UTSA First-Year Faculty: Assistant Professor Scott Sherer
By Lydia Fletcher
Special Projects Writer, UTSA '07
(July 25, 2007)--Scott Sherer, UTSA assistant professor of art and art history and director of the art gallery and Satellite Space, joined the UTSA faculty in the Fall 2006 semester.
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LF: How did you come to UTSA? Where did you come from?
SS: I was at Kent State University in Ohio, and San Antonio is my hometown. So, I thought the job sounded interesting -- it's a mixture of the opportunity of being a gallery director and art history professor, and so I get to be involved with educational programming.
What I like about the gallery is that it gives students the opportunity and community members a different venue for understanding the creative research that is happening in the art world, plus the creative research that happens at UTSA.
LF: What courses do you teach?
SS: I teach modern and contemporary art history with an emphasis on critical theory. The critical theory is thinking about the contemporary or the modern context in the 20th and the 21st centuries -- how we're influenced by the technology. Critical theory helps us think about how we live and about our cultural formations, and also personal subjectivities tell us how our personal identities develop. So, critical theory has been important in 20th century art. It's understanding what is psychoanalytic theory and why it is useful for understanding art.
What is Marxist critique? We live with these ideas. What is gender critique or thinking about race or ethnicity -- as a way of understanding our world -- that's at the forefront of art. And, so rather than taking a biographical historical approach or a geographical approach, one of the approaches I take is thinking about how these different kinds of frameworks and discourses influence what we make, or what we reflect upon or what we experience and what the conversations are in those areas.
LF: How are you enjoying being at UTSA?
SS: It's been a lot of work. I'm really doing two jobs at once. The students are really good, and I really like my colleagues, and I think the art scene in San Antonio is really very, very vibrant -- lots of galleries and museums, and there's a strong and growing community -- and I think some of the students at the undergraduate and graduate level are very active and very engaged.
I'm pretty impressed with who I'm working with. The university is going through some changes, and that's put an amount of pressure on faculty because there are so many committees to do and programming to do.
LF: Are you pleased about being at UTSA?
SS: I am excited to be part of that. I'm looking toward the future with wonder and excitement, wondering what's going to be next. That's something I'm looking forward to.
LF: Do you have a favorite artist or piece of art?
SS: I don't have a particular favorite artist. I must say that I like art that causes me to think about something, that either aesthetically or relative to art history or criticism that makes me ask questions. There are artists that I consistently refer back to or interest me, but I'm mostly interested in art that causes me to be bothered in some way. And it's not in a negative way, but in a way that I'm wondering about a range of things -- and what the artist was thinking, and what I'm thinking and what others might think when they look at the art.
I'm interested in how things produce other kinds of meaning. The way objects work as art is when they provide an opportunity for thought, or an opportunity to think about a cultural problem. And it becomes a moment when we can actually sit down and engage. I'm interested in art that captures my attention and makes me want to ask questions about what is happening here.