Compelling Questions and a Commitment to Art: Phillip Cox, ’16

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Phil CoxIn Fall 2014, Phillip Cox (’16) enrolled in the Research Methods seminar for UNC Art History majors in their junior year. The course topic was “The Nude in Renaissance Art” and each student in the class chose a print from the Ackland’s collection from a group pre-selected by Dr. Tania String, who taught the course. Each student’s print was to be the focus of their semester-long research project. Phil found many of the prints intriguing. He decided to let other students in the course choose their prints first, and when his turn came there was only one print left: Hercules and Antaeus by Agostino Veneziano. It was not one of the prints he’d hoped for, but as he proceeded with his research, he realized there were compelling questions to investigate.

By the end of that fall semester, he had decided to write his Senior Honors Thesis on Veneziano’s Hercules and Antaeus. Phil took several opportunities to share his thesis research and he invited feedback on it: he presented his research at the Ackland’s Student Showcase, at UNC’s annual Undergraduate Research Celebration, and at the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference, held this year at Syracuse University and featuring outstanding undergraduate research at ACC universities.

Agostino Musi, called Veneziano, Italian, c. 1490-1536: “Hercules and Antaeus,” 1513; engraving. 8-7/8 x 7-1/8 in. (22.6 x 18.1 cm). Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Burton Emmett Collection, 58.1.30.

Phil’s academic research is only one of the ways that he has been actively involved with the Ackland over the last few years. He visited the Ackland with several of his art history classes. As an undergraduate intern, he investigated student programs at other university art museums and made recommendations for the Ackland, and wrote blog posts about works by Pablo Picasso and Kehinde Wiley and Glenn Ligon in the Museum’s collection. He became an Ackland Student Guide and gave tours on contemporary art and on portraiture, and he was a member of the Student Friends of the Ackland’s executive board.

This semester, Phil submitted his thesis, “Hercules and Antaeus: Meaning and Authorship in a Print by Agostino Veneziano,” and he graduates on Sunday, May 8, 2016, with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Advertising. After graduation he will work in New York City as the Marketing and Research Coordinator at LaPlaca Cohen, an advertising and branding agency that serves only cultural clients, such as museums and theaters.

We wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his commitment to art at the Ackland!

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