Renowned artist and educator Leonard Lehrer has been appointed visiting professor in art at The University of Texas at Austin by the Department of Art and Art History and the College of Fine Arts, effective Sept. 1.
Lehrer is a painter and printmaker whose work has been seen internationally for several decades in 46 solo exhibitions in New York City, Philadelphia and extensively throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy. He comes to Austin after serving from 2000-07 as dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College in Chicago, and most recently as associate provost for external affairs.
“We look forward to benefiting from Lehrer’s experience and to his inevitable positive influence on our students and our programs,” said Senior Associate Dean Kenneth Hale. “His primary responsibility will be to serve as director of the Printmaking Convergence program, a new program that will enhance the 30-year-old Guest Artist in Printmaking Program and bring national attention to the graduate printmaking program and new Visual Arts Center printmaking studio. The goal is to promote the art of the print and all of its manifestations across a broad spectrum of art making and scholarship in order to enhance the educational mission of the department.”
Lehrer will teach one course per year and serve as the director of the new program that will take advantage of the wealth of fine art print-related resources at the university, in Austin and across the state and nation.
“The University of Texas is taking aim at a major leadership role in the dynamic future legacy of Senefelder, Seghers and Goltzius,” said Lehrer. “The fine art print has become a potent force in contemporary late 20th century and early 21st century art, giving shape to newer and unexpected approaches to modern image making. Always sensitive to developing technologies, printmaking has become a guidepost of new directions in the visual arts. It has had a singular and profound effect on American printmaking since World War II with the United States’ influence being widespread throughout the industrialized world.
“There are few greater challenges, and opportunities, that are waiting to be imaginatively explored than that of modern global printmaking,” said Lehrer. “The university is taking this phenomenon as a definition of its responsibilities to its students and its artistic, critical and intellectual environment. This is a new enterprise in which I look forward to being a full-scale participant. I believe this is what Nicolas Poussin meant in the 18th century when he wrote, ‘The aim of art is delectation.'”
In addition to the focus on printmaking, Lehrer’s national leadership in the role in developing arts education policy will benefit the college’s goal of improving high school arts education in the state of Texas. Previous to his posts at Columbia College, he held positions as chair or director of art departments and art schools at the University of New Mexico, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Arizona State University and New York University. He also served on the College Art Association’s committee to establish national guidelines for the Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in addition to serving as president of the MidAmerica College Art Association.
Lehrer is chair of the College Board’s National Taskforce on Arts Education, a founding trustee of the International Print Center New York, and a trustee of Apex Art Gallery and the International Centre for Culture and Management in Salzburg, Austria.
He recently received the highly prestigious Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award by the Southern Graphics Council. Previous winners of this distinctive honor have been Xu Bing, William Wiley, Warrington Colescott and Chuck Close. Museums that have collected Lehrer’s work include the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the National Gallery of Art among many others.