From the Editor

by Claire Ruud

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      Andy Warhol, Princess Caroline of Monaco, 1983
      Polacolor ER; 4 1/2 x 3 3/8 inches
      Collection University of Houston
      Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
      Courtesy Blaffer Gallery

      This issue has become, somewhat informally, an issue largely dedicated to arts institutions. Two interviews offer a director's point of view on two recently established Texas art institutions, The Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas and The Landmarks Public Art Program at UT Austin. A review by Rachel Cook urges Austin's graduate students to break the mold with their annual summer show at the Creative Research Laboratory and a letter to the editor from Eric Zimmerman calls for increased participation in public dialogue on the arts in Austin. Further afield, Lillian Davies's review considers the curatorial limits on exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

      On another note, recently, I’ve noticed that, although New York curators can’t seem to get enough of eco-art right now, environmental issues lag far behind as a curatorial theme in Texas. Perhaps this has to do with our state’s attitude towards big trucks and offshore drilling. The only two exhibitions I could come up with that fit the bill won’t occur until next year, both in Houston: Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry (Blaffer Gallery, January 17 – March 28, 2009), which presents the L.A.-based Center For Land Use and Interpretation’s look at the Texas oil industry, and Solutions (Diverseworks, March 6 – April 18, 2009), a show whose premise sounds like a more hopeful sequel to the New Museum’s After Nature.

      This observation prompted me to take a look at the curatorial premises that will be most popular in Texas during the Fall 2008 Season. Here’s what I’ve noticed: exhibitions of video work are still cropping up everywhere. In addition, quite a number of events will look back on the 1960s and 70s and a cluster of exhibitions take perception as their theme.

      Video/New Media

      RESET/PLAY: Contemporary Art and Video Games at Arthouse, Austin, curated by Marcin Ramocki and Paul Slocum. I’ve heard that visitors may be able to play Katamari Damacy on a Playstation 2 in the gallery—exactly the type of risky yet productive curatorial chances we can count on Slocum and Ramocki to take with this exhibition. (September 5 – November 2, 2008)

      Hubbard/Birchler: No Room to Answer at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, curated by Andrea Karnes. The exhibition presents works video by this Austin-based artist-duo from 1991 to 2008. Their most recent video, Grand Paris Texas (2008) debuts with this exhibition. (September 14, 2008 – January 4, 2009)

      Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image since 1970 at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, curated by Andrea Barnwell Brownlee and Valerie Cassel Oliver. As film and video become increasingly accepted into the canon of art history, this exhibition will provide an opportunity to assess the ways that gender and racial identity have inflected artists’ uses of these mediums. (October 18, 2008 – January 4, 2009)

      Mary Lucier: The Plains of Sweet Regret at the Amon Carter Museum, Dallas. Mary Lucier, recognized as a pioneer of video installation, presents a video installation that, by all accounts, is a haunting engagement with loss, transformation, melancholy and anticipation. (November 15, 2008 – February 15, 2009)

      Vera Weisgerber at Sala Diaz, curated by Hills Snyder. Snyder will bring video artist and photographer Vera Weisgerber to San Antonio for her first solo exhibition in the United States. (December 5, 2008 – January 11, 2009)

      Retro circa 1970

      Celebutants, Groupies, and Friends: A Photographic Legacy from the Andy Warhol Foundation at Blaffer Gallery, Houston, curated by Rachel Hooper, Mike Guidry and Elspeth Patient. The Blaffer's press release suggests the artist's Polaroids "offer rare, intimate glimpses of Warhol’s life." I wonder whether the dated aesthetic of the Polaroids and the retro celebrities they picture creates nostalgia and affect in viewers that makes us feel like we are getting a more intimate glimpse of Andy than we are. (September 13 – October 18, 2008)

      Celluloid for Social Justice: The Legacy of 1968 in Documentaries, The University of Texas at Austin. This film series introduces the conference “1968: A Global Perspective.” Although not overtly art-related, the screenings will offer an opportunity to see an array of acclaimed documentaries on everything from Billie Holliday to Langston Hughes to the Black Panthers. (Screenings occur Mondays through Thursdays, September 15 – October 9, 2008)

      The New York Graphic Workshop: 1964-1970 at The Blanton Museum, Austin, curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro. This exhibition will present the conceptual artwork and prints created by Luis Camnitzer, Liliana Porter and Jose Guillermo during the time that they worked together as The New York Graphic Workshop. If you have a yen for youthful Marxist idealism, check out this show. (September 28, 2008 – January 18, 2009)

      Perception

      Imaginary Spaces at The Menil, Houston. Inspired by a series of installations organized by John and Dominique de Menil in the late-1960s, this exhibition explores the ways that artists have approached the idea of space, whether hypothetical, utopian, invisible or visible. (August 22, 2008 – March 1, 2009)

      Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group at The Blanton Museum, Austin, curated by Linda Henderson. This exhibition offers the first close look at the artists involved with the Park Place Gallery during the 1960s—artists inspired by, among other concepts, visionary theories of Buckminster Fuller, Space Age technologies, science fiction, and the psychology of expanded perception. (September 28, 2008 – January 18, 2009)

      Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson at The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn. Coming from San Francisco and, most recently, New York, this acclaimed retrospective offers a look at Eliasson’s engagement with perception, optics, light and landscape, among other issues. In Dallas, the exhibition will include a site-specific piece created for the DMA. (November 9, 2008 – March 15, 2009)

      Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good

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