From the Editor
by Wendy Vogel
The events of the past few weeks have bespoken romance—both of the Cupid’s-arrow variety and of revolution. This Valentine’s Day followed on the heels of recent political turmoil in Egypt that led to the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. The series of riots and protests were as exciting as they were tumultuous. As onlookers from abroad, we collectively identified with the passionate testimonies of oppressed individuals concretized in a cascade of violent, dramatic press images. While the democratic future of Egyptian politics is uncertain at this point, few of us have remained unmoved by watching the struggle play out in the Middle East.
Thinking about the political possibilities of taking to the streets and the themes that repeatedly surface in this issue of …mbg, I kept returning to the title of Yvonne Rainer’s 2006 autobiography Feelings are Facts. An update of the ‘70s feminist maxim “the personal is the political,” Feelings are Facts catalogues the life of the famous dancer, choreographer and filmmaker through a series of personal encounters as messy, enlightening and absurd as life itself. The articles in this week’s issue tease out a similar sensibility. The writers privilege the incommensurability of emotional life and personal aesthetics not only as a subject for contemplation, but also as a cipher through which the cultural and political might be understood.
This issue opens with my interview with Natasha Bowdoin about her solo exhibitions in Houston and Austin. The artist’s obsessively handcrafted cut-paper works reconfigure famous texts through transcription and sculptural layering. In our reviews section, Wendy Atwell considers zinesters’ highly personal “Cubist deconstruction of mass media” at Unit B in San Antonio, while Chelsea Weathers contemplates emotional ecologies in SUBstainability at Texas State University. Veronica Roberts reviews An Exchange with Sol LeWitt at MASS MoCA and Cabinet (her preview of the show was featured in our January 21st issue), underscoring the “creative, generous and humorous” spirit of the contributors and LeWitt himself, and Ali Fitzgerald argues for the emotional impact delivered through formal subtlety in Out of Place at Lora Reynolds Gallery. Finally, in "…mbg recommends", Mary Walling Blackburn seals the issue with her thoughts on Andy Warhol’s Kiss.
Speaking of romantic aesthetics, be sure to plan a visit to Recovering Beauty: The 1990s in Buenos Aires at the Blanton Museum in Austin, opening this Sunday. A wonderful interview in Spanish with curator Ursula Davila-Villa can be found here. As a teaser before the public opening, Dr. Andrea Giunta from the University of Texas will be speaking with exhibition artists Marcelo Pombo and Sebastián Gordín in the Blanton auditorium this Saturday, February 19th at 2pm.
Until the next issue, show your love and appreciation for the arts by visiting some exhibitions and events here in Texas. Not sure where to go? Visit our exhibitions and events sections for some ideas.
Wendy Vogel is Editor of ...might be good.