MBG Issue #129: Earning Your Keep

Issue # 129

Earning Your Keep

September 11, 2009

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Anne Collier, Woman With A Camera (35mm), 2009, 35mm slides, slide projector, slide projector stand, Dimensions variable, Originally commissioned by Artpace San Antonio. Photo: Todd Johnson.

from the editor

After my latest visit to Artpace San Antonio, I’m thinking about artist residencies. Austin has long clamored for a residency program. But if we had our way, what kind of program would we build? Where are the most interesting models? What are the weaknesses of those models, and how would we address them? I figure the authorities on residency programs are actually the artists who do them, so I called some up. In response, Riiko Sakkinen writes a letter on residencies and hypermobility, and Sterling Allen, Harrell Fletcher and Vijai Patchineelam, offer some of their thoughts, too.

Also in this issue, Subtext Projects, a young curatorial collective based in Dallas, offers a fresh perspective on curatorial models, and Dan Boehl talks about the collaboration between Chuck Close and Bob Holman now on the walls of the Austin Museum of Art.

In the next issue of …might be good, look for reviews of Reduced Visibility, curated by CORE resident Kurt Muller, and Your Heart is Not a Museum at Domy Books Austin.

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


Subtext Projects

By Claire Ruud

David Horbitz, Installation View: Everything Must Go, 2009.

It’s refreshing to see the newly-minted Subtext Projects pop up around Dallas, an area well known for its inhospitable ecology when it comes to emerging artists and alternative spaces. Subtext, a collective of young curators and writers based in the Metroplex, caught my eye this summer with their first project, Everything Must Go. Curated by two of the three founding members, Alison Hearst and Erin Starr White (the third is Stephanie Ball Piwetz), Everything Must Go transformed Fort Worth Contemporary Arts into a storefront window display. The exhibition and an accompanying screening brought together work by artists who, in one way or another, engage with the idiom of marketing. Recently, I caught up with Hearst and White to hear about Subtext.

…might be good (mbg): Tell me about the impetus behind founding Subtext Projects.

Subtext Projects (SP): We saw a need for a dynamic, evolving organization to work outside of the institutional framework of the area’s gallery and museum scene. Our work together as Subtext Projects really gained momentum when Gavin Morrison from Fort Worth Contemporary Arts approached us about coming together during the summer to use the gallery for an exhibition. Once we began to discuss the possibilities for this collaboration, the two of us soon realized that we had been independently conceiving parallel projects and ideas—thinking of finding exhibition spaces, hosting renegade art exhibitions, sparking a dialogue in the area that was conspicuously absent. It seemed natural that we work together as a group to exchange ideas and formulate these projects.

We recognized that, while the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex has many art institutions, there is a dearth of collective, grassroots organizations and alternative spaces that successfully energize many other cities. We feel that this area has a wealth of serious, dedicated artists making quality work. It is our aim to create a space for their work to be seen alongside that of artists from across the country and the world. We believe that it is important for us to collaborate with area artists, bringing them into the group as joint curators, for instance. So far, the blending of work from local artists with artists from around the world has been successful in leveling the playing field, so to speak. Once the constraints of focusing on “regional” or “international” work are lifted, really interesting juxtapositions and conversations are launched.

mbg: On your website, you call Subtext “a democratic group.” Practically, how is the group organized?

SP: The members of Subtext Projects ebb and flow; there are the core three of us, plus guest curators and artists. Once the team has been set for a specific show, the members have equal voice in the project and are invited to contribute ideas relating to every aspect of the curatorial process. Ideally, this structure supports the free exchange of ideas amongst members and visiting members, and allows the group to function as an integral component of our area’s art community by utilizing the brilliant minds and talents of artists and art historians in our own backyard!

mbg: As you developed the mission and structure for Subtext, what historical or contemporary models were you looking at?

SP: In fashioning the framework for the group, we looked at contemporary collective models, such as Orchard in New York and Curating Degree Zero. Although we compared notes, so to say, with such collectives, our structure really developed organically from the perceived needs our community. It is paramount that our group enfranchises a range of views and approaches; this is something we attain by opening membership to a diversity of voices.

mbg: How did you develop your first project, Everything Must Go?

SP: We were given use of the gallery with the understanding that viewers would be barred from physically entering the space. As the gallery is affiliated with the University, they do not staff gallery attendants during the summer months. We immediately began to think about the implications of this format—for the viewer, the work, and the interaction between the two. From the outset, it was amusing and appropriate to exploit and work with the stipulations we were given.

As our planning for the exhibition took shape, a more nuanced view of this set-up developed. Fort Worth Contemporary Arts occupies a formerly commercial space in a mini-strip shopping center. This history became an added layer to what we started to see as subterfuge. By this we mean that, as we installed work, passers by took heed and began to scope out what we were doing; they thought we were having a sale! This was especially true during the installation of Chu Yun’s Unspeakable Happiness. We even had to turn a few people away. Ultimately, through the project, we wanted to explore the many facets of contemporary consumerism in our culture, as well as its ties to contemporary art. By featuring a semi-plausible site of commerce, a successful questioning of purchasing behavior and consumer expectation came about.

mbg: For me, Everything Must Go draws up a variety of associations, from the contemporary gallery system, to Claes Oldenburg’s The Store, to Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset’s Prada Marfa. What were your reference points for the project?

SP: Oldenburg’s model was certainly a part of our mind-set as we located and approached artists about the inclusion of their work. We also thought a lot about the shift during Andy Warhol’s career in the late 1950s, when he purposefully and definitively made the switch from being a graphic artist to a fine artist. His Bonwit Teller department store-window displays foreshadow Warhol’s later mining of consumer culture in his now ubiquitous artworks featuring commonplace goods, such as Campbell’s Soup and Brillo boxes.

But Warhol was very clear that the work he made after his declaration that he would now be an artist was to be given different consideration altogether. It served an alternative function to selling mass-produced, mass-consumed objects. Or did it? We were curious as to how work made in our postmodern climate fares when compared to advertising and commerce. Who makes such divisions and how does the placement of work in a window display alter its message? How does a work’s context deliver itself to the viewer, and how does the relationship between the two change, especially when the storefront is not a true, working storefront? There’s a palpable sense of rarification that occurs once the work is placed behind a glass divider; it was a bit shocking how the feel of the art changed. It was quite illustrative of contemporary modes of viewing objects of consumption.

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset’s Prada Marfa is an interesting comparison; it also presents desirable commodities—shoes, in this case—that are unobtainable to the viewer in the closed, unoccupied “Prada” storefront. While certainly commenting on the gentrification of Marfa, it blurs the lines between sculpture, commercial display and advertising, which was a key interest of ours in forming Everything Must Go. Prada Marfa mingles the status-indicating effects of collecting and desiring luxury shoes and artworks through this type of display. The storefront pulls one in, almost as if a mirage within the desert. Our aim was to highlight the links between the storefront and the gallery space, with special attention to the mechanics of desire that operate within both realms.

mbg: Okay Mountain is planning an installation for Pulse that mimics the typical Texas convenience store. While your project references (somewhat) higher-end sales displays, I’m wondering whether you think there’s something about this moment that makes explorations of the commercial space particularly timely.

SP: Certainly the diffusion of opportunities to peruse and buy just about anything in every combination—be it on the Web where one can purchase everything under the sun, or the local shopping mall where a diamond watch and a salted pretzel are consumed as part of a weekend’s work—has promoted a sort of confusion regarding where we need to invest our attention. This glut of options, rather than opening a cornucopia of possibility, seems to do the opposite by boring us with material goods. When just about anything is readily available, acquiring becomes an empty gesture. So perhaps this is part of the reason that the system of rampant consumerism as diversion is being addressed. The seduction of an object lessens once it is yours—but the urge to own it is always there. We see artists really tapping into the vacuity and absurdity of such a vicious cycle. In mining this fertile territory, which may seem almost too easy, some truly provocative and edifying points are being made. There is undoubtedly not a dearth of material to investigate here, either.

mbg: What’s the next project you have in the works?

SP: While we are focusing on new exhibitions and creating proposals for local and statewide spaces, we are also keen to seek out other collective groups with which to collaborate. We are also currently developing film screenings, conducting artist interviews for our website, staging small renegade exhibitions, and hosting thematic talks and lectures for the Dallas/Fort Worth community.

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

On Residencies: Sterling Allen, Harrell Fletcher & Vijai Patchineelam

By Claire Ruud

Sterling Allen.

Sterling Allen, Harrell Fletcher and Vijai Patchineelam offer their thoughts on artist residencies.

...might be good (mbg): What’s in it for you?

Sterling Allen (SA): Before I attended a residency, I thought you were there to just spend all day and night making work, just crank it out. However, shortly after my arrival at my first residency, I realized that working like that isn't necessarily the most productive activity. I still approach residencies as an opportunity to make work, but I also approach them as an opportunity to get my thoughts straight, to do research and simply to spend uninterrupted time in the studio. Even if you live as a full-time artist, in your day-to-day life you inevitably have social obligations, dinner, phone calls, unexpected events, distractions at home and so on. A residency affords an artist time “alone”—not just blocks of time in the studio, but a number of days in a row to concentrate on nothing but progress in the studio. For me, it is still very possible to make work at home, but investigating new ideas still comes best in a residency setting.

Harrell Fletcher (HF): There are different types of residencies, the retreat style ones don't appeal to me much anymore because I'd rather just stay home and play with my two year old and work in the garden if I have spare time. Another type is a project residency, which I do often as a way to get to know a place I'm making a project for, so in that case it offers me the opportunity to spend time in a location and develop ideas. When I was younger and transient the retreat style residencies were useful as a way to avoid paying rent.

Vijai Patchineelam (VP): A residency offers me a break from my usual routine. I enjoy the fact that once you arrive in a new place you have very few obligations; you don’t know anybody, you don’t know the area at all, and you have no established habits. Because of this you are, at first, left with a lot of free time, which can lead to boredom. I think that’s a good thing. Of all the residencies I’ve been to, my favorite was the one at which I was least connected to the world. No internet, no TV, and I was not even living in the city center. The only problem was I had no access to a library; a library is a very good thing when you are bored.

mbg: How do residency programs affect the type of work you are able to create?

SA: For me, a residency is where I do my conceptual work. The time and solitude allows me to expand ideas, try new things and not worry about wasting time. This helps me to broaden possibilities for subject matter, scope and scale. If you are presented with a large space and plenty of time with no one really looking over your shoulder, you might try some ceramics or making drawings. If they fail, they fail, but the residency allowed them to surface. In that respect, the sky is the limit. That being said, you are usually far from home and the work must return with you somehow. That is why for me it is a place to conceptualize. It is difficult to take an entire installation back home with you, but ideas travel light.

HF: Once again I'm not really so into the idea of going off to an isolated place to do studio work, that's just not what I'm into. So mostly the kind of residencies I do now are project based ones and having that time to learn about a place and develop ideas is crucial.

VP: In my case I would say that residencies have affected my work very little. Whether I’m in Austin or India, it doesn’t really matter. Maybe the advantage of residencies is that the more you move around the better chance you have of meeting interesting people.

mbg: Have you encountered any particularly innovative models for residency programs?

SA: Almost all programs are unique in one form or another. Artpace is obviously a high mark for residency programs and I feel like a lot of that has to do with their consistency in programming and the founding concept. Very few programs I have come across provide a proper exhibition at the conclusion of the residency. In that respect, Artpace’s dual use of space for both studio and gallery offers a great example of working within budget and space constraints. The structure of the program—a different curator selecting each set of residents, and each set of residents including one Texas, one national and one international artist—is pretty unique, too.

HF: Not exactly innovative, but there are ones I like more or less, the best ones provide a good living space, food, funding and support for the work I'm doing. I have a friend who started a one day residency in her apartment. An assignment that I sometimes do with my students is to have them become Artists-in-Residence in other departments on campus, they have done them in Black Studies, Geology, Systems Science, Conflict Resolution, etc.

VP: Because I come from a design background I am a little suspicious of the word innovative. I would say the best models are the ones that offer the artist the most freedom. If you want to do a show at the end, fine, if not, that’s ok, too. What I really enjoyed from my time in Austin, and something I didn’t get to do with my other residencies, was the chance I was given to talk about my world back in Rio. I don’t know if people liked listening to it, but for me the talk was a great experience.

mbg: Any ideas for how a residency program might be structured to accommodate artists who have day jobs?

SA: That's tough. If the focus of the residency is to complete a project and do an exhibition at a venue, for example Grand Arts in Kansas City, someone with a day job could technically still complete the residency. The Grand Arts program doesn’t require that the artist moves to Kansas City, though constant communication and multiple visits is probably a must. However, if someone is looking for that uninterrupted time in the studio, there is really no replacement for actually stepping out of your normal life (day job) for a period of time and getting to it. The other option would be a short residency like Idyllwild in California, which is only a week, but I don’t really think a week is enough. That being said, I speak strictly from a visual artist's perspective. A week in residence might be just enough time to edit a collection of poems, for example.

HF: I guess the one day one would work for that, and the artist-in-residence in a places where they just go for a few hours a day or week.

VP: First you have to help me find a job... then I’ll answer this one...

mbg: There are residency programs that focus on retreat, on exhibition, and on community involvement. Any opinions about these different types of structures?

SA: I think this varies from person to person or even from project to project. Personally, I prefer the retreat, though not necessarily somewhere out in nature. Nature is inspiring, but so is Goodwill. I really get a lot out of being in a place where I can interact with people other than artists and poets and get to know a town.

As far as an exhibition is concerned, I think it is always an excellent and rigorous way to put a lid on a body of work. However, depending on the length of the residency, an exhibition might prove difficult, unless the idea was conceived, at least in part, before the residency officially started. Artpace is the only program I have participated in that culminated in an exhibition, and though my idea matured and changed somewhat during the residency, the majority of time was spent physically realizing an idea I already had, not tinkering and researching in the studio.

I would say that community involvement is key, because it allows the artists to give back to the foundations, donors and patrons that have invited them to participate. This could mean something as simple as a slide lecture or an open studio, or something more complicated like working with community to make a project happen. Ultimately, the benefit should be two-fold. The artist gets to make work, meet a city and its community, and take the experience back to his or her own home. In turn, the foundation or residency program provides a service to the community and city by introducing a visiting artist. By awarding an artist with a residency, the foundation helps contribute to the artist's success, which raises their profile as well. These often dynamic relationships between an artist and his or her newly expanded community are important.

HF: I think I sort of answered that already.

VP: It really depends on the organizations behind the residencies, and what they are trying to promote. For artists it’s easy, there are lots of options and we can pick and choose which program fits us best. Whatever the structure, I say just try to make it the best it can be for the artist. An artist needs a good support system, especially with short residencies of only one or two months. It is important to have things ready for the artist when they arrive. I often find that I can lose the first two weeks completely trying to get the simple things done, like getting materials and finding a place to work. Two weeks out of two months is too much time wasted, especially if you want to get into a good rhythm. It’s important to start quickly because leaving is hectic too, for me it is hard to be productive for the last ten days.

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

Charlie Morris

By Claire Ruud

Charlie Morris, HD monitor, HD video 13:47 min. loop, Edition of 5 plus one artist proof. Originally commissioned by Artpace San Antonio. Photo: Todd Johnson.

During his residency at Artpace, Charlie Morris, a multimedia artist based in San Antonio, cultivated helmock and then planted it in public spaces around town. I was intrigued by the project because of the innocuous appearance of the plant (it looks a lot like parsley) and the danger invovled in its cultivation and consumption. So I asked him about it. (For more images, see my review of the current Artpace residencies.)

...might be good (mbg): Why hemlock?

Charlie Morris (CM): The hemlock piece ‘Conium Maculatum’ is interconnected with two other pieces at Artpace. An illustrated book of Marque de Sade’s Julliette, and a shipping pallet of 28 severed military hats cast in plaster complete the installation. The thread that links these pieces together is essentially political. The infamous Poison Hemlock functions as a linking metaphor between political censorship, and corrupt power.

mbg: Where did you find hemlock seeds, anyway?

CM: They were available to me by a source specializing in biological resources for scientific research.

mbg: Can you describe the art of growing a good crop of hemlock?

CM: More importantly, for me the question is not how, but why, to cultivate this particular plant to be included into a larger installation. The act of production, documentation, and territorial context, demonstrate our collective fear and ignorance toward political, historical, and natural environments.

mbg: I assume you planted the hemlock pictured in your video piece yourself. Am I right?

CM: Yes, after documenting photographically the growth process for approximately 3 months within a controlled setting, they were planted in numerous locations outdoors and documented on video. Most reactions are mild at first until the viewer comes to realize that the seemingly innocent looking photographs and videos represent an actual highly toxic plant, distributed throughout the immediate environment. Many viewers express how common looking weeds and plants go relatively unnoticed in our fast paced daily lives. Some have even expressed a need to become more observant when encountering nature.

mbg: How did you dispose of the plants once you were done with them?

CM: After the production, documentation, and subsequent intervention into the environment, the plants continue on a naturally determined course in the location where they were planted. Thus, continuing the installation beyond the walls of the gallery space into public space.

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


Chuck Close, A Couple Ways of Doing Something
Austin Museum of Art
Through November 8

By Dan Boehl

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait, 2006, Digital pigment print with poem (not pictured), Image size: 26 ½ in x 20 in, Paper size 35 5/8 in x 47 1/8 in. Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York.
Made in collaboration with David Sacilotto. © Chuck Close.

A Couple Ways of Doing Something unfolds like a poetry book, but with portraits. Chuck Close chose friends who just-so-happen-to-be famous artists as his subjects and captured their faces using different methods: daguerreotypes, digital pigment prints, tapestries and photogravure etchings. In most cases the portraits are huge, dwarfing the viewer with their gaze, but beyond the names of the subjects themselves, Philip Glass, Kiki Smith, James Turrell, Laurie Anderson, there was little to hold my attention. The exhibition, tapestries floating, prints pinned, feels like an exercise in art making. The exhibition highlights Close’s technical acumen, but shows no emotion.

Except for the daguerreotypes. All fifteen occupy a single long shelf near the entrance to the exhibition, and though the images are small, the luminescent black and white silver plates swim with intimacy. To circumvent the long exposure time of tradition daguerreotypes, Close illuminated his sitters with one brilliant strobe flash. The effect is a moody likeness, concrete around the nose, firm in the cheekbones, feathered at the edges. Indeed, James Turrell’s features seem to grow out of his hovering Whitman-esque beard. The sitter is sculpted from light.

Bob Holman’s poems accompany Close’s printed scans of the daguerreotypes. Holman calls these “praise poems.” The author sums up the function of these best in his poem about Elizabeth Murray:

Praise! Oh yes praise hey ho I do love this griot job composing praise poems/
Is as easy as say Elizabeth Murray totally great artist Dr. Elizabeth Rose/

Guileless and safe, most of the poems aren’t ekphrastics at all. Rather, Holman’s “praise poems” are about the unseen work of the pictured artist. Twice removed from the sitters’ artwork, these poems are devoid of context, rudderless. Unlike Close’s work, which follows a system of set forms, Holman’s poems don’t follow a set poetic system, switching voice and structure to tackle each new sitter. Next to the technical mastery of Close, the poems come off as cursory. In an exhibition dominated by form, Holman had the opportunity to inject emotional context, but shies away in favor of flattery.

But A Couple Ways of Doing Something contains that rarest thing: the single amazing work of art. This perfection is the portrait of Cindy Sherman. Here she’s made plain by Close’s glaring strobe, every pore captured in the sculptural light, and unadorned. Without a costume, Sherman floats like the discovery of a precious stone. Holman’s poem goes:

All those other portraits of me
All those other portraits of me
Are just portraits

Not of me, no
Not of me, no

Dan Boehl is a poet. His chapbook Les MISERES ET LES MAL-HEURS DE LA GUERRE will be available from Greying Ghost this fall.

New Works: 09.2
Artpace San Antonio
Through September 13

By Claire Ruud

Silke Otto-Knapp, The full moon this fall, All night long I have paced around the pond, 2009, 7 Relief etchings, 19 ¾ x 17 ¾ inches each. Originally commissioned by Artpace San Antonio. Photo: Todd Johnson.

How do you evaluate the work created by an artist during a residency? That’s the question I walked away asking after visiting the latest round of Artpace residencies (Silke Otto-Knapp, Anne Collier and Charlie Morris). Over the past two years I have seen most of the exhibitions that culminate each round of residencies at Artpace. I often like the work produced by the artists-in-residence, but I rarely find it memorable. So I’m beginning to think my evaluative criteria are all wrong.

Keeping this question in mind, let me pause and say a few words about the current Artist-in-Residence exhibitions. Silke Otto-Knapp, known for her translucent watercolor-on-canvas works, tries her hand at etching. The seven compositions, and the shimmering greys in which they are printed, hearken back to a few silver gouache paintings she exhibited earlier this year at Overduin & Kite. Recalling photographic negatives, the paintings appeared ghostlike. Printed, the same compositions lose their diaphanous quality and feel flat. Then again, the way the prints are installed in the gallery creates a rhythm. Equally sized and evenly spaced, each frame contains the “same” female figure in a different pose. Over the course of the first three prints, the dancer barely moves. Then, as if picking up the pace, she drastically changes position in each of the next four compositions. Taking the series in as a whole, the prints suggest the passing of time and the pace of movement, a new experiment for Otto-Knapp.

Anne Collier, known for her conceptual photography, also tries on a time-based medium for size. She, too, elaborates on a subject found in earlier work: photographs of models and actresses with cameras. At Artpace, Collier lifts frames from the trailer of The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) to create a slideshow that tugs on your heart strings. The click of slides dropping sounds just like I remember that old Nikon’s shutter sounding during my childhood. My memory is helped along by the presence of a Nikon in the images on the screen. They are a series of close-ups of the actress’s face as she closes one eye to look through the viewfinder, then opens the eye, looking at something, and then widens her eyes as she drops the camera away from her face. The nostalgic tug of the slightly-pinking slides and the rhythmic click of slides dropping heighten the drama of the emotion in her eyes—anguish? fear? terror? While the punning on the eye and the camera and the setting, evocative of all those art history lectures, allows the viewer some conceptual distance from the images on the screen, Collier effectively uses the time-based medium to heighten the emotional content of her images.

Charlie Morris, whose recent work has investigated war and the current political climate, works in sculpture, photography and video at Artpace. His installation is the most diverse and the least coherent. For one piece, he cut out all the figures from the plates in the Marquis De Sade’s Juliette, piling them in one big orgiastic heap next to the book. In another, he cultivated hemlock. In the third, he created a sculpture from stacks of military caps. Danger, censorship, military conformity. A vague critique of political systems is in here somewhere, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

The work an artist creates during a residency, of course, depends on the type of residency program she’s participating in. In my experience, most residency programs include three priorities into their mission statements, with an emphasis on one of the three. These priorities are (1) production (2) experimentation (3) community involvement. Artpace’s residency is weighted towards production, the exhibition of new work that culminates each residency. The artists must balance the compulsion to produce finished work with the two-month time limit. Many artists respond to these parameters in the same way Otto-Knapp and Collier do: choose an old theme, choose a new medium and see what happens.

This tug-of-war between production and experimentation is present within many residency programs, and production often wins out. After all, how can we assess the value of a program if there is no product to evaluate?

Are there other “products” we value besides art objects? Conversations, questions, experiments (really wild ones), classes taken, workshops given, archival research, reading, writing, I could go on. I’m not suggesting we reject our investment in art objects, either. But, (and I’m channeling my mother here) what about delayed gratification? If an artist produces a memorable, exciting object three months or three years later, isn’t the residency still part of the process that led there? After an artist has gone to the trouble of being an artist (the MFA, the low-wage day job, late nights in the studio) and applying for the residency (the portfolio, the artist statement, the statement of purpose), do we need objects as proof that they’re working hard enough to “earn their keep” during the residency?

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

On Residencies & Hypermobility
Letter from Beijing
September 9, 2009

By Riiko Sakkinen

Riiko Sakkinen in Beijing. Photo: Inmaculada Díaz.

I know almost too much about residencies. This year, I've been working as residency expert for Pepinieres Europeennes Pour Jeunes Artistes, a big umbrella organization for over 100 residencies for young artists in Europe. I've been brainstorming a new website for them. It will replace their traditional application and selection process, and will function as a match-maker between the artists and residency hosts. The idea is that it will offer more horizontal communication between the two parties. There are different residencies and different artists with many different needs. Every princess should find her prince.

At the moment, I'm doing a residency at MA Studio in Beijing. MA Studio is a tiny new organization run by the Spanish artist Judas Arrieta, one of my best friends. I like the idea that it's from one artist to another; Judas knows what we need from his own experience as an artist. The residency coincides with my participation in the 798 Beijing Biennale, and right now I'm actually working with Judas on a series of large scale paintings. We’re presenting them next week at the studio with Finnish food and vodka at the reception (generously sponsored by the Embassy of Finland). Today, we install an exhibition of all the artists-in-residence here at the LAN Club, a restaurant and bar complex that is hosting a gallery space and was designed by Philippe Starck.

I think that a residency should start before the artist arrives physically at the site and should continue after his flight leaves to go back home. I've witnessed many conflicts between hosts and artists, mainly because their expectations don't meet. Either the match between the residency and the artist was not good or there was not enough (or any) communication between them before the actual residency.

I think this residency at MA Studio is my last one for a while. I'm going to have another kid in April and this year I've been traveling more than I’ve been at home. I'm tired of traveling and I think it's overrated. On Monday, I came from Macedonia back to Beijing. In a week and half, I'm going to Berlin, then home for two weeks, then to Lisbon, then home for a couple of days and then to Maldives (that's for work, too, though it may not sound like it). My wife is not too happy with this schedule.

People tell me that, though I don't have money, at least I travel a lot. Those friends that don't travel all the time are dreaming of seeing new places and new people. I dream of spending more time in my studio and with my family.

I recently participated in a meeting of Pepinieres in Luxembourg where we planned future mobility of young artists. I think that the other participants thought that the artist should travel even more than they do currently. I tried to speak about the green values and carbon footprints. Almost nobody was interested it those themes.

Why do artworld people like art works that speak about ecology but don't try to act ecologically when producing exhibitions or designing residencies? I admit that I don't act the right way neither. I tell to myself it’s because I'm just trying to survive and that I can't say no to any work that brings a small amount of money home.

According to John Adams, professor of geography in University College of London hypermobility causes more polarization between rich and poor, more anonymity and less convivial community and less cultural variation.

When he's not traveling, Riiko Sakkinen lives in Cervera de los Montes, a tiny village in the province of Toledo.

announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Trophy Room: Jade Walker
Domy Books, Austin
September 12 - October 17, 2009

"Trophy Room" is an experiment in combining scraps of personal accolades, images of the body, and the epidemic of injury in sports. Recent interests in gender related sports texts including Warrior Girls by Michael Sokolove, in which he discusses the bias between young male and female athletes, as well as Feminist Sports Studies edited by Pirkko Markula laying out a history of this specific study, has fueled this installation to include bodies forms and sports models. In tandem with a larger installation, Spectator Sport, opening at the Austin Museum of Art in November, this installation is a display of fatigue and failure of the human body and the temporal methods for repair.

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 12, 2009 from 7-9pm

San Antonio Openings

Building Vernacular Imaginations: Paho Mann and Libby Rowe
UTSA Satellite Space, San Antonio
September 3-20, 2009

This exhibition presents the work of two photographers whose work creates dialogue between actual and conceptual representations of the contemporary American built environment. Paho Mann’s series, Re-inhabited Circle K’s, highlights the multiple uses of the buildings built for this retail chain over the years. Since the 1950s, these buildings do not show a linear progression and homogenization of suburba, but rather serve as evidence of a more circular system of actions and choices that shapes the built environment. Rowe’s series Dwellings investigates the dual meaning of the word “dwelling”—how the “mental state” of dwelling is seen as definitively negative while the “home” dwelling holds the potential for both positive and negative associations. This series of photographs uses iconic images of dwellings made from materials that, along with their environments, suggest a state of brooding. Dwellings demonstrates the subtle differences between pondering, reflection, meditation, and rumination and when these seemingly harmless contemplations turn to a more decidedly negative, and often detrimental, dwelling.

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 3, 6-9pm (also open First Friday, Sep. 4, 6-9pm)

The Battle of the Buddha: Jeffrey Wisniewski
September 24, 2009–January 03, 2010

Jeffrey Wisniweski's work has posed something of a challenge to critics and audiences since he first began showing publicly at the beginning of the 1990s. Indeed, how are we to account for someone whose work has ranged in scope from a suburban tract house run through a wood chipper and re-deployed as a pile of rubble to large-scale objects concocted from high-tech camping gear and electronic devices? In an effort to reconcile these seemingly disparate projects, Wisniewski's art has been rationalized as an extension of the conceptual strategies of 1970s artists like Robert Smithson, Walter DeMaria, and Gordon Matta-Clark, while also being read as dystopic visions of socio-cultural evolution. In a sense, they are both and neither at the same time, formally resonant of works dealing with institutional ciritque, conceptually driven by ideologies of consumerism and the flow of capital in the late 20th century, but inherently sardonic while at the same time harboring a romantic sense of history, memory, and the transience of existence.

San Antonio on View

Culinary Delights: Photographs by David Halliday
San Antonio Museum of Art
September 5, 2009 - February 21, 2010

Culinary Delights features the photographs of nationally acclaimed photographer David Halliday, who lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana. Born in Glen Cove New York in 1958, Halliday moved to New Orleans in the early 1990s to take a job as a chef. His keen eye for formal relationships steered him in a different direction, however, and since 1992 he has been exhibiting photographs of people, places, and things. Halliday’s early photographs are in a traditional format, mostly sepia-toned gelatin silver prints. More recently, he has been exploring digital color photography. Although he has produced many landscape and portrait images, this exhibition focuses on his still life compositions using food, an appropriate subject for an artist who began his career as a chef.

San Antonio Closing

International Artists in Residence
Art Pace
Closing September 13, 2009

The last chance to see new works by Anne Collier (New York, NY), Charlie Morris (San Antonio, TX), and Silke Otto-Knapp(London, England).

New York Openings

A Voyage of Growth and Discovery: Mike Kelley and Michael Smith
Sculpture Center
September 13 - November 30, 2009

SculptureCenter, NY and West of Rome, LA are pleased to present Mike Kelley and Michael Smith's: A Voyage of Growth and Discovery, a collaborative video, sculpture, and sound installation. The exhibition will include a six-channel video featuring Michael Smith's character Baby IKKI filmed at a festival in the Black Rock desert in 2008. Related sculptures fill the 3000 square foot space surrounding a 30-foot tall junk sculpture of Baby IKKI. The installation features music from "Dance Beats for Baby", a new CD of music related to A Voyage of Growth and Discovery produced by Mike Kelley, with vocals by Baby IKKI. The project, a collaboration between the two artists who have been friends for twenty-five years, will be presented in both of their home cities. It premieres at SculptureCenter in NY and travels to Los Angeles where it will be presented by West of Rome in Spring 2010.

Opening reception: September 13, 2009 from 5-7 pm.

announcements: events

Austin Events

Discovery and Dialogue: Public Art on its Head
Art in Public Places, Austin
Saturday, September 12, 2009 from 9am-5pm
Admission: $10

The City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division announces “Discovery and Dialogue: Public Art on its Head” a full-day symposium of inquiry and information will take place at the Thompson Conference Center.

Participants will learn about how the city's public art program operates and receive insider tips on getting noticed (and selected). Highlight of the symposium will be lunch with special guest, internationally renowned artist, and MacArthur Fellow, Ned Kahn, who is known for replicating the forms and forces of nature such as wind, fog, light, water, sand, air and fire, in his work.

AIA Austin Homes Tour
AIA Austin
October 10-11,2009 from 12-6pm each day
Admission: $25-30

The 24th Annual AIA Homes Tour is a showcase of great design by
local architects. This self-guided tour encompasses 14 homes from Central Austin to Lakeway and includes new construction, renovation and preservation projects with traditional and contemporary designs.

Tickets to the AIA Homes Tour go on sale Sept. 1, 2009 and are
$25 in advance; $30 the weekend of the event. Tickets may be purchased at Cissi’s Market, Zinger Hardware or directly from AIA Austin. Additional information is available from AIA Austin (512.452.4332) or aiaaustin.org.

Lecture by Visiting Artist Michael Bell-Smith
UT Art Building
September 15, 2009 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM
Admission: Free

Michael Bell-Smith uses digital forms to explore contemporary visual culture and how it is mediated through popular technologies. His work often incorporates the visual vocabulary of the Internet, such as animated gifs and lo-res images, and references the aesthetics and semiotics of common computer programs such as Powerpoint and Web sites such as YouTube. Remixing and reinterpreting sources ranging from industrial videos and music clips to classic cinema and contemporary art, Bell-Smith reconsiders the cultural meaning of these materials in a "post-personal computer, post-Internet, post-Google" age.

Michael Bell-Smith was born in 1978 in East Corinth, Maine. He received a BA in Semiotics from Brown University in 2001. His works have been seen in exhibitions at venues including The New Museum, New York; Foxy Production, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

I’ve Never Been So Happy
Rude Mechs
September 10 - 20, 2009, Thurs - Sun at 8pm
Admission: $12-21

Rude Mechs is proud to present this work-in-progress presentation of their new western operetta performance experiment. The performance fluctuates freely between high art and Hee-Haw, treating both with respect.

Tickets on sale now.

The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project, or, Building Rome in a Day
Arthouse, Austin
Events begin Friday, September 25 at midnight

A durational, participatory model-building extravaganza and dynamic history lesson, The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project is a recreation of the ancient capital city in historical order. Over the course of 24 hours, more than a millennium of Roman history is brought to life at Arthouse. The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project unfolds at approximately 1.238 years per minute, beginning at midnight with the building of Romulus and Remus’ huts in 753 B.C.E. and ending 24 hours later as Alaric and the Visigoths sack the mini-empire in 410 C.E. The city’s rise and fall takes place within Arthouse’s walls, under the direction of Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn, and with the help of diverse Austin community collaborators and energetic volunteers.

Eve Sussman: The Rape of the Sabine Women
September 21, 2009, 7:00 PM
Admission: Free

Arthouse presents the first-ever public screening in Texas of Eve Sussman's acclaimed video musical The Rape of the Sabine Women, with introduction by the artist and Q&A to follow.

The Rape of the Sabine Women (2006) is a reinterpretation of the Roman myth, updated and set in the idealistic 1960's. With the Romans cast as G-men and the Sabines case as butchers' daughters, this version riffs on the original story of abduction and intervention in which, after the founding of Rome, Romulus devises a plan to ensure the future of the Empire.

Church of the Friendly Ghost's Tent Revival
The Church of the Friendly Ghost
Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 5pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

The Church of the Friendly Ghost's Fall Fund Raising Event.

WIN: Raffle Items! tickets only $5 & all proceeds benefit COTFG!

PERFORMERS include: Hello Lovers / Xathax / New Music Co-op/Book of Shadows / The McMercy Family Band Nanobangbang / Ralph White / many others!

+PLUS+ Bible Belt Jones lays down THE WORD!

Drinks! Food! Water balloon baptism! Photos! Cake Walk! Fun! MORE!

Workspace 12: Eclipses for Austin
The Blanton Museum of Art
October 6, 2009

The Blanton and artist Pablo Vargas Lugo are collaborating on a project entitled "WorkSpace 12: Eclipses for Austin." This project brings together art, a sense of community, and the UT football stadium. On October 6 2009, 350 people will gather in the stands of UT's Darrel K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium to stage a performance by holding black and white placards. Collectively the group will hold and flip the cards in sequence to simulate the ten solar eclipses that will occur in Texas over the course of the next 340 years. Lugowill film the event and produce 10 videos that will be exhibited at the Blanton Museum of Art as part of WorkSpace series later this fall.

The Blanton is seeking 344 volunteers to hold the placards for one or more of the following time-slots: 8-10am, 10-12pm, or 12-2pm.

If you would like to participate please email eclipsesforaustin@gmail.com.

announcements: opportunities

Job Opportunity

Chief Curator: Museum of Contemporary Art Montréal
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
Closing Date: September 14, 2009

The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal is seeking to fill the position of Chief Curator. Reporting to the Director, the Chief Curator's responsibilities include   planning, organizing and overseeing various components of the Artistic and Education Department such as permanent collection, traveling exhibitions and education services.. The Chief Curator occasionally organizes exhibitions. In addition, the Chief Curator administers the financial, material and human resources of the Artistic and Education Department. Qualifications include a master's degree in art history and a minimum ten years relevant experience. For complete job listing and application information, please click here.

Visual Arts Director: SAY Sí
Closing Date: December 31, 2009

SAY SI is seeking to fill the position of  Visual Arts Director. The Visual Arts Direction is responsible for the management of the SAY SI visual arts programs and will also serve as the primary teacher for middle and high school visual arts program. For complete job listing and application information, please click here.

Executive Director: Arts Council of Brazos Valley
Arts Council of Brazos Valley
Closing Date: September 18, 2009

The Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving residents, artists, businesses and visitors of the seven-county Brazos Valley region, is accepting applicants for the Executive Director position. The ED is the CEO of the organization with a wide range of responsibilities including fundraising, administration, and affiliate relations. For complete job listing and application information, please click here.

Director of Marketing: The Long Center for the Performing Arts
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
Closing Date: September 15, 2009

The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas seeks an accomplished executive with a minimum of 5-7 years experience in non-profit marketing or arts management and a successful track record of developing and expanding audiences/customer bases. For complete job listing and application information, please click here.

Exhibitions Coordinator: Dallas Contemporary
Dallas Contemporary
Closing Date: September 18, 2009

Dallas Contemporary seeks a a full-time Exhibitions Coordinator. The qualified individual must possess strong organizational, written and communication skills, with ability to work in a fast-paced environment and be a team player. The Exhibition Coordinator is responsible for managing installations, publications, maintenance, transport, public relations and the institution's web presence. For complete job listing and application information, please click here.

Job Opportunities

Administrative Manager: Voices Breaking Boundaries
Voices Breaking Boundaries

Voices Breaking Boundaries is seeking to fill the position of Administrative Manager. The Administrative Manager works in collaboration with the Founding Director, Program Coordinator and Board to support and implement the organization’s strategic plan, consistent with the mission. In addition, the Administrative Manager is responsible for organizational management and marketing. The Administrative Manager is responsible for organizational management and marketing. For complete job listing and application information, please click here.

Call for Artists

City of Austin Art in Public Places
City of Austin
Closing Date: September 13, 2009

The City of Austin Art in Public Places (AIPP) program of the Cultural Arts Division, Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office seeks to commission an artist/design professional to design and construct a work of art that will contribute to the new Zachary Scott Theatre (ZACH) 500-seat theater complex adjacent to Lady Bird Lake. The intent is for the public art component to provide an artist the opportunity to work with an innovative theater company to explore new media and to work collaboratively with stakeholders and the architectural/engineering design team early in the design process. For qualifications and application details, please click here.

Call for Entries

The 2010 Hunting Art Prize
Hunting Art Prize, Houston

Deadline: November 30, 2009

The Hunting Art Prize is a Texas-wide competition open to established artists, talented newcomers and promising amateurs.The competition is open to Texas-based artists who are 18 years of age (as of August 1, 2009) or older. Artwork submitted for consideration must be a single two-dimensional painting or drawing no larger than 72" on any one side (including frame, if any). The winner of the Hunting Art Prize receives an award of $50,000. For complete list of qualifications and application information, please click here.

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