MBG Issue #151: What I am waiting for is some kind of fusion between art and life

Issue # 151

What I am waiting for is some kind of fusion between art and life

July 2, 2010

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Eric Zimmerman, Spiral Model, 2010, 8.5 by 11, Ink on Paper. Courtesy of the Artist.

from the editor

Dear Reader,

In this guest-edited issue of …might be good I sought out writers who just-so-happen to be friends, gave them a lot of leeway on the material they turned in, and what I got was what amounts to be a meditation on the notebook, the place where the personal meets the outside world like no other, representing emotional, intellectual and artistic expression in its purest form.

Most editors/curators/gallerists promote their friends. Though many would not admit it, I think, because to own up to this is to reveal partiality, cliques and subjectivity, where tastemakers want to bronze themselves in an armor of impartiality, openness to new voices, and objectivity. I became an independent publisher of poetry because many good writers I know had trouble getting their books published by established presses. So, I sought to remedy that, but then I was publishing friends or friends of friends. That is the way it is. Like the notebook, publishing is where the personal meets the outside world, and that world is full of our friends.

The notebook used to be pretty simple. Ten years ago, I used a ruled spiral with a black cover. Then I got a moleskin. Later I signed up for Gmail and used it to record my thoughts at work until eventually I was writing emails as notebook entries. I harvest text messages. And now there are myriad other kinds of notebooks. Google Reader is my favorite new notebook, aggregating news feeds, Twitter, Tumblr. With it I can look at 300 images posted by other users in 12 minutes, collect my favorites, share, and read all my friends’ notebooks in the form of blogs.

Like the quote from Lee Lozano’s notebooks that I chose as the title of this issue, “What I am waiting for is some kind of fusion between art and life,” social media has expanded our forms of personal expression to the point where we share every thought, dream, desire, hardship and love openly and with many.

See, the thing about a notebook, and something that many people do not realize, is that it is always kept with a kind of audience in mind. That audience usually is just the audience of one, the person keeping the notebook, but even then there is a contract with the reader. Katie Geha’s review of Lee Lozano’s Notebooks 1967-1970 is a perfect example of this. Lozano was cataloging her own thoughts and feelings, but inherent in the record keeping is the thought that someday someone will revisit the small moments that constituted her oeuvre.

In his conversation with Jules Buck Jones, Sampson Starkweather explores Jones’ desire to publish a book of his work created during and inspired by a 2009 summer residency in the Everglades after a show of the work fell through. I consider Jones’ book, Everglades, to be a notebook like any other attempt to share the inner artistic workings of one’s mind. In this case, there are no walls, just the glossy pages of his notebook.

And speaking of walls, Claire Ruud creates a meditation on the walls she noticed in her visit to Chelsea last month. The meditation is itself a kind of journal entry: associative, personal and questioning.

Kurt Mueller presents an artist pushing the boundaries between the artist and the audience. Olivier Otten creates quirky and disturbing interactive videos that show us how the experiences we have online, though they seem personal (one person, one screen), in the end are anything but personal. They are social interactions dictated by the coder and the viewer.

So, Dear Reader, dear friend, I hope you enjoy this guest-edited issue of …might be good. We made it for you, for your edification and your pleasure.

Dan Boehl is a workshop fellow in the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. His chapbook Les MISERES ET LES MAL-HEURS DE LA GUERRE is now available from Greying Ghost.


A Conversation with Jules Buck Jones, On his artist book
Book Release @Monofonus Press, July 11, 6-11pm

By Sampson Starkweather

Jules Buck Jones, Everglades, 2010. Courtesy the artist.

Jules Buck Jones spent last summer in residence at Everglades National Park, living among the ‘glades amphibians and reptiles. His new book, Everglades, catalogues his time there. Included with the book is an album Jones recorded on which the sounds of nature accompany his own playing. On Sunday July 11, Jones will exhibit large-scale works from the book, as well as new drawings, at Monofonus Press. Beer and reptiles will be on hand. The book will be available for purchase.

…might be good [mbg]: I understand you spent a month in residency in the Everglades in the summer of 2009. How did you end up there?

Jules Buck Jones [JBJ]: My interest in wildlife came way before the Everglades. I have been using animal imagery exclusively in my work for the last 5 years now. Before that I had an interest in the natural world, the natural sciences, animals... I had this huge body of work full of crocodile and alligator imagery. I had never been to the Everglades and the place always occupied a strange place in my mind. A wild place full of a crazy range of reptiles, birds and mammals. I had to get down there so I applied to the National Park residency twice. The first year they were not excepting anyone because of budget cuts and hurricane damage. The second time I was accepted and headed out in late April to get there by the beginning of May.

mbg: Looking at your work, one gets the impression that you were literally alone there (there are practically no people in your work, except for one drawing where a few people look almost like litter on a mountainous landscape, absurdly touristy, unnatural voyeurs of a natural world), and that you were in personal proximity with a wide range of wildlife, including the fairly exotic and dangerous. How much of that was actually the case?

JBJ: The summer months are the beginning of the wet season and nobody was there. Very few tourists, few volunteers, few rangers and several scientists. My contact ranger gave me the key to my studio/efficiency, a canoe, a bike and an emergency phone number to call if things got weird. After that it was all me. I desperately wanted to make some connections with some rangers or scientists and tag along on some research expeditions or whatever, but to no avail.

mbg: Did you make most of the art when you were there, or afterward based on your experience?

JBJ: I initially had the idea I would get there, post up, set up the studio, and proceed to knock out this badass body of work pulling from my new crazy surroundings. Piece of cake. But it was not as slick as that. The first couple weeks I was really trying hard to make something I thought looked cool. It wasn't happening. At some point I realized, fuck the studio. Get your ass in the canoe and go be an alligator for the day. I told myself I could make the work later, but only had so much time to hang here in the glades. I started spending most of my time outside, exploring different areas on my Everglades map, crossing off the different areas like a to-do list.

mbg: Could you tell us a little about your experience there; were you ever afraid?

JBJ: I never really found myself in any real danger. The scariest moment may have been when I was walking around this extremely secluded swampy pond, dyed red from organic material and surrounded by cypress trees. I found a dead heron that was mauled up pretty good. Just a ton of feathers left and some bones. Then I found an alligator egg. It was the size of my fist, leathery and soft and still had wet yoke dripping out of it. It must have hatched recently. Then I found another one. Then I noticed about 20 more all around me. I was a little nervous. The last thing you want to do is get between a momma gator and her babies. So I scoped the area and got away from there.

I had recently witnessed the stealth of another momma while photographing baby alligators in a stream. The momma was watching the whole time. I noticed her after about 15 minutes of admiring the adolescent reptiles. I would turn my back on her, take a couple pictures, look back at her and she was closer. I did this several times; never actually seeing her move, just noticing the space between us was decreasing. I got some cool pictures, and then I got out of there.

I also saw a 15-foot Burmese Python in the middle of the road. Half the snake was in the road, half was in the water. It was not terribly concerned with me. I waited until its head was 15 feet away then I touched its tail out of shear curiosity.

I was also shocked to see a shark fin pass me while I was canoeing through the mangroves once. It was just a bonnet-head (a mini hammerhead). Nothing to freak out about but pretty exhilarating.

mbg: What did you make while you were there and what was your process and medium(s)?

JBJ: Hardly the bulletproof seamless body of work I predicted. But I spent the next year pulling from that experience, fleshing out the work, making paintings and ultimately putting together this book.

If I were to do it again, I would just bring a backpack of pens and sketchbooks. It was much more about soaking in the extreme conditions than it was about taking advantage of the shitty studio I set up on the screened porch. But I did create some pieces eventually I liked. And I couldn't spend every night looking for panthers, or shining my flashlight into the water near my studio and seeing 300 sets of alligator eyes moving around. I finished a bunch of drawings, several paintings, wrote a handful of songs on my guitar and wah-wah peddle, and made a couple costumes out of paper and faux fur I had brought with me, including that of the elusive skunk ape.

mbg: As an independent publisher, I have to say I love your DYI style, the way you've raised money and essentially said, “I want to make a book,” and then did it. It makes one think, hell, I can do that. How realistic is it?

JBJ: The book was an organic follow-up to the Everglades experience. I had been talking to Morgan Coy, who runs Monofonus Press and from whom I also rent my studio, about making a book for a while at that point, but I had nothing concrete. The main thing I was working towards was a solo show at a gallery here in Austin upon my return from the residency. That is what I was making things for and the book was in the background.

Once I returned to Texas after six months of cruising the states, I learned the show I was working towards was no longer going to be a possibility. I was bummed and felt a little defeated. Then I started talking to Morgan about a book again. I decided, “to hell with a gallery show, I’ll take this whole thing back into my hands and do it myself.” So after talking about the scope of the book, Morgan turned me on to Kickstarter.

At first I was apprehensive because I felt weird about asking people for money. But Kickstarter has a pledge/reward system built into it, so I wasn't only asking for money, I was asking people put some money down in exchange for a cool product.

This was weird too because now I was sending out this giant email to everyone I know asking them to buy this book, that wasn't even made yet. But my people turned out. They had the faith and got me to my minimum goal in a couple weeks. It as awesome, empowering and flattering.

I set to work completing a bunch of pieces and had my boy Drew Liverman (who I could not have made such a sweet book without) do the design work and it all came together. I was also making music in the Everglades. Kind of a new breed for me. It is lonely music. I recorded frogs and birds from all around the park and threw some guitar on it. After I left the Everglades some friends and family helped me beef some of the tracks up and had my cousin Nate do a lot of the finalizing and got this weird audio CD to go with the book. So that is the multi-media element.

But yeah books are strange animals. I learned a lot.

mbg: How have you handled distribution, marketing/promotion, pricing, print-run, and criticism/reviews?

JBJ: As far as distributing, I’m going to let Monofonus handle most of that. I have my finger on some spots I am looking to get the book, including the Everglades bookstore. But we haven't got that far yet.

mbg: Logistically, were you worried about scale (dimensions), color, design, paper, cover, how did you handle all of those issues? Scale seems so vital to your work, so how does the scale of your work translate into the book? Did you ever feel you had to compromise in any way in the book-format?

JBJ: Yeah there were a lot of early ideas about the book that had to get cut back a bit due to financial restrictions. Not really scale. The book is a 9x12 format, hardcover, and 98 pages. Any more pages and I’d have to put this thing out next spring. And a lot of my paintings are over 6 feet in one direction or another, including that planet-toad. But I think the paintings look cool so small. For me it is refreshing to be able to look at several of them back to back with the ease of a book. It is kind of a pain in the ass to unroll and roll them up in my studio. So of course they lose the one-to-one ratio with the viewer that I like, but there is a real intimate element that the book provides that I like, too.

mbg: I've heard you had a live kayman at one of your shows, if that's true, could you tell us how that worked out?

JBJ: Yeah, we got two spectacled kaymans for the Fluent~Collaborative show Beast-Footed Feathered-Serpent I did with Caitlin Haskell. The handler got his knuckle thrashed up a little by one of the kaymans when I asked if he had ever been bitten. On that note, at the book release on July 11th, I have the same reptile guy coming with a baby American alligator, a Burmese python, a gopher tortoise, a Florida soft-shell turtle and an Everglades rat snake.

Sampson Starkweather is co-founder and editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. He is the author of Self Help Poems, forthcoming from Greying Ghost Press, and The Heart is Green from So Much Waiting from Immaculate Disciples Press. He is an editor of physics and chemistry books.

On Walls
Anne Truitt, Josephine Meckseper, Wieland Speck & Daniel Rich
June in Chelsea, New York

By Claire Ruud

Anne Truitt, White: Four, 1962, Latex-based enamel on wood, 87 3/4 x 19 7/8 x 7 inches. © Estate of Anne Truitt, The Bridgeman Art Library. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

The wall—the feeling of a wall—was a leitmotif of my visit to Chelsea last week. Of course, Chelsea is filled with walls. But generally, walls are the architecture that more or less invisibly structures the display of artworks. This time, for me, a number of artworks presented the wall itself as a subject of contemplation. Now, where walls are the subject, political statements can easily squash emotional nuance. But the four works that captured my attention—Anne Truitt’s White: Four, Josephine Meckseper’s [slat wall], Wieland Speck’s Berlin Off/On Wall and Daniel Rich’s Basement/Berlin Wall—capture a wide range of affect that we may experience in the face of a wall. I could take these works to a moralistic place and discuss their relationship to the present day politics of the Gaza Strip or our own southern border. Or, I could simply soak in the feeling of walls, as devastating, haunting, or protective as they might be. I prefer the latter.

White: Four (1962), an early work by Truitt in her recent show at Matthew Marks, is over seven feet tall but less than two feet wide. The exhibition itself consisted mainly of Truitt’s later, more iconic, square columnar sculptures painstakingly covered in layers of luminous paint. These appeared together in the main gallery, while White: Four received a chapel-like side gallery all its own. Fashioned in four narrow vertical panels suggesting a fence, the sculpture’s brief, freestanding expanse nonetheless evokes the psychological effect of a massive wall. Or perhaps more rightly, a massive wall carries such psychological impact that only a short span of such a wall—in this case, Truitt’s two feet of flawless white surface—can awaken those same feelings. Naturally, the timbre of these feelings depends on which side of the wall you feel you are standing.

Emotionally, a close second to Anne Truitt’s White: Four came at Elizabeth Dee, where Josephine Meckseper’s Montara Project (2010) magnified a feeling of entrapment. Constructed out of the horizontal mirrored panels you might see in a sunglasses store on Venice Beach and amplified by a mirrored ceiling above, Montara Project fragments its reflection into scores of horizontal stripes. Reflected in this way, I find myself surrounded by Meckseper’s perverted displays of goods. There are her signature motifs of cars and Cartier, as well as metal display racks bearing chain-like jewelry and men’s boxer briefs. Here, a mirrored wall is devastating. It’s as if, beyond this wall is only more sinister bling. With the wall insistently reflecting my world back at me, it’s difficult to imagine what might be beyond it. An opaque wall may confine the body, but the mirrored wall shuts down the imagination.

At Horton Gallery came my encounter with one of history’s famous walls, the Berlin Wall. The two-person exhibition included four paintings by Daniel Rich, and a few photographs and a slow, simple video by Wieland Speck documenting a 1978 performance. Speck’s video Berlin Off/On Wall depicts a young man, Per Lüke, dressed in all white, playing the harp while perched atop the Berlin Wall. A crowd gathers, apparently on both sides of the wall, though the camera’s view is limited from its vantage point on the western side. Inevitably, the police come, wrest the harpist from the wall and disperse the crowd. But for the span of the performance, Lüke plays angel to the crowd, surmounting the wall (the seemingly insurmountable), and revealing its penetrability. Especially in relation to Speck’s video, I was intrigued by one painting of a sealed underground passageway by Rich, but I could have taken or left his three Rusha-esque enamel paintings of Berlin airports. Rich’s Basement/Berlin Wall (2010) unavoidably recalls Anselm Kiefer’s cavernous underground spaces, but with a twist. Here, the passageway has been boarded up, as it fell directly on the demarcation line. The feeling of a doorway replaced with a wall is one of bereavement, a possibility barred by a refusal.

We speak of building walls instead of bridges, a figure of speech that suggests the close tie between the object (a wall) and the feeling (isolation). With Meckseper’s Montara Project, the isolation is that of maddening entrapment. Rich’s painting captures the losses sustained by building walls, and Speck’s video contains the hope of restoration. Truitt’s White: Four provides the most space for personal projection. Like the walls of a secret garden, it may create a sanctuary. Or, like a hospital room, it may impose sterile confinement. Most of Chelsea’s walls, like many physical and figurative walls in our lives, are designed to be impressive yet inconspicuous. But the work I saw last week in Chelsea shouted wall, and through these works, the psychological impact of walls, whether we notice them or not, became visible.

Anne Truitt at Matthew Marks Gallery closed June 26, Josephine Meckseper is on view at Elizabeth Dee Gallery through July 16, and Wieland Speck and Daniel Rich are on view in Berlin at Horton Gallery through July 10.

Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.

Lee Lozano: Notebooks 1967-70
Primary Information
Released March 2010

By Katie Geha

Lee Lozano, Notebooks 1967-1970, selected page. Courtesy of Primary Information.

Lee Lozano kept detailed notebooks during her brief involvement in the New York art world from 1965 to 1972. The notebooks serve as documentation for Lozano’s late abstract paintings and her more conceptual language pieces. The writing in the notebooks reveals Lozano to be an astute observer of the New York art scene and marks her growing discomfort with the competition and exchange of money that is integral to this world. Her notes are direct and honest and often very funny.

I first came across the notebooks three years ago in the files at the Blanton Museum of Art. Loose leafed and mimeographed, the notebooks revealed an incredibly original artist of the 1960s and 1970s. It is an important component in the history of conceptual art of this period and Primary Information should be lauded for publishing these documents.

During this period Lozano exhibited re-transcribed pages from her notebooks alongside her paintings and drawings in New York, Berlin and Halifax. She showed at the Bianchini Gallery in New York with other well-known 1960s artists such as Mel Ramos and Robert Ryman. She was friends with Robert Morris, Yvonne Rainer and Carl Andre. In late 1972 she willfully “dropped out” of the art world by enacting her conceptual project Drop Out Piece, moved from New York to Dallas and quit producing work. The notebooks contain some of Lozano’s most private thoughts and explosive ideas about art and art practice before her departure.

The notebooks had never been published in full until early this year, when Primary Information printed three of the notebooks from 1967-1970 plainly and in one volume. Wrapped in a soft brown cover, the book contains no scholarly introduction and there is only a brief blurb about Lozano on the back cover. Instead, the book is very much like the notebooks it recreates. The text is a pressing component to Lozano scholarship. After being almost completely written out of the art scene, re-emerging in 1998, then dying in 1999, which caused the prices of her work to skyrocket, critics and scholars have sensationalized Lozano’s life and work. She is discussed as a drop-out artist, a feminist, a woman-hater, an insane woman buried in a pauper’s grave. Rarely do discussions of her work, process and influence supersede discussions of her personal life.

And while this may very well be what Lozano would want (in 1969 she wrote in the notebooks: “What I am waiting for is some kind of fusion between art and life”) the notebooks help reveal a complex character who ruthlessly dedicated her ordinary life to making an important work of art. Between notes on various paintings, the notebooks cite Lozano’s continued exploration of mind and body as she imposed directives on her day-to-day life and documented them as art pieces. The directives include what to wear and eat (Wear & Eat More-or-Less the Same Thing Everyday Piece), how to price her works (How to Price Drawings Piece) and even when to masturbate (Masturbation Piece).

Lozano undertakes these tasks as a scientist would, faithfully recording her observations in the notebooks. In Grass Piece she details how she feels after smoking marijuana everyday for thirty-three days: “One thing that happens is that it takes more grass to get feelin’ good.” Or in its companion piece, No Grass Piece: “Half awake dreams (May 7, 69). Everything seems funnier (May 9, 69). Sleeplessness continues; fits of pique (May 10, 69). Uncontrollable sadness (May 10, 69), Deathness.”

The publication of the notebooks helps to make clear Lozano’s relationship to other artists of the period and, thus, places her more firmly into an art historical context. Names of several now famous artists appear in her writing such as Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, Larry Poons and Dan Graham. Her 1964-1967 list of verbs written down in the notebooks (“Ream, Spin, Veer, Span, Cross, Ram . . .) closely resembles Richard Serra’s famous verb list from 1967/68 (“to roll, to crease, to fold, to store . . . “) And it is very possible that Serra was influenced by Lozano’s list as they met on at least one occasion. In May of 1969 Lozano writes: “Serra comes over a little high on beer & no food. Jut into dialogue with him (we’ve been smoking Saret’s hash) when he gets an attack (too stoned), falls off chair to floor with a crash, has ‘convulsions’ & passes out. Later he feels sick, lies down in bed until Saret comes over.”

While her engagement with the New York art scene was brief, her writing in these notebooks makes evident the fierce intelligence, vulnerability and biting wit of Lee Lozano. Now everyone will know.

Katie Geha is pursuing her Ph.D. in art history at The University of Texas at Austin.

project space

Olivier Otten

By Kurt Mueller

No webpage, let alone a URL with artistic ambitions, has made me think more intensely about a mouse cursor than my recent encounter with Selfcontrolfreak (2008-2010). Internet surfing entails scrolling, finger spazzing and shifts between icons, but rarely with sustained reflection. Yet what do you do when the web video you are watching eats your little gloved pointer?

The brainchild of Dutch “interaction designer” Olivier Otten, Selfcontrolfreak is an ongoing video series, currently 21 and counting, by which the viewer causes Otten to perform various actions through prescribed movements of the mouse cursor. If this sounds easy and a little dumb, like an obvious arrangement of command and execution, i.e. a video game, it is and it is not.

A typical Selfcontrolfreak video shows Otten, a young male with a sleepy expression and longish hair in a T-shirt or hoodie, squarely framed against a white wall. #14, for example, is a zoom-in of this scenario. The cursor moves over Otten’s blunt features, Otten’s face reacts. Pointing to an eye provokes a wink. Passing over his mouth elicits a smile or frown. Cheeks puff and pout. “Touching” his nose makes it scrunch, as though tickled. Other motions in other videos influence other narratives: point and click on a can of beer, then a glass, then Otten’s mouth, and he pours then chugs, ad nauseam (#13). Circle the cursor—clockwise and counter—and Otten pedals an exercise bike (#18). Each video invites a moment of focused attention, a hand-eye riddle and, invariably, amusing trial and frustrating error.

If this lab rat stimulus and response seems to run thin, the real surprises, delights and conceptual depth emerge as Otten bites back—literally. In #2, bring your cursor too close to Otten’s face and he lunges forward to swallow it. The video then cycles on Otten loudly chewing your cursor. The link between your hand and virtual icon isn’t broken, but subsumed to a story; slide left or right and Otten’s head follows. Click and he spits the cursor out. Again, Otten explores variations of the theme. He hocks a loogie onto the screen, slaps the cursor away from his face or grabs the arrow and runs away with it.

Despite seemingly limited and repetitive parameters, each scenario freshly thwarts expectations, upsetting conventions of video, if not Internet viewing. #16 finds Otten pushing against the edge of your browser window, expanding it lengthwise, and then stomping to make it quake. Selfcontrolfreak not only replaces passive reception with participation, in a sense merging the antics of YouTube with the hyperactivity of hyperlinking, but erases Internet video’s “fourth wall.” Viruses aside, the assumption that one’s window onto the Internet, one’s self-perception of web-navigation is a stable, controlling identity, is in theory subverted. As Otten suggests, exactly who is in control appears open to negotiation—the ultimate answer perhaps being the actor who exerts a greater desire for self-control.

The most exciting works intensify this issue by allowing a nuanced, weighted role in narratives of will. Otten understands that cursor movement itself is not just frictionless tracking and tapping. In #7, one must click and drag Otten’s head to pull it into a bucket of water. Such documentary pathos fully humanizes the distance between virtual and living subjects. (Some of Selfcontrolfreak’s most affecting moments are views of Otten existentially waiting for the action to begin, seemingly twitching impatiently as each clip loops).

Selfcontrolfreak is also funny, a feature that provides its most immediate satisfaction but also its potential slide towards gimmick. The darkness of the resulting laughter however suggests Selfcontrolfreak is not just an invitation to mindless play. In the spirit of Nauman and Acconci, it is a self-reflexive look at media and the theatrics of corporeal identity. It also opens up a question, metaphorically and literally, of agency. One is free to move one’s cursor wherever, but the subsequent narratives are programmed, determined. Otten the performer, as well as his retaliatory embodiment of both the watchmaker-cum-programmer and the cursor, similarly exist somewhere between object and subject. His simple actions are a reminder that the professed freedom of the web actually is controlled and coded—a code we create in our own self image.

Kurt Mueller is an artist and critic based in Houston and the Associate Editor of Art Lies.

announcements: news

Austin News

Austin Public Art Nationally Recognized

Americans for the Arts selected two Austin Art in Public Places artwork projects in its 2010 Public Art in Review. Bait Box by Buster Graybill was temporarily installed on the east side of the LadyBird Lake hike and bike trail and consisted of a 5-foot bronze catfish displayed on a green High Voltage box. Mushroom Grove by Bill Davenport was temporarily installed on the west side of Auditorium Shores and consisted of a 12 foot giant mushroom grove sculpture.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

15th Annual Young Latino Artists: Consensus of Taste
Opening Reception: Friday, July 16, 7-9pm

Mexic-Arte Museum, the Official Mexican and Mexican American Fine Art Museum of Texas, presents the 15th Annual Young Latino Artists (YLA) Exhibition: Consensus of Taste. Curated by Claudia Zapata, M.A. in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin, this exhibition features the current visual artwork of artists from the past fourteen YLA exhibitions. American art critic Clement Greenberg's paper “Can Taste Be Objective” suggests there is a “consensus of taste” in which disputed taste eventually is agreed upon by all parties. The curator utilizes this concept to showcase past YLA artists' current work and their development into professional visual artists.

Domy Books
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 7, 7-9pm @ Domy Books

Organized by Andy Coolquitt, Domy Books and Okay Mountain team up to throw together a potluck of artists. 88 features: Jamie Panzer, Jill Thrasher, Kal Spelletich, Nic Maffei, Regina Vater, Sheelah Murthy, Steve Jones, Teresa Hubbard, Theresa Houston, Lance Letscher, Bob Anderson, Bogdan Perzynski, Carollee Schneemann, Elisa Jimenez, Luke Savisky, Peter Glassford, Sawad Brooks, Julia Maffei, and the list goes on. Check it.

Jules Buck Jones
Monofonus Press
Opening Receptions: Sunday, July 11, 6-10pm

Conceived of as a continuous drawing spanning 98 pages, artist Jules Buck Jones' Everglades chronicles his residency in Everglades National Park in the summer of 2009. During this residency, Jones spent the park's off-season living alone in a bunker where scorpions and frogs covered the walls and hawks circled the front yard. He passed his days canoeing among alligators, crocodiles, sharks, and 15-foot Burmese pythons and his nights searching for the rare Florida Panther. The work this wildlife inspired combines the illustrative precision of field guides with the expressive nuance of nonrepresentational art.

Faith Gay and Raymond Uhlir
d berman gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 8, 6-10pm

d berman gallery is pleased to present two Austin artists with a unique sense of color, design, and narrative. Faith Gay applies her signature treatment of vivid colors, repetitive shapes, and sense of whimsical delight to an exploration of reclaiming and reconfiguring found materials from daily life as well as from her own previous work. Raymond Uhlir creates personal mythological vignettes which combine the bold visual aesthetics of vibrantly colored cartoon worlds and the compositional elements of traditional allegorical painting.

Cody Ledvina
Okay Mountain
Opening Reception, Saturday, July 10

Causes from small and big events are worth looking at. When looked at long enough it becomes increasing clear that it happened because it had to. Not like in a Calvinist way but just in the way that things are just supposed to happen. In this particular case a lumber yard is created as an embryonic form evolving into a WNBA team by means of profit margins. After branding the WNBA team GOD multiple other causal episodes occur.

The Portrait Group Exhibition
L. Nowlin Gallery
Opening Reception: July 10th, 6-8pm

The L. Nowlin gallery opens a group show focusing on portraits. Just another portraiture show? You can preview the show here.

Michael Merck
Big Medium
Opening Reception: Friday, July 3, 7-10pm

Please join Big Medium for Michael Mercks, Too Many Unique Users of the Sun. This exhibition is comprised of new and recent large-format works on canvas which focus on the cerebral and experiential aspects of painting while ignoring or drawing comparison to the medium's formal concerns.

Austin on View

Ron Regé, Jr.
Domy Books
Through July 29

The Cartoon Utopia began in early 2008 as a series of 60 small drawings focused on ideas relating to a futuristic “utopian” world. After attending Alchemical lectures in Los Angeles, the project was expanded to include larger drawings, and longer comics pieces relating to aspects of the the present “consciousness” movement, as well as taking inspiration from older esoteric traditions.

New Works for the Collection
Blanton Museum of Art
Through August 22

The Blanton is pleased to present New Works for the Collection, a summer exhibition highlighting more than sixty new acquisitions from among the hundreds of works recently acquired through gift and purchase.

Chris Jordan
Austin Museum of Art
Through August 15

In Running the Numbers, Chris Jordan takes statistics that are too big for the mind to grasp and makes them shockingly beautiful for the eye to behold: 2 million plastic bottles used every five minutes… 380,000 kilowatt hours of electricity wasted every minute. By fusing image and information into epic photographs, he asks us to consider our roles as global citizens.

Sunyong Chung
Austin Museum of Art
Through August 15

AMOA's New Works presents Sunyong Chung. Known for her functional ceramics, Chung pushes into new territory with two monumental sculptures. A nine-foot circular solid covered in porcelain tiles and a suspended pendulum of steel and paper explore the cosmic, the earthly, and the everyday human experience.

Austin Closings

Leah DeVun
Women and Their Work
Through July 15

Leah DeVun's photographic series draws its title from Lesbian Land, a published collection of writings by lesbians who founded or lived in women's intentional communities, sometimes called "womyn's lands," in the 1970s-80s. With this show DeVun takes the history of Women & Their Work as a jumping off point to ask viewers to consider the nature of queer and feminist space in the past and present.

Francesca Gabbiani
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Through July 10

Viewed from a distance Francesca Gabbiani’s intricate assemblages are easily mistaken for paintings. Their flattened realism is upon closer inspection composed of thousands of densely layered abstract shapes of cut paper. The often decadent imagery present in Gabbiani’s work complements and echoes her craft. Influenced by cinema, the interior space - both physical and metaphysical - as well as melancholia, Francesca Gabbiani illustrates surreal fleeting moments.

San Antonio on View

On the Road
Through September 5

On the Road takes its title from the legendary book by American poet and novelist Jack Kerouac, who recounts his eventful road trips across the United States in the late 1940s. The exhibition investigates the mythology of the American motoring adventure as it began to develop in the early 1920s, with the advent of immense expansions of the highway system, particularly in the West of the country. On the Road also features an impressive and historical selection of artists including, Robert Adams, Ant Farm, John Baldessari, Walker Evans, Robbert Flick, Mary Heilmann, Roger Kuntz, Danny Lyon, Catherine Opie, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore, Alexis Smith, Kon Trubkovich, Andy Warhol.

Steve Brudniak
Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center
Through July 31

These sculptures appear to be machines or ritual objects operating in some bizarre institution but are in fact, assemblages of found objects imbued with science elements including: samples of the oldest life ever discovered, lenses which reflect 3-dimensional images, inorganic "specimens" in fluid and fiber optic projections. The show also features the first work in space?? Go to his website for more information.

Ryder Richards
Cactus Bra SPACE
Through July 28

Cactus bra SPACE, in the Blue Star Art Complex, presents Trajectory by Ryder Richards. Richards new drawings, installations, and sculptures are derived from the ballistic trajectory of a .243 Winchester rifle. The works explore the physical and metaphorical quandary of a trajectory as a quantified destiny, attempting to alter the predetermined path. The exhibition features drawings and installation with a large antelope head created using gold leaf and gunpowder.

San Antonio Closings

Alejandro Diaz
David Shelton Gallery
Through July 17

Alejandro Diaz, currently based in New York City, is originally from San Antonio where he developed provocative and pertinent bodies of work influenced by the complex and visually rich cultural milieu particular to South Texas and Mexico. For Just in Queso, Diaz introduces new works utilizing a conceptual, recurrent use of everyday materials; an irreverent and humor infused critique of cultural stereotypes, politics, and the contemporary art world; and an ongoing involvement with art as a form of entertainment, activism, public intervention, and free enterprise. His work represents a range of mediums, including paint, neon, watercolor, sculpture, and installation.

Houston Openings

Seth Alverson
Art Palace
Opening Reception: July 9, 6-8pm

Using memory and haunting imagery as catalysts for his self-reflexive paintings, Seth Alverson distills the most essential elements until they are heightened to a level of transformation. This transformation occurs through the act of painting by placing intention on the images, and in turn helps us find rationality in futility to apply meaning in our everyday.

Gerard Baldwin
Domy Books, Houston
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 3, 7-9pm

In sixty years as an animator Gerard Baldwin has made over 600,000 drawings. Although most of the drawings have disappeared, evidence of Baldwin's art can be seen on television every day. Hundreds of animated films have been shaped by his hand, including (but not limited to) The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, The Smurfs, Yogi Bear, Mr. Magoo and The Flintstones. He is the recipient of numerous awards including eight Emmy nominations and three Emmys.

Houston on View

Maurizio Cattelan
The 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.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through July 25

Hand+Made explores the performative impulse in art and craft. There's so much great work in the show, it's hard to single out just a few highlights. Among them is Sheila Pepe's Common Sense II, the second iteration of a project the artist first conceived in Austin at testsite last summer.

Andrea Dezsö
Rice Gallery
Through August 8

For her installation Sometimes in My Dreams I Fly, Andrea Dezsö will expand upon a technique she uses to make her distinctive “tunnel books.” Small, handmade books that reveal three-dimensional scenes, tunnel books are created from layers of paper that are individually drawn, cut out, and painted.

Dallas on View

Dallas Contemporary
Through August 8

Curated by Regine Basha, Seedlings brings together nine emerging artists to the newly-renovated cavernous space of the Dallas Contemporary. Each artist investigates ways nature or natural systems have informed human industry and the evidence of a hybrid process of productivity. Through a reconsideration of methodologies of artmaking, the works focus on the possibility of collaborations with nature, degrees of interconnectivity, mimesis and its discontents, and entropy as an ecstatic state.

Susan Barnett, Ellen Berman, and Kia Neill
Conduit Gallery
Through July 24

Conduit Gallery opens three new exhibitions featuring Susan Barnett, Games and Icons, Ellen Berman, Every Day, and Kia Neill in the space's Project Room.

The Non-Profit Margin
Through July 24

In an effort to challenge the traditional avenues of the exhibition and consumption of art and the art experience, The Non-Profit Margin presents work that confronts the current global economic crisis. Drawing from current residents at CentralTrak and the local community of artists, The Non-Profit Margin includes Richie Budd, Shelby Cunningham, Gary Farrelly, give up, Professor Riccio and Doctor Dufour, Marjorie Schwarz, and Ludwig Schwarz.

Dallas Closings

Marty Walker Gallery
Through July 17

Marty Walker Gallery presents 'Post-Now' with works from Anna Krachey, Buster Graybill, and Jesse Morgan Barnett. With a lot of recent attention on global warming and religious fanatical end-of-world warnings, these artists confront the roles of agriculture, technology, and industrialism in a society left without humans. Each artist removes a sense of reality through abstraction, contrasting absurd materiality with the fluidity of life. The photographs, sculptures, and video reveal spontaneity of movement against static material constructions, poetically staging events that articulate the pervasive presence of life by showing its absence.

Webb Gallery
Through July 18

FOURPLAY features work by John Casey, Mr. Hooper, Frieda Gossett, and Bruce Lee. Plus: man boxes by Pinky Diablo upstairs.

Texas Exhibitions

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

Ashley Hunt
Monday, July 5, 8pm
Admission: FREE

Notes on the Emptying of a City is a performance that acts as a dismantled film, in which a single narrator pieces together the sounds, images and voiceover of a documentary before a live audience. Based upon material generated in the city of New Orleans in the months following Hurricane Katrina, it opens a unique space of reflection at a time when the urgency of Katrina seems to have receded into a comfortable past as new economies of disaster and risk form around states of emergency around the world. Learn more here.

Announcements: opportunities

Call for Entries

New Art in Austin
Austin Museum of Art
Deadline: July 29, 2010

The Austin Museum of Art (AMOA) is accepting artists’ submissions for the exhibition "New Art in Austin," which will be on view at AMOA-Downtown from February 26 -May 22, 2011. The fourth in a triennial showcase, "New Art in Austin" introduces emerging and lesser-known artists from Central Texas whose work stretches the boundaries of contemporary art. A statewide curatorial review team will evaluate the work of local artists made over the past three years. Through this exhibition of cutting-edge work in a variety of media, and its accompanying catalogue, the museum seeks to create a dialogue about contemporary art in Austin and attract attention to artists within our community. Click here for Call Details and Application.

2011 Texas Biennial
Texas Biennial
Deadline: July 21, 2010

Big Medium is happy to announce the 2011 Texas Biennial open Call for Art. As an independent survey of contemporary art in Texas, the 2011 Biennial is an opportunity to investigate current art-making in Texas and promote the incredible innovation happening within our great state. We are also please to announce New York based art historian Virginia Rutledge as this year's curator. In the same independent spirit as years past, the 2011 Biennial will encourage a dialogue amongst artists, curators, writers and art lovers alike that will echo throughout the run of the 4th Biennial exhibition and beyond. Starting May 21, 2010 and running until July 21, 2010, the Texas Biennial will be accepting submissions from artists living and working in Texas via www.texasbiennial.com. All entries will be digitally submitted online and artists of all medias are encouraged to apply.

Jason Middlebrook: More Art About Buildings And Food
Deadline: July 31, 2010

For the inaugural exhibition in Arthouse's new second floor gallery, New-York based artist Jason Middlebrook will transform detritus from the building renovation into sculpture and functional dining furniture that will evoke both the history of the Jones Center and its longstanding importance as a gathering place for Austin's community. Elaborating upon ideas of community, history, and creativity, Middlebrook will also make a massive drawing that will incorporate family recipes submitted by you! Some of the recipes will also be featured in a communal potluck dinner held at Arthouse on Saturday, November 20, 2010. Click here to find out how to submit.


American Art Curator
Dallas Museum of Art
Deadline: July 17, 2010

The Pauline Gill Sullivan Assistant/Associate Curator of American Art is responsible for collections, exhibitions, programs, staff, and material resources of the department whose purview includes collections of American and Latin American paintings, sculptures, and graphic arts prior to 1945. For more information and to apply, visit the Employment section of the Museum's website.

Grant Opportunities

Andy Warhol Foundation: Curatorial Research Fellowship
Andy Warhol Foundation
Deadline: September 1, 2010

The Foundation’s grantmaking activity is focused on serving the needs of artists by funding the institutions that support them. Grants are made for scholarly exhibitions at museums; curatorial research; visual arts programming at artist-centered organizations; artist residencies and commissions; arts writing; and efforts to promote the health, welfare and first amendment rights of artists. For more information and guidelines to submit, follow this link.

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