Kara Walker has been named Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Her five-year term commences fall 2015, centered on research and collaboration with graduate and undergraduate students.
Walker follows Catherine Murphy as the second holder of the fully endowed Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at Mason Gross. This position, created in 2011, is funded by a 3 million USD gift from Rutgers College alumna Marlene A. Tepper.
Walker will create a research space at Rutgers that immerses students, as well as the wider university, in assigned topics through readings, discussions, activities and presentations. “If anything, I can foster an environment of openness and maybe willingness to live with contentious images and objectionable ideas, particularly in the space of art,” said Walker. “For me, it gets us to a place where we can talk to those concerns and how as artists we can creatively solve problems when problems arise.”
Gerry Beegan, chair of the Visual Arts Department, says Walker’s willingness to tackle new mediums, projects, and venues make her an ideal student mentor. After Walker’s A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby installation at the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Factory in 2014, her next public project was designing sets, costumes, and directing Bellini’s Norma at the Teatro La Fenice as part of this year’s Venice Biennale.
Walker says she plans to welcome Rutgers students into a creative conversation. “Rutgers just gave me a sense of what I was missing in the Ivy League, maybe a kind of hunger,” says Walker. “The school is really a good place to push at boundaries.”
About Mason Gross School of the Arts
Founded in 1976, Mason Gross School of the Arts is the flagship public arts conservatory of New Jersey. Part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the school is home to the departments of Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts as well as the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions, Mason Gross Extension Division, Arts Online, and the Rutgers Center For Digital Filmmaking. Its faculty and alumni rosters include arts professionals recognized nationally and internationally, including Kristin Davis, Calista Flockhart, Avery Brooks, Cleo Mack, William Pope.L, Alice Aycock, Sean Jones, and Cristina Pato. The school’s enrollment of 752 undergraduates and 281 graduate students across four departments, combined with a faculty of 219, ensures students the opportunity to work closely with accomplished artists within their fields.
Mason Gross School of the Arts
New Brunswick, NJ