Art and Art History Faculty

Rex KoontzRex Koontz, Professor, Director

Fine Arts Building, Room 104B
Email | 713-743-3001


BA, American College in Paris
MA, University of Texas, Austin
PhD, University of Texas, Austin

Biographical Summary

Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajin

Dr. Koontz's work centers on the art of the Ancient Americas. He is currently investigating the portable sculpture tradition along the Gulf Coast of Mexico between A.D. 100-1000. These objects, known as yoke, hacha, or palma depending on their form, are important for the understanding of the place of artistry in Ancient Mexican politics and culture. More general interests include the construction of meaningful urban spaces in this area and how the programs of sculpture, architecture, painting, and performance seen in the center of these cities helped shape and focus the ancient urban experience. Recent books include Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajin and Blood and Beauty: Organized Violence in the Art and Archaeology of Mesoamerica and Central America (the latter edited with Heather Orr, both 2009). He has done fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras under the aegis of the Tinker Foundation, the University Research Council of the University of Texas, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. He is currently working on a digital tool for visual analysis, VWire, that was awarded a Digital Humanities Startup Grant by the NEH in 2011-12.