MBG Issue #122: Twenty Dollar Babies

Issue # 122

Twenty Dollar Babies

May 8, 2009

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$29.51, Made by Nick McCarthy, (aka “Chinese Box”, 2009, 10 minutes). Commissioned at Flore, Los Angeles, Cinemad visa #41. Courtesy the artist and Lunchfilm.

from the editor

Ned Rifkin, who resigned from his position as Under Secretary for Art at the Smithsonian Institution last spring, has been appointed director of The Jack S. Blanton Museum at The University of Texas at Austin, where he will also hold the positions of professor of art and art history and special advisor to UT president William Powers. Rifkin succeeds Jesse Otto Hite, who retired last year after 15 years as director of the museum.

The Blanton must be looking for good connections, good money and stability.

Rifkin is scholarly. In 1977, he received a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Michigan, where he wrote his dissertation on the films of Michelangelo Antonioni, and then taught for three years at The University of Texas at Arlington. Since then, he’s produced a distinguished list of publications, including Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond (2002) and Sean Scully: Twenty Years , 1976-1995 (2001). A scholarly choice makes sense for The Blanton; after all, it’s a university museum.

Rifkin is very well-connected. Particularly in Washington. In 2004, after two years as director of the Hirshhorn Rifkin became the Undersecretary for Art at the Smithsonian Institution. In other words, he oversaw the Archives of American Art, the Cooper-Hewitt, the Hirshhorn, the National Museum of African Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Freer and Sackler galleries, and the Smithsonian Photography Initiative. (While he was there, some people made a fuss that he and a few other staff members made more than the president. To me, it sounds like conservatives trying to take funding away from the arts. At $440,000, his salary wasn’t nearly competitive with those paid to directors of the big private museums.)

Rifkin is familiar. In the nineties while he was at the High Museum, he must have worked with the Blanton’s Curator of American & Contemporary Art Annette Carlozzi on the Olympics in Atlanta. Moreover, he was director of the Menil for a brief year from 2000 to 2001, an appointment that went down in flames. It’s not clear what part Rifkin played in this fiasco, but some suggested that he was transforming the museum into an institution that was too commercial and too mainstream. On the other hand, commercial and mainstream translates into numbers. During Rifkin’s nine years as director of the museum, the High's annual attendance more than doubled from 300,000 to 650,000, and its endowment grew from $15 million to $56 million.

Is Rifkin a conservative choice for the Blanton’s next director? He has said that the piece of art he was most affected by was The Remembrance Project in Washington, D.C. Regina Hackett commented on this fact, “The problem with people who are good to their cores is that they tend to like art with the same quality and give weak art a generous read when it comes with a radiant back story.”

Hopefully, Rifkin will channel his supreme administrative and fundraising capabilities into support for innovative programming at The Blanton, building on the museum’s strengths in Latin American and contemporary art. Looking forward to tapping the keg at Okay Mountain with ya, Ned!

Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good and Associate Coordinator of testsite.


Okay Mountain, Austin
Through May 23, 2009

By Dan Boehl

Gary-Ross Pastrana, Two Rings, 2008. Courtesy the artist.

For the performance Two Rings (2008), artist Gary-Ross Pastrana got two rings from his mother and took them to a goldsmith. He had the goldsmith melt the rings and forge them into a small sword. After cutting himself with the blade, he bathed the object in his own blood and then had the goldsmith recreate the original rings by hand. In the triptych that documents Two Rings, the left-hand photograph shows the two rings, one a fat yellow signet patterned with leaves, the other a white band rounded with a braid of small dents and divots. The middle photograph shows Pastrana slicing his bicep with the blade, the shape of a cocktail skewer. The recreated rings in the right-hand photograph look similar to the originals, but no one would mistake them for the originals. They are thinner, more jaundiced than gold. Familiar, but different.

The feeling that things are familiar yet different pervades the fourth installment of Okay Mountain’s series No American Talent, Bayanihan—Work from Manila. Filipino society has been deeply influenced by its close relationship with the United States since the late 1800’s. These cultural influences, which include American cable television, sports, and music, are evident in the collaborations of Louie Cordero and Mariano Ching. Four 4 by 4 paintings of acrylic on paper dominate the gallery. All four have a similar composition of Westernized figures engaged in harmonic communication with a tumescent deity of some sort. In the most compelling composition, Cordero and Ching depict a KISS concert. Gene Simons and Paul Stanley are reduced to two pairs of boots topped by toothy hair. Imagine a pair of cousin Itts on stage. A rainbow shoots from one of the mouths, ringing a stage full of rotting vapor. The other mouth chews it like taffy. A giant Guston eye floats above the drum kit. The image is at once funny and dead on, summing up rock and roll with a handful of vaudeville cues. Yet, there is that grand eye, almost, but not quite, familiar.

For all the guts and gods of the Cordero and Ching collaborations, this is generally a quiet show. It is interesting, but in a very library way. I feel like I am learning something by being there. And like a library, the real gems are the books in the show. Bea Comacho made flipbooks, Portrait Series (Simon), Portrait Series (Lorenzo), and Portrait Series (Nuni) (2007), by mimeographing in series the portraits of the individuals depicted in the book. As she reproduced each portrait, the faces of Simon, Lorenzo, and Nuni fattened and flattened, until they disappear from the page all together like fading ghosts. Read left to right, their eyes stretch and heads squish into Asian stereotypes. Read right to left, the slanteyed stereotype reconstitutes into a modern Filipino. The books reference home life, family and the reality of Filipinos immigrating to other countries to find work in the phenomenon of “tago ny tago”, which translates into “hide and hide.”

Like an archivist, MM Yu obsessively compiles photographs into little books of like things. Eight of these books make up Collective Thoughts (2007). My favorites are the book of yuck, featuring a festering dog’s anus, a BBQed chicken foot on a stick, chickens in a yard, a stack of pig heads, and other gross animal products, and book of bawal umihi, which shows a myriad of signs in various locations that say bawal umihi. At first I thought it meant “no parking” but it means “you can’t urinate here.” The book of sleep is full of Filipinos sleeping on the streets or in dumpsters.

Louie Cordero and Mariano Ching, Lucio and Miguel Collab #1, 2008. Courtesy the artists and Okay Mountain. Photo Carlos Rosales-Silva.

It’s hard to make a living in the Philippines as an artist, so most of the artists work in commercial design. In a way this is reflected in the intimate, non-commercial work in Bayanihan—Work from Manila. As a viewer I feel like a guest in the gallery, rather than a spectator. The title of the show Bayanihan translates to “being a hero to one another.” It’s simple, but this heroic intimacy captures the spirit of the show. There is a tangible sense of community and place invoked by the pictures of people’s faces, road signs, street trash and building facades collected here. These artists are making art about where and how they live.

Dan Boehl lives in Austin, where he is working on a post-petroleum children's novel.

Austin Film Society, Avant Cinema, Austin
April 22, 2009

By Kate Watson

$41.32, made by Naomi Uman and Lee Lynch. (aka "Tin Woodman's Home Movie #2", 2008, 5 minutes, 16mm). Commissioned at the Brite Spot, Los Angeles. Cinemad visa#33.

What would a film look like if it were really made for the cost of a lunch? Mike Plante’s Lunchfilm series begs just that question. Screened last week at Austin Film Society, Plante’s ongoing project commissions artists and filmmakers to make a piece in exchange for (a slightly decadent) lunch.

First of all, scratch that high-falutin’ word “film”—these twenty-dollar babies would be videos. You’d borrow a camera from your videographer friend who shoots weddings for cash on the weekend, right? You’d edit it with that Final Cut software you stole from a professor, yeah? Maybe you’d steal some classy footage left over from your thesis project?

The point is this—even “cheap” art isn’t cheap. As DIY makers, we all cut corners and use our connections and education to get by. Rabble rousing Ivan Lozano’s been talking about it on Glasstire (and the conversation is had all the time in Austin). It’s really worth digging deeper into the idea of “Alternative Economies” that he brings up.

Both contemporary art and the American financial structure have become mired in theoretical economies and it’s gotten us into serious trouble. In Rikrit Tiravanija’s “Alt Econ” talk last year at MoMA, he freely admitted that he “wanted to be an artist so (he) didn’t have to work.” Isn’t that the fantasy that many privileged middle-class 20-somethings grew up being spoon fed? Yet we were also told that we would somehow, miraculously, be more successful than our parents (a fundamental tenet of the American dream). How is this possible?

Bourriaud defines the modern (60’s era) artist as a “scholar/philosopher/craftsman,” but the contemporary artist as an “entrepreneur/politician/director.” Tiravanija himself admits that he “works very hard to not work.” He seems to be winning the game; he is supported by the global contemporary art infrastructure that seems to us outsiders to be an endless stream of grants, residencies, art fairs on the beach, etc. Yet even this prince of Relational Aesthetics discusses mounting drawing exhibitions of virtually unknown Korean artists in New York and taking part of the sales funds for such utopian projects as “The Land.” Ah, ha! The money is still coming from a physical, collectible object!

Back to Lunchfilm, the project is structured as a series of exchanges between Plante and a procession of makers. They eat lunch, write a napkin contract, and Plante foots the bill. Artist digs up the dough/ footage/ final project (more than a few of the films use pre-existing footage or cite additional funding sources); in return, Plante lifts the responsibility of “entrepreneur” off the artist’s shoulders. He takes the piece on the road and screens it, no matter what the artist gives him.

In Austin, we more or less live “off the grid” of the kind of funding structures that exist elsewhere. And we’re ok with that (at least for a few years)—we find jobs on the side to support ourselves. The thing that pushes us over the edge is being a worker, a maker AND a hustler salesman. Maybe I can produce four or five videos a year, but then I have to market them to festivals, galleries, curators, too? Lunchfilm takes care of that part, offering guaranteed exposure to the artists involved. Nonetheless, he and the artists he works with seem to be operating within a larger global financial support structure that we only dream about deep in the heart of Texas.

Maybe Christine Hill’s Volksboutique is a more functional model for the here and now. Described as a “second-hand shop-cum-social-sculpture,” this evolving and ongoing installation has regularly incorporated tangible, affordable goods and a community space where “customers” come together. Our very own Domy Books or Sam Sanford’s Mercado make a similar commitment to the tangible, the affordable, the local. Now we’re getting somewhere.

As Dave Beech of Freee puts it, Bourriard “takes his position in direct opposition to the avantgardist who asked ‘what can we make that is new?’ with the motto, ‘how can we make do with what we have?’”

Kate Watson is Coordinator of testsite and Associate Editor of ...might be good.

Media Archeology Festival
Aurora Picture Show, Houston
April 17 & 18, 2009

By Jason Jay Stevens & Leslie Raymond

The Joshua Light Show and The Sliver Apples, Media Archaeology Festival. Image courtesy Aurora Picture Show.

In a brave move, this year’s Media Archaeology Festival curator Bree Edwards brought the 1960’s light show from its traditional home in the dance hall into the esteemed setting of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The move transgressed the typical boundaries of the museum and worked to canonize these shows within the history of art. However, the validation offered by the museum, though necessary to place the light show in the canon, also neutered the potency of the medium.

The featured performance group, the Joshua Light Show, occupies a branch of visual performance art that is thoroughly and indisputably an "expanded cinema," as defined by Gene Youngblood, a new cinema for a new consciousness. Within this expanded cinema, the audience exists as an integral component in the synthesis of sound and light. Robin Oppenheimer, in a lecture given in conjunction with the festival, pointed to the fundamental role of audience participation in another way: dancing was inherent to the first light show events. The resulting feedback loop between audience and performers was and is essential to launch this art form from novel eye candy to psychedelic spectacle.

Museums are often sites that decontextualize cultural objects, removing things from their natural environments. The light show is objectified, divorced from the tribal activities of rock 'n' roll, dance and the myriad bacchanal for which it was born into service. So the question lingers heavy: in the context of the museum, is the JLS still a "psychedelic" light show?

The Media Archaeology event sold out, and with the room packed tight, the JLS began their performance, accompanying the influential electronic music "group," the Silver Apples ("group" in quotes because there is only one surviving member). A symmetrical, five-projector array displayed a single channel of video that merged the imagery of the four visualists together into one large projection on the back wall of the stage flanked by two skewed duplicate projections on each of the side walls of the auditorium. A sixth and circular screen, utilized only during a couple of the songs, was used to present projections of reflected light generated behind it with a cascade of hand-manipulated mylar. Curiously, this freestanding structure was placed center stage in such a way as to crop a significant portion of the central screen for the spectators, diminishing the visual presentation.

This incarnation of the Joshua Light Show was bolstered by the additional use of present-day technologies for live improvisation with the moving image. The original JLS was one of many groups that created lighting and visual environments for bands such as the Who, Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane. They operated at the Filmore East in New York City from 1968 to 1970 using a combination of "wet" and "dry" elements, such as oil and water on overhead projectors and slides and film, respectively. The entire light show genre went dormant at the end of that era, only resurfacing, fittingly, with the rise of rave culture and the expanding potential of digital tools. More than three decades after the last JLS performance, founder Joshua White met VJ Honeygun (aka Bec Stupak), and together they formed a contemporary incarnation of the group, debuting at the Kitchen in 2007. Consisting of White, Stupack, and a roster of other visualists, the group has been active ever since.

The Joshua Light Show and The Sliver Apples.

Live cinema as an art form is traceable throughout cinema history, arguably beginning with the magic lantern shows that preceded the motion picture by centuries. As such, the placement of a Joshua Light Show performance at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston provides long overdue institutional recognition to one part of this history. The potential for exhibition forms is wide open, and the future is bright and dripping in candy colors.

Silver Apples and the Joshua Light Show performed together once before, in January of 2008 at the Netmage 08 in Bologna. A video of that performance is available on YouTube.

Jason Jay Stevens and Leslie Raymond are Potter-Belmar Labs.

Coke Wisdom O'Neal
Mixed Greens, New York
Through May 25, 2009

By Nicole J. Caruth

Coke Wisdom O'Neal, Blue Lanam, 2009, C-Print, 38 x 29." Image courtesy the artist and Mixed Greens.

In the latest iteration of Coke Wisdom O’Neal’s The Box series, The Indian in the Cupboard seems an obvious, though unfortunate, reference. O’Neal began shooting his Box series portraits in New York City almost four years ago. When he began the project in Manhattan, he photographed friends, family and, with a little help from Craigslist, eager strangers. But every passerby was welcome to step inside this outdoor structure and have their picture taken. The resulting portraits, which are free of digital manipulation, bring to mind Lilly Tomlin’s rocking chair character “Edith Ann,” and the 1980s cartoon The Littles. Sitters become miniature curiosities and the gallery the proverbial cabinet.

The current exhibition at Mixed Greens was shot on location in San Isidro, Texas. O’Neal’s photographs of the local populace seem contrived—a pictorial cliché of a Southwest border town inhabited by Mexican laborers; gunslingers; a Catholic priest, and a bullfighter (to name the most prominent of O’Neal’s subjects). A documentary video reveals that this might not simply be a city slicker’s portrayal base on preconceived archetypes: O’Neal has photographed nearly half of the community of San Isidro. (The selection on view at Mixed Greens is said to be a representative cross section of the entire set.) They say that every stereotype is based in some truth. But stereotypes like pictures are limited portrayals of people that must be unpacked to find their meaning and often buried agendas. The irony of O’Neal’s wooden apparatus is that it meant to do just that: to expose the absurdity of the categorical boxes that we use to identify and place one another in society. But the box project, initially humorous and quirky, has taken on a dubious anthropological dimension.

In an earlier body of work, O’Neal secretly photographed people’s medicine cabinets. In The Box series, his sitters appear to be the objects on the shelf. Assorted attire reads like the distinct packaging of pill bottles and beauty products. The undersized appearance of the subjects forces a near gaze, an up-close examination that feels like an attempt to read the fine print. Each portrait is titled after the sitter; a few props are the only other markers of individual identity. Leandro Zuniga and Manuel Colunga pose with a weed-whacker, lawn mower, shovel and rake. One of them holds the rake upright, more like a military weapon than a gardening tool. He stands dignified and stares directly at the camera. His pose recalls the pitchfork-holding farmer of Grant Wood’s 1930s painting American Gothic. In contrast, Vincente Mendoza stands casually in the corner of the box as if retreating from the sun, or attempting to conceal himself from view. Two middle-aged men, Javier Pena, and Blue Lanam, pose with their rifles. Pena points his gun directly at the viewer, while Lanam cradles his like a newborn baby. Most odd and ornate of O’Neal’s portraits is bullfighter David Renk. He stands in an ostensibly routine pose, dressed in full regalia. I anticipate the dramatic sweep of this matador’s bright pink cape across his lanky body, but it is its own entity, propped in the corner of the box. This is likely symbolic of Renk’s retirement from the sport (another detail that is given away in the short recording).

Coke Wisdom O'Neal, Karla Galvan, 2009, C-print, 36 x 29."

The last piece of the exhibition—a cross between an amateur documentary and a bad music video—points to a common problem: failure to discern when video enhances a show, and when it would be better buried in a time capsule. What the photographs left me to imagine about the subjects—voices, mannerisms, demeanor, etc—the video quickly confirmed or annulled. If there was a tinge of hope that these portraits might challenge fixed ideas of people and place, here, O’Neal regresses by playing right into them. As Blue Lanman steps up to have his picture taken, he retorts, “I want this picture to look good, so I can sign it and send it to Barack Obama … I want him to know what a real god damn gunman looks like.”

Nicole J. Caruth is a freelance writer and curator based in Brooklyn. A regular blogger for Art21, her writing has been published by the Studio Museum in Harlem, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, NYFA Current, CUE Art Foundation, and Gastronomica. Her personal blog, Contemporary Confections, merges two of her greatest loves: art and sweet foodstuffs.

to the editor

Dana Friis-Hansen

May 3, 2009

Dear Claire,

Thanks for writing a provocative assessment of Austin’s current art scene, and projections of how we might work better together and pursue different goals in the future.

As lovely as it is, the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA) has long aimed to expand exhibition space beyond Laguna Gloria because construction of new buildings on that site is severely limited by environmental (critical water quality zone and limits on impervious cover) and historical designation limitations. That said, our Laguna Gloria Master Plan anticipates improving the lower grounds for sculpture, projects, and outdoor natural amenities.

The Museum continues to investigate options to move forward with a building on the lot that we own at 4th and Guadalupe. With the high density of transportation, office retail, and residential uses, and wide synergistic and collaborative opportunities with other arts institutions nearby (Arthouse, BalletAustin, Mexic-Arte Museum, The Long Center, The Paramount, the planned Austin City Limits Theatre, the new Central Public Library, etc.), downtown Austin provides an active urban backdrop for the Museum’s exhibition and education endeavors.

In the meantime, to enhance the connections to the art community at our current downtown location at 9th and Congress, we are unveiling a reconfiguration of our exhibition programming in the fall. Each quarterly slot will include a featured individual or thematic group exhibition, a New Works project space that focuses primarily on local artists, and a gallery dedicated to rotating AMOA’s permanent collection in conjunction with loans from Austin collections. The New Art in Austin triennial exhibition (next scheduled for 2011), catalogue, and scholarly documentation will continue to fill all gallery spaces, most likely with curators from outside the region. A residency program either at Laguna Gloria or downtown is something we have already been considering for the future. AMOA serves nearly 300,000 people annually, through our exhibitions and education programs in two distinct locations and we are aiming to build on those successes.

We’re grateful to …might be good for sparking a conversation with the art community, and addressing today’s economic shifts and challenges that the arts in Austin continue to face.

Warm regards,

Dana Friis-Hansen

announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Nathan Green & Kara Hearn
Art Palace
Opening Reception May 8, 8-10pm

Nathan Green’s paintings might be described as a search for the ecstatic. Green transforms mundane moments into vibrant, fantastical spectacles, at once evoking sarcasm, joy, naivety and cynicism.

In the Project Room, Kara Hearn’s videos confront the depths of existential solitude and yearning. Merging dreams, fantasies, and mediated (media) experiences with actual lived experiences, she rehearses the dramatic, though fractured, journeys that make up our lives.

Anthony W. Garza: Anagenesis
MASS Gallery
Opening Reception May 9, 10pm-midnight

Anagenesis depicts the hyper evolution and adaptation of life in the near future. Garza creates new ways life will use its surroundings to survive in the drastically changed world.

Hunter Cross: Transparency Now
Bercy Chen Studio, 1200 E 11th Street
Opening Reception May 22, 6-11pm

Hunter Cross's new work, installations made using overhead projectors, bingo chips and transparencies, explores the space between an object and its image. Plus a video that sounds hilarious: a ride down Congress Avenue from Highway 290 to the Captiol, with only green lights.

Austin on View

Domy Books
Through June 4

Conceptualized by Tim Kerr, this exhibition draws together the work of five longtime friends. A classic Austin premise—friends getting together to do work they love with people they love.

Susan Davidoff: Petal to the Metal
Flatbed Press
Through June 13

Working directly from plant forms that she brings into the studio, the Susan Davidoff weaves a multi-layered image of leaf, stem and petal forms, often incorporating the soils in which the plants grow—in the form of earth pigments—into the work itself. The finished works, copper-plate aquatints, are large-scale, rich tapestries of plant forms and earth colors.

Practice Practice Practice
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Through June 13

Curated by our own Michael Smith and NYC-based curator Jay Sanders, this group exhibition begins with the comedic idea of timing and the “Rule of Three,” which suggests that things are inherently funnier in threes. The curators also considered Jasper Johns’ recipe: take an object, do something to it, do something else to it. Ideas of timing, comedy, repetition, self-improvement and practice are explored through the work of a robust set of 26 artists, from Ericka Beckman to Joe Zane.

Bayanihan: Work from Manila
Okay Mountain
Through May 23

See Dan Boehl's review of Bayanihan in this issue.

Project Space: Lisa Choinacky, Rell Ohlson & Dylan Reece
Okay Mountain
Through May 30

What to expect: tiny Nikes, Snake Plissken, and UFOs. Don' t miss new work by Austin-based artists, Lisa Choinacky and Dylan Reece, and (as of recently) Phoenix-based artist, Rell Ohlson.

Megan Geckler: Straddle the Line
Women & Their Work
Through May 28

Each of Geckler's site-specific installations are unique and are created in direct response to the space and its architecture. They are crafted on-site and are never duplicated. The work remarkably resembles Austin's very own wunderkind Becca Ward, and we're feeling a little protective of our own... but hey, what do we know.

Austin Closings

Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design and Culture at Midcentury
Blanton Museum
Closing May 17

See Katie Geha's review of Birth of the Cool in Issue #119.

Lordy Rodriguez: New States
Austin Museum of Art
Closing May 17

See Eric Zimmerman's review of New States in Issue #118.

Justin Boyd & Nick Tosches
Closing May 17

Fluent~Collaborative's testsite 09.2 is a visual and aural meditation on faith, hope and love.

Dallas Openings

Chad Hopper
And/Or Gallery
Opening Reception May 9, 6-9pm

Austin-based artist Chad Hopper, inspired by discarded objects, recycles the banal into a minimalist fusion of gag art and modern commentary. Thrift-store paintings, magazine clippings, coloring books, or vintage advertisements are all the raw materials of Hopper's salvaged and mixed-media work.

Armando Romero: XX Century Parade
McKinney Avenue Contemporary
Opening Reception May 9, 5:30-7:30pm

XX Century Parade assembles a parade of characters from the last century—characters from the film industry, science fiction, professional wrestling, the circus and superherodom. His tableaux are darkly humorous, at once comical and troubling.

Jeff Wheeler
Mighty Fine Arts
Opens May 9

Jeff Wheeler's haywire Texas landscapes. Bill Davenport offered this critique of Wheeler's work on Glasstire at the beginning of the year: "the drawings retain Wheeler's quirky, icon-bashing enthusiasm, but I wish there was more fresh drawing... With acres of paper to fill, Wheeler repeats himself... you get tired of seeing the same elements over and over, like another Dairy Queen between Wichita Falls and Amarillo." How will Wheeler respond?

The Beat Goes On: Southern California 1965 to present
Barry Whistler Gallery
Opening Reception May 8, 6-8pm

A grab bag of SoCal artists, including Larry Bell, Wallace Berman, Chris Burden and Ed Ruscha. Looks like the show may include some iconic works, but when there's no press release, it's difficult to assess what the point is.

Dallas on View

Being and Nothingness
Light & Sie
Through May 30

An exhibition curated around Jean-Paul Sartre's "Being and Nothingness"... bite that one off and chew on it.

Jay Shinn & Rupert Deese: Spatial Shifts
Marty Walker Gallery
Through June 2

Spatial Shifts investigates human perception of space through the work of Jay Shinn and Rupert Deese. Shinn blur the boundaries between drawing, painting and sculpture using hollow shapes conceived of stainless steel rods and paint extend from the wall, continuously shifting through space, relative to the location of the viewer. Shinn’s new work reveals the artist’s profound interest in line and space.

The stainless steel constructions mimic line drawings and bend space as they fluctuate into three-dimensional structures. Meanwhile, shapes are painted on the wall, alongside the shadows the sculptures cast, both emphasizing and contradicting the implicit space of these dynamic objects.

Paring down elements of material and imagery similar to minimalist artists such as Sol Lewitt and Donald Judd, Shinn exhibits an analytical approach to art-making and an inquisitive examination of spatial awareness.

Houston Openings

Existed: Leonardo Drew
Blaffer Gallery
Opening Reception, May 15, 6-8 pm

New York and San Antonio-based artist Leonardo Drew presents sculptures and works on paper created over the last twenty years. Throughout his career, Drew has explored the deeper meanings underlying the detritus of everyday life. "Drew's practice can be described as a journey toward enlightenment, full of reprises and returns as well as new beginnings." Sounds intense.

Out of Site: Noah Simblist
Lawndale Art Center
Opening Reception May 8, 6:30-8:30 pm

Tons of stuff happening here, but we're most thrilled to see previous ...mbg contributor Noah Simblist in the Project Space. Out of Site investigates the religious, political, and nationalist symbolism inherent in ideas of home, land and borders. The exhibition examines the diaspora and exile that haunt the landscape of Israel-Palestine.

No Zoning: Artists Engage Houston
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Opening reception May 8, 7–10 PM

Free from the land-use and zoning ordinances that shape other large American cities by separating residential, commercial, and industrial areas, Houston allows a mixed-use approach where disparate architectures and functions blend. In this often chaotic, jarring urban topography, many Houston artists have been able to carve out spaces and opportunities for themselves, their work, and their communities. This is the first museum exhibition to consider the current and past efforts of regional artists working in the urban environment.

Houston on View

 Maysey Craddock & Faith Gay
Pan American Art Projects
Through June 13

Masey Craddock's vibrant gouaches wash over delicate found images or flattened paper bags sewn together with silk thread. Much of the recent imagery in her paintings comes from post-Katrina New Orleans, where Craddock resided until 2005. Meanwhile, Faith Gay creates colorful assemblages of reclaimed materials such as paper, plastic, tape and cardboard on panel.

San Antonio Openings

Jonathan Monk
Opening May 14

Berlin-based artist Jonathan Monk appropriates the strategies of American conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s to create projects that deal with reception and reinterpretation. Filtered through the lens of the artist's own biography, his works inhabit a diverse range of media, from photography and sculpture to film and installation, where the artist, the art market, the creative process, and art's dissemination collide.

Abhorrence of the Void
Unit B Gallery
Opening Reception May 15, 6:30-10pm

Abhorrence of the Void explores the idea of horror vacui, a concept that carries with it intimations of mania and compulsion—covering every surface, interweaving pattern atop pattern. The included work, by Tom Clinton, Geoffrey Todd Smith, Louis Vega Trevino and Scott Wolniak, is created using compulsive processes and methods of art making—some calculated, some intuitive—filling the gallery space with psychedelic colors, patterns, sounds, and obsessive mark making.

San Antonio on View

Dave Bryant: Don't Get Caught
Sala Diaz
Through May 24

Wash your face before entry.

The Rules:
1. No questions.
2. No answers.

announcements: events

Austin Events

Exchange Rate: 2008: Book Launch & Performances
Domy Books
May 15, 7pm

In conjunction with the Austin launch of Elana Mann's Exchange Rate: 2008,
...might be good's own Claire Ruud will give a brief talk based on “A Grocery List of Liberal Public Feelings,” her essay for the catalogue on performance art and the 2008 presidential election. Embodying parts of that grocery list, performances by Christeene (aka Paul Soileau) and Gretchen Phillips will bookend the evening.

Artist Talk: Lisi Raskin
Blanton Museum
May 21, 5:30-9pm

Lisi Raskin gives talk in conjunction with her WorkSpace exhibition Armada.

Illuminating Art : The Light Collective + Otis Under Sky
May 9, 8-11pm

The Light Collective is an interactive, multi-media collaboration, physically manifested through a light sculpture that uses fiber optic strands, LEDs, globes and electroluminescent wire that can be manipulated through a series of interactive modules including motion detection, a web interface and an on site computer. The sculpture is an universal expression of collective positive energy generated by participants.

Claude van Lingen: 1000 Years from Now
May 16, 7-11pm

Claude van Lingen’s 1000 Years from Now, an installation and collaborative performance, is an incarnation of the artist's 1000 Years from Now broadcast TV images, which will be projected onto the gallery wall and a number of narrow panels on which images from print media have been collaged. These panels will be flanked by slivers of mirror and blank strips. Meanwhile, lists comprised of names of the more than 4000 casualties of the Iraq War will be displayed on the wall opposite this installation. A blank space is to be left within the lists where Claude and other viewers may write the names of some of the casualties.

Dream Machine Mixer
AMODA @ Moose Lodge
March 27, 7-11pm
Admission: $5 General Admission

The Dream Machine is an interactive musical experience created by 4MS Pedals and Jeannot Quenson. Using a semi-circle of eight speakers, real time programming, a flashing LED rod and the world's most complex sequencer, the performers and audience will create a collaborative original composition.

announcements: opportunities


Museum Preparator
Blaffer Gallery
Position open until filled

The Museum Preparator coordinates the fabrication, installation and disassembly of art exhibitions. Minimum Qualifications: Requires a 4 year degree. The ideal candidate will have previous experience in museum installation arrangement. To apply, please visit the UH employment website at posting # 064231.


Arts Writers Grants
Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation
Deadline: June 8, 2009

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program supports individual writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through grants in the following categories: articles; blogs; books; new and alternative media; and short-form writing. Grants range from $3,000 to $50,000 depending on the needs and scope of the project.

Calls for Entries

Video Submissions: Comedy
4th OK. Video Festival Jakarta 2009
Deadline: May 31, 2009

As a disguised critique, comedy can help us to reflect, laugh at ourselves, protest without anger, and turn calamity into hilarity. OK. Video: Comedy will consider comedy as a form of communication within the medium of video. OK. Video Festival is focused on non-narrative video works and open to reconstructions, recording manipulations and an array of experiments of the audio-visual language. Video format: mini DVD, mini DV - PAL and multimedia file with the duration of 3 to 15 minutes, produced between 2007 and 2009. Entry form may be downloaded at www.okvideofestival.org and sent to:

Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam Raya No. 6,
Jakarta Selatan, 12820, Indonesia
T/F: +62 21 8304220

Call for Entries

First Night Austin 2010
First Night Austin
Deadline: May 15, 2009

First Night Austin's 2010 theme is ILLUMINATION. Artists are invited to submit projects that emphasize light or explore illumination and the city environment. Individual artists, cultural organizations, community groups, and non-profits are encouraged to apply. Projects may include interactive workshops, theater, storytelling, music, film, visual arts, installations, projection, spoken word, performance, dance and digital art. For more information and to apply, visit First Night Austin's website.

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