from the editor
A fascinating group of features in this issue cluster loosely around the concept of “damaged romanticism,” as Blaffer Gallery puts it in the title of its current exhibition. In her review of Damaged Romanticism at the Blaffer, Allison Myers suggests that the concept revolves around a “mix of emotionality and disillusionment—a mix that bridges the gap between the romantic and the realistic.” After reading Allison’s review, I began to see much of the other work discussed in this issue in light of this marriage of brokenness and beauty.
Kate Watson’s piece on The Marfa Sessions at the Ballroom—and on Marfa more broadly—captured, for me, a subtle disquiet lurking behind the romantic art world destination and expressed through the static and distortion she encountered in so many of the sound works installed there now. When an art boom brings a dying town back to life, when swank galleries and restaurants begin to populate a low income neighborhood, could it be that damaged romanticism captures the enchantment, but also the pain, of these processes? I haven’t seen it yet, but I imagine that Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s Grand Paris Texas, which they discuss in an interview in this issue, might speak to such a damaged romanticism.
Other reviews in this issue also sparked connections in my mind to damaged romanticism, though somewhat more tangentially: Katie Anania’s discussion of the iconic conceptual artwork as a relic and the viewer as a pilgrim, Alvero Ibarra’s description of Lupita Murillo Tinnen’s work, and Wendy Atwell’s investigation of chocolate’s seduction.
Our next issue will follow felicitously on the heels of damaged romanticism: politics. Coming out on October 31st, a matter of days before the election, the issue will include reviews of a variety of artist’s web projects and current exhibitions having to do with artists’ activism and the big themes of this year’s American presidential campaigns: the economy, labor, race and the war, among others.
Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.
Teresa Hubbard & Alexander Birchler: No Room To Answer
By Elizabeth Dunbar
Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, Grand Paris Texas, video still, 2008, High-definition video with sound, Installation dimensions variable, Commissioned by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Courtesy the artists.
Austin-based artist duo Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler have been working together since 1990, when they were both in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. Countless solo exhibitions of their work in photography, video and sculpture have been held in the United States and abroad, most recently Hello Darkness at K21 Düsseldorf (2008), House with Pool at the Miami Art Museum (2006), New Spaces at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Münich (2005) and Editing the Dark at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (2005). Their work is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin and Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zurich. On the occasion of their first major touring survey exhibition in an American museum, No Room to Answer at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Arthouse Curator Elizabeth Dunbar (who organized Editing the Dark in 2005) talked with the artists about the way their work has unfolded over the past eighteen years.
Elizabeth Dunbar: Let’s start from the beginning. What led to your decision to begin making work together as a team and how did that differ from how you had been working as solo artists?
Theresa Hubbard: When we met as artists each with our own practices, we were both making sculptural installation work. Alexander was working with models, replicas, collections and the idea of the double or the 'doppelganger'. I was working with words and water, building objects reminiscent of Houdini's escape tanks. Alexander has a background in painting and drawing and my background is in literature and writing. We both had an strong affinity for the staging of history and the orchestration of space and objects- we both loved going to natural history museums and shared an interest in how narrative functions and how a story can be physically pieced together and pulled apart.
Alexander Birchler: In 1989 we did an exhibition together with our individual work called, Liquid and Solid. At that time we were both fellows at an artist residency, the Banff Centre in Canada. The beginnings of our collaboration were organic in the sense that it wasn't a 'decision' but something that developed and grew along with our personal relationship. Teresa and I have often both talked about the excitement of working toward a third voice or third place in the work. We came to photography foremost by documenting our sculptures and increasingly we got excited about the photographic frame and how our ideas looked from the vantage point of a camera.
ED: Your early photographic work together is very cinematic, so in retrospect it seems only natural that you would eventually gravitate towards making moving images, especially given your backgrounds in sculpture, writing and then staged photography—all the components needed were already there. What finally spurred you to make the leap and what were you hoping to achieve through moving images that you didn’t think was possible through stills?
TH: That's a great question. From the beginning, we've always perceived one medium in relation to, or through another. Maybe that's because of our different backgrounds, but most likely, it's because we collaborate - and collaboration (at least our kind of collaboration) encourages that. Since the beginning of our collaboration, we've worked in a multitude of mediums, including video. One of the very first video works we made together, in 1991, involved a female character who had been struck by lightning.
ED: The bolt of lightning that moved you into a new medium...!
TH: Yes... the sound of being struck... for example. There is an incredible temporal and spatial extension, as well as contradiction, that sound can bring to an image. We want to use and push that potential.
ED: Actually, it’s interesting that a trauma victim inaugurates your video work. Psychological damage, trauma and tragedy have appeared regularly in the work since, as does a pervasive mood of melancholy. Your work has always reminded me of that of Edward Hopper and Alfred Hitchcock. Like them, you have a special ability to plumb the depths of everyday human darkness. Are there certain artists with whom you feel an affinity?
AB: Of course—we draw an endless amount of inspiration from other people's work: from Meredith Monk's music and mood of archeology in her work, to the writings about projection and darkness by Alexander Kluge, to the atmospheric attunement in Edward Hopper's paintings...
TH: ... from Beckett's ideas of what he called the “pre-math” or the “pre-traumatic,” to Michelango Antonioni's films and what he called “dead time,” to the writing of Raymond Carver and the way in which many of his characters are a broken circuit, unable to bridge motion and emotion...
ED: In your overall body of work, one of the recurring themes is the idea of absence. In some of the early photographs it comes across not only in the implied narratives, but also compositionally through the use of “strips”—black voids that separate things metaphorically as well as physically. This also occurs in the video works, especially Eight and Single Wide. Can you talk more about the importance of the void in your work and how it relates to your interests in cinema?
TH: With our backgrounds in sculpture and an affinity for film sets, we’ve always been interested in exploring and exposing the physical attributes of film for its architectural properties. For instance, on a strip of film, the black strips separating two frames, in many of our projects, becomes an emotional threshold or boundary.
AB: The threshold for us is a place fraught with contradictions: as a temporal and spatial void; interior versus exterior; singularity separating togetherness; darkness separating light; the “before” separating the “after.” In works such as Stripping, Single Wide, Detached Building and Eight, this strip becomes a trope that is continuously marked by the protagonist's struggle.
TH: We're fascinated with the analogy of a camera as architecture, architecture as a camera and their proximity and relationship to each other.
AB: For example, Le Corbusier’s proposition that a house is a system for taking pictures, or that the outside is the result of an inside. I think of a movie theater as the reverse architecture of a camera: this is what has drawn us to photograph and film cinemas over the years. It's what led us to one of our newest works, Grand Paris Texas.
EB: Could you describe this new project? It's one of the longest video pieces you've made to date, right?
TH: Yes—it's 54 minutes long and we spent over a year researching, filming and editing it. Grand Paris Texas interweaves the physical and social space of a dead cinema, the inhabitants of Paris, Texas, and a narrative about Wim Wender's film, Paris, Texas, which used the name of the town but wasn't shot in Paris. The video follows four narrative threads: a film crew while they film the bird-infested interior of the Grand Theater; interviews with Paris, Texas, residents who reflect on cinema and filmmaking; the local resonance of Wenders's film and a partially-erased video tape of his film discovered at the local video store.
ED: Spoken dialogue is a fairly recent addition to your work. You take this even further in Grand Paris Texas by introducing footage of unscripted interviews with town residents. In some ways, this would seemingly make the narrative more defined than in earlier works, which depended solely on visual images and sound.
AB: It's always surprising how certain ideas come back to us again and again. One of the very first pieces Teresa and I made collaboratively was called Small Town (1990). The project incorporated a labyrinth which we built inside an empty building in downtown Banff, Canada—as a museum of doors. Each constructed passageway led to a door, which was accompanied by a photograph and a text which, like the doors themselves, swung back and forth between genres of fiction and documentary.
TH: Another early piece, From Gardens Where We Feel Secure (1991) also mixed fiction and documentary and included dialogue. That project was also a museum—which we built inside the Anna Leonowen's Gallery in Nova Scotia, Canada. The elements in the museum looked like a natural history museum and interwove the lives of two childhood friends who were collectors—Malcolm Spaulding, a collector of birds’ eggs, and Geraldine Ruskin, a collector of books. It's interesting to think about dialogue in those early works and how that connects to dialogue in Grand Paris Texas as well as another work we just finished for the Tate Museum for the Liverpool International Biennial.
AB: On the first research trip we made to Paris, we met a man named Markus Roden, who is a funeral director in Paris. He has buried most of the people who worked at the Grand Theater. Markus talked with us about his ideas of the similarities between directing a funeral and directing a film. It was very exciting for us meeting and talking to him and other people while we were researching the theater. We subsequently made numerous trips to Paris, specifically to schedule conversation sessions. We invited people to come in to talk to us about filmmaking, the Wenders's film Paris, Texas and the importance of the cinema in their town. We also had a lot of phone interviews, email correspondence and spent time at the Paris Community College Library and history archives. From these exchanges, it became apparent that dialogue, in some form, should be interwoven into the structure of the project.
TH: In the interview with Andrea Karnes in the catalogue accompanying our current exhibition in Fort Worth, No Room to Answer, we talk about how the dialogue in Grand Paris Texas feeds the structure of the meta-narrative—that there's always another frame beyond the frame. For example, there's Paris in Texas; then there's another altogether different Paris in France. And there's the film Paris, Texas. In the town of Paris, Texas, we found a single VHS copy of the film for rent, but because a previous renter accidentally taped over the ending the film, it's not clear what happens in the end to the hero—if he makes it to Paris or not. The frame goes on and on...
Elizabeth Dunbar is Curator at Arthouse in Austin, Texas.
Sculpture from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Landmarks: The Public Art Program of The University of Texas at Austin
By Eric Zimmerman
Dedication of Alexander Calder's La Grand Vitesse, 1969. Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Library.
Public sculpture, and public art in general, is experiencing a resurgence of sorts. Strategies are diverse and range from traditional public sculpture to social actions and performance projects. Alexander Calder’s 1969 La Grande Vitesse commissioned by the city of Grand Rapids represents traditional public sculpture—bulking steel abstractions occupying lonely plots in city plazas or corporate atria—at its most successful. Calder’s piece was such a symbol of civic pride it became a logo emblazoned on the city’s garbage trucks. Contemporary projects along these same lines include Doug Aitken’s Sleepwalkers (2007), a mulit-screen cinematic project in which Aitken projected a series of interweaving narratives onto the concrete and glass façade of The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The piece activates the public space of the architecture and surrounding city blocks in a manner not entirely unlike a steel sculpture.
On the other end of the spectrum and of no less importance are the social actions and projects executed by individual artists. Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s performance works, including her well known Maintenance Art Performance Series (1973-74), are striking examples of community and social engagement. Creative Time’s 2008 project Democracy in America: The National Campaign, which had an Austin presence and featured a series of variety-show-esque performances by Rodney McMillian and Olga Koumoundouros, represents the ongoing presence of these types of public artistic production. The edges between these categories are not strict, but each represents a distinct type of public artistic production. In the case of public sculpture, these works activate urban spaces and, ideally, create a sense of place and, in the case of public projects, these works engage communities in social actions to build history, ties and awareness.
Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin’s new public art program, is currently in the first phase of a three-part process and has adopted traditional public sculpture as its starting point. The second initiative promises to bring new works to campus by requiring building renovations and new construction projects to devote a small portion of their budget to public art and the third initiative promises to draw upon philanthropic gifts to enhance other shared public spaces. The first initiative has brought twenty-eight (twenty-six at the time of writing) sculptures to UT’s Forty Acres on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tony Smith’s Amaryllis (1965), Robert Murray’s Chilkat (1977) and Donald Lipski’s The West (1987) are the most notable among the loaned works, as well as Mark di Suvero’s Clock Knot (2007), which was loaned separately by the artist himself and is the only work the University has publically committed to purchasing so far. Ranging in size from towering, in the case of the Clock Knot, to sofa size, as in Willard Boepple’s Eleanor at 7:15, the Met’s sculptures dot the University landscapes and interiors.
This kind of public sculpture is notoriously easy on the eyes, emphasizing formal qualities such as line, shape, surface, material and volume. There are a few occasions when the pieces begin to have dialogue with their sites and these are the most successful parts of Landmarks in its current phase. Tony Smith’s Amarylis occupies a nice location in a plaza just across the street from the Trinity entrance to the Texas Memorial Museum and in close vicinity to the Glen Rose Dinosaur Tracks. The folding black geometric form plays nicely off of the art deco architecture of the museum. Crystalline in nature Smith’s piece has subtle suggestions of geology and childlike playfulness that coincide well with the museum and the nearby dinosaur prints. Clock Knot, Mark di Suvero’s recently dedicated piece, also holds up well at its location on the corner of Dean Keaton and Speedway. The bright red limbs of the piece spring forth from a torqued and twisted metal knot at its center. Monumental in scale, the piece activates the grassy space between the chemical and mechanical engineering buildings, referencing engineering itself in its shiny steel confines. However, more often than not, these are objects to appreciate only aesthetically. Individual sites for the works are interchangeable and non-specific, their placement having little to no dialogue with their surroundings apart from their mere presence.
Upon visiting, be prepared to not be shy about walking into a number of university buildings, as many of the pieces are located indoors; the law school, main building and the Perry-Castaneda Library just to name a few—places not without rich and complex histories. With the program in its fledgling phase hopefully these sculptures will eventually cede their sites to works that talk more directly and productively within these contexts. Their neutrality is often the most unforgettable thing about these sculptures. I watched as masses of students walked by the works without so much as a second glance, or casually glided their hands over the surfaces while chattering away on their cell-phones. Again, there is hope that in the future works created for the Landmarks program will gain more relevance for the student body. This can perhaps be achieved through works that incorporates technology, community service, or are perhaps even collaborative in nature. Involvement of the UT and larger Austin community is critical for the future success of Landmarks and the way in which the program will gain local and national prominence.
The programs mission states: “Landmarks records our history, builds community and creates a sense of place, now and for future generations. Its projects represent the creativity, innovation and rigor that make the university one of the world’s best.” Building place and community require a large measure of specificity, impact and participation that, in general, these works quite frankly do not possess. If the university is indeed interested in rigor, innovation and creativity, let’s hope that as the program moves forward it embraces more relevant, contemporary and thought provoking pieces of public art. These should be things that really do build our community, record our history and attempt to do more than simply improve the aesthetic character and reputation of The University of Texas.
Eric Zimmerman is an artist who lives and works in Austin.
Elaine Bradford and Seth Mittag: Fictitious Realities/ Realistic Fictions
Art Palace, Austin
Closed October 8, 2008
By Josh Rios
Seth Mittag, Loss, Collection and Search for the Archetype, 2008. Courtesy Art Palace Gallery.
Fictitious Realities/Realistic Fictions at Art Palace features the latest work by Seth Mittag and Elaine Bradford, artists who share a connection to Houston, but perhaps little else. Bradford continues to deliver her cute, yet unnerving, crocheted taxidermic wildlife, which suggest paradoxical feelings of comfort and warmth alongside suffocation and restriction. Mittag, on the other hand, explores memory and perception through installation and photography that dwell on the dark side of class awareness and childhood. While the individual work is neither harmed nor benefitted by this uneasy pairing, there is little going on between these two artists to spark a dialectical synthesis. In fact, the title of the show seems to be doing most of the heavy lifting. The viewer is likely to become frustrated or, worse, indifferent, while attempting to satisfy the expectation of reflection set up by the title. In an installation by Bradford in the gallery’s entrance, several spheres hang from the ceiling like enlarged Christmas decorations that have been embellished with miniature plastic landscaping. The cosmic and the model are conflated, while bright, crocheted squirrels cling to, grow out of and perhaps protect the ornamented planets. Sadly, the little planets and the clinging wildlife never become overwhelmingly unified. Added together, the two things do not quite transcend the sum of their parts.
Just past these hanging geographies, in the smaller of the two main rooms, is Mittag's Loss, Collection and Search for the Archetype (2008), a child-size living room, partly fabricated and partly made from purchased objects. A smaller-than-life-size television shows a static, backlit transparency of a young boy being taught how to drink a beer by an adult male. Sculpted beer cans, cigarette butts and ubiquitous fast food packaging litter the room along with other fabricated objects associated with cheap, easy satisfaction. The beer can and French fry sculptures, without ever being explicit, offer just enough tactile information to allow the viewer to make the association between the sculptures and specific brands. The crushed cans are mostly white with just a few thin red lines in the right places to insinuate Budweiser and the French fry boxes are that primary red that recalls both McDonalds and Wendy’s.
There is an economy of ambiguity present in Mittag’s detritus, which implicates the viewer in the act of remembering. Not unlike walking a tight rope, Mittag withholds and supplies information in a precarious balance that keeps the viewer invested and attempting to connect the dots. The cans and packaging are abstractions of real habits and real products. This ambiguity is working in the individual sculptural elements as well as the staged scenarios. Each individual object draws the viewer into a wide web of relationships and associations.
In this same room are three photographs of some of these sculptural elements placed in real settings. Untitled (Fridge) (2008) depicts one of Mittag’s sculptural beer cans and a fabricated slice of yellow cheese placed in an empty refrigerator. Although the photos have a familiarity, brought out by their snapshot quality, there is something haunting, strange and yet correct about the double removal of the resulting image in the refrigerator. The invisible mediation of the snapshot works in tension against the sculptural objects as they reference and parody reality.
If there is some relation between these two artists, the stretch is not so much challenging as it is unproductive. Each of the artists brings something worth contemplating: Bradford brings wonderment, fantasy and a strangely dark cuteness, while Mittag focuses on purging childhood and the relationship between invention, reconstruction and actuality. But ultimately the real fiction of the exhibition is in the coherence of the pairing.
Josh Rios is a working artist, student of art history and co-founder of Okay Mountain gallery.
Young Latino Artists 13: Everything's Going to Be Okay
On view through November 9, 2008
By Alvaro Ibarra
Lupita Murillo Tinnen, From the series Mourning Sickness, 2008, Silver gelatin print. Courtesy the artist.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Young Latino Artists exhibition is Mexic-Arte’s annual effort to bring together up-and-coming Latino artists under the age of thirty-five. This year, for YLA 13: Everything’s Going to Be Okay, curator Leslie Moody Castro has assembled work around the concept that our “…moments of vulnerability can turn into our greatest strengths.” A standout in the exhibition, Lupita Murillo Tinnen’s photographic series Looking Inward (2008), comes closest to embodying the spirit of Castro’s curatorial premise. Each photo depicts carefully chosen details from domestic interiors: the corner of a kitchen sink or the edge of a living-room sofa. Tinnen’s photographs are seemingly mundane visual excerpts of everyday life. However, her lovingly rendered colors and textures of tile grout, sun-baked linen and painted drywall transform her subject matter into aesthetic compositions divorced from their original context. Her work evoke’s Amalia Mesa-Bain’s theory of domesticana, a feminism-meets-Chicano approach that looked to glorify the domestic roles of Chicanas through fine art. Ultimately, Tinnen’s beautiful photographs stir a palpable melancholy in the viewer. Just as disaster, divorce, transformation, or change of any kind (even for the purported sake of transcendence or a greater good) can make us long for an idealized past that never existed, that makes us repeat the mantra: “everything is going to be okay.”
While the exhibition includes a few other noteworthy pieces, most of the work displays no special relevance to Castro’s curatorial statement. For example, David “Shek” Vega’s Mexican Standoff stands in high contrast to both Tinnen’s quiet photographs and the curatorial aim of the show. The San Antonio artist displays a love for the artificial, executed in its entirety using spray paint and industrial enamel paint on MDF (a kind of fibreboard that employs toxic formaldehyde resins). It is an aesthetic Tomás Ybarra-Frausto called rasquachismo. The painting itself is a diptych representing two cartoon characters faced off against one another. The outrageous figures are half-man half-rooster, featuring a human’s body and a rooster’s head. Vega’s obvious references hybridize two traditional Latino pastimes: boxing and cock-fighting. The hybrid creatures appear menacing and display their qualities to the viewer through the tattoos on their bodies, brightly colored plumage and equally eye-popping boxing regalia. Despite the fighters’ attempts to get out attention and curry our favor, hybrids are nevertheless looked upon with suspicion and marginalized in society. Not surprisingly, Vega’s painting was exiled to a secluded corner of the Mexic-Arte Museum.
The most compelling work was a performance by Carlos Rosales-Silva entitled Bringing Sexi’ Back. The spectacle began with the artist stripping and methodically covering his rotund body with baby oil. Many in the crowd looked away or chuckled nervously; some onlookers even meandered away. Rosales-Silva salvaged the remaining spectators by dressing himself. However, the new ensemble he donned in a ritualistic manner included a feathered headdress, a beaded leather vest and other Native American clichés. The artist performed this transformation immediately adjacent to an easel bearing a shrouded canvas, promoting increasing curiosity about its role in the act. Rosales-Silva unveiled the painting once fully morphed into his personal. The image on the canvas was the artist’s alter ego, a reproduction of a beefcake Indian chief commonly found on the covers of romance novels. Albeit similarly dressed, posed and glistening, the disparities between performer and representation provoked raucous laughter, like a visual punch line. Certainly, Rosales-Silva’s performance was intended as a joke and laughter was the appropriate response. More importantly, laughter functioned as the cathartic release from the pent up dis-ease onlookers experiences over the course of the lengthy spectacle—functioned as an acceptable reward for gazing upon his otherwise unspectacular brown physique.
Some lack of cohesion is expected due to the inclusive aims of the annual exhibition, but a show revolving around the interaction between strength and vulnerability does a disservice to the specific issues directly tackled by each artist in the show. There are plenty of broad topics in contemporary Latino art, such as racism, religion, immigration, chauvinism, assimilation, et cetera, that can be artistically inclusive and specific enough to make an exhibition culturally and critically relevant.
However, this year’s YLA curator declares: “The artists in this exhibition do not define themselves by the blood running through their veins or their ancestral history, but rather their personal histories.” Viewers could legitimately argue the worth of characterizing the participating artists and/or exhibition as Latino, if it was not to showcase a uniqueness defined by the participants’ specific ancestry.
Moreover, there is no need to make a declaration of distinction when one considers the recent trends in Latino art. An entire generation of Latino artists has actively sought to distinguish themselves from earlier Chicano artists. Most have long-abandoned the formal and iconographic language of Chicano art—from Aztec glyphs and Pancho Villas to low-riders and zoot suits—in a concerted effort to develop work beyond the Modernist tenets of the Chicano Movement. However, these artists are still influenced by their heritage and remain connected to the Latino community.
By eliding the significance of her artists’ background, Castro is also frustrating her audience’s desire to see/explore a given issue through the eyes of a Latino.
Alvaro Ibarra is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at The University of Texas at Austin.
Blaffer Gallery, Houston
On view through November 15, 2008
By Allison Myers
Jesper Just, It Will All End in Tears, 2006, (video still), Anamorphic 35 mm film transferred to HDV, color, sound, 20:00 minutes. Courtesy Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York. © Jesper Just, 2005–2007.
Damaged Romanticism, the exhibition now on view at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery, offers an insightful look at artists who address the tragedies of modern life in moving and often beautiful ways. There isn’t an emphasis on any one medium or methodology; the show includes everything from painting, sculpture and installation to video, film and photography. Rather, the fifteen internationally recognized artists meet around a shared recognition of beauty and constructive emotion in the face of adversity. Melding the emotionality of romanticism with the level-headedness of realism, the works often dabble in the fantastic or the surreal while remaining firmly grounded in the problems of the here and now. Identity crises, industrial decay and natural and environmental disjunctures are but a few of the themes present.
A damaged romanticism is one, as the show’s placard states, where “stubborn optimism takes the place of dreamy utopianism.” Romanticism is damaged when ideals lose their footing and emotional fervor can no longer hide the dingy or depressing truth of reality. Rather than simply accepting that reality and sliding into a static realism, however, this romanticism retains some measure of the romantic spirit, using the disappointment of failure as a building block for future action. Not all of the works fit comfortably together, but each of them does address this sense of real-time emotion and imagination.
Out of all the works, Jesper Just’s film It Will All End in Tears (2006) and Julia Oschatz’s series of landscape drawings are the two that most closely approach the feel of traditional Romanticism. Beautiful, rich and evocative, Just’s film is a twenty-minute epic that shifts, twists and meanders its way through a plot that is as ambiguous as it is moving. The tight, cinematic composition of the scenes and the high production value of the film create a dark intimacy that allows one to emotionally communicate with the psychological trials of his characters. In this way, Just hits on one of the most essential aspects of Romanticism—its emotional currency—without falling prey to its grandiose idealism. The unsettling ambiguity draws us back to a reality where answers are never easy to come by.
Julia Oschatz’s series of drawings take their cue from traditional Romantic landscape painting but interject a healthy dose of quirky self-awareness to pull them back to reality. Each drawing features a strange, vaguely mouse-headed character named Wesen (German for “being” or “essence”) in a vast, overwhelmingly gray landscape. Wesen, always miniscule next to towering trees and craggy mountains, stands in for the romantic anxieties and sublime terrors of man’s insignificance in nature. However, as an awkward half-human, half animal hybrid with no eyes, the effect is almost comical as he apparently contemplates the transcendent landscape before him.
Edward Burtynsky’s stunning photographs of a shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh take a more realistic tack, offering a poignant meditation on human industry and nature. Shipbreaking, which primarily occurs in developing south Asian countries, is the dangerous and toxic practice of dismantling old industrial ships for scrap metal. Burtynsky’s sweeping views show us a graveyard of giant ship carcasses. These carcasses stand in surreal disjunction against the vast expanse of the beaches and the miniscule people dotting the shoreline. Burtynsky’s aesthetically charged documentary style allows for a powerful though tragic beauty, which nicely underscores the show’s theme and wonderfully illustrates what the organizers refer to as an “aftermath aesthetic.”
Florian Maier-Aichen’s photographs of subtly dreamlike landscapes also take up this “aftermath aesthetic.” Mixing analogue photography with digital editing techniques, Maier-Aichen subverts the documentary nature of photography by tweaking the images in unexpected ways. In Untitled (Long Beach) (2004), for instance, he has placed a row of ice-covered mountains on the horizon. A black and white aerial view, this otherwise normal image of a city and its suburban sprawl turns into an ashen, post-apocalyptic desert scene.
Many of the works in the show suggest that beauty can be found in nearly anything. None, however, put it in such luxurious or splendid terms as Angelo Filomeno. Working with materials like silk lamé, crystals, diamond and 18k gold, Filomeno’s painstaking, beautiful embroideries show the not-so cuddly side of animal life. This is ticklishly apparent in his Arcanum: Rolling Shit (2006), which features an exquisitely rendered dung beetle rolling a decorative bit of poop.
Finding beauty in the tragic and the ugly is certainly a major thread that runs throughout the show. Though the organizers emphasize hope and optimism as a uniting characteristic, the significance of this damaged romanticism is something more subtle. It is this stimulating mix of emotionality and disillusionment—a mix that bridges the gap between the romantic and the realistic. None of the works give easy answers and none of them offer a security blanket, but they don’t leave you feeling despondent either. The artists certainly recognize a light at then end of the tunnel, but they are also aware that we have to crawl through the sludge and grime of the tunnel itself to reach its brighter end. By forging a connection between sentimentality and cynicism, the works in this highly successful show offer the best of both worlds.
Allison Myers is pursuing an M.A. in art history at The University of Texas at Austin.
Index: Conceptualism in California
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
On view through December 15, 2008
By Katie Anania
John Baldessari, Concerning Diachronic/Synchronic Time: Above, On, Under (with Mermaid), 1976, Six black-and-white photographs, 28 3/4 x 27 3/4 inches, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Purchased with funds provided by Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg. Courtesy the artist.
A charming paradox of Conceptual art: while we can understand much of it solely from its documentation or recounting, we still thrill at seeing the works themselves in the flesh. The scraps of paper, documentary photographs, and other unremarkable materials employed in Conceptual art practices take on an archival allure because of their proximity to the ephemeral moments of their genesis. That compelling, almost mystical fragility turns viewers of MoCA’s Index: Conceptualism in California into relic-seeking pilgrims, but instead of descending to Chartres’ basement to view the Virgin Mary’s tunic, they descend down the concrete stairs of Chris Burden’s Exposing the Foundations of the Museum (a re-installation of his 1986 work). There, they find nothing but the mangled stone foundation of the MoCA’s Geffen Contemporary building. Suddenly the relic is freed from being part of an authoritative structure and re-cast as liberating, hilarious and contingent.
The show’s 209 works, many of them cult classics, spread this gospel well. Douglas Huebler’s Location Piece #17 (1968), for instance, documents an occasion in which the artist finds a "man who bears a strong resemblance to the artist,” and records that act of finding through basic reportage techniques: snapshot and typewritten text. Location Piece #17 highlights the limits of such documentary measures, and positions the artist as an oft-faulty conduit of data (hence the joke that the artist, in finding a man who resembles himself, participates in a larger tendency of reflecting his own subjectivity rather than shedding light on anyone else’s). We meet with the artist’s skepticism of his own position in the world, problematizing (but not fully nullifying) the position of the artwork as an object of reverence.
Curators Philipp Kaiser and Corrina Peipon create very loose chronological groupings that allow the viewer to sense the vast matrix of belief systems that formed different genealogies of southern California “concept art” (a contested term even during its heyday). The Huebler piece is near a suite of William Wegman drawings that depict anamorphic forms: Gulls/Waves (1973) shows the instability of markmaking by framing some of Wegman’s ink flourishes as gulls, and others as waves. Though it’s common to view Wegman as a New York video artist, this suite was produced during his years teaching in Long Beach and together with Huebler’s Location Piece creates a balanced look at ways in which both artists rejected the artist’s touch as a concrete arbiter of information in the same five-year period.
The lineages of these 1960s and 70s artists become more blurry during the 80s and 90s. As the years progress, it becomes more and more difficult to draw 1 to 1 correspondences between particular formal strategies and critical discourses. MoCA does a good job of emphasizing the “pre-critical” quality of the featured pieces by refraining from excessive wall text (a la the Tate Modern) or convoluted exhibition layouts (a la this year’s SITE Santa Fe biennial). Jeff Vallance’s Relics from 2 Vatican Performances (1992) rests solely on its own in this way, consisting of a note to Vallance from the Vatican acknowledging their receipt of his painting of Veronica’s veil. Next to the note is a handkerchief bearing an imprint of the artist’s face in ground espresso – a vicious double entendre that digs at the Italian reverence for the drink – and the two objects sit side-by-side in a case.
Though a twenty-first-century observer could probably corral several dominant discourses of postmodernism with which to analyze Relics, the display doesn’t much belabor this point. In a clever twist, the curators place this work near Chris Burden’s Exposing the Foundations of the Museum. Not a coincidence, I suspect, as Vallance stated in 2007 that seeing a photo of Chris Burden’s 1971 performance Shoot “changed his whole outlook on life.” Viewers may amass these lateral and literary ties as they wish but no matter what, the artist’s act of displaying his rejection letters and imprinting his face in food is funny with no contextual prompting. Success.
Kaiser and Peipon also solve the problem of how to frame disparate discourses, feminism among them, within the exhibition’s historical bracket by making proximity, rather than chronology or ideology, an organizing principle. All artists populate the space in the same laconically analytical way without narrative interruptions. Andrea Fraser’s Little Frank and His Carp, placed near the check-in desk, provides an avenue into institutional critique practices with its reel of Fraser humping the Guggeheim Museum walls and is also hilarious in its own right. Ed Ruscha’s 1969 Stains portfolio is around the corner from Trisha Donelly’s Untitled 2004, a splotch of red enamel on paper that forms a chaotic, faux-action-painterly motif; while these works may not have been in direct conversation with one another, through their proximity one senses a shift in praxis from the cataloguing of everydayness to the use of “the stain” as a sarcastic painterly gesture.
The viewer’s belief system will be what brings these works into a warm communion with spectators and with each other, but it would be equally valuable to walk through this space imagining that you’re not viewing anything of import. And this is ultimately what Index makes salient about California conceptualism: that even if you can’t bring yourself to be a pilgrim, historian or devotee, you’ll be able to pick through the jokes. Most are funny.
Katie Anania is a curatorial researcher at Fluent~Collaborative and an editorial contributor to ...might be good.
The Marfa Sessions
On view through February 1, 2009
By Kate Watson
Deborah Stratman & Steven Badgett, Caballos de Vigilancia, 2008, Papier maché horses, audio, Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa. Courtesy Ballroom Marfa.
Marfa, Texas is haunted; Donald Judd’s ghost gets up early on Sunday mornings and surveys the streets that shine everywhere with his name. James Dean’s magnetic spirit might be having a drink at the Hotel Paisano; the Marfa lights may actually be twinkling if you look closely enough. Mysterious Marfa feels heavy with secrets buried in its breathtaking landscape, its whispers only interrupted by the freight trains that endlessly roar through the center of town.
The Marfa Sessions, curated by Regine Basha, Rebecca Gates and Lucy Raven, seeks to serve as a “sonic portrait” of this strange destination. Installed throughout various locations all over town, this portrait consists of eleven sound pieces by fifteen artists; five of these pieces were commissioned by Ballroom Marfa and are site-specific. The curatorial vision for these works is ambitious to say the least. The project seeks to amplify the murmurs of the town’s history as a crossroads of nomads and immigrants, artists and ranchers, movie stars and UFOs. Marfa is a mythic site fraught with quiet discord—The Sessions asks what this discord sounds like.
Kaffe Matthews, Sonic Bed_Marfa, 2008, 4 panels of Marfan plywood reclaimed from vacant buildings, 4 caps of sanded clear Texan Plexiglas, 1 yellow felt covered foam mattress, 7 yellow felt covered cushions, 2 channel car audio sound, system, 1 Mac mini, Max/MSP+ Java patches, 1 webcam, Transformer to 110V mains electricity, Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa. Photo by Kaffe Matthews.
Many celebrities of the sound art community were present on its opening weekend, most notably Kurt Wagner of excellent alt-country band Lambchop, as well as sound scholar Josh Kun of the University of Southern California and British sound artist and writer David Toop. Sections of Kun’s book Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America (American Crossroads) (University of California Press, 2005) rang quietly in my ears as I explored the installations; he taps into the curators’ hopes for this project with his assertion that “audiotopias can…be understood as identifactory ‘contact zones,’ in that they are both sonic and social spaces where disparate identity-formations, cultures, and geographies are allowed to interact with each other as well as enter into relationships whose consequences are never predetermined.”
With map in hand, I roved the town seeking these installations. The works occupy spaces as diverse as the Marfa Book Company, an empty park on the outskirts of town, an overgrown lot in a neighborhood dotted with public housing, the chic bar adjoining the Thunderbird Hotel. Arriving at the hub of the exhibition, the Ballroom itself, I was immediately drawn to Kaffe Matthews' Sonic Bed, a gloriously inviting over-sized bed inside of the gallery space made from wood Matthews found throughout town. Participants are invited to take off their shoes and climb onto the plush, yellow felt mattress. Once horizontal, twelve embedded speakers emitting strange vibrations rock visitors’ bodies. These vibrations are actually tones translated from sounds that Matthews collected during her stay in town.
Sonic Bed is exemplary of many of the pieces in this exhibition—the object that Matthews has created (along with the experience of sound literally vibrating through my bones) was an honest thrill. But the original sounds that Matthews gathered in the town were obliterated in the conversion to vibrating tones. Randomly generated from a computer program, the experience is wonderfully unique but disappointingly enigmatic.
The good news about Matthews’ piece is that she leaves her audience questioning, thirsting for answers. What sounds mattered to her as she wandered the town? What was her experience while collecting audio? We can’t know, but we want more.
A majority of the installations fail to engage the body in such a simple, visceral way; this kind of approach is sorely missed. A few other pieces are whimsical explorations of personal and community identity but primarily provide humorous distractions from their ambiguous counterparts. One piece of the latter variety was Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s sound installation Sonambulo (Marfa Version), a work installed in the periphery of Fidel Vizcaino Park, a downtrodden public space that is a mile from town but seems to exist in another dimension. Driving to one end of the park, Sonambulo plays from speakers on the edges of a cracked and forgotten piece of asphalt. Wandering the vast, open space, a lulling recording emits sounds that seem to come from a summer rainstorm. Only by waiting until the violent beginning of the piece (and by reading the artist’s statement) does Manglano-Ovalle’s audience learn that the sounds are actually a deconstructed gunshot, “replicated through a series of fractal equations to become the 385,000 bullets that make up the sound of thunder-claps and lightening, raindrops and even chirping crickets.”
Surrounded by Marfa’s breathtaking landscape, Sonambulo’s tempestuous but calming soundtrack momentarily lulls its audience into a reflection on the power of nature, but once listeners learn of the origin of the sounds, everything is altered. This piece of information shifts the audience’s experience dramatically but questions remain unanswered. Why here? The artist says that “the random act of violence unfold(s) itself as a natural event.” But a gunshot seems to suggest everything man-made, manufactured and modern. In a town rife with silent class conflict, this piece stands lonely and impenetrable, pushed to a largely abandoned public space.
During my stay in Marfa, my innkeeper insisted that doors in town are never locked, that no crime exists here. When a constant stream of art stars and glitterati step off of their private jets and get herded into town, what do ranchers and great-grandchildren of hard-faced western pioneers think? Why this ambiguity, this shoving under the rug in a show that seeks to amplify the complex identity of this mystical place?
The “audiotopic” possibilities of The Marfa Sessions are endless, but I wonder if the audience is ready to get their hands dirty. Listening takes time—it’s a messier sense than the ocular. On Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to sit on the floor of the Liberty Ballroom and watch Kurt Wagner play his songs: just a brilliant musician and his guitar. Many were in attendance but only about twenty fans chose to sit and soak up his intimate music. Others laughed and engaged with one another raucously; Kurt, pausing between songs, wondered aloud what the laughing crowd was discussing. No one responded. The necessity for open ears in this complicated environment is absolutely essential; unfortunately, many of the sounds in this intriguing and risky project left me straining to unearth the secrets of this magical if often impenetrable destination.
Kate Watson is Coordinator of testsite, ...might be good's sister project, and an editorial contributor to ...might be good.
Chocolate: A Photography Exhibition
San Antonio Museum of Art
Through January 11, 2009
By Wendy Atwell
Frederic Lebain, Untitled (Apple Computer), 2006, Archival pigment print, 23 x 17 inches. Courtesy Clampart, New York.
Even if you’re a chocoholic, you can get sick of it sometimes. Chocolate is a rich and often cloying source. Real chocolate engages the sensibilities; junk chocolate is waste. The same may be said for chocolate as metaphor. What distinguishes the subtle and nuanced from the cliché? Thankfully, curator David Rubin knows the difference. In his current show Chocolate: A Photography Exhibition at the San Antonio Museum of Art, four artists use chocolate as a medium in conceptual photography. And through the medium, these artists—Chuck Ramirez, Vik Muniz, Priscilla Monge, and Frédéric Lebain—obtain rich metaphors.
Ramirez’s Candy Tray Series (2002) holds up beautifully in a show with other conceptual photography, because he gets so much mileage from the simplicity of his choice of object. Against a crisp white background, Ramirez photographs empty candy trays, from the glistening gold Godiva plastic molds with varying, provocative shapes, to Dark Heart, a more anonymous, dark brown heart shaped candy tray. A sense of loss pervades Ramirez’s photographs, much like the candy piles of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Ramirez’s photographs offer visual poetry. What could be more perfect than an empty candy tray to stand as a haunting reminder of desire, consumption, and loss?
Lebain’s chocolate-coated reel-to-reel recorder, Apple computer, telephone and record player also play with the viewer’s sense of desire, in this case for technological objects. Consequently, Lebain thwarts desire; who wants to lick an outdated machine? Cast in chocolate, the machines’ obsolescence doubles; they are not only useless but rendered even more so by their chocolate coating. It must be a painstaking process for Lebain, who lives in Asnieres, France, and was trained as a chef, to airbrush melted chocolate over the chilled machines. This process demonstrates the art’s absorptive quality. The texture, and monochromatic soft rich brown draw the viewer in; this may also stand as an example of how they hold human attention, the hours spent manipulating and working them both in their first life as consumer goods, and second life as art.
Chocolate dominates the Western palate as an aphrodisiac and an object of consumption. Monge, who lives and works in Costa Rica, conflates these two aspects with artifacts and imagery from the Catholic church. A chocolate-coated Virgin, group of angels, and a scene of the Last Supper humorously play with Monge’s ironic combination. The Last Supper scene is chocolate over Endura metallic paper. A chocolate-coated baby Jesus, as from a crèche, lies nestled in some green moss. Somehow, he looks both grotesque (the flesh color shows through the chocolate coating) and delicious (a chocolate coated morsel; we never mind eating the Easter bunny’s ears), and this has its own horrific connotations. But the veil of chocolate coating the Madonna mutes her iconographic power.
The drizzled chocolate syrup with which Muniz composes imagery has the least to do with chocolate itself. In Action Photo II, After Hans Namuth, Muniz uses chocolate syrup drizzled over a light box to compose an image of Jackson Pollock at work on one of his drip paintings. Muniz’s choice of chocolate effectively empties out the image of its meaning, and then fills it back up again with his own, which is about artistic choice, a satirical and playful manipulation of imagery. This leads the viewer to perceive what is normally taken for granted in popular culture images.
The chocolate art in this exhibition possesses a crispness of image, glossy and colorful, the perfected presentation of advertisements. Yet this sophistication is belied by its content. Successful conceptual photography depends on cleverness, subtle twists of the norms: for example, it is the wide angle lens of Andreas Gursky’s photographs of massive trash heaps, or endless aisles of consumer goods, which transforms the images from documentary to powerful commentary. Similarly, it is the chocolate in these photographs which makes them no longer transparent offerings of desirable consumer goods but instead opaque conundrums that stall the viewer into contemplation.
Wendy Atwell received her M.A. in Art History and Criticism from The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Lisa Hein and Bob Seng: Nimbuslingus
Opens October 18, 2008 6-8 pm
Located in the heart of East Austin, 1305 Position is a new gallery specializing in installation projects. With Nimbuslingus, New York artists Lisa Hein and Bob Seng respond to the space's assertive overhead architecture, as well as a wave of current events.
Peat Duggins: Black Room
Opens October 18, 2008, 8-10 PM
Black Room provides the back-story of Hickory Ridge, a fictitious community that has been the focus of Duggins’ work for the past five years. Featuring eight woven tapestries, the work in the show is a meditation on history itself, specifically the ebb and flow of human progress as set against the perennial, natural world.
FUTURE PROLOGUES: The Compression of Post-Pop Narratives into Non-Space and Pre-Time
Creative Research Laboratory
Opens October 18, 2008, 6-9 pm
This collaborative exhibition features the multimedia work of the Totally Wreck Institute, an Austin artist collective. Concerned with perceptions of reality and time, the artists aim to create a multimedia odyssey through culture, mythology, and technology. The group will do a series of live performances throughout the opening reception.
William Steiger: Destination
Holly Johnson Gallery
Opens Saturday, October 18th, 2008 5 to 8 p.m.
William Steiger continues to explore topics of landscape, architecture and the early 20th century in this series of new oil paintings and works on paper.
Fahamu Pecou: Stunt’d Like My Daddy
Opens October 18, 2008, 5 to 8 PM
Working as a graphic illustrator for various rap and hip-hop acts in Atlanta, Fahamu Pecou became interested in the self-marketing and persona building antics of music and television celebrities. Stunt’d Like My Daddy focuses on these themes of self-promotion and identity, specifically confronting "the imposition of stereotypes on the black male in the media, art and society."
Also make sure to catch Franco Mondini-Ruiz's installation, The Powder Room: new paintings & porcelains, will be composed of sculpture and paintings that are arranged in the gallery in a site-specific “botanica” setting similar to the folk-medicine markets that pervade his native San Antonio, Texas.
Andrew Bennett: Chasing the Dragon
Marty Walker Gallery
Opens Saturday, October 18th, 2008 6 to 8 pm
Marty Walker presents new soot and smoke paintings by former Dallasite Andrew Bennett. Taking cues from paisley textile prints made popular in the late 1960’s, Bennett intuitively erases through smoke stained panels, reworking the natural pattern into his own intricate design. Fire + art? Excellent. While you're there, be sure to check out German artist Marc Lüders’ first US exhibition outside of New York in Walker's smaller gallery space.
Fort Worth Openings
of multiple existence: Robert Boland, Jared Steffensen and Erick Michaud
Texas Christian University (TCU)
Friday, October 17, 2008, 6 pm
Austin alumnae triumvirate Robert Boland, Jared Steffensen and Erick Michaud get down and dirty for this somewhat mysterious show. It'll be great, we promise!
Fort Worth on View
Hubbard/Birchler: No Room to Answer
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
On View through January 4, 2009
This exhibition features photographs and videos by the collaborative team of Swiss/American artist duo Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, their first major survey in an American museum.
In a career of more than fifteen years, they have become known for their picturesque, color-saturated photographic series and their deliberately slow-paced video installations, which feature slow pan shots, endless loops, and puzzling plot lines.
Barbara Davis Gallery
Opens Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 6:30-8:30 pm
This exciting exhibition features rare work by Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Jenny Holzer and Robert Longo. Don't miss this one!
VIEWFINDER: New Images from Texas Artists From the Talent in Texas Series
FotoFest and Houston Center for Photography (HCP)
November 6, 2008 6-9pm at FotoFest, November 7, 2008 6-9pm at Houston Center for Photography
FotoFest and Houston Center for Photography (HCP) join together in a first-ever exhibition collaboration to commission and present a new show of emerging Texas photographic artists. Curated by Austin wunderkinds Arturo Palacios and Risa Puleois, this exhibit features 15 artists from across the state, the third in the Talent in Texas series.
Houston on View
Perspectives 163: Every Sound You Can Imagine
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
On View through December 7, 2008
Experimental musical scores are considered as works of visual art in Perspectives 163: Every Sound You Can Imagine. The exhibition traces the evolution from the first wave of experimental notation in the 1950s through its resurgence in the late 1990s, when musical notation sprang off the page and into video, photography, sculpture, and new media.
San Antonio Openings
Ken Adams: American Satori/Terra Lucida
Opens Friday, October 31, 2008 7-11 PM
According to the artist, this exhibition features a collection of "psychedelic pictograms presented as digital animation and prints."
Of special note will be the first public screening of Terra Lucida (World of Lights). Terra Lucida is a high definition, animated digital painting developed around recently recovered 'trance recordings' of psychedelic theorist/performance artist, Terence McKenna. We're dying to know more!
AMODA Performance: Tristan Perich and the Loud Objects
Austin Museum of Digital Art (AMODA)
Saturday, October 18, 2008, 8-10 pm
The Austin Museum of Digital Art presents performances by the Loud Objects and a program of works by innovative composer Tristan Perich. Perich will play four new compositions for traditional instruments and custom one-bit electronic instruments built and programmed by the composer. Wielding hot smoking soldering irons and a ramshackle overhead projector, New York-based trio Loud Objects will build musical instruments live from scratch using custom programmed microchips in pursuit of chaotic electronic sound.
Artist Talk: Renee Cox
University of Texas, Austin ART 1.102
Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 5 pm
Since her first one-woman show in 1998, Cox has questioned society and the roles it gives to blacks and women with her elaborate scenarios and imaginative visuals that offend some and exhilarate others.
Fort Worth Events
Tuesday Evenings at the Modern: Michael Auping
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
October 21, 2008, 7 pm
Michael Auping, the Museum's chief curator, discusses the Tadao Ando-designed gallery spaces of the Modern from a behind-the-scenes curatorial viewpoint in Installing the Modern. It is always rewarding to hear from Auping, as he has been a favorite of the Tuesday Evenings series throughout the life of this program, bringing his knowledge, vast experience, and quick wit to the various subjects he has presented over the years.
Halloween Performance of FORTUNE by Potter-Belmar Labs
Aurora Picture Show
Friday, October 31, 2008 8pm
Come in costume and witness San Antonio duo Potter-Belmar Labs present a special Halloween-themed live video performance. PBL are conductors of cinema, live-mixing audio and video, weaving sampled media and original work, cut-up and stitched back together, on the fly.
Call for Artists
Art in Public Places Austin Energy System Control Center (SCC)
The City of Austin Art in Public Places (AIPP) program of the Cultural Arts Division seeks to commission an artist or artist team to design and create innovative artwork for Austin Energy’s new System Control Center (SCC) which oversees the city’s electrical grid throughout Austin’s neighborhoods. It is desired that this artist establish a strong, overarching concept for artwork that will be integrated into the site to enhance the experience of the more than 300 people who will work there. For questions, contact Jean Graham, Art in Public Places Coordinator, 512-974-9313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Omi International Artists Residency
Art Omi is a not-for-profit residency program for international visual artists, writers and musicians. Located in a Hudson River Valley hamlet two and a half hours from New York City, Omi is situated on 300 acres of rolling farmland with spectacular views of the Catskills and the river valley. For more information please visit: http://www.artomi.org, click on Omi International Artists Residency.
Modern Painters seeks an associate editor. The ideal candidate will be well versed in contemporary art and theory and will have worked for at least two years in an editorial capacity. Responsibilities include writing short entries for the magazine’s front-of-the-book section, generating story ideas and proofreading. A bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s is preferred but not mandatory. To apply: Candidate should submit resume and a letter outlining her/his particular suitability to the position by mail to Kristina Feliciano, Managing Editor, Modern Painters, 601 W. 26th Street, NY, NY, 10001; or by email to email@example.com
ICAA Research Assistant
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
This position provides administrative and research support to the Senior Research and Publications Associate as well as to other staff members of the International Center for the Arts of the America (ICAA), for the Center's multi-year projects and publications series. Proficiency in both Spanish and English is a requirement; reading and verbal knowledge of Portuguese is desirable. M.A. in Art History, History, Spanish and/or Portuguese Language, Latin American Studies or related Humanities discipline.