MBG Issue #132: Stumbling through the Imaginary Brush

Issue # 132

Stumbling through the Imaginary Brush

October 23, 2009

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Erin Curtis, Foliage View, 2009, Acrylic on paper, 34 x 25 inches, (framed). Courtesy the artist and Women & Their Work.

from the editor

At a moment when contemporary art practices may feel almost paralyzingly diverse, standards about how to look at art, and how to evaluate it, seem equally diffuse. For a critic (or viewer) navigating this heterogeneous landscape, the act of looking is sometimes plagued by the range of possible ways of looking. For such a viewer, an exhibition like the recent Works on Paper: Jo Baer, James Bishop and Suzan Frecon at Lawrence Markey can be refreshing because the work offers a clear framework for looking—a formal one. Because of our history with it, it’s almost as if this type of work comes with an instruction manual: look at it in person; look at color, line, shape, dimensionality, texture. When Wendy Atwell describes this show as “a contemplative, peaceful break” in this issue, this is what I think of—the peace of mind that arises out of knowing how to look.

We “know” how to look at work like Baer’s or Bishop’s because artists, critics and art historians have codified formalist modernism. Visual signals and historical cues prompt us to look/think formally. Over the past few years, however, curators and art historians have been asking us to reassess legacy of New York modernism through exhibitions such as ICI’s High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967-1975 and the Blanton’s Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York and even New Museum’s Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone. These shows, though they focus on the years of New York modernism’s so-called decline, suggest that modernist painting was never as neat and tidy as we sometimes want it to be.

Erin Curtis’s most recent work, reviewed by Eric Zimmerman in this issue, works best as a eulogy to Modernism. Recent history has torn up Modernism into little bits, as diverse as the art produced today. From amidst the rubble, Curtis’s paintings attempt to piece back together Modernism’s effigy—“the God-head from which it all came,” in Atwell’s words—not simply to question it, but also to venerate it. By resurrecting that singular Modernism, Curtis allows herself to revel in color, line, shape, dimensionality and texture and offers her viewers assurance that they know how to look at the work.

Given the upheaval and uncertainty of the current moment, it’s no wonder the idea of Modernism feels reassuring. Not least among the art world’s worries is the future of arts journalism, as exemplified by the tone of the National Arts Journalism Program’s recent summit. In this issue, I talk to two entrepreneurs in online arts journalism—Matt Nash of Big Red & Shiny and Matt Peiken of 3-Minute Egg—about the practicalities of running such projects.

In our next issue, look forward to reviews of Mike Smith and Mike Kelly at SculptureCenter, NYC, and Ping-Pong at Optical Project, Houston.

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.


Matt Nash, Big Red & Shiny

By Claire Ruud

Matt Nash. Photo: Rob Coshow.

Matt Nash is the publisher of Boston's Big Red & Shiny, an online art journal not unlike ...might be good, although it's much bigger. He started Big Red & Shiny in 2004 with C. Sean Horton and later Matthew Gambler, and since then it has expanded to include both a blog and a Twitter feed. Nash wears many hats; he's also a professor and a practicing artist, and I caught him by phone in his studio, or so I thought.

…might be good (mbg): So you’re in your studio right now.

Matthew Nash (MN): I was hoping to be, but I got tied up with work. Once you’re on the faculty somewhere, there are committees, meetings…

mbg: And between all that, you still have time to produce Big Red & Shiny.  Tell me how you guys got started.

MN: You know, I went to grad school with Duncan MacKenzie, who founded Bad at Sports, and Lori Waxman, who also does Bad at Sports. We all studied with Kathryn Hixson who was editor of the New Art Examiner. I think we all wanted to write about art that was not being written about. I came out of a publishing and advertising background. Eventually, I realized that what interested me most about publishing was disseminating ideas, and the web was a better forum for that.

mbg: Do you have a story about the founding moment of BRS?

MN: Boston is segregated into different neighborhoods, and everyone had their own clique. So often, when someone would ask whether you’d seen something in Chinatown or Jamaica Plain, chances were, you’d missed it because you hadn’t heard about it.

Then one day, a grad student—Sean Horton, actually—and another professor pulled me aside to talk about the possibility of using the web to connect all these people. The first model we developed looked a lot like a blog—a multi-user open forum. But we soon realized that these kinds of open forums descend to the lowest common denominator really quickly. So we eventually settled upon a more traditional publishing model with a publisher, editors and contributors.

Our first issues came out in February of 2004, right at the same time that the city shut down three or four of our best alternative spaces as part of an effort to rout out underage drinking and so on. There are conspiracy theories about the city trying to push the artists out in order to finish the gentrification process in certain areas, but I think they really are just that, conspiracy theories. Because we started publishing in that moment, many of the early pieces are quite angry, really, even though the project came out of a really optimistic time.

mbg: Now, you’ve achieved an established place in Boston’s art scene.

MN: We like to joke that when we started we were the dirty punk-rock kids in a basement, and now we’re the thirty-somethings with wives, kids and jobs. These days, I’m not getting out to as many shows. And now that BRS is larger and more established, I have galleries calling asking why they haven’t been reviewed. Sometimes I miss that feeling of being on the outside, fighting the good fight. But we still crack a lot of jokes, and don’t take ourselves too seriously.

mbg: I watched the National Summit on Arts Journalism last Friday, and as the editor of an online art journal, I was frustrated by the superficial level at which all the projects were discussed. In order to learn from these models, I need to know about the nitty-gritty of financing and production. Can tell me about the specifics of how you make BRS work?

MN: We’ve got a fairly traditional magazine model. I’m the publisher and I deal with ads, coding & site design. Then we’ve got editors, each of whom is responsible for a pool of writers. The editors are doing the recruiting, the correspondence, the actual editing. In addition, one of these editors keeps up the blog, and another does all our social media—twitter, facebook, and so on.

mbg: That’s a pretty large organization. How are you funding it?

MN: Until about two years ago, we were almost completely funded by a single foundation. Then the foundation changed their mission statement, and as a result we lost their support. Last year, we were almost exclusively funded by ad sales.

We don’t pay writers, but we make up for it by hosting a dinner with a lot of booze every year, so everyone can meet each other and build a stronger community. We’ve also partnered with a local free newspaper, the Weekly Dig, to do their listings and reviews. We assign some of our regular writers to those stories, and the Dig pays them.

mbg: Something else that caught my attention at the Summit was that success was generally measured through hits. I wondered, is that really our only measure for success? How do you measure success at BRS?

MN: Long ago, I learned that I would drive myself insane by worrying about these kinds of metrics. To me, success is simply that we keep doing it, that it seems to be generating conversation, that people are still interested. Since we’re a not-for-profit, we haven’t got shareholders to please. That said, I think many of our editors do really value comments, re-tweets, and so on—things that show that people are paying attention.

I used to track hits very closely. But when it comes down to it, there are just about 16,000 to 17,000 people who want to read about art online in the Boston area. A couple years ago, when we were very focused on partnerships with similar projects in other cities—Bad at Sports, for example—we sometimes got up around 60,000 readers per month, because we were getting a cross market selection. But these readers didn’t stick around to read about Boston, they were interested in Chicago.

mbg: I totally get that—we’re all so busy with the conversations going on in our own cities that it’s often too much to look beyond them to similar conversations in other areas. But when I have the time to look around, I see thought provoking pieces and interviews in all these publications that fit so well into the conversations we’re having in Austin. I’d really like to find a way to share ideas and strategies and questions across our regionally-focused publications. For instance, I’m interested in creating some sort of Arts Journal-like round-up that could go out daily or weekly. An editor would go through all the participating publications and hand-pick the most interesting/relevant pieces for a national or international audience.

MN: I actually tried to create something like that a few years ago when we were working on all those collaborations with other publications. It would be quite simple to do. But in the end, it came down to a question of funding.

mbg: What advice do you have to offer to anyone who wants to start a project like BRS?

MN: I guess my advice to anyone who wants to start a project like ours is to just do it, worry about the specifics later on. If you are surrounded by enough good energy and motivated people, a determined leader can find a way to make that work. Flexibility is important, but so is having a goal and pursuing it.
There was a moment in grad school when we were on a field trip with Kathryn, and I asked her how she started being an art critic. I was expecting her to say something about grad school, degrees, internships, whatever... but what she said actually had much more of an impact on me. She said "I just started writing about art." I've always remembered that, because every time I want to over-complicate a project, to wait until everything is in order, things tend to fall apart in the waiting. If the time is right and people are ready, make it happen.

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.

Matt Peiken, 3-Minute Egg

By Claire Ruud

Matt Peiken.

Matt Peiken is the creator, producer and host of 3-Minute Egg, a daily video blog that covers the arts in the Twin Cities. Peiken's background is in more traditional arts journalism; he spent 21 years on the staffs of daily newspapers, most recently the St. Paul Pioneer Press, before becoming managing editor of the Walker Art Center's magazine in 2007. A little over a year ago, he left the Walker to start 3-Minute Egg, and produced over 170 episodes in the first season (from September to June) alone. Here, ...might be good talks with Peiken about the practicalities of running a publication like his.

…might be good (mbg): What advice do you have for arts journalists interested in starting a project like 3-Minute Egg?

Matt Peiken (MP): This may sound harsh, but journalists need to get over their sense of entitlement. One person in the [National Summit on Arts Journalism] forum chat room said “Soon as one of these new models offers a good salary, health care and a 401(k), I’m there.” Well, that’s not going to happen. Outside of union shops, journalists have never been well paid, and none of us get into the business for the money. In the 1980s when I started working for a weekly, my salary was $197.50 a week. In my early thirties, I made $450 a week. Yes, we need to earn money, and the work we do is valuable. But in this environment, as a journalist, you simply cannot feel you’re due a certain income from someone else.

Another truth is that very few journalists have an entrepreneurial spirit. They want to do the work they’re comfortable doing and know that they’ll get a paycheck every two weeks. But now more than ever, you have to create your own worth and, as an individual journalist, understand where and how you can distinguish yourself in the marketplace. I firmly believe that means carving your own path outside the construct of a seemingly comfortable, salaried job with an established media source. It means establishing your unique value in the marketplace and then leveraging your position for partnerships with existing media.

The first rule of thumb is to be local – know your geography, know your audience and make sure you can get to the stories and people you need to cover. In 2005, when I was still on staff at the Pioneer Press, I launched an online magazine called Metaphor, which covered slam poetry and spoken word nationally. I took myself to Vancouver to cover the Individual World Poetry Slam, had stories in text, video and audio and some fun features like an “Ask a Poet” advice column. It looked and worked great for about a month and a half, but I couldn’t keep sending myself all over North America to chase stories. To do the magazine in a way that would really make a difference with audiences and with the people I cover, I needed the ability to “be there” consistently. I folded the magazine because I couldn’t sustain it – not economically as much as personally.

mbg: You were a journalist for years before you started 3-Minute Egg. What was the initial impetus behind starting your own project?

MP: I spent 21 years on the staffs of daily newspapers—10 of them at the Pioneer Press in a fairly comfortable unionized position. But management was never really comfortable with me—they eliminated my arts beat in 2005 and eventually put me in a position that was just untenable for me, so I took a buy-out in 2007.

I had already been percolating a variety of ideas for projects, but shortly after I left the Pioneer Press, the Walker Art Center hired me as the editor for its magazine. I thought it would be a dream job, but we were a bad match for each other. So here I was—a mid-career journalist in my mid-40s, and newspapers weren’t hiring anymore for the kinds of jobs I would take. I considered myself unemployable at that point, and I knew I had to create my own opportunity going forward.

So I sat down with a legal notepad and wrote out all my ideas—there were 11 in all—and charted the pros and cons of each, the barriers to launching and sustaining. Some of them were pragmatic, but I wouldn’t have actually enjoyed them very much. Some seemed like a blast, but I didn’t know how I could fund them. So 3-Minute Egg was simply the winning idea—it seemed something I would enjoy doing that also had a strong business model.

mbg: Practically, how did you get from the idea to the execution of the project?

MP: I had two imperatives with 3-Minute Egg. To make it work, I knew I had to give it a local focus. I also knew I had to do this full-time. Everything else I’d ever done was on the side, in the hours when I wasn’t working, and 3-Minute Egg just couldn’t get the traction it needed by going that route. So once I knew what I was going to do, I asked the Walker to lay me off, so I could collect unemployment benefits. I bought a prosumer-level high-def video camera and some accessories—about $3,500 in all. I created a couple of pilot episodes even while I was at the Walker, and three weeks after leaving the museum, 3-Minute Egg became a daily video blog.

The Twin Cities have a lot of arts coverage: two dailies, two weeklies, a few glossy monthlies that cover the arts, some blogs and online magazines and a vibrant public radio station. I knew that to make 3-Minute Egg competitive, I had to make this a daily enterprise. I didn’t think everyone, or even most people, would tune in every day, but I wanted people to know that whenever they chose to tune in, there would be something fresh there. From September 2008 to June 2009, except for holidays, I produced five videos a week—more than 170 total in my first season. The investment paid off—except financially. But now that I’ve built a reputation, it makes the money easier to come by.

mbg: Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty stuff. What is your business model, in very specific terms?

MP: I have a four-tiered model for financial support: Donations, grants, sponsors and what I call “presenting partnerships” with established media. All four of those tiers have sprouted, but none have caught fire. I recently won a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and I have other grant applications out there. I recently raised nearly $3,000 in a fundraiser. A local business that caters to visual artists is sponsoring all my visual arts videos this season. I have a weekly half-hour program on Twin Cities Public Television, which I cull together from the daily videos I place online, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is running one of my videos every week. Now, none of this is happening on a level that I need to keep this going, but things are happening. I’ve only been in business for one year—everything takes time—and the big question is how long I can keep going and building this business before I need to bring in more income.

But my overhead is next to nothing. I do everything myself—shooting, editing, field production, promotion, fundraising, grant writing. I’ve had some help, especially in the fundraising and grant writing realms. But other than a graphic designer for my logo, I haven’t yet had to pay anyone. I use Wordpress for my core 3-Minute Egg site, and Facebook has been a tremendous boost for awareness and viewership, so I require very little personal tech support. I was disappointed that the NAJP Summit wrote off so-called one-man bands as unsustainable business models. I think the selection panel got hung up on that while losing sight of what a model is. Staffing isn’t a model—when I raise the kind of money that can support staff, I’ll hire staff. Meanwhile, compared to other projects, my expenses have been minuscule. I’m much more agile and able to shift direction when the currents change. At the risk of immodesty, there isn’t another project in the country like 3-Minute Egg, and I will soon be teaching a course here to help other journalists create their own versions of the Egg, in their own niches of expertise and experience.

mbg: What are your next goals for 3-Minute Egg?

MP: If I’m successful enough to build a sturdy financial foundation beneath 3-Minute Egg, I see myself contracting with reporters in other niches to train and equip them to do what I’m doing and produce work under the 3-Minute Egg banner—3-Minute Egg Style, 3-Minute Egg Food, 3-Minute Egg Sports. But my immediate concern is to strengthen the four legs of my business model to make the project truly sustainable. No one leg can sustain the project alone. Funding needs to grow in all four areas.

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.


Erin Curtis
Women & Their Work, Austin
Through November 18

By Eric Zimmerman

Erin Curtis, Backwaters (detail), 2009, Mixed media & acrylic on wallpaper, 14 x 56 inches (framed). Courtesy the artist and Women & Their Work.

Puritanical Modernist mantras will find no comfort in Erin Curtis’s current work. Modernist austerity has long been linked to our cultural trajectory and Curtis’s work is part of a long tradition of combating that ideology of austerity with ornament and decoration. Layering her canvases and installation objects with foliage, color, pattern and even a pile of sandy gravel, Curtis makes it her mission to question sober Modernist ideas about architecture and painting.

Throughout Curtis’s paintings, contradictions appear between the coolness of the architecture she depicts and the warmth of her patterning. These often brightly colored passages defeat any sense of pictorial illusion within the paintings, an effect that, on the surface, seems right in line with a Modernist desire to flatten the surface of a painting and lay bare its support. But Curtis flattens space ironically; ornament irreverently lays claim to the clean surfaces of the architecture it shares space with and consumes it with colorful swirls and flourishes.

The façade of a grey house expands into the physical space of the gallery, and a set of lawn chairs entitled Kaufmann House Pool Set (2009) shares space in front of the house with some potted ferns, a table and a flat, blue-tiled triangle representing the pool. Unfortunately, these spatial interventions never quite overcome the clunky architecture of the gallery. The installation elements aren’t plentiful or developed enough to allow us to project into the imaginary space of Curtis’s paintings where modernist architecture collides with stylized nature and then meets abstract painting. This active space, free of stringent standardization, where colors and forms are free to overlap and interact in sometimes-strange ways, is the place where questions about the illusory nature of place and the unavoidable presence of nature begin to be asked.

Erin Curtis, Installation view, Perspective Threshold, 2009.

A series of small collages rounds out this exhibition nicely. Hung on the wall inside of the house, The Memorabilia Collection (A-F) (2009) presents a sequence of skyscrapers being swallowed by massive waves and sinking beneath the surface of the ocean. These are playful and sinister images that do great things with scale, and slyly reveal much about Curtis’s attitude towards Modernist aesthetics. Sink or swim they seem to say. The cool remove of the photographic images works well in this instance, and the buildings read like artifacts. As with Curtis’s paintings, it is as though we have just stumbled through the imaginary brush to find these once mighty buildings, overgrown and sinking, their clean lines and imposing structures unable to overcome the nature of the world within which they exist.

Eric Zimmerman is an artist living and working in Austin.

Jo Baer, James Bishop, Suzan Frecon
Lawrence Markey, San Antonio
Closed October 16

By Wendy Atwell

Jo Baer, Untitled, 1962, Gouache and ink on paper, 5 x 5 inches. Courtesy Lawrence Markey, Inc.

Relics still draw the faithful to their temples. A relic’s power lies in its alleged link to the past and the sanctity bestowed upon it by faith’s mysticism.

Artworks by Jo Baer, James Bishop and Suzan Frecon, painters who have been associated with the Minimalist, French Support/Surface and Abstract Expressionist movements, respectively, possess an analogous power. At Lawrence Markey Gallery, a show of small scale, quiet works by these three artists reawakens formalism’s potency, rigor and thoughtfulness. This art’s power resides in its physical presence. Like relics, these subtle works on paper must be viewed in person.

Art lies between science and religion; it relies upon a system of knowledge yet it is fraught with allegiances and belief systems. Viewing these works feels like a scientific exercise that requires a visual dissection of artistic choices that, because of aura and scale, do not translate via photographic reproduction.

In small gouache and ink on paper pieces from 1962, Baer studies the act of rendering space. Bridges and tracks, in various orientations, are painted in light blue and black on regular notebook paper cut into 5 by 5 inch squares. Baer inks over the blue lines with a brilliant red, and she uses these lines a field in which to play with the concepts of two-dimensionality and perspective. The horizontal red lines reinforce the surface’s two-dimensionality, yet in Baer’s three images of suspension bridges, for example, the cables appear to extend out into space and then retreat away almost magically. Baer leaves breaks in the forms of the some of the bridges’ towers, an effect that allows the black lines of the cables to play between and through the spaces of the red lines, creating visual conundrums.

In three small paintings on light brown paper, Bishop draws geometrical forms with red pencil on white oil paint. These paintings, from the artist’s Tuscan Series, are undated but Markey suggests that the artist made them in the late 60s or early 70s. The paper’s surface is revealed slightly along the painting’s edges and shows through sometimes around the red line drawings, so that it becomes part of the image. These works, exercises in restraint and discipline, are also evocative; Bishop’s subtle traces fade into the painting’s surface like the memory of the red-ochre drawing under a fresco’s surface.

In comparison to the very controlled spaces of Baer and Bishop, Frecon’s watercolors, painted on “found” paper, appear lush. Yet Frecon, too, remains engaged in a controlled study, in her case, of color. The paper surface holds the paint as if it were a glass slide containing a smear of specimen. In these five long rectangular pieces, all from 2008, the color’s intensity belies its medium. The paintings crave light so that they may absorb it and reveal the colors’ depth. In Forbidden Purple Enclosure, the paint is so dark the color nearly loses itself to its darkness, yet its sumptuousness holds the viewer there to gaze at the paint’s intensity upon the iridescent, subtly glittering Japanese handmade paper.

In comparison with contemporary art’s incorporation of waste and debris, this show allows for a contemplative, peaceful break. Formalism and abstraction remain a foundational touchstone, the God-head from which it all came.

Wendy Atwell received her M.A. in Art History and Criticism from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

...mbg recommends

the East Austin sunset at 15 mph

By Claire Ruud

Rachel Stuart, East Austin Sunset at 15 mph, 2009. Courtesy the artist.

In 1953, Robert Rauschenberg told John Cage to drive his Model A as straight as he possibly could over about twenty feet of typewriter paper to create Automobile Tire Print. Mounted on the wall, the piece creates a thick horizon line in black house paint. Recently, Rachel Stewart has been creating landscapes of her own using tire prints. But Stewart’s tires are those of her second-hand bike and her house paints come in pastels. The landscapes she creates by riding her bike repeatedly over canvases are soft and blurry, more like Monets than the stark black print of Cage’s car tire. Last weekend at Co-Lab, Stewart removed the canvas from the work completely and created a temporary piece on the floor of the gallery, East Austin Sunset at 15 mph. It’s too late to catch this installation, but beginning November 14 during the 2009 East Austin Studio Tour, the gallery is hosting a packed schedule of events, as well as Dominique Vyborny and Jake Lenahan’s installation The Southern Porch.

Between now and then, ...might be good's top 5 exhibitions opening in Austin & San Antonio over the next two weeks are:

Mel Bochner
Lawrence Markey Gallery
311 Sixth Street, San Antonio
Opening October 23

This exhibition of works on paper by Mel Bochner focuses on the artist's recent language-based Thesaurus and Blah, Blah, Blah series. Bochner is a familiar "face" in Texas, now that he's created a site-specific installation for the Cowboys' new stadium. Win! Vanquish! Conquor! Clobber!...

Teresita Fernández
Blanton Museum
MLK and Congress, Austin
Opening November 1

Fernández took our breath away with Stacked Waters, her aquamarine transformation of the Blanton's atrium. This survey of the artist's work will inclue five recent large-scale sculptures, a series of six wall works and a new, monumental drawing made on site. For more on Fernandez, see our interview with the artist back in issue #115.

Okay Mountain
E Cesar Chavez and Navasota, Austin and...

Noriko Ambe
Lora Reynolds Gallery
360 Nueces, Austin
Both opening November 7

Two shows about books. At Okay Mountain, booksmart is a group show investigating the book as an intellectual structure. At Lora Reynolds, Noriko Ambe shows a series of her carved artist book pieces. Long live print!

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Teresita Fernández
The Blanton Museum of Art
Opening November 1

Fernández took our breath away with Stacked Waters, her aquamarine transformation of the Blanton's atrium. This survey of the artist's work will include five recent large-scale sculptures, a series of six wall works and a new, monumental drawing made on site. For more on Fernandez, see our interview with the artist back in issue #115.

Okay Mountain
Opening November 7

A show investigating the book as an intellectual structure. Hot. Work by Joshua Callaghan, Gareth Long, Neva Elliott, Heman Chong, Anthony Romero, William Hundley, and Erick Michaud.

Noriko Ambe
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Opening November 7

Ambe will show a series of her carved artist book pieces; after obtaining books made by fellow artists, she carves them into landscape-like forms.

Katie Maratta & Owen McAuley
D Berman Gallery
Opening October 29

I'm particularly excited about Owen McAuley's luminescent oil-on-linen paintings depicting places somewhere between here and nowhere.

Two Halloween-themed Shows
Co-Lab & Domy Books
When else? October 31

At Co-Lab, Michael Ableman shows creepy paintings from "7pm till the end of the world." Meanwhile, Domy's got its annual Monster Show going on 7-9pm.

Austin Closings

Tell me everything, as you remember it.
Creative Research Laboratory
Through November 7

If Bas Jan Ader's story is any indication, (in 1975 the artist set out in the smallest sailboat ever to cross the Atlantic; later his boat turned up, but he never did,) this exhibition will be full of the melancholy of loneliness, disappearance and displacement. In addition to Bas Jan Ader, the show includes work by Myranda Bair, Susan Chen, Kate Gilmore, Justin Goldwater, David Horvitz, John William Keedy, Jason Bailer Losh, John Mata, Stephanie McMahon. A screening of Here Is Always Somewhere Else, a documentary about the life and work of Ader, will take place on Thursday October 29 from 7 to 9 pm.

Sterling Allen
Jessica Halonen
Art Palace
Closing October 24

Tomorrow is your last chance to see Sterling Allen in the main gallery Jessica Halonen in the project room. You are going to kick yourself if you don't go see it.

Dylan Reece
MASS Gallery
Closing November 7

Reece has a great eye for design. However, I felt like I could smell the weed when I rolled into the joint. When Dave Bryant and Nathan Green stashed a big bag of fake leaves in the corner of their installation at MASS last time, that was funny. This is a bit too much.

Jim Drain
The Blanton Museum of Art
Closing November 1

Drain's I Will Show You The Joy-Woe Man is, according to Dan Boehl, an interesting experiment with disappointing results. Read Boehl's review in issue #126.

Devin Flynn
Okay Mountain
Closing October 31

Devin Flynn's show at Okay Mountain appears to be an experiment in translating his work from the commercial world (his cartoon "Y'all So Stupid" is on adultswim) into the visual art world. If his buddy Gary Panter, with whom he plays in the band Devin and Gary, can do it, why can't he?

Contemporary Culture
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Closing October 31

The work in this show is definitely worth seeing. But in our last issue, Dan Boehl wondered whether it really reflects "contemporary culture."

San Antonio Openings

Mel Bochner
Lawrence Markey Gallery
Opening October 23

This exhibition of works on paper by Mel Bochner focuses on the artist's recent language- based Thesaurus and Blah, Blah, Blah series. Bochner is a familiar "face" in Texas, now that he's created a site-specific installation for the Cowboys' new stadium. Win! Vanquish! Conquor! Clobber!...

Gary Sweeney
Sala Diaz
Opening November 6

Long-time San Antonio artist Gary Sweeney says, "art is the stored honey of the human soul." Come get some honey.

San Antonio on View

Jeffrey Wisniewski
Through January 3

Battle of the Budda?! In Wisniewski's animation, a good and evil Budda duke it out. Sounds like Urban Outfitters might be interested in adapting this into a t-shirt. The exhibition also includes four satirical tableaux of iconic American imagery.

San Antonio Closings

Unit B Gallery
Closing November 7

Work by D. Denenge Akpem, odie rynell cash, Thando Mama and Ayanna Jolivet McCloud explores African and African American idenitity. Ben Judson covered the show on Glasstire here.

Houston Opening

Anna Krachey, Jessica Mallios & Adam Schreiber
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Opening November 6

Three shining stars from Austin, photographers Anna Krachey, Jessica Mallios and Adam Schreiber, take the CAMH by storm. We saw their work here recently in I am not so different, curated by Rachel Cook at Art Palace, and reviewed by Sean Ripple in issue #125. Austin photographer Barry Stone left an extremely insightful comment about their work at the bottom of the review: "think about their photographs in terms of a tendency toward or away from narrative."

Announcements: events

Austin Events

Adelina Anthony: Mastering Sex and Tortillas
Southwestern University
October 25, 7 pm

Want to know why tortilleria is the Spanish slang for lesbian? Look no further, Adelina Anthony’s solo show Mastering Sex and Tortillas is for you. Seriously, though, Anthony is an acclaimed performance artist and the 45 minute drive out to Georgetown will be well worth it.

Karin Higa
Blanton Museum, Smith Building
October 27, 5 - 6 pm

Word on the street is curator Karin Higa may be joined by artist Wangechi Mutu, who is in town for a lecture the following day. The event description says Higa will speak on "Modernism at the Margins."

Wangechi Mutu
UT Austin, Art 1.102
October 28, 5 - 7 pm

Wangechi Mutu, a Kenyan-born artist based in New York, needs little introduction. This artist talk is not to be missed.

Groundbreaking Ceremony
October 28, 2:30 pm

Arthouse is officially closed for renovations until Fall 2010. This coming Wednesday, take a late lunch break to attend their groundbreaking ceremony inaugurating the construction that will add three galleries, two studios, a screening room, and a rooftop space. This is a really big deal and it's exciting, so come out and represent.

Architecture and Desire
Women & Their Work
November 5, 7 pm

Artist Erin Curtis speaks with Austin-based architects and designers about the ways that architecture reflects how we want to live in the world.

San Antonio Events

Screening: Chomskian Abstract 2008
Sala Diaz
October 28, 8:30pm

Artist Cornelia Parker had read Noam Chomsky on the apocalypse, so she cold called him and requested an interview with him regarding "the unfolding environmental disaster threatening our world...this other, slower, but equally devastating apocalypse." He agreed, Sala Diaz will screen the resulting video on Wednesday October 28 at 8:30pm. Parker wrote a piece on the project for the Guardian here.

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