From the Editor

by Claire Ruud

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      Santiago Forero
      Housewife, 2008
      from the series I want to live in America
      Digital print
      34 x 44 inches
      Courtesy the artist and The Station Museum, Houston

      There are rumblings that around this time next year, a coalition of art organizations may be kicking off a city-wide extravaganza the likes of which we haven’t seen in Austin yet. In late spring 2011, the Texas Biennial, the Austin Museum of Art’s New Art in Austin triennial, the annual Fusebox Festival and Art Alliance Austin’s annual Art Week will collide. Arthouse’s New American Talent could join the fray, too. Will it be mayhem or rhapsody?

      With all this on the horizon, a bunch of us are bringing Dan Cameron, the Founding Director of Prospect New Orleans, to town to pick his brain. In 2008, Cameron orchestrated the vast Prospect.1 across New Orleans’ entire cityscape, from the Contemporary Art Center to abandoned buildings and fields in the Ninth Ward. Celebrated for its cultural and economic impact in the wake of Katrina, the biennial has since encountered “fund-raising and administrative difficulties,” as the New York Times put it, and Prospect.2, originally scheduled for 2010, has been pushed back to 2011. These adventures, both the smooth and the rocky, uniquely position Cameron to offer his wisdom and experience regarding cultural and economic impact.

      On a related note, this year's Fusebox Festival is right around the corner. (Check out their jam-packed schedule of performance art.) In his review in this issue, Dan Boehl criticizes the model of cultural production promoted by SXSW, and I think Fusebox offers a strong alternative. Like SXSW, Fusebox thinks and works on an international scale. But unlike SXSW, Fusebox is committed to sustained partnerships with the artists and arts organizations right next door, too. In other words, Fusebox maintains both an international perspective and a commitment to the physical community in which it resides.

      Also in this issue are two features that approach the relationship between politics and aesthetics from different angles: Wendy Vogel’s review of the five solo shows currently at The Station Museum and my interview with painter Carl Palazzolo, whose show at Texas Gallery opens today. It’s an old (but endlessly worthwhile) question, in what manner and toward what end will aesthetics and politics coexist in art? No one's proposing a singular answer. We just keep asking the question.

      Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.

      + 1 Comment
      John Mudd
      Apr 18, 2010 | 12:58am

      I strongly believe that art critics has as much responsibilities to the public as an artist has to his/her subject. It takes a lot of guts to present those works all together. Station Museum is truly questioning the status quo. What is more critical than that?  I loved the show!
      Some considerations: - Is it really accurate that Charif Benhelima’s Welcome to Belgium is originally conceived as a book? It doesn’t seem likely. The work was made between 1990-1999 and the book was only published in 2003. Strange.
      -Weren’t Ed Wilson’s sculptures shown along with photographs??!  Why is W. Vogel even suggesting that they would romanticize Holocaust if shown by themselves?

      -John Mudd

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