From the Editor

by Wendy Vogel

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      Devon Dikeou
      You Can Observe a Lot by Watching (installation view)
      2010
      Courtesy of the artist and Domy Books
      Photo by Carling Hale

      In my previous letter from the editor, I made a case for the connection between editorial and curatorial practice. That weekend I spent some time in Devon Dikeou’s solo exhibition “You Can Observe A Lot By Watching” at Domy Books in Austin. The exhibition’s cornerstone was undoubtedly the back issues of zingmagazine on display, which Dikeou—a recent transplant to Austin—has been editing and publishing since 1995. Subtitled “a curatorial crossing” (the “zing” is a twist on the signage abbreviation XING), the magazine’s format comprises a series of rotating guest-curated projects that span art, architecture, design, fashion, fiction and poetry. zingmagazine takes its inspiration from Fleur Fenton Coles’ pioneering Flair magazine, and like the short-lived publication that was as much known for its groundbreaking design as cross-disciplinary content, zing has played with its format. In addition to both print and online issues (the next issue will appear in both formats this spring), Dikeou has presided over the production of CDs, posters, TV shows and other multiples that her guest curators have proposed. The effort is truly a collaborative curatorial enterprise.

      It’s no surprise that with such a keen interest in the connections and interstices between art practices, Dikeou’s other works at the Domy space functioned like set pieces framing interactions between the store’s clientele. A huge vase at the front counter collected business cards; a water cooler provided refreshment and a place for discussion (a throwback to social networking in the days before comment buttons); and magnetized bulletin boards that mimic those in the building lobby of the old Castelli Gallery announce features from each issue (What’s Love Got to Do With It, 1991-ongoing). In a conversation with me, Dikeou even described the impetus to start her art collection in Denver as a way to “make zingmagazine come alive.” Dikeou’s art, however, is not limited to objects that traffic in pure relational aesthetics around the magazine. For those who are curious to see more of her art, or who missed the Domy show (it closed on January 13th), you don’t have long to wait. Dikeou has been selected for the next cycle of Artpace residencies, and I, for one, am looking forward to what she produces.

      Echoing the curatorial collaborative spirit of Dikeou’s practice, models of exchange and conversation—and their flipside, thwarted attempts at communication—are repeatedly referenced in this issue of …mbg. In response, I’ve titled it “the cuckoo effect.” As Kyle Schlesinger explains in his review of the Flatbed Press exhibition at AMOA, this metaphor for collaboration comes from the cuckoo bird’s habit of laying eggs in another bird’s nest. Rounding out our review section, Chelsea Beck reflects on Clifford Owens’ staged conversations between performer, audience and camera at the CAMH; I discuss Keren Cytter’s work at Arthouse that weaves a disjointed conversation between inexplicable events; and Wendy Atwell plunges into James Castle’s books on view at Lawrence Markey. We also feature the first installment of a two-part conversation about Artpace’s installation of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ billboards in 2010. And in “…mbg recommends,” Veronica Roberts previews An Exchange with Sol LeWitt, an open-call exhibition featuring submissions created in homage to the famous Minimalist artist.

      Extending beyond the virtual page, two endeavors by collaborative teams with Austin roots also deserve a special mention in this letter. Our readers in Houston should head over to Okay Mountain’s outstanding exhibition of new work at the Blaffer Art Museum, which opened last weekend to a great turnout. For those in Austin this weekend, we recommend attending the exhibition opening on Saturday night of The Ambiguous Object at Pump Project organized by the dynamic curatorial duo of Cook & Ruud. Don’t miss the catalog that doubles as Issue 11 of Cantanker magazine.

      Finally, I’d like to plug an exhibition and opportunity in Fluent~Collaborative’s own metaphorical nest. Eileen Maxson’s solo show, Cached Curses, opens at our sister project testsite this Sunday evening. We hope that you will join us for the opening or during the run of the show. And last but not least, if you’re an undergraduate with an enthusiasm for contemporary art, we are looking for you. Fluent~Collaborative is seeking unpaid interns to work for testsite and …mbg. More details can be found in this issue’s Opportunities section.

      Wendy Vogel is Editor of ...might be good.

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