MBG Issue #156: Just Like a Filtering System

Issue # 156

Just Like a Filtering System

October 29, 2010

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Ryan Hennessee, The Specious Present at 700 Congress, 2010, Video animation commissioned by Arthouse. Courtesy of the artist. (detail)

from the editor

By the time this issue goes live, many of you in Austin will have already visited Arthouse at the Jones Center. After a long and suspenseful wait, the building, transformed by the New York-based architectural firm Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, reopened its doors last weekend in style. Thousands clamored to see the architectural trio's tour de force, a game-changer for museum spaces in Austin. Incorporating the history of the site with expanded gallery square footage, clean lines and unexpected architectural details, the building served as a conversation piece along with the art it showcased. Events included three evenings of requisite dinners and member receptions. And in true Austin spirit, those with some extra pocket change could come to the Friday night afterparty to enjoy a rooftop performance by Brooklyn-based band and art collective MEN. The weekend finished off with a host of public programs on Sunday such as workshops, performances, talks and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

This issue of …mbg celebrates Arthouse and its new programming through an artist-centered approach. While gathering material for this issue, I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss working in the new Arthouse with three artists whose works are currently on view. Commissions by two New York-based artists, Tony Feher and Jason Middlebrook, occupy the second-floor Sue Graze Gallery. My interviews with them illuminate differences in their approach but a similar sensibility: to create work that will activate a public and activate a space. Mequitta Ahuja, the sole painter whose work is currently on display, created a series that extends her inquiry into identity construction and interior and exterior spaces. The works in Automythography II are being shown for the first time at Arthouse, providing a visual and material contrast to both the video works on view and the reclaimed objects that occupy the second-floor space. Also in this issue, I’ll contribute notes about Arthouse’s history and innovations in the review section, and the Artist's Space will feature stunning photographs of the building.

Speaking of new notions about site and practice, I’ll leave you with a few teasers about our November 12th issue. In the reviews section, we’ll feature a collaborative response to the recent Creative Time Summit in New York. Sasha Dela, co-founder of the artist-run space Skydive in Houston, will interview the founders of PLAND, an off-the-grid residency program in Taos, NM. And also looking southwest, Jennie Lamensdorf will contribute part two of her project, The Third Site of Land Art, on reconsidering iconic land art works. Look forward to this and much more!

Editor’s Note: For the record, Fluent~Collaborative’s co-founder Laurence Miller and one of the organization’s principal funders are members of the Board of Directors at Arthouse.

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


Jason Middlebrook

y Wendy Vogel

Jason Middlebrook, More Art about Buildings and Food, 2010. Commissioned by Arthouse. Courtesy of the artist.

Jason Middlebrook’s project, More Art About Buildings and Food, will be installed in the second-floor Sue Graze Gallery at Arthouse from October 27 through January 16. He spoke with …mbg in September about his installation, then in progress.

…might be good [...mbg]: Can you explain the title of this work?

Jason Middlebrook [JM]: It’s called More Art About Buildings and Food, a riff on the Talking Heads album title of the same name, More Songs About Buildings and Food from 1977.

…mbg: Can you speak about your project at Arthouse in relation to your previous project at the University of California Riverside, Live Building?

JM: It was a very similar approach, where we removed material from one building that was slated to be demolished to be part of a museum expansion. That project was different, though, because I brought artists with me and each artist contributed their own sculptural objects. Here, there’s a little bit more diverse material, and I also collaborated in the sense that Arthouse found people for me to work with: a tech from UT named Rick Mansfield who is wonderful, and Margot Sawyer, who I stayed with. There were principle figures that helped pull this off, including the Arthouse staff, two different glassblowers, and a lot of Austin restaurants that helped supply the bottles. These bottles will be the platters on the tables that will serve food.

…mbg: Can you talk about the genesis of the project? Did you come up with an official proposal after seeing the building?

JM: Yes. Arthouse flew me down here right at the beginning of demolition, even before demolition. When I met with the contractor we walked around the building and looked at what was going to be thrown away. We saw a lot of steel; we saw glass; we saw wood. We flagged certain things to save, and from those materials, the inspiration formed.

The idea was that I would use old materials from Arthouse to look at the history of the building, the history of Texas, and this food thing developed out of it. I asked people for family recipes passed down, similar to the way that the building is kind of passed down. The building was a department store, then a movie theater, and then what happens is the material is used in a functional way to make these tables, to make these place settings. On November 20th, we’re going to have this massive potluck where we’re going to make a lot of these recipes.

There’s 177 cutouts on the building’s façade, and that was the new architects' vision. All of the recipes I collected will be written in each one of the boxes I painted on the wallthere’s about 177 recipes to choose from. Conceptually, these blocks represent the history of this building. They’re cut out. They have been removed. The recipes act in the same way: the recipes of your family reflect the stories of your family.

…mbg: I know that you have referenced Gordon Matta-Clark and Robert Smithson as artists who have inspired you. Do you think about the Arthouse building in terms of geological strata, or in relation to Gordon Matta-Clark’s anarchitecture? This architecture, like Matta-Clark’s projects, reveals slices of the different eras of the building.

JM: I think that those two artists are always on the tip of my tongue. Smithson is my hero because he dealt with entropy and this constant state of flux this constant biological, geological compression, an evolution that’s happening. Gordon Matta-Clark was more interested in exposing the architecture, and then he had a restaurant called Food, too. Rirkrit Tiravanija couldn’t have done anything like that without him. He was just a brilliant artist. I think I’m paying homage to him all the time by acting like the building is an active organism, by trying to activate the past into the future. I’m not being so aggressive as to cut, but rather to re-use, and though I’m reluctant to say it, recycle. It’s kind of like giving the building a second chance and giving the material a second opportunity.

Oftentimes you see the strategy of re-use in the third world. For example, you’ll see a three-legged chair with a replacement leg that’s made from a different material. We’d just throw it away in America because it doesn’t look cool, but in college you’d just fix it because you’re poor. So a lot of times, the economy has an effect on this whole sustainable movement.

I definitely don’t have answers to any of these ecological problems; I’m just trying to provoke the questions. I think that’s what artists do. I’m definitely part of some sort of movement, but the last thing I want to be is a “green artist.” I’m just like a filtering system, and I want to look at it a little differently, and that’s a really slippery slope.

…mbg: I read in an article that you distinguish between your studio practice, your site-specific practice, and, for example with the UC Riverside building, an ethics of social responsibility that engages the site differently than in projects like the one you created for the New Museum. How does the idea of social responsibility figure in this particular installation?

JM: Elizabeth Dunbar and I started talking about this component of food as a vehicle to broaden Arthouse’s audience, because food is so universal. I’m always all about these tropes that break down the art world’s barriers of class and privilege and access. Part of the problem with being a gallery artist is that you end up just making art for rich people, and other artists sometimes. Then there are large public commissions, like what I’m doing for the GSA [Government Service Administration] right now. They’re pretty amazing. They’re the art and architecture program that commissions work for all federal buildings, and great artists have participated, like Sol Lewitt and Richard Serra. Tilted Arc was a GSA commission. So I have this opportunity to do this GSA commission, and it could be community-based, but probably it’s going to be site-specific large-scale sculpture.

To answer your question, there are three distinctive paths I’m taking: I’m doing these architectural interventions; I’m still showing in galleries to make a living; and that middle path is a practice of site-specific commissions. I see a lot of younger artists working that way. You can’t just make a body of work for a gallery and expect to sustain a career or interest. That’s an old dying model.

…mbg: Going back to the project, who will be invited to the dinner?

JM: The dinner is open to the public. It’s going to be a blowout. We’re going to have three bands that only play from the record More Songs about Buildings and Food. They’re only allowed to do covers, and I’m really into covers, because essentially you “cover” yourself when you make art, whether you’re remaking an old piece or if you have a new idea that has the same type of strategy. When you hear covers, it’s always a different interpretation. That’s why I want to have bands that will play from that record, to keep it tight, keep it specific. There’s the music, there’s the recipes, there’s the furniture; I like to kind of control it, but also to leave it open-ended.

…mbg: I’d like to ask you about your aesthetic, which could be contrasted to sculptural practices such as the ones that were shown in Unmonumental at the New Museum. That show was framed very much as this post-combine way to bring different forms together that would have a different kind of allegorical impact, and the pieces often had a messy, unkempt aesthetic. The sleek furniture or some of your other interventions operate quite differently on a visual level. Can you comment on that?

JM: I think that comes back to my relationship with beauty. I’m excluded from shows often because I make pretty art, even if it’s garbage. I saw that show and there was a lot of ugly art. I think it always gets labeled as “cool” on an aesthetic level, regardless of its meaning. If I’m guilty of anything it’s making art too pretty. I love drawing; I love working with my hands; I love the craft of it. For me to make something that is potentially ugly with the same materials doesn’t make sense to me. The idea is to take something common and make it beautiful. Or to take nature and that is beautiful and re-filter it and make it ugly.

…mbg: Will this project be documented in any sort of way?

JM: We’re making a catalogue with Sarah Greene Reed, a local photographer who’s an artist. I think the most important thing for me is to get the dialogue out there through conversations with people…I aspire to be like Mark Dion. Mark Dion is brought to various sites to do these hypothetical digs. I would not complain at all if my career led me into this sort of traveling show. It’s the way I like to work, to go somewhere and do exploratory projects. Ultimately, the way it’s documented is the effect it has on the economy, on the community of Austin, and Arthouse, and artists—in other words, on the public.

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

Tony Feher

y Wendy Vogel

Tony Feher, Dr. Hawking, 2010. Commissioned by Arthouse
Courtesy of the artist.

Tony Feher’s artwork, Dr. Hawking, was commissioned for and installed in the rafters of the Sue Graze Gallery on the second floor at Arthouse.

…might be good [...mbg]: Can you elaborate on the title of your piece at Arthouse?

Tony Feher [TF]: It refers to Stephen Hawking, the great cosmologist and physicist. I think he’s one of the greatest thinkers of our time, if not one of the greatest in the history of thinkers. He recently published a new book, The Grand Design, which apparently caused some great controversy. In his previous book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking left open, from a scientific point of view, the possibility of some overarching entity that may be responsible for creation. But now, twenty-something years later, he’s written a book based on the discovery of multiple extra-planetary systems.

Carl Sagan taught us to think in terms of billions and billions of stars. Now those billions and billions of stars all seem to have planets, and if they all have planets, then the statistical probability of other kinds of life goes through the roof. So Hawking says that statistically, and from a scientific point of view, there’s no reason to waste your time with thoughts of a creator God. I’ve been on board with that kind of thinking for a very long time, so I’m happy when physics and science can project another layer of rationality into a world that I think is overwhelmed with superstition and prejudice and fear.

…mbg: The curator Elizabeth Dunbar and I talked about the installation as a “constellation” that was partly planned and partly serendipitous. For instance, there’s one single bottle in the loft reading area that could allude to the single particle that started the Big Bang. Can you talk about how the installation functions for you?

TF: Again, I’m grabbing all the language that would be associated with Dr. Hawking and applying it to a three-dimensional aesthetic. There’s something very pendulous to the way that the water bottles hang down, and of course, that’s gravity at work. The undersurface of the water is reflecting the ambient light in the room. That’s a critical physical property, the traveling of light. That’s how we know things about the universe, through light. That’s what we see.

When I first came down to see the Arthouse space, there was nothing on the second floor. Quickly I realized there were certain limitations to the installation, one limitation being that if this was going to be a long-term piece, it could not interfere with the ongoing programming. It couldn’t hang below a certain level because it would impede the movement of the wall. I don’t usually plug things in, but it also couldn’t be something that screamed, “Hey, look at me!” It had to be more discreet than that. When Elizabeth Dunbar showed me the space and asked, “What would you do here?” I said, “Let’s just look at the space above the rafter line.” And whatever we associate, with bats in the belfry and the attic—those things are interesting to think about.

I started thinking about that space and about how there’s a lot of light up there that you don’t notice because there’s nothing for it to reflect off. The metal has that wonderful rusty, tarnished color, and the wood is very rich and brown. Those materials are just absorbing light, not reflecting it. But I knew from the piece that I did at the Istanbul Biennial at the Hagia Sophia in 2003—I noticed this phenomenon of reflection inside this giant church. The glass globes on these enormous hanging chandeliers were twinkling in a vast area that looked like there wasn’t any light in it, because the walls were really dark and nothing reflects. You have what seems to be a black hole but there’s light in there that we’re not seeing. I understood that there’s light in that rafter system that we’re also not seeing and I said, “I’m going to use that. That’s the key.”

You don’t have to light this piece. The piece lights itself. And whatever any other artist does in there and whatever their needs for lighting might be, whether it is one spotlight or every light in the house, I know that my piece will do what I’m intending it to do.

I worked in consort with Mark Johnson, the preparator, to install the work. Of course, there are several dimensions you have to think about. You want the installation all varied, but there’s a pitch to the space, so you have to pay attention to the height as you move to the side. You have to keep an active three-dimensional understanding of the space you’re in, so that from the ground, it looks multi-dimensional and multi-layered, but not in lines and rows. It has to look like raindrops. Very quickly the preparator got a rhythm and understood what I was saying, and then I’d come back and say, “That one is bugging me” or “We need to put one there.” That’s where the randomness came in.

…mbg: Can you speak about the political and poetic dimensions to your use of the bottles in that space?

TF: I have no overt interest in being “green” or environmentally conscious in the artwork. I’m not making statements. I’m making an artwork, and that artwork is literally about nothing. The nothingness is where it allows interpretation. I’m guiding the viewer a bit with the Stephen Hawking notion, but I am using these objects because I have found them suitable for me to make art. Then I start to look and contemplate, and ask myself what these things are. Where do these objects come from, and how do they function? The layers of political intrigue that you can get into by looking at one plastic bottle full of water are really quite remarkable.

The pod bottles that I used are manufactured by Ozarka, a company that is owned by Nestlé. Multinational corporations would like to take over the water in this country and sell it to us. I find that all of these bottled water solutions are insidious, because they allow for the continued degradation of our municipal water system, yet there’s no political outcry. You should be able to turn on the tap and not worry about what’s coming out, but now you have to pay attention. And the plastic bottle is made from petroleum. We’ve seen what happens with petroleum, whether it’s from an offshore well or if you have to go to war to secure your supply of oil. There are enormous and catastrophic consequences in order to make a clean plastic bottle to put clean water in to sell to you for a dollar. It’s all really interesting, but that’s not my motivation. It’s there, though, and you can’t ignore it.

I started to look at bottles when I noticed partially consumed bottles on my table in my apartment with a cap on them. Condensation had formed on the inside. It struck me that that’s the same process that makes clouds in the sky. Condensation and evaporation form the water cycle on the planet. I thought it was both comical that something as throwaway as a plastic bottle can house a microcosm, and profound on the greatest poetic level, like how a grain of sand can describe an entire beach from a Zen point of view. But ultimately, the aesthetic that I can achieve with the bottles interests me.

…mbg: What did you think about seeing your piece alongside Jason Middlebrook’s installation, More Art About Buildings and Food? Do you have any comments about his practice, and artists of his generation, who follow in your footsteps in terms of repurposing materials to create beautiful, transcendent aesthetic experiences?

TF: I know Jason and we’ve been in two shows together now. This will be the third. I had no idea what Jason was going to do here, and frankly, it didn’t matter in relation to my piece. You mentioned how there are other younger artists working in this way, and if anything, I don’t think I paved the way for them. I may have dragged my foot a little and cleared some dust!

But this idea of repurposing has come up in just the last handful of years. I am not repurposing anything. I got to a point in my development where painting wasn’t working and my work was becoming more three-dimensional. I found the floor as an interesting vantage point, and I realized that not since Calder had anyone tried to colonize the volume of space in the middle of the room, and on the floor.

The things that I began to work with were materials within arm’s reach. If I looked around my apartment, there was junk everywhere. But if I looked at it as a bright color, for instance, it became an art material. And then, the things that I picked up on the street always amazed me. I’m looking at something right now that looks like a handful of jewels, but it’s a few pieces of chipped glass and a broken taillight.

I was just fascinated by what you could find, and how you could construct these little vignettes and make these associations without really having to do anything except put one thing next to another. No labor, no crafts, no skills—and nothing was rejected. It was just not used.

So now you have someone coming along like Jason. He’s specifically recycling and specifically reusing detritus for these pieces. There’s a different conceptual necessity, which I support, but art that starts with too much of an idea of itself ahead of time…where are the nuances? I find it a little didactic sometimes. Maybe that’s okay, but sometimes it’s not enough for me.

I did see a piece of Jason’s at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (From the Forest to the Mill to the Store to the Home to the Streets and Back Again, 2009-10) where he sourced a bunch of stuff from different places and screwed it all together and hung it from the ceiling. It was this fantastic supernova of wooden pieces spewing out of a chest of drawers, and I thought that was a masterpiece.

As for me, I know a lot about a little, and a little about a lot, but the cumulative circumstance is the information that I’m working with. That’s why I try to be as non-specific as possible. I think that’s where you get the most benefit.

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

Mequitta Ahuja

y Wendy Vogel

Mequitta Ahuja, Perch, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 84 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Mequitta Ahuja’s solo exhibition, Automythography II, debuts a suite of new works that continue her exploration of self-portraiture, external and psychological space. The exhibition will be on view in the Mary Yancy Gallery on the first floor of Arthouse from October 27-January 2.

…might be good [...mbg]: I read an interview with you where you quoted Kerry James Marshall, your teacher and mentor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, about using materials in a way that the subject or images are formed by the process of making, as opposed to the artist using the material in a straightforward representational way to form an image. What’s the value for you of experimenting with new materials, and has that come up at all in your new work?

Mequitta Ahuja [MA]: No, I actually tend to be a little hesitant with experimenting with new materials these days. It can be a bit of a distraction. The time it takes to be proficient in a new material, to gain something close to the mastery of a new material—that could take a lifetime. I really consider myself a painter, and I’m deeply committed and deeply fascinated by paint, and by oil paint specifically.

The enamel and glitter piecescalling them an “experiment” would be a stretch. They are an update of an earlier body of work, and they came about in a very serendipitous way. I was working with enamel on canvas, which is a material that I started working with in graduate school, and I also had tracing paper around the studio. I wanted to quickly get a sense of what something might look like finished, and the tracing paper and enamel came together in a sort of meeting of convenience. I kept it hanging in the studio for a while. I was really interested in the contrast between the heavy enamel and that thin, delicate tracing paper.

Recently, for the Studio Museum in Harlem exhibition, the curator Naomi Beckwith and I started talking about how we might be able to update that earlier work. I wanted to refine the process a little bit because that tracing paper was like kid’s craft tracing paper. It was going to fall apart in five years and I wanted to find something that was a little nicer, maybe archival. I had been hand-coloring some architect’s vellum and basically, through some trial and error, I was able to come up with this new process. The pieces at Arthouse represent that work.

…mbg: Can you talk about the titles? They’re called Dream Sequences.

MA: Yeah, I’m thinking about the idea of a dream sequence in a cinematic sense, where a world is set up—an aesthetic is set up—with characters at the beginning of a movie, and then there’ll be a dream sequence. Usually some kind of tweaking of the visual cues in the movie turns it to the strange, but it’s on a recognizable continuum from the original setup. I was interested in coming up with a figurative alternative to the paintings. Something that could still live within that world, maybe as the dreams of the subject, her fantasies, her diversions, but just take a visual turn to something different, so that’s where the title Dream Sequence comes from.

…mbg: I notice that each of the Dream Sequence drawings have a specific title that refers to a character…Coolie, and then there was—

MA: —the Raptor, and Aya. Coolie, Aya, those are Indian terms for servants. Coolie is a general servant, and Aya is a nursemaid, like a baby’s caretaker. It sort of evolved from three pieces I made at the Studio Museum, and I’m actually still continuing this series on a different scale now in the studio. The somewhat strange actions that she’s doing for the benefit of birds: collecting sticks, materials for nesting, presenting these bundlings of her gatherings to the birds to erect their nests... It’s really just a self-invented mythical existence.

…mbg: Are they avatars of your automythographic self-presentations in the larger canvases?

MA: I would say that’s appropriate. A related source to my development as an artist is The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. That was a central influential text for me. When I read it, I felt that I identified with the character and the way that Mowgli sort of occupies this liminal space between human existence and animal existence, along with his kind of unusual relationship to nature. Some of the titles of the original Dream Sequence pieces that are at the Studio Museum are directly out of The Jungle Book. It sort of evolved from there.

…mbg: There seemed to be an emphasis on working really big in your earlier work. In this show there are some smaller pieces; the landscapes are mid-sized; and then there are larger self-portraits. Can you talk about the scale shifts?

MA: I’ve always been interested in working large, and that’s something that Kerry would always talk about: “Size does matter.” There’s a sort of presence and a sort of confidence in large pieces. Spaces like the museum as a site have always excited me, so I’ve always been motivated to work on a scale that seemed to fit in the context of a museum space. In terms of the scale shifts, with the Dream Sequence pieces, there’s an intimacy that maybe takes you into a different relationship with that figure, like a psychological space. So I think the scale needed to come down, and even as I’m getting larger with them, I’m still trying to retain the level of detail and intimacy. Even the largest I think I could get is still fairly small compared to my really big works on canvas. I think the way that Elizabeth Dunbar laid out the show really works. It feels very balanced, and there’s a lot of variety in the way that the smaller pieces are somewhat integrated.

…mbg: I was also thinking of balance when I was looking at the Inside and Outside paintings in the space. Are they a reflection of an inside/outside landscape? Are they a separated diptych?

MA: There are three pieces in the show, Inside, Outside, and Conjure, that I think of as a triptych that has been divided up amongst the space. I think each piece works independently, as well, but I did paint them as a triptych. In terms of Inside and Outside, the titles really refer to a different sense of movement and compositional structure. Whereas Inside seems to cradle towards an inner center, Outside seems to lay and spread and feels expansive. Those weren’t premeditated differences, but going back to the question of using materials to create the image (as opposed to coming from the outside and imposing a sense of what you want the image to be by wrenching that control over the materials to form it), these pieces really were a call and response between me and the materials. I’d put something down, stand back, look at how it was working, and respond to that.

…mbg: Can you talk about your surfaces?

MA: I’ve just always been interested in surface texture and contrast. What’s somewhat new in this body of work is the way that the negative space of the canvas is integrated into the whole composition, at least of the triptych (Inside, Outside, and Conjure). They all share the same underlining structure. Dream Sequence is much flatter. The paper is a much more reflective surface, the enamel is shiny, and the glitter reflects light and creates this contrast with the tracing paper.

What I’m interested in is the physicality of the paint, so you have a sense of the scale from the aggressiveness of the marks, from the painterliness of them, the thickness of them. You have this sense of a body in a space composing these works, and the echo of that gesture extends to the figure’s presence in the painting as somewhat confident, commanding. I see that physicality of the paint related to the figure’s physicality.

…mbg: I was reading a little about Audre Lorde, who you have spoken about previously as the artistic parent to your Automythography series, in relation to a kind of non-linear history and a fictional space that’s created. In an article about Lorde’s work in The Crisis, the writer argued that she often gravitated to the company of white feminists in her personal life, where she would take strength and develop a position from being the marginalized voice. Looking at your work, by contrast, I wouldn’t call you a pasticher, but there’s certainly a mix of influences that eschews that type of positionality. Is that something you can talk about?

MA: That’s an interesting question. Part of it is my perspective on art history. The show at the Studio Museum is titled Usable Pasts, and we talked about how each artist in the show might relate to that phrase. One of the things I said is that I think of painting as a usable past. I think a lot of artists feel like painting is not interesting because of everything that has come before, whereas I feel the opposite. Once the language has been developed, now we can work with it, and maybe it is that that full language has only recently been established.

I don’t think too much about innovation in painting; I think about developing an attempt of mastery over the materials. So I think that sense of mixing styles is particular to being inheritors of that past, but without that kind of ideological commitment or mutually exclusive terms that those different innovations seem to be founded on, as far as abstraction….

…mbg: You mean progressing a language of abstraction or of a particular genre, like history painting or something?

MA: Right, or even of a political perspective, or feminism. I feel like I have an incredible amount of freedom to reach into each genre or moment of history and compose with it. In terms of a relationship with Audre Lorde, that was an influential source for me, and I recognize us as women, us as people of color, us as artists, as being able to do what we do from the foundation that women like her laid for us.

…mbg: Can you talk to us about your next show, Automythography III, that will go up at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts?

MA: It’s not in progress, but it’s about to be in progress. It’s going to be a combination of past work and new work. The show is going to be in September, so I’m just getting started on it as we speak. I don’t think it will be a radical departure from this show or the Studio Museum show, in the sense that it’ll be a combination of more works on canvas and new works of the Dream Sequence series. Materially or image-wise, what direction I might be moving with those…that I don’t know. This show at Arthouse I feel is a bit of an inversion of the show at the Studio Museum. The Studio Museum show has a very dark palette, with a lot of landscapes at night, whereas these are very bright. I see them as sort of fleshy in a way, and just more open. I imagine the work for the show at Minneapolis Institute of Art will have another new dimension, but I’m not sure what that is yet.

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


Arthouse: Where it’s Been and Where it’s Going
Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin
Reopened in October, 2010

y Wendy Vogel

1956, Lerner Shops moves into 700 Congress and renovates by adding storefront windows, a second floor and a new front elevation on Congress, including an awning over the sidewalk.

The reopening of Arthouse signifies a shift in thinking about contemporary art practice and presentation that reverberates beyond its much-discussed walls. Indeed, those walls contain a history that extends beyond the building’s former lives as an entertainment and commercial space. From its history as the first Texas-wide visual arts organization, Arthouse at the Jones Center speaks volumes about where Texas positions itself within the region, national and international art landscapes.

Arthouse began its institutional existence as the Texas Fine Art Association, established in 1911. This organization supported individual artists, helped establish the Studio Art Department at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Commission on the Arts, and developed visual arts touring exhibition program throughout the state. It moved to the 700 Congress Street location in 1995 after being housed at Laguna Gloria Art Museum across the street (the building now houses the Austin Museum of Art.) The Jones Center opened to the public as an exhibition space in 1998.

Looking at the new Arthouse building as an architectural palimpsest, we can also view the recent programming through a similar structure. Since her appointment as Arthouse’s first full-time curator in the organization’s history in 2007, Elizabeth Dunbar has engaged in commissioning site-specific projects with artists such as Fritz Haeg, Florian Slotawa and Matt Stokes that reference social practice, relational aesthetics and institutional and local histories. As she stated in a …mbg interview with Claire Ruud in 2009 upon her appointment as Associate Director of the organization, she has been committed to expanding opportunities for artists to take a more active and committed role in their creation of works for Arthouse. Through opportunities such as extended residencies, Dunbar’s curatorial approach has facilitated dialogue between artists invited to create work for Arthouse and local artists.

For Arthouse’s reopening, this strategy has been reflected in the commissioning of three new works. Local materials, including those from the building, are activated in Jason Middlebrook’s installation More Art About Buildings and Food, while Tony Feher uses water bottles available in Texas to create his installation Dr. Hawking. Ryan Hennessee, an Austin-based artist, capitalized on playful visual motifs and a very local history in his animated video (The Specious Present at 700 Congress) created for the building’s impressive exterior screens. The Yellow Submarine-esque aesthetic reflects on the Jones Center’s local foot traffic, including hippies and protestors, which is projected outward to invite and captivate a larger public.

The building contains two new spaces dedicated to projected work inside Arthouse’s galleries, as well: Cyprien Gaillard’s Cities of Gold and Mirrors, 2009, occupies the new first-floor Film and Video gallery, while James Sham’s Close Caption, 2008, occupies the LIFT Space in the elevator. Themes of cultural mistranslation and collapsed histories bind Gaillard’s and Sham’s works together, while also relating them to Mequitta Ahuja’s exploration into personal and social identity construction in her Automythography series. The impressive works on canvas and paper, however, do not become second-class citizens next to the moving-image and site-specific interventions elsewhere in the building. Rather, in occupying the sole white cube space in the building, they provide an aesthetic counterpoint, a presentation that gives added interest to the works.

Arthouse’s community-based and discursive interests, however, do not stop at the exhibition-based programming. The organization led the charge of envisioning new ways to engage audiences through its hiring of Public Programs Curator Rachel Adams this past summer. Adams spoke with …mbg in June about her appointment, stating that the importance of alternative programming is being further recognized in an expanded discourse. The public programs schedule at Arthouse will also be bolstered by the Visiting Lecture Series. In addition to delivering a talk on their work, these guests of international repute visit selected artists’ studios, strengthening the dialogue in Austin about an expanded field of practice and providing increased visibility for local artists. This support to local artists is extended through the Arthouse Texas Prize, which was launched in 2005 and will resume in 2011. The largest regional visual arts award for emerging artists in the United States, the winner is determined by a jury and will receive a $30,000 prize. Three finalists will be featured in an exhibition at Arthouse from August 25 - October 30.

By combining an interest in the discursive, site-specific and traditional exhibition models in their approach, Arthouse at the Jones Center contributes multiple platforms to engage a public. Expanding their outreach to invite artists and lecturers from outside Texas, Arthouse at the Jones Center continues their advocacy of Texas artists that created the foundation for the TFAA. Where Arthouse is heading, clearly, is an expanded notion of “the local,” reflecting in its new building the permeability and increasing importance of creative and intellectual exchanges that characterize the most exciting arts practices today.

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

project space

A Look at the New Arthouse

Arthouse at the Jones Center stands at 700 Congress, a building with a storied past.

In 1851, the structure was erected as a dry goods store and gained notoriety the first three-story brick building in Austin. The new roof deck, made of Ipe wood and laminated glass light boxes and boasting an outdoor screen, continues to showcase impressive views of the downtown neighborhood and serve as an event space.

Beginning in 1926, 700 Congress served as the home of the Queen Theatre, constructed as a single large space with a balcony and proscenium stage. This history is reflected in the original stucco murals that have been exposed, along with the original wooden ceiling and steel trusses, on the second floor.

In 1956, the building became Lerner Shops department store. With this renovation came storefront windows, an added second floor and an awning over the sidewalk. The renovations include a glass lobby and sculptural plaster awning, suggesting openness to the surrounding neighborhood and referencing the building’s commercial past.

In 1998, the Texas Fine Art Association purchased the building, renovated the first floor and opened to the public. The building’s name was changed to Arthouse at the Jones Center in 2002.

Today, the building contains 20,830 square feet of gallery space (up from the previous building’s 7000 feet), a column-free gallery on the second floor with a mobile suspended wall, an entry lounge, new first-floor galleries (including a film and video gallery), a community and screening room, a public mezzanine and a roof deck.

Enjoy these images of the new Arthouse at the Jones Center.

Announcements: news

Austin News

Blanton Curator Heads to Notre Dame

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin announces the departure of Cheryl Snay in early November. Snay, who joined The Blanton in 2004 as Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings, and was then promoted to Associate Curator of European Art, is leaving to serve as Curator of European Art at the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame. Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, Deputy Director of Art and Programs, remarked, "Cheryl is a valued colleague who has been a tremendous asset to The Blanton. Her thorough knowledge, calm and capable demeanor, and teaching gifts will be difficult to replace. We wish her the very best in her exciting new role at Notre Dame."

During her tenure at The Blanton, Snay curated or oversaw several major exhibitions including A Century of Grace: 19th-Century Masterworks from the Dahesh Museum of Art, New York and Exquisite Visions of Japan: Prints from the James A. Michener Collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, as well as the museum's current exhibitions, Repartee: 19th-Century Prints and Drawings from The Blanton Collection and Turner to Monet: Masterpieces from The Walters Art Museum. She also has organized Storied Past, an exhibition of French drawings from The Blanton's collection that will tour to the Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh and the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University in addition to its presentation at The Blanton in fall 2011.

Dallas Events

The Goss-Michael Foundation Opens New Headquarters

Musician George Michael and his partner Kenny Goss are determined to evoke discussion and focus on cutting-edge British contemporary art with The Goss-Michael Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a forum for British contemporary art by presenting exhibitions, programs and resources to educate, engage and inspire youth and adult audiences in Texas, the United States and around the world.

On November 19, the new Goss-Michael Foundation location will open at 1405 Turtle Creek Boulevard in the lower Oak Lawn area of Dallas. Housed in a former 12,000 sq. ft. industrial warehouse, the new space includes three spacious galleries and is close to four times the size of the original location.

Kenny Goss and Joyce Goss, Executive Director of The Goss-Michael Foundation, have worked with architects to design a space which will provide the GMF with the opportunity to exhibit art from the permanent collection along with new shows opening throughout the year.

Founders Kenny Goss and George Michael saw a crucial need for increased space for the growing work of the Foundation, as well as a bookstore, library and private offices. Future GMF projects include the creation of educational programs and lecture series and the development of a live-in studio for a planned artist in residence program. The GMF has also been actively involved in loaning pieces of art from the permanent collection to U.S. museums and public spaces.

A fully functioning catering kitchen will position the space as an outstanding venue for GMF-hosted events and for private, special events for groups of 25 to 300 people.

The opening exhibition will feature selected works from renown artists including Darren Almond, Ruth Claxton, Michael Craig-Martin, Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst, Rachel Howard, Philip Lai, Jim Lambie, Sarah Lucas, Jonathan Monk, Marc Quinn, Cerith Wynn Evans and others. A private, by-invitation-only reception will take place on Thursday, November 18.

Founded by Kenny Goss and George Michael in June 2007, the Foundation showcases the couple’s extensive private collection of British contemporary art. Their goal is focused on creating a collection of works by artists that comment specifically on the individuality of their art experience.

“Art should have no cultural or sexual boundaries as ideally our civic life should. Art can inspire individuals to forget where they are coming from and create a message for a better future,” Kenny Goss emphasized.

“Through these exhibitions, The Goss-Michael Foundation challenges preconceived art notions and strives to set a new standard in artistic awareness by providing visitors with a fresh and fascinating art experience, as well as an opportunity to interact with the ground-breaking international artists who are responsible for the direction of today’s most influential art trends,” he continued. “There are no boundaries to our collection. Every work, regardless of medium, must resonate with us on a personal level.”

The move also positions GMF close to the newly opened space for the Dallas Contemporary, the city’s growing museum of contemporary art.

“With both our Foundation and the Dallas Contemporary in the neighborhood, there will be a synergistic energy for the development of contemporary and modern art in Dallas,” said Kenny Goss. “This is a critical component for a city the size of Dallas and one that has been missing.”

The larger facility is part of the strategic evolution of the GMF. As an actively collecting institution, the Foundation contains a diverse collection of British art and new acquisitions underline the organization’s continued growth. As an artist has no boundaries, the mounting of world class exhibitions have become more elaborate and involved the need for a building with high ceilings and large doorways.

The three gallery spaces will exhibit works on permanent view, rotating exhibitions and a special project room. The bookstore will carry a choice selection of books by celebrated artists of the GMF along with other art-related topics, limited edition artists’ prints and selected contemporary art gifts. The inventory will rotate on a regular basis to coincide with the exhibition schedule.

“Our library will act as an archive for GMF and also provide a resource center for academics and art professionals,” said Joyce Goss. “We have worked with leading museums and schools such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts providing international experts and speakers on a variety of arts-related topics.”

Tracey Emin, Michael Craig-Martin and Marc Quinn are a few of the participants who have been featured at the lectures. The Foundation regularly organizes events to accompany the different shows.

“The GMF focuses its collection on contemporary British artists, promoting them and bringing them to America. However, fostering young artists in Dallas and throughout Texas is also important,” emphasized Joyce Goss.

The Goss-Michael Foundation gives a number of scholarships annually including the George Michael Music Scholarship and the Kenny Goss Art Scholarship to students at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to help with their continuing performing and visual art education. In addition, the Foundation underwrites scholarships for art students in North Texas and statewide. An annual student art contest open to all public and private high school students in Dallas-Fort Worth and the surrounding areas who are enrolled in the 10th through 12th grade and excel in the disciplines of photography, drawing, and painting is also underwritten by the GMF.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

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.

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.

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.

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.

Monster Show Five
Domy Books
Through December 2

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

Keith Wilson
SOFA Gallery
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 31, 3-6pm

Hyde Park Apartments is a visual taxonomy of the Austin neighborhood and its various apartment complexes. In Wilson’s wry examination of our built environment, everyday photographs of slightly run down stucco and brick structures are paired with fanciful titles such as V.I.P, Spanish Trails and The Jacksonian. Inspired by Ed Ruscha, Joe Deal, and Bernt and Hilla Becher, the series records ongoing attempts to evoke the ideal through aggrandized nomenclatures.

Austin on View

Jason Middlebrook
Through January 16, 2011

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.

Tony Feher

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.

Mequitta Ahuja
Through January 2, 2011

Also on view at Arthouse, Automythography II (2010). Enamel and glitter on paper. Located on the first floor gallery. Check out her interview in this issue!

Cyprien Gaillard
Through December 5

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
Through January 2, 2011

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
Through January 2, 2011

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.

Ry Rocklen
Visual Arts Center (Vaulted Gallery)
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.

Sonya Berg
Champion Contemporary
Through November 27

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.

Malcolm Bucknall
d berman gallery
Through November 24

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!

Sandy Carson
Okay Mountain
Through November 21

Paradise Has Relocated attempts to capture the lifeless remains and emptiness of a once thriving and historic island devastated by Hurricane Ike in September of 2008. Ike was the third most destructive and costliest hurricane to make landfall in the United States, destroying and flooding 75% of homes and landmass. The project deals with the physical dead space and ghostliness of Galveston- post hurricane. Each image whispers of an ordinary past lost to the ravages of Mother Nature. The everyday objects left behind in haste suggest former human inhabitation. The unoccupied landscapes, fractured structures and mundane interiors I have carefully composed compel the viewer to look beyond cultural stature and financial complexities, and question geographical location.

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

Check out Dan Boehl's review on the show!

Austin Closings

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.

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.

San Antonio Openings

IAIR 10.3: Henning Bohl, Roy McMakin, Adam Schreiber
Opening Reception: November 18

Berlin-based artist Henning Bohl's work is an investigation of the language and structure of painting. He often pushes his vividly hued paintings into the realm of sculpture through collaging curled paper onto canvas or utilizing canvas supports in unconventional ways. Roy McMakin's woodwork defies categorization. His skillfully designed tables, chairs, and sofas fit as easily into a domestic space as they do into an art exhibition, and the degree of an object's functionality is often determined by the environment in which it resides. Adam Schreiber is an Austin-based photographer who mines the potential meanings of cultural artifacts and abandoned corporate spaces. Concerning his philosophy, Schreiber states that he is "more interested in how the medium of photography invents something than how it records something." Curated by Michael Darling.

San Antonio on View

Matthew Ronay
Through January 2. 2011

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.

San Antonio Closings

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.

Houston Openings

Benjamin Patterson
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Opening Reception: Friday, November 5, 7 – 10p.m

Benjamin Patterson: Born in the State of FLUX/us is a retrospective of the artist’s career, which now spans nearly fifty years. Emerging in the early 1960s with work that fell under the rubric of Fluxus or Neo-Dada, Benjamin Patterson co-organized the first International Festival of New Music, which debuted at the Staatsmuseum in Wiesbaden in 1961. One of the last surviving members of that constellation of artists whose works were featured at the festival—John Cage, Dick Higgins, Emmett Williams, Philip Corner, David Tudor, and Nam June Paik, among others—Patterson helped to revolutionize the artistic landscape of the times and usher in an era of new and experimental music.

Emilio Perez and Myungjin Song
CTRL Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, October 29, 6-8pm

In More Reasons Than One, the intrigue of Emilio Perez' paintings lies in their ability to so successfully, and beautifully, contradict themselves. They are as flat as maps yet as voluminous as a volcanic plume; as still as stained glass yet as full of movement as churning river rapids; as exuberantly sensuous as a Baroque masterpiece yet as analytical and detached as a Lichtenstein brushstroke painting. Myungjin Song's solo show, Being in Folding, will be her first US gallery exhibition. Since earning her MFA from Hongik University in Seoul, Song has developed an immediately recognizable style of painting that combines ambiguous allegorical narrative with a tendency towards flatness and an obsession with chromium oxide green.

Houston on View

It's better to regret something you have done...
Art Palace
Through January 8, 2011

Art Palace presents, It's better to regret something you have done..., featuring the works of Jillian Conrad, Nathan Green, Kara Hearn, Jim Nolan, Linda Post and Barry Stone. While each artist explores an individual path with their work, together they create a shared dialogue around the punk rock sentiment that it's better to regret something that you have done than to regret something you haven't. The keen wit that unites these artists showcases the gallery's affinity for presenting unconventional work and sets the stage for the fresh perspectives and projects slated for the coming year.

Homage: Roy Fridge, Jim Love, David McManaway
Moody Gallery
Through November 27

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

Astroworld 1968
Optical Project
Through December 11

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
Through January 9, 2011

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.

Al Souza
Moody Gallery
Through November 27

Multitasking, work by Al Souza.

Dallas on View

Tom Orr
Marty Walker Gallery
Through November 13

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
Through December 18

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
Through November 13

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.

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.

Prints of the City
Free Museum of Dallas

The October project at the Free Museum of Dallas is an exhibition of print portfolios originating from London yet international in scope. The Royal College of Art - the premier postgraduate institution of British art and design - and Art Monthly - a leading British publication on art, produced these portfolios. Together, the prints represent artists living and working in London New York.

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 Closings

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

Eye's Got It!
Space 12
Friday, November 19, 6:30 – 9:30 pm

Eyes Got It! is an open call art competition inspired by Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist and other arts based, reality-TV game shows. In contrast to traditional juried call for entries, the panel of local arts professionals will conduct their review process in front of a public audience and after 3 rounds of elimination will award one artist a solo exhibition at Pump Project Art Complex in early 2011.
Through this public critique and its subsequent exhibition, ‘Bout What I Sees seeks to demystify the juried show process, illuminate critical reviews and attract attention to artists within the Austin community. Panel of Judges include: Sterling Allen, Rachel Koper, Risa Puleo. Check out more info on this amazingly unique event.

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.

Centerpiece Theater: Network (1976)
Visual Arts Center (Center Space)
Wednesday, November 10, 7 - 9pm

Network is a film about a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System (UBS), and its struggle with poor ratings. Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, it garnered four Academy Awards for Best Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight), and Best Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky). In a review of the film written after it received its Academy Awards, Roger Ebert called it a “supremely well-acted, intelligent film that tries for too much, that attacks not only television but also most of the other ills of the 1970s,” though “what it does accomplish is done so well, is seen so sharply, is presented so unforgivingly, that Network will outlive a lot of tidier movies.”

Sound + Vision: Air Jordan (Hair Gorgon, Heir Gordon) and Magic Jewels
Visual Arts Center (The Arcade Gallery)
Friday, November 12, 7 – 9 pm

Complementing the Center Space exhibition Losing Faith, the Visual Arts Center invites you to re-examine the typical rock music experience. Join us as two bands comprised of musicians and visual artists conduct an electrical investigation into the creative unknown. Air Jordan (Hair Gorgon, Heir Gordon) is a one-man, two-piece rock and bowl outfit that rips and rolls through an endless visual sound-scape of strange, yet familiar brain terrain. Magic Jewels is a two-piece guitar and drums psychedelic punk rock kick flip dive into the alter verse.

Andy Rihn: The Tiger's Last Toothball
Monofonus Press
Wednesday, November 10 & 13, 8pm

Monofonus celebrates the long-awaited release of Andy Rihn's first book, The Tiger's Last Tooth, with two-day installation/party The Tiger's Last Toothball. At 8pm on November 10 and 13, Rihn will be transforming the Monofonus compound into a multilevel, multimedia environment, and we'll be throwing a party there. Admission is either $5 or a hammer and a promise (seriously) and includes a free book, CD, tattoos, breadsnakes, and libations. The Tiger's Last Tooth is available to read in its entirety, here.

Houston Events

Artist Talk with Gabriel Kuri
Blaffer Art Museum
Wednesday, November 3, 6:30pm

Internationally renowned Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri will give an artist's talk with Blaffer director and chief curator Claudia Schmuckli on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 6:30 p.m. The free event will take place at Blaffer Art Museum, located in the Fine Arts Building on the University of Houston's central campus. The artist's talk is presented in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Latin American Art Department and Latin Maecenas. Kuri's first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum is on view at Blaffer through Nov. 13, 2010. Presented in conjunction with the celebration of the Mexican Bicentennial, Gabriel Kuri: Nobody needs to know the price of your Saab is a ten-year survey of sculptures and collages that chart our daily existence as a series of exchanges and transactions.

Houston Cinema Arts Festival
Houston Cinema Arts Society
November 10-14

Cinema Arts Festival Houston is the only U.S. festival devoted to films by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The 2010 Cinema Arts Festival Houston program involves a collaboration among many of Houston’s extraordinary film and arts institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Menil Collection; and many others. It is more than just a film festival; it is a vibrant multimedia arts event that breaks out of the confines of the movie theater through live music and film performances, outdoor projections, and more.

Dallas Events

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 Woodworkers

Roy McMakin's Community Collaboration Project as part of Artpace's IAIR Program
Deadline: November 12

As part of his residency at Artpace this fall, Roy McMakin has designed a group of tables that he is inviting woodworkers, both amateur and professional, to fabricate and sell. People may choose to build one or more of the tables, which are to be finished in time for display and sale at Artpace by November 12. A 40% share of the proceeds from each sale will go to benefit Artpace’s residency program; the remaining funds will go to each of the participating woodworkers. Please contact info@artpace.org for Collaboration Project Guide and more information.

Grant Opportunities

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.

Fellowship Opportunities

Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts Curatorial Fellowship
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
Deadline: November 22

The successful candidates will work full-time at MoCADA from February 2011 to February 2012. With the guidance of the Exhibitions Director, the fellows will be led through the process of developing an exhibition idea into an exhibition proposal, and the realization of the exhibition proposal in a gallery space. Applicants must have a minimum of a BA or BFA in Art History, Studio Art, or other related field with a specialized interest in African/African American/African Diasporan visual arts. MA or MFA preferred, but not required. For application Guidelines and more information, please 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.

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