From the Editor
It’s hard for me to imagine a more thankless task than curating a major biennial. There are few lightning rods for criticism more powerful than these exhibitions and their rotating roster of curators and premises. What essentially amounts to a group show on a massive scale, cities all over the world have been capitalizing on the idea of the biennial to bring a little taste of art-flecked internationalism to their corner of the world. Hot on the heels of 2011‘s Texas Biennial, Dallas is the most recent Lone Star locale to grab a seat on the biennial train—two in fact. The Dallas Contemporary’s Adjunct Curator Florence Ostende recently put together an anti-biennial of sorts, the Dallas Biennale, that occupied storefronts and spaces throughout the city. Writer and current MFAH Core fellow Sally Frater lends her critical eye to Ostende’s premise and the resulting exhibition in her attentive review. Dallas is also host to the Dallas Biennial, or DB12, which has brought dynamic and diverse programming to the DFW Metroplex that operates as part research, part publication and part exhibition free from the constraints of time and location.
No discussion of biennials would be complete without a nod to the Whitney Museum of American Art, whose own storied biennial began as an annual exhibition in 1932 and debuted under the biennial moniker starting in 1973. Referencing the Whitney Biennial’s history, Blanton Museum of Art Associate Curator Ursula Davila-Villa provides her perspective on the recently closed 2012 edition. Her solid assessment confronts the shows lack of rigorous engagement with the ideas of performance and process that made up its premise. Lackluster installation and absentee artists are just a few of the sore spots at the root of her criticism.
If smaller scale exhibitions are more your speed Austin-based poet Kyle Schlesinger lends his pen to SOFA Gallery’s recent two-person offering, Putting Things Together, at 1319 Rosewood in Austin. Much of the news coming out of Austin has been unfavorable as of late, but there are plenty of great things happening worth noting. Co-Lab Projects recently opened a new downtown location, N Space, to compliment their east side digs. (Stay tuned for a review of Ben Brandt’s recent project, All_Over, next issue.) Tiny Park Gallery is also on the move and we’re excited to see what they do once they’re settled in their new space. Austin-based artist Jeff Williams sauntered home with the 2012 Texas Prize, while the Austin Critics’ Table doles out its annual wares to local artists and exhibitions June 4 at The Cap City Comedy Club (might we suggest a change of venue?). If the new AMOA-Arthouse director is out there we humbly recommend Kate Green’s interview with the Linda Pace Foundation’s Executive Director and Curator Steven Evans, as an entrée into thinking about managing ambitious programming, multiple properties, a collection and community engagement in Texas.
Recommendations are a part of each issue of ...mbg and this week we suggest Kevin Cooley’s Skyward in the video room at Marty Walker Gallery in Dallas (a review will follow in our next issue). The moving image is also the subject of our second recommendation, Joachim Koester’s To navigate, in a genuine way, the unknown..., at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge. Koester has justifiably been in the spotlight as of late and is one of the artists that make up writer and curator Sarah Demeuse’s review of Animism at e-flux in New York City.
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Eric Zimmerman is an artist and Editor of ...might be good.