First Sculpture Symposium

January 27, 2018

An in-depth discussion about the origins of creativity in the human mind presented in conjunction with a groundbreaking exhibition curated by an artist and an anthropologist. First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figure Stone presents prehistoric handaxes and figure stones as evidence of the earliest forms of artistic intention among our ancient ancestors.

Part I: Scholarly Presentations 

Genesis of First Sculpture 
Exhibition Co-Curators  Tony Berlant, Artist, and Thomas Wynn, Distinguished Professor, Department of Archaeology at The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs 

World of Handaxes 
John Gowlett, Professor, Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool 

Uses of Evidence and the Boxgrove Handaxes 
Richard Deacon, Artist 

Face Perception: Function and Purpose
Leanne Young, Executive Director, Center for BrainHealth, a part of the University of Texas at Dallas 

The Technology of Large Flake Acheulian
Naama Goren-Inbar, Professor, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 

Part II: Roundtable Panel Discussion

Moderated by Lee Cullum, Journalist, Host, and Moderator for KERA.



Panelist Biographies

Mr. Tony Berlant is a celebrated contemporary American artist known for his mixed-media sculptural collages. Mr. Berlant holds a BA, MA, and MFA in art and sculpture from UCLA. He has extensive experience in humanitarian research from his work as a research affiliate for the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. The unique and labor-intensive characteristics that define Mr. Berlant’s work come from the materials he uses—photo-printed plywood and tin—and the way he implements these materials into the final work. Berlant’s sculptures simultaneously emulate a feeling of personal and introspective expression, as well as a universal reflection on the human condition. Berlant is based out of Santa Monica and his work can be seen in collections around the country, including, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

Ms. Lee Cullum is a nationally respected journalist with vast experience in television, radio, and print programs. Ms. Cullum holds a BA in Social Sciences from Southern Methodist University. Currently, she is the host of CEO, a KERA original monthly series of interviews with business leaders across North Texas. Previously, Ms. Cullum was a commentator for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and All Things Considered on NPR. She has also served as editor of the editorial page of the Dallas Times Herald and host of Conversations, a series on KERA featuring major newsmakers. Ms. Cullum has also worked as a reporter, on-air moderator, and executive producer of Newsroom on KERA. 

Mr. Richard Deacon is a celebrated British sculptor with a career spanning four decades. Mr. Deacon received his BA in sculpture from St. Martin’s School of Art, and MA in sculpture from the Royal College of Arts. The theme in Mr. Deacon’s art is that of “fabrication” where he marries the physical and metaphorical. Physically, there is the construction and fabrication of the sculpture itself, while, metaphorically, there is the notion of creation and fabrication in the creative genius of the sculpture. Mr. Deacon has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout his career at international venues, including Tate Britain in London and the Contemporary Art Center in New York.

Dr. Naama Goren-Inbar is a respected archaeologist, whose main focus is on the prehistoric archaeology of Israel, specifically within the Jordan and Hula Valleys. Presently, Dr. Goren-Inbar is a professor of archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the same institution where she received her BS and MA (cum laude) and her PhD (summa cum laude). Her countless excavations and explorations into Israel’s archaeological past have led to ground breaking discoveries into the lives and habits of hominins. Discoveries yielded through her work include the earliest evidence outside of Africa of fire control, evidence of advanced technological abilities, and the unearthing of a figurine that is considered the earliest art object in the world. 

Dr. John Gowlett is a professor of archaeology in the Department of Archaeology, Classics, and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, who has conducted extensive research on human evolution throughout the last two million years. Dr. Gowlett received his MA and PhD from the University of Cambridge. His specific area of study was tracing the preconditions and origins of human conceptualizing abilities which lead to later developments such as art and mathematics. Within this area, he continues to apply a heavy focus on the discovery and use of fire by early humans. Dr Gowlett was a director of the British Academy's Centenary Project 'Lucy to Language' and along with colleagues Clive Gamble and Robin Dunbar has written 'Thinking Big: How the evolution of social life shaped the human mind' (2018). Recently, Dr. Gowlett conducted substantial field work in eastern and southern Africa. Along with this work and his teaching, Dr. Gowlett has published numerous works and articles discussing and expanding on the research and discoveries he has made throughout his career. 

Dr. Thomas Wynn is a professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where he has taught since 1977. Dr. Wynn’s academic career is focused in the study of anthropology, specifically exploring the use of psychological theory in the interpretation of archaeological remains. Dr. Wynn received his BA in Sociology/Anthropology at Occidental College and his MA and PhD in Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana. During his career, Dr. Wynn has published four books including The Evolution of Spatial Competence (1989), The Rise of Homo sapiens: The evolution of modern thinking (with F. Coolidge 2009), and How to think like a Neandertal (with F. Coolidge 2012)In addition to his books, Dr. Wynn is recognized for his 1979 article “The Intelligence of later Acheulean hominids” which continues to be referenced as one of the leading and foundational authorities on the subject of evolutionary cognitive archaeology.

Dr. Leanne Young is the executive director of the Brain Performance Institute at the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas and is a nationally recognized expert in blast injury research. Dr. Young received her BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, MA in Applied Mathematics from The University of New Mexico, and PhD in cognitive neuroscience from The University of Texas at Dallas. After more than twenty years in engineering, Dr. Young began her career in neuroscience by studying blast injuries and their effects on brain function. Dr. Young achieved great notoriety success when she worked with the Department of Defense’s Combatting Terrorism Technology Support Office to obtain the first histological evidence of primary blast-induced brain injuries. By combining her two fields of study, engineering and neuroscience, Dr. Young has implemented virtual reality-based characterization into the treatment of functionally impaired patients with traumatic brain injuries.





Presenting Sponsor: Martha and Max Wells.

The 360 videography project is supported by Suzanne and Ansel Aberly: this support enables digital recording of all 360 Speaker Series programs and the creation of an online archive for learners of all ages. 

Additional support for 360 Speaker Series provided by Sylvia Hougland and gifts given in her memory.

This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figure Stone is made possible by the Eugene McDermott Foundation and the Lyda Hill Foundation, with additional support provided by Nancy O’Boyle, Betty Regard and the Museum of Street Culture.

In conjunction with the First Sculpture Symposium, in May 2018 the Perot Museum will host a lecture on the tools of early man in celebration of the reopening of Being Human Hall. 

Watch Part I: Scholarly Presentations
Watch Part II: Roundtable Discussion
Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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