Lyon students see works of master artists on Art in Context trip

Lyon College students had the opportunity to get up close with works from master artists such as Picasso, Degas, van Gogh, and famous contemporary artists such as Trenton Doyle Hancock and Damien Hirst during the Art in Context trip over spring break.

Morgan Page, assistant professor of art, led five students on the trip, which took students to prominent art scenes in Dallas and Houston. Students that participated were Willa Thomason, Ashley Mott, Amber Witcher, Kori Bowers, and Ariel Smith. The trip was funded through the Art in Context course fees, which are $300 per student, and funds raised through the sales of valentine cards made by the students.

“The Art in Context trip is offered every spring, and students do not have to be art majors to participate. Dustyn Bork took last year’s group to Chicago. I’m from Houston, and the art market is growing there has grown exponentially over the last two decades and that’s why I wanted to take the students to Houston,” Page said.
The first stop on the trip was the Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden located on 4.5 wooded acres in north Dallas. The Sculpture Garden was originally designed by renowned landscape architect Clarence Roy in 1959 and won a major design award in 1960 for the best garden design for the size category. The gallery has hosted exhibitions of many notable sculptors including, Charles Umlauf, Sorrel Etrog, David Cargill, and a one-person show of Henry Moore in 1969.

The Sculpture Garden was followed by visits to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Goss Michael Foundation for British Art where students were able to view an exhibit from the Young British Artists. The collection included works from Tracey Emin, one of the first female artists appointed at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and Damien Hirst, whose shock-art is internationally renowned. The Goss Michael Foundation was founded by singer/performer George Michael and his partner Kenny Goss. Goss was at the galleries while the students were there on tour.

“Students were able to view Hirst’s Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain which features a calf in formaldehyde solution and pinned with several arrows. The piece references the well-established tradition of painting the Christian Martyr. This was a neat experience for not only the students, but myself because I lived not far from Manhattan for several years in New Jersey and Connecticut and in all those years of visiting New York City, I only ever saw some of Hirst’s lesser known paintings, never these monumental sculptures that he is most famous for,” Page said .

Ariel Smith,  a senior art major, was able to present a portfolio of her work to designers at The Design Factory, a graphic design firm that creates pieces for branding, print, product packaging and websites.

“I had to have a tough skin to take a critique from someone who had 18 years of experience, but it was great to get that feedback on my work,” Smith said.

Smith said she also got input from some designers who had just recently been hired.

“I made some great connections, and it was good to have someone who just got hired and is just starting out telling you to keep your head up and that you got this,” she said.

The highlight of the trip was getting to have personal interaction with famous artists Trenton Doyle Hancock and Regina Agu, Smith said.

“Especially Trenton Doyle Hancock. It was an honor to have a studio visit with him because he’s one of the top contemporary artists right now,” she said.

Page said the Hancock was very down to earth and shared his artistic process with the students.

The group also visited the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, the Houston Center for Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Rothko Chapel, The Menil Collection, and the Cullen Sculpture Garden designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi and features work by Louise Bourgeois, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, among others.