From the Editor

by Wendy Vogel

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      Emily Ng
      Fluent Gradient
      Photoshop gradient created à la Cory Arcangel

      This week our critical community was dealt a disheartening blow. On Wednesday, March 30, the Texas-based journal Art Lies announced that it will cease production and publication of its quarterly printed publication and online content, effective as of May.

      The role that Art Lies has played in forging a dialogue about contemporary art made and presented in Texas is immeasurable. Since 1993, Art Lies has grown from a grassroots staple-bound bimonthly publication based in Houston to a quarterly printed publication and online platform with national and international reach. Throughout its expansion and transformation, it has remained committed to thinking about Texas in concert with art being created elsewhere. These efforts to foster exchange have also led to the development of the Art Lies Distinguished Critic Lecture Series and Guest Editorial Contributor Program. In rethinking the way Texas art is presented discursively, Art Lies helped shaped the state’s profile and identity as a place where contemporary art thrives. Personally, I knew of Art Lies well before moving to Texas and have been proud to contribute to both its print and online formats. It has helped build a critical conversation that has impacted …might be good, from its editorial vision to our readership.

      With the sobering news of Art Lies’ hiatus, it seems a good moment to reflect on the state of criticism and arts funding at large. Art Lies is not the only organization whose finances have been jeopardized by the recent decrease in public arts funding, nor is it the only print publication whose costs have proved too exorbitant due to the rise of digital media. Now is a moment where we can think positively and critically about the advantages that other formats may provide. Professional specificity has already become fluid since the 1960s, as funding has become scarcer and changes in the modes of art production have taken place. Hybrids like the curator/critic, artist/gallerist, and on and on, have become the norm. Collectively we can also reimagine and destabilize the conceptual boundaries of what can be presented in print vs. online journals, alternative vs. mainstream spaces, and exhibitions vs. other kinds of programming.

      At the same time, we must choose our battles and fight for the integrity of our arts institutions. These institutions include the places where criticism is produced. Outside of this column, this issue of …mbg reflects these concerns. In addition to this week’s reviews of exhibitions in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, we play host to conversations with a variety of art producers and mediators. In our Interviews section, Rachel Adams talks with Katie Geha about the importance of DIY spaces and the Austin art ecosystem at large. I interview Virginia Rutledge, curator of the 2011 Texas Biennial, about the curated exhibitions and her choices that highlight the existing statewide arts infrastructure. Finally, Michelle Handelman contributes to our Artist’s Space with her own words on the events that have unfolded in response to her work at Arthouse, including the panel discussion “Inflammatory Images and the Politics of Sex” that took place on March 24.

      As always, we encourage your thoughts in response to the content presented here. What do you think about the state of the arts in Texas? How can we enrich the critical feedback loop? What conversations do you hope these recent events will generate?

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

      + 1 Comment
      Apr 1, 2011 | 11:23am

      I am sad to hear of your, hiatus, although pleased you choose hiatus over discontinued. Art criticism is required to help spread the word of exhibitions and artists to look for, but with so many artists and critics one needs to rise to the top for attention. The phenomenon of rising to the top isn’t limited to substance or style but sometimes just magic or an x-factor it can be very mysterious why something catches the art public’s attention. It is not academic why something is good, better or best. Best wishes.

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