MBG Issue #123: Tween Regrets

Issue # 123

Tween Regrets

May 29, 2009

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Tim Brown, Installation view of Generations, 2009. Courtesy the artist.

from the editor

Summer time, and ...might be good will grace your inboxes every three weeks from here on out, through those hot sticky months of June, July and August. In this issue, Kate Watson recommends a few shows in Houston, and Dan Boehl and I review two shows to see in Austin: Practice, Practice, Practice at Lora Reynolds and Nathan Green at Art Palace. In the Project Room at Art Palace, also check out Kara Hearn's funny yet tender videos, which got a nice little review at The New Orleans Museum of Art on artforum.com this month. Best part of the installation in Austin, though, is Hearn's letter to Steve Carell, sitting crumpled on a chair. I’d like to see Carell in her next video; I think they might hit it off.

Also in Austin, there's another gem of a show you shouldn't miss, installed in the most unlikely place: the AT&T Conference Center Gallery, which isn't really a gallery at all, but more of a hallway. Jonathan Faber & Barry Stone: Broken Gold consists of just five, well-chosen pairings of Faber's paintings and Stone's photographs. The show works so well because Stone has perfected the practice of associative grouping; installations of his photographs always come out of a long process of sorting, selecting and resorting. In this case, Faber and Stone have paired works that echo one another in line, shape and color. Through each marriage, Stone's landscapes draw out the representational qualities in Faber's abstracted paintings, while Faber's works bring out the formal qualities in Stone's. Stone has got a few installation shots up on his website, but it's really worth seeing the show in person.

Finally, we've got our own opening at testsite this weekend, a collaboration between Sheila Pepe and Elizabeth Dunbar. Pepe has installed vast networks of crocheted yarn through the space, and she's inviting everyone to come on over, plop down on the couch, pull apart her stitches and re-use the yarn to make something else—a potholder, a purse, a hat, something useful. The installation is beautiful, but it may not last long, so pop by on Sunday before it starts to unravel.

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


Roberto Tejada

By Claire Ruud

National Camera, by Roberto Tejada, University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Roberto Tejada, an art historian, curator and poet, joined the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin last fall. His latest book, National Camera, came out in February, and he recently sat down with ...might be good to talk about its subject—put very briefly, images and identities in the U.S. and Mexico.

…might be good: So your book takes transnationalism as a starting place. I know you grew up in L.A., which seems like the epitome of a transnational city to me—just my stereotype of it from growing up in Berkeley. And I’m wondering about transnationalism as both theory and lived experience. How did your lived experience shape your understanding of the transnational?

Roberto Tejada: Well, I’m glad that you think of Los Angeles as a transnational city, and I’m glad that you’ve noted that, in one important sense, scholarship is largely autobiographical. More and more, I think of L.A. as having shaped the architecture that organizes the way I think about community and public culture in terms of immigration and urban structures of feeling: the shape of a cloverleaf freeway interchange. I grew up there at a time when you really could see the influx of migratory world culture and global connections merging and weaving between L.A., Mexico, Central and South America and the Pacific Rim.

…mbg: I’m trying to understand the relationship you see between the lived experience and the theory of transnationalism. So can you give me an example of the lived experience of transnationalism?

RT: Crossing a border.

…mbg: Okay.

RT: If you live very close to the border you understand what’s at stake and what skills are considered necessary for that embodied linguistic performance. So that’s a lived experience that can be theorized. I actually don’t see lived experience and theory as opposing categories, but rather necessary terms in the spectrum of complexity. I’m interested in human subjects as historic actors and as placeholders for encounters that stage or activate transnational connection.

…mbg: How do you think about images in terms of transnational images?

RT: Well, art history is commonly told in terms of national, developmental storylines pointing back to an originating (often Euro-ethnic) source. I’m also interested in how images travel and don’t necessarily pertain to any one nation, but rather to what I prefer calling image environments: like the very palpable one prompted by the inseparable histories that constitute the United States and Mexico.

…mbg: How did you settle upon images to address the issues of transnationalism? Your approach is super interdisciplinary. You use textual analysis, literary theory, anthropology, history, art history—why did you decide to be an art historian?

RT: Because I like being an insider-outsider. I mean, ultimately, I find that the so-called differences between disciplines don’t necessarily hold. Academics have stakes in policing borders between disciplines, and so they avoid finding valuable connections with neighboring cultural fields. I try to work within the model of art history and, at the same time, find those patterns for producing knowledge that might upset the assumptions of the discipline itself.

…mbg: I’m seeing a theme here. Just like transnationalism complicates the idea of fixed borders between nations, your academic practice complicates the idea of fixed borders between disciplines. And in your book, you skip around between historical moments and locations a lot too, so that even the organization of the book challenges those borders. The borders between time, the borders between places, the borders between so-called different archives, the borders between nation states; the borders between disciplines—

RT: Between sexes.

…mbg: As we talk, I feel like I’m skipping around a lot, too—both as I think about the book and in our conversation.

RT: Well, that pleases me—I’m reading a book I read quite a while ago by Anne Carson called Eros the Bittersweet, which is really on one level a deep reflection on the status of metaphor. I think that I write scholarship with metaphor in mind insofar as I look for structures that seem incongruent, and I inhabit that incompatibility for a time and realize that there’s actually a relation of identity between the two— and then that disappears and the difference takes hold. I like to hover in that space.

…mbg: It’s difficult—finding apparent differences and then hovering there until something takes shape.

RT: Hopefully, my work asks the reader and viewer to reassess conceptual categories of art-historical time and space, fixed cultural geography, or unchanging sexual and ethnic identities.

…mbg: But you conceive of your poetry as separate from your scholarship.

RT: Yes.

…mbg: How do they overlap in your practice?

RT: I’ve kept them separate in one sense, but in another they’re very much linked together. In T.J. Clark’s book, The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing, he looks with astonishing depth at two paintings by Poussin. In mid discussion—by way of extended journal entries—the account breaks down and a poem rushes in to illuminate the scene. I haven’t dared to do that yet, although a book appearing later this year, Exposition Park [Wesleyan University Press], presents texts I’ve written that are hybrid in nature. They’re not quite ekphrastic poems in the way that we customarily understand ekphrasis, but in each instance, an originating dialogue between the artist and myself prompts a kind of parallel language-base that then shapes a piece of imaginative writing.

…mbg: I’ve heard you talk about your poems as “strategies and tactics” for breaking down high and low, or other things we see as binaries.

RT: Yes, which is really a Baroque tactic. The Baroque loved the paradox because the paradox brings opposites together momentarily, lets them congeal for a moment and then allows them to separate again. In Exposition Park, I begin literally with translations of Spanish golden age sonnets, one from a Mexican-born sonneteer and then two Spanish poets, Lope de Vega being one of them. Then I intersect these with poems I’ve written, call them sonnets if you like, that reference the act of translation, the transatlantic passages of that particular language art into the contemporary political climate.

…mbg: So the Baroque is a pretty loaded place to start since its the period of colonization, and I mean, maybe five years ago we saw a lot of talk about the Baroque in contemporary Latin American art—

RT: There’s been an interest in a neo-Baroque aesthetic in Latin America. It’s a theory of culture with a host of contributors that include the Martinique poet and theorist Édouard Glissant, as well as the mid-century Cuban modernist, José Lezama Lima, whose poetry I’ve translated. The Baroque makes sense as a resistant model—with difficulty as a positive value—a way of upsetting the relationship of periphery and center. In Mexico, I’d say contemporary artists like Rubén Ortiz-Torres, Daniela Rossell, Miguel Ventura and Thomas Glassford have appealed to this aesthetic, and one need only view the exhibition Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement to witness how artists who build on the “barrio-Baroque” of rasquachismo have made it productive as well.

…mbg: How do you think the Baroque works to upset the relationship between periphery and center?

RT: Well, Lezama Lima was using Spanish-derived traditional literary forms, such as the décima, as a possible syllabic rhyme scheme for radicalizing Cuban prosody. His tropical surrealism appropriates the form, making it irrecognizable as a décima—one as we’ve never heard it before. His décima forces us to reconfigure all the décima-forms prior to it.

…mbg: The transformation you’re talking about, which compels reconsideration of something after the fact reminds me of your discussion of the importance of the “second take” in National Camera, and you’re the last chapter of the book—my favorite chapter—in which you use the work of contemporary Latina artists to almost re-see the Boystown archives.

RT: I approach archives in such a way as to conceive them not as the archivist would prefer, but rather to re-view and re-envision it, as you’re saying, through a resistant lens. Many of the Chicana and Latina artists that I reference—Christina Fernandez, Amelia Mesa-Baines, for instance—employ the female body as though to offer a second visibility to the mid-1970s sex-worker mise-en-scène in the Boystown archive. I look at contemporary art to unfetter those former photographic subjects from the fear and fantasies of realist interpretation.

…mbg: One of the reasons that last chapter was my favorite was your discussion of the politics of the Boystown archives, and your navigation of those politics. I thought it was beautiful the way you worked the everyday politics of research into your theoretical engagement with the material. I also loved the chapter because it allowed contemporary art to speak to so-called documentary pictures. The idea that contemporary visual art can have some effect on all the other images we see every day—advertisements, New York Times photos, and so on.

RT: I actually realized in writing National Camera that we have art historians to hold up as models for that; image-thinkers who were already doing this back in the twenties and thirties. Aby Warburg—about whose work there has been much contemporary enthusiasm—was interested in the behavior of images: a very interesting term.

…mbg: What do you, what does he mean by the “behavior” of images?

RT: Not so much what they stand for as how they mean; what they set in motion. They don’t necessarily convey, reflect, influence, or derive—they betray, activate, and mobilize.

…mbg: This has a lot to do with the way you conceptualize images in your book. You suggest that images don’t actually mean except for within a larger image field in which they act. So then do you, as an art historian, make them act in different ways?

RT: I can only stage a scene in which—rhetorically speaking—images can act. Naturally I’m the director!


RT: So the deck is stacked, so to speak.

…mbg: A related topic that interested me in National Camera was your approach to archives. I’m wondering how you think we should use archives.

RT: I wanted to begin by writing about an archive in particular—the Casasola archive. And I wanted to write about it, not only because there are indelible images to be derived from that archive, but also because this archive is always referred to in scholarship. Images from that archive are always used to accompany historical accounts, yet the idea of that archive is never addressed. I spent the first two thirds of the book with a vast set of pictures about which much has been written—the Casasola archive, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Manuel Álvarez Bravo. I so focused in part because it was a challenge to write about a set of images that might seem already to have been exhausted. I believe that the archive is never exhausted. On the one hand it’s a system that conserves or preserves a numbered set of images, but on the other it is revolutionary insofar as there is always more that it can contain. This is confirmed wonderfully in Leonard Folgarait’s Seeing Mexico Photographed [Yale University Press 2008]: a terrific study that establishes points of contact with mine. It’s uncanny that analogous objects of inquiry prompt such interrelated, but nonetheless diverse treatments. I’ve learned much from his narrative, and it’s stimulating to examine my own blind spots: “That’s a great point: How could I have missed that?”

…mbg: I just realized that I used the word “should” when I asked you that last question about the archive—“How should we use archives?” I’m not sure that was quite right. But I think I know why I did it. Reading National Camera, I felt that you had some sort of ethical structure that was the impetus behind every choice you made. An ethics of looking, an ethics of writing, an ethics of the archive. So what do you propose “ethical looking” is?

RT: Yes. I would change the verbal structure from “should be” to “could be.” “Should” seems to suggest the terrain of morals. Potentiality is the kind of ethics I’m interested in. What could this world look like, as opposed to some other?

…mbg: Okay, so under that construction, your book imagines, and maybe by imagining, partly creates that new world.

RT: It produces a knowledge-world by viewing the bilateral evidence of a culture as being both transparent and foreign to itself.

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


Practice, Practice, Practice
Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin
Through June 27, 2009

By Dan Boehl

Harry Dodge & Stanya Kahn, Nature Demo, 2008, Digital Video, TRT: 00:09:19, Edition of 6. Courtesy Lora Reynolds Gallery.

For Practice, Practice, Practice, curators Michael Smith and Jay Sanders took the idea of comic timing and the “Rule of Three” as a starting point for their curatorial process. The joke goes like this: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.” This joke is so old that I don’t know if anyone finds it funny anymore. Rather, it inspires a smirk, a kind of knowing nod. It is less a joke at this point than it is an earnest assertion. Question: “How do you get good at something?” Answer: “Do the work.”

Work is our most earnest endeavor, the activity we spend the most time doing, so it’s nice if we are skilled in our chosen field. Nature Demo (2008) features Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn filming themselves in a drainage ditch, trying to explain to an unseen audience how to survive in the wilderness. Kahn uses a stick to poke around the wooded area that is to be her bed. Dodge refers to a spiny seed casing as a “pufferfish” until Kahn points out that using the word makes them sound like they don’t know what they’re talking about. Dodge then refers to it as a reproductive sack. They don’t know what they are talking about. But the point, like in any job, is to be convincing.

The desire to better oneself is front and center in the film work of Tony Tasset, and the video work of Shana Moulton. In the first scene of Tasset’s Better Me (1996), a man enjoying an evening with his wife tells her she doesn’t have to take the job. Instead he explains, “The most important thing is that you need to be making art.” In the following scenes the man turns down a boring job himself, receives praise from a student for teaching a class that changed her entire life and plays with his school-aged son. In Moulton’s Sand Saga (2008), a robed woman enters her bathroom, applies a green facial mask, and is transported into a music and dance O’Keefe desert montage where she becomes purified, relaxed and enlightened. At one point she gyrates to Deep Forest’s “Sweet Lullaby,” her body superimposed with a close-up of veiny facial skin. It offers a glimpse into sexuality and the desire for purity, at once grotesque and titillating.

Erika BeckmanYou the Better, 1983.

There’s a lot of video in the show. Over three hours of it, as a matter of fact, so most of my time was spent in front of televisions. Ericka Beckman’s half-hour long You the Better (1983) plays like a full-length Sesame Street production. Stop-motion video, elaborate costumes, choreographed games, stylized camera shots on a darkened soundstage and music combine to warn viewers about the state of the American social landscape. Watching it is kind of like watching old kids’ shows on the cable network Noggin. It also inspires awe with its high production values and catchy songs. “You break down a unit/ and you do it again./But what do you have left/when there is nothing at all?”

The two dimensional highlights are Pat de Groot’s Water Color (2008) and Dark Sea (2008), both seascapes, Max Schumann’s acrylic on cardboard paintings of scenes from TV, and Rachel Harrison’s three Untitled (2007) MasterCard/Sotheby’s ads featuring famous artists. Harrison’s are particularly relevant. The images of Andy Warhol and William Burrows, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera make plain the artist’s desire for success, which mixes with some sort of desire for fame. News stories and amputee images from Iraq appear as the verso of these ads, which darkens the artist’s desire, making it seem selfish and, in the end, empty.

Earnestness pervades Practice, Practice, Practice, but it isn’t a hand-wringing, emotional earnestness. Rather it’s an earnestness born out of the most basic of human desires: the desire to be better. This adds up to a better type of show. There are a few dull moments here and there, but the dull moments are surpassed by the moments of genuine bliss that lay bare our desire to succeed and let us laugh when we inevitably fail.

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

Nathan Green
Art Palace Gallery, Austin
Through June 17, 2009

By Claire Ruud

Nathan Green, On The Road To Salvation Mountain, 2009, Mixed media on paper, 35 x 40 inches. Courtesy the artist and Art Palace Gallery, Austin.

Nathan Green’s large-scale paintings transport the eye into a euphoric world of color and pattern. Children’s artwork is an obvious influence here; Green fills his paintings with blocky shapes and bright paint straight from the tube. Crowded, thickly layered and vibrant, Green’s paintings feel urgent, as if they’re trying to fend off their own physical limits—as wells as a nebulous darkness.

Green describes his paintings as a “search for the ecstactic.” He looks for places in American culture where we believe ecstasy might be located—in a natural wonder like Aurora Borealis, in man-made wonders like the pyramids, or in the triumph of a field goal, or even in a really good iTunes playlist. In Monday Nite (2009), mammoth football goalposts provide a visual gateway into a fantastical castle christened by a setting orange sun: fairytale ecstasy within the escape of a rousing football game. In On the Road to Salvation Mountain (2009), a whirlwind of purple abstraction overtakes a car with sweet-lashed eyes for headlights as it chugs down a highway road. Three pyramids rise in the background while an all-seeing eye, stars and a yin-yang symbol hover amidst the fog: mystical ecstasy within ancient civilizations or, for that matter, on a long stretch of highway way out west. The ecstasy in these paintings is one of innocence, playfulness and exuberance.

With Happy Birthday Moon, the artist’s current show at Art Palace, Green begins to expand his work past the edge of the frame and into the gallery. Still somewhat hesitantly, Green’s paintings and objects are beginning to fuse into one giant painting that is literally inhabitable by the viewer. At one end of the main gallery, Green has installed a huge pressboard wall and painted it plaid with his signature bright colors, a pattern that echoes that of Recycled Paint(ing) (2009) in the front gallery. A small black and white abstraction of collaged brushstrokes hangs in a white frame on the colorful pressboard wall. That piece, Detail of Aurora Borealis (2009), looks like an excerpt of the pattern on the computer screen in Aurora Borealis Playlist (2009) on the other side of the gallery. Some playful sculptures—such as a snowman made of concrete and spray paint and an anthropomorphic conglomeration of felt, googley eyes, and other children’s craft material—add to the tableau. But the installation, with the three dimensional works huddled together on pedestals in the center of the room, is tentative. Green needs to commit, to insist that we inhabit his world. And in the commitment, Green might begin to clarify the relationship between his frenzied cheerfulness and the amorphous threat that lurks behind it.

Nathan Green, Installation view of Happy Birthday Moon, Art Palace Gallery.

Throughout the exhibition, this dark menace keeps seeping through the cracks, pressing down on Green’s exuberance, threatening to annihilate it. Futility lurks in the thick, graying branches glued and bolted together into a “tree” that will never bloom again. Darkness threatens in the shiny black paint that half-eclipses a sun. Cliché dilutes sentiment in Worlds Best Boss (2009), where a pathetic mug of pinkish brown liquid deflates the significance of the compliment. In these moments, Green’s innocence and playfulness feel insufficient to hold the darkness at bay. It’s a poignant battle, and I’d like to see Green engage in it wholeheartedly, rather than keep retreating to his happy place. We desperately need this joy and lightheartedness, but we need them to fight, and we need to know what they’re fighting against.

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

...mbg recommends

"Sizzurp and Sensibility"

By Kate Watson

Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, Give and Take (Give), 2009. Photo by Chuy Benitez.

It was uncanny timing this week that Art Fag City posted this amazing documentary about Houston hip hop culture and, well, purple drank. At the time, I was on my way to H-town for a wild weekend art bonanza, which didn't disappoint.

I was lucky enough to hop on the bus for the CAMH's "unzoned Houston," a 3-plus hour architectural tour of the wild and woolly city, run in conjunction with their current exhibition, No Zoning: Artists Engage Houston. The tour, led by Houston architectural guru Stephen Fox, featured two particularly mindblowing pit stops—the home of former wino and folk art king, the Flower Man (see a great documentary about him here) and the condemned house that became one half of Dan Havel and Dean Ruck's new installation, Give and Take. See the incredible installations in the exhibition and then beg (freaky nice) curator Toby Kamps for the addresses of the secret offsite spots.

But the "real" reason I was in town was to catch the opening of Box 13's new exhibition series, specifically two shows by well loved Austinites Anna Krachey and Tim Brown. In the upstairs exhibition space, Krachey's Trophies is an exploration examining where the energy to create and the impulse to shop converge. Krachey is a master collector, and the gems she finds and shares with us are precious.

A little insider's info: make sure to closely examine the photo of the half-charred block of wood shot in faux three quarter-style. Propped up on a stand against a creepy, quilted photo studio backdrop, the block was found by Krachey along with fellow Nohegan (RIP?) alum (and director) Jill Pangallo last summer. The object was recovered from an all-boy church group, who had taken the opportunity to write down all of their sins during their retreat at McKinney State Park and then burn the effigies in a joyful, Christ-laden bonfire. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, they didn't burn much of a fire, and Krachey's creepy sin stick is highly legible. The remorseful, guilty prose clearly describes the author's tween regrets about masturbation. Thanks, Anna, for showing us the seedy (yikes, no pun intended) underbelly of Austin's favorite camping grounds. (And if you can't make it to Houston to soak in this fabulous gem, it's coming to Art Palace this summer as part of the exhibition curated by Rachel Cook, I am not so different.)

In the storefront-style space looking out onto the street, Tim Brown stocks his thoughtful, personal installation with actual detritus from his childhood for his exhibition, Generations. Action figures, baseball paraphernalia, childhood photographs and Brown's own stamp collection fill the tiny window display that faces out onto the seemingly deserted streets outside of the gallery: a space that sits on the edge of Houston's heavily industrial and Latino Second Ward neighborhood. Four Spanish phrases advertise Brown's "wares" on the outer window—recuerdos, or keepsakes, cosas para disfrutar, meaning "things for enjoyment," encantos, roughly translated, means "sweet things" and ninez, meaning childhood. I would love to record passersby trying to make sense of this tender, intimate portrait of Brown's childhood.

Pass me the sizzurp. I'll come back and drink your sweet, crazy nectar any old time, Houston.

announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Corkey Sinks: mardröm
MASS Gallery
Opening June 6, 10pm - midnight

Corkey Sinks's large-scale installation explores the nightmare and the mythology of the horrific. The artist explained to ...might be good, "I became interested in Freddy Kruger as a kind of super-meme; the character is viral and can enter peoples dreams by word of mouth. Simply knowing about Freddy can allow him into your dreams, hence multiple quarantines of teens who dream about Freddy throughout the series." Sinks's interest in the series of films about Freddy led her to an investigation of the idea of the nightmare, where she discovered the mara, a nightmare-inducing creature of Scandanavian folklore.

The Lining of Forgetting: Internal and External Memory in Contemporary Art
Austin Museum of Art
Opening May 30

“I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining.” -Chris Marker

This exhibition investigates memory, and particularly forgetting, in the work of artists like Edgar Arceneaux, Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Whiteread, and one of ...might be good's favorites, Cody Trepte. (Trepte did a beautiful Artist's Space in ...might be good last year.)

Lizzy Wetzel: The Medicine Show
Women & Their Work
Opening June 6, 7-9pm

Lizzy Wetzel stole the show at Women and Their Work a year ago, and now she's getting one all to herself. We can't wait to see what she comes up with. (Think NeoHooDoo at the Menil & P.S.1 last year.) W&TW's blog posted some cool photos of Wetzel working on the show in her studio, too.

drawn (not quartered)
d berman Gallery
Opening June 4, 6-8pm

We're looking forward to this simple summer show of works on paper by Glenn Downing, Katie Maratta, Shawn Smith, Jared Theis, W. Tucker and Randy Twaddle.

testsite 09.3: Sheila Pepe & Elizabeth Dunbar
Opening May 31, 2-5pm

Fluent~Collaborative's very own testsite 09.3: Sheila Pepe & Elizabeth Dunbar opens this weekend, too.

Austin on View

John Mulvany & Morgan Sorne: Ghostsongs
Pump Project
Through June 11

Ghosts, inhabiting the East Austin landscape and armed with rifles or rosaries, materialize within John Mulvany's fiery paintings, while Morgan Sorne's colder, life-size apparitions haunt the gallery itself.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Through June 27

See Dan Boehl's review of Practice, Practice, Practice in this issue.

Austin Closings

Nathan Green: Happy Birthday Moon
Art Palace Gallery
Through June 17

See Claire Ruud's review of Nathan Green: Happy Birthday Moon in this issue.

Kara Hearn: Hunger Makes a Fine Sauce
Art Palace Gallery
Through June 17

Nice little review of Kara Hearn's videos shown in New Orleans made it into artforum.com this month. Hearn's letter to Steve Carell, sitting crumpled on a chair at Art Palace, adds a sweet touch. I'd like to see Carell in her next video; I think they might hit it off.

Lisi Raskin: Armada
The Blanton Museum's WorkSpace Gallery
Through June 21

Lisi Raskin's installation feels like a busted-up, yet somehow sublime, landscape, or the remnants of the unfinished set for a John Cage production that lost its backers before opening night. It's easy to breeze on through on your way out of the modern and contemporary galleries, but this installation is meant to be soaked in over time, so take a few minutes to wander through the pressboard carnage and wonder at the blue mountains towering overhead.

Dallas Openings

Rex Ray, Heyd Fontenot & Alejandro Diaz
Conduit Gallery
June 13, 5:30-8:30pm

This trio of shows at Conduit is killer: Rex Ray's cool, graphic design-informed collages; Heyd Fontenot's beautiful people; Alejandro Diaz's striking neon signs (Make Tacos Not War, Wetback By Popular Demand). Fabulous.

Houston On View

Jeff Forster, Cheryl Childress, Larry Robinson, & more
BOX 13 Artspace
On view through June 25

Please see ...might be good recommends for more info. We love Box 13!

Marfa Openings

Aaron Curry & Thomas Houseago: Two Face
Ballroom Marfa
Opening May 29, 5-7pm

Aaron Curry, who showed at the Hammer Museum this winter, and Thomas Houseago, whose work appeared simultaneously at David Kordansky, come together at the Ballroom this month. Both of the artists' recent bodies of work, in black, white and earthtones, appear drained of color, and thus formally befitting the stark Marfa landscape.

San Antonio Openings

Stephanie Bonham & Art Silva: Drums and Cats 4ever
Sala Diaz
Opening May 29, 7-11pm; Performance 8-9pm

You may have seen Stephanie Bonham and Art Silva's collaborations before, perhaps at CRL in 2007, where they exhibited a group of modified paintings collected from thrift stores. At Sala Diaz, they'll be showing sculpture and collage works, and on opening night, there'll be a performance from 8-9pm.

San Antonio on View

Jonathan Monk
Artpace, Hudson Show(Room)
Through September 6

Look forward to a review of this show in our next issue. We haven't seen it yet, but the press release says, "Berlin-based artist Jonathan Monk is at the forefront of a generation of artists who have appropriated the strategies of American conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s to create contemporary 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."

announcements: events

Austin Events

Performance: FINGERS
Monofonus Complex
June 4, 7:30pm

Austin's own Silky Shoemaker has been traveling around the country on a schoolbus performing with Fingers, and now they're on their way to Austin. As they put it, "We bring you a night of performances in the struggle and the splendor of queertransfeminist bodies, a rainbow of hallucinated ahistorical reenactment. Our fingers act deftly, slight of hand and slight of weight, shadow games, palmistry and carpal feelings. We present a whole sordid smorgasbord of intuitive magical practice."

New Directions Film Series: Gretchen
The Blanton Museum of Art, Auditorium
June 18, 7-9pm

In conjunction with the Austin Film Festival, the Blanton will be presenting new work by independent film makers on Thursdays and Sundays through the end of July. (Here's the complete calendar.) The first in the series, Gretchen (2006) is a funky teen drama filmed in Austin, and here's a behind-the-scenes youtube video from the set.

Critique & Discussion
May 31, 6-9pm

Co-Lab's monthly open crit, led by Shea Little this month.

Dallas Events

Gallery Talk with Frances Colpitt
Barry Whistler Gallery
May 30, 3pm

Author, critic, and Deedie Potter Rose Chair of Art History at Texas Christian University Frances Colpitt (and former testsite collaborator) discusses The Beat Goes On, currently on view at Barry Whistler Gallery.

Houston Events

Salon Series: Government Funding of the Visual Arts
Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden
June 1, 6:30pm

Panelists David A. Smith, Maria Munoz-Blanco and Charissa N. Terranova talk about government funding of the visual arts. Seating is limited; RSVP to gallery@valleyhouse.com with your name and telephone number.

Max Juren DVD Release Event
Domy Books
Saturday, May 30, 7 PM

If you missed Juren's wild appearance at our very own Austin Domy, now's your chance to make up for your terrible, terrible mistake.

announcements: opportunities

Call for Entries

George R. Brown Convention Center Call for Video
Houston Art Alliance
TODAY! Friday May 29, 5 PM

The Houston Arts Alliance is managing an open, national call to professional artists working in video. This call requests submissions for existing works of video art of up to 240 seconds duration ($3,500 purchase stipend) for the city's George R. Brown Convention Center. A distinguished art selection panel will select up to thirty works that reflect the freshness and energy of this Houston downtown landmark that welcomes 1.5 million visitors annually.


Manager of Membership Programs
The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas
Position open until filled

The Menil Collection seeks a Manager of Membership Programs to build and sustain an increased awareness and understanding of the Menil Collection by broadening the museum’s membership and working closely with donors.

To apply, send your resume, cover letter and a list of professional references to: Human Resources, The Menil Collection, 1511 Branard Street, Houston, Texas 77006. Application materials may also be emailed here.

School Programs Manager
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Open until filled

A part of the Education department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the School Programs Manager is the liaison between the museum and elementary through high public and private schools, and state and local teacher and education organizations. Working with a team of educators, this position plans and implements professional development programs for educators, researches and writes curriculum materials.

How to apply: Send resume to Human Resources, Job 103, P.O. Box 6826, Houston TX 77265-6826; Fax 713-639-7597 or you can email or apply online here.

Gallery Director
Barbara Davis Gallery
Open until filled

Barbara Davis Gallery is currently seeking a Gallery Director who will play an integral part in the gallery as its dynamic and high-level Director and Administrator.

To apply for this position, please email cover letter and resume here.


Ox-Bow Artist Residency
Ox-Bow, School of Art and Artists' Residency
Deadline June 26, 2009

Ox-Bow school of art and artists’ residency has served as a haven for visual artists since 1910. Founded on the shores of Lake Michigan as an escape from the city, Ox-Bow’s campus encompasses 115-acres of pristine natural forests, dunes, a lagoon, and historic buildings. During the fall season, residents have the opportunity to work in studios not available during the summer session.

 For more information or to download an application, check out their website.

Vermont Studio Center Full Fellowship
Vermont Studio Center
Deadline, June 15

The Vermont Studio Center is an international residency program open to all artists and writers. Year-round, VSC hosts 50 artists and writers per month, each of whom receives an individual studio, private room, and all meals. Residencies last from 2-12 weeks and provide uninterrupted time to work, a community of creative peers, and a beautiful village setting in northern Vermont. In addition, VSC's program includes a roster of Visiting Artists and Writers (2 painters, 2 sculptors and 2 writers per month) who offer slide talks/readings and individual studio visits/conferences.

To apply, please see VSC's website.

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