MBG Issue #142: Words of Encouragement

Issue # 142

Words of Encouragement

February 26, 2010

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Annette Lawrence, Legacy Line: Modern Ruin, 2010, Graphite on wall. Photo: Kevin Todora.

from the editor

Recently, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex has been home to a cluster of exhibitions and artist projects in vacant commercial and residential spaces. In large part, this issue is devoted to those, with features on Modern Ruin (which occupied a never-occupied WaMu building and, to everyone's delight, drew the attention of NPR's Marketplace) and November House (which occupied an vacant residential rental property.) Next weekend, the Metroplex will be home to another such event, Three Propositions and a Musical Scenario in empty storefronts in an artist studio complex.

Looking ahead to the coming months, we're hoping to publish a series of features that join the conversation about contemporary art and pedagogy. Artist-run schools have been popping up right and left. Close to home, Skydive in Houston launched a Saturday Free School last year, and in Austin Fluent~Collaborative helped bring Mary Walling Blackburn’s Anhoek School to town in January and Anna Craycroft's Union of Initiatives for Educational Assembly is opening an investigation of “educational methodology, theories of selfhood and identity” at the Blanton next weekend. Elsewhere, I can’t even begin to list the number of artist schools in existence, though the School of the Future has a pretty comprehensive list of mostly North American artist-run schools.

Questions abound regarding these schools. In future issues, we’re hoping to present some possible answers. In this issue, I’ll simply pose some of the questions we’re asking.

(1) What is the difference between a school-as-school and a school-as-art? (In other words, between a school founded by artists and a school framed as an artwork?)

(2) What is the relationship between the history and practice of relational aesthetics and the present pedagogical turn within the field of art production?

(3) What happens to an artist-run school when it moves inside the walls of the museum? (For example, Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Schoolhouse at the Whitney or Anton Vidokle’s Night School at the New Museum.)

(4) What is the relationship between the expansion of educational and public programs departments in Museums over the past decade and the rise of the artist-run school?

(5) Artists and critics often discuss the artist-run school as a response to the MFA system. What type of critique of or alternative to this system do such schools offer?

(6) When are artist-run schools actually about pedagogy, and when is pedagogy simply a means to another end?

These are questions others are asking, too. If you want to read up on what others have already said, check out Martha Schwendener on The University of Trash in the Village Voice, Roberta Smith on Bruce High Quality Foundation University in The New York Times and, my favorite, Adam Kleinman's Artist Run Schools Permeate My Membrane on Cassie Thorton's Trust Art website. Kleinman's list of questions on this topic is spot-on, another productive place to start. Presumably, inquiries into such questions will be taking place live inside the walls of Craycroft's exhibition at the Blanton, and we're hoping to get some down on (virtual) paper here at ...might be good, too.

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.


Modern Ruin
Intended Washington Mutual Bank building, Dallas
February 20 - 21, 2010

By Alison Hearst

Modern Ruin, Installation view. Photo: Kevin Todora.

Our broken economy reached a visual crescendo in Modern Ruin last weekend in Dallas. Curated by Christina Rees and Thomas Feulmer, the show was as ambitious as the never-used one-million-dollar bank building it occupied; but, paradoxically, the exhibition succeeded through the building’s failure. Comprised of the work of 15 artists such as Michael Corris, Annette Lawrence, Margaret Meehan, Richard Patterson and Jeff Zilm, the exhibition spanned the subtle, the political and the hostile; the work was mostly ephemeral, site-specific and intended to go down with the building (thus circumventing the commodity circuit). Adding to the irony, the checklist appropriated a copy of a seemingly original blueprint of the bank—a blueprint that once might have been used to push the sale of the building—to map out the location of the works and remind visitors of the site’s history.

As the show’s press release notes, the government seized Washington Mutual and sold it to JP Morgan Chase in September 2008; only a year earlier, and at the height of their game, WaMu had begun the construction of this Dallas branch. The building’s footprint followed WaMu’s cookie-cutter, corporate specifications, thus Chase found it unfit for their corporation’s image and the building was never occupied. Sitting empty throughout the recession, and slated for destruction during the last week of February, the million-dollar building’s only use was to house Modern Ruin. Work similar to that in this show may have worked fine in a gallery, but the ironies evidenced within this framework are, well, priceless.

Noah SimblistDouble Trouble, 2010.

At the bank’s entrance, Noah Simblist’s Double Trouble, a black wall painting with the white-stenciled words, “In 2008 we gave them $2,423,800,000, in 2009 they destroyed 4,290 homes,” confronted the viewer. Simblist’s piece referenced our US tax dollars sent to Israel and, in turn, the number of Palestinian homes destroyed by Israel, although, with the statement’s ambiguity, bailouts and US foreclosures also quickly come to mind. Bank entrance doors once labeled with “push,” were modified with “when push comes to shove,” through Terri Thornton’s subtle, but poignant, interventions. Also in the foyer, haphazard gaps in the wall (where ATMs had been torn out when Chase decided not to use the building) allowed visitors to voyeuristically peak into a former off-limits area that housed a piece of rotting durian fruit and Kevin Todora’s get bent, a large inkjet print of Ben Bernake’s face with disfiguring circular cut-outs in place.

Many of the works in Modern Ruin played on extant architectural elements and further reduced the bank to rubble, both physically and metaphorically. Tom Orr disrupted the imposed symmetry of the existing pre-fab architecture; he disassembled the identical readymade cabinets that once faced each other in the lobby and reassembled them into a disorderly mess on one side of the bank. The artist “M.” also used existing building materials—here, some of the ceiling tiles—into a mass of broken rubble crowned with a neon “M.” like a territorial marker. Margaret Meehan formed a three-dimensional bear from the venetian blinds, transforming a presumably harmless and humdrum object into a something lively and violent. Physically rendering this building a ruin, Cam Schoepp’s Fountain employed an irrigation system throughout the ceiling; water pooled in plastic bagging where ceiling tiles once were found, dripping audibly in buckets throughout the bank and further amplified through audio emitted from the building’s speakers.

Some of the works in the exhibition touched on questions of ownership and the quest for ultimately unattainable material objects. These works highlighted our consumer culture’s incessant demands and served as a reminder of how such desires pulled us into our current financial situation. Richard Patterson’s Things you Can’t Own #2 – A pair of vintage competition motorcycles on long term loan from the United Kingdom and the American tax payer and the permanent collection from the Nasher Sculpture Center situated two hulking, aggressive motorcycles atop a floor tiled with object labels just like those that identify pieces in the Nasher’s collection. Here, in this small, empty workroom (as labeled on the blueprint) the motorcycles (collectors’ items) and object labels (indicating the value of other collectors’ items) resembled a coveted cache of status-indicating goods.

More subtle interventions proliferated in the space as well. Annette Lawrence’s Legacy Line: Modern Ruin, a hand-scrawled graphite drawing circumnavigating the perimeter of the walls, serially listed the dates of her menstrual cycle, forcing the intimate into the public. The horizontal, linear drawing, set about six feet from the floor, resembled a flood line, merging man-made and natural disasters and their resultant ruins. In a similarly subtle gesture, Thornton’s words of encouragement, barely visible wax tracings of words like “education” and “possible,” appeared on a back wall of the bank. The wall, which originally bore text stating these exact words, was white-washed as soon as WaMu was turned over to JP Morgan Chase. Thorton resurrects these words as ghosts of their former selves, drawing attention to their futility: since the bank never opened, they never encouraged visitors with their motivational tone. Thornton also inverted the peepholes on the interior doors of the building turning the normally off-limit, private spaces inside out.

Art and money have always been inextricably linked. With the current financial crisis, many recent exhibitions, such as Kim Beck’s pseudo rental signs at Chelsea’s Mixed Greens Gallery and Art of the Crash at the Lower East Side’s FusionArts Museum, have culled together artworks touching on the economic collapse. Yet most of these shows have been inside the pristine walls of the gallery, never fully engaging the pitfalls of the economy or reaching beyond the financial troubles within the art world. By invading a building whose history has been defined by the arc of the financial markets over the past three years, the artists in Modern Ruin were able to respond to that history in ways impossible within a typical gallery setting.

Significantly, on the opening night of the exhibition, visitors felt compelled to steal works and virtually trash the place. On Sunday, the aftermath of the opening reception (over 600 visitors were in attendance) looked like the morning after a drunken house party. It’s as if the building’s impending destruction and the lack of sellable artworks in the show—in other words, the commercial inviability of the space and the exhibition it contained—commanded this behavior, which, again, is another invaluable irony contained within this show.

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

Nothing to see here, move along
CTRL Gallery, Houston
Through March 6, 2010

By Wendy Vogel

Ry Fyan, Just like we planned, 2010, Collage, 12.5 x 12.5 inches. Courtesy the artist and CTRL, Houston.

Nothing to see here, move along, a phrase that might be uttered by police to onlookers at the scene of a crime, describes the way in which the subject matter approached in CTRL’s current show of the same title tends to be overlooked (or consciously ignored) by society. The exhibition brings together four artists’ work that explores various ideas of the unseen, particularly in the sense of the psychically or culturally suppressed. Alexis Granwell and Angel Otero exploit abstraction and repurposed materials; Ry Fyan exposes hidden metanarratives; and Alexander Tinei represents subcultures in an exuberantly stylized idiom. The artists in Nothing to see here... revisualize the invisible, from excavating personal memories to mapping relationships between the ideologies of capitalism and colonist expansion.

Works on paper by Tinei, Otero and Fyan, three artists known primarily as painters, share CTRL’s north gallery. These objects provide testing grounds that shed light on the artists’ conceptual and structural processes. Angel Otero’s silicon transfer drawing procedure imparts his images with the diaphanous quality of hazy memories. Using this process, he creates the background images to which he then applies “paint skins” as an additive, sculptural layer. In Bingo (2010), Otero depicts a bingo card printed in reverse. The grayscale palette and numbered grid recall early Jasper Johns works, but Otero adds a personal layer to Johns’ strategy of appropriation of the banal. Still exploring abstraction and symbolic systems, Otero’s impressionistic renderings also suggest a half-remembered domestic space. On the opposite wall, Alexander Tinei’s works depict life-sized portraits of pop cultural icons (and their hipster prétendants), followers of a subculture that is a relatively new Western import in the artist’s native Moldova, a post-Soviet state. In Some bad seeds (2009) Tinei draws the notorious frontman Nick Cave in black-and-white. His veins and clothes are filled in with contrasting looping skeins of neon paint that represent the lifeblood of rock n’ roll rebellion. Tinei’s subjects, instead of being stylized in a macho manner, are accessorized with queer, found trinkets such as costume jewelry and faux flowers. These gaudy adornments suggest an ambivalent relationship to the development of consumer capitalism in Eastern Europe—with increased personal freedom also comes the disillusionment of grim economic prospects.

A queer, decadent sensibility carries forth to Ry Fyan’s three collages, barely contained in their small frames. These works carry a message of warning that we are headed toward global cultural and financial catastrophe. Just Like We Planned and Avatar (both 2010) contain metaphors about capitalist exploitation. A shipyard and an oil field, the sites of production for imperialist fantasies, are adorned with ancient artifacts glorifying war. Fyan vertically divides these works between a larger narrative on the left and a right-hand column that displays pairs of objects of conspicuous consumption (from meat to jewels to press-on nails.) Rug Analysis/Dripper (2010), less hyperactive in its aesthetic, brings to mind Cyprian Haris Epaminonda’s cross-cultural collages. Visualizing a relationship between colonialist expansion, corporate takeover and capitalist decadence, Fyan’s work visually and thematically rhymes with Tinei’s portraits, and illuminates the most satisfying strand of the main exhibition.

Alexis Granwell’s works adopt an ecological and chance-based approach. Her prints, mostly on handmade paper, represent cartographic vortexes such as tunnels and clouds. Will the Circle Be Unbroken (2007), a collograph, reveals handmade marks of various depths and sizes, from pinpricks and light hatchings to dark, thumbprint-sized smudges. Her sculptures, wall-mounted abstract nests, contain repurposed plastics and materials, as well as embedded reference. The wood grain wallpaper in Primary Flight (2009) is an obvious nod to the first Cubist collages, whereas cast paper and industrial plastics commingling with branches and exposed thread suggests a return to nature via culture. The works’ reference to the unseeable is less convincing than the others; nonetheless, they allude to the insistent presence of the artist’s hands and body in the work.

Gallery artists Heimir Björgúlfsson and Natasha Bowdoin contribute new works that are framed around the exhibition’s theme of visibility. Björgúlfsson’s collages, backed by photographs of graffiti and urban blight in LA (the city he now calls home), are joined by birds and nature. Part of a larger autobiographical project, Björgúlfsson’s work follows along the lines of Granwell’s work by straddling the urban/rural divide, yet offers little seductive way in. Bowdoin’s cut-paper reliefs, however, are standouts that add complexity to the question of what can be read in a work. Bowdoin brokers the legibility/illegibility dyad in these painstakingly constructed works. Composed of layers of narrow strips of paper on which the artist copies iconic texts by hand, the densely layered forms allude to motifs expressed in the narratives. Sometimes these forms are quite easy to interpret, as in the tiger of The Tiger’s Wife (2009), based on a recent short story in The New Yorker set in WWII-era Dresden. Others are more abstract, forcing the viewer to read more closely and deeply.

Natasha BowdoinThe tiger's wife, 2009.

It is this work, implying the thankless labor of methodical transcriptions and theories of subjective and historically rooted (mis)translations, that provides a satisfying wrap to the show. In the dense weave of its paper layers, Bowdoin’s work reconsiders interpretation and narrative through form. Throughout the exhibition, the work that proves itself the most successful engages dialogues ripe for re-interpretation. In other words, the works that are able to be seen and seen through.

Wendy Vogel is a Critical Fellow in the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

project space

November House: Christine Bisetto & Terri Thornton

Subtext Projects (Alison Hearst & Erin Starr White) documented the work of Christine Bisetto and Terri Thornton in a vacant home every day throughout the month of November 2009. This essay was composed through an ongoing conversation between Subtext and the artists about process and product.

We were first drawn to this project for its candidness and the prospect of witnessing first-hand new work created in a unique setting: Thornton’s unoccupied rental house. The artists had no rules, per se, except that they were to visit the house each day during the month of November. As co-documentarians, November House afforded us intimate glances into both artists’ processes. Throughout the month, our roles as historians were amplified: we captured artistic events on a day-by-day basis, mapping their development through photo documentation. Works we became accustomed to would vanish or alter as the days passed; happily, we never knew what awaited us.

With unrestricted access into the space we saw far more than what one might from a regular studio visit; we were witnessing the nascence of artworks, but also the careful editing performed by artists—the disappearance, alteration or reincarnation of projects seen days before. Surprisingly, during all our visits to the house, we very rarely ran into Bisetto or Thornton as they worked. Like ships passing in the night, obvious progressions in their artworks seemed to mysteriously happen without us seeing the artists having a hand in the work. Like Bisetto has said about the project, which surely rings true for all of us, each visit to the house was somewhat like piecing together a crime scene, “seeing what was moved or marred or left gave clues as to the activity.”

We found that the work being made in the house was in very direct response to the architecture of the space. Pieces like Bisetto’s twine-wrapped wires would hinge on extant holes pierced in the walls or hug the frames of doors. Thornton responded to the architectural elements of the house by using white tape to outline the bottom of doors, her yoga mat in a precise position on the floor and to edit the view from the back-bedroom window. The artists’ reactions to the physical space caused an increased awareness of the structure for us as well. The subtleties in Bisetto and Thornton’s work, and also in their clever use of existent elements of the house, caused us to tip-toe around the space, taking notice of the tiniest aspects of our surroundings; we didn’t want to miss a beat.

Given that Bisetto and Thornton were using the house as a studio simultaneously, it might be expected that there would be a good deal of collaboration between the two. But as the final state of the house suggests, both artists found that the collaborative spirit existed between themselves and the architecture of the space. Thornton describes her first moments in the house as ones of listening and responding and says “we [Thornton and the house] were able to get to know each other and develop a connectedness. I claimed my territory and I almost felt aggressive. I laid my yoga mat down . . . it was a good point of entry.”

This aesthetic of privileging the ephemeral and the everyday is something equally shared by both artists and serves to link the two as kindred spirits. For Bisetto, working in the house wasn’t as much about privacy or claiming personal space as it was working openly in a somewhat public environment. As she explains, “it wasn’t until Terri claimed the front bedroom, towards the end of the project, that the boundaries became clear. I do think it was interesting that she chose the more private spaces . . . I sat in the front room most of the time . . . It did feel like you were on display.” As Thornton utilized a private approach, working in and focusing on very specific areas in the house, Bisetto states, “Terri’s work emphasizes the cerebral and is very thorough so the pace is different. She thinks a lot. She breathes a lot. She has to figure out one space before moving to the next.” Bisetto’s projects were dispersed throughout the house, whether in the laundry room, kitchen, hallway, fireplace, backyard and bathroom; as the artist states of her working methods, “my pace is very action-based. I think I hold my breath. I want to move from one space to the other quickly to see many relationships.” Bisetto’s “creating, re-creating, re-creating again, keeping or destroying” method of art-making resulted in the dramatic amendments or disappearances of projects, while Thornton primarily worked on the same pieces in a more subtle, unwavering process.

The project truly did become about the space itself and not about the work being made by the artists prior to entering this month-long assignment. The house seemed to call for certain interventions by each artist and each responded in kind. Sketching the light cast on a wall or rooting the ends of her wire pieces in holes already pierced in the walls, Bisetto’s work acutely considered the structure of the house. But, for Bisetto, the home’s past also played a role. She states, “I do feel that there was collaboration with the previous tenants because I used some of the things they left.” Towards the beginning of the project, Bisetto’s interaction with the previous occupants was straightforward; she worked with notes the tenants had left for each other, and photographed the many objects left behind. In mid-November, the work shifted to the holes left in the walls by the previous tenants; still engaged with them and the space, these works weren’t solely focused on what was left behind, but rather these remnants and details were used to set up boundaries and to guide her in certain directions.

Several of Thornton’s pieces were discrete, minimal white outlines tracing the room’s various doors. With the doors opened to match the tape’s silhouette, it seemed the white lines functioned as a sort of demarcation or holding pattern just below each door. But with the doors closed or slightly off-register with the tape, the thin rectangles appeared mysterious and a bit disjunctive. It was as if their purpose was hidden, and, because of this quality, extraordinary. Thornton explains that she taped the floor area hovering below the doors because she “was listening to the space . . . I locked it down once I heard it.” And Thornton took advantage of the claim she made on the back bedroom—she carried out activities she wanted to do in private such as reading and practicing meditation. In another taped piece, Thornton sat on her yoga mat and looked out a back window to a tree and a fence in the backyard. She explains that the view had elements that were less than desirable, so she slowly taped out—or removed—pieces of the view. Each time she placed another strip of white tape on the windowpane, she studied the image before her and, in doing so, owned it. This exercise was one of focusing and honing in on what she truly wanted to view as she sat on her mat, gazing into the backyard. This process was one of evolution and could only be realized with time and dedication to process. So the space not only supported her art-making practice, but also her living practice. Could this have occurred in a more traditional art-making environment? Perhaps. But the empty framework of November House allowed these two artists to feel free from the sometimes limiting parameters of the studio.

As evidenced by the copious photographs of the work, the space, and the people of November House, the documentation of the project was primarily carried out by Hearst and Starr White. Yet both artists documented their work in the space in separate and distinct ways. Thornton kept a journal where she penned her activities in the house each day. Written in list form, this journal serves as Thornton’s memory of her time and work in the house. Thornton mostly refrained from visually documenting the work she made during the month via drawings or photographs and expresses that she was “aware the space was no longer hers when she repainted the closet for the new tenants.” In contrast, Bisetto’s form of documentation was primarily photographic, capturing her and Thornton’s work on a daily basis. This mode of documentation eventually informed her artistic practice in the house as she created a photographic artist’s book, On Mantle, documenting the jaunts of various farm animal toys; while narrative in form, in some ways, On Mantle provides a humorous account on the actual process of documentation. She states, “the entire time I was photographing the space and photographing different ideas, and towards the end, I just photographing things on the mantle. The camera became more important as the month progressed and the photographic element opened up a world of ideas. But making something, documenting it and removing it was very conscious. I don’t think I work that way in my studio. Things simmer a bit more.”

Subtext Projects is an experimental art collaborative.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Stacie Johnson
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 27, 7-10pm

Stacie Johnson makes paintings about the everyday items that she finds in her immediate surroundings. The works in Diamond in the Middle are graphic abstractions that act as meditations on the symbolic relationships between objects.

Kathryn Kelley
Women and Their Work Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 6, 7-9pm

Houston based artist Kathryn Kelley up-cycles and reanimates objects of urban refuse into large fleshy sculptures that often stand in the place of the self. The impressive scale of these pieces creates a theatrical position for viewers who are confronted with gregarious forms, or intimations of the shadowed self. Remnant inner tubes, doors, frames & windows morph & mingle in these ambitious works. Click here for more information about the show.

Josh Ronsen
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 13, 7-11pm

In "Revising the Century," Austin experimental musician and artist Josh Ronsen invited Mail Artists to alter photographs chronicling the 20th Century. These were photos of generals, kings, presidents, despots, heroes, victims, and regular people. The artists could request photos from particular years or themes (one choose "just the scumbags, please") and use them in any artistic transformation. Some 40 artists submitted 180 works of revisionist history, creating an alternate universe of whimsies and horrors. This will be the only time all 180 works will be displayed together before they are mailed back out to different artists.

Elizabeth Chiles
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 7, 3 - 5pm

Taking compositions found within the landscape as a starting place, Elizabeth Chiles builds syntax out of the formal and affective relationships between darkness and natural light. Her photographs endow light with temporal and spatial presence—a visible presence that nonetheless gestures toward the imperceptible and ineffable. This handling of light transforms the everyday into something to be revered. In this way, the works in Book of Praise become an ode to a presence akin to that of an altar or inspired text, or what may be the aura of the sacred.

Rama Tiru
Domy Books
Opening reception: Saturday, February 27, 7-9pm

From Rama Tiru: "Austin- East of I-35 captures the essence of this tight-knit community through photographs and interviews with the people and places that bring life to East Austin's community culture, which has a personality all of its own, one that reflects the history through its residents' life experiences." Click here for more information about the show

Jeremy Fish
Okay Mountain Gallery
March 13 - 14

Jeremy Fish's artwork deals with the relationship of all things cute and creepy, and the balance between the two. The work tends to be narrative stories designed with a library of symbols and characters. In 2007 Mr Fish started a new brand called Superfishal, with the help of his loyal team of hard working gnomes.

MASS Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 6, 8-11pm

MASS Gallery is pleased to present Over, a new collaborative installation created by Austin-based artists, Ilea Avalos, Andrea Bonin, and Megan Kincheloe. Over is the group's collective process of reconciliation between the desire to hold on to time, to remember, and time as an impersonal force. The artists use handmade plaster bricks to create larger structures that represent units of counting and the building blocks of memory. Avalos, Bonin, and Kincheloe share an aesthetic that involves both a sense of structuring as well as collapsing. The project is a meditation on the human process of resolving what ultimately might be loss.

Austin on View

Blanton Museum of Art
Through April 25

See Claire Ruud's review in Issue #141.

Luke Savisky
Austin Museum of Art
Through May 9

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.

Denny McCoy
D Berman Gallery
Through March 27

Release features Denny McCoy as he continues his exploration of visual perception and the emotional and physical effects of color and spatial relationships.

Austin Closings

Installation 6: Video
Okay Mountain
Through March 6

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.

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.

Dallas on View

Wayne White
Marty Walker Gallery
Through March 20

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. I Fell 37 Miles to Earth 100 Years Ago is a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculpture by the LA Artist. He even has a wiki page.

Al Souza, James Sullivan, & Brett Rees
Conduit Gallery
Through March 20

Conduit Gallery will open three new exhibitions featuring the work of artists, Al Souza, James Sullivan, & Brett Rees.

James Gilbert
Dallas Contemporary
Through April 18

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

Three Propositions and a Musical Scenario
2525 Weisenberger Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107
March 5, 2010 from 8-10 PM

Three Propositions and a Musical Scenario is a one-night exhibition organized by Noah Simblist and Subtext Projects. The exhibition will be located at an artist studio complex. Three small storefront spaces will showcase one-person, site-specific installations by Justin Boyd, Brad Tucker and M. that will include video, sound, drawing and sculpture. In addition to this, a pavilion in the parking lot will serve as a stage for performances by Jenn Gooch and Richie Budd. All of these artists share a history of engaging in both art and performance.

Fort Worth on View

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Through April 4

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

Ladies First
Art Palace
Opening Reception: March 12, 6 - 8pm

Ladies First brings together the work of Elaine Bradford, Margarita Cabrera, Ali Fitzgerald, Jessica Halonen, Lauren Kelley, Bari Ziperstein. At least the gallery exhibits no pretension about a theme for this show. Gallery director and owner Arturo Palacios is simply making a promise. He's going to show women. Really.

Santiago Cucullu
Optical Project
Opening Reception: Friday, Februrary 26, 6-8pm

PG Contemporary presents Picasso's Kitchen (Me Gusta Tu Jefa) by Milwaukee-based artist Santiago Cucullu featuring 19 small watercolors, a video, banana peels in bronze and latex, and a site-specific wall drawing relating to Cucullu's recollecton of "The Kitchen," painted by Picasso in commemoration of the thirteenth anniversary of the death of his friend Guillaume Apollinaire.

Houston on View

Maurizio Cattelan
Menil Collection
Through August 15

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

Barkley Hendricks
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through April 18

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.

Odili Donald Odita
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through May 2

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."

Ruptures and Continuities: Photography Made after 1960 from the Collection
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Through May 9

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

San Antonio Openings

One for All: Contemporary Perspectives on the Figure
Michael and Noémi Neidorff Art Gallery, Dicke Art Building Trinity University
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 4, 8-9pm

This exhibition brings together the work of Jose Lerma, Joey Fauerso, Jim Torok, and Emily Joyce. All four artists are linked by an interest in the observation of people. From within the long tradition of the use of the figure in drawing and painting, each finds a unique and compelling perspective. Influenced by history, popular culture, spirituality and humor, these artists draw from individual experiences to create works that are both personally and universally poignant.

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. 3 different 90 minute programs will be shown at 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 PM. Subsequent showings throughout Contemporary Art Month will be shown on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, at 2:00, 3:30 and 5 PM. Click here for more information about viewing.

Announcements: events

Austin Events

Sina Najafi
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
Thursday, March 11, 7pm

Arthouse Visiting Lecturer Series presents Sina Najafi. Born in Iran and raised in England, Sina Najafi has made a name for himself in the international art world with a variety of innovative curatorial and publishing projects. Most notable is Cabinet magazine which he co-founded almost ten years ago in Brooklyn and for which he continues to serve as Editor-in-Chief. For more information about Najafi and the event, click here.

Jeff Peachey
UT School of Information
Thursday, March 11 6:30-8 pm

Jeff Peachey, a bookbinder and conservator from New York, will present the annual Mim Watson Lecture in the Book Arts. His topic will be: A Future for Book Conservation at the End of the Mechanical Age. Click here for more information about the event and be sure to check out his blog.

Austin Art + Music Partnership
Saturday, March 6, 8pm

Ten Pounds To The Sound presents The MURAL Trio. Following a Houston performance at Houston's Rothko chapel, this will be MURAL's first Austin show. Kurt Newman with his trio, Vic Firth and the Lutherans, will also be playing. Doors open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8. $8-15 sliding scale admission.

Jimmy Kuehnle
Start point: 1st and Congress
Friday, March 12th, 12pm

Performance artist, Jimmy Kuehnle, continues his inflatable suit performance tour down into Texas. Kuehnle, known for wearable inflatable suits and public performances will make performance treks through the city. In order to widen the audience beyond the gallery and to continue his mission of connecting with other people, Kuehnle will have performances in San Antonio, Austin, Houston and Dallas. Click here to watch him in action.

Announcements: opportunities


Awards to Artists
Dallas Museum of Art
Deadline: Postmarked by March 15

The Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund is awarded to artists between 15 and 25 years of age who reside in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona or Colorado. The Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund is open to residents of Texas under the age of 30. The Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant seeks to recognize exceptional talent in professional artists who wish to expand their artistic horizons through domestic or foreign travel and is awarded to professional artists at least 30 years of age who reside in Texas. To download the 2010 application, click here.

Artadia Awards
Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue
Deadline: Monday, March 1

Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue is currently accepting applications for the Artadia Awards 2010 Houston from all visual artists living and working in Houston, Harris County, Texas. For more information and how to apply, click here.


Core Program
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Deadline: April 1

The Core Program awards one- and two-year residencies to highly motivated, exceptional visual artists and art scholars who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training but have not yet fully developed a professional career. Each artist-resident is given approximately 450 square feet of private studio space, 24-hour access to school facilities and equipment, and a $10,000 annual stipend (housing not provided). For more information and how to apply, click here.

Call for Proposals

UTSA Satellite Space
UTSA Satellite Space
Deadline: Monday, March 15

The UTSA Satellite Space is currently accepting exhibition proposals for the July 2010 - January 2011 schedule. The UTSA Satellite Space is located in San Antonio's Blue Star Arts Complex Laura.Crist@utsa.edu. To download the application, click here.

Subject of Learning/Object of Study Program Proposals
Blanton Museum of Art
Deadline: April 1, 2010

From March 5 through June 20, 1010, The Blanton Museum of Art and the Union Of Initiative for Educational Assembly present the exhibition SUBJECT OF LEARNING/OBJECT OF STUDY. To propose a program to be held in conjunction with the exhibition, please send a one-paragraph description of the event, along with a short bio of facilitators. The programs will take place in the exhibition during public hours (Tuesday-Friday 10AM - 5PM; Saturday 11 AM-5 PM; Sunday 1-5PM). Please suggest a preferred time and date. Please also make sure that your proposal takes gallery regulations into account. Send proposals to risa.puleo@blantonmuseum.org.

Call for Venues

David Ellis wants to paint our town
Austin, TX

Landmarks, the public art program at The University of Texas at Austin, has commissioned New York artist David Ellis, known for his stunning motion paintings, to create an original video for the university. The unveiling will coincide with the opening of the Department of Art & Art History’s new Visual Arts Center (VAC) in September 2010. How can you be a part of this? David will be spending a part of his residency working in a studio but he would also like to paint our town, too. If you can help provide wall space for David to work, please email us here. For David's Wish List and more info, click here.

Call for Artists

one hundred black women, one hundred actions
World Wide Web
Screening: Saturday, April 24th

Visual artist and performer, Wura-Natasha Ogunji invites you to submit a critical action, gesture, or movement which answers the following question: “What is a gesture of personal power, an extreme action that is necessary in your daily life?". The Piece will be presented at this year's Fusebox Festival. Follow this link to participate.

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