Happenings: The Wittliff Collections

Texas State’s Wittliff set to kick off
new season of exhibitions, events

A photo of Frida Kahlo.

This photo of artist Frida Kahlo by Héctor García is part of a new exhibition at the Wittliff Collections.

A study in faces.

A retrospective focused on early 20th-century Mexico.

A glimpse into a world of myth and mystery.

All are part of the lineup of upcoming exhibitions at The Wittliff Collections at Texas State, a repository of a broad range of archival materials perched at the top of Alkek Library.

The Wittliff is set to open Monday, Jan. 23, with exhibitions featuring journals, correspondence and more of author Rick Riordan; the photography of Hugo Brehme; and portraits by a range of artists. A permanent exhibition featuring costumes, photographs, screenplay drafts and more associated with the production of the hit television miniseries Lonesome Dove — adapted for film by Wittliff Collections founder Bill Wittliff — will continue as well.

Exhibitions

Rick Riordan’s World of Myth and Mystery (Jan. 23 to July 15)

New York Times No. 1 best-selling author Rick Riordan is creator of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, the Heroes of Olympus, and the storyline and first volume of the 39 Clues. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults. In recognition of Riordan’s distinctive achievements and his inspirational impact on readers young and old, the Wittliff Collections will showcase the Riordan Collection — now one of the major archives at the Wittliff — to which the author has been generously donating since 2004. Among the objects on view are Riordan’s early journals, unpublished manuscripts, first rejection letter (received as an eighth grader), book proposals, story ideas, and materials that illuminate his working process, such as hand-drawn plot maps. Numerous photographs and other artifacts testify to the phenomenal worldwide appeal of his Percy Jackson series. One highlight is the original sword, “Riptide,” used in the 2010 film adaptation of The Lightning Thief.

 Timeless Mexico: The Photographs of Hugo Brehme (Jan. 23 to Aug. 5
)

Timeless Mexico is an exhibition of more than 100 of Hugo Brehme’s masterful photographs of early 20th-century Mexico. One of that country’s first modern photographers, Brehme focused on iconic subjects ranging from the Mexican Revolution to scenic landscapes, colonial architecture, and the everyday life of indigenous peoples. Included are his original vintage photo postcards and hand-tinted photographs published in Timeless Mexico: The Photographs of Hugo Brehme by Susan Toomey Frost, the newest volume in the Wittliff’s Southwestern and Mexican Photography Book Series with UT Press. A longtime Brehme expert, Frost donated her major collection of the photographer’s work to the Wittliff in 2009.

Face to Face: Portraits from the Photography Collection (Jan. 23 to Aug. 5)

More than 50 photographs bring viewers face-to-face with a study in humanity — from the famous to the homeless — in portraiture from the Wittliff Collections’ permanent holdings. Among the images of authors, artists, and ordinary people, musicians, cowboys, and revolutionaries are icons Che Guevara by Rodrigo Moya, Georgia O’Keefe by Yousuf Karsh, Willie Nelson by Annie Leibovitz, Horton Foote by Keith Carter, Frida Kahlo by Héctor García, and Texas State Distinguished Alumnus George Strait by Michael O’Brien. The exhibition presents traditional portraits, candid images, and a variety of environmental and creative approaches. Conventional darkroom printing, tintype, and other processes are represented in works by 35 photographers, including Jayne Hinds Bidaut, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Ave Bonar, Earlie Hudnall, Graciela Iturbide, Robb Kendrick, O. Rufus Lovett, Lee Marmon, Jeff Wilson, Dan Winters, Kathy Vargas, Will Van Overbeek, Laura Wilson and Bill Wittliff.

The Lonesome Dove Collection

From hats to gun belts to boots, the complete outfits of Augustus “Gus” McCrae, Jake Spoon and Woodrow F. Call (played by Robert Duvall, Robert Urich and Tommy Lee Jones) are just a few of the many “making of” materials on permanent display from the beloved miniseries based on Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. This exhibition from the Wittliff’s major Lonesome Dove production archive takes visitors behind the scenes of the Emmy-winning show, with a look at props and principal costumes, set designs, costume sketches and production notes, Bill Wittliff’s screenplay drafts, script pages, and photographs, plus much, much more.

The Wittliff Collections will also host a variety of events throughout the first half of 2012, including readings by authors Richard Siken, Elissa Schappell, Dagoberto Gilb, Jim Kimmell, Louise Erdrich, Tim O’Brien, Rolando Hinojosa, Arturo Madrid and Cyrus Cassells.

Events

Richard Siken Reading, Book Signing and Q&A

3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 — Richard Siken’s poetry collection Crush won the 2004 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, a Lambda Literary Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Conjunctions, Indiana Review and Forklift, Ohio, as well as in the anthologies The Best American Poetry 2000 and Legitimate Dangers. He is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, two Arizona Commission on the Arts grants, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Tucson, Ariz. This Therese Kayser Lindsey / Katherine Anne Porter Series event is co-sponsored by Texas State’s English Department, the Burdine Johnson Foundation, and the Wittliff Collections. Books will be for sale by the University Bookstore. Richard Siken will also read at Texas State’s Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10; contact Katie Angermeier at kapliterarycenter@gmail.com.

Poetry + Fiction Reading

5 p.m. Feb. 14 — Texas State’s master of fine arts students read from their work in the creative writing program.

Elissa Schappell Reading, Book Signing and Q&A

3:30 p.m. Feb. 23 — Elissa Schappell is a co-founder and editor-at-large of Tin House, as well as the author of Use Me, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and co-editor with Jenny Offill of the anthologies The Friend Who Got Away and Money Changes Everything. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review. Her essays, articles, and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies such as The Bitch in the House, The KGB Bar Reader, and The Mrs. Dalloway Reader. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Queens in Charlotte, N.C., and at Brooklyn College. This Therese Kayser Lindsey / Katherine Anne Porter Series event is co-sponsored by Texas State’s English Department, the Burdine Johnson Foundation, and the Wittliff Collections. Books will be for sale by the University Bookstore. Elissa Schappell will also read at Texas State’s Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24; contact Katie Angermeier at kapliterarycenter@gmail.com.

Dagoberto Gilb Reading and Book Signing

4 p.m. March 6 (reception starts at 3:30) — Dagoberto Gilb is a major American writer from the Southwest, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Texas Book Festival’s Bookend Award for Ongoing Literary Achievement, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His newest book, published this past November by Grove Press, is Before the End, After the Beginning, short stories that come in the wake of a stroke Gilb suffered at his home in Austin, Texas, in 2009. Many of the stories were written during Gilb’s recovery, resulting in a powerful and triumphant collection that, according to Richard Ford, is “quirky, confronting, intense, often darkly funny… [and] unearths a sense of profound human longing and a dream of harmony” in Gilb’s raw, authentic vernacular. His previous books are The Flowers, Gritos, Woodcuts of Women, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, and The Magic of Blood. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many magazines, most recently Harper’s, The New Yorker, and Callaloo, and his work is reprinted widely. Gilb has taught at several universities, including creative writing at Texas State University from 1997 to 2009. A major donor to Texas State’s Wittliff Collections, having gifted a portion of his literary papers, Gilb is also editor of Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature published as part of the Wittliff’s Southwestern Writers Collection Book Series. He is currently serving as artist-in-residence and executive director of the Center for Mexican American Literature and Culture at the University of Houston-Victoria. Books will be for sale by the University Bookstore.

Poetry + Fiction Reading

5 p.m. March 20 — Texas State’s master of fine arts students read from their work in the creative writing program.

Timeless Mexico Exhibition Reception and Book Launch

7:30 p.m. March 24 (reception at 7) — This event celebrates Timeless Mexico: The Photographs of Hugo Brehme, a spring exhibition at Texas State’s Wittliff Collections based on the newest monograph in their Southwestern and Mexican Photography Book Series from UT Press. Susan Toomey Frost — a longtime Brehme expert and the book’s author — generously donated her major collection of his work to the Wittliff in 2010. The exhibition reception and book launch will feature a program with Susan Frost and Dennis Brehme, grandson of Hugo Brehme, as guest speakers.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to thewittliffcollections@txstate.edu.

Jim Kimmel Reading and Book Signing

4 p.m. March 28 — Jim Kimmel will be at the Wittliff for a very special reading and book signing for his new book, Exploring the Brazos River: From Beginning to End. The book includes photographs by his wife, Jerry Touchstone Kimmel, and is published by Texas A&M University Press as part of its River Book Series, which is sponsored by Texas State’s River Systems Institute. Kimmel, whose family roots on the Brazos go back to the 1820s, is professor of geography at Texas State, where he has taught since 1991 and served as the Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies from 2005–2008. He holds degrees in ecology and geography from Baylor University, Yale University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Books will be for sale by the University Bookstore.

Louise Erdrich Reading, Book Signing and Q&A

3:30 p.m. April 5 — Louise Erdrich is the author of 13 novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. Most recently, The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore. This Therese Kayser Lindsey / Katherine Anne Porter Series event is co-sponsored by Texas State’s English Department, the Burdine Johnson Foundation, and the Wittliff Collections. Books will be for sale by the University Bookstore. Louise Erdrich will also read at Texas State’s Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle at 7:30 p.m. April 6; contact Katie Angermeier at kapliterarycenter@gmail.com.

Poetry + Fiction Reading

5 p.m. April 17 — Texas State’s master of fine arts students read from their work in the creative writing program.

Tim O’Brien Reading, Book Signing and Q&A

3:30 p.m. April 24 (Q&A starts at 5) — Tim O’Brien served as an infantryman in the Vietnam War from 1968-70. He completed graduate studies at Harvard University and worked briefly as a reporter at the Washington Post before launching his literary career with his publication of If I Die in a Combat Zone in 1973. O’Brien went on to write Northern Lights, Going After Cacciato, which won the 1979 National Book Award, In the Lake of the Woods, Tomcat in Love, and July, July. The Things They Carried was published in 1990 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He holds the Endowed Chair for Creative Writing at Texas State where he teaches fiction to graduate students and is a permanent MFA faculty member. He lives in the Austin area with his wife and two sons. This Therese Kayser Lindsey / Katherine Anne Porter Series event is co-sponsored by Texas State’s English Department, the Burdine Johnson Foundation, and the Wittliff Collections. Books will be for sale by the University Bookstore.

Voces y Memorias: The Rolando Hinojosa and Arturo Madrid Literary Celebration

6:30 p.m. April 25 — This major symposium will feature readings by Hinojosa and Madrid from their new books, a discussion between the authors about the craft of writing from a minority perspective moderated by Carmen Tafolla, who will also act as a participant, and a book signing with all three esteemed authors. Books will be for sale at the event.

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith is the Ellen Clayton Garwood Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. A novelist, essayist, poet, and short-story writer from the Rio Grande Valley, Hinojosa’s work has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Premio Casa de las Americas and the Premio Quinto Sol Annual Prize. He is considered by many to be among the most important living Texas writers. In November 2011, Hinojosa published A Voice of My Own: Essays and Stories and a new edition of Partners in Crime.

Arturo Madrid is the Norene R. And T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio. A decorated critic and scholar, Madrid is the recipient of such honors as the President’s Medal from Brooklyn College, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ford Salute to Higher Education, and many, many others. In April 2012, Madrid will publish In the Country of Empty Crosses: The Story of a New Mexico Hispano Protestant Family.

Carmen Tafolla is one of the most anthologized of living Latina writers. She has published work for both children and adults in more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks, and readers. The author of more than 15 books, seven screenplays, and numerous articles and essays, Tafolla’s book of poetry, Sonnets to Human Beings, received first prize in the poetry division of the UCI National Literary Competition, and in 1999, she was awarded the Art of Peace Award by the President’s Peace Commission of St. Mary’s University for “writing which contributes to peace, justice and human understanding.”

Cyrus Cassells Reading, Book Signing and Q&A

3:30 p.m. May 2 — The Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet and professor of English at Texas State channels life experiences — his own and those of others — into lyrical language that evokes empathy and compassion. His most recent book of poetry, The Crossed-Out Swastika, tells the stories of young people who lived through World War II in Europe. Cassells took the name of the book, released in late spring 2010 by Copper Canyon Press, from the story of Hans Scholl, a member of the anti-Nazi resistance movement who bravely crossed out swastikas on the walls of Munich under the cover of night. Cassells is the author of More Than Peace and Cypresses (Copper Canyon Press, 2004); Beautiful Signor (1997), which won the Lambda Literary Award; Soul Make a Path Through Shouting (1994), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and received the William Carlos Williams Award; and The Mud Actor (1982), which was a National Poetry Series selection. Cassells is the recipient of a 1995 Pushcart Prize, the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has worked as a translator, film critic, actor, and teacher. Currently he teaches poetry at Texas State for the MFA in writing program. Cassell’s books will be for sale by the University Bookstore.

Admission to The Wittliff Collections is free and open to the public. For more information about visiting, click here.

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