The Association of Southwestern University Alumni


On Top of the World, Professor of Art History Patrick Hajovsky

  • Photo courtesy of Randy Kahl

After applying at the encouragement of a colleague familiar with his research, Patrick Hajovsky, associate professor of art history at Southwestern University, was selected from among 350 applicants to complete a prestigious three month Getty Scholar residency this summer at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. 

For more than 30 years, the Research Institute has invited top scholars from around the world to converge at the Getty Center and utilize the Getty’s extensive resources to pursue their own original research organized around an annual theme. Finding this year’s topic, “Art and Anthropology” a great fit for his current research interests in the transactional modes of material and moral value expressed through sacred objects endowed with Aztec notions of luxury and sacrifice, Hajovsky likened his experience to being “on top of the world.”

The Getty Research Institute—described by Hajovsky as a mini city with a gorgeous mountain view and Pacific breezes—provided proximity to 11 other Getty Scholars in Residence, a robust intellectual atmosphere, and good-spirited ambience. Scholars working in non-Western art disciplines brought global perspectives to a deepening modern understanding of the intersection of art history and the social systems increasingly investigated through anthropology, and for non-western art in particular, the subset of archeology. Hajovsky says that “the scholars in residence grappled with the collision of two huge terms, ‘art’ and ‘anthropology’ while learning how to talk in a common language” across their disciplines.

While the three-month appointment is a short time to pursue current research on an early-stage, complex project, Hajovsky indicated that the frequent symposia, extensive informal exchanges with fellow scholars, and unfettered access to library holdings were critical to opening new doors in his research and making unexpected connections such as reflections on Egyptian kingship that spurred insights he hadn’t yet considered in terms of Aztec kingship. Hajovsky readily recognizes the  transferability of his time at Getty to his teaching. In addition to increasing content richness in his classroom, discussions of the history and diversity of scholarly interpretations are critical practices he and his students employ in defending and reimagining arguments that explore the social meanings of Aztec objects from an indigenous perspective.

Although the Getty Institute’s collections are heavily invested in European/Western art, Hajovsky also received a Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund research grant (awarded by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to faculty members at United Methodist-related universities in Texas) that will provide travel funds to visit the Templo Mayor in Mexico City, the site of a recent discovery of one of the richest assortments of gold artifacts found to date in a canine burial.

Hajovsky has also had a new article accepted for publication in the Art Bulletin, one of the foremost academic journals for art historians, and he recommends visiting Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a September 2017 – January 2018 exhibition led by the Getty that explores Latin American and Latino art against the background and cultural fabric of Southern California. 

 

More to the Story:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-archaeology-aztecs-idUSKBN19S1RA

http://www.southwestern.edu/live/news/11666-seven-southwestern-faculty-members-awarded/giving/story.php (SU news story: 2016 Sam Taylor awards)

http://www.collegeart.org/publications/art-bulletin/

http://www.pacificstandardtime.org/LA/LA: A Celebration Beyond Borders