MBG Issue #155: The Medium is the Mummy

Issue # 155

The Medium is the Mummy

October 15, 2010

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Mary Ellen Carroll, Prototype 180 site (mid-rotation), 6513 Sharpview Drive, Houston. Photograph by Kenny Trice.

from the editor

Two spectacular art events were slated to take place in Houston last week. The explosion on October 6 of Cai Guo-Qiang’s gunpowder drawing Odyssey, commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston for a hefty price tag, took place with a cast of over one hundred unpaid volunteers at an exclusive reception at a Houston warehouse (a video recap of the event is chronicled here). Across town, the performative climax of Mary Ellen Carroll’s project Prototype 180 was scheduled for that Friday, October 8. Carroll’s 180-degree rotation of an unoccupied mid-century house in Sharpstown is the centerpiece of a project ten years in the making that seeks to “make architecture perform.” The house will serve as an institute related to the project, which also includes prototypes for sustainable appliances, Carroll’s active participation in civic associations about land use policy and teaching stints in Rice’s architecture program.

Due to construction delays, the house rotation is being postponed. Nonetheless, the deferral and the dialogue surrounding these two Houston projects not only illuminate some of the key issues of not only the local art constellation, but also frame the questions included in this issue of …might be good.

According to Carroll’s statement on her website, Houston “self-selected itself” for a performative architectural work due to its liberal zoning policy and free enterprise market-friendly system—not to mention a history of support for publicly-sited works, due in no small part to the de Menils’ legacy. But unlike Cai Guo-Qiang’s highly visible project, a Texas-sized 42-panel drawing depicting bucolic landscapes like those found on traditional scrolls, Carroll’s public project does not traffic in easy legibility. Whereas Cai’s public lecture at Rice University on the project sponsored by the Chao Center for Asian Studies, entitled “Asian Culture in My Art,” was an opportunity for him to perform his humility and ethnic authenticity in a way that distanced him from an outright critique of spectacle and conspicuous consumption (conveniently, it included a VIP section for museum and university trustees), Carroll’s project confronts the legacy of public art and wastefulness head-on. Her gesture of rotating a house provokes skepticism from journalists and head-scratching from a general audience, but in so doing, it productively destabilizes the dichotomy that exists in Houston between the critical (coded as visually austere and exclusionary) and the community-based (coded as visually bombastic and intellectually accessible). This project’s embeddedness also affords us the opportunity to reconsider public art, its documents and legacy in a way that is truly performative—having consequences that extend into the future.

In this issue, our writers pose questions germane to Carroll’s project surrounding materiality and conceptual legacies. Barry Stone writes about the HRC’s symposium on constructing a history around (object-based) photography; I discuss Ruth van Beek’s playful interventions in the photographic archive; and Katie Anania explores Internet materiality on the silver screen and beyond the white cube. Allison Myers considers the critical impact of Interrupted Landscapes at Champion Contemporary and its place in the Austin arts landscape. Rachel Hooper applauds Sarah Oppenheimer’s architectural installation at Rice Gallery, and Jennie Lamensdorf offers her first of three installments of “The Third Site of Land Art” in our Artist’s Space. This critical reconsideration of the state of land art monuments extends to a conversation about Prototype 180’s monumental gesture in the suburban landscape, indebted as much to Gordon Matta-Clark as the earthworks artists.

Keep this dialogue in mind and check back next week for an interview by Lauren Hamer with Anna Craycroft on her Work/Space project at the Blanton. And in two weeks, look forward to our next issue devoted to Arthouse, which reopens on October 24 with a suite of exhibitions in a spectacular new building indebted to rethinking anarchitecture.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We regret that Allison Myers' review on Interrupted Landscapes at Champion Contemporary was initially run with fact-checking errors. Sonia Dutton has worked and continues to work as a curatorial advisor for the Artist Pension Trust. The exhibition at Champion Contemporary contains a video (Ben Green's I Know Where I'm Going, 2009) and two sculptural works (Anthony Sonnenberg, Beauty is not Benign (Excerpt), 2009 and Rosario López Parra, Piedras, 2005). The corrected version can be accessed here.

Wendy Vogel is Editor of ...might be good.


Anna Craycroft

By Lauren Hamer

Anna Craycroft, Subject of Learning/Object of Study (Installation view), The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin.

…might be good: Your work, Subject of Learning/Object of Study, was installed in the Blanton Museum’s WorkSpace since March. It was seen by thousands of visitors and was a site for workshops, events, happenings, meditations, etc. How have your thoughts about the project changed over the last seven months?

Anna Craycroft: In the first week of the show I participated in and lead a few workshops, and this definitely began to shift my thinking about the project. Seeing people use the toolschalk and chalkboards, chairs and rugs, books and toysand seeing others direct a group in the space through their own ideas all activated the exhibition in a way that surprised me. Of course it realized my intentions for the individual piecesto be sat on, drawn with, etc.but it also brought something more to the pieces than I could articulate, and that I am still trying to understand.

Generally speaking, though, I would say that even from the very first days of working on this project I felt I was exploring and being introduced to new ways of thinking about social and institutional engagement. I think even from our initial studio visit, curator Risa Puleo anticipated that I was going to want to get really involved with considering the museum galleries in a broader context. She was really instrumental in helping me figure out how to understand what form that could take, helping to find and involve people from different libraries and departments around UT. At every stage from conception to presentation this show has been supported by conversations with and contributions from interesting people with a diverse range of interests.

…mbg: In the critical response to Subject of Learning/Object of Study there was some apprehension about what one might call the purpose of the work, its position between theory and praxis. By this, I mean that it remained ambiguous whether the installation used pedagogy theoretically as the jumping-off point for a work of art or, on the hand, if this was more literally a space where teaching and learning had to occur. Could you speak to this distinction and whether or not it is useful for you?

AC: This ambiguity was intentional. The exhibition was supposed to do both: to blur the distinction between them.

The two reviews you are referring tothe Art Lies review by Ariel Evans and the …mbg review by Claire Ruudboth made some valid observations. However, it is difficult for me to apply their assessments to my work because I fundamentally disagree with the expectations each of them expressed regarding how an artwork should engage with and explain itself to the audience.

This is perhaps best summarized in points that both writers made about a lack of resolution in the ideas explored in the show. My intention was to provoke questions and not to draw any conclusions. Even the phrasing in the title of the show sets up this mutability through the unfixed grammatical use of the words subject and object. Whenever I put together a solo exhibition I am aiming for this unsteady place, where one effort or interpretation counters another and subject positions may be continuously uprooted.

Regarding pedagogy, I see the act of teaching and learning as a kind of role-playingin other words, as the conscious identification of oneself and others participating in one of the two positions allotted: teacher or student. From this perspective the distinction between a theoretical proposal and a practical application depends on the consent of the participants. Likewise the very existence and character of teaching and learningwhat it is, where it takes place, how it gets measuredare all subjectively and cooperatively determined.

Presenting the galleries as a potentially interactive space is a proposition for this consensual engagement. However, the presumption is not that teaching (i.e. the passage of knowledge from an expert to a novice) will take place, but rather that the proposition might draw attention to the spaces in which this type of social construct takes place (e.g. the classroom, the library, the museum gallery or the educational department of a museum.) It shouldn’t matter whether or not teaching and learning actually occur, so long as we can imagine that it might.

The schedule of programs that took place throughout the run of the show allowed for this proposition to not remain purely theoretical. In other words, speculating that some kind of educational event might happen was affirmed by the fact they actually did happen. In keeping with this speculative structure, many of these events were dreamed up and lead by people who had first been visitors to the exhibit.

…mbg: When thinking about pedagogy and art, and more specifically about a work that is both didactic and relational, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Edgar Wind’s essay, “The Fear of Knowledge” (1964). Do we still harbor a fear of didactic art, and do you feel there is mistrust (on the part of academic critics) as to what kind of learning can occur within a museum context?

AC: I think there is a very rigid expectation for what education should look and feel like, and how clear and resolved its questions and answers need to be. I think it would be really unfortunate if the making or appreciation of art were restricted to these same rules. The Romantic dream of accessing some pure and intuitive knowledge through naïve experience seems absurd, but the expectation that an artwork must engage in a comparatively logical thesis-conclusion progression when it participates in intellectual discourse seems just as absurd. Likewise, using didactic formats in art-making shouldn’t restrict the artwork’s function to a “didactic” interpretation. I’m for an art that can hold a conversation with scholarly inquiry, but that presents the opportunity to continuously reinvent how ideas or theories can be conceived, articulated, challenged and understood. I’m not arguing that art can generate radically new and previously non-existent forms, but art can reorganize, reorient and shift the way we see what we have grown used to.

…mbg: I felt that in some ways critical resistance to a pedagogical work of art was a matter of context. In Europe (particularly Germany and Austria, the home of Pestalozzi and Froebel) pedagogy is considered a discrete, complex and highly important area of study. Do you think there is room in art for more explorations into the pedagogicalinto its history, its forms and its phenomenology?

AC: Art as a practice (for the culture and the individual) is analogous to a pedagogical practice. It is a method of and structure for communication and social relations devised by visionary individuals to assist in the cultivation of citizens and the reinforcement of institutional power. So in some ways even talking about pedagogy in art is redundant. But yes, I think that because of these close parallels, there is much that art can shed light on in the field of pedagogy and vice versa.

The main reason that Subject of Learning / Object of Study focuses on early educational methodologies is because it is in these ideas that the artistry of pedagogical practice is most transparent. Montessori, Froebel and Pestalozzi all worked very much like artists. They developed a philosophy, an aesthetic, a production method (Pestalozzi’s drawing techniques, Froebel’s gifts, Montessori’s furniture and teaching tools), and with it an audience of attentions to capture and minds to mold. They observed the world, measured human capacity and translated these things into systems of quantification and communication.

Just as the artist and pedagogue share characteristics, so do the artist and the student. The moniker of artist enrolls us all into the clichéd “school of life”: always studying the world around or inside us and compulsively (or strategically) sharing our observations with others.

In the past six or so years there has been a growing trend in contemporary art that takes education as its subject. But I think a lot of these artworks and exhibitions are more about history and the structure of schools as institutions than they are about the field and practice of pedagogy. In this way, they do not address the overlap between art and education. In other words, they don’t touch on the invention of systems as a pedagogue/artist, or the development of the self as a student/artist). In my opinion this is because many of the artists, collectives and curators interested in education are primarily focused on higher education and art schools in particular.

It is more difficult to consider pedagogy as a form when talking about higher education because the practice (teaching and learning) is more removed from the subject (student and teacher/pedagogue). On the other hand, in early education there is no separation between the practice and the subject. Every tool is a direct representation of the philosophy of its maker, its time and the developmental stage of its user.

…mbg: Normatively, teaching in the museum falls within the realm of art education and public programs departments. Do you see Subject of Learning / Object of Study as radically different or in any way contiguous to these existing initiatives?

AC: I was trying to speak directly to the separation of the different departments in museums. Even though they are housed under the same roof and ostensibly have similar goals, these departments have distinct aesthetic systems and languages. I was musing on their differences, searching for overlaps and wondering if there was a way to bring them together. My solution was to literally create the platform for programming that was integral to the exhibition.

There is an incredible book by Norman Brosterman called Inventing Kindergarten that credits nineteenth-century early educational methodologies as an aesthetic influence on early modernism. I wanted to figure out how to articulate this overlap, because it already exists; we just don’t notice it because we see an Ellsworth Kelly on the walls a museum rather than in the hands of a five-year-old. It’s really funny to me that similar aesthetic systems can hold such radically different meanings, and can be marketed to such different audiences. I wondered what would happen if all three departmentscuratorial, education, public programminghad equal access to the same space.
…mbg: Where has your work turned since the WorkSpace installation? Do you think that any of these mediums or concepts turned out to be particularly influential on your current work?

AC: Most of the forms (shapes, color, furniture, teaching tools) of Subject of Learning / Object of Study were borrowed directly from the visual systems of pedagogues such as Froebel, Montessori and Pestalozzi, and the aesthetics of modernists such as Klee, Kandinsky etc. Now I’m really curious about how their logic and aesthetics came to be formed, specifically the more esoteric ideas beneath their practices. I’m wondering if I were in their shoeslooking to determine a visual system that somehow measured, conformed to and manipulated human development in the interest of cultivating individualitywhat systems I might construct.

Lauren Hamer is a graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin.


Interrupted Landscapes
Champion Contemporary, Austin
Through October 16, 2010

By Allison Myers

Interrupted Landscapes (exhibition view) at Champion Contemporary.

When gallery goers won’t let the taco truck leave, you know it’s been a good opening. Last month Champion Contemporary opened its doors with the group exhibition Interrupted Landscapes, and the Austin art community turned out in full force to welcome it. One of the more salient aspects of Champion’s programming is its dedication to displaying both local and international emerging artists—a strategy that succeeds here, despite the otherwise uninspired theme.

The exhibition takes a long view of landscape by setting nature-inspired images against conceptualized or politicized views of the land. Many of the works play nicely off each other. Shay Kun’s Ammunition (2007), a painting of a surreal warship at the foot of colorful, Lisa Frank-esque mountains, suggests the absurdity underlying the political landscape in Richard Mosse’s well-known documentary photograph of soldiers stationed at Iraq’s Uday Palace. Barry Stone’s circular, middle-gray intervention in an Ansel Adams photograph (2010) is especially compelling when compared to Scott Hocking’s Ziggurat (2010), a photograph documenting a pyramidal sculpture the artist built from decaying wooden blocks in an abandoned factory. Both Stone and Hocking use iconic images and appropriated materials to disrupt landscape. For Stone, this leads to questioning the truth-value of representation; for Hocking, it leads to an awareness of forgotten places and lost histories. Stone’s middle-gray intervention also engages with Adam Schreiber’s Lac du Flambeau, a photographic tondo placed directly opposite Stone’s. Where Stone’s circular form interrupts Ansel Adam’s photograph with its blankness, Schreiber’s work fills in the circle with a lush, leafy landscape—making for a fun visual game.

All in all, however, Champion’s inaugural show is more of a whisper than a roar. Despite the presence of some strong work, the exhibition feels too safe. On the whole, Austin is a city that values experimentation, and Champion would have done better to debut with something that had a little more punch. Even keeping the tried-and-true subject of landscape, a larger presence of sculpture or installation inside the gallery would have helped enliven the space. Also, though the show includes a video by Ben Rivers (I Know Where I’m Going, 2009), the work is cloistered next to the office area and doesn’t read visually as part of the exhibition. Rather than a cutting edge break into the scene, what Champion ended up with is a collector-friendly exhibition that doesn’t muster the kind of general excitement the gallery needs to survive.

I would like to add a word of clarification here: being collector-friendly is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a feature that makes Champion stand out. Alongside the gallery, Champion advertises an art advisory service, which includes representing clients at auction and placing works in the secondary market in addition to helping collectors and companies invest in contemporary work. Owner Sonia Dutton comes to Austin from New York, where she worked as a curatorial advisor for the Artist Pension Trust—a position she continues to hold from her new homebase in Texas. Her experience with the politics of collecting and her interest in placing these services at the front may prove to be the boon that keeps the gallery alive.

And really, beyond the first show, this is the question at hand for Champion: what does it need to survive? Austin has a quick turnover rate—of both galleries and artists—and only a handful of the galleries that have opened have stuck around long enough to become community staples, such as Women and Their Work or Lora Reynolds. Many people complain about Austin’s art scene being too small, too incestuous, too not-New-York-or-L.A. I’ve only been in the city three years and I’m already tired of hearing it. The first task in attacking this problem would be to ask ourselves, “Do we really have a problem?” Austin is small, for sure, but that smallness affords a community structure that is close, supportive and friendly. If that’s not enough, then we have to ask ourselves a second question: “What can we do to change it?”

According to Champion, what needs to change is contextualization and exposure. Showing Texas artists alongside international or national artists engenders dialogue and establishes our currency within a larger conversation. Likewise, introducing Texas artists to more collectors and museums produces exposure, which provides more opportunities for contextualization. Right now many Austin-based artists find gallery representation in New York, bypassing any chance for the city itself to become an arm in the game. Champion aims at making the Austin art scene more self-sufficient and in turn, stronger. This is something I heartily applaud.

Despite the flatness of the first show, I have high hopes for Champion. Dutton has a fine program lined up for the coming months; a solo exhibition by our own Sonya Berg is up next. Let’s keep the openings packed.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We regret that this review was initially run with fact-checking errors, which have been corrected here.

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

Shaping the History of Photography
Harry Ransom Center, Austin
Through October 2, 2010

By Barry Stone

Collections, like histories, are inherently abstractions, pieces of a whole and subject to distortion. As part of its biennial Flair Symposium, the Harry Ransom Center hosted a three-day conference entitled “Shaping the History of Photography,” held in conjunction with and inspired by the exhibition Discovering the Language of Photography: the Gernsheim Collections. Acquired in 1963 by the University of Texas at Austin, the collection of Helmut and Alison Gernsheim consists of approximately 35,000 photographs, including what is considered to be the first photograph, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras, ca. 1826.

Contained in a dark reverent cubicle-like encasement at the HRC, Niépce’s heliograph must be viewed behind glass and at various angles in order to discern its ghostly image reflected by its mirror-like pewter surface. The “First Photograph,” like all the photographs in the collection, is at once an image and a revered object. Upon its discovery, Gernsheim was at pains to create a suitable reproduction that matched his grandiose visions for his collection. In an effort to offer a corrective for Gernsheim’s own extreme retouched graphic distortions, the HRC teamed up with the Getty Conservation Institute in 2002 to produce a more faithful, albeit inscrutable, digital iteration. This final reproduction, by virtue of its static nature, also fails to describe the object whose fidelity undulates with different angles of view. Seen in aggregate in the HRC exhibition, four variants of the “First Photograph”(1952-2002) offer a close description of the illusive experience of viewing the piece itself. In doing so, this process parallels the murky process by which a history of image/objects is constructed.

Helmut Gernsheim was a man with a mission. Through his prolific writings and the gathered material support of his collection, he worked tirelessly and polemically for over 25 years to advocate for photography as a field of academic study and aesthetic inquiry. Gernsheim literally wrote the book(s) on photographic history. His descriptions of photography’s beginnings and techniques are considered invaluable and still stand as definitive.

In addition to the pursuit of legitimacy, Gernsheim had another agenda. He wanted to show a teleological aesthetic progression of photography as art form. For him, the legacy began with the naïve pictorial images created by the medium’s early practitioners and ultimately culminated in the New Objectivity movement. This problematic historiography was rarely dealt with head-on at the symposium, with the exception of Steven Hoelscher, the Academic Curator of Photography at the HRC, who offered a mild rebuke of Gernsheim’s methods in his concluding remarks.

Many of the symposium’s attendees and panel members were party to and inspired by Gernsheim’s struggle. While prejudices still remain toward the medium (and Gernsheim’s historical methodologies) today, it is in part thanks to his efforts, along with those of the speakers and organizers, that photography is finally recognized as a bona fide academic discipline and fine art. In this light, the conference itself could be considered a victory lap taken by the organizers of the event (David L. Coleman, the Curator of Photography at the HRC, and Roy Flukinger, the HRC’s Senior Research Curator of Photography, whose 354-page fully illustrated catalogue The Gernsheim Collection was published to coincide with the symposium and exhibition).

The symposium panels covered various topics concerning the important roles collections play in creating a place for critical and cultural inquiry. Alison Nordström, the curator of Photographs at George Eastman House, suggested during the panel on historiography that despite the panelists’ varied biases and occupations, their interests meet at the study of the object: the print. James B. Colson, the longtime documentarian and educator, responded provocatively by raising the question of the move away from an image/object discourse into a digital conversation, causing the crowd to collectively gasp and laugh in unison.

This symposium was a celebration of physical material: image/objects that have been coveted and canonized. The collection consists of hard-won beautiful fragments from which Gernsheim assembled a linear narrative of an autonomous and insular field of artistic production. Through its sheer mass and breadth, the Gernsheim collection offers a myriad of possible opportunities to excavate new histories from within its important holdings. There was so much to be discussed of the remnants of the past, however, that there was little time left for the consideration of the medium’s present state, much less its future or interaction with other media. If photography was once the misunderstood underdog that now commands the museum floor, must it only be evaluated in relation to itself?

Indeed, photography is an extremely popular endeavor; arguably everyone who owns a cell phone is a now a photographer. At auction houses, contemporary art photographs fetch millions of dollars. Gernsheim would no doubt be happy to note that even art historian Michael Fried has turned his critical pen toward photography. The medium is so omnipresent today that we are seeing a backlash of sorts in the form of pronouncements of its imminent demise, as evidenced in SFMOMA’s recent symposium held last April, “Is Photography Over?” As we tread more deeply into the digital age, it is ironic that as we celebrate its historical arrival, object/image-based photography breaks the tape at the finish line of legitimacy only to stumble and fall into its own grave.

Barry Stone is an artist based in Austin and Assistant Professor of Photography at Texas State University, San Marcos.

Ruth Van Beek
Okay Mountain, Austin
Through October 16, 2010

By Wendy Vogel

What’s with the rock coozy? I asked myself in front of Le monde sans soleil (2009), the black-and-white series of Inkjet prints tacked to the walls of Okay Mountain’s back room. The most straightforward work in Ruth van Beek’s exhibition The Great Blue Mountain Range (the Dutch artist’s first in the United States), the series contains images from the Spaarnestad photographic archive that are enigmatic, seemingly flatfooted, strung together in an amusing visual sentence. The image of a black, smoothly glazed stone tucked snugly into a knit case (a pet rock’s sleeping bag?), third from left, found itself among four images of disembodied human hands clutching various minerals, a picture turned on its side of two boys atop a boulder, a cluster of diamonds twinkling against a solid black background, a crumpled crossword puzzle and three lace handkerchiefs worked subtly into improvised sculptural gestures. The formal rhythm between the oblong prints echoed the subtle equivalence between body, earth and gesture contained therein: images of a search for empirical knowledge played against each other with a decidedly female trickster’s hand.

Images of rocks are present throughout The Great Blue Mountain Range. Megaliths ordinarily are mute, but as Robert Smithson remarked in “The Artist as Site-Seer,” his unfinished 1966-67 essay, these “prime objects” could contain not only precious resources and records of geologic time, but J.G. Ballard’s “noise of history” encoded by a mysterious language. Van Beek’s stones, rather than holding the symbolic keys to a prehistoric language, operate visually as playful surrogates of objecthood and occlusion itself.

Le monde sans soleil functions as a visual key to the rest of the exhibition. Two more small clusters of photographs, a brief two-channel digital slide projection, and vitrines of photo/objects round out the show. The vitrines, containing what might be considered photographic specimens culled from a swath of geologic time, contain snapshots of pets truncated into rock-like forms from vertical folds, domestic hobbyists and blown-up Internet printouts of crystal shapes collaged onto foamcore backing. Two re-photographed collages, untitled (orange) and untitled (yellow) (both 2009) depict simple interventions by the artist to existing images. Van Beek inscribes her authorship by gluing watercolors of rock-like shapes to found photographs, covering (in orange) what appears to be a cake stand and (in yellow) a sculpture atop a pedestal. In so doing, she strips the original meaning from both a domestic and an artistic trophy-stand, reclaiming pride of place through her blocky additions. Such collagist gestures become more complex and deft in her manipulation of tourist book pages and hand-sized apocalyptic scenes into stone-shaped origami, photographs of which are shown on the opposite wall.

Van Beek’s treatment of the photographic archive as a space for play and sculptural refashioning (particularly of such feminized, hand-sized objects as leisure tourist books and—in the vitrines—baby pictures and images by nature enthusiasts) hearkens back to the history of female collagists such as Hannah Höch and Martha Rosler. Yet instead of a deconstruction revealing the terror of the beauty industry or war, her images show an easy affinity for the techniques of scrapbooking and handicrafts and, in turn, a stubborn alliance with a material world and its possibilities for smart and critical permutations. Her interventions, subtle and low-tech, become (re-)photographs that enter the cycle of exchange and distribution of her archive. There, they allow her stone shapes’ muteness to speak once more, not the language of history, but a more personal, perhaps anthromorphic slang, like what you might imagine a pet rock whispering from its sleeping bag.

Wendy Vogel is Editor of ...might be good.

Sarah Oppenheimer
Rice Gallery, Houston
Through December 5, 2010

By Rachel Hooper

Photographs cannot convey the effect of walking around Sarah Oppenheimer’s architectural interventions. The first time I encountered her work, my senses were heightened dramatically as I looked down through a hole in the gallery floor at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh to glimpse the backyard of a neighboring house four stories below (610-3356, 2008). The intense awareness of my place in space was unforgettable, so I eagerly awaited the opening of Oppenheimer’s installation at Rice Gallery, expecting a similarly mind-blowing alteration of the gallery space. However, upon walking through the front door, I was surprised to find myself sheltered under a matte white aluminum structure that gently sloped from the window above me down through the facing glass wall into the main gallery space. As I circumnavigated the construction, however, there were two spots where its forms coalesced to frame specific scenes. From inside the gallery, at the point at the base of the slope, you can see sunlight, sky, and treetops through an asymmetric polygon cut in the window above the front door. And in the lobby to the left of the entrance, you can look through the sculpture into the glass wall separating the reception area from the gallery and see treetops and sky reflected back to you as if in a mirror. With such peaceful views and subtle optic manipulations, the artwork is a more mature statement from an artist known for more startling works.

D-17 is unique among installations I’ve seen at Rice in that it utilizes the full length of the museum from the front door to the back of the gallery. Previous installations, such as those by El Anatsui, Wayne White or Michael Salter, have only occupied the main gallery space behind the glass. It is the first time Oppenheimer was asked to work with an extant glass wall, and according to her artist talk, she came to realize that the glass is more translucent than transparent; consequently, glazes on the windows and interior glass wall filter the light coming into the gallery. The “hole” she built is not a puncture in the exterior wall as much as it is an alteration to the gradation of light that comes from the natural light (or darkness) outside the museum through the transition of the lobby to the incandescent light in the gallery. The matte coating on the aluminum catches the changing light throughout the day, while the channel through the middle of the construction pulls natural light into the main gallery space where it would otherwise be filtered by two glass walls.

Oppenheimer’s installation at Rice is less shocking and more ambitious than previous works in her series of holes. Visitors must rely on their careful perception to notice the muted colors and shadows cast by lighting that we would normally take for granted. Only then can one understand how the artist has inverted the normal viewing situation by bringing outside light in. The cut in the window also departs from the voyeuristic appeal of some of her previous works. Here, it frames a peaceful, natural scene instead of the legs of people walking above you as in VP-41 at Art Basel in 2009. D-17 is the kind of art that asks you to spend time with it. It provides a space for quiet contemplation distinct from the information overload that is all too common in museum exhibitions and installation art in general. Like James Turrell’s Skyspace (2001), which is newly reopened in the Heights, or Robert Irwin’s scrims, Oppenheimer has opened up a direct interaction between viewers and light, and D-17 is left as merely a trace of her intervention and an introduction to the conversation.

Rachel Hooper is the associate curator and Cynthia Woods Mitchell fellow at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.

Movies About [and made out of] the Internet
The Internet
Fall 2010

By Katie Anania

Social Network ; Catfish (stills from the movies).

The Social Network and Catfish’s primary audience will be Facebook fence-sitters—a group in which I include myself. Ambivalent folks like us are driven to madness by the fact that, while the website is a timesuck that destroys organic human relationships, looking at pictures of your married high school friends is just so damned compelling. Caught between indignant distaste and prurient delight, we convince ourselves that the only way we prevent losing our soul to the experience of something like Facebook is that our soul is extremely robust to begin with. Yes, we triumph over the machine. We have real lives and just augment them with this tool. We are solvent and whole. We will win.

This mantra rehashes the Rousseauian principle that institutions are corrupt and people are pure, and these two recent films about Facebook (or, rather, that use Facebook as their respective structuring principles) argue the same thing. David Fincher's biopic The Social Network is both an origins narrative about Facebook and a bildungsroman about its founders, and shows us that Facebook was co-invented by a flawed human being who was eaten by his own machine. Ariel Schulman's documentary Catfish invites us to see social networking as a web of seductive deception that strives to ensnare innocent young men, with only the purest of heart emerging unscathed. Each film first tricks us into thinking that all relationships are destined to be mediated in some way. At the end of each, though, the redemptive messiness of real-time interactions reveals online social networks to be legible, artificial and a thing against which true personhood is defined.

Catfish, the movie serendipitously released four weeks before The Social Network, was shot by the main character's brother. It was edited on Itunes and uses a Helvetica font and shots of Google Earth to illustrate the characters’ peregrinations. It has a gentle, instructional quality, like the how-to videos for Mac software. The Social Network, by contrast, is all pulsing synth beats and imperial dread; Trent Reznor's soundtrack has us convinced that Harvard undergraduates are going to hack into our bedrooms and steal our underwear. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, played in The Social Network by a terse and intense Jesse Eisenberg, is a 19-year-old Harvard sophomore cobbling together a Frankenstein of a program that destroys the few tenuous friendships with which he began college. Nev Schulman, the 26-year-old New York dance photographer who has a relationship over Facebook with 19-year-old Wisconsin horsewoman Megan Faccio in Catfish, is so dreamy and genuine that we plead for him to be all right in the end.

Both characters are believers, delicately dancing with the online tools that help and beckon them. Both are men, which is significant. Their battles with The Internet reveal and produce different permutations of masculinity (the tortured outsider, the naïve romantic), in a backdrop composed by The Internet itself—specifically, shots of Facebook’s blue-and-white interface. Ultimately it is Marc Zuckerberg's character that rejects Rousseau's plea for innocence and purity, confirming to Facebook fence-sitters that Facebook is a foreign system to be treated with caution.

Proposing online social networks as a natural backdrop for coming-of-age stories bears consideration for the art world, because its institutions have quickly assimilated social networks into exhibition programming. MoMA's current collaboration with the Conflux Festival, for instance, in which the museum and surrounding areas will become sites for a “stealth” augmented reality exhibition, will take place during an Abstract Expressionism show drawn from MoMA’s collection. The Conflux project, whose premise is derived from Situationist notions of psychogeography, seems to tow the line between empowering viewers to create new realities, and making those realities contingent on purchased tools like smart phones. It will be interesting to see whether the Ab-Ex show will problematize the Conflux project or be assimilated into it. Facebook fence-sitters will certainly enjoy the concession that even a movement like Ab-Ex that wholly rejected group participation can be better enjoyed through social networks. These two recent Facebook parables, though, confirm for us what we suspected all along: this tool is most productive when it remains estranged, or at least legible from a distance. You know, to stave off the corruption of our robust souls.

Katie Anania is an art critic and doctoral student in Art History.

project space

The Third Site of Land Art

By Jennie Lamensdorf

Images of ‘60s and ‘70s land art feature colossal works in epic landscapes that are easy to imagine as pilgrimage sites. Most of us, however, will only ever know these works from a handful of archival photographs. Other than the chronicling of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) since the Great Salt Lake first swallowed it in the early 1970s, documentation of land art rarely portrays the work as changing or as an active system. Nevertheless, over the past few decades land art has eroded, cracked, grown, and even in some cases, such as Walter de Maria’s Las Vegas Piece (1969), all but disappeared.

When Smithson articulated his theory of Site/Nonsite in 1968, he invested the site and its referent, the nonsite, with equal weight. Site/Nonsite relationships overcame the impossibility of displaying an earthwork in a gallery. Today, this duality expands to include a third site revealing the temporal nature of land art. The third site is the current reality or configuration of the work.* The third site is not static and its manifestations are rhizomatic, nourishing and emboldening each other.

Land art is active artwork. As such, one cannot accurately describe or know it from one moment to the next. In that sense, it is non-objectifiable beyond specific impressions. The descriptions below are linked to the conditions under which I visited them in September 2010.

Michael Heizer’s Double Negative (1969) is cut into Mormon Mesa in the Mojave outside Overton, Nevada. The archival photographs show either an expansive aerial view of the mesa that emphasizes the thrust over the ravine that Double Negative bridges, or are framed to accentuate the size of the excavated space. An iconic image features a solitary figure contemplating the precipice, completely engulfed by the space.

What first struck me about Double Negative was how negligible its size really is when compared to the scale and vastness of the surrounding landscape, particularly to the Virgin River Valley to the North. Today, standing on the mesa, you don’t feel like Heizer conquered the land. Instead, you notice how nature is reclaiming what is hers. The wind erodes the once-sheer wall faces to reveal hidden layers of stratified geology. Huge boulders rest in Double Negative and creosote and sagebrush grow inside and up the ramps. Due to all the collapsed rock, the ramps are no longer forty-five degrees but resemble terraced staircases. The walls of Double Negative create the only shade on the mesa; rattlesnakes, lizards, insects, scorpions and human visitors seek shelter within. At night, the horizon is illuminated with light pollution from Las Vegas and Mesquite, Nevada. Looking upon Double Negative you might think that you are visiting the traces of an archeological site.

It’s fair to say that nature succeeded in taking back Las Vegas Piece. The work is gone save for a few unnaturally straight lines of rock that edge what was once a six-foot-wide bladed line in the Tula Desert northeast of Las Vegas. It is important that viewers still return to this site despite the near total disappearance of the work. The third site preserves the memory of Las Vegas Piece and provides material for dialogue beyond the entrenched rhetoric of the era.

The go-to image of Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1976) features the solstice, when the tunnels line up and encircle the sun with a concrete halo. Today, Neo-Druids worship here and gun aficionados tattoo the industrially fabricated tunnels with unintentional black and grey drawings. Evidently, they rest the barrel of their weapons against the interior wall of the tunnels and fire -- the bullet paths are legible from the impact point then swirl through the tunnel leaving trails that conjure skateboard wall rides and cave paintings. This unanticipated life of the work is part of the third site experience.

Holt still owns and maintains this work; patches on the tunnels reveal recent restoration. The collective knowledge of past Land Arts of the American West journeys uncovers more interventions than my visit alone could reveal. A year ago the tunnels’ center point was disturbed and their foundations exposed. Since land art is an active system, the third site operates as an archive and collective memory that preserves its innumerable iterations.

In “serious” conversation about land art, we limit ourselves to the era of a work’s creation. But there are forces operating beyond the intentions of the artist that do not regularly appear in the discourse. The third site is an archive of land art’s mutability and it grows with time as the sites evolve. A simple Google search will reveal a host of images that document recent travels to many of these sites. The third site creates a space for richer dialogue that we otherwise inhibit by having an immobile perspective of land art. The conversation should expand to include an active and experiential way of reading works that are too often portrayed as fixed.

* My concept of the third site is indebted to the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Jennie Lamensdorf is a graduate student in Art History at the University of Texas and a 2010 participant in the Land Arts of the American West Program.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Tony Feher
Opening Wednesday, October 27

For his Arthouse commission, New York-based artist Tony Feher has activated and transformed a typically overlooked architectural space - the void between the ceiling and supports - through a carefully considered deployment of everyday objects.

Jason Middlebrook
Opening Wednesday, October 27

For his Arthouse commission, New York-based artist Jason Middlebrook transforms detritus from the building’s renovation into sculpture, dining furniture, and other functional objects, all of which combine to evoke the history of the Jones Center and its longstanding importance as a gathering place for the Austin community.

Mequitta Ahuja
Opening Wednesday, October 27

Also on view at Arthouse, Automythography II (2010). Enamel and glitter on paper. Located on the first floor gallery.

Cyprien Gaillard
Opening Wednesday, October 27

Continuing the Paris and Berlin-based artist’s longstanding exploration of the built environment, this non-narrative film focuses on Cancún’s anachronistic and decaying landscape as a symbolic site of memory and loss.

Ryan Hennessee
Opening Wednesday, October 27

Commissioned specifically for Arthouse’s second floor video projection screen, Austin-based artist Ryan Hennessee has created a looping video animation that cleverly reimagines and collapses the past, present, and future of 700 Congress Avenue.

James Sham
Opening Wednesday, October 27

Close Caption, a witty video that addresses issues of language, translation, and mistranslation via DJ Kool’s song “Let Me Clear My Throat,” inaugurates Lift Project, a series of short video works shown in Arthouse’s new passenger elevator. Part of LIFT Projects, located in the elevator.

Sonya Berg
Champion Contemporary
Opening Thursday October 21, 7-10 PM

Sonya Berg's epic large-scale graphite and charcoal drawings and miature oil paintings depict swimming pools devoid of water alongside a maelstrom of gushing waterfalls. In addition, Video Program 002: New Yorker Rashaad Newsome's Shade Compositions

Losing Faith
Visual Arts Center (Center Space Project)
Opening Reception: Friday, October 29, 6-9pm

An exhibition of recent work by TJ Hunt and Landon O’Brien that examines what it means to self-identify as an artist in the current pluralistic artistic climate, questioning notions of originality and cultural value in a social economy that has largely lost confidence in the power of art as a vehicle to promote a message or enact change.

John Kingerlee
Visual Arts Center (The Arcade Gallery)
Opening: October 29

The Visual Arts Center is proud to present a solo exhibition of abstract, narrative and figurative paintings and mixed-media works by Anglo-Irish painter John Kingerlee, curated by UT alumnus William Zimmer. This survey of Kingerlee’s work includes paintings the artist executed after moving to the remote Beara Peninsula in southwest Ireland in the early 1980s.

Amanda Ross-Ho
Visual Arts Center (Vaulted Gallery)
Opening Reception: Friday, January 28, 2011, 6–9 pm

During the course of this evolving on-site work, Amanda Ross-Ho will invite viewers to become participants in an ongoing examination of the boundaries of the white cube, the direct and indirect products of creative expression, and the connectivity of the visual world. Her site-specific installation will transform the Vaulted Gallery into an active worksite dedicated to producing three basic elements: blank stretched canvases, simple hand-built ceramic vessels, and handmade paper. Ross-Ho collapses the life cycle of the creative process through the performative act of embedding the gallery with the energy of production. The three manifestations of the ‘empty’ space produced—canvas, vessel, page—will create an environment that both formalizes the ability for massive potential and serves as witness to mass activity.

Visual Arts Center (East and Mezzanine Galleries)
Opening Reception: Friday, November 5, 6–9 pm

The VAC presents Combined: Department of Art and Art History Faculty Exhibition, featuring recent work by faculty artists in Studio Art, Art Education and Design from the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. The exhibition will span both the East and Mezzanine Galleries to showcase a large number of works over a diverse range of themes and media that offer a rich survey of recent activity by the Department’s faculty artists.

Malcolm Bucknall
d berman gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, October 15, 6-8pm

Malcolm Bucknall’s exquisitely rendered, whimsical paintings and drawings explore themes of magic and transformation. This exhibition presents new works depicting the curious animal-human creatures that he is known for, in addition to showcasing a new direction working with pop culture icons.

2010 East Austin Studio Tour
Big Medium
Saturday, November 13 - Sunday, November 21, 11am-6pm

For nine days in November, artist studios, art galleries and theaters all over east Austin will open up their doors to the public for East Austin Studio Tour 9. E.A.S.T. is a celebration of east Austin’s art scene and a chance for the community to get a behind-the-scenes look at working artists’ spaces and processes. Visitors can purchase art, learn more about an artist’s specific tools and techniques, watch a demonstration or simply talk with an artist about his or her work. NOT to be missed!

Monster Show Five
Domy Books
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 30, 7-9pm

Come celebrate some spooky in style with Domy's Monster Show Five. Here you can find a list of all the featuring artists.

Austin on View

Virginia Yount
Women and Their Work
Through November 12

Austin based artist Virginia Yount presents paintings, collages, and sculptures that depict a near-future society of hoarders, shut-ins and escapists. The inhabitants of this world are ominously not present, or fearfully shutting out the toxic emptiness of their environment and hunkering down with their belongings for the coming storm.

Ry Rocklen
Visual Arts Center
Through December 18

Ry Rocklen’s installation of sculptures seeks to venerate the everyday materials and objects of the urban landscape, transporting an investigation of discarded domestic detritus into a constructed space of exaltation within the Vaulted Gallery. The marriage of traditional arts materials, such as highly polished tile and a patchwork floor quilt constructed from locally discarded pieces of used carpet, display his innate interest in geometry and the domestic space. The grouping of sculptures reflects Rocklen’s artistic processing of found components of the city, incorporating elements of Thai Buddhism and mystic rituals to explore our contemporary connection to commonplace objects.

New Works: Okay Mountain
Austin Museum of Art
Through November 14

Check out Dan Boehl's review on the show.

Conrad Bakker
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Through November 6

The carved and painted sculptures generated for this exhibition are meditations on work and leisure-each piece engaging both real and imagined economies. A large, one to one scaled portable roadside sign, like those advertising a sale, instructs the viewer to "RELAX AND TAKE YOUR TIME," nodding to textual strategies of artists like Bruce Nauman and John Baldessari. In the gallery, Bakker juxtaposes the flat shapes of this sign with an intricately carved and painted tomato plant-demonstrating a more delicate application of his sculptural practice. These sculptures are at once contemplative objects and hand made commodities that attempt to reveal how the production of things and the spending of time can engage the critical complications of advanced capitalism.

Ian O'Brien
Big Medium
Through November 5

Please join Big Medium for At Odds with My Principles, an anthropological and archeological peek into the history of Grip River, a town founded, developed and solely-run by the artist, Ian O’Brien. Since cultivating this society in 2007, O’Brien has begun to excavate its significant history and founder, while comparing Grip River to some of the remarkable civilizations of ancient times. The viewer is invited to discover the artist’s findings, such as a giant pencil catapult, pencil spears and straw spit shooters, which expose the town’s battle-weary past, compelling leader and the society’s effect on world history.

Austin Closings

Deconstruct + Reconstruction
Visual Arts Center (Mezzanine Gallery)
Through October 23

Deconstruct + Reconstruction features eight artists that challenge structure, conventions, and the idea of a totality. The works examine the decomposition of social conventions, domestic structures and art materials in physical and conceptual ways, and explore the act of dismantling as a path to reveal or expose new meanings through comparisons.

Interrupted Landscapes
Champion Contemporary
Through October 16

Champion's debut exhibition Interrupted Landscapes looks at depictions of wilderness versus man-made structures and explores tensions of perspective put forth through new paintings, drawings, photographs, and installation by twenty two local and international artists.

Morgan Jones
SOFA Gallery
Through October 22

In Morgan Jones' series of digital video and animated vignettes, Breaking Plains explores the fundamentals of image making and image reading—representation, perspective, and the corporeality of digital rendering. The revelation of the picture occurs through manipulation or, very often, the digital destruction of the picture. The morph and the drag. In this way, Jones uses the media to disclose the media—compression hacking, layering of pictures, and the inversion of landscapes. A meditation of pixelation.

Magali Lara
Through October 23

Hazy caresses of graphite on paper. Quiver of curved lines so meandering in animation and music as to interlace. In Glaciers, multimedia artist Magali Lara conveys sensorial excess as akin to her encounters with the colossal frozen mass found in Patagonia. Travel log of an experience, this work commands a voyage — drawings in blue and indigo to the sight and sound of ice collapsing. Insofar as drawings can trace an emotion, so too can music make metaphor of time’s reverberation: blue diamonds in crystalline water.

Anthony W. Garza
Closing Reception: Friday, October 15, 7-11pm

A showcase of graphite and paper, Anthony Garza presents a series of new drawings. Simple and sublime, he beautifully renders objects of prehistoric nature. Presented by MASS Gallery and Co-Lab.

San Antonio on View

Matthew Ronay
Through January 2

Matthew Ronay's art occupies a space where illustration, tableau, sculpture, and installation all intersect in harmonious indifference to one another. Since 2004, his arrangements of discreet, colorful, mutated objects have evoked wild manifestations of surrealist imagination and hallucinogenic visions, with distended narratives designed to provoke or even outrage viewers through their irreconcilable compositions and outrageous imagery, such as drooping anuses skewered on a pole. Indeed, like Dada and Surrealist artists earlier in the 20th century and American Funk musicians of the 1970s, whose work employed metanarrative, metaphor, provocation, and fantasy as devices for addressing human behavior in times of social upheaval, Ronay's work has been a manifesto of the spirit, screaming back at us with pieces that suggest that fear, pain, and violence have replaced pleasure in a society increasingly indifferent to war and terrorism.

This Is Not A Photo Show
Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center
Through November 6

Paying homage to Rene Magritte, This Is Not A Photo Show explores the tension between the photographer and the photographed, between the picture and its viewer, between the art and the artist-and like Magritte's work-it requires a rethinking of what art is, does, and means. This exhibition will showcase artists whose works investigate, and go around the traditional concepts of photography by pushing the boundaries of what is real and what is real-like. Seven artists working in photography, video, painting, and sculpture will be featured between both venues.

San Antonio Closings

Christopher McNulty
Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center
Through October 30

"My recent work explores the problem of knowledge and the limitations of Reason as a means of understanding both the internal and external world. In particular, I am interested in the mundane ideals that we encounter in our day-to-day lives, and how they structure our understanding of our physical, intellectual, and emotional worlds."

Houston Openings

Astroworld 1968
Optical Project
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 30, 5-7pm

Exactly five years ago, On October 30, 2005, Astroworld closed its gates for the last time; yet the Alpine Sleigh Ride, Le Taxi, Spinout, the Astrowheel, Astroneedle and the Lost World Adventure live on for the 50,000 Houstonians who visited the park on its opening weekend and the millions who followed them. Optical Project is commemorating this Houston landmark by presenting the park's original model, built in 1967 by Ed Henderson Productions. The model represents "The Wonderful World of Fun" as originally planned, with the attractions and rides in place for the grand opening of the park in June 1968. The model is based on the park layout designed by seminal theme park architect Randall Duell for Judge Roy Hofheinz, flamboyant developer of the Astrodomain. Henderson's model was used to help visualize the park's landscape during construction, and was then unveiled to the press in September of 1967 at Foley's Department Store. After the park's opening, the model resided in Hofheinz's private model room on the Astrodome's 9th level. When Astroworld was being dismantled in 2006, the model was found in a warehouse, sawn into six irregular pieces and covered in dirt. A friend alerted Henderson, and the model was returned to him. For this exhibition, Optical Project has dusted and re-assembled the model; we are looking for a buyer who has the resources to preserve and restore this bit of Houston history.

James Drake
Station Museum
Saturday, October 16, 2010, from 7-10 pm

James Drake’s videos, drawings, sculptures, poetry, and installations reflect his understanding of Man’s place in nature and the presumptions and the psychological struggle that often result in tragedy. In his works of art, James Drake’s personal journey across the harsh desert of self-reflection reveals the starkness of the political and social unrest afflicting Man.

Kirsten Pieroth
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through January 2

Berlin-based artist Kirsten Pieroth plays with the materials and histories of everyday objects—books, maps, bottles, maps, and furniture parts. Looking for loose connections and unexpected possibilities in and between commonplace things, she uncovers new opportunities for transformation and communication.

Homage: Roy Fridge, Jim Love, David McManaway
Moody Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 23, 6-8pm

A show honoring a few of the most influential figures in Texas contemporary art and beyond.

Dallas Openings

Tom Orr
Marty Walker Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 16, 6-8 pm

Marty Walker Gallery presents new sculptural constructions by gallery artist Tom Orr. Using industrial materials such as wood, metal, mirrors, and greenhouse glazing, Orr experiments with visual trickery of pattern, line, texture, and form as influenced by Conceptualism and Op Art movements. With strict deliberation and simplicity in assembly, Orr's installations evoke transcendent qualities of shadow and light, often employing subtle moiré effect of shifting lines and reflections.

Garland Fielder
Holly Johnson Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 16, 6-8pm

Garland Fielder’s work is meticulously crafted invoking a minimalist tradition. Keeping the palette to a minimum of elements and colors, his methodology is elegant and refined. His art explores mathematical and geometric principles and is primarily concerned with the optical decision making process. The extraction of line and the flattening out of structural elements are ways in which he plays with the phenomenology of formal expectation. The exhibition, Modulations, is inspired by this formal play between both two and three dimensionality.

Jules Buck Jones, W. Tucker, and Christopher Blay
Conduit Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 16, 6-8pm

Conduit Gallery exhibits work from three Texas artists. For Jules Buck Jones’ second one-person exhibition at Conduit Gallery, the Austin artist draws inspiration for the drawings and sculpture directly from his 2009 residency in Everglades National Park in Florida’s southern swamp region. Austin based artist W. Tucker’s drawings tell two stories; one is of the materials he works on, found materials such as book covers, slatted wood blinds, drawer fronts and wood and the idiosyncratic cast of characters he draws on these materials. Part site-specific sculptural installation, part performance and part relational art, Fort Worth artist Christopher Blay will present, Time Machine Beta, rare opportunity for gallery visitors to travel through time into the past, present or future.

Dallas on View

Vernon Fischer
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Through January 2, 2011

Vernon Fisher: K-Mart Conceptualism is a survey of the artist’s entire career to date, incorporating paintings, sculptures, and installations from the late 1970s to the present, from both public and private collections in the United States and Europe.

Dallas Closings

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Dunn and Brown Contemporary
Through October 23

The Trenton Doyle Hancock's Work While It Is Day For When Night Cometh No Man Can Work will include recent works on paper, paintings, sculpture, and site-specific installations. For this exhibition, Hancock will create installations in both gallery exhibition spaces - the Project Gallery and the Main Gallery. Following the close of the exhibition on October 23, 2010, the works from the show with Dunn and Brown Contemporary will be included in a one-person museum exhibition for Hancock organized by the USF Contemporary Art Museum.

Marfa on View

Ballroom Marfa
Through February 20, 2011

Ballroom Marfa is pleased to announce the opening of Immaterial, an exhibition that will focus on the physical and psychic tensions between form, color, and space across varied visual and structural mediums. Curated by Executive Director Fairfax Dorn, the exhibition seeks to examine the metaphysical aspects of artistic production through a selection of artworks that challenge the use of material and space, formalism and abstraction. By using the exhibition as a forum to contemplate process-driven practices, Immaterial will consider art's potential to transcend conscious states through a plurality of visual languages

New York on View

William Lamson
The Boiler
Through November 14

For this project, William Lamson followed the trajectory of the sun while focusing it's beam through a lens into a 1600-degree point of light, thus, creating a drawing in the dessert, formed by the melted black glassy substance from the dry dessert mud. This new work continues the investigation of using natures forces in the act of mark-making that begun with Automatic, exhibited at Marty Walker Gallery in Dallas, a project where Lamson harnessed the wind and ocean to power makeshift drawing machines.

Announcements: events

Austin Events

Arthouse Reopening Party
Friday, October 22, 2010, 10pm
Admission: Tickets: $125

Arthouse at the Jones Center reopens this October with an expanded and newly renovated building by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects. Full bar, fancy desserts, and a performance by MEN. Not to be missed.

Arthouse Public Opening
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Admission: free

Arthouse opens its doors to the public for a fun-filled day featuring innovative inaugural exhibitions, live music, art workshops, and more. A full day of fun-- click here for the full schedule.

Turning the Tables on Unsustainable Attainment
Women and Their Work
Wednesday, October 20, 7pm
Admission: free

Join us for a conversation with three area Psychotherapists Gemma Marangoni Ainslie PH.D., ABPP, Mary Holman, MA, LPC, and Naomi Freireich, LCSW. By creating magically gorgeous paintings Virginia Yount inspires us to admire and collect work that paradoxically addresses issues of the disordered collecting that is hoarding. Topics of discussion include various conscious and unconscious motives for hoarding, including traumatic loss, memorializing, a compulsion to acquire, and as an effect of isolation. This community panel will discuss how Yount's artwork turns the tables on hoarding.

Artist Talk and Screening: Walead Beshty and Dawn of the Dead
Blanton Museum of Art
Thursday, November 18, 2010, 7pm
Admission: free

Los Angeles-based artist Walead Beshty gives a talk on George Romero’s cult classic Dawn of the Dead. Starting with his Dead Mall series, Beshty has been photographing abandoned locales like the deserted Iraqi mission in East Berlin and vacant shopping centers, places he calls “our modern ruins." The talk will be followed by a screening of the film.

San Antonio Openings

Ballad of the Non-Specific Object
David Shelton Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 16, 6-9pm

Curated by Anjali Gupta.

San Antonio Closings

Road Show Houston
David Shelton Gallery
Through October 23

We are pleased to announce our first travelling exhibition, Road Show Houston, featuring works by Austin-based artists Jonathan Faber and Sara Frantz; Houston-based artist Augusto Di Stefano; and San Antonio-based artists Judith Cottrell, Jayne Lawrence, George Schroeder, and Vincent Valdez. Utilizing a variety of disciplines, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and video, the artists create relevant, insightful, and stunning art that, while conceived through a diverse set of realities, is greatly complementary. Their work conveys thought-provoking messages-based on experience, imagination, and hope-that are at times serious, often humorous, and always intriguing.

Dallas Events

Mary Ellen Mark: Artist's Lecture and Image Presentation
Richland College, Fannin Performance Hall, F102
Thursday, October 28, 7pm
Admission: free

Richland College is proud to present international photographer Mary Ellen Mark at 7 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 28 in the Performance Hall. This free, public event will include a lecture, reception, book sale and book signing. Mark has achieved worldwide visibility through her numerous books, exhibitions and editorial magazine work. She has published photo-essays and portraits in publications including LIFE, New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair.

Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas: CADD BUS TOUR #2
Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas
Saturday, November 13, 10am-3pm
Admission: $50/ticket

Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas announce CADD BUS TOUR #2 on Saturday, November 13th, 2010 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Your tour guide for the day is Patricia Meadows and boxed lunch is provided by Wendy Krispin Caterer. You will begin your day promptly at 10:00 a.m. at Craighead Green Gallery, 1011 Dragon Street in the Design District. Craighead Green Gallery will feature glass artist Pearl Dick, photographer, Kenda North and painter, Jeanie Gooden. Guests will park and begin the tour at Craighead Green Gallery. Your next stop will be at the art studio of Marla Ziegler in Oak Cliff; followed by a stop at 500X near Fair Park, featuring the work of Nate Glaspie and Tiffany Wolf in the main galleries, and Matt Clark and Thomas Feulmer in the project spaces, then downtown to stop #4 at the law firm of Stutzman, Bromberg, Esserman & Plifka (Collection tour given by John Reoch), and your last stop will be at Holly Johnson Gallery featuring the recent paintings and sculpture of Garland Fielder. The bus will deliver guests back to Craighead Green Gallery after the final stop to retrieve their cars.

Announcements: opportunities

Call for Entries

Art City Austin
Art Alliance Austin
Deadline: November 1, 2010

Art Alliance Austin (established 1956) is accepting visual artists' applications for participation in its highly anticipated, annual art festival. Art City Austin will be held April 2-3, 2011 in the heart of downtown Austin and the 2ND Street Retail and Shopping District. All applications must be submitted through www.zapplication.org. For more details, click here.

L Nowlin Gallery
Deadline: October 30, 2010

L. Nowlin Gallery and Austin Photography Group present “Storytelling”, a group exhibition exploring the narrative; an important element in human connection and communication. Photographers are asked to create a single image that tells a story. Open for interpretation. For more information, click here.

Official Texas State Artist
Texas Commission on the Arts
Deadline: November 1, 2010

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is seeking nominations for the positions of 2011 and 2012 State Poet Laureate, State Musician, State Two-dimensional Artist and State Three-dimensional Artist. All Texas citizens are encouraged to make a nomination, and self-nominations are encouraged. For more information click here.

Call for Proposals

Box 13 2011/2012 Call for Proposals
Box 13
Deadline: October 16

BOX 13 ArtSpace is currently accepting proposals for exhibitions in 2011/2012. Artists and curators are invited to submit recent (or proposed) experimental works not previously shown in Houston. Click here for the deets.

Open Review

Open Review with Toby Kamps and Michelle White
FotoFest Gallery
Friday, October 15, 2-5pm

...FotoFest and Houston Center for Photography invite all Texas photo-related artists to an open review this Friday, October 15, 2-5pm, with the Talent in Texas exhibition curators Toby Kamps and Michelle White from the Menil Collection. The reviews are happening at the FotoFest Gallery, 1113 Vine Street, Downtown Houston. Artists may present their work to the curators for a maximum of 10 minutes. Artists unable to attend the review in person may submit up to 10 images, short statement, and resume via email at texastalent2011@gmail.com.

Grant Opportunities

The Idea Fund
Deadline: October 15

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.

Houston Center for Photography Call for Fellowships
Houston Center for Photography
Deadline: November 5, 2010

Two fellowship recipients will be awarded $2,000 each and a solo exhibition at HCP in the summer of 2011. One Houston-based artist (residing within a 100 mile radius of Houston including Beaumont, Galveston, and College Station areas) will receive the Carol Crow Memorial Fellowship and another artist from anywhere in the world outside the Houston area will receive the HCP Fellowship. Jen Bekman and Jeffrey Teuton of Jen Bekman Projects (New York, NY), will jury the fellowship selection. For more information, click here.

Internship Opportunities

Art Lies Internship 2010-2011
Art Lies

The hours of the intern positions (8 to 10 hours per week) are flexible within our regular business hours and event hours. The internships are unpaid, but the benefits, in addition to publishing experience, include exposure to a wealth of information about the contemporary arts community, locally and internationally. Also, outstanding interns will receive a letter of recommendation at the completion of the internship, assistance with references on request and a free one-year subscription to Art Lies. For more information and to see which internship positions are available, please click here.

Employment Opportunities

ICA Curator of Programs
Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania

The Program Curator will: Work as part of the museum’s curatorial team to develop, implement, manage, and evaluate dynamic and relevant public programs that enhance ICA’s exhibitions in a flexible, imaginative, and multi-dimensional way. Initiate the transfiguration of ICA’s website into a meaningful extension of the museum and a limitless space for 21st –century programming. Identify and foster collaborations with the University of Pennsylvania community to present programs and events for academic and general public audiences. Conceive informative programs for high school and university student audiences, as well as train and supervise tour guides and docents. Help develop programming for museum members. Devise and execute surveys and focus groups to assess program effectiveness. Plan and monitor annual budget for programs. Supervise part-time education staff, student workers, interns, and volunteers. Requirements: BA in the history of art or related field required. MA in curatorial studies, museum education, history of art, or related field preferred. Three to five years experience in museum curatorial or education programming with a concentration in contemporary art required.

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