MBG Issue #152: Quantifying the Qualitative

Issue # 152

Quantifying the Qualitative

July 16, 2010

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Cameron Fuller, Detail, As It Is, From the Collection of the Institute for the Perpetuation of Imaginal Processes, 2010. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: by Torno Bros.

from the editor

There is something so fun about mixing art and science. For one, it’s got a certain naughtiness about it—an illicit union between two fields that, more often than not, avoid even a passing glance in each other’s direction. For two, experiments are exciting no matter what field they’re in. When I was invited to guest edit this issue of …might be good I noticed that a number of exhibitions, in Texas and elsewhere, were addressing various topics that brought this union to light—the nature of experimentation, the precision of looking and the differences between the subjective and the objective, to name a few.

The standard view of science and art is that they fundamentally exist at opposite poles of human endeavor. Science uses logic, math and systematic reasoning to attain a pure, objective understanding of the world that is descriptive on a practical level. Art, on the other hand, is a subjective event that expresses individual experience and interest in the world rather than describing it in practical, universal terms. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as art and science have come together in countless ways and for countless reasons since the idea of science began, from naturalist drawing and anatomical studies to Cubism and the work of collectives like the Critical Art Ensemble.

One of the major ways artists today engage with science is to simply adopt a scientific-looking aesthetic. We see this in the work of Cameron Fuller at the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Great Rivers Biennial, where the objectivity of natural history museums gets filtered through the personalized memories of one man. As William Gass points out, Fuller adopts the guise of an “institute” in order to lend his DIY constructions an air of officiated history. This is a tactic also used by Totally Wreck Production Institute in their show at Big Medium, In Science, the Lion Sleeps with the Lamb. Unlike Fuller, Totally Wreck delves into the nature of experimentation and failure, drawing connections between the scientific and the avant garde. In her review, Ariel Evans suggests that the gallery may no longer be the best place to interact with their “technospiritual” form of experimentation. At the new Dallas Contemporary, Alison Hearst explores the myriad junctures between humanity and the natural world in Regine Basha’s exhibition SEEDLINGS.

Leigh Brodie’s work in the artist’s space is perhaps the most scientific in spirit. Using computer visualization software to analyze decisive events, like a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Brodie attempts to “quantify the qualitative,” as Risa Puleo puts it. Her stills and videos offer an interesting counterpoint to Ron Regé’s comics, currently up at Domy. In her review, Katie Geha discusses how Regé moves past the subjective/objective debate to explore an enlightened utopian world where the mechanical joins hands with the mystical.

When it comes down to it, art and science are just ways for humans to understand the world we live in, as well as the world we’d like to live in. The topics these exhibitions riff on are ones that are interesting not just to art, but to a broader engagement with history, knowledge and the natural world, which is yet another thing that’s so fun about mixing art and science: it makes for a great conversation starter.

Allison Myers is pursuing her Ph.D. in art history at The University of Texas at Austin.


Totally Wreck
MASS Gallery @ Big Medium, Austin
Closed June 26, 2010

By Ariel Evans

Ben Aqua, Detail, Oil Spill, 2010, Ink on vinyl, 42x62 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

The press release for the Totally Wreck Production Institute’s show at Big Medium, In Science, the Lion Sleeps with the Lamb is worth quoting at length:

…Visions of progress and product were set aside, and instead, the identity of failure was sought out as a milestone containing shrouded and inherent success. Inconclusive dilemmas became holy events with hidden meaning and techno-spiritual meditations…Investors quickly ceased their funding of these experiments, based on an overwhelming fear that the institute’s pursuit of scientific conquest appeared to be slipping deeply into the palms of the psychotic/avant-garde…[1]

Given its craftsmanship, I can’t help but see the release as one of the artworks in the show, particularly considering the fictionalized and manifesto-like quality of the text. Touching on concerns with science and failure, the press release creates a narrative for the show’s otherwise disparate artworks, implying that when science “goes wrong,” the unexpected results veer away from the rational and ascend towards the mystical.

Works involving scientific failure include Kyle Dixon’s installation, where the artist covered the wall and floor with flattened and desiccated frogs and released 4,500 ladybugs into the gallery. Reminiscent of middle-school science class, the frogs and insects don’t lead to scientific enlightenment; they’re just gross.

Similar ideas undergird Ben Aqua’s printout of a black-to-white gradient sliced vertically down the center and titled Oil Spill. In a show staged soon after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the title shifts the meaning of Aqua’s Lucio Fontana-esque gesture on a digital gradient towards commentaries on hubris and failure in technology and industry.

Yet other works add spiritualism to the mix. The show’s title itself points to the spiritual by referencing Biblical narratives of the lion and the lamb, as does the press release’s “inconclusive dilemmas” becoming “holy events.” Eli Welbourne’s video installation with draped fabric and figurines over a television seems religious as well, and like Dixon’s work, has a middle school flavor. It reads as a thirteen year-old’s bedroom altar to a pop star, with its black, purple and gold color scheme, candles, figurines, and video work reminiscent of early MTV.

Mixing symbols of technology and spiritualism appear as longstanding concerns of Totally Wreck. Early work by members of the collective includes projects for UT’s ACTLAB under Sandy Stone, where they created ritualistic performances detailed by electroluminescent equipment and interactive video projections.

Unfortunately, the exhibition does not hold as much appeal as many of their other projects. Totally Wreck’s concerns with the technospiritual seem better expressed in their online tumblr blog, video work and performances, where the quickness and overload-quality of online viewership reinforces the nature of their message.[2] In Big Medium, Totally Wreck’s work seems more of a one-liner than anything else.[3] Galleries tend to encourage a longer engagement with single images than the exhibition’s works sustain.

This is disappointing because Totally Wreck’s performance and online work is complex, humorous and fascinating. Instead of pausing at single images, the viewer flips through hundreds of brief and ephemeral suggestions. On the Internet, the sheer mass and diversity of their material becomes too large to fully grasp; it is religious in its celebration of that which we cannot hope to understand.[4] Much like the press release, Totally Wreck’s collection of bizarre online ephemera evokes a technological spirituality more readily than the handful of works in the gallery.

[1] Press release, In Science, the Lion Sleeps with the Lamb, June – July 2010, Big Medium, Austin, Texas.
[2] http://totallywreck.tumblr.com/
[3] One exception are the Juan (“Johnny”) Cisneros’ paintings of arcane diagrams on grids—these are quite lovely and worth spending some time with.
[4] Scientists, in this sense, are then spiritual. After all, the project of science is to understand the universe—this is of course a hopeless task. But we continue to try anyway and our failures still reveal. Totally Wreck is clearly speaking to ideas like this.

Ariel Evans is pursuing her Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Austin.

Ron Regé, Jr.
Domy Books, Austin
Through July 29

By Katie Geha

Ron Regé Jr., 2010, Press Image, Cartoon Utopia. Courtesy of Domy Books, Austin.

“In thinking, we have that element given us which welds our separate individuality into one whole with the cosmos. In so far as we sense and feel (and also perceive), we are single beings; in so far as we think, we are the all-one being that pervades everything.”

 – Rudolph Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom, 1893

Ron Regé Jr. makes cartoons that are frenetic and obsessive. Black-inked lines dance deliriously across the page—zig-zagging, radiating beams of light, forming jazzed-up figures with coned hats. Everything is vibration in these comics as they fittingly imagine a supersensible realm—an evolved utopian world where the mechanical coincides with the natural and the occult with non-linear time. The dictum of this world appears in several works in his recent exhibition at Domy books—a phrase that holds the mysteries to all we perceive: “As above so below.”

Regé’s works are pop-mystical musings that create messages of love and understanding. It’s hippy stuff, for sure, but it’s also profound in its sincerity. Each frame is fully realized through the form of the comic—dashed lines stand in for emotions of joy as Regé’s iconic, mechanical, futurist figures dance a jig. Phrases as simple as “The wisdom of the body” or more cryptic musings such as “Like the rays of the sun, knowledge is unavoidable without the veil” appear in rigid lettering on the wall, like the messages of a prophet. The microcosmic collapses into the macro as Regé shows us again and again, that our world is neither objective nor subjective—we are all universally interconnected.

Two major bodies of his work line the walls at Domy. The first is The Cartoon Utopia, a story of consciousness raising: “Are you a ‘child of the cold war?’” a character in one frame asks. “Didn’t they promise us a different kind of future? Didn’t we imagine a different kind of future for ourselves?” The second is a more recent project, the retelling of the biblical story of Lilith. Not unlike fellow cartoonist R. Crumb’s recent Genesis project, Regé illustrates the story of Adam’s first disobedient wife in a flattened all-over comic style. The narrative of these stories allows for Regé to play with style and form while the ridiculousness of his comic figures means the work never feels over serious or preachy.

While the works themselves are intelligent, wryly observed, and expertly crafted, the exhibition as a whole falls short. There seems to be almost no curatorial vision, other than pinning one too many sheets of paper onto the wall. There is, of course, something to be said for an exhibition that is fast and loose, especially in a bookstore setting - the lists of influences, from Agrippa to Buckminster Fuller, casually written directly on the wall, for instance, is particularly pleasing. But the show is still in desperate need of an editor. With each image jammed together, lines swirling in every inch of every frame, it all starts to feel more claustrophobic than utopian. Had the images been given more space, there would have been more opportunity for the reflection and rumination that these works demand. Enlightened works of art, unfortunately, do not always make for enlightened exhibitions.

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

Dallas Contemporary, Dallas
Through August 8

By Alison Hearst

SEEDLINGS, 2010, Dallas Contemporary, Installation view (left) David BrooksStill Life with Cherry Picker and Palms, 2009/2010, (right) Virginia PoundstoneIlliquid, 2009.

A seedling is a young, freshly sprouted plant slated for greater growth – growth that is both rooted and aimed towards the sky. SEEDLINGS, curated by Regine Basha, is the current exhibition at the Dallas Contemporary’s relatively new building. Included are works by New York-based artists David Brooks, Jedediah Ceasar, Hilary Harnischfeger, Christopher Ho, Virginia Poundstone, Gilad Ratman and Lucy Raven, as well as Texans Hilary Berseth and Jessica Halonen. As the exhibition’s title indicates, the artists are all emerging, budding talents. Comprised of video, sculptures, installations and works on paper, the show explores contemporary environmental issues. The works themselves are engaging and thematically grounded, focusing in on the various collaborations and clashes that result from the increasing juncture between the natural and the man-made.

David Brooks’ Still Life with Cherry Picker and Palms (2009/2010) greets the viewer in the large, lofty main gallery. The industrial cherry picker’s arm is outstretched towards the ceiling, cradling a dozen or so live palms in its basket. Cramped within the basket and smashed against the ceiling’s rafters, the palms illustrate uncomfortable amalgamations of industry and nature, and the familiar, yet forced inclusions of nature in unnatural habitats (like galleries, for instance). Also touching on such themes, albeit in a more harmonious approach, are Hilary Harnischfeger’s captivating works that pair raw minerals with man-made media. Like Harnischfeger’s other two pieces in the exhibition, Mantle (2009) is a wall panel that, from a distance, reads like an abstracted landscape painting. Once approached, however, the works are entirely object-like. Mantle resembles an exaggerated topographical map made from layers of handmade paper, embedded rose quartz and muddy toned ink washes. Harnischfeger uses natural materials to her advantage, which, contrary to Brooks’ piece, effortlessly synchronize with the man-made.

The two video works, Gilad Ratman’s The 588 PROJECT (2009) and Lucy Raven’s China Town (2009) offer disparate portrayals of humans versus their ecosystems, which underscores an interesting duality within the exhibit. Ratman’s meditative film portrays several bog divers immersed in the swamp. The divers’ heads resemble mud bubbles as they emerge and blow grey mud through plastic tubing that’s attached to musical recorders; in turn, spooky, monotonous tones are emitted. The mud swathes the divers, rendering them anonymous and secondary within their seemingly unspoiled surroundings. Raven’s film, on the other hand, tracks the production of copper wiring from a Nevada mine to a Chinese smelter. Tracing this process through an animated series of photo stills, Raven depicts man’s conquest and exploitation of the earth for industry and commodity. Wound around a huge spool in the Chinese smelter, the copper’s end result could not seem further removed from its natural origins.

Illustrating man’s overt controlling and tailoring of the natural is Hilary Berseth’s sculpture, Programmed Hive #6 (2008). By fashioning an armature of wax and wire within a wooden box, Berseth allows bee colonies to create the sculpture by building their own natural, honeycomb hive on top of the artist’s man-made, “programmed” hive. The resulting oddly conical-shaped honeycomb sculpture is an alluring example of a prescribed, yet visually advantageous collaboration between the artist and the bees. Part of an exhibited suite of gouaches on paper, Jessica Halonen’s RxGarden: Untitled (VePesid) (2009) juxtaposes brightly colored octagonal shapes with whimsical, leafy organic branches. While subtle in visual information and seemingly innocuous, Halonen’s RxGarden series sets to illustrate the genetic altering of plants in the pharmaceutical industry – humanity’s attempts to control and modify nature for the purported betterment of mankind, but also for a profit.

An odd inclusion (with audio often disrupting Ratman’s film) is the looped behind-the-scenes exhibition documentary in the back end of the gallery. Here, Basha explains the premise of the exhibition, the exhibition process, and how the guest-curator spot was offered to her even before the details of the new space were ironed out – a situation that manifests itself in the overall feel of the show. As the term “seedlings” also implies, many of the artworks look diminutive – dwarfed by the monstrous gallery space. This is an unfortunate effect that visually leaves the pieces struggling for the sunlight. Working with new spaces, however, often proves difficult and one should be forgiving as, overall, the works themselves are strong, and also because the Contemporary is a promising seedling itself.

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

Cameron Fuller
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis
Through August 8, 2010

By William J. Gass

Cameron Fuller, Installation view, Remembering Washington, From the Collection of the Institute for the Perpetuation of Imaginal Processes, 2010. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: by Torno Bros.

It is our virtue as critical beings that we are capable of discarding the flaws and biased ideologies of our recorded histories. An extreme view of this suggests that we should progress toward a totally PC-realm for institutionalized history; one where a “neutral” (or is it neutered?) historian recognizes his/her/its hegemonic privilege of record keeping and fact-issuing. Cameron Fuller, in his 2010 Great Rivers Biennial exhibition, From the Collection of the Institute for the Perpetuation of Imaginal Processes, recognizes the futility in this, and instead chooses to revel in a personalized pseudo-history couched in a DIY aesthetic. Though he borrows display strategies from natural history museums, he operates closer to a benevolent junk collector who presents his scavenged materials and artifacts as an amorphous, traveling exhibition of his own autobiography – subsuming all under the head of a constructed “institute” made up largely of his own friends.

Craft, utility and refuse are key to his distorting practice. In four components Fuller exhibits thrifted/retrieved objects that take on the aspect of relics, and that serve as attempts to concretize his own encounters with distant cultures, constructed histories, and ideas of nature. For example, the diorama As It Is presents purchased taxidermied animals in an imaginary, geometric, cosmic-natural environment in which he has successfully transmuted spools of antiquated adding machine paper into birch trees. Some of the objects within the installation Remembering Washington, in particular, are elaborately constructed out of no more than cardboard, gaffe tape, and paint marker but serve as interpretations of his memories of Pacific Northwestern cultural artifacts connected with his hometown. They manage to simultaneously resemble basement-conceived, packing material assemblages and priceless, historical antiquities.

Fuller’s work is not unlike Tracy Emin’s in its utilization of craft methods and its autobiographical exhortations. He reorganizes other people’s waste to construct a paean to formative moments of his childhood, to express a desire to retain a state of unadulterated purity, and to praise creativity. By presenting these objects in the context of an “institute,” he forces contemplation of refuse and personal memory. This precludes a dependence on the perceived value of his autobiographical content; if it weren’t for the obvious quality of craftsmanship in these pieces, little exists to warrant one’s contemplation of the institute as a whole. The modeling after a history museum is more a means to an end than an institutional critique.

According to an entrance document functioning as a masthead for the collection, the Institute for the Perpetuation of Imaginal Processes is also composed of his artistic-minded friends and loved ones. It is unclear their precise role in the exhibition, yet Fuller states that they are absolutely critical to its realization, due to a shared commitment to creativity and “not knowing.” His institution is closer to a community quilt that stitches together his interests, desires, and memories. What does make his show successful is its lack of adherence to a particular “-ogical” agenda, outside of an objectification of nostalgia that is treated both with a curious child’s touch and a crafter’s X-Acto knife. The Institute is fun, yet with a tinge of gloomy sentimentality. Biographies and waste are hardly static, and none of these are arrested to a permanent past. They just need the influence of an open imagination to re-evaluate their potentials.

William J. Gass is a writer based in St. Louis and assistant at Snowflake gallery.

project space

Leigh Brodie

By Risa Puleo

“What the eye does is to find and focus on the particular subject within the mass of reality; what the camera does is simply to register upon film the decision made by the eye.”
--Henri Cartier Bresson, The Decisive Moment, 1952

The notion of the “decisive moment”—Cartier Bresson’s term to describe the moment when the astute photographer captures and records captures life as it arranges itself into a “rigorously organized” picture--posits that there is an optimal time to photograph an event. Assuming Cartier-Bresson’s assertion is a valid hypothesis, Leigh Brodie uses custom computer visualization software to quantify the qualitative. Brodie--who recently moved from Austin to Los Angles—establishes a set of criteria processed through a series of algorithms to identify such "decisive moments" from a stream of images. In her most recent work for this project, Brodie has staged and recorded actions with definitive outcomes: the roll of a pair of dice, the breaking of a wishbone and a game of rock, paper, scissors. Through the process of translating IRL images[1] into digital information Brodie begins to dismantle the romance surrounding the photographer-auteur and recognize the machine-eye for its part in image construction.

[1] “In real life,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_life.

Risa Puleo is Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Blanton Museum of Art

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.

Cordy Ryman
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Opening Reception July 17, 6 - 8pm

Rooted loosely in minimalism and abstraction, Cordy Ryman's paintings and sculptures address elements of architecture with rich texture and a unique color palette. His intuitive and spontaneous process is propelled and determined primarily by the characteristics of his media. Manipulating materials such as wood, metal, Velcro, Gorilla Glue, staples and scraps from his studio floor, Ryman's assemblages convey his hand in physical and humorous ways.

Sam Sanford
Sofa Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 17, 6-9pm

Sam Sanford’s recent paintings and videos are just as much about outer space—celestial bodies, the desolate surface of the moon, the Apollo space landing—as they are about inner space—the human yearning for grand revelations, the psychology of the spacefarer, and the view of Earth as a tiny and fragile world. Central to Sanford’s exhibition is the tension between material phenomenon and cosmic mysticism—the human search for the spiritual unknown within a scientific world-view.

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.

Austin on View

Faith Gay and Raymond Uhlir
d berman gallery
Through August 21

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. Artist talk July 24th @ 1pm.

Cody Ledvina
Okay Mountain

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.

Michael Merck
Big Medium
Through July 24

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.

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.

Carole McIntosh Sikes
AMOA at Laguna Gloria
Through August 23

Carole McIntosh Sikes's recent paintings are lucid, rhythmic abstractions of nature that capture such moments as the vertigo of looking upward through an arbor at a crystal blue winter sky or the minutia of a simple pile of sticks. McIntosh Sikes was the first woman to earn a MFA in painting and printmaking at the University of Texas at Austin and has been an integral part of the Laguna Gloria Museum since its inception.

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.

Dallas Openings

Billy Zinser
Public Trust
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 17, 6-9pm

Billy Zinser's work is defined by a cartoonish approach to non-objective abstract painting intended to address color, line, and shape as the subject matter of the work, through simple gestures and automatic mark making. This exhibition will feature new paintings as well as the latest series of MACRODONS which are available in very limited quantity.

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.

Fort Worth on View

Wish You Were Here
Fort Worth Contemporary Arts
Through August 2

Wish You Were Here features photographs, installations, and sculptural objects that contend with diverse notions of distance, such as temporal distance and nostalgia, emotional and physical distance, relational distance and long-distance collaboration.

Houston on View

Seth Alverson
Art Palace
Through August 21

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
Through August 5

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.

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.

San Antonio Openings

David Shelton Gallery

A group exhibition including work by Judith Cottrell, Jonathan Faber, Sara Frantz, Dan Sutherland and Vincent Valdez.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

The Idea Fund
Workshops in August and September

DiverseWorks, along with Aurora Picture Show, Project Row Houses, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, is proud to announce the return of The Idea Fund for 2010-2011. This innovative re-granting program provides cash awards to 10 Texas-based, artist-generated or artist-centered projects that exemplify the unconventional, interventionist, conceptual, entrepreneurial, participatory, or guerrilla artistic practices that occur outside of the traditional frameworks of support. Workshops for the fund will be held in August and September with the call for applications to shortly follow.

Employment Opportunities

Preparator and Facilities Manager
Desired Start Date: August 15, 2010

Arthouse at the Jones Center seeks an experienced, organized and responsible individual to manage the physical preparation of exhibitions as well as general building maintenance. In addition to preparing galleries and installing artwork, he/she is responsible for packing, crating, and transporting artwork and hiring and managing temporary labor, outside vendors and contractors as needed. Qualifications include Bachelor's degree in art related field and 5 years of art handling, fabrication, and installation experience in a museum or gallery setting, or equivalent combination of education and experience. To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and a list of three references to info@arthousetexas.org. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please.

Fellowship Opportunities

USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Deadline: July 19, 2010

The USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program, funded by The Getty Foundation, is a midcareer education Fellowship for six arts, culture and entertainment editors, producers and writers from online, print, radio and television. Based in Los Angeles, the Fellowship is a total immersion experience that includes attending as many as 23 performances, art exhibitions and architectural sites. Participants will visit artists’ private studios, rehearsal rooms, architectural firms and art schools. Click here for more info.

Residency Opportunity

New Life Residency
Wooloo.org Team
Deadline: August 15, 2010

New Life Residency is the world's first non-visual residency program for artists. The residency is organized as part of Manifesta 8, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, and will take place this fall in the Region of Murcia, Spain. For one week each, five artists will be selected to live and work in a dark, visually distorted exhibition space. To support them in their life and work for the week, the artist will collaborate with a local Murcian assistant who is blind. Click here for more information.

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