from the editor
Austin’s got its fair share of round-up exhibitions these days: Arthouse’s annual New American Talent, AMOA’s triennial New Art in Austin and the Texas Biennial. Do we really need them all? I’m beginning to wonder whether we could pool our resources and develop one single biennial (or triennial) instead—something both broader and deeper than any one of us could orchestrate alone. We need a coalition—a temporary alliance—that works across our various organizational structures and purposes. Together, we could support a larger, city-wide exhibition of public art and solo shows at a variety of venues, from Arthouse to Big Medium to testsite.
Coalition isn’t easy. To build an event like this, TXB and AMOA might have to give up their regional parameters. Arthouse might have to make the inclusion of Texas-based artists a larger priority. Art in Public Places might have to convince the city to fund wilder, less conventional public art. It would be hard, but think what we might do.
Discussing TXB in this issue, Russell Etchen of Domy Books mentions New Orleans’s Prospect.1 as a possible model for the future—an art event structured less around region and more around shared concerns. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Dunbar of Arthouse makes a powerful argument for showing more work by fewer artists next time. Also in this issue, Gavin Morrison’s proposal for a Texan Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale seems intimately related to the discussion of a Biennial within the state. Morrison’s piece investigates the idea of Texas in the public imagination; he conceptualizes Texas not as a geo-political state with fixed borders, but as an ever-changing entity that is constantly being renegotiated within cultural, political and economic spheres.
In our upcoming issue, I’m particularly looking forward to reviews of Kehinde Wiley at Artpace San Antonio and Phantom Sightings at Museo Alameda. We’ll also check in with former CORE resident Mequitta Ahuja to talk about her recent work and sit down with UT art history professor Roberto Tejada to talk about his new book, National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment—with its transnational theoretical framework, a great follow up to Morrison's discussion of Texas this week.
Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good and Associate Coordinator of testsite.
By Kate Watson
Russell Etchen & Tim Kerr at Domy Books.
Last week, Russell Etchen talked to ...might be good about art communities, biennials and making things happen in Austin.
How do you conceptualize the art world or art communities you’re involved in?
I idealize our community all of the time—I choose to live in a world surrounded by only a small group of people and what those people are doing is the only thing that matters. I did this in Houston and I’m doing it here now. My work, now that I’m here, is to look around every day and say, ok…what do people want? What’s not here? Domy Books is, of course, at the center of this effort.
Really, all of us here are just hustling to stay in the art world. We want to make things happen, make the things we love, make money. It’s all very fleeting, though. If the most vibrant people here moved away, the scene would implode and start over again.
What works for you about the Biennial? What doesn’t?
Ultimately, I’m not sure if it makes sense to try and organize Texas as some sort of state-wide community. I’m just interested in working with friends and like-minded people. To me, an unbiased art event organizing strangers into some sort of community feels, in a way, like going to a mall. If I were organizing a major art event, my goal would be to connect with the audience on a personal level. I’m inspired by genuine enthusiasm. I might ask myself questions like: are we pissing people off? Making them laugh? Regional concerns just aren’t as interesting to me.
Of course, though, it’s great that someone is taking on this kind of project. Personally, I know that before I came to Austin that the Texas Biennial didn’t have any meaning for me and that the concept of “biennials” has always seemed like a status thing. It’s a great thing for individual artists, and it’s definitely bringing people to the store, but ultimately I’m just glad that people are doing something. There should always be more. We shouldn’t rest on this as any sort of plateau of achievement—it’s just a thing that is happening. Call it what you will, do it every two years—it’s the energy behind it that matters.
If you were organizing a large-scale art event in Austin, how would you structure it?
The pitfalls of the group show are a concern to me. If I were to organize something this big, I would spread out the work across town to many more spaces and include more pieces from each individual. Prospect.1 in New Orleans was a great example of this. Make people trek around the town! Who cares? Make it like EAST—EAST is awesome! It doesn’t matter if there’s crappy art in it sometimes—it gets people out all over our community.
I can always go back to punk rock here. Because Tim Kerr was and is always saying, “what are you doing? Start your own band/zine/whatever.” Aaron Rose (director of “Beautiful Losers” and participant in the early-mid-90’s New York-based DIY scene) was just in town talking about the same thing. We’re all hustling and who cares where the money comes from! It’s great that there are people interested in examining a cohesive identity of Texas artists, but I just wanted to come to Austin and fuck it up and push people’s buttons in the best way possible.
Kate Watson is Coordinator of testsite and Associate Editor of ...might be good.
Austin Art History Lesson I
By Rachel Koper
Paul Beck, Porcelain at Eeka Beeka (installation view), 1997. Photo: Billy Kirkland for Eeka Beeka.
This conversation is the first article in a series intended to excavate the histories of Austin's art scenes.
Austin is a growing city; as a college town, new talented artists pass through about every 5 years. Each crop of artists attempts to establish itself anew, with fresh passion to innovate, discover and create alongside peers. The flip side of this turnover is that arts groups tend to annoyingly re-invent wheel or blissfully ignore our regional art history and the lessons learned.
When I moved here in 1996, I went to see Paul Beck’s artwork and loved it. Paul’s art is half accessible “Dick and Jane” imagery and half wry, cynical social commentary. He uses happy pop imagery to broach subjects like human rights, greed and gluttony. He’s always inspired me, so I decided to interview him about what the art scene in Austin was like in the 90s.
Paul Beck grew up in South Austin and Manchaca, Texas, as did his mother. He attended Texas State University, went to San Francisco around 1992 for a couple of years, then moved back to Austin in 1995. Since then Paul Beck has worked as a solo artist and in conjunction with the Organization of Contemporary Media Arts (OCMA) on projects such as Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly and Archer $Beck. His collectors vary, from one of the Butthole Surfers, to one of the owners of the K.F.C. Corporation.
...might be good: When you were a kid, what did you want to be?
Paul Beck: Everything, I still do. [...] I drew a picture of Willy Nelson when I was 10 and sold it to a guy down the street.
...mbg: Did you study art formally?
PB: I went broke in San Francisco but it was great. Twist was starting to cross over into big time galleries. Juxtapoz was just beginning. There was a really good feel as outside artists started taking over. I would make stickers of my work and put them in high-end galleries and invite people to my opening within an opening.
...mbg: When did you move to Austin?
PB: In 1995, the art scene here was wild. We were not concerned about making downtown look great or helping some group sell their lifestyle. Hell, the dirty cheap is what made this city. Now it’s been polished into some strange theme park for your credit card. It is sad to see Austin being sold by developers using the arts and creativity as selling points while artists are slowly being squeezed out and replaced by boutiques.
...mbg: How did you get your first art show in Austin?
PB: I would submit slides when I had money to make them. Eleven Eleven, set up by Nathan Jensen, allowed me to show off new work that no gallery was interested in. I sold a few pieces and met Billy and Mary Kirkland. Billy had opened a new space called Eeka Beeka on South First Street, next door to Alternate Current Gallery and Laughing at the Sun. Billy really brought good energy and interesting art to Austin. I did a show in 1997 with Steve Brudniak there called Porcelain. It had paintings and dolls that amplified sounds from other rooms in the gallery. In 1996, Lombardi popped up, as well as the Artplex. Holy 8 Ball was downtown.
...mbg: What were the venues you aspired to show at?
PB: Women and Their Work opened when I was around 18. The Guerrilla Girls were doing their thing. There were others like Air Gallery and Acme Art. I was into their raw, offbeat works. Eventually I was being invited to show and discuss my artwork at the Texas Fine Arts Association [now Arthouse] and AMOA, which was a real honor for a kid from Manchaca.
...mbg: What other artists or things were you looking at?
PB: Nathan Jensen, his never-ending energy and good heart. Jason Huerta, The Amazing Hancock Brothers, Steve Brudniak, Scott Stevens, Billy Kirkland, Do Dat, Jesus Lizard, Artcore, punk rock posters, Rothko Chapel, Juxtapoz when it first came out, Up All Night, Lombardi events, electric art, street art and erotica. Fun things, places that were open to anything, unpretentious. One of the most surprising moments I recall was when Bill Davis, which was then the Tarrytown Gallery, showed work from Malcolm Bucknall, the artist that did the cover of Jesus Lizard’s CD Down.
...mbg: What's the best award you've ever received?
PB: Best of Show at F.F.A. [Future Farmers of America]—I won scholarship money. I wasn’t planning on going to college, but with the money, it changed my life. I have had people get what I am up to with my art and hug me. Also, being invited to show work sometimes makes me want to cry, knowing that someone I don’t know cares.
...mbg: What can you say generally about the scene and being an artist in Austin?
Austin has always had an “art scene.” I am always confused when I hear that it did or does not. I think some of this comes from the media attention that some artists crave. Trust me, just ’cause you’re in a magazine doesn’t mean you’re the shit. To me, being in a scene to get attention can be dangerous thing to get sucked into. Like having tunnel vision with your ideas, your world shrinks…but some people need group hugs. I grew up in a large family and don’t mind being alone.
I think it’s hard to understand art and ideas when it’s reduced to a scene, a gallery, an opening night or a critic’s choice. Like nature ever changing, it is all just a moment in time and bigger than you can imagine.
Rachel Koper is an artist, curator and writer in Austin.
Lee Baxter Davis
TXB @ The Pump Project, Austin
Through April 11
By Michael Agresta
Lee Baxter Davis, Idiot Self, A Night on the Town, 2005, Ink wash, watercolor on paper, 36 x 44 inches. Courtesy the artist and the Texas Biennial.
To the fast-moving eye of the contemporary art world, Lee Baxter Davis’s career would seem lost in the brambles of East Texas. Seventy years old this year, Davis has spent most of his life in and around the rural community of Greenville, teaching art at East Texas State University and serving as assistant pastor of St. William the Confessor Catholic Church—both honorable occupations, but not exactly platforms to attract the attention of international art dealers and critics. He works in large pen and ink drawings, often accented with watercolor, usually focused on a human subject. Bosch and Dürer are his two most obvious historical reference points (the former’s narrative mannerisms and the latter’s compositional sense), and indeed Davis’s art sometimes seems arrested in their late-medieval milieu of mysticism, alchemy and visions of eternal life.
Then, of course, one notices the fighter jets, the shotguns, the cowboys, the barbed wire, the jockeys playing badminton. The contemporary, or some mythical version of it, does get its due in Davis’s work, though often in the details. The central figures of each scene don’t exactly suggest the past, either, even as they act out mysterious parables. In Wild Ass (2007), a shirtless man in a safari hat, kilt and argyle socks fires a round through the back of his hobby horse’s head. In Vigilance of Penelope (2007), a nude older woman sips tea and reads a book in her hammock while the aforementioned jockeys (who are also angels) knock a shuttlecock (which is also a racehorse) over and around her body. Large animals dominate a few of the less active drawings, like Blood Has Flowed, the Crisis Has Passed (2004), where an iconic rhinoceros carries the naked and mutilated corpse of a man.
Given so much rich material, it’s tempting to trace stories, commentaries and references to Davis’s personal and spiritual life. The old pastor must be alluding to Tristam Shandy, The Odyssey, the Book of Job. He must be saying something about intellectual preoccupations, about fidelity, about divine power reflected in powerful earthly creatures. But the exact sentiment is never clear. As one wanders through the gallery, one’s meaning-making capacity is more and more bewildered. One is concerned at not “getting” all the references, that the work is either too personal to understand or beyond one’s education. This sort of dissonance may be Davis’s precise aim, something that he learned from the masters. As de Certeau says of Bosch, “The secret of The Garden is to make you believe that it possesses some sayable secret—or rather to promise one secret (meanings hidden from the understanding) in place of another (the enjoyment given to the eye.)”
Davis himself, teetering on the edge of outsider-ism, is another part of the puzzle. If Bosch’s garden is activated every time someone tries to pluck meaning from it, then how does that formula change when the artist is less famous, older and facing potential obscurity? What good is this whole language of symbols, if Davis is the only one fluent enough to know whether it’s nonsense? These questions lead to serious considerations about art (or the soul, for that matter) transcending death. Davis claims this as the real subject of his work: “The conflict between observed biological facts and certain metaphysical models of paradise, or the reality of death and concept of immortality.” These quasi-allegorical scenes take on a much more rooted meaning when cast in that light.
The viewer may also be pleased to learn that Davis’s fine legacy as a teacher is beginning to advance his career as an artist. A few members of the generation of Texas artists he’s mentored—including Trenton Doyle Hancock, Gary Panter, Georgeanne Deen, Greg Metz and Robyn O’Neill—have recently helped to bring his work to larger audiences. From the Texas Biennial to New York, art appreciators are taking up the task of untangling Davis’s dense symbolic web.
Michael Agresta is a writer based in Austin. He's working on a book of fiction.
Birth of the Cool
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin
Through May 17
By Katie Geha
Lorser Feitelson, Dichotomic Organization, 1959, Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, Marie Eccles Caine Foundation, Gift. © Feitelson Arts Foundation.
Mad Men, the acclaimed AMC series, details the trials and tribulations of a late 1950s advertising executive on Madison Avenue: the dapper, smoldering Don Draper. In a recent episode, Draper’s underlings at the ad agency sneak into the head boss’s office. The group doesn’t make this covert trip to ooo and ahh over the perfectly stream-lined mid-century furniture that adorns the office, but rather to behold a strange new painting: a large Rothko color-field. With a slight tilt of the head, Ken Cosgrove says, "It's like looking into something very deep. You could fall in."
There are no Rothkos in the Blanton exhibition Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Mid-Century and there’s little one could describe as “deep.” Yet what the exhibition lacks in profundity, it makes up for in slick sheer investment in cool. And not the cool associated with a martini and a drag from a cigarette in downtown Manhattan, but the cool of the angles and reflections of a glass house jutting over the bright lights of Los Angeles.
In relishing California cool, the exhibition celebrates the decorative. Every hard-edged painting by Lorser Feltson, Karl Benjamin or Helen Lundeberg looks attractive with its clean interlocking forms and bright colors, yet none stand out as magnificent works. Instead, they feel like set pieces, just another part of the interior tableau that opens the show. A tableau that, significantly, also features mid-century furniture and objects that would make any furniture enthusiasts drool.
The combination of the high and the low makes the show feel light and easy, evoking an idea of an era, not a complex acquired taste. A Noguchi sculpture sits on a pedestal just opposite a Vernon stacking chair also on a pedestal; a delirious Charles and Ray Eames film of spinning tops plays around the corner from a zany Road Runner cartoon by Chuck Jones. This combination of art, design, furniture and popular culture has a bit of a leveling off quality—nothing feels singular, everything feels cultural. Yet, the exhibition’s slickness, its sheer coolness captures a Southern California mid-century mentality of comforting (frightening?) simplicity; a time before the civil rights movement, Stonewall, Vietnam and the student uprisings. While Miles Davis floats across the gallery, it’s tempting to imagine an America of Bucky Fuller geodesic domes, hoop skirts and Saarinen Tulip chairs. The gloss of this exhibition, like a sparkling piece of costume jewelry, is pleasing to the eye, shallow, a daddy-o ditty.
Katie Geha is pursuing her Ph.D. in art history at The University of Texas at Austin.
Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin
Through April 25
By Lauren Hamer
Tom Molloy, Lucid (detail), 2008, Pencil on paper, Suite of 6 drawings, Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Lora Reynolds Gallery.
Tom Molloy's new show at Lora Reynolds Gallery manages to be both aesthetically spare and conceptually diffuse, a light touch packing a soft punch. Though the messages in the works seem easily read, the two-plus-two logic at work doesn’t flatter the audience, nor is Molloy’s commentary far enough removed from the ubiquitous complaint, America-as-war-and-sex-machine, to make it any more acidic than the mild reassurance that you are, indeed, in an art gallery post 2004. With the addition of a misplaced jab at "the role of women in society,” Molloy’s seem a standard set of subjects for early 21st century angst: American self-deception, the ethics of the traumatic image, the mediatized half-life of 9/11 and so on.
Like (that other icon-shuffler) Hans Haacke, Molloy's political commentary is delivered in the materials and symbols most apropos its didactic content. Thus the production of the works is a factor here, one that the artist took pains to clarify during his talk in the gallery last week. In the back of the gallery, referred to as the "female room" in his talk, Molloy presents forty-five small, embroidered portraits of America's first ladies in tight black thread on white ground. After his own sewing abilities proved too crude to render the more or less famous faces of Jackie-O and Abigail Adams, Molloy paid a woman, one of his neighbors in Ireland, minimum wage to complete the piece. As a work of embroidery, it is neatly done. Mamie Eisenhower looks well. As a work of conceptual art, however, the witty symmetry of power and position is at best self-deprecating and at worst mildly annoying. This work, entitled Behind Every Great Man (2008), suffers moreover from its existence as a titular one-liner. One wonders if the work might have carried greater ironic heft had the artist simply presented his own failed attempts.
In the front of the gallery, yes, "the male room," Molloy presents two drawn works and two of photography. In Self-Portrait (2008) Molloy photographed himself in color, frowning, holding a copy of The New York Times on the day the Abu Ghraib story broke. On the cover of the newspaper that Molloy holds, a frowning man holds the image of the tortured prisoner. Removing the artwork off the wall and taking a candid of yourself frowning might complete the implied act: images of violence and the portrait of the artist, selling newspapers and selling art, mediatized and dehumanized, but each a little less than the last. (Big frowns all around).
Adjacent to Self-Portrait, Molloy’s piece, Lucid (2008), functions as the show’s centerpiece. It is composed of six soft graphite drawings, each a familiar and arresting scene of war superimposed upon a porn still. Examined one way you can distinguish the iconic image of the 1963 self-immolation of a Tibetan monk in Saigon, on second glance it’s “girl-on-girl action.” Photoshop was used to create the layered effect, the drawings worked up from the print-out. Firearms and genitals dovetail neatly. But to imply that in our image-glutted age we have begun to blur the distinction feels at once heavy handed and superficial.
Lauren Hamer is a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin.
Texas Gallery, Houston
Through April 18
By Michael Bise
to the editor
To the editor in response to TXB 09,
The Texas Biennial is moving in the right direction. After visiting this year’s iteration—an ambitious and sprawling show selected by esteemed curator Michael Duncan—my primary comment concerns its purpose. What IS the Biennial’s purpose? Is it to promote the work of Texas artists? Bring national/international attention to the Texas art scene? To celebrate artists working in Texas? I'm just not clear as to what the Biennial wants to accomplish, especially after seeing it. If it is to celebrate artists in Texas, it does so very successfully. There are A LOT of artists. But if it is to promote those artists and bring greater outside attention to our vibrant Texas art scene (which, personally, is what I would like it to do), then I think it still needs some work.
The trouble with this year's Texas Biennial, for me, is that there's just too much stuff in it. There is so much that one loses sight of what is relevant, original and exciting. We have some amazing artists working in Texas, and some are in this show. And while there are some real gems in the exhibition, it is easy to overlook them in the overcrowded mix that makes up the two group exhibitions. Some may say that more is more, but I'm a believer in more is less, especially in this case. If the goals of the Texas Biennial include promoting and celebrating the artists living in Texas, then the artists should be given adequate space and focus so they can be seen at their best. Present multiple works so we can really get a sense of what those artists are about. In my mind, the solo shows that are part of the Biennial are a better way to go, although I do have some issues with this approach too. (By definition, the Texas Biennial is a regional exhibition; by further limiting the solo shows to a single artist from each quadrant of the state, it becomes even more regional. Too regional. But I digress...). While I applaud Michael Duncan for selecting such a diverse group of artists, I would have liked to have seen fewer artists but in greater depth. Perhaps something between the two extremes would have been more satisfying. For the Biennial to really have meaning and impact beyond the Texas border, it needs to be more than just a smorgasbord.
Wichita Falls Museum of Art
Opens April 3, 6-8 pm
By Kate Watson
Cande Aguilar, Mixta Nueve, 2004, Mixed media with found object on panel, 61 x 96 inches. Courtesy the artist and Wichita Falls Art Museum.
Wait, what? There's another Texas Biennial? According to their website, the Wichita Falls Museum of Art's upcoming exhibtion, Texas Twelve: The 2nd Biennial Survey of Texas Art and Artists is "the only invitational biennial exhibition of Texas artists in the state."
Museum director Cohn Drennan says, “...we’re not looking for the newest of practitioners, but definitely those artists whose work is relevant in the current development of art and its dialogue across the state.”
This seems like a deliberate response to our rabble rousing local version and brings up many questions about how best to represent a state's artistic output. Specifically, it appears that this alternate attempt seeks to include a variety of mid-career artists (hell, even Eric Zimmerman seems mid-career in the context of Austin's TXB!).
The WFMA has taken on interesting curatorial challenges before—one of our favorite shows in the last few years was Leona Scull-Hons' and (our own staff writer) Rachel Cook's exhibition, Cherry Picked: 2007 Survey of Texas Art and Artists. Read Glasstire's Rainey Knudson's May 2007 story about the controversy that show kicked up.
Opening Reception March 28, 7-9pm
The Gates of Dawn features new video, sculpture, performance, installation, drawing, painting and wood burnings by Erick Michaud. Through a personal mythology, Michaud explores ideas of death, youth, failure, home and nostalgia.
Shawn Camp & Diana Carulli
Opening Reception March 28, 6-8pm
Shawn Camp's thick, textured paintings explore landscapes and skyscapes in abstract terms. Diana Carulli's video installations explore greek myths and the idea of the labyrinth.
Justin Boyd & Nick Tosches
Opening Reception April 5, 4-6pm
A conversation between two “cultural contributors” is at the heart of every testsite project. Justin Boyd and Nick Tosches began their conversation with a common interest in American culture; both Boyd, over the last few years, and Tosches, over the past few decades, have created bodies of work exploring the American spirit—ugly, bold, yet ever hopeful. But what happens to a conversation about our national identity when everything around us seems to shift overnight?
Austin on View
Birth of the Cool
Blanton Museum of Art
Through May 17
See Katie Geha's review of Birth of the Cool in this issue.
Blanton Museum of Art
Through June 21
Working with zones of power like military defense systems, Lisi Raskin investigates a culture of anxiety stemming from the Cold War and resonating with our current cultural and political climate. Armada is a series of new sculptures based on the forms she found at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), a storage facility for military airplanes and aerospace crafts located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona.
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Through April 25
See Lauren Hamer's review of Lucid in this issue.
Texas Biennial 2009
Through April 11
Two group shows at Women & Their Work and The Mexican American Cultural Center. Four solo shows: Kelli Vance at Big Medium, Jayne Lawrence at MASS, Lee Baxter Davis at Pump Project and William Cannings at Okay Mountain. (See Claire Ruud's review of Kelli Vance and Mike Agresta's review of Lee Baxter Davis in ...might be good and Ivan Lozano's post about William Cannings on Glasstire.) Temporary public installations around town, see the TXB map.
Dark Energy/Dark Matter: Work by Edward Setina
Opening Reception, March 28, 6 - 8 pm
For his solo exhibition, Setina fuses a sculptor's sensibility with painting. While exploring dreamlike narratives of dislocation, paranoia, and an almost myth-laden destruction, the paintings' sculpted foundations became verbal and active. With a nod to epic film making, Setina's short video narratives deal with the current mode of ubiquitous self-reference and upend it into absurdity, with humor steeped in defeat.
Susan kae Grant: Visions of an Insomniac
Opening Reception, March 28, 5:30 - 8:30pm
This interdisciplinary exhibition of experimental works explores the mysterious space between illusion and reality. The works will consist of large scale digital images juxtaposed with cast shadows and psycho-acoustic sound. Large-scale images, sound and projection will suggest a theatrical world that references the ridiculous, the tragic and the unexpected. The walls, floor and ceiling will be illuminated with experimental lighting techniques to create a sense of surprise and wonder. Make sure to also check out Paul Greenberg's exhibition, Museum Guards, and Kate Rivers' Nesting in the Project Room.
Frances Bagley: Mixed Messages
Marty Walker Gallery
Opening Reception, March 28, 6-8 pm
Frances Bagley’s new work engages the viewer with an alluring and provocative layering of mixed-media, combining the artist’s signature figures with carefully constructed, although seemingly haphazard, assemblages of objects and materials. The end result is a mutation of mediums, fantastically depicting abstract narratives that can be seen as both painting and sculpture.
Fort Worth on View
FOCUS: Jeff Elrod
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
On View Through March 29
To create his large, abstract canvases, Elrod explores the intersections between drawing and painting, words and pictures, organic and geometric form, and digitally generated and freely drawn imagery. Through Elrod’s creative process—the action of transferring drawings onto canvas by hand—space and imagery take on a hybrid quality in which flatness and depth coexist. This exhibition will mark the artist’s first solo exhibition in an American museum.
Houston Center for Photography
Opening Reception, April 3, 6-8 pm
Human Nature raises questions about the current state of our relationship to the natural environment — are we living for success, or excess? What kinds of stewardship methodologies are being practiced? How are we managing other species´ relationships with Earth? What types of energy are we using? What does population growth/urban sprawl look like on the landscape? What activities are taking place on a local level to support local farmers and growers and promote community?
Houston On View
Henrique Oliveira: Tapumes
Rice University Art Gallery
On View Through May 9
Oliveira’s installations, which he refers to as “tridimensionals,” have evolved into massive, spatial constructions that combine painting, architecture, and sculpture. Using his primary material, discarded wood collected on the streets of São Paulo, the artist examines the visual and tactile qualities of wood that has been exposed to the elements.
Houston on View
Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave
On View Through June 21
This exhibition will be the first mid-career survey of the critically acclaimed painter’s work to be mounted in the United States. The show will include approximately 65 paintings and 25 drawings and will be installed thematically in order to emphasize the serial nature in which the work was conceived and realized.
Living Cool: Panel Discussion
Blanton Museum of Art, Smith Building
March 28, 1pm
A panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition Birth of the Cool highlights the enduring influence of 1950s West Coast style as reflected in the culture, architecture and lifestyle of Austin today.
Critique & Discussion
March 29, 6-9pm
Eric Zimmerman leads this month's open, informal crit at Co-Lab.
April 5, 7-11pm
Afraid of the Easter Bunny? Jesus Benavente and his team of Bunny Buddies, through video and live performance, attempt to exorcise scary childhood memories and replace them with happy ones. The performance will include an Easter egg hunt.
Systems of Sustainability: Art, Innovation, Action
University of Houston and Blaffer Gallery
March 27-29, 2009
Admission: $10.00 registration fee
Part arts festival, part academic symposium, Systems of Sustainability (S.O.S.) looks at creative enterprise as an integral tool for cultural growth and social change. Experience a range of events that showcase innovative practices from local, national, and international participants including prominent artists, researchers, activists, and scholars. The program includes site-specific projects, participatory activities, lectures, scholarly panels, and many opportunities for dialogue.
This is going to be amazing! Don't miss it.