David Ellis

More Information

Project History

As part of the renovation of the ART building, Landmarks commissioned David Ellis to create the first video in the university’s public art collection. The result is Animal, a nine-and-a-half-minute video that inaugurates Landmarks Video and underscores the Department of Art & Art History’s commitment to emerging forms of visual expression.

Ellis was selected for the ways in which his work invites and celebrates collaborative processes. He undertook a residency in the Visual Arts Center (VAC) galleries for six weeks in Spring 2010 during which he engaged with faculty, students and the public, featuring a day-long celebration of his work at Co-Lab. Animal premiered at the opening of the VAC in September 2010.

This project was funded by the College of Fine Art’s Art building capital improvement project. The media station was designed by LakelFlato Architects and is located in the ART building atrium on the corner of East 23rd Street and San Jacinto Boulevard.

Landmarks would like to thank:


Andrée Bober and Landmarks
Pat Clubb and University Operations
Douglas Dempster and the College of Fine Arts
Kenneth Hale and the Department of Art & Art History
Landmarks Advisory Committee
William Powers and the Office of the President
Bob Rawski and the Office of Facilities Planning and Construction
David Rea and the Office of Campus Planning
Samuel Wilson and the Faculty Building Advisory Committee

Project Team

Andrée Bober, curator and director, Landmarks
David Ellis, artist
Chris Keohane, production manager
Roberto Lange, composer
Lewis McNeel, Bill Aylor, and LakelFlato Architects
Robert Mercado, Office of Facilities Planning and Construction
Nicole Vlado, project manager, Landmarks
Jade Walker, Visual Arts Center

Special Thanks

Dan Fergus and Russell Etchen, Domy Books
Kanitra Fletcher, curatorial contributor
Sean Gaulager, Co-Lab
Leah Griffin, education and external affairs, Landmarks
Alexis Lanman, event coordinator
Mark Silva, Visual Arts Center
Susan B.A. Somers-Willett, poet

Press Highlights

UT Visual Arts Center
Wayne Alan Brenner, The Austin Chronicle, 23 April 2010
David Ellis, the New York-based artist currently in residence at the University of Texas’ new Visual Arts Center, paints simple things. David Ellis, who compares what he does visually to what’s being done musically by jazz artists and freestyle rappers, paints complex things. 

Press Release - 19 January 2010

Landmarks Commissions Artist David Ellis for Video To Premiere at Inauguration of New Visual Arts Center

AUSTIN, Texas - 19 January 2010 - The Landmarks public art program at The University of Texas at Austin has commissioned New York artist David Ellis, known for his stunning motion paintings, to create an original video for the university.

The unveiling will coincide with the opening of the Department of Art & Art History’s new Visual Arts Center (VAC) in September 2010.

“The VAC is a spectacular venue for showcasing new work by our faculty, students, alumni and emerging artists like David Ellis,” said Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “It provides an ideal collaborative context for Art & Art History and the Landmarks public art program to host artist residencies that enrich the university’s public art collection.”

The Landmarks commission represents the first work of video art to be acquired by the university’s growing public art collection and will initiate the only ongoing presentation of artists’ videos on campus. This project also presents the first opportunity for Landmarks and the Department of Art & Art History to work closely together. The VAC will provide workspace to Ellis over a four-week period this spring, and the residency will create opportunities for the artist to engage with students, faculty and the public.

“The partnership between the Department of Art & Art History and Landmarks is the perfect way to foster the type of dialogue and interaction that are central to our program,” said Jade Walker, director of the VAC. “Students who connect with Ellis will have the opportunity to experience his entire process and relate to him on a personal level.”

“Ellis is the perfect choice,” said Andrée Bober, Landmarks founding director. “We searched broadly and deliberated with faculty and students. The enthusiasm for his work was decisive.”

In planning a public art installation for the Art building, Landmarks sought a commission that would resonate with faculty and student artists.

“We hooked into this idea that if the work was about process, then everyone could relate to it,” Bober said. “Ellis’s work embodies process, from conception through creation and even in his presentation.”

Walker envisions the new galleries as a platform for engagement that reaches far beyond the university community.

“The VAC will be a centralized space in which to share the work of the department’s renowned faculty and highlight the accomplishments of our students,” Walker said. “It will serve as a catalyst for new projects and collaborations with contemporary artists and leading scholars.”

Ellis is a New York-based artist who creates paintings, prints, videos and installations that draw upon popular references and captivate audiences with insouciant energy. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Mattress Factory, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, ICA Philadelphia and his motion painting “Paint on Trucks in a World in Need of Love” was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also created a site-specific installation at the Rice University Gallery in Houston in 2006 entitled “Conversation.”

Download the press release.



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