MBG Issue #127: Fall Preview

Issue # 127

Fall Preview

August 7, 2009

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Susan Rothenberg, Hands and Shadows, 1978-79, Acrylic and flashe on canvas, 48 x 58 inches. Courtesy Ann and Steven Ames, New York. (c) 2009 Susan Rothenberg/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

from the editor

This issue of …might be good is our guide to exhibitions opening in Texas and beyond this fall. So make yourself a gin and tonic (or an Orange Julius, if that’s how you roll), and take a look. If you’re a visual learner, just click on the “view gallery” icon and scroll through the images. I’ve been drooling over a few of these babies (and the prospect of cooler months) for the past couple of weeks.

Our next issue of …might be good hits the proverbial stands in three weeks on August 28. Look forward to a feature on the 60 Wrd/Min Art Critic’s recent visit to Austin, reviews of Polymict at Okay Mountain and Lonely are the Brave at Bluestar and an interview with Eduardo Xavier García, the curator of this year’s Young Latino Artists at Mexic-Arte.

Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.


September Picks
Texas and beyond
September 2009

By Claire Ruud & Lauren Adams

Josephine Meckseper, Save a Bundle, 2007, Mixed media in two parts, Part I: 65 x 48 x 24 inches; Part II: 48 x 48 x 24 inches. Courtesy the artist, Elizabeth Dee, New York, and Arndt & Partner, Berlin/Zürich.

Josephine Meckseper 
Blaffer Gallery, Houston
September 12 – November 14

There isn’t exactly a shortage of artists commenting on such worldly issues as the Iraq War, the Bush Administration, and the over indulgence of America. What concerns Josephine Meckseper, however, isn’t so much the existence of such issues as is our acceptance of them as the status quo. How is it, she seems to ask, that a person can finish an article concerning the tragedies of war and then casually flip to page six to catch up on celebrity gossip? Meckseper’s anti-war protest photos, video, and over-the-top recreations of retail displays, profess her frustrations with a consumerist society. Mixing flashy products and liberal values, Meckseper amplifies the confusing messages within today’s mass media, leaving us wondering who to trust. LA

Reduced Visibility
Glassell School of Art, Houston
September 4 – November 15

The argument: abstract visual form is a viable means through which to engage socio-political issues. In support of his case, curator Kurt Mueller draws together work by artists Rico Gatson, Mark Lombardi, Helen Mirra, Lisa Oppenheim and Trevor Paglen. CR

McKinney Avenue Contemporary
, Dallas
September 5 – October 10

I like the artists in this show: Brian Fridge, Amy Revier, Edward Setina and Paul Slocum. CR

Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works
Harry Ransom Center, Austin
September 8 – January 3

Exhibitions from the Ransom's vast collections always unearth treasures—objects you didn't know you were looking for until you found them. Every time I see one of these shows (this one displays books and papers chronicling the history of astronomy), I wish that the Ransom had a contemporary artist residency program like the Hammer's Houseguest series. The stuff in the Ransom's copious archives would make for some outstanding source material. CR

Michael Berryhill
Horton & Co., New York
September 10 – October 10

What do you do in your basement? Basement States, Michael Berryhill’s upcoming exhibition, explores such reclusive activities, “like painting pictures, playing music—basically borderline antisocial activities that, after they’re worked out, are often shared with the outside world,” says the artist. Berryhill’s wacked-out paintings are supreme vehicles for embodying this “basement” state of mind: alienated, awkward and threatening to collapse under the viewer’s gaze. CR

“Now that I’m by myself,” she says “I’m not by myself, which is good”
, Houston
September 11 – October 24

The show's lengthy title, a quote lifted from singer Santigold, suggests its theme: the intimate relationship between the public and private self. Curator Rachel Cook explores this idea through the work of artists Yuki Okumura, Brian Bress, Wynne Greenwood and Laurel Nakadate. Performance is an integral part of this exhibition, so watch for special events. CR

Beili Liu
D Berman Gallery
, Austin
September 17 – October 24

Tactile, delicate, elegant, structural, rhythmic: each of Beili Liu’s works feels like a study in precariousness. Bound #2, one of the pieces that will be included in the show at D. Berman, consists of thousands of red threads suspended in swooping arcs between two oak pillars. Each thread is held in place by a single needle at each end. Talk about hanging by a thread. CR

Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.

Lauren Adams is an intern at Fluent~Collaborative.

October Picks
Texas and beyond
October 2009

By Claire Ruud & Lauren Adams

JeongMee Yoon, Terry and His Blue Things, from The Pink & Blue Project (2005-2008), 2005, Chromogenic photograph. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; museum purchase with funds provided by Photo Forum 2007, 2007.1771.

Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
October 18 – January 3

Chaotic Harmony presents the work of 40 Korean photographers, many of whom have never been shown internationally. The show explores the generational gap between those artists born before 1970 in an agrarian society and those born afterwards into urbanization and the newly formed democracy. The exhibition suggests that the styles of these two generations are distinct, the first producing more traditional images, such as Bae Bien-U’s hazy, mythological landscapes, and the second focusing on many of the same issues that American artists tend to explore—urbanization, sexuality, and, as reflected by JeongMee Yoon’s Terry and His Blue Things, the over consumption of manufactured goods that seems to be plaguing all corners of the world. In addition, on November 22, the MFAH will open the complementary exhibition Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea, showcasing work in other mediums. LA

Erin Curtis
Women and Their Work, Austin
October 1 – November 12

Space means so much to us. We value our “personal space,” decorate our domestic spaces to reflect aspects of ourselves, and take pride in iconic public spaces that somehow seem to represent our communities. Erin Curtis’s work is consumed by space, exploring the emotions different spaces evoke. Isolation and mourning, for example, can be found in Curtis’ depictions of 20th century buildings, such as the General Motors headquarters, falling into decay. These images, many of which were created in Curtis's recent visit to India, suggest that within the interior and exterior walls of these spaces is a glimpse into the collective mental state of the culture which creates them. LA

Jonathan Marshall
Art Palace Gallery, Austin
October 17 – November 22

Jonathan Marshall promises the final episode in a trilogy that began with the artist's well-received The Book of Lenny (2007) at Art Palace and continued with Johan Pilgrim and the Cave of Wonders (2008) at Man & Eve. These large-scale installations (including video, sculptural elements, drawings and paintings) follow heroic male figures through epic landscapes. In the final chapter, Marshall says, "I will continue my explorations at the crossroads of myth, history, the not too distant future, the boundless possibilities of human ingenuity, lower back pain, futility, and the power of art to create a visual model of the true nature of the universe and man’s place therein." CR

Michael Tole
Conduit Gallery, Dallas
October 17 – November 14

Consumerism is a topic that concerns many artists these days, and Michael Tole is undoubtedly one of them. What separates Tole from the many, many others, however, is his realization that having possessions that define social status isn’t something that appeared only in the last few decades. In fact, some among the wealthiest class in American seem to gravitate towards the same extravagant items popular in the 17th and 18th century. This fact has lead Tole to produce lush paintings of Faberge Eggs and decorative Chinese screens, which hover deliciously on the border of photorealism and abstraction, if, that is, such a border exists. LA

Susan Rothenberg
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

October 18 – January 3

Susan Rothenberg painted a few images of horses in the 70’s, became famous, and never painted anything ever again. True? Not at all; however one might think that if they were basing their opinion of Rothenberg strictly on what the history books tell us. In truth Rothenberg’s images have evolved from her minimalist horses into works that recreate observed events and experiences in the artist’s life. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth brings a long deserved rounded view Rothenberg, focusing not on her most famous pieces, but on the process that makes this artist stand out among her contemporaries. LA

William Cordova
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
October 28 – November 28

Word is William Cordova will be showing 100 (you got that right) drawings and a large sculptural work at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. this fall in his first NYC gallery show. After seeing two rather spare exhibitions of his work this year in Texas (Artpace & Okay Mountain), I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with a high-profile gallery like Sikkema Jenkins & Co. CR

Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.

Lauren Adams is an intern at Fluent~Collaborative.

November Picks
Texas and beyond
November 2009

By Claire Ruud & Lauren Adams

Noriko Ambe, Art Victims : Damien Hirst, 2009, Cut book, framed. Courtesy the artist and Lora Reynolds Gallery.

Noriko Ambe
Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin
November 7 – December 31

There is something awe-inspiring about the images of enormous sand dunes, cliffs, and canyons that dot the American Southwest. They seem pure, somehow untouched by the growing civilization around them. Oddly enough, that same sensation is conjured up by the much smaller paper pieces of Noriko Ambe. Ambe’s multi-layered works are meticulously cut, sheet by sheet out of the ultra fine, and pristine white, Yupo Paper and then layered into delicate three-dimensional landscapes. At Lora Reynolds, Ambe will show a series of her carved artist book pieces: obtaining pre-existing artist books, she carves them into these landscape-like forms. These topographical pieces are a bridge between humanity and nature; another chapter in Ambe’s study in “mapping the mysterious land between physical and emotional geography.” LA

Teresita Fernandez
The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin
November 1 – January 3

We have Teresita Fernandez to thank for her breathtaking transformation of The Blanton’s atrium with her semi-permanent installation Stacked Waters (2009), and now a more comprehensive exhibition of her recent work is coming to Austin. The artist’s work speaks poetically about perception, and so does she. When she installed Stacked Waters, Fernandez told …might be good “I have always been interested in the relationship between the tactile and the visual, the 'eyes of the skin.' … I am fascinated by how the visual seduces a viewer into caring about an idea. The conceptual is put into practice by a perceptive, engaged, seduced viewer, fully aware and willing to comply.” CR

Bill Jensen
Texas Gallery, Houston
November 5 - December 19

Bill Jensen has been somewhat of a stylistic shape-shifter over his career as a painter. Deeply rooted in Abstract Expressionism, Jensen’s current work contemplative and highly controlled, in part because he makes his own paint by hand. Many of his newer works give a nod to Japanese calligraphy; the soft swooping forms are reminiscent of language, but also create a sense of space. While Jensen’s bright, moving colors first draw the viewer in, it is the subtle play of colors in the background that builds dimensionality, creating a visual world that bears deeper exploration. LA

Dana Frankfort
Inman Gallery, Houston
November 6 – January 2

FLOWER PAINTING COMING SOON, Dana Frankfort's upcoming solo exhibition, is titled after the words the artist has used to compose the paintings in the show. The title alone gets me laughing. It makes me think of Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party safely installed in its sanctuary at the Brooklyn Museum while Louise Fishman's Angry Women paintings batter at the door.

Pablo Vargas Lugo
The Blanton Museum of Art, WorkSpace Gallery, Austin
November 14 – February 21

Pablo Vargas Lugo’s work often investigates the concept of time. This fall in Austin, Vargas Lugo will measure time through the recurrence of a striking astronomical event: the solar eclipse. Over the next 340 years, Texas will enjoy 10 solar eclipses, and this November in the stands of UT Austin’s football stadium, 800 people will gather to hold up black and white signs in a choreographed simulation of each eclipse. Hook ‘em, Horns! CR

New Works 09.3: Adriana Lara, Mario Ybarra, Jr., Adrian Esparza
, San Antonio
November 19 – January 10

This set of artists-in-residence is hot. For the New Museum's Generational this year, Adriana Lara instructed a museum employee to eat a banana every morning and drop the peel somewhere in the space. Meanwhile, one of Adrian Esparza's gorgeous serape pieces made it into Phantom Sightings last year, and Mario Ybarra, Jr. (who made it into the 2008 Whitney Biennial) recently created a room-size replica of Wrigley Field at The Art Institute of Chicago.

New Works Series
Austin Museum of Art, Austin
November 21 – January 31: Jade Walker
Followed by Luke Savisky, Sunyong Chung & Okay Mountain

Jade Walker is kicking off this promising New Works series in November with Spectator Sport, an installation evoking the sports arena, and Okay Mountain has a project in the works for next fall an installation mimicking a network television studio set. Both Walker and Okay Mountain seem to have the relationship between artwork and audience on the mind; if artists could dream of “playing to a full house” during the contemporary art boom of the early 2000s, these exhibitions suggest some anxiety about the ability of art to keep “selling out the stadium” as we move into the 2010s. CR

Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.

Lauren Adams is an intern at Fluent~Collaborative.

December through June Picks
Texas and beyond
December 2009 - June 2010

By Claire Ruud & Lauren Adams

Harry Shunk, Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void), 1960, Silver gelatin, 10-3/4 x 13-7/8 inches. The Menil Collection, Houston. Photo: Shunk-Kender © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Okay Mountain
Arthouse at Pulse, Miami
December 3 – 6

Arthouse has snapped up Okay Mountain for a booth at this year’s fairs in Miami. The collective has proposed to transform a booth into a convenience store, which perhaps bears more resemblance to an art fair than we generally admit. I like it. CR

Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
January 30 – April 18

The Birth of the Cool show got tons of great coverage when it opened at the Studio Museum (Frieze, NY Times, Time Out NY, Artforum In Print), so I’ll spare you more words for the time being. CR

Blanton Museum of Art, Austin
February 5 – April 25

Desire, the museum’s big winter show, is another sign that the Blanton has firmly embraced the crowd pleaser. The last one was Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design and Culture at Midcentury, which came replete with coupons to Design [not] Within Reach. I'll admit, with Desire, I’m part of the crowd they're pleasing, and I’m excited. The catalogue is going to look perfect on my coffee table next to the little book of Alexandre Dupouy's French erotic postcard collection I bought last month at Domy. CR

Leaps into the Void: Documents of Nouveau Réalist Performance
Menil Collection, Houston
March 19 – August 8

What’s 40˚ above Dada? Nouveau Realism, of course. If documentation of ephemeral events sometimes runs the risk of being dry, this show doesn’t. Yves Kline, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle—those guys knew how to put on a show and spin a story. CR

Luc Tuymans
Dallas Museum of Art
June 6 – September 5

Luc Tuymans once called Jan Van Eyck his “most devastating” influence. Travelling from the Wexner and headed to SFMOMA, this is Tuymans’s first U.S. retrospective. A figurative painter nonpareil, you gotta love him. CR

Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.

Lauren Adams is an intern at Fluent~Collaborative.

...mbg recommends

The Month of August

By Claire Ruud

Ludwig Schwarz, Untitled, 1997, 72 x 72 inches, Oil and enamel on canvas. Courtesy the artist.

Actually, I don't recommend the month of August in Austin. But if you're here, I do recommend Okay Mountain's next show Polymict, curated by artist Nathan Green. The exhibition draws together four other artists with whom Green has an aesthetic kinship: Warren Aldrich, Lillian Gerson, Logan Grider and Ludwig Schwarz. Green has selected nine paintings by Grider and Schwarz, and Aldrich and Gerson are making the sculptural components. Together, the paintings and sculptures will be installed in the gallery as an integrated whole—as one big, well, polymict. If you’re a devotee of Nathan Green’s own paintings (and his more recent foray into sculpture), I get the feeling this show is going to contextualize his work in a whole new way. If you haven't ventured out much in this heat, a cold beer awaits you at the opening on Saturday, August 15 from 7 to 10 pm.

Also that weekend, on Friday from 7 to 9 pm, Mexic-Arte opens its 14th annual Young Latino Artists (YLA) exhibition. I've been e-talking to the curator, Eduardo Xavier Garcia, and an interview with him is forthcoming in the next issue of ...might be good.

Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.

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