Keynote Address:

Here, There, and Everywhere: Art and (dis)placement in the 21st Century

Laura Allred Hurtado
Executive Director, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art


Laura Allred Hurtado is the Executive Director of the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. As a director, curator, and writer, her practice explores issues of gender, belief, identity, and the local. She is the author of numerous texts including the most recent Actual Source publication, A 15 Year Expanse (2020); UMOCA Press, Baggage: Alex Caldiero: In Retrospect (2021); and the forthcoming Oxford University Press, Object/Belief (2025). She has curated exhibitions in New York City and throughout Utah, most recently a retrospective of the Guerrilla Girls (2020) the forthcoming co-curated exhibition, Our Wake-Up Call For Freedoms (2022). Allred Hurtado will also be among the first to participate in the EXPO Chicago Director’s Summit.

First Session:

Birth Objects Reborn: The Presentation of Birth Objects in Northern Renaissance Altarpieces

Alexandra Carlile Butterfield, BYU


Using Jan de Beer’s altarpiece panel Birth of the Virgin (1520) as a case study, this presentation discusses the representation of birth objects in Northern Renaissance painting. Birth objects were scrolls, cloths, girdles, and other materials used by women as charms to mitigate the pain or anxiety surrounding childbirth. Due to the ephemeral quality of many of these materials, few of them survive today. However, I argue that by examining artistic depictions of childbirth scenes, modern scholars can see allusions to birth objects; the male-dominated public art includes and alludes to the female spiritual practices and material culture associated with childbirth. Jan de Beer’s treatment of female material culture is subtle, making childbirth objects and spaces accessible to both genders, even though men had traditionally been denied access to female birthing chambers. By presenting birth objects as part of a large-scale, public, painted work of art, Jan de Beer elevates them to worthy of worship and part of mainstream Christian spiritual practice. This presentation of birth objects makes them more accessible to a male audience, and it allows female viewers to become more engaged in religious devotion by connecting it more directly to their everyday lives. Overall, Jan de Beer’s presentation of birth objects elevates their cultural status, expands the birth object’s effect to include both genders, and acts as a visual preservation of a kind of material culture often unpreserved today.


Alexandra Carlile Butterfield completed her bachelor’s degree in art history from Brigham Young University in April 2021. Since then, she has been pursuing a master’s degree from BYU in Comparative Studies with an art history focus. Alexandra’s research focuses on art of the Northern Renaissance. She is particularly interested in the depiction of women in art, and her interests have centered on images of pregnancy and childbirth in the late medieval and early Renaissance period.

Transforming the Mundane: An investigation of the history, scope, and power of reliquaries

Jason Lanegan, Assistant Professor, Sculpture, UVU


A reliquary, in the simplest terms, is a container for a relic. Unlike a typical receptacle there is an interdependence that takes place between the relic and reliquary that goes far beyond protection and exhibition of the contained object and sets the stage for its veneration. Most relics are indistinguishable from the debris that surrounds us – rocks, scraps of cloth, or bits of bone. It is the reliquary that speaks for the relic, setting it apart from other objects through display. The dynamic situation that takes place with the presentation of a relic within a reliquary, what Cynthia Hahn calls the ‘reliquary effect’, is not unique to religious objects in the Catholic church. The changing of banal items into things of significance, especially due to their history and staging, can be seen in almost all cultures.

Andre Malraux argued that it was the museum that performed the “quasi-magical transformation of objects into art”. The history of our modern museums is rooted in the Wunderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosities. These tools of display have their genealogical origins in the treasuries of European Cathedrals where the reliquaries and sacred items were housed. Many modern and contemporary artists have recognized and embraced the history, power, and qualities of reliquary and museum exhibition methods and utilize them to great effect in their own work. This presentation will give a more expansive view of reliquaries and some of their roots while diving deeper into artists, including myself, who alter the mundane through display.


Born and raised in Washington State Jason Lanegan was involved in drawing and other creative outlets from his earliest memories. With eyes set upon being a high school art teacher, Jason first attended Rick’s Jr. College where he obtained an associate degree in the visual arts. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from Northern Arizona University and then a bachelor’s in art education from Eastern Washington University. Jason went on to acquire a graduate degree in sculpture with minor in art history from Brigham Young University. Upon completing his education, he used his experience in various capacities including, head sculptor for Paleoforms, director of the Morris Fine Art Gallery, sculpture professor as well as museum director at Northern Arizona University. After twelve years of directing the student galleries at the Harris Fine Arts Center at BYU, he recently accepted the position at Utah Valley University as Assistant Professor of Sculpture. Jason is known for his creative contemporary reliquaries that explore identity through the lens of vernacular architecture, family relationships, and cultural attachments. Currently Jason Lanegan lives with his wife, Kimberly, in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Second Session:

Borders and Ornamentation: The Forgotten Importance of Frames in Presentation and a Look at the Works of Franz von Stuck.

Kelly Brown, SLCC


For this research I will be advocating for frames as being as important to art as the works they house and show their role as a key element in presentation. Although frames no longer carry the same significance to modern audiences, I will attempt to convince my own audience to see them differently and of their historical importance. We will see that frames were once revered, and a brief history of their popularity. This research will show that frames can either be a part of the symbolism or style of a work or displayed simply as accouterment or a complement to the piece. I will look at examples of important works and artists throughout the centuries who placed an emphasis on frames. Frames which housed classic works by artists such as Jan van Eyck, Titian, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Finally, special emphasis will be placed on artist and architect, Franz von Stuck. Part of Germany’s Art Nouveau movement, Jugendstil, he was an artist who truly understood the value of framing. I will briefly introduce my audience to him and will look specifically at three of his works: Sin, Salome, and Sphinx. All of which were part of the many femme fatales he painted and where he placed an emphasis on their frames. Lastly, and most importantly, I will challenge my audience to see frames as important works of art and to bring these masterpieces back into their rightful place within the world of art history.


Kelly is a student working towards a bachelor’s degree in Art History and is currently attending Salt Lake Community College where she will be graduating in Fall 2022 with an associate degree in General Studies. However, it was the year she spent at Utah Valley University where she discovered her passion for the history of art. Although passionate about art in general, her favored areas of study are the German Gothic and Renaissance periods, and the nineteenth and early twentieth-century German-speaking movements. She not only advocates for the canon of German art, but for all other areas and aspects of art history not commonly taught in-depth within academia.

Always learning beyond the classroom, she independently researches and has earned online course certifications from Yale University and the University of Barcelona. She is currently working on her second certification from Yale in the study of Gothic Cathedrals as well as a two-part class in Modernism-Postmodernism from Wesleyan University. Kelly also received a specialization certification from the Museum of Modern Art. Her immediate goals are to continue art history research and studies at the University of Utah beginning in Spring 2022, attend graduate school, and study art in Germany and Vienna.

The Vaporwave Aesthetic: Art Consumption in the Virtual World

Alexander Coberly, UVU


Vaporwave is a music genre born online in 2010. Its style is marked by an uncanny spin on sounds and images from the eighties and nineties. Vaporwave artists transform middle-class consumer media of the recent past into a simulated dreamlike reality. They echo the ideas of philosopher Jean Baudrillard by generating an aesthetic experience that transports the audience to another time and place simply through recollection of familiar media. Vaporwave listeners confront the simulated realities and unfulfilled promises of utopia from the past. The genre is made possible by historic media preserved online, and in its truest form, can only be experienced virtually.


Alex is a graduating art history major at UVU. For the past four years, he has enjoyed studying the wider world of art history. Whatever the region, era, style, or medium, Alex is eager to learn all he can about visual culture. He has been actively involved in many art-related projects throughout his degree, and is currently working on the second volume of Artemisia: An Undergraduate Journal for Art History Research and Criticism. After graduation, he plans to continue his studies in a master’s program beginning this fall.

@Large: Ai Weiwei’s Exhibition on Alcatraz

Mallory Gueller, UVU


One cannot consider artists who embrace presentation as part of their artwork without encountering Ai Weiwei. As a renowned Chinese artist and social activist, Ai Weiwei has made countless groundbreaking works. One of the most notable of these works came after his controversial detainment in 2011. @Large is an Ai Weiwei exhibition that changed how people experienced the weight of Alcatraz and everything that went on there while directing people’s attention to the countless others imprisoned for speaking up for human rights across the globe in the modern day. Each and every piece of this exhibit was curated with presentation in mind, focusing on how every minute detail was supposed to be experienced. Made up of thousands of little intricacies and experiences, this exhibition is also extremely unique due to the fact that Ai Weiwei never stepped foot on the island and designed the whole thing from his studio in China. This exhibition presents a unique case of how important the presentation of a space to an artist is while still preserving the importance of presentation to the audience and how the art was experienced both in person and in spirit.


Mallory Dolan (Neè Gueller) is a twenty-one-year-old student studying Art Education here at Utah Valley University. Originally from Colorado, Mallory’s love of creating and desire to help others express themselves first took her to BYU Hawaii. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, she traded the beach for mountains, single-life for married, and BYU for the far superior UVU. She loves working with all ages, be it two or one-hundred two, and in all mediums, from pencil to paint to the one really weird time she used a two-liter bottle. Her personal philosophy is that art is as fundamental to human life as breathing. She is multi-passionate and enjoys reading, baking, crocheting, pursuing inspiration on Pinterest, and board games. Supported by her outstanding husband, her loving family, and her wonderful friends, Mallory hopes to enjoy many years as an art educator, wherever that title and life may lead her.

The Unique Power of Street Art in Democratic Communication

Chloe Hunter, UVU


In recent years, artists have taken to the streets to share political ideals and dissenting opinions while propagating various aesthetics. Street art has evolved into a highly effective tool for change. This paper examines the work of both Bahia Shehab and Shepard Fairey, and their respective roles in both the Arab Spring revolutions which took place in Egypt throughout the 2010s, and various American political campaigns. The work of these artists are powerful examples of their capacity to create visual dialogues and mastery of the concept of phenomenology, which is unique to the medium of street art. Thorough analysis of these artists work, as well as public reaction, suggests a crucial difference between street art and art viewed in traditionally fine art settings in facilitating social and political influence.


Chloe Hunter is currently a Senior at UVU studying Art History. She was one of the founding editors for Artemisia: An Undergraduate Journal for Art History Research and Criticism. She is currently an intern at the Springville Museum of Art and works as part of their curatorial team. Chloe co-curated Frank McEntire’s “Spontaneous Memorial” exhibit at UVU which memorialized the 20th Anniversary of September 11th. Chloe is also working on a Certificate of Proficiency in Architectural Design through UVU. She currently works as a draftsman for Construction 360 and specializes in small home design. After graduation, Chloe hopes to continue her education and experience in the field of Art History. Outside of school and art, Chloe is most excited about getting married in June to her fiancé, Will Johansson.

If you have questions about the symposium please contact Dr. Travis Clark at . For more information about Art History program at UVU, please go to the Art History Page.