From the Editor

by Claire Ruud

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      Performance Documentation of Etiquette
      Created and produced by Rotozaza (London).
      Presented as part of the Fuse Box Festival

      This issue opens with the second installment of a series of conversations with art critics spearheaded by our Associate Director, Caitlin Haskell. This installment, an interview with New York-based critic and art historian Katy Siegel, complements Caitlin's interview with Barry Schawbsky in Issue #95. In both conversations, Caitlin raises important questions about the role of the art critic and the state of art writing today. In addition, Caitlin recently had a chance to see How Artists Draw, organized by newly appointed Chief Curator of the Menil Collection Drawing Institute and Study Center, Bernice Rose. Caitlin’s review of the show considers the expansive vision of “drawing” that Rose presents through How Artists Draw, the Institute’s inaugural exhibition.

      Also in this issue is a double feature on Cult of Color: Call to Color, the intrepid collaboration between visual artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, choreographer Stephen Mills and composer Graham Reynolds. The ballet, based on Trenton’s visual and textual mythology of the Mounds and the Vegans, is certainly grand, taking on such themes as religion and rebellion and boasting delightful costumes designed by Trenton himself. Both the costumes and Stephen Mills’s choreography display a sense of playfulness, and I found the dance to be quite funny at times. In fact, if Cult of Color has a weak spot, it’s that the ballet becomes almost too cute at moments, and thus loses some of the edginess of Trenton’s mixed media drawings and paintings. In addition to the interview with Stephen and the review of the exhibition at Arthouse in this issue, readers might also be interested in John Aielli’s podcast interviews with the collaborators and Jeanne Claire van Ryzin’s preview and review of the ballet in the Austin American-Statesman.

      Finally, in response to an interview with Gabriel Perez-Barreiro in Issue #96, I received a letter to the editor from some of the faculty in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. The letter celebrates Dr. Jacqueline Barnitz, a pioneer in the field of Latin American art history, who recently retired from the department.

      Looking ahead, Austin’s Ron Berry and Refraction Arts have created an outstanding lineup of performance, dance, music, film, poetry and visual art for Fuse Box Festival 2008, which begins next Thursday, April 24, and runs through Saturday May 3. If the 79-page catalogue, which lists events all over town, seems too daunting to digest, here are a few of our picks:

      Stacked Cow and other dances performed by Scott Heron, whose work has been presented at The Kitchen, Movement Research at Judson Church and PS 122, and HIJACK, the Minneapolis-based duo Kristin Van Loon & Arwen Wilder (Salvage Vanguard Theater, May 1, 7pm, May 2, 8:30pm & May 3, 4:00pm).

      Double Fantasy, an exhibition of five collaborations between Austin-based artists and artists from New York, Mexico, France, Chicago and Utah, curated by Ron Berry and Jade Walker (Big Medium Gallery, opening reception May 3 from 7 – 9pm).

      Neal Medlyn’s Lionel Ritchie Opera, composed entirely of songs from Ritchie’s greatest-hits album “Back to Front” in the order they appear on the album (Blue Theater April 25 & 26, 10 pm)

      The Living Whale: a marathon misreading of Moby Dick, a film, video and performance project inspired by the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s annual marathon reading of Melville’s classic (Blue Theater, April 28, 8pm).

      Etiquette, Rotozaza’s half-hour experience for two people in a public place (in this case, Café Mundi) wearing headphones that tell them what to say and do (April 24 – May 3, for reservations call 512.927.1118).

      As for …might be good, our next issue will be guest edited by Austin artist Eric Zimmerman, and will include interviews with artist Micheal Jones McKean (Chicago) and architect Thomas Bercy (Austin), an essay by the Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata (Austin) and an Artist’s Space with founder of the Itinerant Laboratory for Perceptual Inquiry, Katherine Bash.

      As always, we welcome responses to us or any of our writers at

      Claire Ruud is Managing Editor of …might be good.


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