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2014-2015 Visual Culture Lecture Series


2013-2014 Visual Culture Lecture Series



All Visual Culture Lecture Series are held in Montague Hall 70 from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM unless noted otherwise.


Mary Abbe

September 24, 2013

Mary Abbe has been writing art chat for the Star Tribune through the reigns of three Walker Art Center directors, five heads of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and too many gallery scenes to count. She still finds interviewing artists, collectors, curators and crew more fun than fireworks.

Michael Duffy

October 1, 2013



Michael Duffy received his BA in art history from Rutgers College and a Master’s degree in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware / Winterthur program in 1988.  As of 1993 he is a conservator at The Museum of Modern Art where he specializes in the treatment of modern and contemporary paintings.  In 2004 he conserved Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” for the reinstallation of the MoMA galleries.  The treatment is presented on MoMA’s website and in the IIC publication Modern Art, New Museums and was featured in the Smithsonian and The New Yorker magazinesMichael has interviewed artists including Lee Bontecou and Brice Marden on their materials and techniques.  He is a professional associate of the American Institute for Conservation and was recently elected a fellow of the International Institute for Conservation.

Amber Dawn Bear Robe

October 22, 2013


Amber-Dawn Bear Robe, Blackfoot from Siksika Nation, Alberta, Canada is currently guest curator at the Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, Minnesota and most recently was consulting for the Santa Fe's Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, a center of the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Before moving to Santa Fe, Bear Robe was the Director/Curator of Urban Shaman: Contemporary Aboriginal Art located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Bear Robe is completing her second Master’s degree in Art History from the University of Arizona with a focus on contemporary Native North American art and photography. She graduated with her first Master’s degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design, and has interned at museums such as The Tucson Museum of Art, The University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology and The Glenbow Museum. 


Below are links to two of her curatorial projects:

Derrick Buisch

November 12, 2013


Derrick Buisch focuses on abstracting ordinary information to create idiosyncratic representations with drawing, structure, and color. His paintings, a pigmented vocabulary of pedestrian subjects, are organized and delineated in a rigorous, deliberate manner. The visual pressure in the work is engaging and unnerving. His color treatments are curious and luscious. A painting professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1997, Buisch has exhibited in many national and regional museum exhibitions.

Ben Levitz

February 4, 2014


Benjamin Levitz received his BFA in Communication Design from the College of Visual Arts. He spent nearly a decade in the creative industry working with design leaders at Kilter, Larsen/California, and Thorburn design agencies. His creative expertise has focused on design as a branding tool for a large and varied list of national companies with work consistently appears in award shows and publications of AIGA, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print magazine and Type Directors Annual. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Visual Arts teaching advanced typography course work.


Ben’s tactile design sensibility led to the founding of Studio On Fire. The studio began in 1999 with a vision of uniquely combining design and production skills in modern letterpress work. Ben left the agency world in 2006 to run the studio full time. The Minneapolis studio currently produces it’s own design and letterpress projects in addition to printing custom work from for an impressive list of agencies and design firms across the United States.

Tweed Guest Lecture

Symposium & Reception

March 4, 2014

6:00 - 8:00pm

At Tweed Museum of Art


Tweed will host a group of curators, writers, and artists who will discuss their roles in the museum's National Endowment for the Arts funded project: Perspectives and Parallels: Expanding Interpretive Foundations with American-Indian Curators and Arts Writers: Aligning Tweed Collections and Museum Audiences

Miwa Matreyek

March 11, 2014


6:00 pm

Marshall Performing Art Center (MPAC) at UMD.

Artist discussion to follow performance.


Miwa Matreyek is an internationally recognized animator, designer, and multimedia artist based in Los Angeles. She creates animated short films as well as live works that integrate animation, performance, and video installation. Arriving to animation from a background in collage, her work explores how animation transforms when it is combined with body, both physically in her performance pieces, as well as a composited video element in her short films. 


In her projection based performances, animation takes on a more physical and present quality, while body and space take on a more fantastical quality, creating an experience that is both cinematic and theatrical. She is interested in the slippery meeting point of cinema and theater/performance, the moments of convergence where fantastical illusions are created, and the moments of divergence where the two struggles against each other. 


Her work has been shown internationally at animation/film festivals, theater festivals, performance festivals, as well as art galleries, science museums, tech conferences, universities, and more.


Some past presentation include Sundance Film Festival, TEDGlobal, Anima Mundi Animation Festival, Time Based Arts Festival, REDCAT, MCASD, LACMA, ISEA conference, Theatre de la Cité, the Exploratorium, EXIT festival, Fusebox Festival, Questfest, Pixilerations, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, etc.


Matreyek received her MFA (2007) in Experimental Animation and Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts. She is one of the founding-member and core-collaborator of Cloud Eye Control.


March 11, 2014

6:00 PM

Marshall Performing Art Center (UMD)

Artist discussion to follow the performance


Davin Watne &

Seth Johnson

April 8, 2014


Davin Watne is an artist based in Kansas City with an established record of professional achievement. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art. He has been awarded the Charlotte Street Foundation Award, ArtsKC Inspiration Grant, Avenue of Arts Municipal Arts Grant, Art in the Loop Public Arts Grant and a former resident of the Studios Inc. Residency Program. Davin holds a fulltime lecturer position at University of Missouri Kansas City, where he teaches Painting and Drawing.


Seth Johnson is a designer, writer, educator, and organizational leader. His Minneapolis-based consultancy partners with teams and clients in a wide range of business categories to conceive and implement branding and communications solutions. Using a human-centered approach to simplify and clarify, he makes his clients’ voices heard, their messages understood, and their visions realized.

He began his career at the age of 15 as a staff designer for his hometown newspaper and as a textbook keyliner for a subsidiary of West Publishing. While in college, he held positions ranging from Senior Designer at CSU-Los Angeles to Creative Director of Theater Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota. Upon graduation, Seth began freelancing while also holding adjunct faculty positions at colleges in Los Angeles and Minneapolis. He was a senior designer for Woychick Design in Minneapolis before launching his own practice in 2006. 

A past president of AIGA Minnesota, Seth also served as its treasurer and co-director of education and founded its mentor program. Through his volunteer work, he strives to help emerging designers bridge the gaps between education and professional practice. He speaks frequently at universities and design organizations around the nation, serves on the AIGA national chapter advisory council and the governing board of Art Buddies, and was a founding member of FEAST MPLS.


Davin Watne and Seth Johnson are the jurors for the 2014 Annual Student Exhibition, which will open at Tweed Museum of Art, Special Exhibition Gallery, April 8, 2014. To view the program go to and scroll down to view the listing.

Dylan J. Beck

April 15, 2014

Dylan J. Beck is a ceramic artist, sculptor, and educator. He is currently an assistant professor and Ceramics Area Chair at Oregon College of Art and Craft. Beck attended The Ohio University in Athens where he studied sculpture and ceramics. Upon receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics, Beck was awarded a Post Baccalaureate Fellowship at Illinois State University in Illinois. In 2006, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attend Tyler School of Art, Temple University for graduate school where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree. Beck’s research focuses on the built environment, including concepts dealing with urban development, the information infrastructure, and the economic, social, and psychological effects of living in a super-modern world.



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