MBG Issue #170: The Tangible and the Ethereal

Issue # 170

The Tangible and the Ethereal

May 27, 2011

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Stan VanDerBeek, Movie Mural (installation view), 1968/2011, Approximate restaging of VanDerBeek’s multimedia installation Movie Mural (1968), Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the MIT List Visual Arts Center and The Estate of Stan VanDerBeek. (detail)

from the editor

In Texas, where we’re unlikely to see temperatures below 90 for a good three months, summer is in full swing. After a whirlwind of semester-end business, parties and galas, I’ve been escaping the heat by reconnecting with my Netflix queue. I’m indulging my addiction to the “dark and cerebral” categories by watching Twin Peaks, and I’m not the only one. A recent brunch with friends revealed that there’s a whole group of us in Houston who have independently gotten sucked into David Lynch’s televised dream world. What has drawn us in, one by one, twenty years later? It’s not only pining for sweater weather, rain and the smell of Douglas-firs. Nor is it just the dramatic work of some of Lynch’s most favored actors, including the flawless young faces of Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle and Kyle MacLachlan. For me, it’s the way that Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost have crafted a world— a surrealistic, sexy, moody, melodramatic, aestheticized world— where ‘50s styles, including the genre conventions of murder mystery and soap opera, have been masterfully manipulated. They’ve gone down the rabbit hole and come out the other end, ironized by a brilliant mind.

The immersive or stylized experience, the creation of a visual world, is the impetus for the exhibition From A Life to An Other at our sister project, testsite. A collaboration between Doug Fitch and Dana Friis-Hansen, the show reconsiders Fitch’s ample body of work (the artist works among and across the disciplinary boundaries of theatre, design, architecture and the culinary and visual arts) and its connection to narrative. The domestic environment at testsite becomes transformed under Fitch’s whimsical eye, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior. Make sure to stop by during the show’s run— the gallery is open on Sundays from 2-5pm and by appointment.

The question of an all-encompassing visual environment or language runs through this issue of ...mbg. In our reviews section, Benjamin Lima considers Teresita Fernández’ exhibition at the Fort Worth Modern, in which the artist invites meditations on landscape through her monumental graphite-based installation work. Katie Anania writes on Susan Collis’ show at Lora Reynolds Gallery in Austin, which looks inward in an obsessive reconsideration of the mark. And finally, Julie Thomson discusses Stan VanDerBeek’s retrospective at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, an ambitious show by a multimedia pioneer who sought to establish an “international picture language” called “The Culture Intercom.” We also feature two interviews with practitioners who establish new ways of understanding cultural and visual language: Wendy Atwell interviews artist Leigh Anne Lester about her drawings of impossibly mutated ecosystems, and Francesca Sonara talks with Erin Gleeson about founding Cambodia’s first contemporary art space.

On that note, I’d like to end with a heartfelt congratulations to the artists and curators who have been nominated for the Austin Critics’ Table Awards. The awards will be doled out at the Cap City Comedy Club at 7pm on June 6. The event is free and open to the public, so for those who want to salute the people who make your cultural experience richer, head on out to give them your support!

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


Leigh Anne Lester

By Wendy Atwell

Leigh Anne Lester, Mutant Spectre, 2010, Graphite on drafting film. Courtesy of the artist.

On April 30, 2011, Leigh Anne Lester was awarded the $50,000 Hunting Art Prize for her drawing Mutant Spectre (graphite on drafting film, 2010). Two-dimensional paintings and drawings may be submitted for the Hunting Prize prize, which according to its website is "historically the most generous annual award in North America." Originally established in 1981 in the UK, the Texas-wide competition has been based in Houston since 2006, with a commitment "to provide artists the recognition they have earned, the sponsorship they deserve, and the opportunity to have their work viewed and discussed by as broad an audience as possible." Prior winners include Francesca Fuchs and Robyn O'Neil.

Wendy Atwell (WA): When I saw your drawing Mutant Spectre at your solo show Beautiful Freaks/Nature's Bastards at the Southwest School of Art in February, I was taken aback with the complicated detail and imaginative qualities. While a botanist's drawing serves to document the plant species’ characteristic qualities, your drawing serves as a meditation on plants, the natural environment and how our society affects and alters the natural environment—like a fictional riff on a family tree, the sliding doors of what could have been, what is, and what may be. How did you come to be interested in this subject matter?

Leigh Anne Lester (LAL): I got interested in genetics when in I saw news reports about genetic testing for diseases to which one can be predisposed. I started playing with the idea of family portraits that revolve around inherited diseases instead of the usual museum-type head and shoulder portrait. The idea that something so elusive as disease could be pinpointed as a definite and almost unavoidable end intrigued me. The fascination found its way into embroidered portraits of organs that are affected by various diseases. They were displayed with ornate frames and brass plaques that mimicked the museum conventions of framing portraits.

While I was doing this work, I kept my eyes peeled for articles on genetics and started seeing items about genetic modification of plants. The ability for us to go into an organism’s DNA and inject something, to alter a plant so that it didn't freeze or add vitamins to it that it naturally didn't have, got me thinking about fiddling with the established way of evolution. What were the possibilities of altering something that is seemingly unassertive like plants? Current genetics allow us to see the working of our bodies and expose how they would betray us. Some reactions are extreme, like removing a body part to avoid the potentially unavoidable. Genetics in plants allow us to divert evolution to our own ends. How will that play out? How could I visually interpret that our actions on them?

WA: By focusing on "family portraits that revolve around diseases," your art is not just a riff on a family tree but on traditional portraiture as well. Contemporary artists have explored far beyond the traditional method of portraiture, which focuses on a visual representation of the face or body. I am thinking of Lordy Rodriguez' map portraits, Chuck Ramirez' suitcase and purse portraits, Nate Cassie's portraits of couples’ eyes set side by side; and Joey Fauerso's paintings of people's heads or open mouths.

Genetics allows for yet another perspective. When you mentioned that we are genetically modifying plants and interfering with evolution, it made me think about how, for millions of years, evolutionary life has proceeded in a seemingly linear fashion, but now this is changing. These changes interfere with genetic structures on a level that supersedes the slow intelligence of trial and error; instead we have short bursts of small successes—the sweet corn, the breastless woman. This opportunity is a kind of decadence, and it appears to me that this comes through in your ornate, florid representations. Stylistically, your drawings have an almost baroque sense about them. Considering your subject matter, how did you get from the dull factual representations to intricately detailed representations?

LAL: I suppose the intricacy and the baroque feeling of the pieces come from the research that I do of the individual plants’ geographic, environmental and reproductive histories. Each plant that is part of the greater whole of, say, Mutant Spectre, has a straightforward representation. In a way, I want the pieces to have a matter-of-factness to them, but upon closer inspection of the representation, a fiction starts to emerge. There are some very identifiable plants that have no business sprouting forth from one or the other. The detailed representations are intentional. They impart a complexity on the surface to hopefully evoke a thought in the direction of what is happening beneath the surface of the plants, but also a beauty that can be held in a sublime thought.

The fact that we can do these things, manipulate DNA on a sub-microscopic level to alter the linear fashion of evolution, is awe-inspiring to me. That realization can make us blind to the potential outcome of the fiddling.

WA: Your art draws out the implicit to make it explicit, and I see the sublime qualities occur in this translation. It's as if, through your choice of specific subject matter and the media you select for representation, you are able to render this sublimity itself. Can you explain how you choose your specific media in order to help this occur?

LAL: The material selection I make is meant to evoke a response just as much as the subtle imagery. The drafting film is a luminous surface that references old vellum botanical renderings, and it adds a practical need of semi-transparency for my layered drawings. But it had enough opacity to cast a shadow and give it fullness and presence, albeit a subtle one. The same could be said for the clear plastic vinyl that I use in my sculpture. It is a man-made material, and that aspect touches on the genetic alterations that we are making to plants. It also has an indestructible quality; once it is out in the environment it is there to stay.

I pattern my sculptures after actual plants, so there is an accuracy that is evoked in the viewer’s mind, but the weed or mutant is devoid of color. They sparkle in the light, but because they are colorless, they have no photosynthetic capabilities. They can’t function as they should.

In The Large Turf (after Albrecht Dürer), I wanted to add color for the first time in the vinyl sculptures. That was meant to evoke the crossing of a line somehow. I only applied the color to the mutant plant in the sculpture. It is kind of like Dorothy stepping out from her house into Oz into vividness. The color is silk embroidery thread, which is the only organic thing on the piece, veering the mutant towards the possibility of instigation.

Crocboleaparsempeustusgiaervivum Zpnaluriaspetecttusduraorum Realized takes the silk thread and uses the historical references of Victorian times. The frame used in that piece is a Victorian-era frame from an antique store. I wanted to do silk-on-silk embroidery because it was a craft that was considered an heirloom passed from generation to generation. The silk-on-silk also points to the Chinoiserie aesthetic that was popular at the time. I love the idea of an amateur botanist, which was another trend of the Victorian times, stumbling onto this mutant plant and documenting it, thus capturing it for future generations to reference.

The Imitatio Perfecta series uses carbon paper to question the accuracy of a copy: in this case, the impossibility of having complete control over the replication and propagation of a modified plant. The carbon paper used to be an accurate tool for copying; today it is outdated. I was trying to have the viewer question the technological “best” of any time, and look to the future and think about how things evolve technologically and change so drastically within our knowledge base.

WA: What are you currently working on?

LAL: There is quite a bit of process in my work, as with most artists, that doesn’t make it out of the studio. Those elements are the ones that I am intrigued by currently. Specifically, I am taking portions of my mutated plants and using them, sampling them if you will, for other pieces. I’m taking one-layer drawings like Amalgamate Fusion and piling them up on top of each other, as in the four-layered drawings. Instead of one species on each layer, I want to take the mutants from drawings and have a plethora of conflicting attributes swinging dominantly and recessively back and forth in layered pieces. The carbon paper series also has some elements of process that have great potential for video.

What I am actually doing in my studio is working on a commission of a cut drafting film wall piece. Last year was a “work hard and make no money” year. This year is a “work hard and make money” year. As with most artists!

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

Erin Gleeson

By Francesca Sonara

Vuth Lyno, Thoamada, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.

Opened in February 2011, SA SA BASSAC is Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s first contemporary art space. For this issue of …mbg, Francesca Sonara conducted an interview with SA SA BASSAC co-founder Erin Gleeson about her history in Cambodia and the interests and challenges of sustaining a contemporary art dialogue in this region.

Francesca Sonara [FS]: What initially brought you to Cambodia?

Erin Gleeson [EG]: During my undergraduate work, a professor introduced me to a selection of mug shots taken of Cambodian prisoners between 1976-1979 at a Khmer Rouge prison in Phnom Penh called S-21. The photographs had been “discovered” and subsequently cared for and archived by a duo of young American photojournalists who were adventuring through Cambodia in the mid-1990s. Surprisingly, they obtained a copyright for 100 photographs from the series. This collection was finely printed in six editions and made available for sale and for exhibition under the haunting title Facing Death: Portraits from Cambodia’s Killing Fields, which continues to travel to museums and other exhibition spaces worldwide.

Years later for my thesis I decided to investigate the history of these photographs, as well as the existence and use of other visual records of genocide, such as Armenia, Native America, the Holocaust and Rwanda. Those imprisoned during the Holocaust were photographed similarly to the prisoners in Cambodia. However, we do not encounter this archive at, say, the MoMA-- where 22 photographs from Facing Death were shown in 1997. I began trying to demystify what had been dramatically projected onto this archive and history.

I received a Fulbright-Humphrey fellowship that took me to Cambodia for the first time in 2002. The site of the prison was converted to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. I spent months there considering various aspects of the archive, which in its entirety includes around 6,000 negatives salvaged from the original 14,000. I was granted a rare meeting with the photographer during which I listened to his history, his love of photography, his training, what cameras he used, his fears, his intentions. At that time he was not aware that “his” photographs were traveling to museums. I gave him the Facing Death catalogue-– a beautifully printed object. I met with a few survivors (seven survived out of a low estimate of 14,000 prisoners killed) and listened to their experience of being photographed and why they would not want their image in such a public exhibition. I also observed how the museum functioned. I listened to tours and watched thousands of visitors react to the thousands of faces in the images.

After three months, I realized that if I continued this research I would have a certain obligation to liaise with specialists in the business of genocide, which was not my interest. Nor was it my interest to join other scholars looking at the same topic where the defense of one’s original ideas becomes a repetitive requirement. I wanted to move on-– I missed being with artists or at least with more art-related content. I accepted an invitation by the Minister of Education to teach elective art history courses at the first private liberal arts-modeled university in Phnom Penh.

FS: How did you become involved in the local arts scene outside of the classroom?

EG: Phnom Penh was, and still is, very small. Although there are just over two million people here, and 15 million in the country, there are only about 100 who call themselves contemporary artists. I initially took students to the few exhibition spaces existing at that time and built assignments around these visits. I also scheduled artist talks and studio visits for myself. Naturally, some friendships emerged with artists. It didn’t take long to know the local scene, but to more deeply understand its history, intentions and conditions required more time. For about five years, I did projects with existing spaces or collaborated on projects. What was most valuable for me was my experiences with Reyum Institute of Art and Culture-– they elevated local knowledge, practices and language in their work. Reyum was an incredible center of living culture where research, exhibitions and publications were produced on wide-ranging themes of tradition and continuity. To support myself I began writing and building art collections. I came to independent curating slowly, not until around 2006 or 2007, when I could see artists were arriving at the point where they were inspiring themselves. At that time, I felt I understood where and with whom I wanted to work, and more importantly, how I wanted to work.

FS: What were some initial challenges in your curatorial career?

EG: The physical landscape was starkly different at that time; it is hard for me to even remember the days with little Internet access, no traffic lights, and no tarmac in the capital city. Consider the artistic field alongside this level of urban development and imagine that there were, and for the most part still are, very few resources for artists and curators. There are pockets of luxury and efficiency throughout the country amidst the poverty. In other words, typical urban polarization is occurring, but there remains little resemblance to any of the institutionalized infrastructure of developed countries that supports and proliferates contemporary art practices and thought. This in itself could be seen as a very long list of challenges: the national art school continues a half-century-old curriculum; there is little to no government funding; there are very few educational resources; there are no established companies or freelancers familiar with exhibition production, no local curators or writers on contemporary visual culture, no local art market and only nascent attention regionally and internationally. Although it may seem important to work on filling in these “gaps,” I have learned a great deal about the value of art and life without these things.

FS: What, in your opinion, is unique to Cambodia’s emerging contemporary arts landscape?

EG: The conditions I mentioned in the last answer, along with Cambodia’s complex history and strategy of development (there is the highest concentration of NGOs in Phnom Penh than anywhere else in the world) has indeed resulted in a unique landscape. Maybe it feels unique because there are few places left in the world where we see a transitional phase like this. Most capital cities are globalized; educational systems and approaches are streamlined; artists have increasingly similar approaches to creating and communicating. I often feel a close affinity to artists, artworks, texts and curatorial work that came from places who share somewhat similar histories-- countries or regions that were mostly isolated from the industrialization of the 20th century, places that have faced recent collective trauma or countries with relatively strict limits on freedom of expression. We also garner very little attention from the market. However difficult this makes things for us in certain ways, we are aware of the benefits– art is being made out of necessity as a reflection of life. There is an emphasis on relationships and a lot of support for each other, especially amongst the artists I work with. They are focused on creating meaningful work and building community.

FS: Are their particular themes or movements you see emerging in the country?

EG: The most common practice I see is artistic production as a form of storytelling and a questioning of living cultural practices. Few artists are working with time-based technologies. However, time is an important factor in another sense-— through meticulous and sometimes exhaustive hand-made techniques. Some fine examples are Sopheap Pich’s bamboo and rattan sculptures, Tith Kanitha’s metal wire installations, Chan Dany’s pencil shaving reliefs, Than Sok’s incense sticks shrines or Leang Seckon’s sewn paintings.

Photography is a medium that has been particularly nurtured over the last decade through visiting artists, and more recently, the annual PhotoPhnomPenh festival. It seems an obvious medium for artists who were born with no visual history, as most of it was destroyed. Recently, urban and rural conditions have become even more polarized, due in part to the transitional nature of the economy. Many of those born in Phnom Penh are focused on documenting and reflecting the city’s changes. Regional performance art exchanges have increased in the past years, and artists have begun to use their bodies in physically challenging ways, while working together to document these events.

FS: You recently opened SA SA BASSAC-- the first space of its kind in Phnom Penh. Can you discuss the history behind the space?

EG: SA SA BASSAC opened in February of this year. It is the merging of two initiatives that have similar ideas and ideals. My collaborators are Stiev Selapak, which is a group of six artists between 26 and 31 years old who came together in 2007. Half had graduated from the Royal University of Fine Arts and half are self-taught. They were very frustrated with existing art spaces here and the protocol to enter those spaces, so they decided to form a group and call themselves “Art Rebels.”

FS: Why do they call themselves “rebels”?

EG: It’s funny because journalists would interview them, and afterwards they would follow up with me and say, “You know they aren’t very rebellious.” There is a subtlety with this group. It is not clear to people who are just passing through that for a young group of artists to come together with no resources and to say they don’t need existing spaces is quite radical.

FS: So how did the decision to open a space together come about?

EG: In 2009 art collective Stiev Selapak members Heng Ravuth, Khvay Samnang, Kong Vollak, Lim Sokchanlina, Vandy Rattana and Vuth Lyno opened Sa Sa Art gallery. They really encouraged Cambodians to come, and sometimes 200 to 300 Cambodians would attend their events and exhibitions. These were numbers we hadn’t seen since Reyum was operational. But their second year was strained because they were doing everything. They were making their work as well as curating, installing and managing the gallery. The tiny space was wonderful but limited. Even in two years, their work had changed; now they are taking bigger risks, and it needs more room to be seen. We decided we could accomplish more by working together.

FS: Did you already have your own space?

EG: For the past three years, I was working on independent curatorial projects without a formal space under the name Bassac Art Projects. The Bassac River is a distributary of the Mekong. I feel the artists I’ve chosen to work with all these years are rooted here, in their country. Not in a nationalistic way, but in that their lives are from here and their stories are from their lives. That for me parallels the relationship that the Bassac has to the mother Mekong River — it is flowing away from but absolutely fed by the Mekong, just as the artists are fed from their lives.

FS: What do you view as the mission or goal of SA SA BASSAC?

EG: We all support one other. There are a few major ideals we keep in mind as we plan and realize things. Firstly, in all we do, we are mindful of the context in which we are based. Secondly, we aim to provide “museum-quality” exhibition and educational materials for the artists and audiences. We will focus on local Cambodian artists, at least in the first few years, in order to have their voices heard and their work seen, as a way of building an art history that has not yet been recorded. I am focused on curating meaningful and foundational solo shows for as many local Cambodian artists as I can in our first year. Maybe the only compromise with this is that fantastic shows are only running between four to five weeks, but our public programming will help to reach audiences in that short time.

We are also working on an art dictionary. We need to translate the artists’ ideas and use specific words to be able to communicate with visitors. We need to be able to respectfully communicate the artists’ knowledge. This is definitely a goal of Sa Sa Bassac: to elevate what the artists do know. I have to do so much research to understand why they do something or where their ideas are coming from. And it’s difficult because so little is written. I learn, and then I need to communicate what I have learned. It’s an endless education.

EG: What do you think the Cambodian contemporary arts scene contributes to the international platform?

The artists are working in a space between what was and what is yet to be. I think that unless you have lived within such a transitional realm for a significant period of time, with so few resources, you may not be able to understand the source of their work. It is rooted in the traditions and changes in their lives. But it will make you want to understand. It will bring you closer to that experience.

Francesca Sonara is currently working on an independent documentary on Cambodia’s emerging art scene. She lives and works in New York.


Susan Collis
Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin
Through July 16

By Katie Anania

Susan Collis, Came back smiling, 2011, 24 karat gold leaf on paper, 2-1/2 x 2-3/4 x 2-1/2". Courtesy of the artist.

Susan Collis approaches markmaking as though she were a stranger to the practice. Peripheral, everyday marks (staples driven into the wall) and the foundational marks of artistic creation (graphite scribbles on paper) are given equal measures of her attention. While she states that her new show at Lora Reynolds Gallery privileges this latter type of technique, she unites in this body of work many ways of “making one’s mark” through the methods of enlargement, repetition, coating and tracing.

Central to the show are Collis’ graphite scribble studies, in which she draws several overlapping scribbles and enlarges them digitally on sheets of white paper. Then she outlines the periphery of each scribbled line and fills in all the lines, newly thickened from enlargement with swaths of graphite marks, each inflected differently than the others. The works are an obsessive re-consideration of the time and effort that it takes to scrawl a line: a scribble requires no skill, yet Collis labors here over each line as though atoning for her initial thoughtlessness in scribbling it. Titles like Think Twice (2010) and My Undoing (2010) indicate the playful poesis inherent in her approach. Of course she thinks more than twice, as then do we. Rather than undoing, she overdoes (and thus deconstructs) the drawn mark.

This laborious overcompensation, extends to works like Staying Power (2011) and Come back smiling (side) (2011), which all appear to feature foil sheets of precious metals crumpled into balls. Upon further inspection, one discovers that these works began as crumpled sheets of paper whose facets Collis has coated in metal or graphite after wadding them up. Again, she follows a thoughtless gesture with a series of excessively thoughtful ones, seizing a chance mistake as though it were the gesture of a genius. This leaves her viewers unsure of which she values most: the gesture or its deconstruction. She’s an amateur with respect to the concept, but not to the skill.

These works are more or less better than those in her last show at Lora Reynolds, which explored accidental marks like holes and stains. Both bodies of work, though, have the tendency to appear neurotic or precious or gimmicky to viewers uninformed of the particulars of Collis’ practice. She has a kinship with Tom Friedman’s obsessive neo-minimalism and Kaz Oshiro’s pop-ish copies that is a bit hard to take at first, but be assured, viewers, that Collis’ project is much more earnest.

To underscore Collis’ sincerity, Lora Reynolds has installed Woman, a series of eight naturalistic drawings by Tom Molloy, in the room adjacent to Collis’ show. Unpacking Molloy’s and Collis’ respective approaches to hatch marks is a detective adventure in its own right, and you’ll find yourself walking back and forth between rooms wishing for a magnifying glass. Tom Molloy uses Vermeer as a starting point for his works, and the virtuosity Molloy displays is both affirmed and displaced by Collis’ careful, repetitive markmaking. Molloy’s pictures are drawn copies of Vermeer’s paintings but with the female figures removed, presenting a political dimension that plays well against Collis’ obsessive, formally inflected gestural works. In fact, the contrast is a perfect teaching moment— one gets the feeling that both these artists are using the same grammar, but Collis certainly doesn’t profess to be fluent in the language.

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

Stan VanDerBeek
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Through July 10

By Julie Thomson

Stan VanDerBeek, Untitled (A La Mode), 1958, Collage, paint, and ink, 7 x 8 1/2 inches. Courtesy of The Estate of Stan VanDerBeek.

The span of Stan VanDerBeek’s life (1927-84) paralleled numerous technological developments. As new advances emerged, VanDerBeek responded with creative experimentation. His landmark films, notion of expanded cinema and a mural transmitted by fax are just some of the many works on view in Stan VanDerBeek: The Culture Intercom, a long overdue museum survey of the artist’s work co-organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

VanDerBeek is best known for his films, and these are highlighted in a theater in the center of the exhibition. Viewers encounter one of the five different film programs depending on when they visit. Program One includes VanDerBeek’s triumphs in stop motion animation with screenings of Wheeeeels No. 1 (1958), A La Mode (1958) and Science Friction (1959). All three engage social or political issues through humor and the unexpected juxtapositions that collage allows. The seductive masterpiece Breathdeath (1963) humorously warns us about our inattentiveness to the potential effects of developed bombs. The wall behind the theater displays 34 exquisite collages from some of VanDerBeek’s most celebrated films, allowing for sustained viewing of these graphically powerful images not otherwise possible in his sometimes frenetic films.

In lieu of a strict chronological installation, an emphasis on process and technology informs the exhibition at the CAMH. Paintings and photographs offer a glimpse of VanDerBeek’s early work. The lines and compositions of his paintings from the 1950s, informed by his study of painting at Cooper Union, often resemble works by Paul Klee. While VanDerBeek’s paintings reflect his interest in series, he seems most limited in this medium. On an exterior wall of the film theater four early photographs of dancers from VanDerBeek’s 1949-50 studies at Black Mountain College are on view. Two of these photographs stand out due to his use of double exposure, indicating his growing interest in conveying motion.

As computer technologies developed in the 1960s VanDerBeek explored their possibilities by creating Poemfields, films that used computer animation to present a series of words. The four on view are visually engaging due to their vibrant color and patterns. While they are a technological feat (the punch card programming was done by physicist Ken Knowlton), their large pixel size and the slow rate of multiplication or dissolve make the words challenging to read and remember. Typescripts on view reveal powerful phrasings such as “memory/memory is a tight/is a tight rope/a fire.”

VanDerBeek’s legendary Movie-Drome (1963-65), a domed theater that he built at his home in upstate New York, is represented in the exhibition through photographs, notes and an 8-mm film. It presented the viewer with multiple images on which to focus. These and other works constituted VanDerBeek’s research and attempts to create a “non-verbal, international picture language” which he called “The Culture Intercom,” a phrase also used in this exhibition’s title. The concept reflects his utopian belief that a language of pictures could make communication possible across the world.

In his pursuit of expanded communication VanDerBeek also fused murals, a long tradition of public art, with technology. During his residency at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies he realized Panels for the Walls of the World (1970/2011). Originally created using an early fax machine, he transmitted facsimiles of collage panels to six different sites in Boston over a four-week period. As each page came through the machine, a person at every location would hang it up, creating the mural through this process. While the fax machine nears obsolescence today, seeing this reproduction of VanDerBeek’s mural (the original fax papers are too fragile to display), particularly the individual panels, encourages the viewer to imagine the potential excitement and mystery accompanying the receipt of each page.

Movie Mural (1968/2011) re-creates another work by VanDerBeek through an impressive cacophonous installation that employs thirteen projectors and two speakers playing clips of music and speeches. VanDerBeek’s original films and art are shown amidst projections of found media, including images of dancers, ancient art and Martin Luther King Jr. The viewer is constantly challenged by the various formats and must decide on which area to focus. Like the Movie-Drome, this work embodies the non-intentionality for which composer John Cage praised VanDerBeek; the experience of the work is left up to the viewer to determine.

In CAMH’s process-based installation the viewing experience of some works is unfortunately impacted by the noise bleed from Movie Mural. John Cage’s audio, an integral part of Variations V (1964-66), is particularly hard to hear. Nonetheless the opportunity to see this film is still rewarding due to its indeterminacy and collaborative creation consisting of a composition by Cage, choreography by Merce Cunningham, films by VanDerBeek and television screen interventions by Nam June Paik. Similarly the audio suffers in Violence Sonata (1970), VanDerBeek’s pioneering two-channel video work that was simulcast in Boston; the sound is barely audible when one stands far enough back to view both monitors.

As the Internet, Facebook, YouTube, iPhones and email fill the hours of most of our days VanDerBeek’s active engagement and experimentation with emergent technologies challenges and reminds us to continue to embrace new developments with a spirit of exploration. The possibility VanDerBeek envisioned for communication with the world is now available to us. We just have to decide what we want to say.

Julie Thomson is a Critical Studies Fellow in the Core Program at the Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Teresita Fernandez
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Through June 19

By Benjamin Lima

Teresita Fernández, Epic 2, 2009, Graphite drawing, 149.5 x 354.5 x 1 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Teresita Fernández’ work is concerned with ideas of landscape and of nature. However, the adroitness with which it captures multiple meanings of these terms, through unexpected combinations of the literal and the illusionistic, of the tangible and the ethereal, gives it an absorbing complexity. In her most recent work, Fernández has been pursuing the intertwined histories of landscape drawing and of graphite as a material; some of this can be seen in the present exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The show will serve as a compact introduction to the artist’s recent interests for many viewers. Other local visitors, though, will already be at least partially familiar with the range of her work; 2009 alone saw the unveiling of site-specific works at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, as well as a survey exhibition at the Blanton.

Each of the three compact galleries at the Modern is devoted to a single site-determined installation. In the leftmost gallery, Ink Sky 2 (2011) is based on a horizontally extended frame lowered from the ceiling; in the center gallery, Nocturnal (Japan) (2011) is a three-part panel mounted on the wall; and in the right-hand gallery, two works (Epic and Sfumato [November 11], both 2009) are merged into a single drawing that wraps around parts of all four walls. In Ink Sky 2, gumball-sized chunks of galena (lead ore) hang from the ends of rhodium-plated chains on the underside of the black, reflective frame suspended from the gallery ceiling. Approached from the front, the piece is something like a chandelier. In photographs, it can be made to resemble a meteor shower. From directly underneath, the suspended chains and rocks are reflected in the mirrored, black surface above, accentuating the sense of meteor-like, vertical speed.

Nocturnal (Japan) is a massively heavy, six-by-twelve-foot panel divided horizontally and vertically into nine sections. Each of the three vertical levels uses a different form of graphite to varying optical effects. The topmost level has overlapping shapes pouring and seeping into each other in a Frankenthaler-esque fashion; the middle level has shiny, almost liquid-seeming streams of graphite striated horizontally, as though combed or compressed; and the lowest level is rough and chunky like concrete aggregate.

Epic and Sfumato (November 11), here combined into one work, have an expansive, rainstorm-like form that is generated by the carefully dispersed repetition of a single, modular element. This element is a vertical streak of smudged graphite about six inches long, directly on the wall, capped by a popcorn-sized, hail-like chunk of graphite that sits toward the upper end of each streak, protruding outward from the wall’s surface. Viewed up close, the separate stretches collapse into a single mass darkening overhead; from a middle distance, each separate element is visible; and from the far edge of the room, the separate elements resolve once again into a meandering, elegantly linear cloud composition.

Fernández’s work could be measured against a canon of modern and contemporary artists who pursue a phenomenological analysis of the experience of natural environments. Like James Turrell and Tadao Ando (architect of the Fort Worth Modern), Fernandez created a site-specific commission for the collection of Soichiro Fukutake’s Benesse House on idyllic Naoshima Island in Japan, where the artworks are installed as part of the Arcadian surrounding environment. To speak somewhat more specifically of Fernández’s work, it explores the limits of perception through the use of both a deep black surface that threatens to absorb all incidental light into itself, and a polished, mirrored surface that threatens to disperse all such light back outwards into the environment. Both of these treatments tend to frustrate a viewer’s attempt to apprehend the object’s color and texture within a concretely defined shape; precedents for this could be found in Ad Reinhardt, Donald Judd and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

What the artist calls her “rationally orchestrated but absurdly romantic and contradictory sensibility” helps account for the fascinating qualities of the work. She has said, “I think the cool, designed, methodical pretense of my work is almost like a foil for a deeper, more moving experience that is never spelled out.” In this exhibition, the rational and methodical use of materials such as graphite and rhodium is immediately apparent, whereas the forms’ emotional resonances emerge more slowly, after repeated viewing. Ultimately, the possibility of repeated experience of the permanent installations in Arlington and Austin will allow viewers to test how the interplay between these two aspects of her work will hold up over the long term.

Benjamin Lima is assistant professor of art history at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Object of Desire
D. Berman Gallery
Opening Reception: May 28, 5-7pm

By taking an object out of its usual place - merely by giving it attention, or by putting it in a different location – one can begin to see that object differently. It becomes precious. Observation gives way to passion. A sugar bowl becomes a treasure, seen as it has never been seen before, a baby’s shoe becomes a talisman, a book shape-shifts. An ordinary object becomes an object of desire in photographs by Laura Pickett Calfee, repurposed books by W. Tucker, constructions by Marjorie Moore, and assemblages by Steve Wiman.

San Antonio Openings

Gary Sweeney
Three Walls
Opening Reception: June 2, 6-8pm

Famous San Antonio Artist Gary Sweeney's exhibit entitled Take a Chance, Take a Chance, Take a Chance Chance Chance showcases his signature hilarious social commentary, this time using campaign signs and lyrics from a certain blonde band from the 70's.

Austin Openings

Lauren Woods
Women and their Work
Opening Reception: June 9, 6-8pm

In her own words, Lauren Woods is "part historian, part archivist, part sociologist, part anthropologist." This exhibit is a collection of videographic texts that reflects her studies of culture and the human condition. In large-scale projections and multi-channel video installations, woods gleans images from Hollywood cinema, pop culture, and history to examine and comment on race, gender, and the socio-political environment. This survey of eclectic video work spanning the last five years is woods' first solo exhibition in Texas, a homecoming, after years spent in California.

Brit Barton
Red Space Gallery
Opening Reception: June 11, 7-9pm

Using the landscape of The Icarian Sea and the figurative notion of demise, Brit Barton's project explores the myth of the fall of Icarus through experimental photography, installation and video.

Young Latino Artists 16 Exhibition: Thought Cloud...
Mexic-Arte Museum
Opening Reception: June 27

YLA 16: Thought Cloud... shows the work of 10 Texas artists, all under the age of 35 telling stories about the human condition in the 21st century. Artists interpret real world circumstances and invent new realities through photography, video, sculpture, painting, and installation. The exhibition will be presented under five narrative-inspired themes-Romance, Crime, Autobiography, Mythology, and Labor-allowing each artist to weave tales of fictional love, political conflict, gentrification, alternative worlds and more in their work.From this idea of story emerges the thought cloud: a place where people, thoughts, and connectivity come together for only a brief amount of time. The exhibition is guest-curated by Alexander Freeman, Education Curator at Artpace San Antonio.

Austin on View

Sabra Booth, Margaret Craig, Daniel Kaplan, and Leigh Anne Lester
grayDUCK Gallery
Through June 19

Natural forms, genetic modification, flickering conversation and molecular structures are all explored in this organic show. Rock, Paper, Carbon features mixed media on paper from Sabra Booth, mixed media sculptures from Margaret Craig, paper mache sculptures from Daniel Kaplan and carbon drawings by Leigh Anne Lester.

Jack Strange
Through July 3

British artist Jack Strange makes conceptual works in a wide variety of media including sculpture, photography, video, works on paper, and performance. Characterized by a cheeky wit, his work is visually engaging and frequently causes the viewer to do a double take. Strange finds beauty in the mundane and humorously celebrates the banal by appropriating everyday items and subjecting them to simple manipulation.

Javier Tellez
Through July 31

Letter on the Blind, For the Use of Those Who See is an emotionally stirring film by Venezuelan-born, New York-based Javier Téllez whose work weaves fiction and documentary in an elegant investigation of marginalized populations (such as the disabled and mentally ill). Téllez's film, which premiered at the 2008 Whitney Biennial, is based on the ancient Indian parable, "The Blind Men and the Elephant."

Ely Kim
Through August 28

Ely Kim likes to dance. In Boombox, Kim dances in hallways, bathrooms, artists’ studios, living rooms, classrooms, garages and many other locations. With musical selections ranging from ABBA to The Smiths, Status Quo to Le Tigre, and Busta Rhymes to Whitney Houston, Kim dances his way through 100 familiar pop songs, in 100 locations, shot in 100 days, and edited to under 10 minutes.

About Face: Portraiture as Subject
The Blanton Museum of Art
Through September 4

About Face features 35 portraits in diverse mediums from antiquity to today. Drawn mostly from The Blanton’s notable collection, along with several choice loaned objects, the exhibition includes works by artists known for their probing investigations of the genre, such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, John Singer Sargent, Diego Rivera, Sir Jacob Epstein, Antonio Berni, Alice Neel, Chuck Close, Robert Henri, Andy Warhol, Yasumasa Morimura, Charles Umlauf, Oscar Muñoz and Kehinde Wiley.

Austin Closings

The Sultans Played Creole
Through May 28

Champion is pleased to announce The Sultans Played Creole, a group exhibition organized by James Cope and featuring Kadar Brock, Branton Ellerbee, Nick Mathis, Cody Poole, Caris Reid, Amy Revier and Marjorie Schwarz. The title references the Dire Straits song “Sultans of Swing”, which was released on their debut album in 1978 and deals with shifts and breakdowns of cultural borders, particularly the divide between North and South in the U.S.

Walker Pickering
B. Hollyman Gallery
Through June 1

Nearly West is a series Pickering has been working on for close to three years. Inspired by the open road and the temporary relocation it provides, these square-format photographs offer a thoughtful documentation of American places and things. With his smart use of color, Pickering captures rural roads, urban and natural landscapes, and traces of the people who live there in a way that transcends the banality of these everyday markers. The images are distinct in mood, each with a balancing peacefulness.

San Antonio Openings

Justin Parr
Sala Diaz
Opening Reception: May 27, 7-11pm

Wait at the Best Destination is a photography exhibition by Flight Gallery's Justin Parr.

Houston on View

Brad Troemel
The Joanna
Through June 11

Brad Troemel's exhibit, PA, is a survey of surplus recognition or what he believes to be the most hateful comments of his detractors on the internet. To disrupt the false binary of positive or negative attention, Troemel proves their equality and offers a model of repossessed agency for those who are the subject of similar resentment. Through image appropriation, he reclaims the surplus of unfavorable judgments he had thus far publicly ignored. Think of these images’ relation to capitalism’s logic of valued scarcity. If the only thing more difficult than becoming a beloved Web 2.0 artist is to become reviled artist, then there is no Internet art as valuable as the objects Troemel exhibits here.

Elaine Bradford: The Sidereel
Blaffer Art Museum
Through June 22

This exhibit is dedicated to showcasing the work of Houston artists in a unique and highly public setting that allows for focused two-part installation in the windows of a historic building.

Nathan Green
Art Palace
Through July 2

Nathan Green's work explores the visual language and structural qualities of abstract painting. By combining the tropes of modern abstraction with contemporary craft techniques and common construction methods, Green creates idiosyncratic works that evade categorization and blur the boundaries of their medium. Inherent in all of Green's work is a palpable sense of playfulness, experimentation, and a curiosity that becomes the guiding force on a search for the ecstatic.

Jackie Gendel
Bryan Miller Gallery
Through July 2

Gendel's exhibition title comes from a turn of the century collection of vernacular stories entitled Fables in Slang, one of the most enduring works by American humorist George Ade. With scrupulous objectivity, Ade's Fables captured the everyday 'truthiness' of American vernacular in the late 1800's. In the same way that Ade adeptly reflected the tropes of American language, Gendel makes expert use of the many modes of representational and abstract painting in use today. Ade, the writer, and Gendel, the painter, are both keen observers and translators. Ade, a moralist with a feel for irony, observed and translated the lives of the people of his day, while Gendel borrows and invents people as a vehicle for observing and translating the perplexing possibilities and limitations of contemporary painting.

Houston Closings

Museum of Broken Relationships
Blaffer Art Museum
Through June 4

Conceptualized in Zagreb, Croatia, by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, after the couple ended their own romantic relationship in 2006, the Museum of Broken Relationships was established by the two to create a space of protected remembrance where the material and nonmaterial heritage of broken relationships can be witnessed, and where these experiences can move beyond the individual into a universal understanding.The public is invited to an opening reception in celebration of the exhibition on Saturday, May 21. Admission is free, and complimentary cocktails will be provided.

Marc Bell and Jim Woodring
Lawndale Art Center
Through June 4

Some artists record the world, some interpret it, and some distort it. A few, like Jim Woodring and Marc Bell, create their own worlds. They represent a certain strain in modern comics-a world of fantasy influenced by childrens books, pre-war newspaper comic strips and illustration, and contemporary art.

Leigh Merrill
Lawndale Art Center
Through June 4

Leigh Merrill's work is driven by an interest in regionalism and the cultural signifiers of particular places. She has photographed the places where she has lived, motivated by curiosity about the architecture that surrounds us and how it reflects larger ideas of beauty, class, romanticism and perfection.

Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Daniel McFarlane, & Anthony Thompson Shumate
Lawndale Art Center
Through June 4

This exhibition features residents for the fifth year of the Lawndale Artist Studio Program, Hillerbrand+Magsamen (Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen), Daniel McFarlane and Anthony Thompson Shumate. The exhibit includes abstract paintings, video art and installations.

Kim Anno
Through May 28

Kim Anno states about her recent work, “Climate change and the rising level of the oceans, and the issue of water in itself has become a central focus in my work. I am performing hydrodynamic experiments in labs, tanks, creeks, rivers, oceans, and various other bodies of water.” Anno includes video footage from a recent trip to Galveston in the exhibition.

BOX of Curiousities
Discovery Green
Through June 3

The 2011 AAM Annual Meeting Houston Local Host Committee and its Public Arts & Programming Subcommittee partnered with PODS® Houston to produce the Cultural PODS Program, a unique temporary public art exhibition in Houston designed especially for AAM! It will feature eight PODS® containers. Utilizing the containers as palettes or platforms for creative expression, local artists and design teams of all disciplines will explore and reveal Houston’s aspirations as a significant 21st century cultural capital.

Carmen Flores
Lawndale Art Center
Through June 4

Carmen Flores' drawings explore the proliferation of violence in the culture and its impact on the human psyche. The imagery in Flores' work is drawn from personal safety tutorials, police reports and press accounts of violence drawn in graphite and chalk.

Dallas on View

Xiaoze Xie
Dunn and Brown Contemporary
Through June 30

A Chinese-born, U.S.-based artist, Xiaoze Xie is known for his realistic paintings of stacked newspapers and images of political figures from China’s recent history, such as Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin. The works in Transient Memories are rendered in graduating shades of gray, turning news photos of events and individuals into abstract, fleeting images. The works on paper are made from ink on delicate rice paper, referencing traditional Chinese ink painting. Not only to these ink paintings depict historic political leaders, such as Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin in Mao Zedong and Stalin, December 1950, but they also portray more recent political figures from the West, as in March 6, 2003. L.T. (Rumsfeld). Other images, also taken from newspapers, as in The People’s Great Hall, portray Chinese leaders addressing a large conference. Xie provides the date and initials of the newspaper in many of the titles in order to emphasize the historical context of the event depicted.

Vermon Fischer: 1989-1999
Dunn and Brown Contemporary
Through June 30

On view are six monumental paintings from 1989 to 1999, ten years within Fisher’s thirty year career. The paintings were made prior to his first retrospective. Many of the works exhibited have a conceptual basis as seen throughout his oeuvre. Several of the paintings are overtly narrative and feature his experiments in fragmentary text during this time period. The text includes a visualization of revisions, typos, and strike-overs, giving the work a didactic element of a work in the editing progress. Of this experiment Fisher says, “The texts in these pieces have a halting quality as if the product of an anguished mind. This is also a moment when the relationship of text to image became more tenuous.”

Cohn Drennan Contemporary
Through July 2

Slice is an exhibition curated by artist Cande Aguilar exploring the similarity of line, color, texture and surface of four Texas artists-– Michael Blair (Denton), Jesus De La Rosa (Kingsville), Jorge Puron (Eagle Pass) and Cande (Brownsville). Last year Cande began searching for and reaching out to artists with comparable sensibilities in an effort to share ideas, concepts, techniques, and possibly even develop a forum or peer group to identify with.

Kim Squaglia
Holly Johnson Gallery
Through July 2

Kim Squaglia's meticulous and labored technique consists of multiple layers of delicately painted patterns and microscopic structures layered between coats of resin. In some cases, the resin is clear and glossy, like hard candy. In others, it's sanded and cloudy, creating a dreamier quality.

Campbell Bosworth
Webb Gallery
Through July 17

Campbell Bosworth uses his skills of woodworking and his formal training in painting to create narratives of life on the border of Texas. In this show there are two (Gun Bars) which demonstrate a melding and shows an incredible narrative through their over the top work. The highly carved and guild revolver bar spins to hold 6 tequila bottles is covered in carved detail of the subject and their larger than life expolits.This is only one of the incredible pieces in this show-- from carved tequila bottles, drug lord portraits, huge carved Narco Bling, rocket launcher, and a trigger finger-- all work together to tell the story of the cartel’s accumulation of status and power

Jeurgen Teller
Dallas Contemporary
Through August 21

The photographs in Man with Banana, a large-scale exhibition, will survey Juergen Teller’s oeuvre and include many new and unseen works from the last year. Blurring the distinction between his commercial and non-commercial work, Teller takes a story-telling approach to this exhibition by combining images of family and friends interwoven with known and at times abstract metaphors.

Jim Lambie
Goss Michael Foundation
Through September 3

Jim Lambie has discussed the relationship between the tape works and the solid objects they incorporate in terms of a jazz ensemble, comparing the tape to the “baseline played by the drums and bass” and the pieces placed on top to the “guitar and vocals.

Dallas Closings

Noah Barker
Free Museum of Dallas
Through May 27

End Mart is the nonproductive marker place. We all know how hard it is sometimes to let go of purpose, of function, of thought, unless of course the release itself is prepackages and preconceived. End Mart offers consumers the means by which to achieve complete, pure, unproduction without the hassle and with a complimentary bag upon purchase. For the more tentative buyer, weary of unencumbered freedom, introductory products are also available.

XXI: Conflicts in a New Century
Oak Cliff Cultural Center
Through June 3

Co-curated by Charles Dee Mitchell and Cynthia Mulcahy, this exhibit examines conflicts in the first decade of the 21st century including wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Congo, and Ivory Coast through photographs by many of the most notable artists, documentary photographers and photojournalists working today.

Gun and Knife Show
Central Trak
Through June 4

Co-curated by Heyd Fontenot and Julie Webb, this exhibit encompasses 40 different artists who have worked in the subject of guns and knives. This not only shows and investigates the public accessibility of gun and knives, but makes this exhibit accessible to all of the public through these subjects. The existence of guns and knives is psychologically provocative. Weapons were not a part of the natural world; humans desired them and brought them into being. Their specifically intended use is to destroy the biological material and tissues of which we are composed.

Announcements: events

San Antonio Events

Fotoseptiembre USA
September 2011

Fotoseptiembre provide a nexus and a context in which photographic artists exhibit and profit from their work. With an emphasis on service and quality, they foster a professional exhibition environment, creating opportunities to enhance careers and develop markets for participating artists. Their annual festival and online exhibitions are eclectic and inclusive forums for photographic artists and enthusiasts from around the world. Many outstanding artists exhibit each year.

Houston Events

Captured: Little Brother is Watching Big Brother
Domy Books
June 9, 9pm

Since 1979 Clayton Patterson has dedicated his life to documenting the final era of raw creativity and lawlessness in New York City's Lower East Side, a neighborhood famed for art, music and revolutionary minds. Traversing the outside edge he's recorded a dark and colorful society, from drag, hardcore, heroin, homelessness, political chaos and ultimately gentrification. His odyssey from voyeur to provocateur reveals that it can take losing everything you love to find your own significance.

Dirty Old Town
Domy Books
June 10, 9pm

In this feature film, The Bowery becomes a nexus of shattered dreams when a merchant has 72 hours to pay his rent. Facing extinction, his ramshackle tent of antiquities lures a troop of misfits, freaks and renegades who form tableaux full of carnival pageantry, white lies and victimless crime in a fleeting glimpse of Downtown New York.

Luck of the Draw X: Revolution!
June 22, 6:30pm

The best party of the year is back and we are taking the art world by storm! Expect a raucous good time accompanied by great food and flowing libations. Luck of the Draw is just that. You buy your art chance ticket and get your number. Numbers are called at random, and when it’s your turn, you have just 15 seconds to grab your art from more than 200 outstanding selections. It’s fast, furious and full of drama. Or, if you prefer a more measured approach, you can bid on larger works in the Blind Auction. To date contributing artists to the Blind Auction include: Jean Barber, Angela Fraleigh, Buster Graybill, Brent Green, Lisa Marie Hunter, Tierney Malone, Libbie Masterson, Lori Nix, Jim Nolan, Patrick Phipps, Jon Read, Lillian Warren and more.

Announcements: opportunities

Call for Artists

Shrimp Boat Projects
Deadline: June 1

Participants will spend one or more days working on Galveston Bay aboard a shrimp boat. They will be provided with a bunk for sleeping on the boat, if desired, and prepared meals from the catch. Those who participate in these expeditions will be invited to submit proposals for the next phase of the Regional Artist Exchange-– a year of commissioned, site-specific projects around the Galveston Bay region that are generated by the experience of shrimping. These projects will then be considered for a subsequent major public exhibition and publication in 2013.

Call for Entries

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program
The Creative Capital
Deadline: June 8

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program supports writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through grants issued directly to individual authors. The first program of its kind, it was founded in recognition of both the financially precarious situation of arts writers and their indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture. The Arts Writers Grant Program issues awards for articles, blogs, books, new and alternative media, and short-form writing. It aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship. For more information, please click here.

Call for Residencies

Many Mini
Deadline: June 10

Many Mini Residency is a one-week residency program operated in a one-room residency that is open to applicants from all disciplines (art and non-art alike) and encourages participants to customize their residency experience. There is no minimum time-limit for a stay at the residency but the maximum stay allows use of the space for half a day. Participants provide documentation and a short statement about their time spent in the residency to serve as both a record and a resource displayed online as the final component of the project.

Call for Entries

The Big Show 2012
Lawndale Art Center
Deadline: June 16

The Big Show is Lawndale Art Center's annual open-call, juried exhibition. It has been an important venue through which emerging and under-represented Houston area artists gain exposure since the show's conception in 1984. Each year guest jurors are invited to select from work submitted by artists living within 100 miles of Houston. Artists are invited to bring up to three works of art, not previously shown in Houston, to Lawndale Art Center where the work is juried on-site for a chance to be included in the show and a shot at one of three cash prizes.

Solo Series 2012
Women and their Work
Deadline: July 1

Women & Their Work seeks artists who create inventive, high-caliber contemporary art that breaks new ground or proposes innovative approaches to form and content. Selections are based on an evaluation of the work you submit; we look for a strong, consistent aesthetic vision. We encourage selected artists to create new work; no work that has previously been exhibited in Austin will be accepted for exhibition. The work in the application should demonstrate that you are capable in vision and scope of creating a powerful solo show that commands the 1,700 square foot gallery.

2012: Transgressions and Extremes
New Art Center
Deadline: September 1

2012: Transgressions and Extremes is conceived as a multimedia exhibition of contemporary artists exploring various aspects of the popular mythology related to the cultural and existential significance of the year 2012. The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive promotional and marketing campaign in print and online media. Up to 15 artists will be selected for participation in the exhibition. All participating artists and all applicants will be listed on our website with their personal web links. For more information, please click here.

Job Opportunities

BECA seeks Executive Director
Bridge for Emerging Contemporary Art

BECA has begun the search to find BECA's first official Executive Director.  The new Executive Director will have to wear many hats until additional staff can be hired. In order to take BECA programming to the next level of its growth, the new Executive Director must serve as Fundraiser, PR Director, Social Media Manager, Director of Operations, Accountant, Program Director, Artist Liaison, Volunteer Coordinator and more. For more information, click here.

Call for Residencies

Cemeti Art House's Curators Residency
Cemeti Art House

From 2011 up to 2013, Cemeti Art House offers two residencies each year for curator, writer, or art critic. Curator, writer, or art critic from Indonesia as well as from abroad, will be given the opportunity to widen their scope on art discourse in Yogyakarta. For every residency period of one month, we provide working and living space for curator, writer, art critic from abroad or outside of Yogyakarta, daily allowance and an assistant*. We do not provide travel budget and insurance. Having an extensive network, Cemeti Art House will be an important hub and data base for research process. Curator, writer, or art critics are required to hold a workshop, lecture, or discussion as part of their research to contribute space for dialog and participation for the development of art discourse. In the end of residency period, a presentation and discussion will take place to communicate the results of research to a wider public.

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