From the Editor
by Claire Ruud
This issue opens with an interview with Jessie Otto Hite, who recently retired after 15 years as the Director of the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. In the interview, she talks with ...might be good about, among other topics, the future of the Blanton and the large number of museum director job openings in institutions across the country at present. In light of our recent conversation with former Blanton Curator Gabriel Perez-Barriero in these pages, I found Hite’s comments on the Blanton’s position vis-a-vis Latin American art particularly interesting.
In addition to a review of University of Texas at Austin Professor Troy Brauntuch’s recent show at his New York gallery, this issue features six brief reviews of select performances from Austin's Fuse Box 2008 festival. Organized by Refraction Arts, a non-profit dedicated to the intersection of different mediums, the festival includes a range of performances from dance and theater to film and video. Rotozaza’s Etiquette, reviewed by Kate Watson in this issue, and Neal Medlyn’s Lionel Ritchie Opera, reviewed by Ivan Lozano, were two of my favorite pieces. Etiquette is a melodramatic and somewhat glamorous “performance” at Café Mundi in which you—the audience—put on headphones, listen to the directions and become the performer; the effect is reminiscent of the 1950s radio drama Dragnet. In fact, I thought Café Mundi’s organic, laid-back atmosphere was to the detriment of the piece; a café with more bustle, where the headphones would have ensconced you and your partner in a mysterious otherworld, would have made the effect of Etiquette even more striking.
Neal Medlyn’s Lionel Ritchie Opera, at the other end of the spectrum, was hilarious. In a clever move, Medlyn conducted the “talk back” at the beginning of the night, opening the room up for questions about his performance before it had actually occurred. Not only funny, this reversal also gestured to the demands of performance on the performer, the constructed nature of performance and the exhaustion of performance as medium, without overburdening these themes (as some performance art I’ve seen recently has been prone to do.)
Our 100th issue is around the corner, and we’re marking the event with a series of features focused on art writing and art criticism: a conversation between art historian Richard Shiff and Fluent~Collaborative Associate Director Caitlin Haskell, coverage of the Donald Judd as Critic symposium that took place in Marfa at the beginning of the month, and an Artist’s Space by Harrell Fletcher.
Claire Ruud is Managing Editor of ...might be good.