MBG Issue #141: Initially Skeptical

Issue # 141

Initially Skeptical

February 12, 2010

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Luisa Lambri, Untitled (Menil House #01), 2002, Laser chrome print, 47.25 x 56.75 inches. Collection of Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth.

from the editor

First of all, definitely go see Desire at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. The last show in Austin that stirred up so much conversation around the office at Fluent~Collaborative might have been Geometry of Hope, way back in 2007. I review Desire in this issue.

On a completely different front, quite a bit of institutional news has popped up in the Austin art world over the past two weeks. Perhaps 2010 will be a year of fresh starts following the house-cleaning provoked by the recession.

The Visual Arts Center at UT Austin finished its remodel, and the galleries are well appointed. Eric Zimmerman is right: this could be a game-changer for the university's art department and for the city at large. The Center won't begin programming in earnest until the fall, but artist David Ellis will be in residence there later this spring.

Meanwhile, The Blanton Museum of Art announced a major staff reorganization. Jeanne Claire van Ryzin laid out the details nicely on her blog. Significantly, the museum will eventually be looking for a new curator in modern and contemporary art to fill a vacancy created by the promotion of Annette DeMio Carlozzi to the position of Deputy Director for Art and Programs. Between Ned Rifkin, Carlozzi and this future curator, the center of power at the Blanton seems to be consolidating in the modern and contemporary court.

Finally, Arthouse, which is also in the midst of a major remodeling project, has begun looking for a Curator of Public Programs. Think about what Aimee Chang has done for the Blanton since her recent arrival, and you'll have some idea how much impact this could have on the depth and breadth of Arthouse's programming.

We at Fluent~Collaborative do not have a building project or major staff changes to report. However, I do want to mention that we're opening testsite back up beginning Sunday, March 7, for an exhibition of new work by photographer Elizabeth Chiles. Before then, ...might be good will grace your in-boxes again with, among other things, reviews of Nothing to See Here at CTRL Gallery in Houston and Luke Savisky's new installation at Austin Museum of Art.

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.


The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin

Through April 25, 2010

By Claire Ruud

Isabell Heimerdinger, Love Film, 2004, 16 mm color film loop, optical sound, English subtitles, 10 minutes, Actors: Bibiana Beglau, Thomas Huber. Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

In 2007 when Connie Butler chose Martha Rosler’s collage of naked Playboy models as the cover of the WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution catalogue, New York Times critic Holland Cotter reproached the choice as “just another sex-sells pitch.” Online, readers and viewers debated the appropriateness of the cover. Finally, art historian Richard Meyer joined the fray with an Artforum article discussing the historical context of the collage’s production and concluding that “sexuality, politics, and commerce interact unevenly and to unpredictable effect … [within] the dialogue between art and the feminist revolution.” The controversy over the WACK! cover speaks to an ongoing conversation about the representation of sexual desire and pleasure within feminist art during the 1970s.

Marilyn Minter, Crystal Swallow, 2006.

It’s this legacy upon which Desire, an exhibition of work by contemporary artists curated by Annette Carlozzi at the Blanton Museum, builds. From Glenn Ligon’s Lest We Forget (1998), a series of placards dedicated to sightings of beautiful strangers, to Danica Phelps’s Integrating Sex Into Everyday Life (2003), endless pages documenting the artist’s daily life with her girlfriend, the work in the exhibition builds a loose arc through three stages of interpersonal desire: longing, consummation and sustained partnership. Much of the work is outstanding, with a particularly strong showing in the medium of film and video. Kalup Linzy’s Lollipop (2006), a video of the artist and Shaun Leonardo lip-synching to the 1958 song of the same title, is flirty and fun, but also points to the censorship of representations of certain types of desire. (When it was first released by the interracial duo Ronald and Ruby, the song was reviled by mainstream culture.) Isaac Julien’s Long Road to Mazatlán (1999), a film chronicling a love affair between two cowboys, though created for a three-channel installation, even in single-channel is a poignant pre-Brokeback Mountain engagement with the homoerotics of the Wild West. In the case of both these works and others such as Eve Sussman’s The Kiss (2006) and Alejandro Cesarco’s Marguerite Duras’ India Song (2006), the seduction of the cinematic image creates a visual counterpoint to the exhibition’s conceptual engagement with desire.

Desire, as addressed in Carlozzi’s exhibition, is mostly about sex. This is not because most of the work is about sex. It is because the most sexually explicit works in the exhibition—Isabell Heimerdinger’s 16mm film of two actors engaged in a sex scene and Laurel Nakadate’s provocative photographs of herself smudged with the fingerprints of anonymous men are among the most obvious examples—completely overwhelm quieter pieces that might allow for a more promiscuous understanding of desire. Luisa Lambri’s steamy photograph of Dominique de Menil’s garden, seen through a back door, implies, but doesn’t depend on, human presence. Chris Doyle’s quirky, frenetic claymation is corporeal, even phallic, but its abstract nature leaves room for diverse projections of desire. However, within the context of the other work in the exhibition, even these images begin to look like their subject is sex.

The coupling narrative that Carlozzi uses to structure the exhibition (longing leads to consummation, and consummation leads to daily life together) also constrains the more diffuse conception of desire embodied by many of the works in the show. Within the exhibition’s larger narrative, works that offer alternatives to this romantic relational arc become merely marginalia. For example, gay male cruising culture—a culture that could offer an alternative structure of desire—is subsumed within the romantic progression: Ligon’s Lest We Forget as longing and Miguel Angel Rojas’s peep-hole sized photographs of men in bathrooms as consummation. Read through Desire’s coupling narrative, these and other alternative or ambiguous works become naturalized within its story or, equally disappointingly, become its footnotes.

The small, paperback exhibition catalogue, however, does what the exhibition itself fails to do. Most of its images are simply too small and too static to represent the work in the show, so it reads most successfully as an intimate, handheld guide to live-viewing. Carlozzi invited a different writer to compose a companion piece for each of the works in the exhibition, and text and image appear side by side on adjacent pages. The most effective texts are free-wheeling creative pieces that relate to the work at hand obliquely, dreamily and unexpectedly. Memorable among these are art historian Andy Campbell’s love letter to Kalup Linzy paired with Linzy’s video, curator Risa Puleo’s Sapphic poem (Sapphic in the sense of its use of lacunae) paired with Tracy Emin’s white neon You Should Have Loved ME (2008) and Carlozzi’s own fantasy about the actors in Isabell Heimerdinger’s Love Film (2004). The few drier, more traditionally art historical texts feel out of place within this arrangement. But overall, the format allows the multifaceted nature of desire to circulate more freely within and among the texts and artworks. Had the writer’s compositions appeared as wall text in the galleries, the exhibition would have born out a broader conception of desire.

Desire is ambitious in concept, ultimately, too ambitious in its scope for its scale. Think of the number of words—philosophical, psychoanalytic, novelistic, poetic—that have been spilled over desire. Even within the narrower “sexual desire” or “romantic desire” theme that would more appropriately describe the exhibition’s content, so much is left invisible. Unfortunately, what is least visible within the exhibition is often what is least visible within our larger culture. Interracial desires. Masochistic desires. Sadistic desires. Fetishistic desires. Polyamorous desires. Lesbian desires. Trans desires. Self desires. Waning desires. By and large within popular representation, desire is assumed to be about sex, sex is assumed to be about heterosexuals, and heterosexuals are assumed to couple. (Think Hollywood romance.) In order to significantly trouble these assumptions, Desire would have to work a whole lot harder.

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.

Margarita Cabrera
Box 13 Artspace, Houston
Through February 13, 2010

By Michael Bise

Margarita Cabrera, Space In Between, 2010, Project at Box 13, Houston. Courtesy the artist.

I was initially skeptical of Margarita Cabrera’s current installation Space in Between at Houston’s Box 13 Artspace. Cabrera has turned the gallery space into a sewing workshop and hired Mexican immigrants living in Texas (and recommended through The Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center) as her employees. The workshop will manufacture the soft sculptures of indigenous Southwestern plants sewn from border patrol uniforms for which Cabrera has become known. The sculptures will be included in the group exhibition In Lieu of Unity at Ballroom Marfa in March.

I have always thought Cabrera’s sculptures, which put a Pop sensibility to work around contemporary social issues, visually striking. But, Cabrera’s workshop, by foregrounding the notion of paid labor demands that much of the criticism of the project rest not on aesthetic or conceptual ground, but on labor practices and the commodity value associated with the production of art objects. Cabrera is not alone in her exploration of labor and commodity value within the system of art production. Unfortunately, art often replicates, within its own discourse, the same systems of class domination it seeks to critique. I am opposed to the work of Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, whose projects have included paying drug-addicted Brazilian prostitutes in drugs to have lines tattooed across their backs, spraying Iraqi immigrants with polyurethane foam then letting it harden and paying Mexican laborers $65 to cut out a wall from floor to ceiling and hold it at a sixty degree angle for four hours a day five days in a row. In spite of his claim that the work is a criticism of the exploitation of marginalized labor, Sierra engages in the same exploitation, calls it art and reaps the many benefits of so designating it.

Cabrera’s workshop at Box 13 operates from a more personal perspective. Instead of simply highlighting global issues, Cabrera asks what she can do within her own practice as an artist to help individuals who have suffered at the hands of the economic inequities between the United States and Mexico. While her work addresses the flaws of capitalism as an ideology, the mechanics of her practice don’t operate on the idea of a global revolution, but on the notion of steady, principled reform from within the system.
Cabrera’s assistants are not Sierra’s anonymous Mexican, Brazilian or Iraqi laborers, but are people with names: Esmeralda Perez, Teresa Sanchez, Doris Lindo, Nora Ovieda, Carlos Calles, Abanil Miguel DeLuna and Maria Lopez. Each assistant contributes to the project by sewing an image of a narrative from his or her own life experience into the fabric of the uniforms that Cabrera then assembles into sculptures. Because of their considerable contribution to the project, Cabrera refers to these workers not as assistants but as co-authors. Their payment in based not on what they would receive sewing in a factory sweatshop but on what Cabrera says she would pay any studio assistant. In addition to their hourly wage, they also participate in profit sharing from sales of the works. According to Cabrera, an effort was also made to assign each of the workers a tax identification number, which, should immigration amnesty be passed into law, would put them one step closer to citizenship. Cabrera’s work succeeds where most social art projects fail by going beyond a critique of the system and offering her workers solutions to unemployment, cultural anonymity and alienation in the form of payment, artistic agency and the possibility of national citizenship.

Margarita CabreraPeludita 1, 2007.

Cabrera’s project at Box 13 is, however, not entirely unproblematic. Artists benefit financially and socially not only from the products they make, but also from the conceptual framework surrounding those products. Long after a project has ended, the sculptures have been sold and the assistants have been paid, Cabrera continues to benefit from the authenticity accrued to her work by the people she has hired. The value of this authenticity manifests in the form of inclusion in museum and gallery exhibitions, admission to residencies and employment in teaching positions. From this perspective, Cabrera’s designation of her employees as co-authors is problematic. Ultimately, Cabrera’s sculptures enter into the cultural economy of the art world as Margarita Cabrera works. But in the end, Cabrera’s practice takes active part in the political fight to end labor oppression without sacrificing aesthetic power and stands as an admirable example to artists who still believe in art and liberal democracy.

Michael Bise is an artist living and working in Houston.

Katie Pell
Sala Diaz, San Antonio
Through February 14, 2010

By Wendy Atwell

Katie Pell, Intractable Chatter, 2010, Video still of installation. Courtesy the artist and Sala Diaz.

Imagine wading through the New Jersey Pine Barrens or the Florida Everglades, up to your neck in swampy water, making your way through a thriving yet uninhabitable ecosystem overflowing with reptiles, sharp-edged grasses, and carnivorous plants. Katie Pell evokes this experience in Intractable Chatter, an installation that is nearly impassable both physically and mentally.

In a radical reorientation of a visual space normally assigned to viewing works on paper, Pell literally takes the drawing off the wall in her current exhibition at Sala Diaz. In the gallery’s first room, roughly 12 by 13 feet, Pell creates an entire second floor 5 feet above the existing floor. At the entrance, viewers pass through a head-and-neck-shaped cutout mounted flush with the second floor. Once inside, an awkwardly narrow track directs viewers through the space.

Pell mounts her vast charcoal-on-paper drawing upon this second, stage-like floor. Moving through this space feels like the opposite of decapitation; the head lives amidst the all-over black-and-white landscape, while the body disappears beneath Pell’s constructed floor. Only one small prop, in the shape of a bush with her drawing on it, stands perpendicular. Most of the drawing’s imagery remains obscure because of the strange perspective. Details can mainly be gleamed by looking directly up at 72 one foot square mirrored tiles mounted in a grid on the ceiling.

The track continues straight ahead, then U-turns to the left, and leads out a doorway covered with another cutout board. In this second, empty room, a monitor plays footage of viewers’ heads passing through the diorama. Pell records the viewer’s navigation via a camera set inside the wall to the right of the second doorway.

The drawing depicts a fascinating array of swamp-inspired flora. There is absolutely no open space in Pell’s drawing, just densely packed, long sweeping lines comprising grass and other plants. The intensity is relieved just slightly by the loops that form exotic hybrids of pitcher plants and irises. A few rats, frogs, snakes and a bobcat peek out from the thick flora. Expansive arcs and sweeps of bushy grass lean away from the track, as if to imply the viewer’s passage through the composition. Pell’s extensive drawing is a champion feat, much like that of traversing through the swamp.

Pell alters the corporeal openness of the exhibition space, normally taken for granted, by isolating the viewer’s “eye and mind.” This trapped feeling exaggerates the separateness we feel when we are alone in our own heads. Passing through the exhibition, while being monitored, exacerbates the caged absorption of the mind and references the way that, in cyberspace, this absorption keeps the divisions between mind and body dangerously invisible.

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

project space

Jill Foley

By Alison Hearst

Jill Foley’s The Mountain is an ongoing project that arose out of the artist’s investigation of her own psyche and the human experience. Taking shape for its third time at Dallas’ Conduit Gallery in October 2009, The Mountain was a 500 square foot, cavernous installation packed with fabric creatures and home to occasional performative elements. Commencing with her MFA thesis exhibition and continually evolving, The Mountain has become increasingly personal for Foley; for her, the ever-multiplying knitted creatures each carry the weight of personal memory. In January, Alison Hearst had the opportunity to sit down with Foley to discuss the project.

...might be good [mbg]: In this installation, you have constructed a massive cave-like structure made almost entirely from cardboard. The materials and the abstracted home-like environment remind me of Kurt Schwitters' constructivist installation, The Merzbau (1923), which he also recreated on separate occasions and in different locations. Stocked full of items—what he called "spoils and relics"—that were situated within nooks and crannies, The Merzbau related to memory and also, in a sense, formed an abstract autobiography of the artist. Was Schwitters’ work and/or these themes points of departure for The Mountain?

Jill Foley [JF]: I have to say they were not, but Schwitters is an artist that I relate closely with. I would have to study his work and his life more closely to more fully understand him and what he was trying to do. One aspect of his work that really excites me is the time he invested in his installations. My understanding is that he spent years on them, which ideally is what I want for The Mountain. I also identify with the ritual I recognize in the essence of his object making.

mbg: Can you explain the roles the puppets and objects play in your work? Like Schwitters, do you also consider the objects in your installation as relics?

JF: The puppets and objects came before the actual structure of the mountain and were really the driving force behind its development. The cardboard structure of The Mountain unifies the work. I hesitate to call the objects within the space relics. In my mind, a relic object is created ultimately through the display. The objects I make embody my own projections of being, which gives them a sort of imaginary power like a relic, but I choose not to formalize them with pedestals and cases. In fact, many of the fabric creatures lay around the installation in heaps, like dolls on a child’s bed.

mbg: The Mountain's structure and contents are also reminiscent of tourist attractions of a bygone era, such as Hole in the Rock in Moab, Utah, which is a former home-turned-museum (of course, using the term "museum" loosely here). As with Hole in the Rock, your piece seems to offer a voyeuristic glimpse into your surroundings, but also an edited, idealized and nostalgic vista of home and shelter. How do these themes relate to the piece?

JF: I think voyeurism is an essential part of experiencing the installation. I like the idea of creating a personal space that people accidentally happen upon, or intrude into. I think this does a number of things. First, I think it makes the subject of interest the type of person that would create such a space rather than the structure or objects themselves. Secondly, I think the feeling of intruding is important to the viewing experience in this installation because it makes the work unsafe. Throughout the course of this last installation, there were a few different situations in which people experienced the space. During the opening and some of the happenings, it was very clear to people that they were meant to come into the work. These instances seemed more comfortable for viewers because the space felt public. During regular gallery hours I spent a great deal of time in the space and found that people were very hesitant to come in when they were alone. It was perhaps the same feeling one would have wondering into a stranger’s home uninvited.

mbg: While many associations come to mind, interestingly enough, the experience of being in the "white cube" of a gallery is completely elusive when inside The Mountain. Was transforming the institutional context of a gallery into a more comforting, domestic setting a chief interest of yours, or did this result arise organically?

JF: Escape is a major theme in this work. I wanted to create a space that felt like home as well as a retreat. I feel that in much of my work I am trying to escape from the art world while being part of it, so it seems appropriate to have a retreat within a gallery. I wanted the feeling of the space to be natural, domestic and inviting, so it was important to visually create a sense of warmth with the amber interior and soft lights.

mbg: On various Thursday evenings, you staged performances and an open-mic poetry slam in The Mountain. Can you explain how performance and viewer participation relate to the work, and how such events alter its meaning and purpose?

JF: The gatherings were a way to more fully realize myself within the work. The purpose of The Mountain as a project is to find ways to more fully realize the idea of a consciousness or being in a physical way. Thought is activity and perhaps a way to get closer to that action in this work is to carry out some of those thoughts through different activities. The essence of these gatherings, the fabric creatures, objects and the mountain structure itself are really the same. The gatherings just allow people to engage with the work in a more personal and direct way and become part of it. I think this aspect of the work adds to rather than alters the essence of The Mountain.

Alison Hearst is the Curatorial Research Assistant at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and a co-founder of Subtext Projects.

...mbg recommends

Top Five

Okay Mountain, Big Strange Mystery, 2010, Installation view. Courtesy the artists and Texas State University Gallery.

Top five exhibitions not to be missed around Austin and San Antonio right now, in no particular order:

Travis Kent
SOFA Gallery
301 E 33rd St. #7, Austin (by appointment)
Through February 21

Blanton Museum of Art
200 E MLK Jr. Blvd., Austin
Through April 25

Okay Mountain: Big Strange Mystery
Texas State University Gallery
Texas State University, San Marcos (see site for directions)
Through February 26

Alejandro Cesarco
445 N Main Ave., San Antonio
Through May 2

Fred Sandback
Lawrence Markey Gallery
311 6th St., San Antonio (by appointment)
Through March 5

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Denny McCoy
D Berman Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 11, 6–8 pm

Release features Denny McCoy as he continues his exploration of visual perception and the emotional and physical effects of color and spatial relationships. Classical guitar performance by Stever Kostelnik and gallery talk with Denny McCoy on Saturday, February 20, 1pm.

Luke Savisky
Austin Musuem of Art
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 13, 10am-6pm

AMOA's New Works exhibition series introduces fresh contemporary art by innovative Austin artists. The upcoming show will feature installation artist, Luke Savisky, who uses light and projection to explores ideas of perception, exposure, surveillance, and perspective. Click here for a video of a previous installation in downtown Austin.

Kendra Kinsey
Opening Reception + Performance: Sunday, February 14, 7-11pm

"Oh, the craziness of love. Oh, the love of craziness." Kendra Kinsey explores the theme of love in a display of experiments and oddities of sorts in her newest installation, The Mellow Drama of the Love K/nots. (Musical Act/Performance, The Mellow Drama of the Love Knots with with Clare Scallon and Linky Dickson.)

Installation 6: Video
Okay Mountain
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 20

Launched in 2003, Scion Installation is a revolutionary art tour affirming the brand's ongoing commitment to support independent artistic expression. Installation 6: Video challenged 10 artists to create non-narrative video installations that will transform five unique exhibitions.

Hillary Andujar
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 25, 7-11pm

Influenced by funeral rites of other cultures, Hillary Andujar's video installation, Fish Funeral, documents the non-traditional funerals of her two late betta fish, Jagger and Bowie.

Austin on View

Blanton Museum of Art
Through April 25

See Claire Ruud's review in this issue.

Ariele Baragona
Birdhouse Gallery

Ariele Baragona's Ghost/Life is all completed on film either shot with a Mamiya 7II, a Hasselblad, or a Canonet. Polaroid offers insight to the immediate, as well as the slower exercise of deconstruction in relief based sculpture and collage work.

Jim Torok
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Through March 13

Clowns and Portraits is Jim Torok's newest solo show at Lora Reynolds. Known for his oil on panel portraiture, the artist continues to play with the ideas of portrait, figuration, and abstraction. This time, clowns included.

Sergio Rodriguez
Mexican American Cultural Center
Through March 27

"I would like my work to be collectively sensed -- not read, not understood, but sensed, felt --in short, experienced." Color, texture, and spirtuality come together in Sergio Rodriguez's abstract, yet figurative, oil paintings.

Michael Mogavero
Pump Project Art Complex
Through February 20, 2010

Interludes presents works from 2006-2009 by University of Texas Associate Professor Michael Mogavero. Mogavero’s solo exhibitions have been held at the Holly Soloman, Ruth Siegel & Oscarson Siegeltuch Galleries in New York, Galerie Six Freidrich in Munich, Germany, and Galerie Corinne Hummel in Basel, Switzerland. Group exhibitions include “200 years of Drawing” (a survey of drawing in the last two centuries) at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and “Back to the USA” (a survey exhibition of contemporary American art which traveled throughout Europe). His work has been written about in numerous international art publications such as Art in America, Artforum, ArtNews and Arts Magazine.

Austin Closings

Kia Neill
Women & Their Work
Through February 27

In Terrain, Kia Neill creates a fantastical environment the viewer walks through, the ground on which the viewer stands being the more of the focus than in previous installations. Handmade out of conventional materials, the artist blurs the line between the reality she draws her inspiration from and the reality she crafts. See Allison Myer's review in issue #140.

Dallas Openings

Al Souza
Conduit Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 20, 5:30-8:30 PM

Al Souza will be having a show at Conduit Gallery in Dallas, TX. Read a review of one of Souza's past shows here to learn more about his work.

Wayne White
Marty Walker Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 20, 6-8 PM

Wayne White's wide-ranging technical palette-equal parts designer, sculptor, painter, and draftsman are zealously displayed as he coaxes text to take on new forms, letters twisting, folding, bending and stacking, always more thoughtfully rendered than the painting reproductions they inhabit; and, even further emphasizing their objectness as sculptural manifestations, they smack viewers with candy colored shapes and sly remarks (All That Fake Laughin’ for Nothin’), placing them squarely within the folksy cartoon world of the artist’s mind.

Dallas on View

James Gilbert
Dallas Center for Contemporary Art
On view through April 18, 2010

In a splashy, funky glow of Pepto Bismol pink and construction orange, James Gilbert’s oversized installation of an airplane fuselage in multiple parts overpowering teetering small boats, engage the viewer in his unsettling analysis of travel safety and security. The multi-media sculpture, audio and video expose Gilbert’s response to today’s “endless safety precautions and legislation in our lives that practically remove the need for common sense,” where privacy is compromised with our every move posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Fort Worth Openings

Modern Ruin
Washington Mutual Bldg @ 5030 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75206
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 20, 8-11pm

What happens when a brand-name corporation erects a million-dollar building then decides to use it? Modern Ruin is a two-day exhibition organized by Christina Rees and Thomas Feulmer. The only use this building will ever see is given to 15 artists who will use the space itself as inspiration for on-site work before the building is ultimately destroyed.

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Opening February 21, 2010

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde is a multicultural, multimedia artist who creates narratives in which autobiography, history and fiction are intertwined. The artist was born in Lima, Peru; received his BFA in Puebla, Mexico; attended film school in Mexico City; and currently lives in Berlin, Germany. Having these different cultural viewpoints has informed his perspective on how individuality is created in a global society. His experimental videos and installations explore the notion of identity and its evolution through the use of social parables.

Houston Openings

Ruptures and Continuities: Photography Made after 1960 from the Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Opening February 21, 2010

As part of the FotoFest 2010 Biennial, nearly 200 photographs from the MFAH collection examine the course of post-1960 photography across the globe.

Houston on View

Barkley Hendricks
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through April 18, 2010

Countless contemporary artists count Barkley Hendricks as an important influence. This show received tons of coverage when it started out at the Studio Museum in Harlem and again when it went to Los Angeles (well, Santa Monica). A must-see.

Dana Frankfort
Inman Gallery
Through March 6

Dana Frankfort's show of word paintings on big canvases got rave reviews from the Houston Chronicle and artforum.com.

Maurizio Cattelan
Menil Collection
Opens February 12, 2010

Contemporary Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is known for his witty embrace of semantic shifts that result from imaginative plays with materials, objects, and actions. In his work, contradictions in the space between what the artist describes as softness and perversity wage a sarcastic critique on political power structures, from notions of nationalism or the authorities of organized religion to the conceit of the museum and art history. from the press release

Odili Donald Odita
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through May 2, 2010

Odili Donald Odita has created a site-specific environment created from a new body of paintings that echo the unique architectural features of the CAMH's lower gallery space, where it is installed. Holland Cotter has said that Odita's colorful, hard-edged paintings "already look like classics."

Houston Closings

Noriko Ambe, Gustavo Bonevardi, Marta Chilindron & Curtis Gannon
Sicardi Gallery
Through February 20

Work by Noriko Ambe, Gustavo Bonevardi, Marta Chilindron and Curtis Gannon.

San Antonio Openings

David Shelton Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 13, 6-8:30 pm

Foretopia, featuring new works by Judith Cottrell, Sara Frantz, Jayne Lawrence, and Vincent Valdez. The title is derived from the artists' thoughtful explorations and perceptive expressions of social, political, and cultural issues; sexuality; nature; fantasy, and everyday reality.

John Smith
Sala Diaz
Opening Reception: Friday, February 26, 7-12pm

 I'm lying, I promise is the title of British film and video artist John Smith's solo exhibition at Sala Diaz. The show will be screening 3 different programs of the filmmaker's work (running time for each approx. 91 min.). Click here for more information about viewing.

San Antonio on View

Alejandro Cesarco
Through May 2

See Claire Ruud's review in issue #140.

Texas Exhibition

Felix Gonzales-Torres
Through December 31

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Artpace presents the first-ever U.S. survey of 95.1 Artpace alum Felix Gonzalez-Torres' billboards in a yearlong, state-wide exhibition of 13 seminal works sited in Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio. Major underwriting for this special exhibition is provided by the Linda Pace Foundation, with generous in-kind support from Clear Channel Outdoor.

Announcements: events

Austin Events

Film Screening
The Blanton Museum Auditorium
February 14, 2010 - February 28, 2010
Admission: $3 members, UT students, faculty, & staff; $5 non-members

In conjunction with Desire, The Blanton and Austin Film Society will be screening three films over the coming month. Like the works in the exhibition, these films capture different aspects of desire from the comedic to the heartbreaking.

February 14, 2010
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Women on The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988
Written, produced, and directed by Pedro Almodovar (Spain)

February 21, 2010
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

She’s Gotta Have It, 1986
Written, produced, directed, and edited by Spike Lee (USA)

February 28, 2010
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Happy Together, 1997
Written and directed by Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong)

Film Screening
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown
Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

This upcoming Sunday at 1 PM, The Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival presents Brunch-Time Booya! with Rebecca Havemeyer at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. French filmmaker François Ozon's Criminal Lovers will be screened.

For more information about Criminal Lovers, check out it's IMDb page or watch the trailer.

Film Screening
Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
February 17, 2010 and February 21, 2010
Admission: $8.50 non-Members; $7.50 AIGA members, AMOA members, and UT Students. Ticket includes free admission to AMOA's exhibition American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print.

ART & COPY is a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration. Directed by Doug Pray (SURFWISE, SCRATCH, HYPE!), it reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time — people who've profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry.

Presented by AIGA Austin and AMOA. Purchase tickets here

For more information about the film, visit the official site


February 17, 2010 at 7 PM
February 21, 2010 at 4 PM

Both screenings will take place at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.

Film Screening
Blanton Museum of Art
February 18, 2010, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Join us for Third Thursday, our FREE evening of art and activities. Enjoy our extended happy hour featuring a glass of wine and gourmet slice of pizza for $5 in The Blanton Cafe.

6:30 PM Yoga in the Galleries
7 PM Book Club: Goddess of the Americas
7 PM Artist's Video: Erin Cosgrove: What Manner of Person Art Thou?
7:30 PM Tour: Desire

Erin Cosgrove’s darkly funny animation, What Manner of Person Art Thou? follows Elijah Yoder and Enoch Troyer, two anachronistic believers who dispense justice on those they deem to be evildoers. Allegorical figures representing the corruptibility of faith, Yoder and Troyer illuminate the hazards of morality and the perils of modern life.

Fort Worth Events

Artist Talk
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
February 16, 2010 at 7 PM

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde will present a performance piece, Marathon, in conjunction with the FOCUS exhibition during his lecture.

Austin Events

University of Texas Arts Building
February 18, 2010 at 4 PM

Public lecture by the 2010 Viewpoint Series invitees Thomas Levin and Carrie Lambert-Beatty.

Levin is a media theorist, cultural critic and curator whose work explores the intersection of aesthetics, technology and politics. Lambert-Beatty is an art historian whose research focuses on art since 1960, especially performance and video.

Visit UT-Austin's calender page for more information. Levin and Lambert-Beatty will be giving a second lecture on March 4, 2010 at 4 PM.

Announcements: opportunities


Associate Director
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston
Open until Filled

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston seeks Associate Director. Minimum one to two years experience working in a curatorial or administrative. Minimum B.A., B.F.A., M.A.., or M.F.A in a related field. To apply, visit https://jobs.uh.edu/ and enter: Job Title – Program Director, Posting Number – 064883

Curator of Public Programs
Deadline: March 31, 2010

Arthouse is seeking a curator of public programs. Minimum requirements are three years professional experience in an arts institution in a curatorial or educational department OR an equivalent combination of education and experience. For more information, view Arthouse's job posting

Associate Curator of Latino Art
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Online Deadline: March 1, 2010

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is seeking an Associate Curator of Latino Art. A graduate degree (Ph.D. preferred) in art history, American studies, cultural studies, or a related field preferred. For full announcement and application information, go to http://www.usajobs.gov/ (search on announcement #295822).

Paid Internship

Paid Graduate Internship
Deadline: Monday, March 15th, 2010

Artpace San Antonio is accepting applications for two paid summer internships to graduate students studying in fields related to art history, museum studies, or art education. A $2,500 stipend will be offered to each student for the two-month, full-time internship (June/July 2010). Please email publicprograms@artpace.org for more information about the program.

Call for Entries

New Art/Arte Nuevo
University of Texas at San Antonio
Deadline: March 31, 2010

New Art/Arte Nuevo: San Antonio 2010, a biennial juried exhibition, will feature the work of artists living and working, or with roots/raíces, in South and West Texas. Juried by Malaquias Montoya and Valerie Cassel Oliver, the exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue. Click here for more information about how to submit entries for consideration.

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