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Duke University Arts

Jan 18, 2013

48 Hours in Las Vegas

In the spring of 2012 students in Duke University’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program flew to Las Vegas for a crash art project sponsored by Their mission: Seek, capture, and record Sin City in two days. The result is 48 Hours in Las Vegas, a multimedia exhibition that the Triangle area’s Independent Weekly describes as “work that teases out America’s contradictions in long cab rides, interviews and even scenes from a historic Mormon fort, smack dab in the middle of downtown, examining the weird relationships between residents and their iconic city.” 48 Hours in Las Vegas will be on view on Duke’s East Campus through February 17.

Read more about it in Duke Today.

Fredric Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building
Duke University East Campus
1316 Campus Dr., Durham, North Carolina


This project is made possible with support from Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Center for Documentary Studies, the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, and the Arts of the Moving Image program are the three founding units of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke University.

Dec 4, 2012

Duke, UNC Join Forces to Study the Past

The architectural history faculties at Duke and the University of North Carolina have long worked together. But the relationship was largely informal, which meant students didn't always realize the resources available to them.

A new consortium aims to formalize that relationship and make the access to those resources more easily available.

Read more on Duke Today.

Nov 30, 2012

Madison County Stories


Photograph by Kristina Dixon, a seventh-grade student from Hot Springs, North Carolina.
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An exhibition highlighting the mountain community of Madison County, North Carolina, features new work by documentary photographer Rob  Amberg with photographs and digital stories by Duke students and middle-school girls who took part in the Spring Creek Literacy Project, a DukeEngage program.  

Amberg will give a talk Friday, November 30, 2012 at 6pm during an opening reception for “Madison County Stories” that will include a performance by Madison County ballad singers, and will also give a gallery talk the following day.  The exhibit will be on view in the Friedl Building on East Campus through December 2012.


Madison County Stories opening reception

Friday, November 30, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.; talk at 7 p.m.

Fredric Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building

East Campus, Duke University

1316 Campus Drive, Durham, North Carolina


Rob Amberg gallery talk

Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

See above location


Amberg has been photographing in Madison County for nearly forty years, with many of those images featured in Sodom Laurel Album, published in 2002 by the Center for Documentary Studies and the University of North Carolina Press.  The images in “Madison County Stories” by Duke students and the youth of Madison County continue to tell the story of that Appalachian community.

This exhibition is made possible through a visiting artist grant from Duke University’s Council for the Arts. The goal of the Visiting Artist Program is to support projects that will enrich the life of the university and broader community, augment the curricular efforts of a range of depart­ments and programs, facilitate the interaction of artists and scholars, foster the reputation of Duke University as a place where the arts are vital and diverse, and contribute to the arts as a whole.

This story is courtesy of CDS Porch:  News from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.


Nov 12, 2012

Duke Arts Festival 2012 Highlights Reel

The 2012 Duke Arts Festival, Oct. 26 - Nov. 4, brought over 200 works of visual art—paintings, drawings, photographs, poems, video, and more—to the Bryan Center. There was music and dance on the plaza and in the library and Bryan Center and Great Hall and beyond. During DEMAN weekend, students and alumni workshopped and networked.

Here are some highlights—original artwork submitted to the festival along with performances by the Duke University Percussion Ensemble, Stop Motion Crew, the Dance Council, Perichorisis (divinity school students Anna Showalter, Sarah Wilcox, and Aiko Guevara), a classical quintet (Paul Kim, Wenjia Xu, Diana Christensen, Tim Shih, and Catherine Hueston), Swing Dance, and United in Praise.

Nov 8, 2012

From Dressing a Pickle to Making The Hunger Games

Bryan Unkeless has some pretty good stories to tell, like the time he drove all over Los Angeles looking for clothes that fit a pickle.

The 2004 Duke graduate, now a film producer who co-produced, among other things, The Hunger Games, told some of his stories in the keynote speech for Duke's recent Duke Entertainment Media and Arts Network (DEMAN) Weekend. It was such a compelling speech that we decided to post it here for folks to read.



Hi everyone. Welcome to the DEMAN Weekend Career Workshop. I want to thank Grace Taylor, Will Evans, Grace Kohut, Angela Karl, Scott Lindroth, and Sterly Wilder for coordinating this event and inviting me to speak today. It’s a real honor to be here with all of you. It’s been a while since I’ve been here in the Bryan Center — when I think back upon this place the first thing that comes to mind is the Dillo. And when I think about the Dillo the first thing that comes to mind, is that they serve beer on points. That was probably the best thing that happened to me in college, when they decided to do that. After that I really started flying through the points on my meal plan. And now, well that’s actually one of the weirdest things about coming back here. I bought breakfast earlier and I actually had to pay for it. With real dollars. It was terrible.

It’s been an interesting experience, writing this speech, because it’s forced me to actually stop and think about what I’ve learned since I’ve left Duke. What lessons I’ve picked up that may be of value to others. It’s strange because it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since I’ve been in school and in many ways I still feel like I’m figuring everything out. Truth is I’m not sure you ever really do figure it all out. If I’m lucky maybe I’ll come back here in five or ten years and I’ll STILL be figuring everything out.

But I have picked up a few things since I’ve graduated. Mostly by making mistakes. I’ve made A LOT of mistakes. I once crashed my boss’s car on my way to driving toward the wrong set location. Another time I told a different boss she looked just like Kirstie Alley. When she asked if she looked like skinny Kirstie Alley or fat Kirstie Alley I told her fat Kirstie Alley. The correct answer was skinny Kirstie Alley but I was being honest.

I’ve missed meetings because I’ve gone to the wrong restaurant, I’ve walked right into one of the best takes we had in Hunger Games, I once accidentally sent a weepy romance script instead of an action script to Bruce Willis…

Don’t you guys want to keep listening to me? I’ll give you some great advice! You can leave now if you want, no harm no foul. My feelings won’t be hurt. But if you do want to stay, my advice… you can take it or leave it. And if you take it, take it with a big grain of salt. Because there’s no one right way. And if all goes well, you’ll leave here and set off and go make your own mistakes… Here it goes…

Nov 7, 2012

John Supko's Factory of Sound

Every two years, the town of Romont, Switzerland, transforms itself for a day. Or, to be precise, for 20 hours. 20 Heures de musiques Romont is a music festival that showcases a variety of genres, including jazz, pop, and classical. Usually, new music doesn't take the main stage, but on September 22, 2012, the headline act was a daring, new composition by John Supko, Hunt Family Assistant Professor of Music at Duke University.

Usine("factory") began when the festival opened at 4 am and continued, without interruption, for 20 hours until the festival ended at midnight. The piece was commissioned specifically for the event by six-musician ensemBle baBel, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

ensemBle baBel considered performing a transcription of French composer Erik Satie's Vexations, a piano work consisting of a short theme that the performer is instructed to repeat 840 times in a row. However, the ensemble decided they would prefer to present a new work that paid homage to Vexations and Satie's aesthetic. "They contacted me because my dissertation was on Satie," says Supko, "but Usine was inspired by a number of other things, as well, including the work of John Cage, since this is his centennial year. The title itself comes from a chapter in Les champs magnetiques, a book by early surrealist writers Andre Breton and Philippe Soupault. Les champs magnetiques is an experiment in automatic writing, and my piece employs a similar technique with musical materials."

Continue reading on the Music Department blog


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