30 Years of Student Writing Celebrated

PWcoverimage (1)Liz Garone’s personal story about olive oil — how her grandparents brought along gallons when they immigrated from Italy and how it is her favorite moisturizer — published in the first issue of Prized Writing helped launch Garone’s writing career.

Garone (B.A., American studies and English, ’90) will speak at the 30th anniversary celebration of Prized Writing on Oct. 16. Prized Writing, published annually by the University Writing Program (UWP) in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, showcases writing by undergraduate students across campus have done for classes.

“Being in Prized Writing definitely had an impact on my decision to become a writer,” said Garone, a journalist based in Alameda.

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A New Look at the Slant Step

Odd object that inspired generations of artists back in spotlight

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Published in 1969, the Slant Step Book celebrated a thrift store find that became, and remains, a part of UC Davis art department lore. The Slant Step is a green linoleum-covered plywood stool with a slanted — and seemingly nonfunctional — step that has inspired artists for decades.

The long out-of-print book is filled with black and white images, poetry, letterhead from the fictitious Slant Step Mfg. Co., a recipe for making a slant step, and lyrics to “The Slant Chant.” For the 50th anniversary of the book, Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento has republished it, along with a companion volume, Slant Step Book: The Mysterious Object and the Artworks It Inspired, and has also organized the exhibition Slant Step Forward, running Sept. 12 through Oct. 27 (2019).

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Art Historian Tracks ‘Missing Pages’ from 13th-Century Armenia to the Getty


UC Davis art history professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh’s The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript from Genocide to Justice starts, figuratively and literally, on June 1, 2010, in Los Angeles Superior Court. That day, the J. Paul Getty Museum was sued for the return of eight illustrated pages from a 13th-century Armenian book of gospels. The Missing Pages, published by Stanford University Press, took Watenpaugh to the places the pages had traveled, from their creation in 1256 in present-day Turkey, to Armenia, Syria, Ellis Island, Massachusetts and Los Angeles. The illustrated pages disappeared during the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century and were purchased by the museum in 1994. Continue reading

UC Davis Composition Students’ Music Heard Far and Wide

img_8310_0When doctoral music composition students at UC Davis hear their music played for the first time, they hear it played by professionals who are champions of new music with years of performance experience.

“It’s an absolute luxury to have these professional musicians play our work,” said student Jonathan Favero. “In many programs you have to beg, borrow and steal to find players.”

During the 2018 calendar year alone, student pieces have been premiered on campus by the Empyrean Ensemble, violinist Miranda Cuckson, electric guitar/percussion duo The Living Earth Show, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Lydian String Quartet, the Brooklyn Art Song Ensemble and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Watch Video Continue reading

New Research and Movie Shine Light on Punjabi Women in California

5 yuba city sikh parade 2008Starting in 1910, Punjabi women began trickling into California, joining a community of men who started arriving from the northern Indian province of Punjab in the 1890s. But even as their numbers grew in Yuba City, Stockton, Sacramento and other Northern California areas after World War II, these women remained largely invisible.

The women’s story is now being told, thanks to Nicole Ranganath, historian and assistant adjunct professor of Middle East/South Asia Studies (ME/SA) in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science. Along with amassing an archive of interviews, photographs, letters and archival footage, she has created a documentary film “Walking into the Unknown: A History of Punjabi Women in California.”

“This is the first time these women have been asked about their lives and they were often reluctant to talk,” Ranganath said. Continue reading

Native American Collection Growing

ssky_330The fast-growing collection of the C.N. Gorman Museum is now even bigger.

Three recent donations brought 500 artworks to the collection: Northwest Coast art given by Gloria and Selig Kaplan and Jill and Michael Pease, and contemporary paintings from collectors Zelma Long and Phillip Freese.

The gifts bring the museum’s collection of contemporary Native American art to nearly 2,000 works, up tenfold over the past decade. Continue reading

Professor Explores Rediscovered Writer for Groundbreaking ‘Digital Collaboration’

screen shot 2018-12-05 at 12.05.19 pmFrances Dolan spent much of last year in the company of Hester Pulter, a little-known 17th-century British writer. Dolan, distinguished professor of English in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, has done extensive research and writing for The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, a “digital collaboration” launched in November.

On the site, one can find multiple versions of poems by a female writer who was pushing the boundaries of literary conventions. The project takes a more open-ended approach to literary study than is traditional. Rather than offering a “definitive edition” of a writer’s work, it cultivates various editions simultaneously. It is also aimed at both scholars and laypersons.

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Annabeth Rosen’s overdue retrospective

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Annabeth Rosen’s exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

When art curator Valerie Cassel Oliver was organizing an exhibition a few years ago, artists kept mentioning someone they admired: UC Davis artist professor Annabeth Rosen.

“She is such an amazing artist – how did I not know about her?” said Cassel Oliver, a longtime senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Cassel Oliver got to know about Rosen and her art — the result is “Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” at the Contemporary Arts Museum. The first major survey of Rosen’s art, the exhibition includes 80 ceramic sculptures and 45 drawings/paintings, nearly all created since she arrived at UC Davis 20 years ago. Accompanying it is a 250-page catalog with dozens of images. Continue reading

Creative Collaborations Abound


Suleiman and Fries

When composer Ryan Suleiman read a fantastical tale by Cristina Fries, he knew she was the writer he wanted to collaborate with on a project teaming UC Davis music composition students with creative writing students.

It was new territory for both; Suleiman has written little music for voice and Fries is not a musician. Together, they fashioned “a tiny unstaged opera” titled “Moon, Bride, Dogs.”

“I knew the story had performable elements and I wanted to see it performed,” said Fries, a graduate student in creative writing.

Suleiman, a doctoral music student, concurred: “It’s a very dramatic story – it needed to be an opera.” Continue reading