studio.

The style of the works—which is informed by the crude, black and white figures of early animation and the lo-tech look of amateur film—lends visual force to her sardonic, critical view of the pacifying notion that progress has completed its work improving the standing of women in society. In You Make Me Iliad (2010), Reid Kelley plays the respective roles of a Belgian prostitute working near the frontlines during World War I and a male soldier with medical training who is charged with monitoring the brothels. In over one hundred rhymed couplets, densely packed with puns, literary allusions, double entendre, and other varieties of language play, Reid Kelley mockingly discloses the unbalanced power dynamics and confined gender roles of the sexual economies of World War I.

A recent trilogy of films centers around the Greek myth of the minotaur, reimagined as half-woman, half-bull in the inaugural video, Priapus Agonistes (2013). The second of the series, Swinburne’s Pasiphae (2014), takes for its script an unpublished fragment by the Victorian poet Charles Algernon Swinburne. Reid Kelley luridly portrays Pasiphae’s aberrant lust for a white bull, which results in the conception of the minotaur. The juxtaposition of contemporary cultural references with classical and Victorian precedents uncannily reveals the stubborn endurance of sexual taboos and gender inequity across history. Reid Kelley is fusing together a variety of artistic approaches and traditions—from drawing and painting, sculpture and installation, to theater and cinema, performance and literary criticism—into a hybrid form of video that is like nothing else being produced today.

Mary Reid Kelley received a B.A. (2001) from Saint Olaf College and an M.F.A. (2009) from Yale University. Her videos and installations have been screened, exhibited, and performed at numerous national and international venues, including the Hammer Museum, the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, the Tate Modern, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. She is a senior critic at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and a critic in painting at the Yale University School of Art.

PhD candidate Miranda Elston named Maynard Adams Fellow for the Public Humanities 2016-2017

Congratulations to Miranda Elston on being named a Maynard Adams Fellow for the Public Humanities 2016-2017.

This fellowship considers the value of the humanities in public education and in public cultures through several workshops and an annual Maynard Adams Symposium. The key issues that will be examined are the nature of philosophical truths, the importance of public education, the discussion of humanistic knowledge in the media and public debates, the development of human identities, and the value of the humanities for well-informed participation in contemporary political cultures.

The “Adams Fellows” will join an interdisciplinary graduate workshop that will meet twice on Tuesday evenings in the fall semester (October and November) and twice in the spring semester (February and April) during the 2016-17 academic year.  The April meeting will be part of a weekend symposium on April 21-22 with philosopher Martha Nussbaum.  Ten Fellows will be selected from disciplines such as Philosophy, History, English, Religious Studies, Art History and Political Science, and their main task will consist of mealtime conversations about short readings and about the public role of the humanities.

The concise readings will focus on issues that were important to Maynard Adams and remain important in all modern, democratic societies: the nature of philosophical truths, the importance of public education, the discussion of humanistic knowledge in the media and public debates, the development of human identities, and the value of the humanities for well-informed participation in contemporary political cultures.

The Adams Fellows will also attend the annual Maynard Adams Symposium in the spring semester and meet with the visiting keynote speaker for that event (the speaker for the Symposium on April 21-22, 2017 will be Martha Nussbaum from the University of Chicago). This Symposium will serve as the second workshop of the spring semester.

This fellowship honors the distinguished philosopher Maynard Adams (1919-2003), who was a long-time professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, a prominent advocate for the value of the humanities in public education and in public cultures, and a campus leader who established the Program in the Humanities in 1979.  The new Adams Fellowships are made possible by a generous gift from the Taylor Charitable Trust.