New Director Named For Texas A&M's Academy For The Visual And Performing Arts

Kirsten Pullen, associate professor of performance studies and Ray A. Rothrock '77 Research Fellow at Texas A&M, has been appointed director of the Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts at the university.

The Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) promotes the arts on the Texas A&M campus as well as the in larger community.

Pullen’s appointment signals a renewed commitment to arts programming by the Texas A&M campus, university officials note. Under her direction, and with an advisory board drawn from Texas A&M faculty, administration and students, as well as community arts organizations, the AVPA will emphasize short-term guest artist residencies featuring nationally and internationally prominent visual artists, musicians, dancers and theatrical performers. These residencies will include significant classroom components as well as public performances, offering students and faculty sustained exposure to contemporary artistic trends and performers.

Pullen earned her Ph.D. in theatre from the University of Wisconsin. Before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2008, she was an assistant professor of English at the University of Calgary.

Pullen’s research uses the figure of the actress to explore how onstage performances of character as well as everyday presentations of self are performative of gender. Her first book, "Actresses and Whores: On Stage and in Society" (Cambridge UP, 2005), demonstrates how some women willingly occupy the whore position to offer alternative narratives of female sexual expression. Her current project, "Like a Natural Woman: Spectacular Female Performance in Classical Hollywood" (Rutgers UP, forthcoming 2013), determines how the embodied nature of performance undermines the assumed conservativism of Naturalism, and the narratives within which it’s mobilized.

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