#76 , September 15, 2006
Daniel Bozhov talks with Caitlin Haskell
For the past nine months, Daniel Bozhkov and Caitlin Haskell have participated in conversations leading up to Bozhkov's retrospective at Arthouse and the exhibition of his most recent work, Cantata for Twelve Choirs and Several Salamanders. Bozhkov and Haskell met most recently on September 9, directly prior to the artist's public dialogue with Regine Basha, to discuss the works in his retrospective and reflect on the culmination of Cantata for Twelve Choirs.
Four works in particular come up in the conversation below and, as such, deserve brief explanations. Learn How To Fly Over a Very Large Larry (2002) centers around a 300 x 250-foot crop-circle drawing of Larry King that Bozhkov made in a hayfield near East Madison, Maine. At Arthouse, the piece is represented by five simultaneously running videos, plant pressings from the field where the crop-circle was drawn and paintings of Larry King on television and Bozhkov at work in the field. There is also a portrait of Grace, the naturalist who helped Bozhkov make his botanical survey. Those who have walked along Congress Avenue since the exhibition's opening may have noticed Bozhkov's photograph Darth Vader Tries to Clean the Black Sea with a Brita Filter (2000) (See cover image). This work was produced during the artist’s performance on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and comments on both the terribly polluted condition of the Black Sea as well as the effects of globalization. Thirdly, the retrospective features a fragrance (and its accompanying marketing materials) that Bozhkov contributed to the 9th Istanbul Biennial. Titled Eau d'Ernest (2005), this scent for men evokes Ernest Hemingway with its "exuberant combination of elegance and bold masculinity with some vulnerable and tragic notes." Finally, Cantata for Twelve Choirs and Several Salamanders, which was filmed by testsite 06.5 artist Cauleen Smith, presents a visual and aural record of five Austin choirs singing the spiritual “Wade in the Water” at the Sunken Gardens in Zilker Park.
Daniel Bozhkov: Recent Works remains on view through October 22, 2006 and will later travel to the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the Art Gallery at the University of North Texas, Denton.
Caitlin Haskell: Could you start by responding to a general question about the way you use a motif or a symbol—not to overdetermine things here—but as a kind of a central point from which your work evolves. It seems to me that in December a lot of what you were doing in Austin was meeting people in the community that you could learn from and work with, but you were also searching for something to anchor the project and begin building around, whether it was going to be the salamander or something else. Or here, where we have the symbol of Larry King in his suspenders as a kind of starting point and then Learn How to Fly Over a Very Large Larry spirals out from that.
Daniel Bozhkov: Right. Though I don’t think that symbol is quite the right word. I kind of look at it more as a condensation point, the place where the real and the metaphorical overlap and become almost the same thing. They compress, like in a sculpture where the materials would start to come together, but it is the ideas and the physical that condense. They become almost like the keys to open up the problem and find another meaning that’s available.
CH: That’s a nice way to think about it. Within that cohesive point, there are so many ideas, emotions, even materials combined within it, inextricably there, that it forces open new ways of thinking just by virtue of the fact that everything has been integrated.
DB: Yes, I try to find that place where the ideas and the materials become one substance.
CH: But, for all of the recognition that someone like Larry King has, or that Darth Vader or Ernest Hemingway have, there are also so many places where people can enter into your work, through more personal channels. For me, I am drawn to the Milkweed you have as a pressing, marked with its collection date in August. I have my own memories of looking for Monarch butterfly caterpillars on Milkweed leaves that time of year, not too far away from where you made Larry.
DB: Right, but on the other hand, Larry is also a shared association: television, bringing people together, you know. You can call during his show from Australia and talk to Madonna on the air. But then, nobody knows Grace, the naturalist who helped me make the botanical survey, and she’s like, she’s almost like a find, because if I had shuffled through that field in a different way I might never have… I didn’t look for her. Do you see what I mean?
CH: Yes, of course. And in the exhibition there are opportunities to find things for yourself, not necessarily Grace, who was your find—you found her for us and within the work she has become as important as Larry, I suppose, though Larry is what allowed Grace to come forth.
DB: She’s got a type of knowledge that you can’t get from reading Walden. And that’s part of what happens, these chance circumstances. You never could have predicted that it would have happened that way. Like the “coincidence” that happened after we gathered together with the choirs at Sunken Gardens to sing and film the performance. The fact that it rained three times—in the middle of a drought. I am very interested in the particular meaning that comes out of these coincidences.
CH: Or perhaps what’s interesting is how the project creates a framework in which events become meaningful.
CH: There’s something quite humorous about the photograph of Darth Vader using a Brita water filter to purify the Black Sea (see cover image). Not that the pollution of the Black Sea is funny, but the perfect absurdity of it all, the blackness of Darth Vader’s robes in the Black Sea, which is gray-blue, not black, and the futility of the act. It all comes together in a way that for me is quite comical.
DB: Well, yeah, in some ways this piece had an evolution. The way it was conceived was as a video piece for television, a short piece for television. But, the more I looked at it the more it made sense for me to do it with a still image. It takes it outside of the time code, and the fact that it was outside of the time code made it longer. I still don’t know why it works like that. Some icons work that way. These are the sorts of images that have the ability to, sort of, catapult stuff, to amplify it or send it forth like a springboard.
CH: One of the things that I’ve really been impressed by as I’ve observed your work, Daniel, is your ability to suppress yourself, to become a student or an apprentice, to learn. And this is interesting to me because you adopt a really humble role, not one that we would necessarily equate with the traditional role of the artist. But you have an ability to immerse yourself in a place and be sensitive to what is happening, and then use your position as an artist to comment on what you have been learning, on what you have been immersed in.
DB: This is really important. It’s actually something that is very natural to my work, that kind of wonder and curiosity. You start to see how the ideas and the people of a place are all intertwined. You see how it comes together and has an identity. It’s kind of like a fragrance.
CH: Well that’s interesting. When you’re talking about elements condensing, becoming intertwined and coalescing, to bring up the olfactory seems to make sense because it’s not generally something that you can analyze or dismantle rationally, but you can have a very strong association with a fragrance.
DB: It gets back to the most basic, primitive parts of your brain. The sense of smell is controlled by the “lizard brain,” where all the emotions are, and all the memories are there too, even the very early ones that belong to the beginning of our species. You know, it’s why we’re afraid of snakes and cockroaches. You can never forget that.
CH: Now that we’re in the gallery, listening to the choirs singing, it reminds me of a remark that you made in December, about your interest in the Orthodox monks on Mount Athos, and their perpetual prayer.
DB: Oh, I can’t believe you said that. I hadn’t thought about that, but that’s crucial.
CH: In many of your works there’s a real importance of doing something that happens all the time, that isn’t particularly glamorous, but that you do in a special way. Whether you’re working in a bakery, or greeting the people at WalMart there’s a rather mundane task, labor, that becomes important.
DB: There’s so much that we do and we’re not aware. When you’re laboring, making something, you’re so often today disconnected from the final result. That’s what Marx said, that you are separated from the goods you help to manufacture.
CH: But when you go in and labor in these roles, you do so with thoughtfulness and, I would assume, with the understanding that you’re not just laboring, but that eventually you’ll be commenting on the process of laboring.
DB: I agree, there’s a certain kind of alertness that I have when I’m doing this, which keeps me connected to what the projects end up unearthing. I think that the other participants in those works feel the same way. In Marxist terms this may be thought of as de-alienated labor.
I have to show you a drawing. I had to make this for the sound engineer. You know, I don’t know much about sound, but the drawing is a really straightforward way of communicating, in a very simple way. This is the horn, these are the choirs, this is when they’re playing. This is when the sound is actually turned off. So, in a way, nothing really plays in this part, it’s all ambient sound. The way I’ve designed it is kind of like a space. It’s an interesting drawing, and it’s so functional, because, for me at least, there’s no other way to explain that.
CH: It’s very [Edward] Tufte-like. There’s that question of how you take a very complicated problem and model it visually in a way that the problem becomes comprehensible but retains its complexity.
DB: I have been going up to Denton and working in this building (points to a photograph) This is EESAT (Environmental Education Science and Technology) Center, part of UNT. I had an office there in the spring, which was a chapter of my Institute for Higher Listening. There they have departments of philosophy, hydrology and water toxicology in the same place, under one roof, which allows for a philosopher to be in daily conversation with an expert on tiny crustaceans. I had a conversation with a forest ecologist about forest fires and we were talking about how mathematicians make prognostic models to know what the probability is that certain forest fires will occur. In this process they came up with a class of problems they called “wicked” problems.
CH: Wicked? As in a "Wicked Witch"?
DB: Yeah. Wicked. These problems are also called “truly complex” or “complex all the way down.” Such problems you can’t break down into a single unit. The smaller increments are forever multiple, like the way it is with fractals. Climate is like that. How do you map such complexity in order to even begin to approach it? With my maps, I am trying to understand not only how the choirs would sing, and would eventually overlap in time, but also how they would play in space in relation to the projected image and how would that coincide with the choreography of walking through the gallery.
CH: Well, one last question, because I know you have to speak in a few moments, but I am interested in this shape—the shape of the well where the choirs were singing, which we see in the maquette and again in the shape of the area where we can sit and view the film. Is there something in this shape that has to do with both water and sound—as things that travel in waves? The concentric circles are something one might associate with sound radiating outward, or the effect of a drop of water hitting a pool?
DB: I started thinking about the Sunken Gardens as a kind of speaker. Sound, energy, movement—it’s disseminated through ripples. It begins from a central point—like a truly oversized image of Larry King. That’s the place where the ripples start, a departure point. And you need these ripples to meet up with other sets of ripples, less visible and sent off from completely different departure point—the ripples that start with Grace. You have to give the ripples a chance to overlap. When it works, you have one layer of meaning, produced by slicing below the cultural radar, revealing another, which has been invisible, unbelievable or simply out of reach.
Hiroshi Sugimoto at SAMA
On view through November 5, 2006
In 1976, Hiroshi Sugimoto initiated three separate photographic series—Theaters, Seascapes, and Dioramas—which occupied him for the better part of the next twenty years. Of the genesis of those undertakings, he has said, “Probably that was the most imaginative time in my life, shortly before I was 30 years old. Since then I have been like an old man, practically. Nothing that strong has happened to my mind…I stay up late, intentionally, but nothing happens. Maybe I am already half-dead.”
Ordinarily, going around half-dead is not an advisable strategy for a photographer, but Sugimoto has never been concerned with representing moment-to-moment realities so much as creating a photographic dream-world in which everything teeters on the brink of oblivion. Light itself seems on the verge of burning out. Movie screens incinerate themselves in silent blazes; seascapes are projections that might flicker out at any moment, and inside dioramas, our evolutionary ancestors scavenge along the thresholds of illusory expanses. They have come back to life to have their picture taken, but their days are numbered.
Still, Sugimoto’s is an empathetic, “gentle nihilism,” to cite Thomas Kellein’s description of the artist’s practice. Being half-dead has allowed him to know his subjects, to get inside them. It seems to have had other advantages as well. Repetition, often regarded by the living as the height of tedium, is a common thread in his work. Being half-dead from an early age must have desensitized him to that view, equipping him with the patience to translate his visions into actualities, over and over.
Since the mid-1990’s, Sugimoto has produced roughly half a dozen new photographic series (Wax Portraits, Architecture, Conceptual Forms and Colors of Shadow, among others) though to a certain degree, these can be regarded as extensions of his seminal Theaters, Seascapes and Dioramas. Excerpts of a perhaps lesser-known series, Hall of Thirty-Three Bays (sometimes referred to as Sea of Buddha) (1995), are currently on view at the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA). The show consists of nine modestly sized, seemingly identical black and white photographs of roughly forty seemingly identical twelfth-century Buddha statues. The pictures hang on three walls in a small room in SAMA’s new Asian art wing. The statues, which Sugimoto photographed in a Kyoto temple, are collectively known as the “1001 Standing Images of the Thousand-Armed Kannon Bodhisattva.” Careful study reveals that each statue, and therefore each photograph, is unique. Some viewers will find this interesting; others will find it pointless. In any case, the prints are beautiful.
Critics of Sugimoto’s work typically stress the pleasantly confounding relationship between his photographs and time: the long-exposure required for the Theaters; the paradoxical commingling of bygone epochs and photography in the Dioramas; the resuscitation of the dead in the Wax Portraits; the relentless, eternal flux of the ocean’s surface in the Seascapes; and so on. In this regard, the Hall of Thirty-Three Bays conforms to the rest of Sugimoto’s oeuvre. Aside of their photographic-ness, there is nothing about the images to suggest that they are not windows onto the twelfth century. The exhibition’s wall text, which emphasizes how Sugimoto worked with available pre-dawn light, reinforces this sense of the photographs as artifacts of time-travel.
One problem with the Hall of Thirty-Three Bays, and one difference between this series and Sugimoto’s best work, is that the pictures are perhaps not generic enough. This is admittedly an odd quibble, particularly in reference to an artist using photography; but for Sugimoto, the interplay of photography’s appetite for information and his unerring eye for the empty has always been an asset, a means of delivering us from our customary modes of regarding (or not really regarding) the world around us. Blankness lends potent ambiguity. The Theaters are mythical caves and psychological spaces as much as cineplexes. Every Seascape becomes a picture on a screen; the places have names, but they are also any ocean that two eyes ever looked out on. They might also be images of consciousness itself. In the Hall of Thirty-Three Bays, the Buddha statues never stop being Buddhas. This is not a bad thing. Strangely, it just makes them less metaphysical.
The show at SAMA is thoughtfully executed, but provides little insight into the artist’s broader concerns. Even Sugimoto’s most die-hard fans should not feel bad about missing it. The upcoming retrospective at the Fort Worth Modern, opening on Sunday, September 17, is another story. The entire Hall of Thirty-Three Bays series is sometimes exhibited as an enormous linear strip of contiguous photographs and the effect is considerably more impressive. Perhaps visitors to Fort Worth will encounter the expanded presentation. Beyond that, they will find roughly 120 pictures spanning the last 30 years. Sugimoto, who has recently dabbled in the more physically substantial fields of sculpture and architecture, will design the installation himself. It will be interesting to see where those new directions lead, but the Modern’s exhibition will be about the photographs, which might not weigh more than the paper they are printed on, but can be huge even when small.
Mobile at Triangle Project Space
On view through September 29, 2006
Mobile: Suro Collection, which closed this weekend at San Antonio’s Triangle Project Space (TPS), demonstrates the potential of cast ceramic, the exhibition’s shared medium. The collection results from the cleverness of contemporary art collector José Suro, who uses his family’s factory to provide opportunities for contemporary artists. Céramica Suro, located in Guadalajara, began in 1951 as a factory for Mexican hand-painted ceramic-ware known as Talavera. Suro began inviting artists there in 1993. Unlike the competitive residencies that are so prevalent today, the Suro program is open, loosely structured, and based on Suro’s relationship with the artists. The work made there isn’t limited to the factory’s capabilities of cast ceramic and fiberglass, but also includes materials from other craft workshops in the area. The playfully subversive tone of the Suro Collection carries ceramic far beyond utilitarian purposes.
Peter Glassford and Luz Maria Sanchez, both artists, run TPS. Their alternative space invites artists and curators to present exhibitions or Glassford and Sanchez curate shows in-house. Glassford, who has known Suro for many years, curated this show, which he describes as a “Whitman Sampler” of what’s inside Suro’s huge warehouse of art. “There’s such a variety, from design oriented work to the very conceptually-based work,” explained Glassford, who owns a furniture factory in Guadalajara and often helps artists whose designs extend beyond the production capabilities of Céramica Suro.
Artists seize the chance to work on projects and ideas that they normally may not be able to do. Jorge Pardo’s pendant light fixture looks like a cluster of high rises. The tall rectangular blocks have small rectangular cutouts patterned like fenestrations. The light that shines through these little windows gives them the effect of being seen at a distance at night. Rikrit Tiravanija, whose artistic practice often involves preparing and serving food, made plates for a project with SUPERFLEX, a Danish collaborative, at Los Angeles’ 1301 PE Gallery. The plates have an anonymous, sterile looking logo that reads "Social Pudding." Accompanying photographs show the dessert being served in Los Angeles.
Liz Craft uses materials that usually comprise kitsch for her Eyes Without a Face. Two big ceramic eyes, their irises a beastly yellow amber, are set into tin eyelids and lashes. The tin used is commonly seen in Mexican flea markets in the form of mirror and picture frames and ornamental boxes. In Craft’s sculpture, the tin and ceramic get reincarnated into a pair of strange and alluring eyes mounted on a blank white wall.
Hilarious and thrilling, Craft’s Snow-capped Mountain Mamas presents two fat dwarf women sitting atop a white pedestal. The two Hershey’s Kiss-shaped figures, about the size of a large dog and her puppy, are painted brown with snow-like mountain caps. The reference to chocolate, confused with the scale of my Labrador, made me want to pet them, or eat them, or both. The figures have no heads and sit with their short legs out and breasts hanging down over big stomachs. With these sculptures, Craft alludes to Buddha, Oompa Loompas, chocolate candy and marketing strategies all at once.
Amusement Romana, Yukata Sone’s synthesis of theme parks and civic architecture, reminds me of Craft’s subtle and indirect references to popular culture. Only the maquette came to TPS, accompanied by photographs of the installation at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. The sky blue sculpture in the photographs looks like a roller coaster ramp, or toy train track, but its scale is large enough for people to walk up the steps and slide down the ramps. It vaguely references structures designed to route people and engineered for a purpose when the purpose is not always entirely clear. Sone’s sculpture exemplifies the kinds of collaborations that take place. Glassford’s furniture factory built the structure, which then was constructed in fiberglass at Céramica Suro.
Because Talavera appears so frequently in the South Texas decorative landscape, I nearly overlooked Eduardo Sarabia’s edition of ninety-nine ceramic blue-and-white ceramic urns. A Thin Line Between Love and Hate may look like Ceramica Suro’s typical products from a distance. Up close, however, floral and geometric patterns give way to marijuana leaves and women that beckon the viewer to come-hither. The urns displayed on top and amongst cardboard boxes appear as a recently unpacked shipment. Suro’s urns imply that the drug culture is as eponymous as the pottery itself, right before our eyes, but not always seen.
This drug reference, and the orange ceramic crowbars made by Mike Bouchet, eerily portend the death of José’s younger brother, Luis Miguel Suro, whose work also appears in the show and who tragically died in an attempted armed robbery attempt at the factory. A giant Q-tip and an Alka Seltzer, from the late Suro’s Daily Plagiarisms series, reminded me of his work in the Blanton Museum's collection, Jale el Boton (2001). Suro cleverly twists the reality of everyday objects, either by scale, color, or form, to inspire closer looking.
Colorful bedpans are the means by which Baldessari expresses cynicism. In capital letters, around the top rim of each orange, yellow, blue, pink and green bedpan, Baldessari wrote, “THE ARTIST IS A FOUNTAIN.” The undeniable reference to Duchamp’s urinal implies a major regression in artistic production. This object, with its abject allusions to a patient too sick to get up and relieve themselves, suggests that at least, in Duchamp’s time, the artist or spectator was upright.
As trafficking of art, Mobile demonstrates the good that comes from resources directed towards a relationship that is beneficial to both artist and collector. Usually, there is no cost to the artist. Glassford describes the relationship as similar to how printmakers may keep an edition of prints and stresses that the work comes out of a very informal and organic process. “The art gets made side-by-side with plates and cups and saucers,” he explained. “So much art has been made down there, and I’ve run into so many people that I also see in New York or at ArtPace. It’s all about the love and process of making art, not about setting it up in a formal fashion.”
William Kentridge’s Weighing…and Wanting at AMOA
On view through November 5, 2006
Mary Katherine Matalon
Sitting on a bench in front of William Kentridge’s Weighing and …Wanting currently on view at Austin Museum of Art (AMoA), I overheard numerous comments about what the imagery might mean. One woman mused, “The woman turns into an oil rig…bizarre, why?" Her companion did not reply — she was scrutinizing the wall text for an answer.
Kentridge’s work seems to prompt this sort of exercise. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kentridge’s work is infused with references to the violent past and uneasy present of the city where he still lives and works. Yet Kentridge’s imagery, particularly in his films, is notoriously slippery as one thing morphs into another. This constant state of flux is derived from his working process. Kentridge begins with a series of charcoal drawings to which he then makes additions and erasures to create the film’s animation. The resulting style of animation possesses a dreamlike quality and the action does not unfold according to a linear logic. Instead, Kentridge’s animation is marked by continual disappearance, reappearance and transformation of the film’s imagery, and so the viewer must constantly question what she is seeing and why.
It is this process of questioning that gives Weighing…and Wanting its subtle punch. The film concerns Soho Eckstein, a recurring character based on Kentridge’s grandfather. In previous films, the viewer sees the wealthy businessman Eckstein first profiting from South Africa’s apartheid and then later suffering during its dissolution. In Weighing...and Wanting Eckstein reviews his life. The title derives from a biblical passage that God delivered to a wealthy Babylonian king: “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting, for you have not humbled your heart before God, and so your kingdom has come to an end.”
In one of the film’s first images, Eckstein enters an MRI machine. The consequent scans of his brain reveal images of the South African countryside. As the film progresses, images of this countryside in various states of industrialization overlap with images of Eckstein fighting and reconciling with his lover. Complicating this narrative is the reappearing image of a creaking scale and a vignette in which Eckstein stares at the sky where the question: “In Whose Lap Do I Lie?” is spelled out in industrial materials. In AMoA’s presentation of Weighing…and Wanting, the viewer has the opportunity to encounter these images in static form, as the drawings that served as the film’s source material are installed in the surrounding area. Studying Kentridge’s drawings, it becomes apparent that the world the artist constructs is so potent because of the sharply observed, often poignant details. For example, in the drawing in which Eckstein is sliding in the MRI machine, the fabric of his suit is rumpled and his facial expression hovers between grim resignation and complacency.
Discussions of Kentridge’s work often include his statement, “I am interested in political art, that is to say, an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain endings,” This quotation seems particularly apt in the context of Weighing…and Wanting. In this film and the accompanying drawings, Kentridge forces the viewer to consider precisely why Eckstein is so haunted by this landscape. Has he, in his final analysis, judged himself to be guilty of any crime? If so, what might that crime be? Refusing to yield a straightforward answer or easy interpretation, Kentridge suggests that the process of questioning can be a powerful, even political act.
While the presentation of Weighing…and Wanting closely follows the model established by the exhibition’s organizer, The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, I am curious about Austin Museum of Art’s decision to present this show with Mary Lee Bendolph: Gee’s Bends Quilts and Beyond and Lu Ann Barrow’s Soul Journers: Friends, Fabric and Everyday Life.” Lu Ann Barrow’s exhibition of intensely colorful, figurative paintings and Mary Lee Bendolph's quilts can be seen as examples of a mainstream institution’s decision to mount exhibitions of folk art following the acclaim for the traveling exhibition The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (2002-2003). However, I am unsure how William Kentridge’s work fits into this equation. Does the AMoA believe that Kentridge, a South African whose work struggles with the racial violence of apartheid, has an affinity with the African-American May Lee Bendolph? Is the marginal status often accorded to folk art being equated to the marginal status accorded to African-Americans and black Africans? It appears that AMoA is lumping radically different artists who work in radically different media under a simplistic notion that they all represent difference—a notion that ultimately creates a distracting context in which to view the exhibitions.
Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint at SFMOMA
Showing through September 17, 2006Rina Faletti
In the past twenty years, Matthew Barney has focused on two major, ongoing serial projects: his five-film epic, The Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002) and the lesser-known Drawing Restraint I performance series, which he began in the late 1980s. In 2003, the Cremaster era ended with a Guggenheim exhibition and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan invited him to create a major new project and exhibition. In response, Barney filmed a feature-length film, Drawing Restraint 9 (2005), and produced over a hundred works of related sculpture, drawing and photography. This new work, accompanied by the entire fourteen-video Drawing Restraint series (1986-2006), comprises the current exhibition, Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
Initially, the Drawing Restraint series (numbered 1-8 and made between 1987-1989 while he was an undergraduate at Yale) reflected Barney’s interest in joining athleticism and art. Each early short video documents him in an athletic action—trampoline jumping, lifting weights, football drills—while attempting a drawing he can only reach by continuously repeating the action. Each performance involves a physical restraint that limits both the scope of action and Barney’s ease in drawing.
At the end of this early period, Barney briefly experimented with the scripted color film format featuring costumed characters that would lead to the Cremaster films a year later. Barney did not abandon his initial short video format; after finishing Drawing Restraint 9 last year, he returned to his athlete-as-artist vein in Drawing Restraint videos 10-14. All document closed performances that took place at the three exhibition venues in Japan, Korea and San Francisco. In the most recent, Drawing Restraint 14, Barney scales SFMOMA’s cylindrical atrium walls, traverses on hooks and ropes beneath the fourth-floor sky bridge and finally hangs from fabric ladders to draw on the sheer wall drafting surface.
Unlike the other short works in the series, Drawing Restraint 9 is a full production film collaboration between Barney and his real-life partner, singer and composer Björk. It is a visually and thematically provocative work of scripted cinematographic stagecraft performed on board a Japanese industrial whaling ship. The film presents richly textured iconographic and thematic material that explores contrasts between Eastern and Occidental cultural practices, conceptions about humans’ relationship to nature and varied roles for aesthetic practice.
The film opens as the whaler prepares to leave port, where crowds celebrate with colorful rituals. Once on the open sea, two narratives unfold. In the first the crew fabricates a monumental sculpture from tons of liquid petroleum pumped into a stainless steel form built on the main deck. In preparations that approach ritual, the crew acts as ceremonial fabricator, creating art in place of its intended functions: hunting, killing and processing whales.
The second narrative traces an elaborate Shinto-inspired marriage, an erotic transformation of two “Occidental Guests” (Barney and Björk) that happens below the ship’s deck. Ceremonial preparations include bathing, shaving and costuming in animal furs, marine plants and shells. All unfolds within sustained reverential silence: long silences are consistent with Barney’s emphasis on enacted process throughout the Drawing Restraint series. In one scene of simultaneous affection and mutilation, the pair cuts away at the other’s flesh with ritual knives; the sequence features prosthetics, visual effects and a set nearly submerged in liquid petroleum. Through these symbolic actions, the couple gains release from what Barney terms “Occidental Restraint,” their bodies transform and they exit the ship into an iceberg filled sea as whales.
The film’s intertwined narratives imply that both love and art involve dis- and reintegration; destruction and renewal; restraint and release of energy. The film closes with Björk’s voice intoning a repeated utterance that underscores the East-West subtext: “At the moment of commitment nature conspires to help you.”
The technical clarity of Barney’s design, engineering and fabrication is a ready foil for Björk’s opaque instrumentals and vocals. Her wailing dissonances contribute textures that help the film approach its aims of spiritual transcendence that earlier and subsequent Drawing Restraint projects do not reach for. Human sterility against nature’s entropy is the film’s underlying polemic. By adopting an Eastern cultural situation for Drawing Restraint 9, Barney broadens the scope of the project. The film stretches and cinches the point of the entire series: tensile relation—the proportion of give to resistance in strength—is the proper condition for art making.
In addition to daily screenings of Drawing Restraint 9 and continuously looped viewings of the other videos in the series, the exhibition also features built sculptures ranging in size and form. Of primary conceptual interest is Barney’s recreation of the sculpture from Drawing Restraint 9. Replicating the on-board process, Barney allowed the 25,000 kilos of molten petroleum to cool and partially harden within its steel form over several days in the museum, then released its restraint. The material fluxes in response to temperature and gravity, so the sculptural mass slowly changes shape through the exhibition.
Of other built sculptures, props and replicas inspired by the film, Holographic Entry Point (2005) is the most spectacular. A near life-size whale processing dock appears as a two-part sculpture. Half presents the dock in white plastic, smooth, intact and “whole,” the other half is a time-ravaged version whose decking has collapsed, winches and pulleys lie broken and surfaces are overgrown with barnacles and mold. The ambitious sculpture features a range of materials: plastic and other synthetics, steel and concrete, wood, and marine life remains, like shells and shrimp peels.
In explaining Barney’s intentions, the museum’s wall texts claim that the work is about making the invisible processes of art-making evident through the artist’s performance of physical work. I saw no exhibition material suggesting ways for viewers to view Barney’s work in light of other trends in Modern and contemporary art. How, then, can we place Barney’s career in the broader scope of 20th and 21st century sculpture and media? This is both an easy and a difficult question to address. Without a doubt, Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint makes major claims for Barney’s role in the development of performance, sculpture, video and process art. As impressive as Barney’s technical mastery is, and as prominent as he has become, the work still leaves open several major lines of inquiry about depth, process and purpose, and about the effects such work exerts on communities outside contemporary art’s church choir.
Strange New World at MCA San Diego
On view through September 17th the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
Opening January 13, 2007 at Santa Monica Museum of Art
While much of Tijuana’s notoriety has come from its fictional and factual accounts of underage drinking, drug trade and illicit and taboo sex venues, the exhibition Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana proves that the city has been a hotbed of artistic production since the early 1970s. A recent and lengthy article in the New York Times hails Tijuana (like Austin and Marfa) as a site of cultural hipness. Though the article’s writer William L. Hamilton claims that “Tijuana’s fabled lawlessness has become a kind of freedom and license for social mobility and entrepreneurship that has attracted artists,” the exhibition at MCASD shows that, in fact, artists were creating work long before this recent interest in art production. Strange New World, curated by Rachel Teagle, is the museum’s largest exhibition to date and presents 150 works of art made by 41 architects, artists, designers and filmmakers in both the downtown and La Jolla locations.
Strange New World differentiates itself from inSite, the biennial to which international artists are invited to create projects on both sides of the Tijuana/San Diego border, by offering an historical evolution of art and design in Tijuana. But, despite its attempts to narrate a history of Tijuana’s art production, the majority of the work in Strange New World is created by relatively young artists who live and work on both sides of the border. Teagle interweaves an older generation of artists who began making work in the 1960s and 1970s with the younger generation that they influenced and often taught. The artist Álvaro Blancarte, for example, was one of the founders of the Visual Arts Workshop at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Tecate, where artists in the region first received formal instruction. Many of the artists in the exhibition were once his students. Six of his large-scale paintings received a prominent place in the exhibition, no doubt as a way to emphasize his impact on the younger generation of Tijuana artists. Works by Benjamín Serrano, a well-known artist who emerged from Tijuana before the 1980s and Marta Palau, one of Mexico’s first conceptual artists, were also included in the exhibition.
Although Teagle does include this older generation, she seems to do so only to contextualize a younger generation currently coming out of Tijuana. A number of works were also commissioned specifically for the exhibition from this younger group. While issues surrounding the border play a significant role in the exhibition, Teagle points out that border issues are no longer the sole problem posed by the art being produced in Tijuana. Despite this claim, much of the work on view deals with the border, some more subtly than others. Prominent subthemes include class structure, domesticity, maquiladoras, architecture, urban planning and export economies. For example, Einar and Jamex de la Torre’s Untitled (2006) introduce the exhibition at its La Jolla venue. In the center of their blown glass map of Mexico that morphs into the United States is a vagina-like object that births a swirl of butterflies. Representing the country’s exports, the butterflies move out from the central tableaux toward one of the museum’s windows, morphing airplanes en route. This is, undoubtedly, a critique of the way Mexico’s resources, and perhaps its population as well, have taken flight from Mexico for the US.
A number of collectives are represented in the exhibition, many of which have been in production for decades before contemporary interest in collaboration. Teagle also identifies video and digital filmmaking as mediums used for self-expression and self-identification in Tijuana and she selected a large number of the work that involved new media, video and digital processes. TOROLAB, founded in 1995, presented The Region of the Transborder Trousers (2004-2005), a topographic model with a global positioning system (GPS) device that tracks the movement of individuals wearing specially-created garments. Though digital and new media processes are not new vehicles for artist production, the artists in this exhibition use it as a means to record and transform the “reality” of life on the border.
Teagle compares the cultural movement in Tijuana to that of Tropicália, in the late 1960s in Brazil, because of the similar focus the artists have on informality, interactivity and cultural hybridity. While I can certainly understand the comparison, the exhibition and works presented in Strange New World are decidedly less overtly political and also not as interactive or informal as artists from the Tropicália era, who sought a physical interaction from the viewer that relied on all five senses. One of the works that could be considered interactive was Wheels of Fortune: Projects and Influences 1976-2006 by the collective Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo. The installation included a wheel for visitors to spin to randomly select one of twenty-two different videos from their twenty-two year archive.
Teagle traces Tijuana’s artistic past, shows its present and looks hopefully toward its future. She proves that the work coming out of Tijuana is a force to be reckoned with and has an important place in the international contemporary art world. As an historical exhibition, its attempt to be intergenerational really highlights the younger generation of artists coming out of Tijuana. While it is clear that Teagle wants to show how this artistic past influenced this new group of artists, it also seems as though a range of influences beyond Tijuana’s borders comes into play. And, while Teagle claims there has been a move away from border issues I found that much of the work related to the border in one way or another, leaving me to ponder this exhibition’s relationship to inSite. Still, I applaud Teagle’s efforts to raise awareness for a city’s under-recognized artistic production that is, and has been, undoubtedly flourishing.
Louise Bourgeois at The Fabric Museum and WorkshopOn view through September 16, 2006
Allison Lincoln Turrell
Louise Bourgeois’ work is the inviting quilt that suffocates you in grandmother’s house. From her use of a soft indigo terrycloth-like material uncomfortably stretched and pinched into two embracing figures for Couple (1992) to the familiar stitched and striped canvas covering a wall of tiny mattresses on the verge of collapsing in Untitled (2001), Bourgeois successfully coddles the viewer between safety and insecurity. Following her three exhibitions in Baltimore this past spring, on view though September 16th is a selection of Bougeois’ works in textiles at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FMW). Her monumental bronze sculpture Crouching Spider (2003) is also on view at the east entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art until April 2007. (Its sheer size and girth would make any arachnophobe run for cover.) Bourgeois’ continuous explorations of desire, loss, relationships and sexuality in marble, bronze, latex and paper spans her sixty-year career. The exhibition pays homage to her French roots in the tapestry industry and focuses on her use of fibers to explore her intimacy. Bourgeois binds the viewer in her mythological past.
The viewer is carefully led through a whirling maze of thirty-four abstract fabric panels in Ode à l'Oubli (2003), a title that translates to “ode to the forgotten.” Two oddly proportioned heads confront each another in a steel and glass cage in Call XX (Portrait) (2000). A tenuous vacuum of space exists between these two pieces.
Most of the show focuses on the garments used in her performance She Lost It (1992) that took place in The Fabric Workshop fourteen years ago. The movements sanctioned in the gallery setting did not give the materials more life or power beyond the domicile. Hung close to the ceiling and circling the inside perimeter of the gallery is a 245 foot-long scarf. Printed in red pigment onto the white cotton voile of the scarf is a story Bourgeois wrote in 1947, “A man and a woman lived together. On one evening he did not come back from work, and she waited. She kept on waiting and she grew littler and littler. Later, a neighbor stopped by out of friendship and there he found her, in the armchair, the size of a pea.” The scarf is used as a prop and the narrative printed on it is enacted in She Lost It. A couple is wrapped in the scarf as it unwraps another man. The scarf that once wrapped the man, swaddles the couple together, leaving him exposed and presenting a pea in his hand. I understand the emotional territory of weaving of personal histories, but the direct translation of cloth narrative to video narrative proves anticlimactic and obvious. The soundtrack, the baseline from Snap’s 1990s pop techno hit "Rhythm is a Dancer" dates the piece and cheapens a seemingly intimate and complicated tale of loss and entrapment. She Lost It feels uncomfortably staged. Ironically, I felt like Bourgeois lost it on this one.
Displayed in a glass case are the carefully embroidered supplemental garments worn in the performance. A shirt with Hide and Seek stitched across the breast reveals vulnerability, yet playfulness. The phallus is the object of my tenderness is strategically positioned on the inseam of a pair of pants. What didn’t exist for me beyond the colorful and tactile textures and form in this exhibition was a fresh perspective on the complexities of womanhood. I felt as though I was flipping through a scrapbook of memory and sexuality that has been viewed over and over. Woman as domestic goddess. Woman as mother. Woman as caretaker. Woman as woman defined in relationship to man. Perhaps this is my third wave feminist roots talking back, but woman as headless, limbless pink and fuzzy Pregnant Woman (2002) only reinforces the already confining gender corner. I am captivated by the luscious materiality of her work but feel cornered by Bourgeois. Do we still have to be forgiven for being a girl?
Fierce Friends at The Carnegie Museum of Art
March 26- August 27, 2006
“Remember, dog training focuses on getting the dog to respond to human commands.
Dog psychology is really training humans to understand how dogs function,
communicate and fulfill their lives without human-created techniques.”
–Cesar Milan, Dog Whisperer
“Enough is enough! I have had it with these muthafuckin’ snakes on this
muthafuckin’plane!” –Samuel L. Jackson, as Federal Agent Nelville Flynn
Humans and animals: a work in progress, to say the least. The desire to separate ourselves from the beastly constantly rubs up against the hairy fact that, well, we are Animalia too. But, taking full account of the above, our relationship has actually come a long way. PETA, Dolly, the conservation movement, the late great Steve Irwin, and even the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (not to mention the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s The Cat’s Meow and Best in Show: the Dog in Art from the Renaissance to Today): arguably our attachment to things zoological has never been greater. But this familiarity tails a rather complicated and very modern evolution some 250 years in the making. It is a lesson spelled out this summer, quite ingeniously, in the last place one might expect a socio-scientific history: an art museum.
Contrary to Hollywood hype, The Carnegie Museum of Art’s Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals, 1750-1900 may just be Summer 2006’s most fun and revelatory experience. On view since March, it is the perfect show for the late summer season—when art’s promised freedoms pale to life’s looming ones. Without a doubt, Artists and Animals is a delightful, fuzzy, PG-family-friendly event. Everything is bold, spaced-out, apprehensible and well designed. Accessibility and engagement prevail. Fanciful fonts portray subheadings like “Protein” and “Happy Families,” extra seating and reading books abound and a quadrant of animal graphics provide an easy, additional exhibition key.
But, true to titling, Fierce Friends has bite. A historicizing edge cuts throughout and, amongst all the stuffed animals, big and significant points are made. Maverick curatorial duo Andreas Bluehm and Louise Lippincott illustrate that the 150 years after the Age of Exploration and concurrent with the Enlightenment witnessed an explosion in both Western civilization’s exposure to animals and its understanding of them. As laid out in four rooms that define four themes, Animals moved from “Property of the Human Race” (emotional indifference) to “Beauties of Nature” (aesthetic astonishment), soon revealing “Mysteries of Life” (comparative physiological study) and becoming “Creatures of the Imagination” (behavioral and psychological analogues). Bluehm and Lippincott’s is not a direct chronology, but more a collection of simultaneously emerging themes, each a line of thought that continues into our present animal-culture moment.
A poignant example of the distance gained¬—or lost—comes in the first gallery, under one of the alliterative sub-sections entitled “Pets.” Jean Baptiste Greuze’s A Young Girl Mourning Her Dead Bird (1765) wrenchingly depicts just what its title says it does. Or does it? Wall text illuminates that in 1765 animals were not yet endowed with emotions (or perceived by humans as having such) and thus this sparrow, “unfeeling,” is also “unlovable.” Denis Diderot even penned some words to this effect, explaining that the girl is mourning a lost lover who brought the bird and the fallen “pet” plays symbol to lost innocence.
Such time-warpings, which feel like turning over rocks to discover archaic thinking, dot the exhibition, keeping it fresh and unpredictable. Collisions come head on in an early, anonymous attempt to depict a giraffe (1785), and more subtly in J.M.W Turner’s The Evening of the Deluge (1843). A creationist apologist, Turner includes recently excavated Iguanodons amongst the victims of the coming forty days of rain. Some mental gymnastics are required to reframe these images, to weigh them in their time and not through the lens of ours, but Bluehm and Lippincott spot the effort exceptionally well.
What doesn’t require any work though is an appreciation of the curator’s impeccable selection of objects on view. There really are too many to name here, each a unique locus of aesthetic and historical energies, but those mirabilia especially rare, odd or otherwise worth Googling include: The Blaschka Glass Animals (1860-1890), Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature chromolithographs (1899-1904), as well as the hand-colored engravings of John James Audobon’s Birds of North America (1827-38). All stake absurdly gorgeous compromises between accuracy and artistry, observation and creation. Also, Jacques-Laurent Agasse’s “genetic” portraits, which trace the breeding of Arabian horses and Quaggas, a zebra-like wild horse extinct since the nineteenth century, and Jules Adler’s shocking The Transfusion of a Goats Blood (1890) reveal radical biological experimentation that outstrips their oil paint depiction. Similarly, Jean Carrie’s sculpted stoneware hybrids such as a Frog with Rabbit Ears (1891) and Eugen Ransonnet-Villez’s Underwater Landscape (1864), the first underwater painting, marvelously explore the diminishing gap between fantasy and scientific reality.
Not surprisingly, many of these works are displayed in “Beauties of Nature.” Here, the exhibition reaches an apotheosis, blending the above-mentioned artistic and scientific achievement, desire and knowledge, into a ravishing multimedia tableau. Book illustrations of newly classified birds open out to cases of taxidermied specimens of the same species, while nearby porcelain china popularizes and domesticates them. The diversity of Darwin’s finches, for example, gains visual life in both John Gould’s illustrations and original Carnegie preserves.
Likewise, although it originated at the Van Gogh Museum (where Bluehm served as curator), it is hard to imagine any other institution pulling off this exhibition. The Carnegie Museum of Art’s special exhibitions hall, where the show is housed, bridges the art galleries and the adjacent Museum of Natural History. Walk out any door and you are destined to encounter an Arctic or Egyptian diorama. Four Van Goghs, all “Pests”, do make stunning contributions, but much, and much of what is unexpected and interesting, comes straight from the Carnegie’s own archives.
The success of Fierce Friends rests in its eclectic mix and the curator’s ability to truly and thoughtfully breed a cross-disciplinary display. Big name artists: Goya, Hogarth, Gericault, Delacroix, Courbet, Degas and Muybridge, to name a few, make appearances, underlining the era, often in atypical ways. Chardin, for one, is represented by a painting of a monkey dressed as a painter and not a vanitas still-life. Expectations thus broadened, art becomes a very pliable thing, increasingly generous in both its definition and the dispersion of its aura. Likewise, the real excitement of Fierce Friends is the elevation, the attentive reinvigoration, through association and contextualization, of domestic trappings (fish bowls, children’s books) and scientific illustrations (visualizations of dinosaurs and observations of farm animals). Toeing the divide between nature and culture, Bluehm and Lippincott present not only Artists appropriating nature as subject, but also configure the reverse: allowing nature, the empirical object, to befall the aesthetic gaze to wonderful effect.
To be sure, a good counterpoint to Fierce Friends appears elsewhere in the neighboring Museum of Natural History. Wild at Heart: National Museum of Wildlife Art, a selection from the Jackson Hole, Wyoming institution, encompasses the usual wildlife-genre fare. Bronze sea turtles mingle with purplish paintings of sunset wolves. Accomplished, but mannered, the works on display don’t even attempt to dodge the lethal bullet of animal kitsch; if anything, their aim is just that, to catch, to freeze, to preserve, to hold nature in its glory. Several works in Fierce Friends unapologetically share these origins, yet they escape a similar fate by being historically foregrounded. Infused with narratives particular to their creation/reception and general to the exhibition, these works become animated. Bluehm and Lippincott, in linking the objects to the continuing saga of man and animal, invest them with life beyond science and art. Subsequently, Fierce Friends rears as a beast of its own.
Exhibitions: Opening, Ongoing & Closing
Laura Parnes: Blood and Guts in High School
The Donkey Show
Opening Saturday, September 16, 6- 8 pm
Inspired by Kathy Acker’s novel of the same name, Laura Parnes' Blood and Guts in High School wends its high-gloss narrative through a minefield of feel-bad sex, abject violence and other assorted cultural traumas. Parnes tells the story of Janie, a sullen teen who finds herself trapped in a new form of tortured social relationship in every episode—like a postmodern-day version of The Perils of Pauline, but without the chance for escape.
Joey Fauerso: Wide Open Wide
Women & Their Work
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 5, 6 - 8 pm; artist talk at 6:30pm
A solo exhibition by artist Joey Fauerso titled Wide Open Wide explores the world of animation. Fauerso’s captivating frame-by-frame paintings come alive as they move across the screen and interact with each other.
Workspace: Carol Bove
Though October 1
Blanton Museum of Art
Carol Bove creates elegant sculptural installations that explore the cultural, spiritual, social, and political preoccupations of the 1960s and 1970s.
Oliver Boberg 1997 – 2005
Through October 7
Lora Reynolds Gallery
At first glance Oliver Boberg’s work appears to be elegantly composed images of quiet corners, static construction sites and empty public spaces. These seemingly straightforward architectural and landscape photographs are deceptively complex.
VIDEOPERFORMANCE, curated by Rachel Cook
Though October 7
VIDEOPERFORMANCE brings together four artists, Erick Michaud, Jill Pangallo, Kalup Linzy, and Laurel Nakadate working with or somewhere between video and performance
Eric Zimmerman: Simplon Pass
Through October 7
In his most recent work Eric Zimmerman draws on images of exhibition architecture, exemplified by buildings such as The Crystal Palace, maps, and the humid atmospheres of J.M.W Turner (from which the exhibition’s title is derived).
testsite 06.4: Riley Robinson and Katie Robinson Edwards: Who Are You Looking At?
Though October 15
Through sibling interplay, Who are you looking at?, questions the reliability of artists’ statements and their relationship to the act of looking at art.
Daniel Bozhkov: Cantata for Twelve Choirs and Several Salamaders
On view through October 22
The first major survey exhibition for artist Daniel Bozhkov brings together 7 works from the previous 10 years, including a newly commissioned work for Arthouse entitled Cantata for Twelve Choirs and Several Salamanders, filmed in collaboration with Austin-based artist and filmmaker, Cauleen Smith. Curated by Regine Basha, Arthouse Consulting Curator and Diana Block, Gallery Director, University of North Texas Art Gallery.
duck, duck, GOOSE and The Long Drive South
Closing September 25th
Both a solo exhibition of work by Matthew Rodriguez and a group show curated by Andreis Costa including work by Brian Belott, Joshua Blank, Andreis Costa, Lance de Los Reyes and Ginna Triplett next Monday.
Yanaguana: Polvo Est. 1996
OPENING, Tonight, September 15th 6:30-10 pm
Unit B Gallery
Yanaguana was the name given by the Payaya Indian to the place now known as San Antonio. The show at Unit B celebrates Polvo's— a grass roots cultural space based in Chicago since 1996—10 years of curating, coordinating and organizing contemporary art exhibits. Featuring work by Candace M. Briceno (Austin) , Scott Kildall (Chicago), Amie Robinson (Brooklyn).
Edra Soto (Chicago)
Leona Scull-Hons: Hydroplanning
Closing September 25th
Leona Scull-Hons’ Interactive installation exploring the marriage of mourning and celebration.
Through October 15
On view through October 15
San Francisco-based Kota Ezawa exhibits recent light boxes, films, and slide projects that feature hand-drawn animations of historical moments caught on film, and reflect upon contemporary modes of understanding the past.
Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980 – 2005
Closing Sunday September 24th
July 22 – September 24, 2006
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
A Gathering, 1980 – 2005 is the first full-scale major museum presentation of Kiki Smith’s work over the past 25 years. Smith’s art explores the human condition, the body, mythology, and spirituality through a diverse array of materials and methods ranging from traditional craftwork to contemporary multimedia installations.
Ryan Humphrey: Diver Down
Through October 28, 2006
Road Agent (2909 Canton St)
Ryan Humphrey’s exhibition showcases the recent Whitney Independent Study Program grad’s work in a testosterone-fueled explosion.
Hiroshi Sugimoto: End of Time
September 17, 2006–January 21, 2007
Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art
Hiroshi Sugimoto (born 1948, Japan) is celebrated for his multiple series of haunting black-and-white photographs, which explore the themes of time, memory, dreams, and history. Deeply influenced by traditional Japanese architecture and painting, Sugimoto creates richly detailed images that are often suffused with expanses of light and space.
Dario Robleto: Fear and Tenderness in Men
On view though October 21, 2006
D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York
In his first solo gallery exhibition in New York, Dario Robleto will present meticulously handcrafted objects that reference Victorian reliquaries and explore the effects of American wars upon our life.
September 24, 2006 – December 17, 2006
Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC
Solo exhibition of sculpture by Dario Robleto focuses on symbols of grief and mourning connected to U.S. soldiers of war. The works in the exhibition inventively integrate the ephemeral byproducts of past wars—excavated shrapnel and bullet lead, soldiers' uniforms, telegrams and love letters home, mourning clothing, and hair lockets—and hearken back to the aesthetics of material culture in antebellum era America.
Events: Sound, Stage and Screen
Wednesday, September 20, 6pm
Cinematexas International Film Festival kicks off at Azul, 1808 E Cesar Chavez St; Omnibeast performs at 8 pm. Cinematexas screening begin at 7:30 the same night at the Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.
Monday, September 25, 8pm
Ten Pounds To The Sound + Epistrophy Arts Presents: Roger Turner (London) on drums, percussion; Rob Cambre (New Orleans) on guitar; David Dove (Houston) on trombone at Little City Downtown, 916 Congress Avenue; $8-15 pay what you can. Both intense and nuanced in his approach, veteran British drummer Roger Turner exemplifies the best extremes of percussion in contemporary jazz and improvisation.
Saturday, September 16, 2006 8:00 PM
Michelle Schumann and Austin New Music Co-op present the 6th Annual John Cage Birthday Celebration. Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 4001 Speedway, tickets: $10/$7 students at the door. Pianist Michelle Schumann, Austin's renowned interpreter of new music, together with Austin New Music Co-op, will present a birthday concert to celebrate the eclectic inventions of avant-garde composer John Cage (1912-1992). Last year, the theme was contemplation and Zen.
Calls for Entry, Fellowships, Residencies, Grants and Job Opportunities
OPEN CALL for Curatorial Research Grants
Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art.
Application deadline: September 30th, 2006.
Etant donnés, The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art offers Curatorial Research Grants in support of the professional development of American curators. The grants offer the possibility of extended periods of study in France for research projects in the field of contemporary art. The time in France may vary from one week to three months and longer stays need not be made up of consecutive weeks or months. Ultimately the grants are intended to further artistic interactions between France and the United States, facilitating the discovery of new talent and reinforcing interest in established contemporary artists, as well as encouraging the exploration of France’s cultural resources.
CALL FOR CURATOR
City Without Walls (cWOW)
New Jersey's oldest alternative art space, is seeking a curator for its third annual 1800Frames exhibit, which features recently produced, independent, non-commercial one-minute videos.
DOCENT and TOUR COORDINATOR
The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin seeks an experienced, creative professional to join its Education Department. The Docent and Tour Coordinator will be responsible for managing the museum’s growing corps of 65 docents; recruiting new docents; conducting new and ongoing training; scheduling and communicating with docents; producing tours and accompanying hands-on materials; conducting tours; maintaining the tour calendar and docent website; evaluating tours and docent performance; working with Visitor and Volunteer Services to evaluate and improve the visitor experience; and assisting in the implementation of teacher workshops and other education programs as needed. Position reports to the Manager of School and Family Programs. Please apply through the University’s website http://www.utexas.edu/hr/jobs and job number 060816024008. (from Aviso).
MANAGER OF INSTALLATION DESIGN
The Dallas Museum of Art seeks Installation Design Manager to organize and maintain temporary exhibitions and permanent collection installations for the Museum facility in cooperation and consultation with other departments. In collaboration with the Director of Exhibitions and Publications, the position supervises and manages an Exhibition staff of five (5) people. To produce high-quality exhibition and permanent collection designs and installations, the position also serves as liaison and has direct oversight of outside contractors designing exhibition and permanent collection installations and graphics and has some responsibilities designing installations. Send resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to Human Resources, Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood, Dallas TX 75201 or e-mail HumanResources@DallasMuseumofArt.org. (from Aviso).
STUDIO SPACE available next year in Salvage Vanguard Theater's new building. Contact programming director Shannon McCormick at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
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