July 24, 2014

UAB announces first director of Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts

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lisa becker wThe University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences has announced Lisa Tamiris Becker as the new director for the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts. She will begin work at UAB on Sept. 1.

Becker previously directed the art museums at the University of New Mexico and the University of Colorado, Boulder. In her roles as director, she oversaw numerous exhibitions and a permanent collection of more than 30,000 works of photography, painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics and African art. At both universities, Becker increased annual programming and exhibition support, expanded the collections of both museums, and enhanced the arts on campus and in the communities. She has also led recent major acquisitions of both historic and contemporary art, including works of African art and Mata Ortíz pottery, as well as works by noted artists such as Katharina Fritsch, Tina Barney, Joel-Peter Witkin, Richard Serra, Kiki Smith and Walt Kuhn, among others. She has experience in branding, communications and member relations, as well as in facilities development and management.

“I am delighted and honored to join UAB as the founding director of the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts,” Becker said. “I look forward to engaging the UAB campus and the broader Birmingham and Alabama community with dynamic exhibitions and programs of regional, national and international relevance that position UAB and Birmingham as a nexus of global dialogue through the visual arts.”

Becker earned her Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in mathematics and art history. She completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art and art theory from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995, with a focus on experimental sculpture, new media and installation.

AEIVA exteriorAfter completing her degrees, Becker began her career as a curator and director with positions at Women and Their Work in Austin, Texas; The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; and the Richard L. Nelson Gallery and The Fine Arts Collection at the University of California, Davis. Over the course of her career, she has presented at numerous lectures, symposia and conferences — both in the United States and abroad — on topics focusing on the intersection of contemporary art, multimedia and politics in many different cultures, including Korean, Latin American, Scandinavian, Arab, Greek, Jewish, Tibetan and more. She has published essays in numerous catalogues and edited volumes regularly since 1998. Her exhibitions have been reviewed in Art in America, ARTnews, Time Magazine, BBC America, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She currently has two exhibitions on national tour, including “Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust” and “David Maisel/Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime.”

“Lisa’s experience as an administrator, curator, instructor and cultural liaison will accelerate the development of AEIVA programs and extend AEIVA’s influence regionally, nationally and internationally,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Palazzo, Ph.D. “Under her guidance, AEIVA will become a place at which people of all ages can experience the visual arts.”

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