MBG Issue #102: We Live Uneasily with Prettiness

Issue # 102

We Live Uneasily with Prettiness

June 27, 2008

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Alec Appl, Mt. Solar, 2007, Cement, moss, solar-panel, motor, silver, desk lamp, 17 x 36 x 36." Courtesy of the artist. Currently on view in New American Talent: The 23rd Exhibition at Arthouse, Austin, TX. (detail)

from the editor

In the words of artist Cliff Hengst, a number of small galleries “burned briefly, yet brightly” in San Francisco’s Mission District during the 1990s. One of these galleries, Kiki, run by the late Rick Jacobsen, is receiving attention this summer in the form of a retrospective exhibition, Kiki: The Proof is in the Pudding, at Ratio 3 in San Francisco. Last week, Mary Katherine and I talked to Cliff, Scott Hewicker and Larry Rinder about the significance of Kiki within the San Francisco art scene. Although the gallery was open for only eighteen months beginning in the summer of 1993, it fostered a vibrant community of young artists and presented work by such artists as Nayland Blake, Kota Ezawa, Catherine Opie and Yoko Ono. Both Cliff and Scott showed work at Kiki and, during our conversation last week, Larry mentioned that Kiki was his inspiration for In a Different Light (1995), the ground-breaking exhibition he co-curated with Nayland. Looking back, Kiki appears to have been an incubator for an important group of politically minded and, often, queer artists.

The long term impact of a small gallery like Kiki prompts me to consider yet again the critical roll Austin’s alternative spaces, such as MASS and okay mountain, play in creating a thriving art scene. With this in mind, we’ve decided on “Go Local!” as the theme of this issue’s “…might be good recommends.” Frequently now, the press (...might be good included) trumpets the national attention Austin’s visual art scene is receiving. But perhaps these moments in the (relative) limelight are the very moments at which we ought to refocus our energy inward on our experimental exhibition spaces, the resources we are providing for Austin-based artists and the sustainability of their careers. Despite all the national hype, here in Austin, the pool of contemporary art collectors remains small and studio space remains scarce. okay mountain recently lost the lease to its lovely space on Cesar Chavez (due to gentrification and rising prices?). Rather than ride a wave of self-congratulation, it seems imperative that we find ways to channel Austin’s increasing resources into Austin’s artists and small, start-up spaces.

By the way, don’t fret when …might be good doesn’t appear in your inbox two weeks down the road: we’re moving to our summer schedule. You’ll receive our next issue on July 27, featuring reviews of Artpace’s New Works: 08.2, with Marcos Ramirez ERRE, Mark Bradford and William Cordova, and The Station Museum’s Defending Democracy, with Emory Douglas, Otabenga Jones & Associates and The Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca.

interviews

Max Neuhaus

By Andrea Grover

Andrea Grover interviewed the artist Max Neuhaus on the occasion of the opening of his permanent sound installation Sound Figure, and his accompanying drawing exhibition Circumscription Drawings, on view through August 10, 2008, at The Menil Collection. Born in 1939 in Beaumont, Texas, Neuhaus was a prodigious interpreter of contemporary music by his twenties and simultaneously saw the limitations of understanding sound as purely a time-based medium. In the late 1960s, he began using sound as a sculptural medium and coined the term sound installation—a term that conceived of sound as both infinite and volumetric. His subsequent body of work realized sound as sculpture in public spaces, from swimming pools to Times Square. Many of his sound works are marked by extraordinary subtlety and are often undiscovered until, as he describes, one is ready to discover them. His installation, Sound Figure, begins approximately twenty feet north of the main entrance to the Menil Collection and forms an invisible sound space that can be passed through; once inside the sound, you hear it and when you step outside, it disappears. In addition to working in sound, Neuhaus has long been engaged with drawing. His Circumscription Drawings consist of two panels with image and text and act as contemplations after a sound work is complete. Now living in Capri, Italy, Neuhaus is considered a pioneer and primary influence among contemporary practitioners of sound art.

…might be good: You started your career as a percussion soloist. What was the shift that brought you to begin thinking about sound as a kind of plastic art, as spatial rather than time-based?

Max Neuhaus: This question is a little hard to answer because I have never functioned in a theoretical way. I follow my nose. I was very fortunate to be successful at a very young age, and that gave me perspective. I was 24, and I should have been 44 because it usually takes that long to get where I was. To be that young and energetic in the middle of that career, to have these other ideas about sound—and I didn’t question them, I just acted on them. At one point it became clear that I couldn’t be both a percussion soloist and a sound artist, so I just stopped being a solo percussionist and started doing what I do now.

…mbg: Did your work begin with sound works, drawings and texts as they are in this exhibition? Was it all simultaneous?

MN: No, I began doing the drawings much later. In the beginning, I just did the sound works, but at one point at the end of the 80s it became clear that I was functioning in the world of contemporary art, which is a world of exhibitions. It’s not just that these works are site specific—they are much more than that. They are made out of the site. The site itself is the physical part of the work, it’s the material. So when I made a work for an exhibition, once the exhibition was over, the work was destroyed. It took a while to get people to understand this idea because people assume that anything to do with sound is temporary—it’s an event. Our whole experience of sound, from the first sounds you hear in the womb, represents something that happened. Yet my idea was the opposite of that. It’s pulling sound out of time and putting it in place. It’s turning the whole idea upside down. I realized I had to find a way to talk about these works that had been destroyed and a way to publish them, because after the fact, they existed only through word of mouth. But then again, having witnessed a lot of murders of artworks [laughs], I didn’t want to kill them either.

…mbg: I get the sense that you are very precise, because you create drawings of the sound works, write prose about the work and design the equipment and the devices for playback. But ultimately your work is inserted into an existing sound context, and everything else is somewhat left to chance. Is your precision early on in the process because of your expectation that the site cannot be controlled?

MN: No, it’s just the nature of the realization of these ideas. The [Circumscription] drawings are always made after the sound work. When I finish a work, I don’t really know what it is. It takes me a little while to figure out what I’ve done, and only once I figure it out can I do one of these drawings. Not only are my drawings unusual in that they have a component which is verbal, which is not part of our Western tradition of drawing, but also, instead of being a plan for the sound, they are a stimulus for reflection on the sound after the fact. The precision? I was trained as a musician, of course, so I learned a certain amount of precision through that discipline.

…mbg: It seems like you were interested in networks very early on. One of your early projects, Public Supply (1966), combined a radio station with the telephone network: callers made sound into their telephones and you mixed their voices together. And today you have the web project, Auracle, described as a networked sound instrument, controlled by the voice and played and heard over the Internet. Did you think of sound as a way to connect people, as transcultural—a term you’ve used—and of electronics as a way to connect hundreds of thousands of people?

MN: Well, electronics was just the means to produce these works. I wasn’t very good at science in school. In high school I never got calculus or algebra. But when computers came around, I knew I needed to learn how to program. I built interfaces for myself to build a piece. I don’t build the sounds of these works in my studio; I have to build them on site. I always say it’s the site that’s the physical part of the work. I have to apply sound to it and I can only apply it in place. So the sound for this new work at The Menil was built out on the site.

…mbg: Right, it’s not like they can send you a schematic for the sound of the area.

MN: Yes, but also, like you brought up before, it’s not that I take a chance with the ambient environment. I spend ten days in it, which means that, although it can change, I know it very well. I know what’s going to happen in it, what could happen in it, and what its acoustics are. It’s as variable as light would be on a physical sculpture, which changes all the time.

…mbg: So you always build the work on-site?

MN: Yes. I build the work out of the site. The sound works are really sculptures. They’re not formed of brick or steel, but they’re formed with sound. Instead of being perceived physically with the eye they’re perceived aurally. We perceive space just as much with ears as with eyes.

…mbg: I read in your biography that you lived on a boat in 1969 on the East Coast. Were you practicing as an artist when you moved onto the boat?

MN: Yes, I had made this record of my percussion repertoire for Columbia Masterworks. Instead of thinking of this as a career move, for me it was a way out because I didn’t have to throw all of that away, it was preserved in the best way possible. Columbia was rather surprised that I’d stopped performing.

…mbg: So your first sound works happened while you were still a percussionist?

MN: Yes, the first aural topography was 1967 and I made the record for Columbia in 1968. To me now, one year seems like so little time, but it is when you get close to seventy [laughs]. When you’re in your twenties in one year you can change the world, of course.

…mbg: Did living on the boat have anything to do with the way that you conceptualize sound?

MN: Well, a whole series of works came out of it. But my impetus was that I had left Houston for Manhattan in 1957 and I’d been living on Manhattan island for all that time and I wanted to escape. At first I rented a farm in Vermont, and worked there for a while. But then I realized that Vermont is not a very nice place to live. It’s very cold; the snow stays on the ground until May. Then I read somewhere that if you lived on a boat, you could put it anywhere. So it questions this whole idea of land and the idea of ownership of land. And so I decided to live on a boat.

…mbg: It was the 60s, after all [laughs].

MN: [laughs] Right! I drove to Florida and bought the first boat that I found, which turned out to be a terrible boat. It was a houseboat built by a plumber. I luckily sold it in Miami, and with the money came back to New York. At the Bronxonia Yacht Club, I found this classic 1932 motor cruiser. I didn’t look at her name until after I finished buying her. I looked at the back and it was Melody.

…mbg: How serendipitous! I just watched a documentary on the Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader about his final performance [In Search of the Miraculous] and his subsequent disappearance crossing the Atlantic. His boat was called Ocean Wave. I think boat names are prophetic.

MN: Indeed! You’re not supposed to change them. But before I eventually took this boat down the East Coast and across the Gulf Stream and into the Bahamas, I stayed in Manhattan because it needed some repairs. I lived at the West 79th Street Boat Basin.

…mbg: I know it well—it's still there.

MN: Yes. I got a call from someone who was programming at New York University who asked me to think about doing a piece. When you’re in a boat on a river like the Hudson, you hear everything passing through the water. So I had begun thinking about sound in water already. I thought about making a work through water. I remember going to Columbia and talking to some acousticians who said, “you can’t do that, it won’t work, because water is compressed as much as it can be.” I went down to the boat, took a hose on the dock, and I stuck a police whistle on the end of it. I put it under water in the Hudson, and it made a sound. So in fact, I was blowing this whistle with water.

When this call came in from NYU, I said, “OK, but does NYU have a swimming pool?” He said, “Well yeah, but…” and I said, “You get the pool, and I’ll do the work.” This was the first work, called Water Whistle, in 1971. Then I began a series, again each one in a different pool. I would travel with a set of hoses and whistles, and I built a network in the pool for each one, because although pools all look the same from the top - rectangular, the cross sections are always complex. These works were also pushing this idea of installation. I was still tied to this idea that I was making sound, and therefore it had to be an event. I insisted we do the Water Whistle piece for twelve hours. I wanted the piece to be available for people to come and go. I wanted to get away from this idea that music—like a concert—started and ended, which sounds simple now. But in those days it had people in the avant-garde world saying, “well, he’s doing a twelve hour piece, we have to go for the whole thing” [laughs]. But I was trying to establish this idea of a sound installation.

…mbg: So it began in the pool at NYU, and then where else did it go? Were they all public pools?

MN: There were various pools. The next call came from a woman who was working in the performance section at the Walker Arts Center, who said that she wanted to do a piece on New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis, so she commandeered a pool. I needed to be able to heat up the pool to around body temperature. How does an audience listen to a piece that’s underwater? I found that if you lie on your back your ears automatically go under water, and your nose and mouth are out, so it was very simple in fact to listen. But if you start to listen you stop moving, and if the water is normal swimming temperature, you’d get hypothermia after about five minutes.

…mbg: What’s really beautiful about this work is that you were physically immersing your audience in water. There must have been all sorts of references to the womb, maybe not in the quality of the sound, but in the way that we hear our first sounds through fluid.

MN: Yes, but what the newspapers were more about, is how “He’s all wet” [laughs]. In the 60s, even contemporary music was still very formal and I’d performed, as a percussionist, in tails and a white tie. And then take this audience, and get them to take their clothes off and put on a bathing suit—I mean they’ve never seen each other before, and they get in the water together. And it was wonderful.

…mbg: Let’s talk about the work that you’ve developed for the Menil Collection, Sound Figure. How did your relationship with the museum begin?

MN: I visited the site before and after the museum was done. Just after the construction, I visited Dominique [de Menil]. She brought me to the museum, but it was still surrounded by a plywood fence and there was mud out front.

 …mbg: And there was mud out front just recently, thanks to Michael Heizer [and the completion of his installation Circumflex].

MN: Yes, I heard. Bad boy [laughs]. Anyway, I came back when Joseph [Helfenstein] was here and he asked me to think about a work. So I remembered that visit [with Dominique], and I remember that I had thought of these outdoor spaces, these pocket gardens, when I had walked through with her many years before. So that’s where I thought I should start: I looked around, thought of a number of ideas and then got really fascinated with the walkway itself.

…mbg: This is the walkway on the north end?

MN: Yes, the main entrance. It was more of a combination of the form, which I’d developed back in 1999 which I call Sound Volumes; they’re outdoor works that are very highly defined sound spaces. Literally, if you’re a few inches away from them you don’t hear anything, and if you walk into them they’re there, and if you walk out of them, they disappear. And I wanted to put something like this, in the main entrance of the museum, something which is unmarked, invisible and subtle to the point that you cannot hear it, but always there. And so we agreed to do it on the walkway. So, I selected the site in October 1976 and I came back and built the sound in October of 2007.

…mbg: So when you develop a site-specific piece like this one, is it in concert with the architecture and the use of the space?

MN: It’s everything about the space; I have to find a way of really embedding sound in the place both acoustically and psychologically. It’s very important that you don’t know where the sound is coming from. Otherwise, if you see a loudspeaker, then in the context of sculpture, the loud speaker becomes a sculptural element. But as I started to say, it’s everything about the space—how it’s used, its acoustics, the sounds that already exist there. That’s my point of departure; that’s my foundation. I try to arrive without the preconception even of the first sound. Then I put in a sound and I listen, then I put another sound and I listen, and then I compare that.

…mbg: Something that I found really interesting in reading about your work is that you originated new concepts of aural urban design. By utilizing all of your knowledge of sound technology and the psychology of sound you were able to design more humane and safe sounds for emergency vehicles. Do you think that these new concepts of aural urban design are outside of your artistic practice?

MN: Yes. There are people who believe that anything an artist does it art. But I’m not one of them. I’m acting as an engineer or an inventor and using my special experience and my special skills and my insight, too.

…mbg: Has this new technology or this new approach been utilized?

MN: I now realize that it’s about fifty years ahead of its time. Around 2050 keep your ears open [laughs].

…mbg: It makes sense because so much of your work seemed like it really predicted a movement that would come to much later.

MN: Yes. I tell the whole story, which is a wonderful kind of odyssey over twelve years, on my website. There’s a text called Siren. One of the most startling ideas for people was that I wanted to build an aural image for the [emergency vehicle] so that you could hear intuitively where it was, which direction it was going, and how fast it was going. The problem is that in open areas of highways, or in cities, there are so many sound reflectors, that you don’t know where [the siren] is coming from, and you don’t know what to do. This is a patented technique now; I mean I got the first patent for sound ever issued because sound is supposed to be copyrighted.

…mbg: Was that challenging?

MN: Very. But I wanted to implement it to make it financially viable in some way. So we went through the process of the patent, with forty-six claims from 1992, so it’s expired now, and anybody can steal it. That’s the first step.

…mbg: Oh, I won’t put that in print!

MN: [laughs] That’s OK. I want somebody to steal it! I’ve always been fascinated by sound. It’s my world. It’s to a point where I don’t recognize people’s faces. I recognize their voices. Once I know them, as a voice, I never forget the voice. Even people I haven’t seen in thirty years could call me up and I’d know exactly who they are. But if I were to see them on the street, I wouldn’t. And it goes as far as my wife. She once met me at the airport, and she was standing there as I came out with my bags, and I smiled at her, because she’s a very beautiful woman, but I kept walking. She didn’t believe it. And then she realized I thought I was smiling at another woman [laughs].

…mbg: You were cheating! I have one last thought before we wrap up: The Menil Collection seems like the perfect place for you because they really embrace the intangible.

MN: Yes, of course. It’s partly the legacy of Dominique. This is an exceptional institution in the world, especially as the art world has become more and more about commerce. This is one of the few places where we can say, “No. This is what a museum is.”

 Andrea Grover is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Aurora Picture Show, a microcinema housed in her home— a former church building in Houston's Sunset Heights.


Mauricio Dias and Walter Riedweg

By Maaretta Jaukkuri

Mauricio Dias and Walter Riedweg have worked together since 1993. Their first collaborative project Devotionalia (1994-2004) was a collaboration with street children in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, Dias and Reidweg have worked with a variety of marginalized groups, including immigrants, prisoners, juvenile delinquents, janitors, street vendors, male prostitutes and visually impaired people. The artists’ interest in the concept of “the other” and their wish to tell the stories of those considered to be “others” are the guiding forces in their work. At the time of this interview,Dias and Riedweg’s work was on view in same time else where at Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo.

Maaretta Jaukkuri: Where and when has your work been exhibited in the United States?

Mauricio Dias and Walter Riedweg: In 1996, Mary Jane Jacob and Homi Bhabha included our work in Conversations at the Castle in Atlanta and our work was also included in inSitesite 2000, an exhibition that takes place every year at the border between San Diego and Tijuana in California. In 2008, The Frye Museum for the Arts in Seattle will show Funk Staden (a work we presented at Documenta 12 ). In April 2009, we will have a solo show at The Americas Society in New York, curated by Gabriela Rangel.

MJ: Your work has been shown in venues throughout Europe, Latin American, the United States and South America. Does the location of your exhibitions affect the reception of your work?

MD & WR: There are always differences in the reception of our work in different places. Reception of our work depends not only on the individual viewer, but also on the cultural and economic context in which the work is seen. In developing our work, we think about the context in which the work will be shown.

MJ: How is it to work in these different cultural contexts?

MD & WR: It is really stimulating for us to work in a variety of cultural contexts; we think it is important to work inter-territorially; for example, to produce a work in Egypt or Turkey and to then show it in Switzerland or in the US. Working in this way opens up new ways of thinking about existing situations. Misunderstandings and cultural clashes are vital to bringing about new ways of communicating and thinking.

MJ: Both ethical issues and aesthetic concerns are strongly present in your work. How do these issues and concerns effect your approach to art?

MD & WR: We believe art to be a tool to subvert culture, not just to serve it. People in the art world assume that the “intelligentsia” is restricted to those with money and appropriate education. Luckily, life has shown us that this is no more than a comfortable assumption of the bourgeoisie. There are many—we would say infinite—forms of intelligence among illiterate people, people in prison, people on the streets and in marginal contexts of society. Besides, in every institution, even in the worst ones, there’s always someone who still thinks and silently questions and these questions subvert the context or the system in which he or she operates. Luckily, we think we can still trust individualism and individual existence. Maybe we are just optimists, but why not? To be a pessimist does not make anybody more intelligent, only safer (at most).

MJ: A great deal of your artwork involves collaborative processes—not only between yourselves as artists but also with other people. How does collaboration shape your working process?

MD & WR: Negotiation is always present in any kind of collaboration—and these negotiations both interfere with and contribute to the process and to the final form of the work. These negotiations are part of the methodology.

When an artist is involved in a collaborative project, she or he has to abandon some of the modernist assumptions about what an artwork should be. For instance, it is necessary to abandon the idea of the artwork being the final container to explain everything, to include everything in itself. In collaborative practices the artwork shall, above all else, serve as a platform to expand and reflect diverse points of view. Rather than resolve anything, the artwork shall evoke questions.

MJ: Your most recent work reveals a change in your approach. It seems that you have moved from working collaboratively with groups of people to staging groups of people in particular situations or events, as you have done recently in Suitcases for Marcel (2006-08) and Funk Staden (2007). Could you tell me what led you to this change in the focus of the work?

MD & WR: Perhaps the trend that you suggest in our work is, to a certain degree, verifiable, but it does not reflect a rule we have intended to maintain What might now be different in our work is that we have found a particular way to use our cameras so that we can locate our work between documentary and fiction. We are storytellers, not documentary filmmakers. We have not changed the way we work, but there is more maturity in the way we tell stories now.

MJ: What are some issues you’d like to investigate through your work in the future?

MD &WR: We’re interested in the idea that the concept of the other might be just a poetical/political assumption like all labels that we invent in order to live in any society. Our next project, Little Stories of Modesty and Doubt, will address this idea.

Maaretta Jaukkuri is a Finnish curator working as the artistic director at Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo.


Cliff Hengst, Scott Hewicker & Lawrence Rinder on Kiki

By Mary Katherine Matalon & Claire Ruud

Last week, …might be good had the opportunity to sit down with Cliff Hengst, Scott Hewicker and Larry Rinder. All three were in Austin for …might be good’s sister project testsite; Larry and Cliff were the most recent round of collaborators with their project testsite 08.3~The Window of Art. During their time in Austin, …might be good learned—as Claire describes in this issue's "From the Editor"—that all three were involved with Kiki, the wildly unconventional gallery run by Rick Jacobsen. As artists who work both collaboratively and independently, both Cliff and Scott presented work at Kiki. Larry—who recently accepted the position of the Director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive—was the Curator for Twentieth Century Art at BAM when he began attending Kiki’s openings and performances. Fascinated by the vitality of art community focused around Kiki, …might be good asked Cliff, Scott and Larry to recount this moment in their shared history.

…might be good: Cliff, when did you move to San Francisco?

Cliff Hengst: I moved to San Francisco in 1987 from L.A. Ostensibly, I came to San Francisco to go art school, but really I was coming out. I went to San Francisco Art Institute for three years and at first, it was not what I wanted it to be. There were a lot of grateful dead poets sitting around drinking coffee and playing their guitars and I was like, this is just not the scene I want to be in. But eventually I found there were others like me at the school who I bonded with and started doing art. After I graduated, there was this kind of queer world opening up in the city. Lesbians and gays in San Francisco were asserting and empowering themselves. Queer Nation was active in the early 1990s and ACT UP in the late 80s and early 90s. Around that time, Rick [Jacobsen] founded Kiki, a gallery in the Mission district with which Scott and I were heavily involved.

…mbg: How was the establishment of Kiki related to the gay and lesbian activism that was going on at the time in San Francisco?

CH: It wasn’t really. Rick had his own agenda—art—in opening the gallery. But there was crossover because a lot of people who were involved in activism also happened to be artists. Rick did stuff in ACT UP and Queer Nation, but that was never really his thing. At Kiki, there was never an overt political program going on. I always felt that it was art first, and if there was a blurry line between art and politics in some cases, then so be it.

…mbg: Why did Rick name the gallery Kiki?

CH: Kiki was, I think, a French term of endearment, but was also a reference to shit. Sexuality figured very prominently in Rick’s life. The gallery’s inaugural show was called Caca @ Kiki in 1992, and all the artists in the show created work that referenced shit either directly or indirectly.

…mbg: Cliff and Scott, what kind of work did you contribute to the shit show?

Scott Hewicker: I was doing these sock puppets at the time. And I made this sort of brown chain of sock puppets eating each other. They weren’t stuffed or anything, but they had google-eyes. But they were ugly, ugly, worn out, holey, dirty socks. There was nothing pretty about it. There was a chain of them and they were eating each other kind of like a snake eating its tail. It was called Food Chain.

CH: I had done these two sheets of slides that were just pinned up to the window and they were all the reaction shots of the audience on Oprah. I taped a show and stopped it to take a picture of every audience reaction. The piece was called Cataract.

Larry Rinder: In addition to exhibitions, Rick also held performances at Kiki. There was this really old, rickety balcony that could hold maybe three or four people and during performances there would be all these people that were crammed dangerously into this small space.

...mbg: What kinds of perfomance?

SH: I remember that Aaron Noble did a performance there before he became known as a painter. He did this weird confrontational piece where he really engaged the audience. He brought people up from the audience to sit on the chair on stage then he would question their sensibilities about certain things. It was such a small space to have such a powerful performance. And I remember it was the only performance he ever did like that.

CH: And there was this show that he [Rick] did there, with this drag queen Joan Jett Black. It was like a talk show. Joan Jett Black and his sidekick Babette. And she would have these guests, it was like a real variety show—they would have interviews with guests and musical acts. As part of this variety show, Scott and I did a performance called Matthew & Rejoice where we played ex-gays turned Christians. We acted very caustic and very straight. We wore ties and passed out Jack Chick tracts and we sang kids’ Christian songs.

SH: like super syrupy and weird songs…

CH: And we played it super straight. People didn’t really know what to make of it. Some thought it was real.

…mbg: So the people at Kiki didn’t know you from everyday life and understand this was just a performance?

SH: Yeah people didn’t know us, or at least they didn’t know me at the time. It kind of touched a weird nerve—I remember looking out at the audience at Kiki and everyone was frowning.

…mbg: From what you are describing it sounds like at Kiki, there wasn’t a core community in the same way there was at, say, the WOW Café in New York. According to the stories about the WOW Café, there was a core group of lesbians that all knew each other—so if for example a butch lesbian played it femme in a performance the audience knew it was an act.

SH: I think Rick was a catalyst for everyone meeting and hanging out.

LR: People also go to know each other at Kiki through the plays that Kevin [Killian] created and presented there. These plays usually had at least a dozen people in them—and none were professional actors. Kevin always just chose people he knew, like Scott and Cliff. He often would cast people in parts that vaguely resembled themselves in not very flattering ways and it would come out as the person read the part.

SH: The first one was about Prince.

…mbg: The musician?

SH: Yeah. It was a pop life show all about Prince. I believe this play might have been related to a show called Pop Life, curated by Glenn Helfland at New Langton Arts in 1992.

CH: I remember wanting to be in those plays for so long. Finally, Kevin gave me the part of a straight guy who was a detective in a scene with Tanya Harding.

…mbg: So were there rehearsals for these plays or were the performances improvised?

LR: The performers would rehearse once. During the actual performance they’d hold their scripts.

…mbg: And were there costumes?

SH: It depends. Some people get really into it and have costumes, others don’t. Other people don’t even try to act, they just play it really straight, and it’s really funny that way too.

LR: And there have been dozens of these plays, there’s always one in production.

CH: Yes, actually there’s one coming up in September. Now the plays take place at California College of the Arts.

…mbg: Has the effect of these plays changed over time? Do you think the plays are received differently now that they’re no longer presented at Kiki?

SH: They’ve gotten better. He’s perfected the form a little. They’re faster, they’re funnier. And you know, I wrote one with him and he’s such a machine, he can type so fast and the lines just pour out of him.

…mbg: So Larry, did you know Rick when he started Kiki?

LR: No, I met him there and I never knew him well. At the time, I was the curator of The Berkeley Art Museum’s Matrix Program. I had come to Berkeley in 1988 from the New York City where I had been very involved in the East Village art scene. I didn’t really know the San Francisco art scene at all and Kiki was really my first introduction to a kind of core San Francisco energy. During my initial visits to Kiki, I sensed that there were things going on in San Francisco that were as interesting as what was going on in the East Village.

…mbg: It sounds like there was a really interesting scene happening at Kiki. Did the gallery get a lot of art world coverage?

CH: Towards the end, Kiki did get some coverage because of the Yoko Ono show. You know, she [Yoko] did call.

SH: The subtitle of the show that Colter[Jacobson, a San Francisco based artist] and Kevin are curating about Kiki is “the proof is in the pudding” and that comes from something she said in the phone message she left for Rick.

CH: Rick was walking on cloud nine. He would say “sit down,” and then he would just play the recording and look at you. Listening to the recording, at first, you’d be like, “it kind of sounds like Yoko Ono,” and she said something like “It is her. The proof is in the pudding,” and then she went “wah wah wah wah.” And you were like, “oh my god, it is her.” Rick did the show really before the curve of Yoko Ono adoration. She still had that stigma of breaking up the Beatles. And so when the show came up, it was a big moment for her.

…mbg: Larry, did your experience at Kiki influence In a Different Light, the exhibition you curated with Nayland Blake in 1995 about queer sensibility in relationship to contemporary art.

LR: Well, In a Different Light grew directly out of my experience at Kiki. Originally, I wanted to do a show of the Kiki community at the Berkeley Art Museum while the gallery was still there. It felt like there were a lot of people at Kiki because the space was so small—30 people felt like a crowd. But in reality, no one knew what was happening at Kiki outside of the small community associated with it—and so I thought doing a show at BAM would expose this great work to a lot more people.

I contacted the artist Nayland Blake and asked him what he thought of the idea. He was a smart guy but he didn’t mince words. He said “It’s already happening there, so why recreate it? It’s artificial. You should consider what potential you have uniquely in this context. You’re a curator at a big fancy museum with relatively huge resources—you should think about how you could do something different that would benefit this community that hasn’t been done yet.” So Nayland and I talked and talked and talked. Ultimately we arrived at the idea that the purpose of the exhibition at BAM would be to intercept or contribute to what was happening at Kiki and to put this work in a historical context. We decided to do a show looking at 20th century American art and visual culture and the resonance of gay and lesbian sensibilities. Structurally, the show was based on the structure of Kevin’s plays. The show was divided into nine different groups that functioned as nine separate conversations.

…mbg: How did you define “gay and lesbian sensibility” for the purposes of curating the exhibition?

LR: Well… loosely. My initial impulse was to say “what is gay and lesbian sensibility? And who can we put in the show to prove it?” And Nayland strategically intervened and said, “Well that’s a bad idea. Let’s just choose art we like.” He wanted to do it much more intuitively. Nayland talked about it [the process of curating the show] as a surrealist game; we would intuitively come up with specific works or specific images that needed to talk to each other—for instance, a Zoe Leonard photo and a Richard Hell album cover. Then we would build on those groupings until they became clusters. Those clusters included not just people who identify as a gay or lesbian, but straight people or people of undetermined sexuality or no sexuality.

…mbg: What kind of reactions did In a Different Light provoke in the San Francisco scene?

SH: I was incredibly proud to be in In a Different Light. And at the time, I remember thinking, “this show’s not too risqué;” I thought that I could take my parents to it. Of course when I did take my parents to the show, all the sudden I noticed all the phallic imagery and all the vaginal imagery—and my dad was very shocked. I didn’t realize that we had been in this bubble in San Francisco where we could see all this queer imagery and it didn’t feel so shocking to us. But then when outsiders came into the exhibition, they were really floored. So in that sense the exhibition did introduce our work to a larger public. I wonder what it would have been like if the show had traveled.

LR: We tried to send it around and no one would touch that show.

…mbg: What was the press reaction like?

LR: The press reaction was very positive. There was a full page review in The New York Times. The only complaint we got was from this very reactionary Catholic group called The Catholic League. They sent a letter of complaint. The visitor book was this priceless, wonderful document that had a lot of extremely positive stuff in it. But I also remember this comment that said, “I’m a young gay man that’s just about to come out of the closet and your show has made me decide to stay in. If this is what it means to be gay, then I don’t want to have anything to do with it.” So that was pretty bad.

Our whole experience organizing the show, getting loans, was so positive. When I would call people and tell them about the show and ask for valuable things, say a Charles Demuth watercolor, auction houses and collectors who had never heard of Berkeley Art Museum would say, “Oh, this is great. We want to help you with this; we’ll pay the shipping.” But on the other hand, we couldn’t get any funders. I think our largest funder was Steamworks which was a gay bathhouse. And Jim Hormel, God bless him. So every time you eat SPAM…

…mbg: What do you think has changed about the San Francisco art scene since the closing of Kiki and In a Different Light?

CH: I don’t know—the queer thing is definitely not what it used to be. The scene is kind of integrated.

SH: And it really shows how people are over the gay scene now—it’s considered trite. And it seems like the scene is really now a music, band scene.

LR: One of the things I love about the San Francisco art scene is the integration between visual art, and music and performance and writing. It’s very integrated—straight, gay and young and old. There are 20 year olds and 75 year olds at the same events—I think it’s a mature community in the best sense. There’s a lot of well informed people, a lot of energetic people and there’s a lot of tremendously great art and music and writing being made in the Bay Area right now.

*To see Cliff Hengst and Scott Hewicker's latest collaboration, a blog project for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, please click here.

Mary Katherine Matalon is Coordinator of testsite. Claire Ruud is the Managing Editor of ...might be good.

reviews

Francesca Gabbiani
lora reynolds gallery
June 14 - July 26, 2008

By Katie Anania

Francesca Gabbiani’s choices of subject matter—flowers, wealth, decadence—engage with a western modernist argument about the uselessness of decoration. Gabbiani seems to temper Adolf Loos's assertion that "ornament is crime" with an implication that her ornament is of crime: views of empty rooms, sinister picture titles, and references to predatory battles of nature (see Bird vs. Spider, 2008) heighten the tension between beauty and danger.

Gabbiani works in a vernacular similar to other L.A. artists, such as Victoria Reynolds and Ingrid Calame. All three of these artists deal with the dialectical nature of decoration by taking an historically loaded visual cue and problematizing it with references to contemporary culture. Victoria Reynolds, for instance, paints photorealistic pictures of Rococo mirrors made of marbled meats. Gabbiani, by contrast, fuses eighteenth-century ornamental motifs with a kind of draconian terror and foreboding.

The artist’s second show at lora reynolds gallery includes several pictures made of cut paper, as well as wallpaper composed from a graphite drawing of bare trees. Images of the wallpaper pattern appear in one of the cut-paper pictures, Once We Were Trees (2008), as wallpaper panels in a figureless interior, creating a strong element of intertextuality.

The Rococo-inspired paper pictures, which imitate mirrors or depict interior spaces, are the most visually arresting; Gabbiani pastes Hanson paper scraps against sheets of paper that she's painted a mirthless, opaque black. In these works, Gabbiani articulates each part of the ornament, with these small pieces of paper, so that the works look abstract when viewed at point-blank range. The arabesques break down into studs, specks and Rorschach dots and the play of paper textures becomes more evident, giving the paper a readymade-esque quality. One of the most pleasing occasions of this occurs in Under the Beasts (2007), which combines the smooth black background with a kitschy gold-foil paper and textured green or beige Hanson paper. This color combination, at once posh and sickly, highlights Gabbiani’s use of orthogonals and grounds the picture’s sinister lines onto an unstable grid. There's also a hand-cut look that emerges upon close scrutiny, when one can see the irregularities in Gabbiani's cuts. This makes them look askew and a little bestial, which is very good.

Gabbiani's wallpaper is also an interesting case. The gallery displays a graphite-on-paper study for the wallpaper, allowing the viewer to string together a narrative between process and product. Looking between the wallpaper and its model, one sees the distortion that has occurred because of the expansion from one support to another. The graphite lines in the tree trunks grow from sharp to blended and, in their wall-paper incarnation, resemble the watercolor sketches of Italian impressionist artist Filippo Palizzi. The texture of Gabbiani's drawing paper turns felted and marbly on the wall, creating a forest that is at once expressive and bloodless.

The motifs here seem familiar: issues of "the decorative," Napoleonic furniture (especially the depthless quality of inlaid chinoiserie pieces), nature (and, by extension, the ephemeral), and fear. But in fact, this work edges its way out of regressive formulae. The friction between study and final copy, or the friction between ornament and handicraft, foregrounds the work in a strange atmosphere of questions and problems. We do live uneasily with prettiness, and these works live inside each other with perfect discomfort.

Katie Anania is a Curatorial Researcher at Fluent~Collaborative and an editorial contributor to ...might be good.


Report from Yokohama
BankART 1929, Landmark Project III
May 7 - May 31, 2008

By Mayumi Hirano

In 1968, the tallest building in Yokohama was the 10-story Golden Center (a grandiose shopping center). It towered gloriously over National Route 16, which ran between the building and the waterfront. However, in the 1980s, the city's economic life refocused on the developing waterfront and interest in the Golden Center began to wane. Now renamed Pio City, business in the building has gone slack, with the exception of a gambling house that occupies its top two floors. The Golden Center's formerly lauded architecture has been forgotten and, as the director of BankART1929 puts it, the Golden Center has become "Yokohama's Berlin Wall."

In 2005, BankART 1929, a cultural organization in Yokohama, began the Landmark Project, an effort to bring visitors to areas of the city that were once bustling but are now seldom visited. Get across Route 16!, the Landmark Project's third installment, centers around Pio City.

Get across Route 16! introduced artwork by three artists, shown in vacant shop spaces on the second-level basement. Keisuke Takahashi, a visual artist from the multi-media dance company Nibroll, installed video work in a large, bare concrete space. Projected onto three side-by-side screens, each video pictures people and tiny, digitally produced sheep, all swaying to comforting music. The installation’s vacuous airiness successfully attracts curiosity of a wide range of people, passersby included. During my visit, a red-cheeked old man was dreamily absorbed in Takahashi's world.

Across the hallway, Norimichi Hirakawa exhibited his interactive Global Bearing, a piece composed of a large screen and a tall antenna. According to the guide, the top end of the antenna points to the exact opposite side of the earth. The viewer is invited to move the antenna, which creates a corresponding readout on the screen, indicating the real point where the person is standing on a digital diagram of the globe.

The highlight of the exhibition was Taro Izumi's installation in an abandoned café. The café has remained untouched since 2004, when the proprietor disappeared. Paper napkins have turned brown and dishes are covered in dust. Menus and magazines are piled high on chairs and tables, while cigarette butts clog ashtrays. Amongst these objects, Izumi inserted his video work, creating the effect of a ghostly, haunted house. In his videos, Izumi often repeats absurd actions; for instance, in one of the many video works shown here, he places his face on a pillow affixed to the end of a mop handle. He then tries to clean the floor with the contraption, only to lose his balance, fall back, and begin the process again. Izumi’s actions resemble those of a solitary child attempting to entertain himself and, perhaps, also suggest the sense of exhaustion and futility felt by his generation—a generation that came of age at a time when the economic bubble was beginning to burst.

Get across Route 16! also included a number of unrealized, yet intriguing, proposals. One of them was called Metaphorical City, which consisted of a series of outdoor projections in the pub district behind Pio City. Another one was called Dialogue with the Homeless, in which an artist would attend his own artist’s residency in a homeless person's cardboard box shelter. The Landmark Project’s flyer doesn't say why these projects have remained in the conceptual stages, but staff at BankArt 1929 allude to difficult negotiations with the community. In the future, I hope these proposals will be developed collaboratively, with the local communities. Dialogue is the first step to bringing about a positive effect in the area. This is the third year of BankART 1929’s dialogue with the local communities, and over time, the organization seems to gradually gain respect and trust from the local communities with whom they work. The latest news was that the landlord of the abandoned café in Pio City has offered the space to BankART 1929 for future art projects.

Mayumi Hirano is an independent curator and the co-founder of Voin Pahoin, an artists' collective based in Yokohoma, Japan.

to the editor

Kate Green

Hello all,

First, congratulations on your 100th. might be good... has become an important, unique and potent voice concerning the arts in Texas and beyond. Thanks to all of you for continuing to make waves.

I was particularly engrossed by your 100th issue. It presented five distinct and provocative perspectives on art and art criticism: Shiff, Meyer, Hickey, Judd, and Fletcher. I was impressed by this gathering of divergent and formidable voices, yet took note that this powerful and interesting quintuplet was composed entirely of white men. It reminded me how difficult it is to constantly maintain diversity on all fronts and prompted me to once again consider the elusive and troubling question of identity and the challenges of figuring it into our selection of artists, writers, voices, etc.


Dan Dutton

To the Editor,

I appreciated your comments [issue #101, From the Editor] about The Old, Weird America exhibition [at CAMH]. The title of the exhibition itself is an example of prejudice disguised as savvy. The term "Folk" has a specific and deliberately condescending function, as do the terms "Old" and "Weird"—as though any of us living in Old Weird America (the U.S.?) were not, or could not be, members of that set. Living in a place called "Appalachia," singing ballads and going barefoot has given me some familiarity with this phenomenon. Everyone here gets old and weird if they're lucky.

Supposedly fearless, contemporary artists seldom approach the boldest territory of all: independence from the Old Weird America in which large sums of money are still the privileged signifiers. Sigh.

...mbg recommends

Go Local!

By the editor

For those of you who have missed the 8,000 articles already published on the subject, local—be it food, music, film or otherwise—is in right now. Case in point, witness all the hoopla over the Austin premiere of Baghead (created by former Austinites, the Duplass Brothers). So rather than jetting off to some exotic locale this June or sitting inside watching random clips of faraway places on YouTube, get out and do some of the tender, local (read Texas) art world events recommended below. Local is fun—and also morally superior…

In all earnestness, the nine members of okay mountain, the plucky east Austin art space, are local heroes for their tireless commitment to offering up excellent exhibitions, performances, etc. to Austin for the last two years. …might be good has a hard and fast rule not to publicize art world benefits—but just this once we’re making an exception for okay mountain. Long story short, be at okay mountain on Saturday, June 28 at 5:00 pm, for The Mountain is Alive! their first ever fundraiser/benefit.

Despite received art world wisdom that summer months offer slim pickings for art-goers, this year, there’s a bevy of interesting exhibitions on view in Austin, Houston and San Antonio (where July is officially “Contemporary Arts Month"—click here for the schedule of events) in late June and July. In Austin, Jill Pangallo, artist and creator of Nohegan, has curated a group show entitled Reality Show which is on view at Women and Their Work until August 7. The amazing spoof of Us Weekly that serves as the show’s announcement speaks for itself. Also coming up at okay mountain is a two person show presenting work by Austinites Anna Krachey and Barry Stone. The show is called The Fifth of July, and yes, you guessed it—it opens on the fifth of July.

When talking about keeping it local, what organization does it better than Artpace San Antonio? For the uninformed, here’s a quick rundown of how their international artist-in residence program works: a guest curator chooses one artist from outside of the U.S., one artist from outside of Texas and one artist living in Texas to come to Artpace for a two month residency, culminating in an exhibition. As a result, Texans have the opportunity to see works created by art world superstars living in their state and beyond. Go check out the latest round of residents in New Works 08.2, which opens Thursday, July 10. New Works 08.2 features a particularly stellar lineup of artists—Marcos Ramírez ERRE (Tijuana, Mexico), Mark Bradford( Los Angeles, California) and William Cordova (Houston Texas)—but what else would expect from powerhouse Lauri Firstenberg, the Director/Curator of LA>ART?

Lastly, yet another Houston institution has decided to present a show purportedly investigating the impact of folk traditions on contemporary art. While The Old, Weird America at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston investigates the intersection of contemporary art and folk culture within the context of American history (see Scott Webel’s review in Issue #101), Neo-Hoodo: Art For A Forgotten Faith contains a group of artists whose work deals with spirituality and ritual. According to the press release, “Hoodo… refers to folk traditions derived from the Haitian religion of Vodun, itself preceded by the religion and culture of the Yoruba people of present-day Nigeria.” Neo-Hoodo: Art For A Forgotten Faith hadn’t yet opened in time for a review for this issue—and the jury is still out as to whether the show will turn out to be as problematic as The Old, Weird America. Interestingly, Dario Robleto’s work makes an appearance in both exhibitions—and on Saturday, July 12 beginning at 11:00 am at CAMH, he will lead a tour of both.

*For more information on any of these events, click on the above links or see our exhibitions and events listings in this issue.

announcements: exhibitions

Austin Opening

Okay Mountain
okay mountain
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 5 from 7:00-10:00 pm
A two-person show containing work by Austinites Anna Krachey and Barry Stone.

Austin On View

Reality Show
Women and Their Work
On view through August 3, 2008
This is the true story of what really happens when five artists get together every week to watch Reality TV. As the artists absorb the ritualistic dazzle of So You Think You Can Dance, the surreal ceremoniousness of The Bachelor, the manifest narcissism of The Swan and an array of other televised odes to our society’s chronic oversharing, what begins as an innocent time-waster rapidly turns to guilty obsession—complete with “countless nights of screaming and yelling at the television.” Reality Show is the culmination of these countless nights. Artists Anna Krachey, Jill Pangallo, Cecelia Phillips, Laura Turner and Jamie Wentz create collaborative as well as individual pieces meticulously parsing the looking-glass effect of a fame-obsessed medium, with deadpan results.

Ping-Pong: A Collaborative Improvised Multi-Media Installation by J. Derrick Durham and Josh Rios
mass gallery
On view through July 6, 2008
Ping-Pong is a site-specific multi-media installation resulting from a two-week improvisational collaborative between Josh Rios and J. Derrick Durham. Building upon symbols and visual cues of an imagined ecumenically established religion, Americanism, J. Derrick Durham utilizes wall painting, video, and sound to create a test space for a future liturgical experience. Using downloadable textures designed for "do-it-yourself" 3-D animators and desktop background, Josh Rios generates a series of low-resolution, improbable landscapes.

San Antonio Openings

Artists’ Dialogue and Opening Reception: Mark Bradford, William Cordova, Marcos Ramírez ERRE
artpace
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 10 from 6:00-8:00 pm
Bring your questions for the artists’ dialogue and opening of the New Works: 08.2 exhibition, curated by Lauri Firstenberg, Director/Curator LA>ART.

Houston Openings

NeoHoodo: Art for a Forgotten Faith
Menil
On view through June 27-September 21, 2008
For centuries, artists have wrestled with how to incorporate spirituality into their work. This question is no less relevant for artists living in today’s postcolonial, postmodern era. Co-organized by The Menil Collection and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, the exhibition NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith brings together an intergenerational group of artists who address ritual in the artistic process and the wider implications of spirituality in contemporary art.

announcements: events

Austin Events

The Mountain is Alive: An Okay Mountain Fundraiser
okay mountain
Saturday, June 28 at 5:00 pm
Please join okay mountain on Saturday, June 28th starting at 5 pm for an opportunity to get a good deal on your new favorite piece of artwork, help Okay Mountain to continue running our favorite gallery, and have fun all at the same time. There will be a silent auction for original artworks and other amazing prizes from local businesses and the closets and garages of the Okay Mountain staff. There will also be door prizes and raffle tickets sold for additional items. Raffle prizes will range from the exciting to the very exciting so don't miss out on an exciting chance to win the exciting prize of your dreams. In addition, there will be some good bands playing with food and cold beverages to consume.

Houston Events

Dario Robleto: Gallery Tour and BookSigning
11:00 am at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; 1:30 pm at The Menil Collection
Saturday, July 12, 2008
San Antonio artist Dario Robleto's consecutive tours of two Houston museum exhibitions in which he currently has work starts at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH)'s The Old, Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art. At noon, boxed lunches will be available at CAMH, but they must be pre-ordered ( please click here or phone 713-284-8257). Robleto resumes the gallery talks at The Menil Collection, discussing his work in NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith. The program concludes with a booksigning and refreshments on the Menil Bookstore deck. Tours are free. Transportation is not provided. Lunches and Menil refreshments must be purchased.

announcements: opportunities

Employment

Director of Donor Relations and Planned Giving
McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX
Deadline: Friday, July 11, 2008
San Antonio's McNay Art Museum seeks an experienced individual to direct major donor relations and planned giving programs. This position requires professional fund-raising experience, excellent speaking and writing skills and a proven record of success to direct major donor relations and a planned giving program. Experience in fundraising for the arts and Spanish speaking ability desirable. The position has a competitive salary and excellent benefits. To apply please e-mail resume to lisa.penn@mcnayart.org or mail to: Human Resources, P.O. Box 6069, San Antonio, TX 78209-0069.

Registrar/Exhibition Coordinator, Part-time
Arthouse
Application Deadline: Tuesday, July 14, 2008
Arthouse is looking for a registrar/exhibition coordinator. This position is responsible for all data related to artworks loaned to Arthouse and/or created for Arthouse. The Coordinator is responsible for creating, organizing and maintaining orderly forms and legal documents, registrarial and exhibition files, and all retrieval systems related to the following: loans, packing, shipping, inventory, insurance and storage. Additionally, the Coordinator is responsible for the care, custody, control and condition of all artworks at Arthouse at the Jones Center and those on tour under the auspices of Arthouse. The coordinator is responsible for organizing and coordinating all aspects of borrowing objects which include responsibility for handling and/or packing of artworks, processing insurance claims, making shipping arrangements (using local, regional, national and international vendors), processing incoming and traveling loans, and maintaining accurate checklists and catalogue information. The Coordinator works with artists who are making new works to be exhibited at Arthouse and assists in all appropriate aspects of the realization of the final artwork in situ. The Coordinator is responsible for all aspects of Arthouse’s Art On Tour program including creating prospectuses, identifying and contacting Texas venues, and following through regarding contracts, packing and shipping. This position reports to the Curator and works closely with the exhibitions team and other staff members. Two to three years registrarial experience is preferred. Application deadline: July 14, 2008 Please send cover letter and resume to: Elizabeth Dunbar Curator, Arthouse, 700 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701 .

Rights and Reproduction Manager
The Menil Collection, Houston
Deadline: Thursday, July 31, 2008
The Menil Collection is seeking a highly self-motivated, innovative individual to handle all aspects of rights & reproductions for the collection. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: processing internal and external requests for images of objects in the collection to be reproduced; initiating rights and reproductions contracts and invoices, establishing rates for usage, maintaining the database and files, and tracking transparency rentals and receipt of copies of publications; organizing, maintaining, and properly storing all Menil Collection visual resources, including transparencies, photographic prints, and digital images; assisting with new photography of collection objects as well as photography of objects borrowed for temporary exhibitions, as needed; assisting with copyright issues related to the reproduction of and filming of collection objects; working with various museum departments (including Curatorial, Membership and
Publications) to secure copyright permission for reproductions featured in Menil Collection publications; and, corresponding extensively with rights and reproductions patrons and copyright holders. Please send resume and cover letter to: Human Resources, The Menil Collection, 1511 Branard Street, Houston, Texas 77006; fax 713 525 9476. Application materials may also be emailed to: smaloch@menil.org. EOE.

Executive Director
Brownsville Museum
Deadline: Friday, August 1, 2008
The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art seeks an experienced professional to serve as director of its new 17,000-square-foot facility in the Rio Grande Valley. At the southernmost tip of Texas, Brownsville is a rapidly growing city, with amazing wildlife and beaches, and easy access to Mexico. Founded in the 1930s, the BMFA is a regional museum with strong educational programs, an active temporary exhibition schedule, and a collection of 20th and 21st-century art emphasizing south Texas and north Mexico. This is an exciting opportunity for an articulate and energetic manager with a bold vision who can develop funding sources and oversee operations. The Executive Director is responsible for financial and personnel management, implementation of a growth-oriented strategic plan, and expanding the BMFA's programs. The ideal candidate will have an advanced degree, experience leading a non-profit organization, be an effective and motivational leader, and enjoy living in a multicultural border community. Bilingual English/Spanish is preferred. For complete information including minimum requirements and job description, please click here

Exhibit Fabricator/Facility Supervisor
Austin Children's Museum
Deadline: Open until filled
The Exhibit Fabricator/Facility Supervisor provides building maintenance and acts as liaison with outside maintenance service providers. In addition, this position assists with exhibit fabrication building high quality, hands-on exhibit components, props, and furnishings for Museum galleries, exhibits, and traveling exhibits. For further information and application instructions, please click here.

Special Events Manager
Dallas Museum of Art
Deadline: Open until filled
The Dallas Museum of Art is seeking a Special Events Manager to provide management, coordination and guidance to annual, high-profile Museum fundraisers, including the Art Ball. The primary responsibility of the position is to manage the overall planning and execution of the event, including the expectations of trustees and volunteer leadership. For more information, please click here.

Artist's Workshop

Art Installation Workshop
Lawndale Art Center
Wednesday, July 2, 2008 from 6:30-7:30 pm
Terry Andrews will lead a free workshop on installing artwork in a gallery setting. Topics discussed will include proper handling, measuring and centering and typical hardware for a variety of hanging situations. This workshop will provide participants the knowledge they need to hang their own work at home or in a gallery setting. Individuals interested in volunteering to install work selected for The Big Show are encouraged to attend.

Artist's Residencies

Balmoral Castle Scholarships 2009
Künstlerhaus Schloß Balmoral
Deadline: Saturday, July 19, 2008
Artists’ residence Künstlerhaus Schloß Balmoral in Bad Ems, Foundation for Culture of Rhineland-Palatinate, which was founded in 1995, is a place of reflection, artistic production, discussion and meeting. It supports visual artists from all over the world by awarding artists-in-residence scholarships as well as one theory scholarship for a junior academic. The Künstlerhaus is publicly presented through lectures, concerts and exhibitions. Works by the scholarship holders are regularly shown in a relaxed atmosphere. The Künstlerhaus perceives itself as an intersection between the different kinds of art media and theoretical reflection but also as an intermediary between current and former scholarship holders. Balmoral intends to build a bridge between the artists' present and their future. For further details and application information please click here.

Ox-Bow Fall Residency
Ox-Bow
Deadline: Friday, July 25, 2008
Ox-Bow, school of art and artists' residency, is accepting applications for its Fall 2008 residency cycle. Fall Artists’ in Residence at Ox-Bow are given the time, solitude, and focus often unavailable to so many working artists. At Ox-Bow, artists can enjoy 24-hour access to their studios, and an inspirational setting, free from the expectations of commercial and academic demands. During the fall season, Artists’ in Residence have the opportunity to work in studios not available during the summer session. They also enjoy a more intimate community of like-minded, and diverse professionals. The fall season is also an ideal time to propose group or collaborative work. Applications for the fall Residency Program are due July 25, 2008.  Click here to download the Application for the Fall Residency Program (2 pages).

Call for Artists

Texas Biennial 2009
Group Exhibition Deadline: Monday, June 30, 2008
The 2009 Texas Biennial is accepting submissions from artists living and working in Texas via the website, www.texasbiennial.com. All submissions will be digitally submitted online and artists of all medias are encouraged to submit. For further information and application instructions, please click here.

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