- This event has passed.
RVArts Cultural Passport: You Moved Where? with Shawn Brixey + Valerie Cassel Oliver
RVArts Cultural Passport Spring Speakers in Conversation Series Line Up @VCUarts Depot every other Tuesday @ 6pm throughout the semester. Free and open to the public! Classes are welcome! Check out our student curated arts calendar at rvarts.org.
Please join RVArts in welcoming the newest leaders in all things ARTS in Richmond; Shawn Brixey, Dean of VCUarts and Valerie Cassel Oliver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the VMFA. They will be in conversation about their move to Richmond and our future as the Arts Capital!
Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to her position at the VMFA, she was Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston where worked from 2000 – 2017. She has served as director of the Visiting Artist Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1995-2000) and a program specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts (1988-1995). In 2000 she was one of six curators selected to organize the Biennial for the Whitney Museum of American Art.
During her tenure at the CAMH, Cassel Oliver organized numerous exhibitions including the acclaimed Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970 (2005); Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image with Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2009); a major retrospective on Benjamin Patterson, Born in the State of Flux/us (2010) and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art (2012). She has also mounted significant solo exhibitions for Donald Moffett, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Jennie C. Jones, Angel Otero and Annabeth Rosen.
Cassel Oliver is the recipient of a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship (2007); the David C. Driskell Award (2011); and the Arthur and Carol Kaufman Goldberg Foundation-to-Life Fellowship at Hunter College (2016). From 2016-17, she was a Senior Fellow in Curatorial Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Cassel Oliver holds a M.A. in art history from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and, B.S. in communications from the University of Texas at Austin.
Shawn Brixey is Dean of the School of the Arts (VCUarts), at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia. He is the Special Assistant to the Provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar, VCUarts international branch campus located in Doha, Qatar. Brixey also is a professor in the School of the Arts and an Affiliate Professor in the School of Engineering.
A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute in sculpture and experimental media, and The Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in environmental design, architecture, engineering, media arts and sciences, Brixey is best known for pioneering complex (STEM to STEAM) artworks that synthesize physics, astronomy, cosmology, biology and computing. He has exhibited commissioned arts and sciences work extensively: Documenta; Deutscher Kunstlerbund; Cranbrook Art Museum; Yeshiva University Museum; MIT Museum; Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati; Art Institute of Chicago; Winter Olympics, Nagano, Japan; World EXPO, Hannover, Germany; American Design and Architecture Triennial, Smithsonian Museum; the Berkeley Art Museum, The European Capital of Culture, and many others.
He has received a wide range of arts and sciences grants and awards to support his research and educational initiatives, including National Endowment for the Arts, National Science Foundation, Apple Computer, AVID Incorporated, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Intel Corporation, Silicon Graphics, Newport Research Corporation, IBM, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Derivative, Social Strata, D-Box, Leica and Hughes Aircraft. Highlights of Brixey’s research accomplishments include a prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for New Media, and winner of the Editors’ Choice Award in Popular Science magazine’s “World Design Challenge.” The annual challenge centers on the invention and application of innovative design ideas that creatively address global problems for communities in need.
Preceding his appointment as Dean at VCU School of the Arts, Brixey was Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) at York University in Toronto, Canada. With an enrolment of 55,000, York University is the third largest research university in Canada, and AMPD one of the largest and most comprehensive arts, media, performance and design faculty in North America. Under Brixey’s leadership, he led the historic name and identity change of the Faculty of Fine Arts, becoming The School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD). During his tenure, he oversaw significant expansion of the school’s mission, creative curriculum, study abroad opportunities, fundraising activities, industrial partnerships and research impact, including the creation of the new Department of Computational Arts, and groundbreaking joint undergraduate and graduate programs in Digital Media with the School of Engineering. During his tenure, AMPD witnessed its first Governor General Award, Royal Society Fellowships, Academy Award nomination, and Tony Award. AMPD also achieved major success in external sponsored research, with 600% increase in grant awards, including one of four participating faculty (Science, Health, AMPD, Engineering) to receive York’s largest to-date federal grant from The Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) supporting a new $120M national vision research project.
Previous to York, Brixey was professor and The Floyd and Delores Jones Endowed Chair in Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. At UW, he co-founded and directed The Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS), UW’s pioneering interdisciplinary BFA and Ph.D. program in digital arts and media culture. Brixey also was professor, Founder and Chair of the Digital Media Program, Founder and Director of the Center for Digital Art and New Media Research at the University of California Berkeley, where he also served as an Executive Council Member: on The President’s Planning Commission for Digital Media; Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS); College of Environmental Design, Center for Design Visualization; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives Media, and the UC system-wide Digital Media Innovations Agency.