MBG Issue #163: Feelings are Facts

Issue # 163

Feelings are Facts

February 18, 2011

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Natasha Bowdoin, The Daisy Argument (Installation view), 2011. Courtesy of the artist, Visual Art Center, Austin & CTRL gallery, Houston. (detail)

from the editor

The events of the past few weeks have bespoken romance—both of the Cupid’s-arrow variety and of revolution. This Valentine’s Day followed on the heels of recent political turmoil in Egypt that led to the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. The series of riots and protests were as exciting as they were tumultuous. As onlookers from abroad, we collectively identified with the passionate testimonies of oppressed individuals concretized in a cascade of violent, dramatic press images. While the democratic future of Egyptian politics is uncertain at this point, few of us have remained unmoved by watching the struggle play out in the Middle East.

Thinking about the political possibilities of taking to the streets and the themes that repeatedly surface in this issue of …mbg, I kept returning to the title of Yvonne Rainer’s 2006 autobiography Feelings are Facts. An update of the ‘70s feminist maxim “the personal is the political,” Feelings are Facts catalogues the life of the famous dancer, choreographer and filmmaker through a series of personal encounters as messy, enlightening and absurd as life itself. The articles in this week’s issue tease out a similar sensibility. The writers privilege the incommensurability of emotional life and personal aesthetics not only as a subject for contemplation, but also as a cipher through which the cultural and political might be understood.

This issue opens with my interview with Natasha Bowdoin about her solo exhibitions in Houston and Austin. The artist’s obsessively handcrafted cut-paper works reconfigure famous texts through transcription and sculptural layering. In our reviews section, Wendy Atwell considers zinesters’ highly personal “Cubist deconstruction of mass media” at Unit B in San Antonio, while Chelsea Weathers contemplates emotional ecologies in SUBstainability at Texas State University. Veronica Roberts reviews An Exchange with Sol LeWitt at MASS MoCA and Cabinet (her preview of the show was featured in our January 21st issue), underscoring the “creative, generous and humorous” spirit of the contributors and LeWitt himself, and Ali Fitzgerald argues for the emotional impact delivered through formal subtlety in Out of Place at Lora Reynolds Gallery. Finally, in "…mbg recommends", Mary Walling Blackburn seals the issue with her thoughts on Andy Warhol’s Kiss.

Speaking of romantic aesthetics, be sure to plan a visit to Recovering Beauty: The 1990s in Buenos Aires at the Blanton Museum in Austin, opening this Sunday. A wonderful interview in Spanish with curator Ursula Davila-Villa can be found here. As a teaser before the public opening, Dr. Andrea Giunta from the University of Texas will be speaking with exhibition artists Marcelo Pombo and Sebastián Gordín in the Blanton auditorium this Saturday, February 19th at 2pm.

Until the next issue, show your love and appreciation for the arts by visiting some exhibitions and events here in Texas. Not sure where to go? Visit our exhibitions and events sections for some ideas.

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


Natasha Bowdoin

By Wendy Vogel

Natasha Bowdoin, Contrariwise (detail), 2010, Pencil, gouache and ink on cut paper, 96 x 96 inches. Courtesy of the artist and CTRL gallery, Houston.

Houston-based artist Natasha Bowdoin is concurrently featured in solo exhibitions at Houston’s CTRL Gallery (Implausible Tiger, on view through February 19) and at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin (The Daisy Argument, through March 12). Bowdoin sat down with …mbg at CTRL last week to talk about the two exhibitions, her process and ideas informing the work.

…might be good […mbg]: You gave an artist’s talk here a few weeks ago where you showed images that related to your thinking behind the work. I was interested the relationship you sketched out between older scientific illustrations, classification of the natural world, and fiction. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Natasha Bowdoin [NB]: Sure. I have been interested for a while now in images from a time when scientific understanding of the natural world was still in its early stages, allowing for an openness in recording and comprehending the natural world. There is a duality in these images, specifically natural imagery from the early 19th-century, where on the one hand you have naturalists trying to literally record nature in the most accurate of fashions, and on the other you have a heavy influence and presence of mythology and religion. During this time science and myth almost seemed to be two halves of the same whole. So in these visual documents I end up collecting, there's an interesting relationship between an attempt at recording what's out there, and the indulgence to allow for the mystical and the fantastical, all of which are allowed to exist with equal importance.

In regard to my own work, there's an iconography not just of animals and plants, but also of forces of nature and other natural elements. The animal drawings at CTRL represent my efforts to create my own bestiary. I didn't want to just draw animals from life and leave it there. I wanted them to reflect this human desire to read into the natural world, in a way that nature acts as a mirror that tells one something about what it is to be human. That is why these early 19th century drawings provide a great model for me.

…mbg: Another remarkable element in your work is your use of language. In your cut-paper reliefs you work up to a shape by layering ribbons of handwritten text so that an external, semi-recognizable shape appears. Can you talk about that process, how it begins and how it ends?

NB: The process has to be organic and open-ended. I often start with a text that I'm interested in. In the case of this exhibition (Implausible Tiger), I became fixated on Jorge Luis Borges' "Dreamtigers" poem. I start by making drawings of the text, inserting my transcription of the text into different drawn patterns, and then I cut up the drawings. There's no plan for the final image. Usually what happens is that I first have to accrue a pile of raw drawing material. Once I have this material I can then start to investigate how to organize, layer and assemble it.

I think of it like gardening. I have to grow the material that I'm going to use first and then I can harvest it to use in the actual making. Sometimes drawings that are intended to be discrete pictorial images get cut up and integrated into something else. I find that I can't get anywhere compelling if I plan out the process ahead of time. Things have to be allowed to accumulate and fall away in an unpredictable fashion for the work to get interesting.

…mbg: You work with very specific literary references and you often come back to the same texts. For example, in The Daisy Argument that is currently on view at the VAC in Austin, you created a site-specific installation of handwritten fronds composed from passages from Alice in Wonderland. A lot of the work here in CTRL is based on Borges’ poem. Does either Carroll’s use of language, or Borges’ ideas about the properties of language (I’m thinking about Pierre Menard’s appropriation of Don Quixote collapsing the distance between the reader and the writer), translate into your compositions? If so, how?

NB: That's a good question. The Alice in Wonderland piece has been growing and changing over time. I try my best to keep its form open so that it resists having a final fixed state. In terms of how the text looks, I try to mirror the feeling you get as you read Alice. In addition to all of Carroll's playfulness with actual words and their placement on the page, there's also a constant feeling of growing big and shrinking small - mirrored in the character of Alice herself, who never seems to have a fixed form in the Wonderland world. In Carroll's world, words are often freed of the burden of making sense. Even Alice's own body resists limitation. And so I try to use the text in a way that feels as though it's in a constant process of formation and dissolution, shrinking and expanding, in efforts to defy being pinned down by meaning.

With the work related to Borges, I find what attracts me to his writing is the feeling that it has no distinct beginning or end. There is a sense that once you start reading you may never exit this circular loop. In addition to being cyclical, Borges has a labyrinthine way of looking at and writing literature. I try to translate that idea into my own visual process, in many ways making images almost impossible to read. You know that there are words there, but it's really hard to move in a certain direction. The hope is that there's a multiplicity of ways for one piece to be read.

…mbg: Another striking aspect of your work is its labor-intensiveness. The installation at the VAC alone took you weeks to finish. I was wondering if you thought about your process related to artists like Hanne Darboven or Agnes Martin, whose works teeter between neurosis and control. These artists work within systematic parameters, but their work is also very detailed and has a handmade quality. I see something similar in your pieces. Can you speak to that?

NB: I certainly am attracted to and invested in exploring this idea about the elasticity of language, but I also think that transcription of found texts provides an excellent substrate for my process. The text allows me the ability to focus. I do find that if I don't narrow my focus in the beginning, I tend to cast my net too wide and lose track of what I'm after. I like the built-in absurdity of the task of transcribing a poem over and over again. I think in some ways it's similar to Martin, who is using a very simple set of elements, but depending on the very methodical and careful arrangement of those elements, something completely new and expansive is born. I'm definitely attracted to a methodical, meditative approach to making, and also to the idea that through intense labor one can transcend from an originally mundane task into something unpredictable and ripe with potential.

…mbg: Do you see this aspect of your work as related to the sublime?

NB: I'm tentative to say "I'm interested in the sublime," because what artist isn't, in her or his own way? But I think it's great that you see that in the work. In my most recent artist talk, I showed some images of work by Emma Kunz, a kind of painter/healer, who was in a group show 3 x Abstraction: New Methods in Drawing with Agnes Martin and Hilma af Klint in 2005. The show looked at labor and abstraction in service to reach the sublime. I think my own goals share a kinship with these ideas.

…mbg: I’ve been thinking a lot about this show at CTRL, The Daisy Argument at the VAC and your work in the Core Residency Program show last year. I noticed a real desire to experiment with different formats. Your work in the Core show was more of a mural, and in this exhibition alone there’s a combination of cut-paper reliefs in frames, more free-floating compositions composed from ribbons of handwritten text, and two-dimensional drawings. What are the differences between these formats?

NB: I think it's hard with the group format of the Core show, or any group show for that matter, because you only get to put one or two works out there that people view as symbolic of your entire practice. After that experience I really wanted to take the opportunity to show the breadth of my work. In the past I have tried to compartmentalize different parts of my practice. For instance, I've rarely shown the animal drawings alongside the cut-paper work. I knew that their wellspring was the same but I wasn't sure if they would make sense together visually to other people. In the end, I thought if the works look disparate to people, then maybe what's exciting about that is it challenges viewers to find the connections between things I believe are very much related.

…mbg: Can you talk more specifically about the wall painting behind The Daisy Argument in its most recent incarnation at the VAC?

NB: The wall painting really did come out of the Core show mural piece (The world below the brine [Whitman and Me], 2010). I felt like there was something I wanted to distill from that experience, but not replicate. When I go to install the Alice work I bring all the drawing pieces with me and then assemble them intuitively on site. I have amassed close to 50 drawing pieces thus far. I thought in this new incarnation of the piece, why not make a more permanent mark? Of course it's not actually permanent, because it's going to be painted over, but when I got there I felt like I wanted to be more aggressive in my installation than I have been in the past. I thought the wall painting was a nice medium to contrast and mask the lightness and fragility of the paper.

…mbg: There’s a relationship to architecture with the painting, but you have a very different experience of the work because it’s more colorful, too. Those color choices are different than the ones used in the new works at CTRL. There are more visceral reds, oranges and yellows here, whereas the VAC has more blues and greens…

NB: A lot of the color choice was made on the spot. I was looking at the pieces that I brought with me and was thinking, well, what is the space asking for? The Arcade space has these huge windows so there's a lot of light and nature that catches your eye. In past formations, the piece has always stayed in this pale yellow and gray world. I just felt like I wanted it to be bold all of a sudden. I wanted it to feel less like you were looking at one discrete piece on the wall and more like it was a physical experience of words rushing around you.

A lot of the drawings I brought with me seemed to resemble plant growth, and a lot of people were saying the forms specifically looked like underwater plant life. So some of the blues in that installation came from thinking about how it might look and feel to be under the sea. These installations have always been large in scale, but I in the past I felt like the drawings were ghost- like images, subtle in palette. This last time around it feels much more aggressive in nature, which I like.

…mbg: Coming back to the idea of the ghost image, I’m wondering if there’s a hint of nostalgia in your work about how certain literary works enter our consciousness. I’m thinking about how the appreciation of the paper novel has trailed off. But you’ve also talked about Native American oral storytelling traditions. Is your work paying homage to the obsolescence of those forms?

NB: I think my work speaks to a different way of reading and experiencing literature that I believe is still alive, but one that requires more of an active pursuit by the reader, especially now that everything is immediately accessible online. But I do think I'm trying to go back to something even older, before the golden age of books. I've had this constant interest in mythology and storytelling and its presence through time. I’m specifically thinking back to the time of the bards and how a story would be something you "carried" with you, changing and adapting to wherever you stopped to tell it. I'm interested in a time where in addition for story to be adaptable, it was also related to movement and sound in a way.

When you read stories from Native American trickster myth cycles, they often begin with the storyteller saying or writing "Here lives my story" or "My story was walking one day." Stories have an animate presence. The story itself is its own character in a strange way. I like that more open-ended, shape-shifting version of how a story can function as opposed to one where its interpretation is more fixed.

…mbg: There is an idea of freeing language from having a classificatory principle into something that is more malleable…

NB: Yeah, malleable is a great word. I saw Salmon Rushdie speak when he came through Houston a few weeks back. He read from his new book Luka and the Fire of Life, which is sort of fairytale meant for both children and adults. He was being interviewed afterwards and the interviewer asked, "How do you tell your reader that they're entering into the realm of a fairytale? How do you set the stage for that kind of tale?" Salmon Rushdie starting talking about the words "Once upon a time." He said that in Arabic, their version of "Once upon a time" is "It was so; it was not so." I think that's a really beautiful and powerful way to start a story. No matter how stories are classified, they are always a mix of fiction and nonfiction, as determined through the presence of the author. I like that idea of starting out something with an admittance of contradiction. That's something I would like to emulate in my own work.

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


Out of Place
Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin
Through March 5

By Ali Fitzgerald

Oded Hirsch, Halfman, 2009, Pigment photograph, 17 x 23-3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lora Reynolds Gallery.

The videos included in Out of Place at Lora Reynolds Gallery seem more cinematic than D.I.Y., with sweeping panoramas and slick accompanying stills. Curator Noah Simblist told me later that "none of the artists wanted their art reduced down to a blanket political statement,” but rather sought to dodge political cliché through attention to the works’ physicality, a strategy repeated throughout the exhibition’s works in various mediums.

Yael Bartana's work Mur i Wieza (Wall and Tower) (2009), constructs a revisionist narrative in which a group of Israelis return to and reclaim their Polish homeland by erecting a small settlement in Warsaw. In Wall and Tower, Bartana crafts a seductive homage to Zionist propaganda films and the mechanics of nationalism. The actors, mostly strapping young Israelis, build wooden structures using the same wall and tower method employed in some concentration camps. Bartana's camera sweeps across the expressions of vacant idealism on their faces with loaded glee, reminding me of the 1960 movie Exodus starring Paul Newman as an embattled Israeli fighter, imploring his brothers and the audience to cheer for a new Jewish homeland. Bartana borrows from this sexy Hollywood vocabulary to great effect, even stamping the entrance to the black-box video space with a personally derived icon: a powerful merger of the red Polish national crest (which is eerily similar to the Nazi eagle) and the Star of David.

Where Bartana repurposes symbols of might, Jan Tichy presents paper monuments that are striking in their frailty. With Dahania (2006), Tichy memorializes the short-lived Palestinian airport with two black and white models, easily collapsible and sad, perched on a small bank of sand in the middle of the gallery. In describing this work, Simblist notes an "efficiency" of gesture. Tichy's small melancholic moment is echoed by Tom Molloy's hanging cut paper recreation of U.N. Security Council's Treaty 242, which is nearly impossible to read thanks to the machinations of a nearby fan. As I attempted in vain to read the text, I had to laugh at such a perfect little metaphor for the obliqueness of legal language and the slippery nature of multi-state solutions.

The fan was actually intended for Nida Sinnokrot's West Bank Butterfly  Kite Project (2009) across the room, which billows in reference to the shifting topography of modern Palestine. The kite is shaped from the contours of dueling West Banks, and, when presented alongside Sinnokrot's endangered butterfly native to the region and a small Gaza-shaped paper butterfly pinned to the wall, it exudes an ephemeral preciousness, clear and plaintive.

Possibly the most compelling piece in Out of Place is Oded Hirsch's absurdist epic Halfman (2009), in which he pushes his wheelchair-bound father through the muddy flats of North Israel. After a Sisyphus-style journey through the muck, a group of faceless workers hoist his father onto a wooden platform perched above the ocean in an act that seems equally perilous and pointless. Hirsch's imagery is haunting and primordial: swollen feet, mud, rippling endless waves and a solitary wooden fortress. Referencing Hirsch's clear admiration of absurdist theatre, Simblist informed me that contemporary Israeli fiction is characterized by an interest in the absurd and surreal (see the short stories of fiction writer Etgar Keret).

Out of Place focuses on the Israel-Palestine conflict, but speaks more generally to ideas of displacement and physical otherness. I found a particular resonance in this, as I feel somewhat distant both from my American and quasi-German identities (although my waistline is repatriating quickly).

When I met with Simblist for coffee, we spoke of his interest in artist-led political projects because they aren't "beholden to facts" the way journalists or historians are. We also talked about Egypt, Joe Sacco's Notes on Gaza and the visual hallmarks of Simblist's own work, which investigates the aesthetics of signage and propaganda. In discussing the panic-inducing mainstream news machine, Simblist stated that his show "should be displaced from the language of mainstream media." And thankfully it is.

Ali Fitzgerald is an artist and comics writer living in Berlin. She contributes regularly to the PBS blog Art:21 and recently started a visual travelogue for The Huffington Post.

Texas State University Galleries, San Marcos
Through March 1

By Chelsea Weathers

SUBstainability (Exhibition view).

Sustainability, the current Common Experience Theme at Texas State University, is a concept meant to inspire action in the present to work toward a better future. The exhibition SUBstainability grapples with the idea that such concern for the future is inextricable from an imperative to make the most of the present moment. In the show, underlying urges that often spur humans to action, like grief, laziness, erotic pleasure or calculated manipulation––impulses which usually take a back seat to more overtly utilitarian incarnations of sustainability such as architectural projects or ecological concerns––become the subjects of artworks that seek to subvert the idea that a sustainable future is one in which we have purged all of our vices.

Curators Andy Campbell and Mary Mikel Stump chose two large artworks to anchor each of the exhibition’s spacious galleries. One room showcases Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Placebo) (1991), a pile of about 700 pounds of silver-wrapped pineapple candies. As prescribed by the artist, viewers are meant to take the sweets away with them; the artwork is not supposed to sustain, but to wither and die, an elegant echo of the death of Gonzalez-Torres and his lover from AIDS. Other references to death crop up in this room. Eve Andrée Laramée’s Tincture of Smithson (1998–2000) features a solution containing pulverized rock from Robert Smithson’s Amarillo Ramp, the work whose site Smithson was surveying when his plane crashed, killing him and the pilot. The Tincture and “Untitled” (Placebo), though precious and romantic, provide a cool contrast to Dario Robleto’s Victorian sentimentality. Four works by Robleto, hermetically sealed in glass frames or vitrines, occupy a corner of the gallery. Intricate shrine-like assemblages containing photographs, ribbons, dried flowers and human hair hearken back to 18th- and 19th-century European mourning practices. Though less overtly personal than Gonzalez-Torres’ work, Robleto’s tableaux exemplify the delicate beauty that can result from an obsessive engagement with the concept of loss.

If the first gallery contains somber artworks that carry the weight of loss like a cross to bear, then the second half of SUBstainability treats loss or longing more playfully. Many of the works in this half of the show take as their subjects actions and feelings that qualify as neurotic, or at least unproductive. Where Gonzalez-Torres’ candies entreaty viewers to kneel benevolently before them, and to empathize with the artist’s and countless others’ grief, Jeanne Quinn’s A Thousand Tiny Deaths (2009) invites viewers to anticipate, even to relish, ruination. Black porcelain vessels hang precariously from partially deflated balloons suspended from the ceiling. As a balloon loses air, a vessel crashes to the floor. This act of destruction is an apt counterpart to “Untitled” (Placebo), but Quinn’s title, though ostensibly about death, brings us closer to the idea of the breaking porcelain as la petite morte. Each crashing vessel depends on the delicate, softening balloon—one orgasm after another. Ian Bogost’s Guru Meditation (2010) transforms the act of sitting stationary in front of the television into a yogic, meditative video game using the outmoded but charming vintage Atari system. Unlike Nam June Paik’s formally similar TV Buddha (1974), Bogost’s piece integrates the participation of the viewer, forcing her to make a game of being aware of her body as it resists the will to move or to relax. Sarah Sudhoff, in her stark photographs detailing the procedures that manufacture friendships in college sororities (signs that instruct sisters on how to gain a pledge’s trust and to discern the desirables from the dead weight), takes a seemingly cynical approach to her subject. Sudhoff’s images catalog a world that is antithetical to ideologies of creative freedom or social rebellion, though it also ostensibly takes on an agenda of philanthropy and humanitarianism. It was unclear to me whether Sudhoff meant to pass judgment on the facile methods the sororities used to indoctrinate its sisters. This line of questioning eventually reminded of a line from British television’s inimitable glamour-lush, Patsy Stone of Absolutely Fabulous: “What the hell is the difference between a painting done by a person who wishes to paint like a child, and a child’s painting?”

To attempt to answer such a question in this review would be akin to tilting at windmills––but in a way this is what SUBstainability encourages its viewers to do. At the heart of this exhibition is the therapeutic paradox that as long as the present feels worthwhile and valuable to the person who is living in it––even if he or she chooses to spend that time mourning, in front of the television, compulsively chasing multiple orgasms, or following a regimented path to sorority sisterhood––the higher the chances for a productive future.

Chelsea Weathers is a Ph.D. Candidate in Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation is a history of the exhibition and distribution of Andy Warhol's films in the 1960s.

Zine Library
Unit B Gallery, San Antonio
Through March 5

By Wendy Atwell

Zine Library (Installation view), 2011, Collection of 50 zines from Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans and Mexico City. Courtesy of Unit B and Emily Morrison/Trouser House, New Orleans.

National magazines and zines are as different as Twinkies and raw food bars: flipping through Vogue, it’s hard to find anything of substance within the glossy photos and airbrushed ads, while zines contain nothing but. Curated by Emily Morrison, the Zine Library at Unit B contains over fifty contemporary zines from New Orleans, Austin and Mexico City. Two hours provided only enough time to skim the surface of the flurry of zines exhibited. They are folded over white wire hangers, like pairs of pants, and hung at eye level throughout the gallery’s two rooms.

Zine material ranges from shocking and awkward to poetic and funny, but there’s nothing predictable, watered-down or politically correct within their varied pages of cartoons, essays, drawings, prints and photographs. Self-published, handmade and often community-based, zines come in a variety of sizes and formats, from photocopied paper double-sided and folded four ways, to the meticulously screen printed or origami folded.

Morrison is Executive Director at Trouser House, a non-profit contemporary art and urban farming initiative in New Orleans. In her curatorial statement, she mentions anarchists and pseudo-anarchists, how she had been living out of her car, punk rockers, lesbians and freeganism. The content within several of the zines reflects these fringes of mainstream American life; they’re not represented in InStyle, and only in W if appropriated by fashion. Mass media’s continued promotion of stereotypes stirred the Riot Grrrls, a generation of feminists who emerged in the 1990s and fought against these images. Like other ‘90s subcultures, they used zines to express their punk aesthetic and alternative female identities.

The title of Enola D’s zine of personal essays and observations, No Gods No Mattress, plays on No Gods No Masters, an anthology of anarchism by the French political and gay activist Daniel Guérin (1904-1988). In one essay, she describes getting out of her sleeping bag on a particularly cold morning and going to a coffee shop for a cup of hot water to put her teabag into. On her way she finds a cell phone in the streets of New Orleans, and is accused of stealing it when she tries to return it to the tourist who owns it. Their suspicion that she stole the phone in order to get a reward exposes an ugly side of class differences, between the people she calls yuppies and “entitled tourists” and her own vagabond life. Like many zine producers, Enola D’s resistance to mainstream modes of consumption extends to her the way her zines are distributed: they circulate only physically, not virtually.

Haley McMichael folds a long strip of screen-printed paper into beautiful three-by-five-inch books titled Observations and Daily Life. Funny and poignant observations accompany her illustrations, such as “Today I saw a vulture. Vultures don’t hurt anyone, but nobody likes them, maybe because they smell.”

There are multiple print issues of Pazmaker, a zine published by Perros Negros, “a production office of artistic projects” in Mexico City. Pazmaker #7, an audiozine, plays in the background. The forty-two tracks range from Joan Jonas reading The Anchor Stone (1988) to Marcel Broodthaers’ Interview with a Cat (1970).

This anthology of voices and sounds aurally illustrates the cacophony of voices speaking out in its printed counterparts. Because of their DIY ethics and self-distribution, zines are inherently political, though many possess particular sociopolitical agendas. The seductively illustrated a red rimmed star, published anonymously, tells a nightmarish and gory tale about a fated hunter who meets the hunting goddess.

While the printed word may fall flat on the pages of mainstream magazines, with their blanket generalizations catering to high circulation and demographic targets, the text in zines tends to pop out at the reader in three dimensions. Zines allow access and affordability, and many utilize every blank space and face of the paper, creating a kind of Cubist deconstruction of mass media that allows empowerment and individualized representation. Morrison’s Zine Library provides a fascinating peek into these uncensored channels that illustrate highly subjective perspectives, as well as poetry and art. Many zines reflect on how the mainstream version of the American dream may be a nightmare for some; as agents for transformation, zines illustrate how this dark side dawns into a dream.

Wendy Atwell received her M.A. in Art History and Criticism from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

An Exchange with Sol LeWitt
Cabinet (Brooklyn) and MASS MoCA (North Adams)
Through March 5 and 31

By Veronica Roberts

An Exchange with Sol LeWitt offers an idiosyncratic tribute to LeWitt’s work, a wonderful, intimate complement to the expansive three-floor survey of the artist’s wall drawings on view at MASS MoCA through 2033. Conceived by independent curator Regine Basha, and installed in collaboration with Denise Markonish at MASS MoCA and Sina Najafi at Cabinet Magazine headquarters in Brooklyn, the show was organized around an open call to artists to make work they thought Sol might like. The only restriction was size: the submissions could be no larger than a sheet of binder paper or a 12-inch cube.

Together, the two venues present a mini-retrospective of LeWittian themes, as artists have paid homage to virtually every body of work the artist made. Not surprisingly, dozens of beautiful drawings involving repeated lines and cubes (LeWitt’s artistic bread and butter) are in abundance. A standout is 7-year-old Lucia Harrison’s hot pink wavy line drawing at MASS MoCA. Numerous text-based works additionally pay tribute to LeWitt’s writing. Luis Camnitzer, a friend of LeWitt’s, rewrote the artist’s 1969 “Sentences on Conceptual Art,” adding his own updates. And Tom Melick concocted a “recipe for Sol LeWitt” involving water and a bouillon cube in which “the recipe becomes the machine that makes the meals,” a witty nod to LeWitt’s famed declaration in his 1967 “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” that “the idea becomes the machine that makes the art.”

There were also riffs on specific iconic works. A photograph by Hope Sandrow of her chickens and roosters cavorting around a chicken coop designed to resemble one of LeWitt’s isometric cubes instantly captured my attention. Another highlight was Joe Johnson’s beautiful diagram, Variations of Complete Open Paper Clips, a spin on the paper clips Sol used and meticulously documented when trying to come up with every possible variation of an open cube. Nina Servizzi created a colorful strip resembling Eadweard Muybridge’s photograph of humans in motion, which sparked LeWitt’s interest in seriality. Also among the many sub-genres in the show is work made about LeWitt’s friendship with Eva Hesse. At Cabinet, you can hear the very talented Canadian Cedar Tavern Singers sing the words of Sol’s extraordinary 1965 letter to Hesse, and at MASS MoCA an excerpt from the same letter forms part of Kate Davis’ collage.

At MASS MoCA in particular there are numerous works based on rules and instructions, the generative force behind LeWitt’s wall drawings. Two RISD art students, Corydon Cowansage and Adam Lucas, jointly came up with five rules for making a work of art (limiting themselves to three colors, creating a work in under 30 minutes, etc.) The duo then made very different works using these shared parameters. Lorrie Fredette decided to make a work based on 25 different rules she asked friends and family to invent. Teresita Fernandez created an installation of seven exquisite, irregularly faceted knobs of charcoal with that are attached to a wall, assembled according to her instructions.

Although each venue possesses an eclectic mix of submissions (in terms of off-beat offerings, Cabinet’s stuffed monkey was matched by MASS MoCA’s wisdom tooth), the presentations are quite different. At Cabinet, work is displayed on the walls and ensconced inside stacked cardboard boxes reminiscent of the magazine’s namesake cabinet of curiosities. The larger installation at MASS MoCA is a more customary museum display, with a linear wall hanging, vitrines and work placed atop a continuous shelf. The MASS MoCA experience is enhanced by the conversation between the works in the show and LeWitt’s wall drawings on view upstairs. As if to draw viewers’ attention to these works, Max Goldfarb and Allyson Strafella have bottled the remnants of a brightly colored acrylic wall drawing in a small jar placed outside the group exhibition’s entrance. Inspired by seeing the crew of drafters sharpen thousands of pencils to make the wall drawings at the museum, Hope Ginsburg submitted a felt-covered metal pencil sharpener—a loving overture to their tremendous labor.

As a show, An Exchange with Sol LeWitt is creative, generous, humorous and modest, all qualities Sol possessed. Between his longstanding practice of exchanging work with others, hiring drafters to execute his pieces, loyal commitment to friends and younger artists, and enthusiasm for the less expensive mediums of printmaking and artist’s books (he helped found the artist-run bookstore Printed Matter), LeWitt’s work and his life subverted countless artistic norms, forging community in the process.

This two-part exhibition both embodies and extends the communal character we associate with LeWitt. As I wandered through MASS MoCA, I overheard people finding their own work in the show, looking for the work of friends, and enjoying work by people they didn’t know. There is something particularly thrilling about a museum participating in this project. While open calls are not exceptional in alternative art spaces, it’s a brave move for a museum like MASS MoCA to agree to mount a show where they have no control over the amount or quality of works on view. That ethos of risk-taking and generous spirit couldn’t be a more fitting way to honor Sol LeWitt and his art.

Veronica Roberts worked closely with Sol LeWitt when she coordinated his retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 2000. She is currently the Director of Research for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Catalogue Raisonné, to be published digitally by Artifex Press.

...mbg recommends

Andy Warhol's Kiss
The Museum of Modern Art
Through March 21

By Mary Walling Blackburn

Andy Warhol, Kiss (1963-64), 16mm film (black and white, silent), 54 min. at 16fps. @ 2010 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved. Film still courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum.

In Andy Warhol’s Kiss (1963-64) couples neck until the light flares and dies out and the next couple begins.

It is strung together on 16mm film, shot at 24 frames per second and projected at 16 frames per second. Originally, singular make-out sessions were screened before feature-length films in 1963 at the Gramercy Arts Theater on East 27th Street in Manhattan. But eventually Warhol began to align the previews in a manner that was in accord with Structuralist cinema, with duration and his own desire to capitalize on others’ limits, both audience and actor.

The mechanics of the kiss are such that the kisser is suspended in a threshold state: in between the act of eating and being eaten, pivoting between bite and smile. Chronological time can’t cope with the kiss because it performs our longing for something infinite. In this case, the infinite is without language or currency, both time-dependent mediums. Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips’ theorizing around the kiss postulates that it is “eating without nourishment.” But the kiss is also touching without reproduction, sexual or mechanical. Here, a series of kisses performs a syncopation untouched by Taylorism, a 20th century method of regulating and repeating each worker’s gesture towards maximum production.

Kiss’s languid and repetitive tempo is meditative to some (behind me, a boy sleeps through) but others manhandle it; they refuse it by walking out or speaking through it. In total, the film clocks in at 54 minutes. No one seated starts to kiss. We occupy our mouths in any other way.

Collectively, we’re a vulnerable audience. We might be suffused with longing; our emotions might be organized by a sense of alienation, unable to identify with disembodied (primarily) white celebrity heads cum death masks. The only black subject in the film, Rufus Collins slowly grazes the mouth of the woman beneath him, Naomi Levine. Later, Collins will be cast as a vampire in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but in this moment, there’s nothing camp, just the slowness of an open-mouthed kiss that never ceases nor escalates. Naomi Levine is paired in succession with multiple men. Gerard Malanga is also paired with multiple men. Is this acting? Is this love? Warhol directs the kiss as social transaction. Its mouth and tongue as time and motion are tethered to a script.

The phalanx of kissers in Warhol’s Kiss are heir to the Japanese Awaji puppeteers who manipulate life-size dolls with their hands and bodies. A real person pretends to be an automoton pretending to be real. Think mise-en-abyme. The kiss is artifice: a Make Out Factory, manufacturing the rip-off. But I resist this reduction: in these serial kisses, there’s real sunlight on real skin, worn bedclothes and a pedestrian sofa. I want this gesture, regardless of Warhol’s attention to the capital of the body, to be the exception. I want this mouth against another mouth to have no utility but the kiss alone.

The world’s record for the longest kiss (2010) is 33 hours. The contest regulations demand: “The kiss must be continuous and the lips must be touching at all times. The couple must be awake at all times.” They cannot defecate or urinate. The abject is the sleeping lover, soiled. In a late capitalist life, the kiss is political capital. The 2010 celebrants of the world’s longest kiss are two men who are not in love; they are activists, participating in the self-described “LBGT uprising”. This makes sense as a stratagem. But its sentimentality and normativity make it decidedly undifferentiated from ordinary expressions of heterosexual affection. What of long kisses in wet pants? Kissers that bite one another awake? The ear purposefully swapped for the mouth? And even, perhaps to extend the argument posed in The Screwball Asses by Guy Hocquenghem, the next record for longest kiss (this time around with bathroom breaks and moments of rest and instances where the mouth has strayed from the lips to the hair) will be celebrated by a gay man and a lesbian woman, as record of a more complicated liberation. Maybe it will be a year-long film projected at 16 frames per second. It projects in your hallway; each time you leave your bedroom to get a glass of water, the lesbian and the gay man are kissing, flickering, laughing. In this fantasy, we witness the kissers’ failure to beat the record in the spirit of carnival, with all its joyous subversions.

In real life, to make record, the kiss has become an ordeal. (Exhausted by replication and rule.) But the image is not guilty, it is the path thrashed to it.

Kiss is on view in Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art through March 21.

Thanks to Pascale Gatzen for our conversation and the observation that “the image is not guilty.”

Mary Walling Blackburn, artist and writer, presented "Accidental Pornographies: Lesson Plans 1-9: " at testsite in September. Recently a Visiting Artist at Cooper-Union School for the Arts, she lives in Brooklyn. Her work can be found at welcomedoubleagent.com and anhoekschool.org.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Modern Civilization
grayDUCK Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, February 18, 7-9pm

This show explores the boundaries, environments and landscapes our modern society has created. Whether the artist reaches back to the past or contemplates the present, they see it through modern and complex eyes. Modern Civilization features graphite drawings from Dieter Geisler, acrylic paintings from Suchitra Mattai and Andrew Sloan, and gouache paintings by Ronald Walker.

People's Gallery 2011
The People's Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, February 18, 6-8pm

The City of Austin is proud to present the annual People's Gallery exhibition at City Hall. This series is designed to showcase regional artistic endeavors and to encourage public dialogue, understanding, and enjoyment of visual art.

Recovering Beauty: The 1990s in Buenos Aires
Blanton Museum of Art
Opening February 20

Organized by The Blanton, Recovering Beauty: The 1990s in Buenos Aires will be the first comprehensive presentation of art produced during the 1990s in Buenos Aires, a time of pivotal transformation in Argentina. The exhibition will focus on the work of artists identified as the “arte light” group, which rose to prominence during this decade.

Daniel Rudin
Visual Arts Center (Center Space Project)
Opening Reception: Friday, February 25, 6-8pm

Daniel Rudin’s exhibition The Working Homeless is made up of video and sculpture that documents conversations with homeless panhandlers who stand alongside the freeway asking for help. This installation explores a series of related complex questions: What is life like for the most vulnerable of Americans who have fallen victim to the recent economic crisis, whose very nature is related to housing?

New Art in Austin: 15 to Watch
Austin Museum of Art
Opening February 26

New Art in Austin: 15 to Watch is the fourth exhibition in a triennial showcase that spotlights emerging artists from Central Texas whose work stretches the boundaries of contemporary art. Accompanied by a full-color scholarly catalogue, the exhibition will bring cutting edge work in a variety of media to a broad audience.

Beili Liu
Women and Their Work
Opening Reception Thursday, March 3, 6-8pm

Thousands of pairs of sewing scissors create an intervention in the gallery when arranged by Beili Liu. Liu's large format installation/performance takes over the space it occupies. The repetitive process she uses gives an immersive and powerful effect.

Sanford Biggers
Opening March 26

Sanford Biggers is a multimedia performance and installation artist who incorporates African American history, politics, ethnography, and popular culture in his multifaceted artistic practice. Biggers is also a musician and practicing Zen Buddhist. Therefore, auditory elements and Eastern sources play a major role in his environments and lend a secondary layer of meaning to the icons of black culture prevalent in his work.

Michelle Mayer
Wally Workman Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 2, 6 - 8pm

This show addresses how, as we accept and adapt to constant change in the technologies that connect us, we are forever reminded of the official narrative that this is revolutionary progress; humanity is moving forward. Yet paradoxically, no amount of devastating environmental catastrophes via 24-hour news feeds has proven sufficient to hold our diminishing collective attention. We as a species, even now, are still struggling to understand the changes that face us as a result of our impact on the world.

Austin on View

Nathan Baker
Through March 6

Nathan Baker trained as a photographer, but currently works in a variety of media including sculpture, sound, video, and installation. Baker is interested in how creativity may (or may not) be limited by the resources available to the artist, and he explores that notion through the re-purposing and re-examination of common objects and materials. In Let It Shine, a continuously-looped silent video, the camera is set on a close-up of a metallic fringed stage curtain which seduces and mesmerizes the viewer with its subtle movement and shimmer.

Out of Place
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Through March 5

Lora Reynolds Gallery is pleased to present Out of Place, curated by Noah Simblist. The exhibition will include six international artists, many of whom rarely exhibit their work in the US, more often showing in Europe or the Middle East.

Amanda Ross-Ho
Visual Arts Center (Vaulted Gallery)
Through March 12

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.

Natasha Bowdoin
Visual Arts Center (The Arcade Gallery)
Through March 12

The Daisy Argument by Houston-based artist Natasha Bowdoin is the third incarnation of a project that documents her transcription of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Over the past few years, Bowdoin has used language as an organic material to explore the unpredictable presence of words. Her site-specific installations are composed of an ever-changing number of components, including drawings and phrases carefully cut from paper that are re-appropriated with each new exhibition.

Michelle Handelman
Through March 20

Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Michelle Handelman’s Dorian, a cinematic perfume is a four-channel video installation that follows a young woman’s hallucinatory journey through the dark and decadent underworld of New York City’s gender-bending drag and burlesque scene.

Lisa Tan
Through March 27

Lisa Tan’s conceptual practice is grounded in the examination of emotional drives. This exhibition includes works in a variety of media that address romanticism and los through a diverse group of protagonists drawn from literature and film as well as the artist herself.

Graham Hudson
Through April 10

British artist Graham Hudson, whose sculptures often include scaffolding, shipping pallets, scrap wood, discarded windows, and vintage turntables, will recreate a portion of the stage of the famous Astoria Theatre (London, demolished 2009) in the renovated space of Arthouse’s 2nd floor gallery. Constructed of scaffolding, the ghost-like replica will double as a sculpture and performance space, as it will be utilized as a rehearsal stage by local bands.

Austin Closings

Rock Hard / Soft Rock
Visual Arts Center (Center Space Project)
Through February 19

In the Center Space, graduate students in studio art Olivia Moore and Richard Yanas offer this compilation of works in a variety of media that engage in a lateral slide of associations tied together by a single word: ROCK.

Erin Curtis
Champion Contemporary
Through February 19

Champion is delighted to announce the solo show Ornament of Savage Tribes by Austin artist Erin Curtis. The exhibition is comprised of a body of large scale, free-hanging paintings and mixed-media drawings that reflect an ongoing investigation into architecture, abstraction, and decoration.

Beverly Penn & Sydney Yeager
d berman gallery
Through February 26

Beverly Penn says, “The Place of my work is the Garden. As a cultivated border between civilization and wilderness, the Garden is a surreal expression of nature tamed, a transformative buffer zone with potential for mystery, exaggeration, and fantasy. Sydney Yeager says of her recent paintings that the “marks which compose the shapes threaten the boundaries of their confining edges.

William Hundley
Domy Books
Through March 3

Becomes is a survey of recent sculptural and collage-based work of William Hundley. The work has been created with primal intent in which the artist becomes the medium that allows for a dialogue with the nature spirits.

San Antonio on View

Zine Library
Unit B Gallery
Through March 5

Organized by Emily Morrison and Trouser House of New Orleans, LA. Zine Library features work by 50 zinesters from New Orleans, Austin, and Mexico City. The exhibit aims to connect the art of Zine-making with the impetus for the medium—the Do-it-Yourself movement, intersocial dynamics, and issues surrounding copyright and distribution of printed matter.

New Image Sculpture
The McNay
Though May 8

Organized by the McNay’s Chief Curator and Curator of Art after 1945, New Image Sculpture assembles works by emerging and mid-career artists who freely appropriate from art history, ethnographic artifacts, fashion, folk art, hobby crafts, popular culture, and the world of do-it-yourself. Included is Austin collected, Okay Mountain.

San Antonio Closings

Steve Reynolds
UTSA Art Gallery
Through February 23

Curated by Catherine Lee. Steve Reynolds: Serial Investigations in Sculpture is an examination of trajectories in the remarkable career of Steve Reynolds (1940-2007), an internationally admired artist especially well known for his tour-de-force explorations in sculpture and ceramics.

Houston Openings

2010–2011 Core Annual Exhibition
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Opening Reception: Friday, February 25, 2011

The 2011 Core Exhibition features work by artists-in-residence Nick Barbee; Lourdes Correa-Carlo; Fatima Haider; Steffani Jemison; Gabriel Martinez; Julie Ann Nagle; Kelly Sears; and Clarissa Tossin. Core critical studies residents Massa Lemu, Melissa Ragain, Julie Thomson, and Wendy Vogel contribute essays based on their independent research to the Core 2011 Yearbook publication that accompanies the show (forthcoming April, 2011).

Jim Nolan
Art Palace
Opening Reception: February 25, 6-8pm

In his debut show at Art Palace, Today is Tomorrow, Jim Nolan combines the aesthetics of working class labor and underground music culture with the language of Minimalism to create off-hand and irreverent installations, sculptures and photographs.

Houston on View


SKYDIVE is pleased to announce CHUNKS, the first exhibition in the new location at 2041 Norfolk Street. CHUNKS is a group show about playful experiments with things that don't quite fall in the painting or the sculpture category, but could be considered to be CHUNKS. CHUNKS explores the work of emerging and mid-career artists who employ the language of painting in other dimensions, and in a variety of materials, including digital media.

Patricia Hernandez
Through February 26

Houston artist Patricia Hernandez challenges the integrity of America’s most collected artist, Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light, with an exhibition at DiverseWorks ArtSpace, Parody of Light. Within an installation that includes the interior of a home and a shopping mall, Patricia Hernandez critiques Kinkade’s practice of digitally reproducing his images on questionably “collectible” objects while restricting the sale of his original paintings.

John Wood & Paul Harrison
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through April 24

Answers to Questions: John Wood & Paul Harrison will be the first United States museum survey of work in video by this British artistic team. Wood and Harrison use a wide variety of props, often including their own bodies, to create short video vignettes that highlight the inventive play behind all art, even in its most minimal and conceptual strains. Well known throughout Europe and Asia, and especially in their native England, where they have collaborated since 1993, Wood and Harrison’s imaginative, inventive, and often hilarious shorts will be an exciting new discovery for American audiences.

Josephine Durkin, The Bridge Club, Hollis Cooper, Mark Aguhar and Laura Lark
Lawndale Art Center
Through March 12

Josephine Durkin works with a variety of methods to investigate how materials and objects can be manipulated and positioned to function as human surrogates in the exhibition When I saw you last.... In the Mezzanine Gallery, The Bridge Club collaborative presents a new performance and installation work titled Natural Resources utilizing objects coated in either milk or petroleum oil. Hollis Cooper will create a site specific painting installation in response to the architecture of the Grace R. Cavnar Gallery for the exhibition Working Space. In the Project Space, Mark Aguhar's exploration of queer expression and what it means to have grown up gay on the internet in a new series of works for the exhibition M4M. The SNACK PROJECTS gallery will feature the Los Angeles bedroom of Neely O'Hara from the novel and movie Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susan, in miniature, by artist Laura Lark.

Gabriel Dieter
Domy Books
Through March 17

New work by Gabriel Dieter. Revenge of the World represents four years of collected works that address the tender and fragile parts of humanity with the sincerity of a comedian on death row.

Okay Mountain
Blaffer Art Museum
Through April 2

For their exhibition at the Blaffer, Okay Mountain explores the methods and rituals held in common by otherwise isolated groups—from followers of self-help messiahs to fundamentalist cults to Fortune 500 companies—who “employ a combination of initiation, insider/outsider mentality, esoteric language, and a hierarchy of progressive advancement to inspire a streamlined, new identity that supersedes the complexities of everyday existence.”

Carlos Cruz-Diez
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Through July 4

For more than five decades, Carlos Cruz-Diez (born 1923) has experimented intensively with the origins and optics of color. His wide-ranging body of work includes unconventional color structures, light environments, street interventions, architectural integration projects, and experimental works that engage the response of the human eye while insisting on the participatory nature of color. The MFAH and the Cruz-Diez Foundation, Houston, present the first large-scale retrospective of this pioneering Franco-Venezuelan artist.

Houston Closings

Carl Suddath & Katrina Moorhead
Inman Gallery
Through February 19

Carl Suddath's 60'6" comprises a group of drawings and several new sculptures. The exhibition's title refers to the distance between the pitching mound and home plate on a modern baseball field. Katrina Moorhead's Landscape of a Danger occupies the north gallery. Expanding upon ideas developed through a group of small sculptures from 2009, the installation couples meticulously embellished natural elements (animal skins) with objects and infrastructure built from common materials used in the construction industry.

Jillian Conrad
Art Palace
Through February 19

Mixing the elements of traditional sculpture--its mass, volume, and solidity--with the possibilities of drawing, Jillian Conrad's work has one foot in the world of objects and the other in the world of the imagination.

Disturbance of Distance 2
Box 13
Through February 19

Box 13 ArtSpace is pleased to announce the opening of Disturbance of Distance 2, the second in a continuing series of juried exhibitions connecting Houston to the surrounding arts communities. This round brings together artists from the Houston and Dallas areas, curated by Charles Dee Mitchell. Disturbance of Distance 2 features the artists Mary Benedicto, Val Curry, Brian Jones, Daniel McFarlane, Brian Scott, Sunny Sliger, and Bonnie Young.

Dallas Openings

Virginia Fleck
Holly Johnson Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 19, 6-8pm

Virginia Fleck's mandalas are intricately crafted, large-scaled works that reference painting, but are created by collaging pieces of detritus from a consumerist society in a way that exposes the efforts of advertisers to influence the masses.

Royal Robertson
Webb Gallery
Opening Reception: February 20, 4-8pm

A retrospective. Robertson worked primarily on poster board using magic markers, tempera paint, colored pencils, ball point pens and glitter. Many of his pieces are double sided and in addition to works on paper; he adorned his home with murals, signs, and shrines of space sexy ladies, space men, signs with his troubled thoughts on women, warnings of the end of times, and biblical texts.

Brazos Gallery, Richland College
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 10, 4-7pm

The exhibition contains undulating video patterning, meticulously crafted narratives, and spatial/perceptual inquiries. The vibrant and multi-faceted art works challenge and captivate viewers, while avoiding prescribed methodologies.

Dallas on View

Michel Verjux, Sour Grapes, Gabriel Dawe, and David Willburn
Dallas Contemporary
Through March 27

Current exhibitions at Dallas Contemporary include Michel Verjux, Sour Grapes, Gabriel Dawe, and David Willburn.

Ed Ruscha
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Through April 17

Since Ruscha's first road trip from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles in 1956, the artist has continued to engage the images he has encountered along the roads of the western United States. Consisting of approximately 75 works, spanning the artist's entire career, Ed Ruscha: Road Tested tracks key images inspired by his admitted love of driving. "I like being in the car, and seeing things from that vantage point," Ruscha has said. "Sometimes I give myself assignments to go out on the road and explore different ideas."

Marfa Closings

Ballroom Marfa
Through February 20

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

A Room, In Three Movements
Sue Scott Gallery
Through February 27

Featuring the work of three sculptors: Katy Heinlein, Sheila Pepe and Halsey Rodman. Three times during A Room, In Three Movements the location of each sculpture will be changed in the gallery, prompting the artists to improvise a response to each other’s work and to the space, and each time inviting a new experience. As Brooklyn-based artist Sheila Pepe asks, “what happens if a static object is made specifically to change shape in relation to another structure/object? What contingencies can be played out, what references are re-shuffled and animated when that object is moved around in space, around a room?”

An Exchange with Sol LeWitt
MASS MoCA & Cabinet
Cabinet Closing: March 5 / MASS MoCA Closing: March 31

In addition to encouraging the circulation of artworks through a gift economy that challenged the art world’s dominant economic model, LeWitt’s exchanges with friends and strangers have the same qualities of generosity and risk that characterized his work in general. In the spirit of continuing the artist’s lifelong philosophy of open exchange, and in conjunction with the “LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective” on view at MASS MoCA through 2033, MASS MoCA and Cabinet present “An Exchange with Sol LeWitt”—a curatorial project initiated by independent curator Regine Basha.

Announcements: events

Austin Events

Lakes Were Rivers Book Release Party and Slide Show
Domy Books
Saturday, February 19, 7-9pm

Mimicry, replica, a parrot call, a photograph. The images in Lakes Were Rivers all contend with the basic function of the camera: the recording of life. They represent things in the world that have been made strange and compelling through the perspective of the artist—a fake plant placed on a lush carpet, a fleshy pink flower pressed against a sheet of plastic, a horse dead on the ground. Each artist was asked to submit work that related to the term “syntax.” The arrangement of things.

Rooftop Architecture Film
Wednesday, February 23, 7 pm
Admission: Free for members / $10 for non-members

Arthouse at the Jones Center presents a rooftop screening of Koolhaas Houselife. Koolhaas Houselife is a documentary film about living in a house designed by architect Rem Koolhaas. The film is screened on the stunning new Arthouse roof deck as part of Arthouse’s weekly Rooftop Members’ Lounge.

Art Night Austin
Art Alliance Austin
February 26, 6:30-10pm

Culture enthusiasts venture through Austin's premier galleries, museums and temporary art spaces in Austin's urban core for a preview of the artists and partners collaborating in spring 2011.

San Antonio Events

Sala Diaz Fundraiser
Sala Diaz
Saturday, March 19, 7pm

Please save the date for a Sala Diaz fundraiser, Saturday March 19, 2011. This time we’ll do it at the compound with music provided by Buttercup and DJ John Mata. We’re calling it The Long Table of Love. With this title we embrace the still evolving social sculpture that is the compound, Sala’s fifteen year part in it and the spirit of our friend and co-conspirator Chuck Ramirez. Rick Frederick will serve as Master of Ceremonies. A number of artists will supply altered bicycle helmets to be auctioned that evening.

Houston Events

Blaffer Art Museum and the UH Mitchell Center Present Okay Mountain Contemporary Salon
Blaffer Art Museum
Wednesday, February 23, 6:30pm

Blaffer Art Museum and the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts have teamed up once again to present a Contemporary Salon, a roundtable discussion on Blaffer's current First Take: Okay Mountain exhibition.

Simon Critchley
The Menil
Tuesday, March 8, 7pm

English-born Simon Critchley works in continental philosophy, the history of philosophy, literature, contemporary art, ethics and politics. His books include The Dead Philosophers (2009) and On Humor (2002). Since 2008 he was been chair of philosophy at New York’s New School for Social Research. Critchley is series moderator of the New York Times Opinionator philosophy blog, “The Stone.”

The Empty BOX: A BOX 13 ArtSpace Fundraiser
Box 13
Saturday, March 12, 7-9:30pm

In order to sustain our dream and continue to fill the BOX with new and exciting works of art, we need your help! BOX 13 ArtSpace is a young artist-run nonprofit which provides an innovative environment for the creation and advancement of experimental contemporary art in Houston. BOX 13 cultivates this environment through affordable workspaces for emerging and established artists and the dedication of a significant portion of its building for exhibitions.

Dallas Events

Brent Brown
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
February 22, 7pm

Dallas-based architect Brent Brown has focused his efforts on bringing "design thinking to all communities. The founding director of the building community WORKSHOP (bcWORKSHOP), Brown has received a great deal of recognition for his socially conscious design concepts, including the 2007, 2008, and 2010 Awards for Excellence in Community Design and Sustainable Design by AIA/Dallas and most recently, the 2010 National AIA/HUD Secretary Award for Community-Informed Design by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with the American Institute for Architects for his Congo Street Green Initiative.

Sterling Allen
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
March 1, 7pm

Sterling Allen is an artist and cofounder of Okay Mountain gallery in Austin, Texas, whose own work is known for its humor and profundity. Allen has been recognized for his consumer conscious, found object-based drawings, sculptures, and installations.

Dallas Art Fair
April 8-10, 2011

Celebrating modern and contemporary art, the third annual 2011 Dallas Art Fair will showcase paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and photographs by modern and contemporary artists represented from more than 60 prominent national and international art dealers. There are 15 Texas galleries participating.

Marfa Events

The Reading
Ballroom Marfa
March 26

Ballroom Marfa is pleased to announce the launch of The Reading, a professionally staged screenplay presentation that, in its inaugural year, spotlights a winning script from the prestigious 2010 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, which is presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Feminist Read-A-Thon
Anhoek School

This February Anhoek School is conducting a Feminist Read-A-Thon to help students take courses free of charge and pay teachers fairly for their labor. Anhoek is a nomadic and experimental school with small classes (a limit of seven students per class), and teachers who are invested in challenging the power structures inherent in how people are taught and what they are taught.

Announcements: opportunities

Call for Entries

Universe in Universe
Deadline: March 10

The 17th International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil will be held in September and October 2011. As suggested by its new name, a deep, intense model shift marks this edition when compared to previous ones. Aligned with the nature of contemporary artistic practices, the new competitive exhibition expands its ability to soak in diverse manifestations, such as video, installations, performances, book-objects, and other artistic experiments. For more information and how to apply, click here.

Video Jam seeks video work
Video Jam
Deadline: March 7

The Video Jam is seeking video art or short film to be screened during Contemporary Art Month at Unit B Gallery in San Antonio, Texas. All entries must be in .MOV format

Send works along with title, name, TRT, date, and synopsis to:

The Video Jam
611 Mission St.
San Antonio, Tx 78210

Call for Submissions

Gopher Illustrated
Deadline: March 1

The Gopher Illustrated emerges from the desire to consume hefty, satisfying cultural content that is worth keeping. We welcome visual arts portfolios, articles and chronicles on culture or global topics and works of short fiction. We are also receiving music and video submissions for publication on our website. A themed section for this issue centers on the concept of “Risky Business.” As always, our theme is open to interpretation, so feel free to send Tom Cruise images (why not?), but creativity is also highly appreciated We accept all the above-mentioned formats as entries for the themed section, and these should be sent with subject line “Risk”. For more info click here.

Call for Proposals

New Media Art & Sound Summit 2011
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Deadline: Friday, April 1

NMASS draws attention to thoughtful, impressive emerging creativity in Austin, the state of Texas, and across the US. NMASS will feature the clever, progressive efforts of local musicians and artists, celebrate Austin's creative culture, and offer opportunities for artists and audiences to engage with a few featured guests from outside of Texas. To apply, click here.

UTSA Satellite Space Gallery Call For Proposals
UTSA Satellite Space
Deadline: March 25

The UTSA Satellite Space is currently accepting proposals for exhibitions from November 2011 – February 2012.

Residency Opportunities

John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Residency
John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Deadline: Friday, April 1

Arts/Industry is undoubtedly the most unusual on-going collaboration between art and industry in the United States. Hundreds of emerging and established visual artists have benefited from the Arts/Industry program at Kohler Co. since its inception in 1974. Participants are exposed to a body of technical knowledge that enables them to explore forms and concepts not possible in their own studios as well as new ways of thinking and working. Artists-in-residence may work in the Kohler Co. Pottery, Iron and Brass Foundries, and Enamel Shop to develop a wide variety of work in clay, enameled cast iron, and brass including but not limited to murals and reliefs, temporary or permanent site-specific installations, and functional and sculptural forms. For more information and to apply, click here.

Internship Opportunities


Fluent~Collaborative seeks interns! The Editorial Intern will be primarily assisting with the online publication, …might be good. The Production Intern will assist with the preparation and gallery hours of exhibitions at testsite. If interested, please send a letter of interest stating which internship you are interested in and a current resumé to eng@fluentcollab.org with the subject line: “Fluent Internship”. Please note that both internships are unpaid.

Artist Opportunities


GenerousArt.org is an online gallery dedicated to raising money for nonprofits and artists. Generous Art envisions art purchases as community-oriented transactions — rejecting the idea that art collection is a selfish endeavor, an isolated event; and replaces time-consuming auction fundraisers with a sustainable and socially responsible purchase.

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