MBG Issue #175: Mystic Truths & Offbeat Revelations

Issue # 175

Mystic Truths & Offbeat Revelations

September 30, 2011

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Nick Cave, Speak Louder, 2011, Buttons, wire, bugle beads, upholstery, and mannequin, Installed: 93 1/2 X 199 X 123 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY. (detail)

from the editor

Arts capacity to reveal a set of truths—or fictions for that matter—places it in a distinct position within the catchall bin we currently label ‘culture.’ Representing a space of potential, art provokes us to alter our preconceived ideas about the world by resisting easy interpretation and clear facts. If nothing else, art can problematize the very definition of the term ‘truth,’ while laying bare the processes through which truth is obfuscated, and falsities gain foothold. It would be a dubious and risky business to claim that every artwork contains an irrefutable truth; after all, art is a human endeavor, and as such is subject to the position and weaknesses of its maker. However, what it does do on a consistent basis is reveal something to us, and that ability is a place from which art can draw significant power, while posing a significant threat to the passive nature of the status quo.

Gender politics, sexual identity, West Coast Utopia and the ceaselessly rickety status of the original are just a few of the ideas the artists and writers for this issue seek to reveal. Writer S.E. Smith addresses Queer State(s), curated by Noah Simblist and David Wilburn, positioning the exhibition as a savvy look into artists’ efforts at destabilizing the preconceived truths and rigid definitions of gender and sexual identity. In Anna Craycroft’s exhibition, Drawn to Repeating Patterns, at Tracy Williams Ltd. writer and curator Sarah Demeuse finds work that reveals some critical elements of reality. From the West Coast, writer Catherine Wagley examines Sarah VanDerBeek’s city-specific exhibition at The Hammer in L.A.. The exhibition unveils VanDerBeek’s attempt at synthesizing her experience of Los Angeles and her portrayal is coolly accurate. Finally, from Houston, writer and Rice University PhD student Melissa Venator tackles ideas of failure and the cult of originality present in Seth Alverson’s current exhibition at Art Palace Gallery.* Our project space features New York artist Jani Benjamins, whose work, made from the erased pages of National Geographic magazines, breeches the uncertainties of communication and the ongoing process of interpretation. We’re also pleased to hand over @mbgETC to Houston artist Brian Piana for the month of October and hope you’ll follow him as he presents a series of changing vignettes over the course of the coming weeks.

Taped over my desk as I type this is an image of Bruce Nauman’s spiraling red and blue neon sign, The True Artist Helps The World By Revealing Mystic Truths. Let’s call it my talisman for this issue, not because it’s a truth per se, but rather that it represents a third space; one that exists outside of traditional either/or dichotomies and their militant insistence on choosing between one or the other. His phrase lies somewhere between the serious and the facetious and its ambiguity coupled with our experience is where we discover its truth. How mystic that is depends on you.

Eric Zimmerman is an artist and Editor of ...might be good.

*In full disclosure, Art Palace Gallery represents Editor Eric Zimmerman’s work.

Want to contribute? Fluent~Collaborative is seeking an Editorial Intern to assist in the production of …might be good. See our Opportunities section for more information.


Queer State(s)
Visual Arts Center, Austin
Through November 5

By S.E. Smith

Queer State(s), Installation view. Photo Credit: Sandy Carson.

There’s a lot of underwear in Queer State(s), Noah Simblist and David Willburn’s exhibition of Texas artists engaging queer sexuality, which includes, for example, one entire room of figures in their underwear, each artist using the trope to illuminate some familiar cocktail of solitude, boredom and imagination. Using a private lexicon of meaningful images is, of course, fairly standard practice in contemporary art, but within the context of queerness, we might instead call it mandatory, which perhaps accounts for the degree to which these vocabularies converge.

The dominance of the human figure throughout the show provides another through-line. If figures other than the artist appear in the work, they are either equalsfriends, models, surrogates for the artists themselvesor they are remote. Celebrities and Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders have traded vulnerability for their ubiquity, and as such can’t talk back. It is safe to manipulate one’s own image in pursuit of boundary testing, and it’s safe to manipulate the widely circulated images of what asserts itself as normal and desirable. To work between the two is to work with destabilized materials.

Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas’ installation Weeping Rainbow (2011) documents queer culture in the hinterlands, or what we might choose to think of as the hinterlands from our urbane perch, and both the materials and the method of investigation destabilize the viewer. The ethnographic format is paired with an installation, two domestic interiors sandwiched into a neon duplex. One side presents video footage and photographs of Latin American drag culture in a room that is both plastered with photographs from magazines yet curiously unadornedif it is meant to mimic a living space, that isthanks to the absence of any furniture other than the table holding the TV. The other half of the structure contains footage of an effeminate Appalachian preteen’s guided tour of his small town, and the space is garnished with the conventional domestic touches that shorthand tacky working class aesthetics. Photo stills from both sides of the installation spill out onto the structure’s walls and the gallery walls, further removing the spaces from feeling lived in.

The ethnographic nature of the videos and stills paired with the half-gestures to domestic life makes for uneasy questions, even beyond those an ethnographic project might present otherwise. I can never shake a hint of voyeurism when viewing images such as these; certainly the subjects are in control of their personal appearances to an extent, but when they don’t control the context in which they appear, it seems we are supposed to find some meaning in them that they cannot access themselves. This is even truer of the Appalachian section of the installation because its subject is a child at the edge of the horrible awkwardness of self-articulation that is, in essence, being a teenager, queer or not.

Ike and Lucas’ installation provides an uncomfortable but useful counterpoint by demonstrating the use of “queer” as a label. What Queer State(s) so deftly illustrates elsewhere is that a self-adopted moniker is broad enough to contain a dizzying array of personal ephemera, and that even so, some facets of these will glimmer and reflect each other. Robert Boland’s Methods for Training #4 (2006), in which a naked male figure doggedly attempts to follow a break-dancing instructional record while slipping around in a white, viscous medium resonates with PJ Raval’s CHRISTEENE: Fix My Dick (2009), thanks to the brilliant visual slapstick of both pieces, for example. In the latter, a shot of CHRISTEENE’s mouth singing the chorus is rotated sideways so it appears at first like a gold-toothed vagina, referencing scores of pop-cultural materials while advancing their rhetoric. Though Boland and Raval’s pieces use visual puns to establish very different tones, the formal echoes suggest a relationship between cultural commentary and playfulness that characterizes works exploring a notion as bedeviled by mutability as queerness.

S. E. Smith is the founding editor of OH NO magazine. Her work has appeared in Fence, jubilat and elsewhere.

Seth Alverson
Art Palace, Houston
Through October 7

By Melissa Venator

Seth Alverson, Chair, Chair II, 2009-2011, Oil on canvas, 36 x 29 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Art Palace, Houston.

Seth Alverson’s newest body of work isn’t new at all, and that’s the point. For his current exhibition at Art Palace, the artist painted copies of all of the works that didn’t sell at his last solo show and installed them in groupings that invite comparison between the old and the new, the original and the copy. Part meditation on artistic and commercial failure, part critique of the cult of originality, Alverson’s thought-provoking and accomplished work engages in a level of institutional and artistic critique absent from most gallery shows.

Alverson’s detailed handling of paint contributes to the viewer’s sense that all is not well beneath the surface of the everyday people and things he depicts. In Chair (2009), the eponymous brown velour recliner, such a popular feature of 1970s suburban living rooms across the country, assumes monumental proportions. Its familiarity is literalized in Alverson’s virtuosic rendering of the fabric; the way he captures the sheen of the velour as the light plays across the chair’s surface. Despite its massive presence, the empty chair seems instead to signify its absent occupant, a melancholic impression compounded by the painting’s strange perspective, harsh lighting and the disparity between the sharp focus of the chair and the soft focus of its surroundings. Like the work of Luc Tuymans and Martin Kippenberger, the artists in whom we find Alverson’s closest counterparts, the work’s hyperrealism questions the relationship between appearance and truth, rather than reinforcing it.

Failure is another theme Alverson insistently revisits, both in individual works and across the show as a whole. Of course, the premise of the exhibition is defined by failure; after all, the show centers on works that didn’t sell, and selling works is the definition of a successful gallery artist. But, for Alverson, failure as a concept plays a more fundamental role. In works like Best Part of a Bad Painting (2009), he highlights the failed moments of artistic creation: the canvases in which the only salvageable parts—a gnarled hand or a landscape background—are preserved while the failures survive as inchoate masses of sketchily applied paint. Alverson wears his self-criticism on his sleeve in the installation of Hole for Bad Ideas (ongoing), when he pastes a small-scale copy on the original canvas, positioned so that it’s consumed by the black vaginal hole of the work’s title. According to Alverson, then, the Hole for Bad Ideas is itself a bad idea, an artistic failure. But Alverson’s work is not an artistic failure; the individual works are competently executed and strikingly composed, and the extension of his project via the copied canvases adds a new dimension of self-referentiality and meditation on the processes of artmaking and exhibition.

Melissa Venator is a PhD student in the Department of Art History at Rice University.

Sara VanDerBeek
The Hammer, Los Angeles
Through January 8, 2012

By Catherine Wagley

Sara VanDerBeek, Sonya Flores, 2011, Digital C- print, 16 1/4 x 12 1/2 inches. Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Sara VanDerBeek’s Feathers consists of a painted white steel stand and eight symmetrically arranged macaw feathers, each vertically protruding from the top of the metal apparatus. From the front, the feathers are purple but golden just around the edges. From the back, they’re yellow. The tallest two are in the middle with the shortest on either end. The whole thing, perched on top of a white pedestal, is unnatural—feathers don’t belong on top of steel stands—but it’s inarguably ephemeral. Unnaturally ephemeral: that could describe VanDerBeek’s whole installation on view now on the second floor of UCLA’s Hammer Museum.

VanDerBeek built a white-walled room, reminiscent in size and design of architect Rudolf Schindler’s idiosyncratic Kings Road House, inside the museum’s compact, and also a white-walled upstairs project space. The room has been carefully populated with small, barely colored sculptures and photographic prints of sequins, beads or the moon. It’s the first time the New York based artist, who has an interest in architecture, and recently spent time photographing Detroit, has exhibited a project inspired by a city in that very city. In its carefulness, the installation gets at something particular to L.A. art’s post-war legacy.

In Sunshine Muse, Peter Plagens’ early 1974 history of SoCal art, Plagens pointed to a “tingle of doubt surrounding practically every art object produced in Southern California—as if every piece had to justify its slimmest mass in terms of material economy and psychological effect.” Mary Corse, with her white on white canvases, was an example of this, so was Charles Arnoldi, who arranged and rearranged compositions of twigs. Perhaps this was a result of the sunshine. Intense light made it harder to overlook waste. Or maybe it resulted from industry, both the movies and the plastics, which made artists want to produce precisely and only what was necessary to effect perception.

VanDerBeek is definitely aware of mass and its effects. Upon entering, you look to the left and see a black and white photograph of Sonya Flores, a Native American dancer the artist met when visiting a powwow, who is unsmiling and in profile with a feather sticking out of her hair. Then there’s a steel column inspired both by Native American totems and modern architecture, a photograph of delicate beads sewn onto fabric, the feathers, mirrored pedestals, and a plaster cast of a face, all arranged with plenty of space between them, despite the small size of the room.

Everything feels fragile and important but also kind of hip; mid-century modern minimal is in, as is cultural mish mashing. Think of sculptor Carol Bove’s sleek arrangements of artifacts and pop culture, or painter Mari Eastman’s compositions that reference the primitive even as they evidence extreme artistic control. But it’s this hipness, married with an L.A.-specific breed of ephemerality that makes VanDerBeek’s installation feel right. She said she wanted it to be a synthesis of her experience of this city, and she’s portrayed a place where the natural and unnatural coexist with illogical ease and ephemerality and minimalism, in design and art, have become comfortable for a certain class of young-to-middle aged creatives. Among those who live in Silver Lake, eat at restaurants with names like Local and Forage, and buy Eames chairs off Craigslist, that sort of fragile minimalism and carefully curated naturalness definitely defines the desired experience, which means VanDerBeek’s Hammer Project just may be a 21st Century neo-Bohemian, West Coast ideal. It plays right into the midcentury model of California sophistication that we’ve bought hook-line-and-sinker, and this makes it both difficult to dislike and difficult to like. It’s right about culture, but I’m just not sure what it’s saying about that strain of culture it’s pegged so well.

Catherine Wagley regularly contributes to the LA Weekly and is a columnist for the Art21 Blog and Dailyserving.com.

Anna Craycroft
Tracy Williams, Ltd., New York
Through October 22

By Sarah Demeuse

Anna Craycroft, The Interfacial Angles of Crystal Morphology: Andalucite, 2011, Resist dyed cotton rope and nylon fasteners, Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

A pattern often has a negative connotation: we use the term when we see someone falling back into a destructive behavior, or when we discover the mathematical backbone of something we’d found to be mesmerizingly beautiful at first sight. In the last few years, patterns, and clashing ones at that, have certainly made their way back to the catwalk. Over the last year, Anna Craycroft has approached the topic of patterns as natural, aesthetic and social phenomena as an omnivorous researcher. In her current exhibition at Tracy Williams, she presents us with proof of, as well as the beauty within, the human draw to pattern. For Craycroft, patterns are less an epiphenomenon than they are an essential tool; an operation necessary to acquire our uniquely idiosyncratic habits.

Though a pattern implies copies or copy-ability (it is, etymologically, the original meant for copying), there is little repetition at Tracy Williams. Four wall-mounted brightly colored rope-works attached in the corners of the main gallery space represent three distinct crystal structures (Flourite, Scheelite, Anatase, Andalucite). We’re inclined to see beautiful larger-than-life structures that echo the fancier playground. Walking underneath the Scheelite structure, we enter into a reading room, dimmed by geometrically patterned silk window screens. The oversized rope arrangements remind one of the physical strength needed to install the work and contrast starkly with the original referent (the mineral) as well as with the more intimate and cerebral activity preserved for the other parts of the exhibit.

The jump from whole to part, and from collective to individual, provides the push pull in this show. This need to connect the universal to the particular also rings through in the exhibition where abstraction in the main room is contrasted with a potential for specificity in the side gallery. Here, two child-sized pieces of furniture recall the vibrant color and line of the ropes, and give the visitor an opportunity to peruse Craycroft’s image archive and research notes that have been distilled into a 5-part bookset titled Developing Patterns of Learning. It is here that we see and read about the multiple ways in which human learning, intimacy, habit, movement and behavior all depend on repetition, imitation or mimicking. The books’ size, font, material and the emphasis on images and simple sentences bring us into the world of pedagogical kindergarten books. Though Drawn to Repeating Patterns certainly lets us rejoice in the aesthetics of childhood while preserving the allure of the archive, at bottom it invites us to explore, in a seemingly pre-institutional and pre-disciplinary, though hardly naive or uninformed way, some crucial elements of reality that shape our own lives.

Sarah Demeuse reads, translates, edits, writes and makes exhibitions. Together with Manuela Moscoso, she founded rivet, a curatorial office that currently focuses on object-oriented approaches in philosophy and contemporary art.

project space

Jani Benjamins

My work deals with systems of displacement and uncertainties of communication and the process of interpretation.
The large text paintings respond to our despondent cultures actions regarding ecologic management, consumerism and exploitation.
My work attempts to at once create and undo creation, embracing contradiction.

Jani Benjamins lives and works in New York City.

mbgETC: Brian Piana

Brian Piana is a visual artist who largely uses the Internet as source material. He earned his MS in Visualization Sciences from Texas A&M University and his MFA in Photography/Digital Media from the University of Houston. Piana’s work has been exhibited in art spaces nationally, including at FotoFest, Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Maryland Institute College of Art and Rhizome.org. He was the Glasstire Virtual Resident for 2009, and he managed the Brooklyn Museum's 1stfans Twitter feed as the featured artist in July, 2010. Piana lives in Houston and is a Professor in Art and Visual Communication at San Jacinto College. He is also co-director of Skydive Art Space.

An extension of might be good’s project space, @mbgETC, provides artists with a chance to engage with Twitter as an online platform for intervention and experimentation. Participants are given a month for the realization of their projects and can be followed online at Twitter.com/mbgETC or in the feed located within each issues table of contents.

...mbg recommends

Deborah Stratman and Miguel Aragon
Tiny Park, Austin
Closed September 25

Austin is no stranger to spaces that fall into the D.I.Y. category. Tiny Park, a new upstart space run by Brian Willey and Thao Votang out of their north Austin residence, looks to provide Austin with a place for exhibitions, film screenings and readings, with larger projects and events taking place at outside venues. Whatever the future holds for the space, their current offering of 2004 Whitney Biennial participant Deborah Stratman and University of Texas M.F.A. Candidate Miguel Aragon looks to start things off on the right foot, sophistically merging the D.I.Y ethic with conceptually savvy work.

Nick Cave, Ever-After
Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC
In Collaboration with Mary Boone Gallery
September 9 – October 8

Gallery hopping in Chelsea often results in a feeling of fuzzy-eyed homogeneity, with trends coming to the fore and the differences between exhibitions melting into a haze of images, objects and foot traffic. Walk past Nick Cave’s row of looming white-haired bunny figures at Jack Shainman gallery, or the ‘Soundsuit’ playground at Mary Boone, and you’ll quickly snap out of your art-viewing coma. Cave’s exhibitions of meticulously crafted ‘Soundsuits,’ at once deeply meditative and outwardly exuberant, are such mesmerizing offerings that you’ll swear you hear whispering by the time you’re done with the exhibition.

Eric Zimmerman is an artist and Editor of ...might be good.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Dameon Lester, Jessica McCambly and L. Renee Nunez
grayduck Gallery
Opening reception: September 30, 7-9pm

Pattern Plan showcases artists Dameon Lester, Jessica McCambly, and L. Renee Nunez as they explore humankind's relationship with nature. Using repetition, negative space, and movement, these mixed media artists speak to both our detachment and captivation with the world around us.

Art Across the Americas
Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection Library of University of Texas at Austin
Opening reception: October 1, 6-9pm

Some of the Peruvian artists in this year's Austin exhibition will include Nelly Mayhua Mendoza, Doris Guiterrez, Emma Alcarraz Guia, Yolanda Velásquez Reinoso, Joe Marquez, Elsa Pulgar-Vidal, Cristina Duenas Pachas, and Del Nino Ladron. Nelly Mayhua Mendoza will be traveling from Peru to attend the reception. Felix Sampaio, a sculptor from Brazil will also be exhibiting and visiting Austin. Some of the local Austin artists include Catherine Small, Bill Oakey, Leslie Kell, Patricia Lyle, Paul McGuire, Dixie Rhoades, Connie Schaertl, Barbara Timko, Beverly Adams, John Bielss, Karen Burges, Beverly Cobb, Jill Alo, Lloyd Cuninngham, Tita Griesbach, Betty Jameson, Alonso Rey-Sanchez, and Marla Ripperda. Work by Marisa Boullosa, from Mexico, will also be exhibited.

Lalique Martinez and Twan Meijerink
Red Space Gallery
Opening reception: October 1, 6-10pm

As prompted by the literary work of André Gide’s L’Immoralist, the body of work examines Man’s Moral as a topographic entity. What is this thing? How does it affect the narrative— This process of building a life story in conjunction to the conflicting chameleon of memory? Through use of photography and installation, Man’s grapple with morality is featured as a separate object- affected by time, space, and context.

Austin on View

Koki Tanaka
Through October 16

Koki Tanaka's work contemplates the seemingly mundane range of choices and outcomes involved in the everyday. Examining objects and the connections they have with society, the world of art, and each other, Tanaka's work finds moments of beauty and interactivity in a landscape that seems otherwise devoid of interaction. Tanaka's piece Buckets and Balls uses combinations of ordinary objects to explore the concept of the 'decisive moment,' that instant between success and failure, popularized in the early 1950s by the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. The banality of the props - ladders, chairs, wooden planks - and the repetitive nature of the actions being staged - a yellow ball continuously tossed at a blue bucket - somehow converge in a narrative of suspense, excitement, and relief.

Mostly 2+
Domy Books
Through October 20

Mostly 2+ is exactly that. The show is mostly Jim Houser and I (Tim Kerr) plus Merrilee ChallissChrissy Piper and maybe, just maybe, Dan Higgs. That’s pretty much it. No esoteric statements, just friends being friends to each other. Seems like it should happen A LOT more like that. Come if you can because who knows, You might just find out something about your own self by what you might see and/or who you might talk to at the show. Will there be music? ... Well, there is ALWAYS music.

Cao Fei
Through October 30

Beijing-based artist Cao Fei's practice is based in video, photography, performance, installation, and internet-based art. She explores Chinese popular culture, while focusing on youth subcultures. Shadow Life, Cao's most recent video, is an adaptation of traditional Chinese shadow puppetry. Puppeteers typically created the shadow puppets by manipulating small, two-dimensional figures cut from paper or leather behind a silk screen with rear illumination. During the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE), performances known as "large shadow shows" featured actors hidden behind the screen instead of puppets. The intricate hand puppets animating Shadow Life merge these traditional art forms to tell a distinctly contemporary story of modern China.

Sarah Buckius
Through November 6

Sarah Buckius' work combines aspects of photography, video, performance, and installation, employing her body to express and explore tension, anxiety, pattern, and interpersonal relationships. Her work often uses technology to transform the solitary moving body into something infinite and remote. Buckius' video trapped inside pixels transforms the artist's moving body into a collage of innumerable animated permutations. By digitally manipulating her image and tiling herself over and over again on the screen, Buckius converts her movements into a kaleidoscope of patterns-a single moving piece part of something much larger than herself, but with no apparent progression or move toward meaning. Her actions are sharp, jerky, and robotic-creating a feeling of unease and conveying how it may feel to be reduced to being a piece of an infinite, flat, digital landscape.

The Anxiety of Photography
Arthouse & Austin Museum of Art
Through December 30

Many of the works in The Anxiety of Photography reflect on the changing nature of our relationship to the materiality of images, as artists produce photographic prints from hand-painted negatives, violently collide framed pictures, arrange photographs and objects in uncanny still lives, or otherwise destabilize the photographic object. “They use the confusion that photographs can produce to create a more careful state of looking, a more open dive into pictures.”

Storied Past
Blanton Museum of Art
Through December 31

Storied Past explores the expressive and technical range of French drawing through preliminary sketches, compositional studies, figure studies, and finished drawings from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. Drawn primarily from the museum's renowned Suida-Manning Collection, the exhibition includes works by Jacques Callot, François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-Louis Forain, and Théophile Alexandre Steinlen.

El Anatsui
Blanton Museum of Art
Through January 22, 2012

When I Last Wrote to You about Africa is a major retrospective of internationally renowned artist El Anatsui organized by the Museum for African Art in New York City. On view September 25, 2011 – January 22, 2012, the exhibition spans four decades and includes approximately 60 works drawn from public and private collections internationally.

Austin Closings

Wild Beasts
Through October 8

Champion is pleased to announce a group exhibition of painting and video entitled Wild Beasts, featuring Ryan Schneider, Daniel Heidkamp, Shara Hughes, Joshua Abelow, and Ezra Johnson. Wild Beasts is the English translation of Les Fauves, a 20th-century movement of painters—including Henri Matisse—known for the use of untamed color and gestural, abstracted brushstrokes applied to portraits and landscapes.

San Antonio Openings

LLoyd Walsh and Georganne Dean
Sala Diaz
Opening reception: September 30, 7-11pm

This project is tenth in a series of two artist exhibitions built on the idea of duplex as exemplified by the double room layout of the gallery space, which is also half of a duplex. The curator’s strategy for the Duplex Series is based on the notion of "easy does it" as noted on an index card discovered inside a tattered copy of The Joy of Cooking, which was found on the street outside the gallery. The concept as outlined on the card is to carefully select artists that will likely produce intriguing combinations, then stand back and see what happens.

Clare Little
Three Walls
Opening reception: October 6, 6-8pm

Little spent her formative years in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the desert landscape blends into an ever changing skyline. It is a place where architectural construction/destruction mirrors the earth’s regenerative nature: decomposition and growth. This relationship between the tame and the feral has become her focus of exploration. Little strives to explore the majestic within the domestic by constructing animal imagery via construction materials, floral embellishments that recall entropy, and household furniture that reconfigure interior domestic space into fantastical woodland landscapes.

San Antonio on View

Michele Monseau
Unit B
Through November 5

elephant in the room is about reverence, melancholy, celebration, and feedback loops. The mind and the spirit come up with ways to fill empty space when any living creature is deprived of the natural feeding of its soul. Rhythm is primal, and comfort. Repetition is circular.

Chuck Ramirez
Blue Star Contemporary Art Center
Through November 6

Chuck Ramirez was an artist and designer who lived and worked in San Antonio, Texas. Ramirez, who died unexpectedly in November 2010, left a void in the contemporary art world, but also a legacy of artwork with an aesthetic both Minimal and Baroque. His large-scale photographic portraits and installations of banal objects are humorous, yet poignant, metaphors for the transient nature of consumer culture and the frailty of life.

Paul Jacoulet
San Antonio Museum of Art
Through November 6

Paul Jacoulet was the first foreigner to master printmaking in the Japanese tradition. The artist was born in France but spent most of his life in Japan. Eight Jacoulet prints showing scenes of Oceania comprise the first print rotation in the Asian Art Special Exhibitions Gallery, followed by eight prints depicting Korea.

San Antonio Closings

Nene Humphrey
McNay Art Museum
Through October 2

Humphrey moved from exploring the external human form to the internal, investigating the visual and emotional connections between images and the deep cellular workings of the human brain. Humphrey’s interest in the LeDoux Lab’s research led to investigations of pattern making in its many visual and cultural forms. Through her research she encountered Victorian mourning braiding—the practice of braiding hair in specific patterns, as a way to honor loved ones. She began to see a visual connection between the strands of neurological data that dictate primitive human emotions and the braiding. These handcrafted mourning braids are not only complex and beautiful but often appear similar to scientific patterns such as the DNA helix form and chromatin in the cell nucleus.

Houston Openings

Krista Brinbaum
Box 13
Opening reception: October 1, 7-9:30pm

New Growth uses artificial plants to reference the forms that living plants take around the Houston area. Inspirational forms range from the manicured to the overgrown. When Krista Brinbaum moved to Houston, she was struck by the carefully shaped plants and hedges fitting neatly inside fences or trimmed to enhance a brick wall. Meanwhile, posts and buildings in neglected areas sprout wild green hair-dos.

Lisa Choinacky
Box 13
Opening reception: October 1, 7-9:30pm

All of existence can be understood as a relationship. Alan Watts posited that our physical world is a system of inseparable things where everything exists with everything else. In this system of metasystems, each relationship aggregates with many, giving form to the universe. And within this pattern, even the most seemingly disparate of elements ultimately reveal themselves to be conjoined and interwoven. Is it coincidence that the world is made up of undividable opposites? Lisa Choinacky seeks to examine how this relates to that.
Jed Foronda & Emily Link
Box 13

Opening reception: October 1, 7-9:30pm

False Face High
 is a series of new work from Jed Foronda and Emily Link. Through installation, sculpture and 2D works, Foronda and Link articulate shared cultural apprehensions in tandem.

Monica Vidal
Box 13
Opening reception: October 1, 7-9:30pm

Temple Hive is the second in Monica Vidal's series of large scale forms whose purpose is to distort the relationship between body and sculpture. The first, Tumor Hive, represented the enormous emotional impact of an excised lump of cells gone amok. Temple Hive is inspired by the idiosyncrasies of Vidal's youth as they linger into hypothetical adulthood. She was then, as she is now, obsessed with escape, for both body and mind.

Barry Stone
Art Palace
Opening reception: October 15, 6-8pm

Darkside of the Rainbow, Barry Stone's first solo show at Art Palace, takes its title from the common practice of playing the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd's Darkside of the Moon (1973) album synchronously. Just as the superimposition of film and album suggests new associations emerging from the juxtaposition of seemingly incongruous elements, so too do Stone's groupings of photographs, drawings, collage and paintings.

Houston on View

Helen Altman
Moody Gallery
Through October 15

The work featured in Half-Life includes a wall installation of torch drawings, tree paintings in acrylic on paper, moving blankets, and burnt dictionary pages that illustrate an array of animals. Also on view is a wall painting of a beaver dam with flicker flame bulbs, as well as snow globes with cast plastic forms of the World Trade Center Towers, and cast plastic goldfish in water.

Anton Ginzburg
Blaffer Art Museum
Through November 27

At the Back of the North Wind is an exhibition of new works by Anton Ginzburg, which will be open to the public from June 3 to November 27, 2011 during the 54th Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Bollani. Curated by Matthew J.W. Drutt, the exhibition has been chosen as an official participant of La Biennale di Venezia's Collateral Program. The exhibition of new works will feature a video installation that documents the artist's search for Hyperborea, a mythical northern territory. Large-scale sculptures, site-specific bas reliefs, photography, paintings, and a series of works on paper that document artist's travels and discoveries will also be displayed throughout the two floors of the palazzo.

Spirit of Modernism
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Through January 29, 2012

The Spirit of Modernism pays tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of businessman and art collector John R. Eckel, Jr. The friendship between John Eckel and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, lasted only five years before his untimely death in 2009. His art collection, now known as the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gift, lives on at the MFAH as an enduring legacy comprising 75 examples of Modernist American painting and sculpture, photography, and contemporary arts and design. This exhibition highlights the gifts in two locations on the museum’s campus: the Beck Building (Hevrdejs Gallery) and the Law Building (Alice Pratt Brown Gallery and Garden).

Houston Closings

Seth Alverson
Art Palace
Through October 8

Seth Alverson received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Houston, in 2002 and his Master of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010. This will be Alverson’s third solo exhibition with Art Palace.

Marc Swanson
Contempoary Art Museum of Houston
Through October 9

From his earliest works, Brooklyn-based artist Marc Swanson has made his topic the construction of self as an incomplete and always fragmentary project. Everything—including heavy metal, the Yeti, and hunting trophies—have become part of his artistic language. Perspectives 175: Marc Swanson: The Second Story features new sculptures by the artist that consider the worldview of the generations that have grown up since AIDS placed a final marker on the early era of gay liberation, severing the ties to that culture’s rich history. It’s been left to younger artists like Swanson to decipher and reinterpret the stories and images of that elder generation. The Second Story was a gay bar in San Francisco, long gone when the artist lived there but—in its punning name—haunting. The name might just mean that it was located on the second floor of a building, but it also suggests the layers of narrative that overlap in each patron’s life—the true, the false, and the mythic.

Dallas on View

New Variations
Talley Dunn Gallery
Through October 22

New Variations will feature art in various media, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs, and installation-based work. Ranging in scale from the intimate to the monumental, the exhibition will highlight new and recent work by all of the gallery's artists.

Aaron Parazzette
Dallas Contemporary
Through December 4

For Aaron Parazette's exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, he will exhibit a combination of new and recent paintings along with a large-scale, site-specific wall painting. Parazette employs the formula of formalist painting through text imagery. For Parazette, his work is painting meeting both the past and future abstraction.

Dallas Closings

Otis Jones
Holly Johnson Gallery
Through October 8

In this exhibition of new work Otis Jones continues his investigation of abstraction. The new paintings alternate in hue and texture, ranging from flat to polished, to pitted topography. Evident is his unique signature of staples attaching canvas and linen to thick wooden supports - reinforcing the relationship of the side to the front of the painting and exposing traditional painting materials. In building up the surface media and alternately sanding it away, Jones foregrounds the status of his paintings as objects. For Otis Jones, minimalism operates as a place from which to begin. More importantly, it references his insistence, thematically, to produce work that blurs high and low distinctions.

Margaret Evangeline and Suguru Hiraide
Cohn Drennan Contemporary
Through October 8

Steel is a two-person exhibition presenting the work of Margaret Evangeline (New York, NY) and Suguru Hiraide (Wichita Fallas, TX). Both artists use steel as their medium to address evolving yet ever-present concerns of cultural and societal issues of identity.

El Paso Openings

Regina Silveria
Rubin Center
Opening reception: October 6, 5-7:30pm

Regina Silveira, is one of the most prominent Brazilian artists working today, and is renowned for her explorations of architectural space through geometric constructs. Silveira created Gone Wild Reversed for this exhibition and states, “by using the tracks of absent animals, the reaction I want to provoke is the degree of amazement of the unexpected, which can take you to an imaginary realm... Footprints and tracks have constituted a significant part of the indexical imagery whose meaning I have been investigating over the past few years. Their accumulation particularly interests me for its allegorical potential to allude to a ‘ghost’ event that took place and left a mark.”

New York Closings

Ian Pedigo
Klaus von Nichtssangend
Through October 16

Ian Pedigo continues to make sculptures imbued with artifactual significance. This is revealed through a process of peeling layers, creating visually formal relationships and conceptual congruence. The works begin with found images and objects that are added upon, altered, and edited in a process that echoes ritualistic practices. The results are forms woven from threads of banal occurrences and everyday life; evidence lying dormant in the dross surrounding us.

Announcements: events

Texas Events

Texas Contemporary Art Fair, Houston, Texas
October 20-23

artMRKT Productions, a newly formed Brooklyn-based organizer of modern and contemporary art fairs, announces Houston as the host city for its inaugural Texas Contemporary art fair taking place October 20 – 23, 2011 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Texas Contemporary will present 50 contemporary art dealers from around the world, including a section showcasing special projects and pieces that focus on energy and sustainability by Texas-based artists featured in solo booths.

Fluent~Collaborative is a proud cultural partner of Texas Contemporary. For Fluent~Collaborative supporters and ...mbg readers: Click here for your complimentary one-day pass to the fair!

Austin Events

AIA Austin Homes Tour 2011
AIA Austin
Saturday and Sunday October 1-2, 10am-6pm

The 25th Annual AIA Austin Homes Tour is a showcase of great design by local architects. This year's self-guided tour will include 15 homes in the Austin area. Traditional and contemporary designs coexist on the tour, which encompasses new construction and renovation projects. Approximately 5,000 attendees are expected to attend this year's two-day tour, which reaches an educated, design-minded group. Tickets to the AIA Homes Tour go on sale September 1st and are $25 in advance; $30 the weekend of the event. Tickets may be purchased at Zinger Hardware (North Lamar location near Central Market), Five Elements Furniture (South Lamar), or directly from AIA Austin. Additional information is available from AIA Austin at 512.452.4332.

Artist's talk: Jim Torok
Lora Reynolds
October 1, 6:30pm

Please join us as artist Jim Torok talks about his exhibition, Walton.

Pandora's Box
Visual Arts Center
October 4, 8pm

During this special screening of Fade In's presentation of G.W. Pabst's 1929 silent film, Pandora’s Box, a small ensemble of UT jazz students, under the direction of faculty composer Dr. John Mills, will provide improvisational musical accompaniment based on written themes to the classic silent film. The new score is a contemporary homage to the musical zeitgeist of 1920s Germany.

Sound + Vision: Disco Desert by Austin Video Bee
Visual Arts Center
October 7, 7-9pm

Setting out to capture the surreality, mutability, and possibility found in West Texas, Austin Video Bee (AVB) traveled to Presidio, Texas and the adjacent area to collect footage and construct a temporary shelter that doubles as a projection structure for this edition of Sound + Vision. The five-person collective gathered a multitude of desert images and sounds, translated and reassembled the footage, augmenting it in post-production to draw out the fantastic elements of the landscape. The installation features projections and sound enveloping the viewers in an immersive sensory experience.

Ezra Masch
Visual Arts Center
October 12, 8-9pm

In conjunction with the Center Space Ezra Masch's exhibition Music of the Spheres, Center Space Project presents a very special performance by MFA Studio student Ezra Masch. This rousing and enveloping production is in tandem with his exhibition, which features his modified Fender Rhodes Electric Stage Piano wired to a matrix of seventy-three colorful electric lights.

Pastelegram Issue No. 1 Launch Party
Domy Books
October 13, 6-8pm

Pastelegram’s biannual print issue is an artwork-as-magazine, and offers original work by an artist, art historian or art critic. Included in each issue is a collection of the work’s source material, which may include images by other artists or writings about other artists (some original, some reproduced), poetry or literature, theoretical texts, timelines or diagrams, advertisements or business letters, and so forth. Also featured in the magazine is an interview with our collaborator. Instead of commissioning a writer to interpret the work, we provide the sources that the artist used to develop their ideas and invite readers to draw their own interpretations.

Linda Connor
B. Hollyman Gallery
October 30, 5-7pm

In collaboration with Austin Center for Photography, B. Hollyman Gallery is hosting a one night exhibit and reception with ACP Icon Linda Connor on Friday, September 30. At 6pm, Connor will speak about an assortment of recent works on display in the gallery. Connor's work takes us on a journey to places near and far. For over 25 years, she has traveled to India, Mexico, Thailand, Ireland, Peru, Nepal, Egypt, Hawaii and the American Southwest, capturing the spiritual and sacred essence of people, place, custom, and landscape with her 8x10 view camera.

Taking Art with Carlos Rosales-Silva
November 2, 6pm

Talking Art is a forum for visitors to engage more deeply with Arthouse exhibitions by attending and participating in gallery talks led by exhibiting artists and other experts in contemporary art and culture. All talks are free and open to the public. Carlos Rosales-Silva is an artist living an working in Austin, Texas. He is a member of the Okay Mountain collective.

Houston Events

Through the Lens: The Early Days of the Rothko Chapel as Seen by Francois de Menil
Aurora Picture Show
October 1, 7pm
Admission: Free, outdoors of the Rothko Chapel

François de Menil, a son of Chapel co-founders Dominique and John de Menil, filmed key moments of the Chapel’s early years, including interviews with his parents. The filming was completed in 1972 but was just recently digitized by filmmakers de Menil and Jerry Michaels. Along with interviews with the senior de Menils about their decision to commission the painter Mark Rothko in 1964, and the spiritual goals of the building, the film captures the interfaith commitment of the Chapel through three religious ceremonies in the Chapel: a Catholic service, a Presbyterian Lenten service, and an Islamic prayer. The film also shows rare archival footage of Mrs. de Menil dedicating the Chapel to the people of Houston in 1971 and captures the contemplative nature of the space with slow shots of the interior and of visitors experiencing the art and architecture. The film will be shown on the Chapel's plaza and will be followed by a question and answer session and reception with the filmmaker.

Skydive Mega Yard Sale
October 8, 8am-2pm

Come hang out on the lawn, buy cool stuff, drink lemonade and support an amazing friend! All proceeds from this event will benefit a dear friend of Skydive who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and the high costs of insurance associated with this condition. We've got furniture, antiques, clothes and tons of cool stuff. Also, a special art sale will take place inside by these well-known Houston artists: The Art Guys, Jillian Conrad, Sharon Engelstein, Dixie Friend Gay, Diana Harper, Rachel Hecker, Hana Hillerova, Terrell James, Lauren Kelley, Jim Nolan, Kelly Klassmeyer, Aaron Parazette, Linda Post, Carl Suddath and Gabriela Trzebinksi.

24th Annual Dia De Los Muertos
Lawndale Art Center
October 17- November 6

Lawndale Art Center is pleased to present its 24th Annual Día de los Muertos programs, a celebration of the art, music and practices of Mexico. This program supports area artists and students by offering them an opportunity to show their works to diverse audiences in a museum quality setting. Over the years additional programming has been developed to educate audiences and encourage dialogue in celebration of Mexican-American heritage in our region. Día de los Muertos programs and exhibitions at Lawndale Art Center promote cultural awareness of Mexican folk art practices associated with this celebration of family, life and community.

Announcements: opportunities

Call for Artists

The Idea Fund
The Idea Fund
Deadline: October 3

The Idea Fund is seeking ten Texas-based artist-generated projects to award a $4,000 grant. Want more information? Join an information session in one of the following Texas locations or check out the online webinar. Applications deadline is Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 at 11:59p.m. The Idea Fund announces Round Four for 2011-2012. This re-granting program is administered through Aurora Picture Show, DiverseWorks ArtSpace and Project Row Houses, and funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

2012 Hunting Art Prize
Hunting Art Prize
Deadline: November 30

The Hunting Art Prize, which is sponsored by the international oil services company Hunting PLC, is a prestigious annual competition open to established artists, talented newcomers, and promising amateurs. Its $50,000 award is historically the most generous annual award in North America for painting and drawing, and has helped to build the reputations, raise the profiles, and support the careers of distinguished artists.

Art City Austin
Austin Art Alliance

All applications must be submitted via our online application system at www.zapplication.org. New users to ZAPP must complete the free ZAPP registration. Once logged in, search for Art City Austin 2012 under "participating shows." All applications must be completed with $35 jury fee paid in full by November 7, 2011. Artists must include 5 images of their work which will be uploaded and submitted here.

Call for Applicants

Visual Studies Special Topics in Contemporary Art, Photography: A Three-Part Course for Adults

No previous art or art history experience required – just a curious and open mind! Classes will be taught by Austin-based artist and Lecturer, Studio Art: Photography at Texas State University, San Marcos- Ben Ruggerio. The fall session of visual studies focuses on photography, providing a deeper understanding of contemporary photography in conjunction with our fall exhibition, The Anxiety of Photography.

Fellowship Opportunities

Kress Summer Fellowship in Museum Education
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Deadline: November 1

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute offers a summer fellowship for a senior museum educator who might benefit from contact with the resources of the Clark library, as well as the diverse international community of Clark visiting scholars. The fellowship is intended for an ambitious and imaginative educator whose project explores critically the relationship of scholarship to the public understanding of art, or who seeks to explore new avenues and innovations in museum education, understood in its broadest sense. This project could involve, for example, work on conveying the ideas of a complex thematic exhibition to a wide public; making fresh and challenging scholarship in the history of art accessible to museum-goers; investigating the underlying critical commitments of exhibitions or collections; exploring and challenging the assumptions of museum education itself. This is a six-week fellowship during July and August and comes with an office, accommodation, travel expenses, but no stipend. For more information, visit our website.

Internship Opportunities


Fluent~Collaborative is seeking an Editorial Intern for assistance with the production of our online publication, …might be good.  If interested, please send a letter of interest, writing sample and a current resumé to eng@fluentcollab.org with the subject line: “Fluent Internship”. Please note that this is an unpaid internship.

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