From the Editor

by Claire Ruud

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      Kurt Mueller, Stills from American Dream, 2008
      Single channel video (sixteen minutes), monitor, speakers, amplifier, microphone
      Dimensions variable
      Courtesy of the artist

      Austin Museum of Art’s triennial 20 to Watch: New Art in Austin opened three weeks ago, showcasing a new crop of Austin-based artists. In my review of New Art in Austin in this issue, I critique the triennial’s arbitrary geographical parameters and the exhibition’s injudicious installation. While I appreciate the gesture that New Art in Austin makes to support Austin’s emerging artists, I would like AMOA to reconsider—and strengthen—its commitment to these artists. An interview with AMOA Executive Director Dana Friis-Hansen, though not specifically focused on New Art in Austin, provides an alternative view of AMOA’s role in Austin's art community.

      When …might be good’s editorial staff read my review of New Art in Austin, I received a number of strong responses. My opinion sparked a conversation (and even some debate) about the exhibition that will interest our readers. Below, I print a few of the comments I received from our staff.*

      I would like to see AMoA include curators from outside of Texas on New Art in Austin’s curatorial team. While the curators they choose are good curators—this year, the team includes Diane Barber, Director of DiverseWorks in Houston, Bill Fitzgibbons, Director of Blue Star in San Antonio, Dennis Kois, Director of the Grace Museum in Abilene and AMoA’s Eva Buttacavoli—are they the curators who will advance the artist’s careers? Why not consider a curatorial team that includes national and international curators, with the hope that they will invite some of the artists to work outside of Texas in the future?

      Regarding the installation, the issue of what is intentional and what is unintentional is key for me. I think that basically no thought went into creating a thematic installation; most of the decisions seem based on fitting the works into a cumbersome exhibition space. The museum should be called out on that. But your review gives the curatorial team too much credit for creating conceptual groupings, which I don't think are there, and then accuses the groupings of being reductive.

      I’m really excited that …might be good is questioning both the format and function of the New Art in Austin exhibition in this review. I hope that the review initiates a productive dialogue about if and how the exhibition helps emerging artists. We’re not just criticizing the show for the sake of criticizing it.

      I encourage readers to participate in this discussion—a discussion that concerns one of Austin’s largest art institutions and one of the city’s most significant exhibition opportunities for emerging artists—by sending responses to info@fluentcollab.org. Readers might also be interested in visiting the 2008 New Art in Austin interactive website, reading Ivan Lozano's blog post on the site and consulting Rachel Cook’s February 15 article in the Austin Chronicle, which enriches the conversationwith ten first-person accounts from former New Art in Austin artists.

      Moving outside of Austin: In this issue, Lyra Kilston, an editor at Modern Painters, contributes her thoughts on the online component of the New Museum’s Unmonumental. To complement her review, Kilston moderates a roundtable discussion with four New York-based artists—Fawn Krieger, Ian Pedigo, Julia Rommel and Roy Stanfield (both Ian and Roy are former testsite artists)—on the sculptural component of Unmonumental, which is installed in the museum’s new building. Another New York-based artist, Cody Trepte, created work for this issue's Artist's Space. An exhibition in which he is included, The Lining of Forgetting: Internal and External Memory in Art, will travel to the Austin Museum of Art in the Spring of 2009.

      In the next issue of …might be good, look forward to an Artists’ Space with the Austin Video Bee, an interview with Barry Schwabsky, critic for Artforum and The Nation, a review of Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates #5 and a book review of Richard Shiff’s Doubt (2007).

      We welcome responses to us or any of our writers at info@fluentcollab.org.

      *In the interest of full disclosure: One of our editorial members, Caitlin Haskell, co-authored the exhibition catalogue for New Art in Austin. She was not, however, involved in the curatorial process.

      Claire Ruud is Managing Editor of …might be good.

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