Teaching & Learning in the museum district
Students Meet Artist Joseph Havel
By: Sara Koh, seventh grader
On October 23, 2013, Presbyterian School seventh grade students in the Course Through the Museum District fine arts elective, had the pleasure of meeting Joseph Havel, 2013 Texas State Visual Artist 3D. Havel is the Director of the Glassell School of Art located next to the MFAH sculpture garden. Havel shared a little bit about his life and his work.
Havel did not really think about becoming an artist when he was little. His parents were never interested in art. However, Havel enjoyed music and dance. He played in bands and was usually the bass player. He confessed that he was not one of the best in the group. Havel started taking art classes around the same time. Later, when he decided to become an artist, his parents were disappointed. Havel shared that Dr. Seuss was one of his early influences.
Havel has studied at the University of Minnesota and Penn State University. Havel has also traveled to different places to view art exhibitions. He works in his studio almost every day starting at around 6:00 to 6:30 in the morning before he comes to work at the Glassell School of Art.
The seventh grade elective had the privilege to view three sculptures created by Havel located at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Contemporary Arts Museum. The three sculptures are called Exhaling Pearls, Curtain, and Endless. They were all primarily made of bronze.
Exhaling Pearls was a sculpture bought by the Museum of Fine Arts before Havel came to work there. It is a bronze sculpture of a thick rope he found on the beach in Galveston and of Chinese lanterns he bought in San Francisco. The idea took about three to four years while the actual making took 6 months. He wanted to make something natural out of things that were not from nature and make it seem magical.
Curtain is located at the front of the Beck Building at the Museum of Fine Arts. The curtain cloth seems soft but it is actually bronze. The art is split into two parts by the doors to enter the museum. The two sides seem like they can fit together to make one piece, but Havel actually created them separately. The bronze piece is located on top of the light tunnel.
Endless is located in the middle of a fountain. It consists of bronze books on the bottom and clear books on the top. Some of the bronze on the bottom is grey because of the water. The bottom of the fountain is purple but Havel says that was not his choice. He was given the information that it was a dark color, but apparently it was not. The daytime view looks different than the nighttime view. During the night, the bronze books are not visible so it looks like the clear books are floating. If you look closely, you can see the titles of the books.
Havel works with a group when casting bronze. The ideas are his, but he states that it is like a band. He can do one job, while the others do a different job. They do this because they have different skills. He is capable of doing the tasks but the others may be better at it.
Some artists want people to interpret a specific message from their art. Havel is not one of these artists. He believes that people should focus on the work, not the message. People can interpret any message on their own.
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