Trenton Doyle Hancock is Downing Pryor Lecturer

Contact: Carrie Corbett
Director of College Communications
(901) 272-5111

Aug. 22, 2014

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MCA Presents Downing Pryor Visiting Lecturer Trenton Doyle Hancock

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis College of Art will present Trenton Doyle Hancock, the 2014-15 Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, in a lecture on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. in Callicott Auditorium, 1930 Poplar Ave., Overton Park. A special reception will be held prior to the lecture at 5:30 p.m. in the Rust Hall Main Gallery. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Known for his intricate candy-colored prints, drawings, collaged-felt paintings and site-specific installations, Hancock is influenced equally by the history of painting as by the imagery of pop culture. He transforms traditionally formal decisions—the use of color, texture, language and pattern—into opportunities to create new characters, develop sub-plots and convey symbolic meaning. His exuberant and subversive narratives employ a variety of cultural tropes, ranging in tone from comic-strip superhero battles to medieval morality plays, and are influenced in style by Hieronymus Bosch, Max Ernst, Henry Darger, Philip Guston and R. Crumb. The resulting sprawling installations spill beyond the canvas edges and onto gallery walls.

Hancock’s mythology has been translated to the stage in an original ballet, Cult of Color: Call to Color. Commissioned by Ballet Austin and created by Hancock, choreographer Stephen Mills and composer Graham Reynolds, the ballet made its debut in Austin in 2008. Hancock also created an original mural for the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium as well as an installation, A Better Promise, at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. The recipient of numerous awards, Hancock lives and works in Houston.

About the Downing Pryor Visiting Lecturer Series:

The Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Series was created to honor the late Downing Pryor and support the mission of Memphis College of Art. Downing Pryor devoted 32 years as a member of MCA’s board of trustees, serving three times as its chairman (1961, 1967 and 1972). Mr. Pryor, born into the automobile business, was heavily involved in Memphis politics, serving as a member of the Shelby County Quarterly Court (now the County Commission) from 1964 to 1968 and the first city council from 1968 to 1972. In 1968, Pryor was the main mediator between the city and striking sanitation workers and, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he represented the city at Dr. King’s funeral services in Atlanta. He was recognized for his outstanding service as a civic leader, businessman and patron of the arts along with his contributions in the areas of education and race relations.

Downing Pryor saw the arts in a very special light, writing, “Each adventure with art adds depth and breadth to the mind and heart that enable the individual to go on to the next experience with heightened perception and understanding.” Friends and family members endowed the lecture series as an ongoing reminder of what one truly honorable man can accomplish in his lifetime and beyond. Downing Pryor died in January 1990.

The lecture series offers free public programs featuring some of the nation’s most distinguished speakers in the area of the arts. The college welcomes contributions to the endowment fund, which makes this prestigious lecture series possible. To make a gift to this Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturers Series, please visit or call 901-272-5115.

Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @memphisart.


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