from the editor
At risk of beating a dead horse, I agree with Austin’s bloggers: the state of art criticism in Austin still leaves much to be desired. Inadequate dialogue is an age old problem for young art communities. I find it amusing that in 1952, Harold Rosenberg was similarly bemoaning the state of criticism surrounding the American Ab-Exes (as we know them today):
So far, the silence of American literature on the new painting all but amounts to a scandal.
(Harold Rosenberg, “American Action Painters,” Art News, December 1952)
Not only a lack of smart criticism, but also an inchoate community and an underdeveloped infrastructure contribute to the frustration we’ve been hearing on Austin’s blogs recently. I have a couple of thoughts about steps we can take to develop the community of artists and critics we’ve already begun to build.
First, we have to make sure we’re all participating in the same conversation so that we can build on one another rather than repeat one another. Here’s a list with links to the feeds of the core Austin-related art blogs to which you should be subscribed (if you aren’t already):
Seeing Things (Austin American Statesman)
‘Bout What I Sees
For Reviews and Reflections
Inside the Box (Blanton Museum)
Capital A (Glasstire)
…might be good
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Women and Their Work
Second, when you have thoughts (we all do) write me a letter, or write one to the editor of the Chronicle. And third, support our artists and art spaces by purchasing work when you can afford it. These types of small but productive steps can foster an environment of growth on a larger scale. Most of us can’t make galleries, residencies or collections appear out of nowhere, but we can create a city in which those who can will want to.
This issue welcomes our new testsite Coordinator, Kate Watson, to the Fluent~Collaborative team. Kate is a writer, artist and the founder of the Austin Video Bee; as such, we sent her to check out The Program, the newest project of The Dallas Video Festival. In this issue she offers a reflection on the five week series of video art screenings and talks to curator Carolyn Sortor about the project.
Also in this issue, I'm particularly excited about our Artist's Space with New York-based Brian Lund. His methodical drawings (like the one above) are gorgeous —and conceptually intriguing. Writer Lyra Kilston elucidates Lund's process in her profile of the artist, explaining how a hit TV series like Sex and the City or a big-production musical like All that Jazz serves as his source material. There are many threads of investigation a critic might follow with Lund's work, not the least of which is its relationship to the canons of "Systems Art." However, given my interests, I would certainly explore the rich negotiation of gender and sexuality that appears in his work.
As for the next issue of …might be good, look forward to reviews of Where Are We Going? Contemporary Artists Address Issues of the 21st Century at AMoA and Demetrius Oliver (former CORE resident) at D'Amelio Terras in New York. The issue will also include interviews with Austin-based artist team Theresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler and Pace Foundation Director Rick Moore.
Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.
By Claire Ruud
Kristin Lucas, 5-Minute Break, 2001, digital video with sound, 4 minutes, 35 seconds. Courtesy the artist and And/Or Gallery, Dallas, TX.
Paul Slocum is a new media artist and the owner of And/Or Gallery in Dallas. He's co-curator (along with Marcin Ramocki) of Reset/Play, an exhibition about contemporary art and video games, which opens tomorrow at arthouse in Austin. Recently, we picked his brain about the exhibition and new media art, more broadly.
…might be good: You just recently made the transition to representing artists at And/Or Gallery. Can you tell us about that decision?
PS: We were already pretty much running the gallery as if we were representing artist anyway, so we thought, let’s make this official. We had work on hand, we were doing the local art fair and we were selling stuff after our shows were over. I want And/Or to be somewhere between a commercial space and an artist run space. I feel like a lot of artist run spaces have a lot of issues—they’re just too beat up. I want And/Or to be little more cleaned-up, a little more professional. Also, I feel that commercial spaces are taken more seriously.
…mbg: Do you have a collector base in Dallas?
PS: We sell some work to Dallas people, but not much. Actually, most of our sales are to a new media collector in Belgium and recently a collector in D.C. started buying work from us. We’re just breaking even. That is, we broke even last year.
…mbg: So if people in Dallas aren’t buying much from you, how do you see the gallery’s role in this community?
PS: The people who are really interested in the gallery are artists, professors, writers and curators. Collectors, we don’t get as much. There’s a huge divide in Dallas. We have huge collectors like the Rachofskys and others, but they don’t tend to buy locally, they tend to buy from New York. None of the big collectors have even been to the And/Or space, which is a little frustrating.
…mbg: What kind of reaction do you get from viewers to the incredible line-up of extremely important new media artists you show at and/or?
PS: Most people here don’t seem to know how big these artists are. In a way, they’re not that big—I mean they are big, but they’re big amongst a very small group of people. We get a lot of attention from new media artists. And/Or Gallery makes it into Rhizome pretty regularly and people in New York sometimes seem to know who we are.
…mbg: So why do you stay in Dallas, when you’re getting so much more attention nationally and internationally than you get in this city?
PS: I’ve always lived in Dallas and it’s cheap here. I’ve been tempted to move to New York and I almost moved to Austin as well. But really, Dallas works the best for me.
…mbg: You’re about to curate a show at Arthouse, Reset/Play, on contemporary art and video games. How did that come about?
PS: Elizabeth [Dunbar] just contacted me and asked. Originally, she thought about me and Cory [Arcangel] curating the show. [A while back] I had hoped he and I would create an updated version of a show he curated in New York, The Infinite Fill Show at Foxy Productions. But he has a ton of other stuff going on right now and curating isn’t really his passion. So I suggested Marcin Ramocki, who runs a space in Brooklyn called vertexList. I’ve shown there several times and Marcin and I work well together.
...mbg: What kind of work are you including in Reset/Play?
PS: Mostly, we went with work from the formal visual art circuit by artists we knew, like JODI, Kristin Lucas and Cory Arcangel. But one unusual piece we’re including in the show is the [commercial] video game, Katamari Damacy. We’re just going to have it set up for people to play in the gallery. That game is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a long time. Have you ever played it?
…mbg: No. Explain what makes it so beautiful.
PS: It’s difficult to explain. It’s for Playstation 2 and the graphics are very simple and blocky and very colorful. Conceptually, the game is centered around a ball, a sphere. The ball is very sticky and you roll around collecting things—getting them to stick to the surface—till you have a really big ball. The back story for the game is that a king got drunk and knocked all the stars out of the sky and your job is to create balls of things on earth that will become stars. The last "star" you have to create is the moon. At the beginning you can only pick up very small things, but as the game progresses you can pick up larger things, like people. By the end of the game you’re rolling up clouds and it’s just amazing. The guy who created the game [Keita Takahashi] came out of nowhere, but if you look him up on Wikipedia, his influences include Picasso, Miro and all these Japanese sculptors and illustrators.
…mbg: Any other unusual pieces in the show?
PS: I’m helping Mike Smith restore a game he made in 1983. The game is about building a bomb shelter but no matter how fast you build it, the game is set up so that you can’t finish before the nuclear bomb goes off. I read in an interview that Mike had made this game in 1983 and now he didn’t know how to work it. It stopped working and he couldn’t figure out how to fix it. So I looked at pictures of the game and I thought that had to be either Commodore or an Atari, both of which I’m an expert at. So I asked him about it and it turned out to be a Commodore 64. I brought my Commodore over to his house, we loaded up the disks and I was able to read them. So I took the disks home, messed with them for a while and managed to archive the game on a modern PC so it could be backed up. So we’re going to be able to have the game working in the exhibition.
…mbg: A while back, we talked to Chris Eamon [Issue #93], the curator of the Kramilch Collection, about the work he’s doing to establish a set of best practices for institutions and collectors dealing with video art. Are you working on best practices for new media art?
PS: Only informally. I’ve been thinking about archiving a lot. In my opinion, the best way to archive a game or web page is to make a video of it and then take the [DVD or BluRay] disk image and put it on a modern PC so you can back it up on a hard drive. With games, you can run them in an emulator—there will probably be emulators for a long time that can run this stuff.
The problem is, web browsers change constantly. But video formats are pretty solid. If something’s in Quicktime, for example, you’ll always be able to play it or convert it to the newest format. The standard archival format is still Digibeta, but I think it really has problems. I think the future of archiving is a hard drive and off-site backup. It’s the cheapest and most reliable way to back up data. I mean, your house burns down, you still have an offsite backup.
I’ve talked to the director of EAI a little bit about what they do. They’re also starting to shift toward digital archiving of videos, but right now their official archiving format is still Digibeta.
…mbg: In Show #17 at And/Or, you transferred a web page by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied to video in order to present it. We’ve never seen that format for exhibiting web pages before, have you?
PS: I don’t know. In New York, they showed that piece as a web page. But when you show it as a web page, it’s really difficult to make the piece full screen and make sure the mouse doesn’t pop up. To show the piece at And/Or, we modified the animations on the page so they ran at 1/10 of the speed and then I used a screen recorder to record the screen at 3 frames per second. Then I set the piece up to run at 30 frames per second on the monitors in the gallery, so it ends up being identical to the original page. Because we slow the animation down to record the animations, we don’t have any problems with the recording missing a frame.
…mbg: We also talked at length with Chris about the distribution of video and new media work. What’s your approach to distributing work?
PS: I actually talked with Cory, Dragan and Olia about this a lot when they were here installing their show. At this point, there’s no technological limitation on distributing video. All of us could easily distribute all our videos at full resolution on our websites. But there’s an unwritten rule that you don’t post your editioned videos at full resolution on your website. So we’ve been brainstorming new ideas for distributing videos—alternatives to the standard edition—but we haven’t really come up with a good solution yet.
…mbg: What ideas have you come up with?
PS: We’ve thought about ideas like a patronage system in which a collector buys the right to display a piece publicly, but also the credit for supporting the public exhibition of the work online. Another alternative is making unlimited editions, which is what EAI does, and I’ve heard that artists can make a good amount of money from EAI. Right now, it’s too hard to sell new media art. Artists like Cory, at the level he’s at—if he were a painter he would be very wealthy, but because he does new media, he’s not.
…mbg: How do you maintain that balance between a more democratic distribution of your work and supporting yourself?
PS: Well, sometimes I feel that artificially limiting distribution is at odds with the concepts in my work. In fact, I feel that way increasingly. I feel limited in what I can say in a piece by the whole economic system. Among new media artists, we’re just at the very beginning of figuring out how to negotiate the art market.
…mbg: What is the next generation of new media artists up to these days?
PS: I think Kevin Bewersdorf and Guthrie Lonergan are two of the strongest cutting edge artists. They are part of a new wave of very conceptual new media art. Most of the people I work with would consider new media art to be art about technology—the subject, not the medium is technology. For example, Bill Viola, we don’t consider that new media, even though it’s using new technology. He’s using the medium to do something that’s more like a painting. That’s not really what we’re talking about.
…mbg: When you say "cutting edge," what do you mean?
PS: "Cutting edge" work takes the most recent developments in the web into account; it comments on how the web is changing. For example, Guthrie Lonergan did a great piece on twitter about vvork, the conceptual art blog. vvork posts images of work with almost no commentary, so Guthrie created a vvork twitter feed. Every time vvork posted a piece, Guthrie would write a single sentence describing it and that was it—something like, “a plywood board in the center of a white room with a staple gun resting on it.”
…mbg: The kind of running commentary that twitter allows.
PS: Yeah, the twitter feed reduces the whole vvork project to almost nothing—a series of simple sentences. It’s tongue and cheek, because you obviously can’t capture a whole piece in just a sentence. But then again, with some of the pieces, you can, because you read Guthrie’s description and you realize it’s really kind of a dumb piece.
…mbg: What’s coming up for you this year?
PS: I have a solo show in L.A. at Angstrom Gallery early next year. But recently, everybody’s been telling me that I need to take a vacation because I look like I’m about to pop, so I’ve been joking about getting an artist’s residency just to play World of Warcraft. I felt like as a new media artist I needed to be familiar with WoW—there are 10 million people playing it and it’s an interesting phenomenon because it’s a game but it’s also like myspace. I started playing it this summer because Alex Galloway told me that once you play the game a lot and get into it, you’ll understand more about what’s going on in the world.
…mbg: Do you?
PS: It’s been really eye-opening. I’m currently at level 25 after like four or five weeks. The depth of the world is crazy. There’s this massive community playing the game and the program itself has an open architecture so that players can add onto it. So there’s a massive community of people writing tools for WoW and the number of plugins is just overwhelming. The amount of the world that I’ve explored compared to how much there is—it’s baffling.
…mbg: How does WoW's massive open architecture help you understand our world?
PS: Well, the world exists in large part in the virtual world now. It’s changed our world so dramatically. One of the things I’m really interested in is the idea that Andy Warhol is not really relevant anymore. I mean, the pop culture world that he was describing doesn’t exist in the same way anymore. Technology has really shifted things. Before technology, there were lots and lots of content generators—village musicians, for example—with only a hundred listeners each. Technologies that allowed broader distribution created the world Warhol was talking about, in which there were like 10 bands with millions of listeners each. But recently, because of the internet, we’ve moved back towards the way it was before, with a million bands with only 10 people listening to each one, but listeners are no longer limited by geography. And I feel like WoW is really a part of that.
Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.
By Kate Watson
Guy Ben-Ner, Stealing Beauty, 2007, single channel video with sound, 17 minutes. Courtesy Postmasters Gallery, New York.
The Program, the newest addition to the Dallas Video Festival, provided an incredible opportunity to actually take time with video art in a way infrequently seen in a gallery space. The breadth and depth of work shown was on a scale rarely seen anywhere and the turnout was remarkably strong. During my visit to Dallas, I had a chance to sit down with curator Carolyn Sortor, who worked with curators Dee Mitchell and Bart Weiss on the project, and chat about the process.
…might be good: Can you tell me a little bit about your background— specifically, how has your interest in video art and your relationship with the Dallas Video Festival evolved?
Carolyn Sortor: I've always been interested in art and literature, but for most of my adult life, I've worked as a commercial real estate lawyer.
After my first Dallas Video Festival in 1991, I believed video was the most powerful art medium yet invented. I'd begun doing pro bono work for artists and arts organizations and Bart Weiss, the Director of the Video Association, asked me to become a board member and then to serve as the first Chair of the Board who wasn't Bart.
All the while, I wanted to see more video art—it still isn't easy to see. As you know, there's been a lot of resistance to video as an art medium. Just a couple of weeks ago, I overheard a collector wonder out loud, “does anyone actually buy this stuff?!” And of course, exhibiting it is a challenge; you have to assemble all the hardware and software and get it to work together and most art venues were originally designed to let in lots of natural light, without any concern for access to electrical outlets or acoustics.
Of course, each year, I immersed myself as fully as possible in the Dallas Video Festival. But although the Festival has shown some great video art over the years, Bart is more partial to documentaries and other varieties [of film and video]. I kept bugging him to show more video art—I'd already begun compiling lists of artists and works that sounded interesting. Four years ago, he finally gave me the OK. Since then, I've programmed about 2 hours of video art at each Festival, but I knew that was just a tiny portion of what was out there.
…mbg: Is that when The Program was born?
CS: Based on the surprise success of the I Heart Video Art series at Conduit last summer (curated by myself and Danette Dufilho), the Video Association asked me about the possibility of breaking most of the video art out from the rest of the Festival and presenting it as a separate series at Conduit, with me co-curating.
We started working on the series in February. By May, it had become a full-time job for me and from there, the workload escalated dramatically. We installed a mostly-new exhibition each week for five weeks; we had to re-configure hardware, software, pedestals, and sometimes furniture, do new labels, set up and take down chairs for the seated screenings and host an opening reception. Danette and Nancy Whitenack [both of Conduit] were also extremely helpful with their expertise and advice, and we are deeply grateful to them for their terrific generosity and hard work.
…mbg: How did you decide which works would be screened in the gallery space and which would be in the screening room?
CS: The decisions about what would be shown in the seated screenings versus what would be shown in the installations were largely determined by the works themselves, although a few of the pieces we included could have been shown either way. Most of the work shown in the installations either was specifically designed to be viewed on the internet, a computer or TV, or else the artist requested that it be shown the way we showed it, or else I had seen it installed that way elsewhere. These decisions seemed fairly easy to me, for the most part. If there's one choice I felt somewhat torn about, it might have been with respect to Ryan Trecartin's A Family Finds Entertainment. It's a gorgeous and challenging piece of work with lots of visual detail that looks great projected and should command full, focused attention from start to finish. However, Trecartin's only requirement was that there had to be a couch and my co-curators were skeptical about including Family in a seated screening. So we put it on a good-sized TV in front of a couch.
…mbg: How did you group videos for the seated screenings?
CS: The curators agreed that we should include a variety of pieces in length and tone each evening, for the sake of watchability. We also agreed that each week's programs should be organized around coherent themes, although we didn't completely agree on what those should be or at least on how best to formulate them.
As for what I thought those themes were, much of the media-based work I've seen during the last few years digs deeply into questions relating to personal identity, social governance and control and issues relating to time and history (how we manage our time and our collective memories, and how those choices shape our selves and our future). I tried to group works together around these types of themes.
These concerns have been around forever, of course, but they've become newly complicated because of such recent developments as extreme plastic surgery, genetic modification, cloning, virtual identities (avatars, etc.), psychotropic cocktails, computers as brain prostheses, our increasing immersion in and dependence upon media-based technologies, the replacement of the physical public square with virtual facilities owned by private corporations (one result being that our data, personal pages, opinions, even our collective history, can be sold, deleted or modified with a keystroke), the growth in the sheer volume of historical and other information we're now able to store and accumulate, the potential obsolescence of borders, technologies for identifying and tracking individuals, etc.
…mbg: What is the future of The Program? I know that the scope of this project is massive and certainly exhausting... What are your upcoming projects?
CS: The future of The Program is under discussion. For one thing, I hope never to work so hard for negative income again. Also, I need a break from curating (although I'm already thinking I'd like to curate an exhibition of media-based work focussing on the "medium" of time [including history]).
But at least for the rest of this year, I'd like to get back to making my own work. Earlier in the year, I'd begun working on a triptych of short video works that I think of as relating loosely to myths involving whales.
I also have a couple of major, earlier projects to complete. (Until recently, that's been difficult because of my day job.) One is a three-part performance and video piece called Intrajection that explores questions relating to property, the marketplace including the art market, our immersion in media and digital communications—much of which is uninvited but some of which may, intentionally or unintentionally, be helpful—and the kinds of interactions and interrelationships that arise more easily now despite distance or other barriers.
Another body of work in progress is The Cressida Project, which will include an approximately 25-minute video and related prints or paintings and sculptures. The video will involve two main, quasi-narrative storylines influenced by Shakespeare, Homer and other sources. The main scenes take place in or about the year 2056. A young woman is abducted and finds herself in a low jail cell in a remote nation called the United Democratic Islamic Emirates (U.D.I.E.)—an imaginary, future federation comprising the nine countries that now combine the highest-percentage Muslim populations and the greatest estimated oil reserves. The piece will deal with issues of power, interpretation, identity, reproduction, transmission of knowledge, transformation and escape—through succeeding generations, if not within a single lifetime.
I also have some smaller pieces and writing projects in the works.
Kate Watson is Coordinator of testsite, ...might be good's sister project, and an editorial contributor to ...might be good.
Lucky Number Seven
SITE Santa Fe
June 22, 2008 - January 4, 2009
By Katie Anania
Studio Azzurro, The Fourth Ladder, 2008, Interactive video environment, SITE Santa Fe Commission. Photo: www.BayAreaEventPhotography.com. Courtesy SITE Santa Fe.
In an interview discussing Lucky Number Seven, SITE Santa Fe curator Lance M. Fung didn’t object when the interviewer called him “someone who seems not to care what the work [in the show] looks like.”* Fung meant to play down any privileging of aesthetic appeal in favor of direct participation, community involvement and process-oriented work. There was no emphasis, Fung said, on what the art in the biennial might be, only on what it might do.
Fung’s hyperbolic insistence on community and collaboration, however, has resulted in a show that seems hobbled by overcircumscription. For this SITE biennial, he chose the artists by asking nonprofit art space directors worldwide to recommend artists that "best exemplified their institutional mission,” which results in a jumble of work that points to disparate institutional arguments—a strange sort of corporate product fair. While residing in Santa Fe using a modest budget provided by SITE, all 25 chosen artists were instructed to build ephemeral or time-based works (to skirt the inevitable profit reaped by galleries when biennial artworks are sold), but an end result is that the works themselves don’t participate in dialogue with one another. The plywood structure for the exhibition layout went up long before artists began proposing work for the show, causing a cart-before-the-horse mash-up in which artists were asked to respond to a labyrinthine plywood pathway rather than a standard white cube.
As a result of this last stipulation, some works look wedged into the space, like Richard Denzer’s restore (2008), a glorious blown-out mass of fiberglass and plastic embedded pell-mell into one of the walls, coupled with a video installed in another corner of the gallery. Other works cohere better; Italian artist Piero Golia went toe-to-toe with the plywood layout’s upward slope and designed an eight-foot freefall from which visitors could leap if they wished, depositing them onto a vinyl stunt mattress below. A lot of conversations occur with SITE employees about medical waivers on that one, driving home Golia’s implication that communities are alternately cemented and fractured by risk. Conversations also arose between viewers in front of Studio Azzurro’s The Fourth Ladder (2008). Viewers face a black wall upon which is projected a video of people walking up an incline in a line. The figures walk in profile in front of an upward sloping rocky space, and continue to walk indefinitely until the viewer touches one of them. When touched, the figures turn and face the viewer and offer directions to their favorite sites around Santa Fe and Taos. No labeled instructions are given for viewing the work.
You can tell that this inexactitude pleases Fung: upward slopes that lead to nowhere, touch-responsive human figures dictating directions to natural sites and projects installed inside other museums and public spaces around Santa Fe. Enmeshment and imbrication around every turn. The problem with this curatorial premise, though, is that the works with the more compelling visual arguments vastly eclipsed the more didactic works to the point of rendering Fung’s restrictions redundant. One such example is Hiroshi Fuji’s Kaero (2008). Fuji held a bazaar in the city of Santa Fe, invited children to bring their unwanted toys for exchange and built an ephemeral sculpture out of those toys. He then installed the toy sculpture among the Girard Collection inside the International Folk Art Museum, an enormous room full of collector Alexander Girard’s lifelong amassment of folk art and dolls gathered from Girard’s travels.
The best thing about this piece isn’t the narrative behind the work; it’s the argument set forth by the act of installing the work inside the Girard collection. Fuji’s toys dangle from the Folk Art Museum ceiling and, to the untrained eye, appear virtually indistinguishable from the cacophony of kitsch in the vitrines below. Fuji’s fugitive toys act as a supplement to the “removal” inherent in the museum space; their anonymity within a maze of colorful re-stagings is a perfect (non-)argument for a humbler, less discrete artistic practice that draws on social rituals.
Other artists’ works resonate less convincingly. Inside the main exhibition space, Korean artist Soun Myung Hong installed paintings of various sizes in close clusters throughout the latter half of the walkway. Hong’s paintings work within the space with a Jo Baer-like geometrical coherence, but unlike Baer’s object/paintings, their unorthodox installation doesn’t carry because, well, they’re not very good. Even Ahmet Ogut’s project on low-rider culture, which by its subject matter almost guarantees seamless conceptual ties to the problematization of borders and boundaries, falls flat because it’s installed in such a cramped hallway.
Ultimately, it appears that Fung not only doesn’t care about what the work in the exhibition looks like, he seems not to care that the work exists at all. As my husband remarked after attending the show, the artworks feel orphaned in the space as a result of Fung’s bracketing ideology. So while his market-eschewing polemic may be commendable, his (somewhat cloying) credo and (ironically corporatized) mantra, “community and collaboration,” which abandons many of these young artists to support the arguments of nonprofit institutions, is not.
*“Interview with Lance M. Fung”, THE Magazine, June 2008.
Katie Anania is a Curatorial Researcher at Fluent~Collaborative and an editorial contributor to ...might be good.
Light & Sie Gallery, Dallas
Closes September 6, 2008
By Katie Robinson Edwards
Hedi Slimane, Untitled, 2005 (detail), Black and white print on aluminum, plexiglass, 15 elements, 49 x 10 inches each, 49 x 158 inches overall. Courtesy Light & Sie Gallery.
The current exhibition (through tomorrow, September 6) at Light & Sie takes for its title the untranslatable German composite word: Sehnsucht. As the press release explains, Sehnsucht can be “loosely and unsuccessfully translated in English as ‘aspiration’ or `longing.’” To that definition I would add “a yearning for the unattainable.” The concept of Sehnsucht was the motivating impulse behind much German Romantic art, literature and music, and recently the term has seen a resurgence in popularity. Just as the German Romantics felt a nostalgic loss at the dawn of the nineteenth century, so might we feel similarly wistful at the dawn of the twenty-first. As we move into a century dominated by digitally based technologies that infiltrate every aspect of our lives, Sehnsucht could effectively describe our longing for an unattainable wholeness.
Light & Sie’s exhibition offers a remarkable opportunity to see high caliber, internationally recognized contemporary art in Dallas. To assemble this selection, the gallery brought in guest curator Georges Armaos, who bears an academic background in museum studies and connections to Gagosian Gallery. True, many of the individual works are compelling. But the exhibition’s unifying theme is a huge concept of epic significance. It is overly ambitious to expect that sixteen works by only ten artists could suffice for so colossal a theme. (It also begs the question of who is absent at Light & Sie. An obvious omission is Gerhard Richter, whose entire oeuvre is synonymous with Sehnsucht. I have a long list of less famous names, as surely the reader will, too.)
Photography looms largest in the Sehnsucht show. Two works are from celebrity photographer Jeremy Kost’s Objectification series. A grid of 72 Polaroids comprises Simon: repeated shots of an undies-clad young man smoking in a bathtub. His lap is filled with a bevy of Barbie dolls. In the other work, Marshall appears nude, putting a female mannequin’s head on various parts of his body. In some Polaroids the female head obscures Marshall’s penis, which could be read as a both a desire and a lack. Both Simon and Marshall document semi-private indulgences, with potentially darker undertones. Seen through a heterosexual or homosexual lens, the works enact fetishistic fantasies with a horde of ideal women (Barbies) or the remnant of one (the mannequin head). In both situations, sexual union (a type of wholeness) is fractured. Unalleviated desire haunts the repeating rows of Polaroids.
Vanessa Beecroft’s large vibracolor prints of US Navy Seals, MOCA, San Diego are from her 1999 performance. Beecroft’s work is somewhat interesting, although these photos feel like documents after-the-fact. Yet with Jeremy Kost’s naked playboys hanging on the wall nearby, the Navy Seals’ rigid, depersonalized sexuality is heightened and teased. Both Kost’s and Beecroft’s photos relate to striving for an ideal type that may be equally elusive.
Todd Eberle’s and Thomas Ruff’s work relates to the abstract capabilities of photography. Eberle’s Tube Amplifier c. 1958 (2001) and Untitled (Cray Research Y-MP, 1988) (2008) each depict magnified sections of pioneering technological inventions: a 1958 era stereo amplifier and Cray Research’s early supercomputer. Today these objects are artifacts of long surpassed innovations. Eberle’s photographs aestheticize these bygones, rendering them beautifully useless. Thomas Ruff’s two C-prints feature swirling and contorting fluorescent hues. They are digitally altered scenes from Japanese anime and manga cartoons, though they show no relation to their source. Ruff has taken the figurative source (itself an animated, reproductive form) and created unrecognizable elegant abstractions.
Hedi Slimane’s Untitled (2005, black and white photos on aluminum panels) is a big work from a big name. It’s slick, skinny and mostly black (a humorous echo of Slimane’s tenure at Dior Homme?). At the far right, a photo of a Baroque angel is printed across five panels. It looks like Gabriel in the Annunciation, facing ten solid black reflective panels. Yet instead of bringing the revelation to the Virgin Mary, this angel is the harbinger of black minimalist panels. It’s hard not see Untitled as tongue-in-cheek, despite the serious potential for allusion to the fragmented Catholic Church in the twenty-first century. The Sehnsucht theme is figured by the loss of the angel’s traditional audience (Mary) and the diminished impact of religion on art in the twenty-first century.
Two of David Reed’s vertical paintings #570 and #571 (2005-2007, oil and alkyd on polyester) are luscious yellowy orange with dark curving brush marks. Reed’s work confounds the distinction between “authentic” painterliness and the synthetic replica of the mark. Near the Reed, Dan Walsh’s painting is a lovely, old-fashioned canvas that holds its own in a gallery of slick, reproductive techniques. Walsh’s grid of hand painted red and green squares are a self-conscious throwback to minimalism. Also present is an Ingrid Calame constellation drawn on trace Mylar. The translucent abstract marks record a history of human pedestrian traffic which Calame hand codes into hermetic and graceful colored pencil drawings.
Video projections by Joseph Dadoune and Kimsooja are in Light&Sie’s back galleries. Dadoune’s Sion is overworked and grandiose (it was filmed in the Louvre); the appropriation of the museum itself and of silent film tropes results in campiness (perhaps inadvertently). The antithesis to Sion is Kimsooja’s ethereal video projection, An Album: Havana. Where Dadoune hammers us on the head with literalness, here Kimsooja takes subtlety literally. There are moments when the viewer searches in vain for what’s on the screen, or has it gone blank? Then the bare hint of people walking across the screen reemerges. The figures, perpetually deferred, will never come into focus.
Thus the Sehnsucht theme is lightly sketched through two videos, a few photographs, a drawing and three paintings. It may have been the curator’s sly intention to leave us “longing” for more work, a further play on Sehnsucht. More likely, the narrow exhibition was due to lending and logistical constraints. Let’s support the ideal, though, and aspire to visit Light & Sie’s future projects
Katie Robinson Edwards is Assistant Professor of Art History at Baylor University's Allbritton Art Institute.
Conduit Gallery/Dallas Video Festival
July 26 - August 23, 2008
By Kate Watson
After twenty years of the Dallas Video Festival, The Video Association of Dallas is toying with a new structure—first, show a massive variety of video art asThe Programand, then, screen the rest of the work (documentary, narrative, experimental, etc.) in October under the original moniker. This curatorial choice touches on many familiar questions in experimental film and video, among them, what are the differences between video art and experimental video? Why do they often attract two separate audiences? How is video art best exhibited?
The Program, set temporally and physically apart from the Video Festival proper, is, at its core, an experiment and might very well be a one-time occurrence. The filmic influence of the Dallas Video Festival on this “side project” is palpable. The curators used both the “screening room” structure of a film festival and a gallery installation/monitor setup to present the work in question. A variety of videos were shown in a more “traditional” (read: gallery/museum) way in the front room of Conduit—on monitors with headphones—and interspersed with several installations supporting the video work. Over the course of the festival, the curators rotated works through this part of the gallery and viewers were invited to screen these videos as they pleased.
But the best part of The Program was a screening room set up in the bowels of Conduit Gallery. It was a rare delight to sit through a structured back-to-back screening of so much work that would normally be shown in a gallery space. Admittedly, the majority of viewers might have a hard time watching so much at once. But the formal setting of a screening room invites the audience to truly pause and take time with each work from start to finish—an experience that is virtually impossible standing in front of a monitor in a gallery. (So often in a gallery environment, there is pressure to “share” the work with others—especially with an installation offering only one or two pairs of headphones, it feels almost rude to spend more than a few minutes with a video if others are waiting.)
For me, the best example of the viewing experience afforded by the screening format was Cao Fei’s 28 minutei.Mirror (A Second Life Documentary Film by China Tracy a.k.a. Cao Fei). This gorgeous piece in three parts was shown at the last Venice Biennale and is epic in size—Fei gathered over 300 GB of footage and conversation with other “Second Lifers,” including a man who became her companion throughout her journey in that strange netherworld. This extremely meditative piece feels durational in its scope and to watch it on the “big screen” along with so many other groundbreaking works is an extraordinary, if at times challenging, treat. By watching the “documentary” from start to finish without interruption, viewers truly get a sense of the bizarre physical qualities of Second Life’s spatial environment. Cao Fei guides her audience slowly from encounter to encounter, along the way witnessing numerous abandoned spaces (all created by users), many with decaying advertisements already forgotten. At times, watching this entire video is exhausting and disturbing—the spaces and characters that Fei encounters are often saturated with pornography, destruction, and desperation. Without watching the entire piece, it would be easy to avoid or miss the utter (and at times beautiful) chaos that an entirely user-created virtual environment offers.
Ultimately, the “two-pronged” exhibition approach of The Program is a fascinating experiment that works. Some video art simply cannot be watched from start to finish and isn’t designed to be viewed in this way; many videos, however, benefit from a full screening that would rarely be an option for video art enthusiasts. This experimental series does wonders for those passionate about the medium but leaves questions about the nature of the work itself. Why can’t experimental film and video art “get along”? I sincerely hope that the two audiences continue to engage in a dialogue, and, if the Dallas Video Festival perseveres in this vein, the project could open up a productive conversation. But perhaps logistically The Programfits better in a yearly gallery/museum program entirely separate from the film festival. If this does occur, hopefully the venue of choice won’t forget the wonderful risks thatThe Program offered an often-starved Texas video audience.
Kate Watson is Coordinator of testsite,...might be good's sister project, and an editorial contributor to...might be good.
Contemporary Art Museum, Houston
Closes October 5, 2008
By Peter Mowris
Artists often use their own bodies as part of their work. But unlike most artists, Taylor-Wood can safely rely on a British viewer’s knowledge of her guest appearances and battles with cancer, knowledge that is on the same level as Americans’ familiarity with Britney Spears’s questionable sanity. Taylor-Wood’s tenuous mortality formed the subject matter of two different series of photographs that form a good third of the exhibition. In the series Self Portrait Suspended (2004), the artist appears to float in midair, but her hair hangs limp. She is weightless yet heavy; still in possession of her body but ready to leave the earth at any moment. In Bram Stoker’s Chair (2005), the chair casts no shadow, thus suggesting a vampire and its strange relationship to life and death. In these two series, Taylor-Wood expresses her tenuous vitality of the last decade allegorically. Her fame allows her autobiographical gesture to parallel more conventional exposé and feed the discourse of desire that she simultaneously addresses.
Taylor-Wood also creates work in which recognizable celebrities appear less for who they “are” than for what they symbolize in the press. In Pieta (2001), she adopts the role of the Virgin Mary and cradles the actor Robert Downey, Jr., who by 2001 was in the fifth year of his very public battle against drug addiction. Taylor-Wood’s vignette encapsulates the symbolic value of Downey’s body in the media. Likewise, David (2004), which takes its form from Andy Warhol’s 1963 film Sleep, conveys Beckham’s sex symbol status, which has expunged his vocational skill at soccer. In these works, Taylor-Wood fashions both men in playful conformity with symbols they have already become.
Taylor-Wood also represents fame without the conditions on which her performers generally rely. In the series Crying Men, the artist asked stars like Ed Harris and Hayden Christianson to make themselves cry for her. Harris cried when he played Jackson Pollock; Christianson when he played Anakin Skywalker. But in Crying Men, no larger filmic text exists to which the emotion corresponds. By altering the structure of performance, Taylor-Wood disrupts one’s expectations. These men have earned their respect for playing other people. When they play themselves, the appearance of performance in the midst of overt selfhood sends the men’s performances outside accustomed conditions of reception. In contrast to the works including Downey and Beckham, the figures in Crying Men gain poignancy by escaping their expected roles.
This notion of the self as a role that one plays resembles the artist’s use of herself as subject matter in her work, in which she generates complexity by merging or effacing conditions of more conventional beliefs one may have about the relationship between art and life. In addition to that basic relationship, Taylor-Wood offers a deeper inquiry of herself as an immediately public topic, thus making a retrospective of her work very appropriate, even if an American viewer risks missing entirely the status she has in the UK that forms such a significant element of her work. In this context, one best appreciates her vignettes of private experience in the space of public consumption.
Peter Mowris is a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Texas at Austin. He is currently working on a dissertation about Surrealism and nerve psychology and will present a paper on Max Ernst's Microbes at the upcoming CAA conference in Los Angeles in February of 2009 at the much anticipated Surrealism au Naturel panel.
to the editor
Regarding your comment about Texas curators lagging behind in exploring environmental issues, I just wanted to point out that Arthouse has recently done two projects related to these issues—Daniel Bozhkov and Fritz Haeg. These weren't comprehensive eco-shows, but they definitely addressed the environment!
By Lyra Kilston
Gigli or Showgirls: which movie is worse? What does it take to receive a rating of zero stars, or in film critic parlance, a turkey? How do bad films attain cult status? For artist Brian Lund, these questions occupied an adolescence spent renting movies and poring over film encyclopedias in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Even now, Lund, 34, watches films like few other people do. He makes detailed notes on index cards of the cuts, camera movements, settings, events and characters in each scene. For his current drawing series on Bob Fosse’s 1979 musical All that Jazz—a movie made up of a remarkable 1,946 cuts—Lund produced 195 index cards, each charting 10 edit cuts. These cards are Lund’s first step; next, he creates a code of symbols that correspond to the action. A green dot might stand for a particular sound, red triangles for the character Michelle, purple dots for Katie. Using materials you can find in an office supply store—colored pencils, pens or highlighters—Lund draws in a neat, mathematical-looking flurry of sparse color, taking the symbols from each scene as a loose guide for his “imagined re-edits.” For an earlier series based on Gigli, Lund used mostly magenta or purple dots, and the results resemble intricate molecular chains fanned across the page, punctuated with the names Jennifer Lopez or Ben Affleck in tight handwriting.
The drawings for All that Jazz are pinned in a grid on the wall of his neat Brooklyn studio. Each one displays a code of edit cuts on the left side and on the right, an abstract network snakes down the page’s shoulder. Clusters of lime green Y’s evince the many theatrical dance scenes, something for which Fosse—whose films Lund will focus on for the next year—was renowned. Both Lund’s meticulous hand and fondness for dance films are likely linked to his upbringing: his father handicapped horses as a hobby, working out complicated statistics and calculations on paper, while his mother sewed colorful sequined costumes for her Philippine heritage festivals.
After studying graphic design in college, Lund turned to painting, making large abstract works for several years. With strong color and hives of densely repetitive shapes, these early paintings owe a debt to the works of Ross Bleckner and Terry Winters, both of whom he admires. (He also cites Cindy Sherman as a favorite at the time, her scrutiny of cinema perhaps resonating with the work he would later undertake.) But while in grad school at SUNY Purchase a few years ago, Lund quickly abandoned his purely nonrepresentational style. He explains simply, “abstraction has its limits.” The catalyst for his next direction came from a most unlikely source: Sex in the City. As a shameless viewer, Lund quickly discerned the show’s ironclad structure: specifically, how each episode features a scene in which the four women sit down around a table. This show sparked his first attempt to apply abstraction to mass media, as he sought a visual language that could translate filmed drama into drawing.
Lund’s markings filter tension, dialogue, sex, murders, chase scenes, weeping, dancing, or graphic violence (Rambo and Diehard were also past projects) into one democratized landscape. “I want to develop a graphic language that can go through everything,” he explains. Notably though, while Lund’s initial coding is exact, the final drawings retain a freedom of form; he realizes that following a rigid system will turn an artist into a machine. While certainly obsessive, Lund’s works juxtapose a strict discipline with a looseness of interpretation and fictional play. The results are beguiling compositions that slyly reference, distill, and complicate the lurid human drama on screen.
Lyra Kilston is a writer living in New York. She is an editor at Modern Painters.
New York News
MoMA selects Ann Tempkin to succeed John Elderfield
The New York Times reports that the Museum of Modern Art has selected Ann Temkin to succeed John Elderfield, who retired from his position as chief curator of painting and sculpture in July. Temkin has been a curator at MoMA since 2003, when she arrived after a 13 year stint as a curator at The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Texas Biennial 2009 artists to be announced
The Texas Biennial will announce the list of artists selected to participate in the 2009 Biennial tomorrow (September 6, 2009). Guest curator Michael Duncan made his selections from a pool of over 500 applicants. Duncan is a Corresponding Editor for Art in America and a frequent contributor to Artforum. Most recently, he contributed to Alloy of Love: Dario Robleto (2008).
lora reynolds gallery moves to new space
lora reynolds gallery is moving (within Austin) to a larger space in the 360 Condominium Building at 360 Nueces Street. The public opening will take place on October 4, 2008. The new location is next door to the Austin Music Hall and across the street from the new Ballet Austin building in an area that is an arts and cultural center in the heart of downtown Austin. The gallery will be designed by Stonefox Design, the New York-based architecture and design firm that designed the Klein residences in both Santa Fe and Austin. Late last year, the firm opened their own art space in their New York offices, but collectors' residences form the bulk of their work.
Austin in the National News
Austin arts continue to draw national attention in this month's issue of Art in America. The September issue includes a review by Eleanor Heartney of Cult of Color: Call to Color, the collaboration between artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, composer Graham Reynolds and choreographer Stephen Mills of Ballet Austin.
Opens September 6, 2008
Guest curated by Paul Slocum and Marcin Ramocki, RESET/PLAY is an exhibition attempting a critical exploration of contemporary art inspired by video games. Questioning the history, control mechanisms, political and art-historical implications of electronic games, RESET/PLAY assembles a formidable group of international artists who made a significant impact on this growing post-game artistic sub-genre. Artists include Cory Arcangel, Michael Bell-Smith, Brody Condon, Alex Galloway, JODI, Guthrie Lonergan, Kristin Lucas, Joe McKay, Michael Smith, and Eddo Stern.
Elaine Bradford & Seth Mittag: Fictitious Realities / Realistic Fictions
Opens September 6, 2008
This double-exhibition features work by Elaine Bradford (whose 2006 show at Okay Mountain was excellent) and Seth Mittag (whose computer drawings come highly recommended by Bill Davenport).
Harvest: Ryan Lauderdale, Dylan Reece, Anthony Romero and Corkey Sinks
Opens Saturday, September 6th 2008 10pm - 12am
Harvest is a group exhibition of Austin-based artists Ryan Lauderdale, Dylan Reece, Anthony Romero, and Corkey Sinks' recent work. If this crew were a gang in The Warriors, they'd be the Punks.
William Lamson: ACTIONS
Marty Walker Gallery
Opens September 6, 2008, 6-8 pm
Marty Walker Gallery presents ACTIONS, an exhibition featuring new video and photography by Brooklyn artist William Lamson. Lamson’s video Actions depicts 33 short video performances involving the artist, black balloons and low-tech yet carefully calculated machinations designed to perform a variety of feats, both humorous, yet comically sinister. In the new series Interventions, Lamson photographs mundane humorously altered urban settings staging commonplace objects in unexpected, poetic, arrangements.
Ben Tecumseh DeSoto: Understanding Poverty
Opens Friday, September 12, 2008, 6-8pm
After many years of documenting life on the streets of Houston, photographer Ben Tecumseh DeSoto seeks to tell the stories of the homeless and working poor, the “broke and the broken,” with his exhibit Understanding Poverty, which will kick off DiverseWorks 08-09 season with an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 12, 2008.
Opens Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, 6-8 pm
This exhibition features 15 internationally recognized contemporary artists working in painting, sculpture, installations, photography and video (including New York favorite Wangechi Mutu). Curated by Terrie Sultan, David Pagel (!), and Colin Gardner.
San Antonio on View
The Art Guys: Cloud Cuckoo Land
UTSA Art Gallery
On view through October 12, 2008
This exhibition features the visual, performance and conceptual art of the Houston artist team of Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing who have worked collaboratively under the name The Art Guys since 1983. The exhibition originated at the Galveston Arts Center last year and includes drawings, maquettes, ephemera, and documentation from twenty-five years of projects, proposals, failed schemes, and pipe dreams.
Leslie Raymond: LANDSCAPES
Blue Star Contemporary Art Center
On view through September 28, 2008
LANDSCAPES will feature nine video loop compositions that focus on the classic painterly subject through the lens of time-based media.
The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF)
Alamo Ritz and various locations
September 3-7, 2008
Admission: Tickets available thirty minutes prior to screening
The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF), a Texas 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the oldest and largest gay & lesbian film festival in the Southwest and one of the Top 5 Film Festivals of its kind in the nation. This year features 120+ films, 17 countries, and plays host to an expected 10,000 attendees. Our top picks? Jacques Nolot's Before I Forget and Gus Van Sant's 1985 Mala Noche, both on Saturday night.
Celluloid for Social Justice
University of Texas
September 15 - October 9, Monday - Thursday, 7pm
Celluloid for Social Justice: The Legacy of 1968 in Documentaries is a mini film series at The University of Texas at Austin, organized in conjunction with the upcoming May 1968 Conference. The films come to UT from the California Newsreel and, in the first week, include pieces on Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit, Patrice Lumumba, the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins and James Baldwin. All films will be shown in Calhoun 100, starting at 7:00 pm with a brief introduction.
Fort Worth Events
Tuesday Evenings at The Modern: Paul Slocum
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
September 9, 2008, at 7pm
Paul Slocum is an independent artist, curator, and musician living in Dallas. Since 2006, he has been the director of And/Or Gallery in Dallas, an art space focused on new media work. His band, Tree Wave, makes music and video using reprogrammed obsolete computer and videogame gear. For Tuesday Evenings, Slocum presents the multifaceted art practice that has resulted in work that has brought him national and international critical acclaim as an artist, as well as local respect and appreciation for his promotion of and contribution to contemporary art and music in the Metroplex.
Tuesday Evenings at The Modern: Kara Walker
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
September 23, 2008, at 7 pm
Kara Walker, whose work is featured in the Modern’s current exhibition My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, presents the ideas and issues behind her compelling installations, drawings, paintings, and text-based works, which are as disturbing as they are beautiful. Walker’s unforgiving representation of the complex dynamics and ramifications of slavery has been the subject of much praise and controversy. This Tuesday Evening presentation offers insight into works of art that rattle and reconfigure historical perceptions, nudging and posing questions about personal and collective views on issues of race, gender, and sexuality.
A/V Geeks Weekend
Aurora Picture Show
September 5th - September 7th, 2008
Returning to Aurora for year eight, 16mm film collector Skip Elsheimer from A/V Geeks brings another entertaining batch of simply wrong educational and training films. A/V Geeks showcases an eclectic film archive with over 20,000 educational, training, and industrial 16mm films rescued from the dumpsters of American history.
San Antonio Events
Artpace ArtTalks: David Adjaye
UTSA Downtown Campus
September 10, 2008, 6:30 pm
In celebration of the Texas debut of Making Public Buildings, Artpace is pleased to bring world-renowned architect David Adjaye to San Antonio. The 2007 Kenzo Tange Visiting Professor in Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Adjaye founded London-based Adjaye/Associates in 2000 whose prestigious commissions have included the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo and Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. With a reputation as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision, his projects have been diverse in scale, audience and geography, and have included collaborations with artists such as Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson.
The Art Guys: Truth be Told: A multimedia journey through 25 of our best years as collaborators in the visual realm
Recital Hall, Arts Building, UT San Antonio
Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm
Join the Art Guys as they explore their 25 years of wild and woolly collaboration. Rumor has it that they will also play a few singles from the forthcoming The Art Guys Silver Jubilee Tribute Album. A tribute album to themselves? Brilliant.
Call for Entries
The Hunting Art Prize
Deadline: November 30, 2008
The Hunting Art Prize, sponsored by the international oil services company Hunting PLC, is a Texas-wide competition open to established artists, talented newcomers and promising amateurs. The $50,000 award is the most generous art prize given annually in the United States. The competition is open to Texas-based artists who are 18 years of age or older. Artwork submitted for consideration must be a single two-dimensional painting or drawing no larger than 72" on any one side. Artists can sign up using the electronic form at www.huntingartprize.com.
Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program
Deadline for Applications: September 22, 4:59 p.m. ES
The Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program announces its third round of grants as part of the Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Initiative. The Arts Writers Grant Program recognizes and supports individual writers working on contemporary visual art through project-based grants ranging from $3,000 - $50,000. Writers who meet the program's eligibility requirements are invited to apply for grants in the following categories: articles, short-form writing, and blogs/new and alternative media. (Please note that the program also funds book projects; however, the deadline for applications to this category has already passed.)
Call for Nominations
Nominations for State Poet Laureate, Musician, Visual Artists
The Texas Commission on the Arts
Deadline: October 5, 2008
The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is seeking nominations for the positions of 2009 and 2010 State Poet Laureate, State Musician, State Two-dimensional Artist and State Three-dimensional Artist. Any Texas citizen may make up to three nominations per artist category; however, self-nominations will not be accepted. All qualified nominees must be native Texans or five-year residents of the state. Candidates must have received recognition for high levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines. They also must have received critical reviews in state, regional or national publications. State artist selections are made using an online nomination form. Multiple submissions, email or telephone nominations will not be considered in the selection process.
Sr. Project Manager for Civic Art + Design
Houston Arts Alliance
The Sr. Project Manager for Civic Art + Design (CA+D) is responsible for primary management of civic art projects for the City of Houston. The position includes a wide range of coordination duties between artists and client representatives and requires numerous offsite meetings. Under the supervision of the Director of Civic Art + Design, the Sr. Project Manager guides the development of projects from project development, artists’ search and selection, and artwork fabrication and installation. The position requires verbal, written and interpersonal skills and knowledge of public art. Duties require a high level of organization, independence and decision-making ability, and an interest in the agency’s overall mission, structure, and programs to work with artists, City staff and elected officials. In FY09 it is anticipated that $5.5 million in civic art commissions will begin, including two $1M projects. Contact HAA for a full job description.
Southeast Texas Arts Council— Silsbee
The Southeast Texas Arts Council, Beaumont, Texas is seeking applicants for the position of Executive Director to promote arts and humanities programs in a three-county area. Salary $40,000- $43,000 (commensurate with experience). Interested candidates should send a resume, cover letter, and list of references by Friday, September 5, 2008 to: Search Committee, SETAC, 3898 Highway 327 West, Silsbee, Texas 77656. Email submissions accepted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residency & Programs Coordinator
apexart (New York, NY)
apexart is a non-profit arts organization in Lower Manhattan concerned with arts criticism and education rather than promotion. The organization currently has a position for a Residency & Programs Coordinator. The ideal candidate must have 3+ years experience in program management and have an ability to write and communicate effectively and concisely. Must be willing to work Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-6pm, with some late evenings. Salary is $40,000, or commensurate with experience. Send a resume with salary history, one writing sample, and cover letter explaining how you are suited for the position to email@example.com with subject line PROGRAMS POSITION. apexart will only contact those who we wish to interview. No phone calls.
Sam Taylor-Wood, Pietà, 2001, 35 mm film/DVD projection, 1 minute 57 seconds © The artist. Courtesy Jay Jopling/White Cube (London).
Two days before her exhibition opened at CAMH in Houston, Sam Taylor-Wood attended Queen Elizabeth’s Woman Achievers Luncheon at Buckingham Palace, where she mingled with author J.K. Rowling, designer Vivienne Westwood and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The UK tabloid Daily Mail covered Taylor-Wood’s lunch with the queen alongside features on stars like David Beckham and Madonna. In this world, increased scrutiny of celebrities continues to feed popular desire for representations of these stars, Taylor-Wood among them. The Daily Mail kept its readers posted on her survival of both colon and breast cancer and in December 2007, she posed nude for Harper’s Bazaar. At CAMH, Taylor-Wood’s potently self-reflexive exploration of this celebrity dominates her small-scale retrospective. The artist behaves like a mole or an anthropologist doing fieldwork in the world of fame and power. She caters to the discourse of desire and fame and draws from it for the subject matter of her art.
Like most retrospectives, the show lacks a standout piece. The artist herself is the most conspicuous theme, because she appears in works that constitute a little over half the exhibition of her oeuvre from 1995-2007. Ten video pieces, three of which are located in separate rooms, balance a series of seven photographs called Crying Men, two self-portrait series and two individual photos—one of Taylor-Wood and the other of a tree meant to symbolize her.