MBG Issue #103: Alleged Rupture

Issue # 103

Alleged Rupture

July 25, 2008

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Sarah StevensThe Staypuft Harbinger, 2008. Courtesy the artist and Co-Lab. (detail)

from the editor

A number of new art venues have sprouted up around Austin over the last six months. Most notably, Domy Books, of Houston fame, opened a branch in Austin this spring. The bookstore not only carries an eclectic mix of art books, comics and periodicals, but also showcases work by a variety of artists (see …might be good recommends to find out what’s coming up at Domy). On a recent visit, I saw catalogues from lora reynolds gallery on the shelves, as well as books that seemed to respond to Texas art happenings, such as Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates recently at Arthouse and Kara Walker’s retrospective currently at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In addition, I noticed quite a selection of books on environmental concerns and sustainable living. And finally, if you’re interested in street art, skateboards or anime, it’s my impression that Domy has good coverage of all three.

On the subject of skateboards and spray paint, these two objects seem also to be favorites of The United States Art Authority, the newest project of the Spiderhouse clan. In February, their exhibition Art on Deck introduced Austin to the skateboard art collection of Austin-transplant Warren McKinney, and the current show of work by Federico Archuleta promises to be “Tex-Mex-Sexy,” (so says the press release). However, so far, The USAA’s focus has been weighted heavily towards events such as sketch comedy revues, cult film screenings, mixers and music shows.

I’d also include the artist-run MASS Gallery in this rundown of new spaces, even though it’s been around since 2006. MASS received new leadership this summer, and now appears to be spearheaded by artists Jesse Butcher, Ivan Lozano, Anthony Romero and Xochi Solis. And finally, a few weeks ago, Co-Lab, another (mostly) artist-run gallery, opened its doors. Co-Lab hopes to present a new show or project to the public almost every week, a breakneck pace which may be difficult to sustain.

The arrival of this last space, Co-Lab, left me pondering the endless creation and dissolution of alternative art venues in Austin. When it turned out that Austin’s Co-Lab didn’t know about their namesake, New York’s CoLab of the late 70s and early 80s, I wondered whether start-up spaces in Austin have an historical framework within which to position their projects. Perhaps, just as artists benefit from art historical memory, art spaces could benefit from a little institutional memory. A knowledge of the history of alternative institutions might offer productive models for functioning in the present and, perhaps, contribute to their sustainability.

But following this line of reasoning, I began questioning my own demand for sustainability. In many cases, experimental spaces with long term success only become part of the system they once defied—witness P.S.1’s relatively recent incorporation into MoMA. Perhaps a one-to-three-year run is a healthy life span for many of Austin’s art spaces. Rather than try to mimic larger urban centers, we can see Austin’s smaller, ever changing arts community as an opportunity to create a more flexible system. The constant flux in Austin provides space for young artists to experiment productively and to create their own spaces and scenes.

These ruminations are part of an ongoing conversation in the Austin art community and Ivan Lozano recently offered a condensation of the blogsphere exchange on the subject in a post on his glasstire.com blog, Captial A. Ultimately, Ivan seems pessimistic about the vitality of Austin’s art scene; he suggests that Austin’s lack of infrastructure causes burn-out. But nonetheless, Ivan continues to invest in Austin's community (for example, his new leadership role at MASS) and, when he’s feeling optimistic, believes in the “do-it-yourself” model. In short, it’s an open question: in what ways can we productively develop the experimental, mutable nature of Austin’s art scene? What would we sacrifice in the process of transforming Austin into a more established art center and what would we gain?

This issue of …might be good is chalk full of reviews from Dallas, Texas, to Paris, France. And if you’re looking for ways to fill you’re hot summer days, check out …might be good recommends for some worthwhile suggestions.

Look forward to our August issue the 22nd, which will include coverage of SITE Santa Fe and Sharon Engelstein's current show at Sunday L.E.S. and an interview with Joyce Goss, the director of the Goss Michael Foundation. Then, in September, we’ll be moving back to our bi-weekly schedule for the 2008-2009 season.

Claire Ruud is Managing Editor of ...might be good.


Curator's Notes: Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure
Art Palace
July 26 - August 23

By Katie Geha

Duke and Battersby, Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure, 2006, 15 minutes.

Oswald Spengler’s 1917 Decline of the West described history as a looping pass through the seasons, a life cycle of cultural ascension and apocalyptic decline. Spengler said that we exist in “late” life, a time in history that is more like Caesar’s Rome than Pericles’s Athens.

“George Bush ruined my twenties!” [1]

In 1966, Susan Sontag wrote a searing response to the question, “What’s happening in America?” In the essay, she described an America that is polluted with gadgets and “box” architecture, an America where the man in the White House “paws people and scratches his balls in public” and an America that obliterates the senses making “gray neurotics of most of us, and perverse spiritual athletes and strident self-transcenders of the best of us.” [2]

The exhibition Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure is about nature and psychedelia, yogic chants and teenage angst, dystopian fair rides and a hand-written history of the mall: but it is mostly about disappointment. Through a shared discontent, these artists have created pointed commentary on consumerism, spectatorship, trash, an idle nation. What the works share is an interest in promoting strident self-transcendence.

“That was before 9/11, before the world got smaller and scarier.” [3]

In the days following 9/11, then New York mayor Rudolph Guliani encouraged the "best shoppers in the world" to go out and support the economy as an act of patriotism. Jenny Perlin's Possible Models is a film that examines America's favorite pastime. A broken, jumpy projector flicks hand-written text: the story of the first shopping mall, statistical facts comparing the Mall of America and the Mall of Dubai and a 2004 newspaper report about a Somali man accused of being linked to an Al-Qaeda cell and charged with plotting to blow up an Ohio mall. Nuradin Abdi was held in custody for more than six months before being formally charged.

“What God intended for you goes far beyond anything you can imagine.” [4]

Between Tom Cruise’s Scientology, Madonna’s Kabbalah and Oprah’s full embrace of Eckhart Tolle, mass culture has shown an interest in alternative modes of spirituality. One way to self-transcendence, the artists in this exhibition suggest, is through nature, mystical beings, psychedelic forms. Melissa Scherrer filmed a rotating fair ride lit up by flickering lights, spelling out “Genesis.” People move in and out of the frame as the whirring sound of the ride adds to the eerie picture of both middle America and the end of the world. Siebren Versteeg and Deborah Johnson wrote a computer code that created a psychedelic animation that quickly builds up into a tizzy of color and then dissipates just as fast.

"The slow going down of the morning land" [5]

The title of the exhibition, Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure, comes from a video of the same title by New York artists Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby. The piece is a meditation on late life. A chorus intones: “We were made in shit, we live in shit, diseased, and drunk and poor.” An animated prophet warns, “Soon there will be only city, just as there was once only wild.”

I have reason to believe the artists in this exhibition are not without hope. Sontag concludes her essay: “But one should notice that, during its long elephantine agony, America is also producing its subtlest minority generation of the decent and sensitive, young people who are alienated as Americans. They are not drawn to the stale truths of their sad elders (though these are truths)." [6] [1] Chelsea Weathers to the author, July 5, 2008.
[2] Susan Sontag, “What’s Happening in America (1966), Styles of Radical Will (New York: Delta, 1966), 194.
[3] Katie Couric, CBS Nightly News, July 21, 2008.
[4] Oprah Winfrey, “Oprah Winfrey Quotes,” www.power-of-giving.com.
[5] “The Going Down of the Morning Land' is how Lauren Owen's father translated 'The Decline of the West' to me in 1960 Tulsa—slow was my word." Ted Berrigan, Note to XVI in The Sonnets by Ted Berrigan, introduction by Alice Notley (Penguin, 2000), 82.
[6] Sontag, 204.

Katie Geha is a graduate student in the Department of Art History at The University of Texas at Austin.

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art
On view through October 19, 2008

By Charles Dee Mitchell

Kara WalkerCut, 1998, Cut paper and adhesive on wall. Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

When artists do their self-portraits, we know they are striking a self-revelatory pose. Most often it is the pose of “The Artist,” but clowns and any number of other motifs may appear.

In Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the artist’s retrospective currently at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, a work titled Cut (1998), done in her signature style of cut black paper silhouette pasted directly to the wall, is a self-portrait—a self-portrait in that Walker costumed herself and posed for the photograph on which the work is based. And so what are we to make of the pose the artist is striking? She has dressed herself as one of the slave girls that appear throughout her phantasmagoric vision of the Antebellum South, a vision most often depicted through exquisite, panoramic scenes of sexual and scatological outrages set on verdant plantations under trees dripping with Spanish moss and full moons sliced by passing clouds. These scenes are usually heavily peopled with slaves and masters, but in Cut, we see only the single figure, often referred to as "The Negress" in Walker’s titles, slightly larger than life-sized. She leaps into the air, causing her full skirt to swing slightly to her left, and nimbly clicks her heels. She is also slashing her wrists with a straight razor. The geysers of blood erupting from the deep cuts echo the jaunty swing of her skirt, but when they fall to the ground they form small, grim puddles.

Suicide might be an escape from the constant round of sexual and physical abuse Walker depicts, but the frenzy in this image evokes the self-mutilations associated with the most extreme states of religious ecstasy. To this day, flagellants scourge themselves in public and private, but in the ancient world worshippers of Cybele could commit acts so self-destructive that they died in their celebrations. In a state of ecstasy, boundaries disappear. To witness such a state leaves outsiders awed, alarmed and possibly sickened—all conditions we experience with Walker’s exhibition. In Cut, Walker plays the role of the ecstatic. She becomes the conduit of both fury and the kind of joyfulness that comes with transgressing all proprieties and revealing all.

The slashing in Cut is the anger that fuels Walker’s work. (The cover of the exhibition catalog reproduces a text piece that opens, “Dear you hypocritical fucking twerp.”) The pleasure she finds exercising her talents as a draftsman and a storyteller that skillfully plays with her audience: that is the sound of Walker’s heels clicking as she leaps into the air.

Charles Dee Mitchell is a freelance art writer based in Dallas, Texas. He contributes to the Dallas Morning News and Art in America.

Defending Democracy
The Station Museum
On view through September 14, 2008

By Ariel Evans

Emory Douglas, Poster for the Black Panther Party. Image courtesy of the Station Museum of Contemporary Art.

Viewers may have a difficult time grappling with The Station Museum of Contemporary Art’s current exhibition, Defending Democracy, due to its scattered and superficial approach to activist art. The exhibition featured three art collectives: the Assembly of the Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca (ASARO), Emory Douglas and the Black Panthers, and the Houston-based Otabenga Jones & Associates. The curators of Defending Democracy linked these three—different in terms of aesthetics, location, and historical context—on the basis of their “commitment to participatory democracy.”* Since few today would claim to be against democracy, this organizational premise is ultimately empty. It is an indication of The Station Museum’s failure to offer an in-depth discussion of either art or politics.

ASARO formed in tandem to the 2006 protests in Oaxaca, Mexico. Their installation at The Station Museum includes stenciled and graffitied scenes of the violence similar to the works made on Oaxacan streets during the protests. They also presented a video of scenes taken during the protests and around thirty woodblock prints—prints that owe a considerable debt to predecessors like Jose Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican muralists. ASARO, though an art collective like Otabenga Jones, has emerged from a different conflict and looks back to different artistic predecessors. But by including ASARO in a group exhibition alongside Emory Douglas and Otabenga Jones & Associates, the exhibition erases much of the specificity of ASARO’s engagement with street art and the Mexican muralists.

In the room dedicated to Emory Douglas and the Black Panthers, Douglas’s covers for the Black Panther Community News Service lay in glass cases below an installation of photographs of Black Panthers and a large copy of their constitution. In the museum’s third room, the Houston-based collective Otabenga Jones & Associates constructed a model basketball gym of the fictitious El-Shabazz High School—after Malcolm X’s chosen name—inside which played video clips of Black Panther leaders.

Next to the ASARO installation, Douglas’s work and Otabenga Jones & Associates' installations appeared as one, since the two installations occupy adjacent rooms. This is a disservice to the art of both collectives. Within the context of the work by Emory Douglas and the Black Panther Party, Otabenga Jones & Associate’s El-Shabazz installation functions as a contemporary meditation on Black Panther concerns. Disappointingly, however, the exhibition does not make it clear how this engagement with Black Panther history helps us to deal with race and social justice today.

It is also important to note that Emory Douglas, like ASARO, did not originally make his work with the intention of exhibiting it within the context of a gallery or museum. Displayed in the Station Museum without recognition of the museum’s mediating role, Defending Democracy deprives these artworks of much of their political power.

Activism alone may not be the best organizational premise for an art exhibition. In Defending Democracy’s case, it failed to encourage critical thinking about these artists and their ideas. While visibility for these social struggles is important, the Station Museum is not necessarily an effective venue for promoting radical political agendas. ASARO and Emory Douglas already found more widespread methods to get the word out; I would have liked to see the Station Museum take a more careful and critical approach to a fascinating subject.

*Press Release, Defending Democracy

Ariel Evans is a writer based in Austin and recently received her M.A. in Art History from The University of Texas at Austin.

Show #17: Cory Arcangel + Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied
and/or gallery
Closed July 19, 2008

By Mary Katherine Matalon

Dragan Espenschied and Olia LialinaOnline Newspapers: New York Post, 2008, High definition video
edition of 5 + 2AP. Courtesy the artist and and/or gallery.

If you haven’t heard, and/or gallery in Dallas has been offering up smart shows of work by both emerging and established new media artist for the last couple of years. The gallery’s programming is refreshingly simple—and/or’s director and owner Paul Slocum generally presents small groups shows that emphasize individual works of art rather than a overarching curatorial concept. and/or’s system for titling exhibitions reflects this emphasis: instead of following the current trend of lifting catchy titles for group shows from lyrics or literature, Slocum simply assigns each of his shows a number lists the included artists. For instance, this summer’s show is titled Show #17: Corey Arcangel + Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenchied—and true to its modest title, the show is a sampling of projects by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenchield, the pioneers of the new media genre, and Corey Arcangel, a rising star who is best know for his infamous Super Mario Clouds (2002-2005).

While there are definitely some knockout works in Show #17, the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the manner in which Slocum chose to present Lialina and Espnechied’s internet projects. Internet projects are notoriously tricky to install in a gallery space: the contemplative point-click-and scroll experience of looking at such a project on one’s private computer can feel awkward when the computer is planted in the middle of a white cube gallery filled with people. In order to avoid this situation, Slocum has transferred Lialina and Espenchield’s web-projects to other media, with mixed results. Olia's and Dragan's Comparative History of Classic Animated GIFs and Glitter Graphics (2007) was originally a webpage in which the artists presented pairings of clunky old graphics—birds, flowers, rainbows—alongside their new and improved sparkling gif counterparts. Slocum transformed the piece into a tower of 7 video monitors, each of which features of pair of graphics from the website. The stack of monitors is a clever choice because it both preserves the original vertical orientation of the webpage and creates an opportunity for multiple viewers to experience the work at once.

However for other works, such as Lialina and Espenchield’s Frozen Niki Fragments (2006-2008), the transfer from internet to other media is far less successful. In the project’s original incarnation on the web, Liana and Espenchield riffed on the ubiquitous phenomenon of blog posting and viewers expectations that a blog should divulge its creators’ innermost thoughts and feelings. While the page is entitled Nikolaj’s personal blog, clicking on any of the category headings—words like “Natasha,” “winter” and “carnival” or blog entries—phrases like “In the evening I met Natasha” yields simple graphics and phrases. These phrases and graphics hint at a tortured love story but ultimately thwart any attempts by the viewer to construct a narrative. At and/or, Slocum presents the project through prints, which are screenshots from the blog, and a digital video. Unfortunately, the prints and video don’t provide the quirky pleasure of navigating the blog’s visual non sequiturs—and unless the viewer has previous experience with Frozen Niki Fragments, the installation is indecipherable.

Regardless of the success or failure of specific installations at Show #17, the decision to transfer web-based projects into other media raises a host of questions regarding new media art and its accessibility to various publics. Is transferring a webpage to a digital video ultimately a democratic decision because it enables passersby to duck into and/or gallery and experience work by artists like Oliana Lialina and Dragan Epenscheid, who remain relatively obscure despite their new media cult status? Or is showing these projects as art objects in a gallery ultimately a dangerous decision in that it creates the potential for viewers to either overlook or misunderstand the projects’ original context? Does creating a purchasable object out of a webpage help the artist by creating a new income stream for her? Or does it force net artists—once considered renegades precisely because their projects can’t be bought and sold like paintings—to bow to the desires of the art market? Clearly none of these questions has easy answers but and/or gallery is making a courageous attempt to tackle them.

Mary Katherine Matalon is the coordinator of testsite.

Like an Attali Report, but Different: On Fiction and Political Imagination
The Kadist Foundation
On view through September 14, 2008

By Lillian Davies

Yael Bartana, Mary Koszmary, 2007, Film, 16 minutes. Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam and Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw. Photograph by Aurélien Mole.

In a modest space on a narrow cobble-stoned street winding up the hill of Montmartre, the Kadist Foundation sits, both physically and conceptually, outside of Paris’s market-dependent commercial gallery system and the politicized network of French public institutions. Established in 2001, the Kadist Foundation describes itself as a private organization that promotes contemporary art. Led by a small committee of directors and functioning much like a German kunstverein—a public venue run by a private board, without the need to follow popular, political or financial demands—the Kadist Foundation hosts international curators and artists in residence, exhibitions and public programs while also building a collection of contemporary art.

The Kadist Foundation’s stated mission to “promote” contemporary art implies that contemporary art needs support, a type of publicity, in the face of perceived competition. In Paris, contemporary art is marginalized by the city’s own rich and pivotal position in art history—the Impressionists still loom large. However, there are also contemporary political explanations for a general lack of support for contemporary art.

In France, now one year into Nicolas Sarkozy’s five-year term as president, there has been widespread concern regarding his support for French culture (or lack thereof). Recently in the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman unflatteringly compared Sarkozy to his predecessors: “Mr. Sarkozy’s taste is said to be for Lionel Ritchie and Celine Dion. (Mitterrand mulled over Dostoyevsky; de Gaulle consumed Chateaubriand.)” And in the popular French newspaper, Liberation, Didier Pourquery wrote that “as a fan of Eurodisney, always talking about culture’s obligation to results … Sarkozy wants a rupture [with French culture].” Perhaps more grave than his devotion to Mickey and Celine, Sarkozy’s culture budget, which his own culture minister describes as “austere,” manifests this alleged “rupture.”

So it is with a degree of urgency that the Kadist Foundation’s curator in residence, Cosmin Costinas (born 1982, Satu Mare, Romania) presents the exhibition Like an Attali Report, but Different: On Fiction and Political Imagination. Commissioned by Sarkozy, Jacques Attali’s report on the “liberation of French economic growth” was published in January 2008 as a list of 316 recommendations. Among these points, Attali advises the reduction of social taxes (and thus public spending), the abolition of price controls and the deregulation of employment law—in short, the alignment of circumstances to enable a higher degree of competition. It was not a surprise that Sarkozy embraced the Attali Report. In an interview with the Financial Times, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, explained that, “Mr. Sarkozy is somebody for whom competition is part of life.”

Costinas’s exhibition is not specifically about the Attali report, but it does draw on issues of nation building, especially in post-Communist situations. And significantly, although his report supports capitalist competition, Jacques Attali is a top advisor to France’s Socialist Party. Notably as well, in the early 90s, Attali headed the Bank for European Reconstruction and Development, responsible for financing initiatives in the former Soviet bloc. And so, despite his party platform, Attali’s developing rhetoric seems to be a reflection of a much more conservative global politic. Costinas, using his exhibition as a site to examine the implications of Attali’s propositions, highlights the resulting gaps between the individual and this new global model: the manifestation of a post-utopian narrative. Selecting works by an international, and mostly non-Western European and North American artists—Herman Chong, Pushwagner, Anatoli Osmolovsky, Yael Bartana, Ciprian Muresan, Diemantas Narkevicius, Redza Piyadasa, Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor, and Gregg Bordowitz—Costinas reveals his ideological skepticism, while allowing each work the space to function beyond his curatorial premise.

Just inside the first gallery, Costinas has installed Pushwagner’s large-scale painting Klaxton (1990) directly opposite Anatoli Osmolovsky’s color photographs Mayakovsky/Osmolovsky (1993). Pairing Pushwagner’s expanse of beady-eyed faces staring from each window of a pair of torqued high-rises, with Osmolovsky’s self-portraits perched atop an imposing sculpture of Mayakovsky, Costinas highlights a resonance between the two artists’ expressions of bewilderment. The works echo with the uncertainty of the post-Communist world, offering a sense of apprehension for the future and an enduring attachment to the past. Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor’s film Vacaresti (2006) documents their nostalgic project of retracing the foundations of the Vacaresti Monastery, which was destroyed by the Ceausescu regime. Occasionally slipping on the icy field as they stake a border in twine, Vatamanu and Tudor seek to recover a pre-Communist memory, implicating the violence of the regime change.

Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s film Mary Koszmary (2007) lies at the heart of the exhibition, capturing the struggle of the individual in his encounter with the overwhelming legacy of totalitarian policy-making. The film features the young liberal Polish politician Slawomier Sierakowski earnestly calling for the Jewish community to return to Poland. Shown in Paris, Mary Koszmary (Polish for “ghosts and nightmares”) simultaneously indicts France’s Vichy past and forefronts the very real danger of fascist policy-making.

Costinas’s exhibition succeeds in critiquing capitalism in general, and by extension Attali’s report. By hosting bold and openly critical exhibitions like Costinas’s, The Kadist Foundation demonstrates the value of its independent position, free from ever-limiting economic and political restrictions.

Lillian Davies is a writer living in Paris. She is a regular contributor to Artforum and Editor in Chief of Uovo Magazine. She earned her B.A. in Art History at Columbia University and her M.A. in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London.

to the editor

Hills Snyder

In response to Dan Dutton, To the Editor, Issue #102


I spent several hours with the exhibition in question [The Old, Weird America at CAMH]. Then drove back to Houston again to see it some more. There was much to love—I never once gave a moment's thought to what the work might cost or how rich the patron/owners might be. Nor did I consider how the Contemporary Arts Museum is funded. The show for me functioned to banish the usual contemporary art "dialogues" (including art market de-con), which have dominated for too long. How did this happen? The work was good.

I also today spent some time with your website [dandutton.com] which I enjoyed immensely. I can see how you might feel as you do, but my point is rather to say that the work in the show strongly outstrips any "contemporary vs. folk" critique regardless of the tack taken. I would say the same for Toby Kamps—he has brought a great show together out of personal conviction, even if the publicity statement "the first museum exhibition to explore the widespread resurgence of folk imagery and history in American contemporary art" might invite divisive views.

BTW, I love a lot of the same music that you do. I will hope to encounter your work up close.

With respect,

Hills Snyder

...mbg recommends

Air-Conditioned Spaces

By the editor

Justin Goldwater, Untitled, 2008, Gouache and ink on paper. Courtesy the artist.

Seeking refuge from the Texas heat? Instead of going to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the fourth time, check out these well-air-conditioned exhibitions.

Does The Program sound like your beach body diet regimen? Well unlike the South Beach diet, this program won’t demand that you forgo all things delicious in favor of food that tastes like dirt. The Program, a five-week series of video screenings and new media art presentations, begins this Saturday, July 26 at Houston’s Conduit Gallery.

If you’ve already tried all the flavors at Amy’s Ice Cream this week, check out a different kind of tasty treat at Amuse-Bouche, an exhibition featuring the work of 8 of UT Austin’s current MFAs at the Creative Research Laboratory until August 16.

Sometimes, it’s worth it to brave the heat and catch some rays at Barton Springs. Looking for a cool beach read? On August 2 from 7-9pm, come to Domy opening of Stupid Answers to Snappy Questions, Justin Goldwater’s upcoming show, and while you’re there, pick up a new graphic novel for those sunny Sunday afternoons.

We can’t promise refreshingly cool re-circulated air for this event, but there’s usually plenty of refreshingly cool beer to compensate at MASS Gallery, where Jesse Butcher’s exhibition, We’re all in Love with Dying, and we’re doing it in Texas is opening on August 2 from 8-10pm.

If the air-conditioning at Gallery Lombardi cools you down, the gallery’s latest show Erotica 2008 which opens August 2 from 8:00-11:00 pm is sure to heat you right back up again.

Texas is already hot enough, and global warming certainly isn’t helping matters. Chris Jordan’s photographic exhibition, Running the Numbers: An American Self-portrait, which takes American consumption as its subject, will be at the San Antonio Central Library and the Southwest School of Art & Craft beginning August 3, and Chris will give a lecture at the Municipal Auditorium on Wednesday, August 6.

announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Stupid Answers to Snappy Questions: Justin Goldwater
Domy Books
Opening Reception: Tuesday, July 8 from 7:00-9:00 pm
Justin Goldwater’s exhibition Stupid Answers to Snappy Questions is a collection of drawings that are fragments of narratives, bungled chunks of autobiography, and attempts at visual humor. As the artist puts it, “I don't have any snappy answers, but I have a lot of stupid questions and my artwork is a storage system for them.”

Amuse Bouche
Creative Research Lab
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 19 from 6:00-9:00 pm
Amuse Bouche features the work of eight Master of Fine Arts Studio Art candidates curated by eight Art History graduate students, all from the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Cut The Cord! From Up Here Everything Makes Sense!
okay mountain
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 16 from 7:00-10:00 pm
This group show is centered around the medium of video art. The videos will be shown in the screening format, one played after the other. There is no specific theme, rather the videos are put together as one would put together a mixed tape, allowing for a natural flow to form as one work leads into the next.

Jess Butcher: We're All in Love with Dying and We're Doing it in Texas
Mass Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 2 from 8:00-10:00 pm
Butcher's works examine the repercussions of modern masculinity in the male psyche. The artifacts and images are tangible reflections of physical, emotional or metaphoric wounds. The iconography acts as a catalyst for the modern males "walkabout" to discover a more substantial sense of meaning and purpose. The personal mythologies explore the psychological hinterland at the core of a fear-based culture where instability, exploitation, and violence are ever-present.

Erotica 2008
Gallery Lombardi
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 2 from 7:00-11:00 pm
Juried by Ron Prince and Rachel Koper, the Erotica 2008 show contains a range of work dedicated to the theme of erotica. Several artists will also present performances at the opening.

Changarrito en su Casa at Co-Lab
Unveiling: Sunday, July 20 from 5:00-10:00 pm
On July 20th Co-Lab unveils the Austin incarnation of the Argentine artist, Maximo Gonzalez’s, Changarrito. After a successful debut at Fuse Box festival 2008, the Changarrito became a venue for local artists to show new work, and art collectors to find emerging talent. The Austin Changarrito will reside permanently at Co-Lab, allowing artists to continually show their work within a community-oriented framework. Paired with appearances at local events, the Austin Changarrito will continually allow artists to break out of the traditional gallery model where art is more accessible, experimental and open to a larger audience.

Houston Openings

Sam Taylor-Wood
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Preview Reception: Friday, August 1 at 9:00 pm
A leading artist of her generation, Sam Taylor-Wood came to prominence in the mid-1990s as one of the YBA’s (Young British Artists), the British art movement that propelled the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin to celebrity status for their provocative and sensational works. Taylor-Wood has since become renowned for deftly manipulating the signature media of our age—photography, film, and video—into compelling psychological portraits that tap into the ethos of our times. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, this is the first major museum exhibition of Taylor-Wood’s work in the United States.

Houston Collects: African American Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
On view August 3- October 26, 2008
Houston Collects: African American Art showcases the institutional and private efforts to collect, document, and preserve African American art in Houston during the 20th and 21st centuries. Approximately 120 works, many of which have never before been exhibited to the public, illustrate themes that encompass early crafts, self-taught artists, Southern academic circles (including the publication of Black Art in Houston by the McAshan Foundation), the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement, abstraction, photography, Houston masters and the New School.

Dallas Openings

Sehnsucht (Aspiration)
Light & Sie
July 31-September 6, 2008
Sehnsucht (Aspiration) is a group exhibition of paintings, photographs, video and works on paper organized by Georges Armaos. The works selected are a mix of emerging and well established international artists. Contemporary abstract painting is approached through works by Ingrid Calame, David Reed and Dan Walsh. Photography is represented with works by Vanessa Beecroft, Todd Eberle, Thomas Ruff, Hedi Slimane and Jeremy Cost while two important projections by Kimsooja and Joseph Dadoune complete the exhibition.

New York On View

Sharon Engelstein: Blow Job
On view through August 10, 2008
Blowjob is the first New York solo exhibition by Houston-based artist Sharon Engelstein. Blowjob presents a selection of the sculptor's work that she does not make by hand. A large-scale inflatable, three midsize "rapid prototypes" and a selection of drawings are variously created by different outputting technologies from computer files designed, assembled, and perfected in cyberspace rather than in her studio.

announcements: events


The Program
Various locations
July 26-August 30, 2008
The Program, produced in association with the Dallas Video Association, is
a five-week series of video and new media art curated by Carolyn Sortor, Dee Mitchell, and Bart Weiss screened works and scheduled artists include; Matthew Barney, Kalup Lizy, Nathalie Djurberg, Ryan Trecartin, Guy Ben-Ner, ETeam, Yang Fudong, Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung, Meiro Koizumi, and others. To see a full listing of events, please visit the Conduit Gallery website.

announcements: opportunities


Director of Operations
Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
The Director of Operations is responsible for effectively administrating all museum rentals and managing the maintenance of the museum and grounds. The qualified applicant will have a bachelor's degree in museum studies, public relations, communications, or related fields, plus a minimum of two years of administrative experience in managing a site or special events. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references via email to info@umlaufsculpture.org (preferred) or via FAX at 512-445-5583. For further information please click here.

Education and Public Programs Coordinator
The Chinanti Foundation
The Chinati Foundation is hiring a full-time Education and Public Programs Coordinator. Responsibilities include managing the artist-in-residence and internship programs, summer art classes, and special events, as well as developing new education and outreach initiatives and overseeing visitor services. For a detailed job description email: akoester@chinati.org. Send cover letters and resume to Angela Koester, The Chinati Foundation, PO Box 1135, Marfa TX, 79843.

Individual Giving Associate
Austin Museum of Art
The Austin Museum of Art (AMOA) seeks to hire an Individual Giving Associate. This position supports the efforts of the Manager of Individual Giving in recruiting new members to the Museum and maintaining the membership database. The successful candidate will be a self-starter, highly motivated, detail-oriented, and able to excel in a fast-paced collaborative atmosphere. Specific requirements include a college degree, previous arts or non-profit experience, familiarity with databases, proficiency in computer skills, and a commitment to donor confidentiality. If you meet these requirements and wish to learn more about this opportunity, please send a cover letter, resume, salary history, and writing samples to afloyd@amoa.org. AMOA encourages all qualified candidates to apply.

Rights and Reproduction Manager
The Menil Collection, Houston
Application Deadline: 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. For further information, please click here.

Program and Publicity Coordinator
The Rothko Chapel
Application Deadline: Wednesday, August 6
The Program and Publicity Coordinator is a full-time, exempt status position. The purpose of this position is to oversee all programming and event publicity for the Chapel. This position will work closely with the Board of Directors Programming Committee to determine programming content, will coordinate all event logistics, will oversee program budget in collaboration with Executive Director, will coordinate all event publicity including press releases, web promotion, advertising, printed materials, email alerts, etc. The Rothko Chapel is an equal opportunity employer. Those interested in applying should send a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements by August 6th to suna@rothkochapel.org. For complete job listing and application information, please click here.

Operations Assistant
Artemis Fine Art Services
Application Deadline: Tuesday, September 16
The Operations Assistant is responsible for generating estimates, booking, managing, and tracking jobs. In addition, the Operation Assistant deal directly with clients and vendors and maintain relationships with museums and galleries throughout the United States. For complete job listing and application details, please click here.

Call for Entries, Texas Open Call

Application Deadline: Friday, Septemeber 5 at 5:00 pm
Calling all Texas artists! Visit www.artpace.org to submit your Open Call application for the 2010 International Artist-in-Residence program. Every year Texas artists are invited to submit material to be considered for a shortlist that will be reviewed by Artpace’s guest curators. Shortlisted artists’ material will be examined by three curators, who may also conduct studio visits. From this process each curator identifies an innovative Texas artist to become an International Artist-in-Residence.

Call for Artist Exhibition Proposals

Lawndale Art Center
Application Deadline: Monday September 15, 2008
Lawndale accepts Artist Exhibition Proposals twice annually. Lawndale encourages exhibition proposals from artists and curators whose work is site-specific, traditional, non-traditional, experimental, or collaborative. Proposals accepted will include, but are not limited to, visual and performance art, video, and installation. Artists and curators are also invited to submit proposals for other spaces in or around the building, outside of our galleries. For further information, please see www.lawndaleartcenter.org


Pollock-Krasner Grant
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation
The Foundation welcomes, throughout the year, applications from visual artists who are painters, sculptors, and artists who work on paper, including printmakers. There are no deadlines. The Foundation encourages applications from artists who have genuine financial needs that are not necessarily catastrophic. Grants are intended for a one-year period of time. The Foundation will consider the need on the part of an applicant for all legitimate expenditures relating to his or her professional work and personal living, including medical expenses. The size of the grant is determined by the individual circumstances of the artist. For further information, please visit The Pollock-Krasner Foundation website.

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