From the Editor

by Claire Ruud

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      Heyd Fontenot
      Dan Reclining, 2007
      Oil on canvas
      72 x 48 inches
      Courtesy the artist and Art Palace

      Dan Reclining and, for that matter, Heyd Fontenot’s entire show at Art Palace right now, reek of Lone Star Style. In that infamous article printed in the pages of the August 2006 New York Times Style Magazine, the Austin art scene saw itself reflected at a moment of burgeoning potential. That summer, Okay Mountain and Art Palace were just taking off and everything seemed to be gelling for the first time. Then along came fashion critic Cathy Horyn looking for the “real deal”—an antidote to the shallowness and media frenzy of the New York fashion world. The only catch: in her quest for authenticity, she transformed Arturo and Ali, Art Palace, Austin and Texas into one magnificently cool scene, one idealized image of itself.

      And what a beautiful image it was. As Lauren Hamer suggests in her review, it’s this fantasy of an insider’s art scene in Austin that Fontenot successfully exploits with Business in the Front, Party in the Back. The paintings conjure up a world of pretty people, sexual intrigue, feuds and friends. But Fontenot’s voluptuous, bobble-headed figures concede: this is fairyland.

      Two other features in this issue also get at these kinds of imagined, and real, communities, particularly in Austin. Dan Boehl talks about Brit artist Matt Stokes’ these are the days at Arthouse—an “outsider’s” investigation of an “insider” punk scene. Inspiringly, Boehl suggests that Stokes captures punk’s “pure catharsis, born of community and action”—a model for productive and transformative community. For me, Boehl’s review is a poetic call to lived community and real action over idealized representation and passive consumption.

      Meanwhile, Katie Anania’s review of Channeling: An Invocation of Spectral Bodies and Queer Spirits suggests the value of queer conceptions of community. She sees possibility in a community that is “subterranean, agonizing, perverse, hilarious and simultaneously close.”

      At its best, I see the Austin art community functioning in this way, embracing its instability, awkwardness and messiness, always for the better. Take that, Cathy Horyn.

      Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good and Associate Coordinator of testsite.

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