MBG Issue #177: We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Issue # 177

We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

October 28, 2011

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mbg dollar. Image courtesy of ...might be good.

from the editor

Arts relationship to politics and social movements is, by necessity, a thorny one. How do artists and arts publications retain the potency of their doubt while simultaneously embracing the firm position social movements and politics demand? We should also recognize the dilemma in criticizing a system made up of individuals, corporations and banks that fund a majority of the arts in this country. In spite of these predicaments, it is necessary to express our support for the movement initiated by Occupy Wall Street. As the consequences of neoliberal thinking continue to play out with reckless abandon, it impels us to question the path of global capital and its deep-rooted inequality, violence and privatization of all things except losses.[1] Quite simply it asks us to begin talking about alternatives and ultimately, how we might do better. The numbers aren’t news, yet remain a stark reminder of the nature of the capitalist machine and our failures as a society to regulate it. 1% of the population holds the bulk of our societies wealth.[2] Meanwhile more people fall out of the middle class as scores go without work, medical care, food or even a roof over their heads.

Should we look to the political right for answers? Their rhetoric is predatory and peppered with willfully derisive pro-corporate attitudes, cunningly spat while whistling the Pied Pipers tune of democracy, middle class prosperity and job growth—slashing education, public services and regulations as they go.[3] The incongruity of their words and actions apparently lost in the fog of their own sinister obstructionism. How about the left? Platitudes mean little coming from a President who’s embraced Wall Street as fully as his predecessors. A recent Washington Post article found that gearing up for reelection, President Obama has raised nearly $15.6 million from employees of the financial industry, key appointments notwithstanding. ($12 million went directly to the DNC, leaving Obama with $3.9 million while GOP front runner Mitt Romney raised $7.5 million from the financiers.)[4] Hypocrisies abound and through these moral perversions we’re given another false choice, another unsophisticated binary, whose results are one and the same. So where do we turn?

Here’s to the 99% and Occupy Wall Street. Here’s to resisting a call for demands, thereby avoiding the media’s attempt to lure us under their thumb while maintaining a sense of openness that highlights each participant's right to speak for themselves. Here’s to showing us what democracy, liberty and standing up for individual rights and privacy truly looks like. Here’s to the poetic reclamation of social space, and finally, here’s to shining a light on the plutocrats in sheep’s clothing who reveal themselves and their brazen injustices more and more each day. While the end result of these protests remain unseen their very form and presence provides an avenue outside of the manipulative exploitations of capitalism and its cozy political bed fellows in Washington. The openness and power that is a result of O.W.S’s refusal to cede to the established paradigm reminds us of the critical importance of collaboration, participation and education in the world, enabling renewed hope for greater levels of civility and justice throughout our society.

Struggling with the production of this text I looked to the artists and writers who make up this issue for guidance. In their work, collaborations and exploration of ideas I find reflected the complexities and potential inherent in open-minded critical thinking, which when embraced, gets us one step further down the road. We welcome your participation in the ongoing conversation.

Eric Zimmerman for Fluent~Collaborative

[1] The collective AND AND AND stated this sentiment succinctly in a recent dOCUMENTA (13) Newsletter from October 12, 2011. Regarding the, "bloated vampires who go by names like 'hedge fund manager' 'billionaire investor' or 'chief executive officer.’" They state: "Those same vampires have held up an untenable equation to us: Privatize gains yet socialize losses."
[2] For visual learners like myself Mother Jones has some outstanding charts displaying a wide range of interesting figures on the growing inequality: <http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph>.
[3] Appropriately, Bruno Latour, writing in We Have Never Been Modern (1993) regarding the adversarial relationship between socialism and The West, i.e capitalism, states: "The West thinks it is the sole possessor of the clever trick that will allow it to keep winning indefinitely, whereas it has perhaps already lost everything."
[4] Eggen, Dan. Farnam, T.W. “Obama Still Flush With Cash From Financial Sector Despite Frosty Relations.” The Washington Post. 19 Oct. 2011 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-has-more-cash-from-financial-sector-than-gop-hopefuls-combined-data-show/2011/10/18/gIQAX4rAyL_story.html>.


Tony Cragg

By Charissa Terranova

Tony Cragg, Installation view. Courtesy of the artist.

Tony Cragg: Seeing Things is on view at The Nasher Sculpture Center through January 8, 2012. U.T.D Assistant Professor Charissa Terranova took the opportunity during this, the first U.S museum exhibition of Cragg's work in nearly 20 years, to interview the internationally renowned sculptor. - Eds.

Charissa Terranova [CT]: I’m interviewing artist and sculptor Tony Cragg in the gallery at the Nasher Sculpture Center. So this show is called Seeing Things, right?

Tony Cragg [TC]: Yes. There are two senses of seeing things. That’s what we do all the time as long as our eyes are open; we’re seeing things. We also have this figurative thing, “I think I’m seeing things.” Which no longer has to do with this practical reality around us, but with what we project or imagine to be there. There’s a sense, when you’re looking at sculpture, that you’re probably seeing something, a physical object. It stimulates your imagination to project whatever you have in front of you because it’s not something you know, something you’re washing dishes with or walking with. It’s not a normal, practical object, so you think about it differently.

CT: It’s interesting you use the word ‘seeing,’ because usually we think of sculpture as involving your whole body. Do you have any comments about the other senses in the process or in the reception of your work?

TC: Well, I do, but it’s not simple. We can’t have an output without having an input, and the first input we have is to sort everything around us from the physical world: vision, sound, touching, whatever. When you’re born, you’re born with a fantastic brain, but there’s not much in it. You get information from outside your own world and your own body. You get as much of that outside world inside of you. Once you’ve got it in your mind, have visions of it, you’ll understand about time, space, where food comes from, who’s nice or not nice to you. Then you start to use it. You apply it to survive. There is no case of just seeing. All of your senses are always involved.

CT: You said once, “Photography is to painting, the computer is to sculpture.” I thought this was rather brilliant. It has transformed the formatted reality. Could you respond to some of those ideas?

TC: For a very long time, I would’ve rejected any use of computers. Up until 2006 I had absolutely no use for computers.

If you make work for an outdoor situation, you must have a building permit. To get a building permit you need an engineer. When the engineer comes along, he looks at the work, scans it and tests it in a computer to see what stresses it will take. The first time I saw my work on a computer screen, made by the engineer, I realized as everyone realized a long time before me, this would be a possibility for making things, but I don’t want to use a computer to make sculpture.

If you give a computer a job to make a spoon, it will make a spoon for you. It will make ten spoons or a hundred spoons or a million spoons, and it will spit out the whole idea of a spoon. It will mean, to the computer, absolutely nothing at all. I want to make things—I think the whole point of making sculpture, of making art, is to make forms and images that have an emotional and psychological equivalent that’s reactive. I would only make one spoon. I don’t want to make sculpture that uses a computer in the decision making process. On the other hand, I learned that the computer and computer driven machines can be useful in processing art. Why wouldn’t you use a computer to cut material with? It’s better than a saw. You can use it as a tool. The only thing is: I don’t actually like the effect. It’s very mechanical.

CT: Do you cut some of these sculptures on a machine and then finish it yourself?

TC: Absolutely not.

CT: They’re all hand done? By your studio?

TC: Absolutely. A lot of these, you could theoretically create—because there is a geometric or a certain kind of format, a method of construction that you could more or less build—on a computer. Unfortunately, though, it would be a very long, boring process.

CT: You draw them?

TC: I draw them. Draw, and then make. Draw. Make. Draw. Make.

CT: The idea that technology creates these pre-fabricated modules, that’s something you’ve talked about and that you’re either investigating or maybe rejecting. What is your attitude toward the utilitarian?

TC: We extend ourselves to our materials, like picking up a rock to hit what we’re hunting. We do that today, sitting here in a chair, dressed, in a room in a building on a street in a city. There’s an enormous use of materials. The purpose of all that is to facilitate our survival. Keep it warm, cool, healthy—we obviously think it will help our survival if we do that. The only problem is we now rely on machines. As beautiful as this room is—because it’s so perfect—go off into the street and it continues—it’s all straight lines, flat surfaces, cylinders.

CT: Except for the trees.

TC: But we didn’t make the trees.

CT: You could theoretically cut down a square acre of rain forest. People would then maybe plant rows and rows of orange pineapple trees. We replace a formal complexity with many different materials, animals and minerals and with poor quality decisions.

TC: That’s absolutely a formatted reality. The most economic way is straight lines, flat, cylindrical in motion and so forth. In the end, what we do is we impoverish the material reality around us. It’s all flattened up. If you stand in the jungle, it’s just so wild. Or anywhere in nature, there’s such incredible forms, but we make it very bland and boring.

CT: Do you think that is the fault of technology and computers or humans who market it and capitalism?

TC: Technology itself has absolutely no guilt. It’s not the knife that kills you.

CT: It’s the people.

TC: No, it’s not the people. We’re driven by economic situations. It makes us chose simple and fast solutions, geometric solutions. Everything we make is made by designers, the lowest common denominator decision makers. Because of that, we actually impoverish the world around us. Everything we touch, we will make simple. It’s not an argument for sculpture. One of the great arguments about sculpture and art in general is that it is not bound by utilitarianism. It is not bound by certain ideas, so it grows. It gives you an experience of something that otherwise would not be.

CT: Can I ask, then, what kind of duration is there in this work if there is any at all? Is there some kind of time?

TC: I’m not really concerned about that. Something about sculpture is that it’s an extension of yourself. In some sense, stuff is an extension of ourselves. When I perish, some of it will end for all time. More interesting than our relationship to time is how much time we have.

CT: Can I read a quote of something you said? You said, “it’s so new [technology & computers] that we can’t talk about it with memory because it isn’t old enough. We are not at a point yet that we are using automatic forms for the sake of memory.”

TC: Yes, I did say that. It’s true. We always have to be careful with technology because it develops so fast. There are possibilities of calculation very radically approaching brain capacity, definitely when it comes to mathematical processes.

CT: But not imagination.

TC: The thing is: how complicated does a machine have to become before it can imagine? I know it sounds like science fiction. That’s not really my thing. My preoccupation is what to do with the fact that human beings live their lives and are aware every day that we’re here. What’s our perception of seeing? We go out, have breakfast, and do we have to go to work? Oh, I have to pay my bills— all those ordinary things, we’re struggling with in life. We have this funny sense, we actually have this. Maybe religion has attempted to remind you constantly that there's some great reason that we’re here. The only thing with religion is the mystical ideas of why we’re here. Just being here is fantastic.

CT: Going back to the temporality, you talk about looking for a sculptural quality that doesn’t emulate time, yet it flows. These works are about a flow. Are you reading philosophy? I’m thinking about the word “becoming” and “process”—because I’m reading process philosophy, and I thought—what are you thoughts on becoming versus being?

TC: One of the most central questions that we do have is the question of the determinist. How much is pre-determined? In our culture we have ideas of freedom, being, self-determination and whatever else. The individual and art celebrates more than a person in an office. Science and scientists pre-determine what we want to be.

CT: In our biology?

TC: In everything. In our biology and in our psychology. Definitely in our psychology. The fact that we apparently decide things maybe minutes before we actually enact them, we’ve already decided to them.

CT: Maybe that blows up a sense of time?

TC: Yes. That’s art. There is something inside of art impervious to our conscious decision. This is something, an idea of pre-determinism, that some driving force coming from nature pushes us all along and we are unaware of it. We are just being pushed along, but this is nonsense. There is also another aspect of pre-determinism where we see a literal universe, or maybe a multiverse of material that exists whether we’re here or not. Whether it is in the shape of clouds or rivers, riverbeds or the veins in our arms.

CT: Is that god?

TC: Well, no, it wouldn’t be that in my mind, definitely not, but these fantastic, complicated patterns, what we call chaos, our brains aren’t big enough to deal with. A lot of the things around us just go on and we are totally unaware of it. A lot of it is pre-determined. We have nothing to do with it. We’re just riding along, given that we are just here temporarily. A lot of things are absent. We’ve come from a hot place, a very dynamic, energetic explosion, and in a very wonderful way, we start to live and think, and inevitably, the material dissipates and cools down.

Nowadays, people don’t talk about the universe or the multiverse, so the biggest thing we can possibly imagine is standing beyond the capacity of our brain, the self and be one with the millions and millions of universes. In the end, that makes our position incredibly small. Human beings live in flux between pictures of big heavens and holy lands, and that’s absolutely ineffective.

CT: Would it be foolish for me to connect that dialect with your interest in vessels? Utilitarian to abstract? A futile attempt to enclose a liquid.

TC: I think that a vessel is an absolutely recognizable and a metaphor for our bodies. What I’m interested in is the shape in between, which is the thing that doesn’t exist. The bottles do exist, the vinegar bottle and the oil bottle, but the thing in between doesn’t exist.

CT: That’s such a very banal thing to use to explain the in between.

TC: Yes, but it's what we have around us. We’re only seeing a little peek of reality. We’re incapable of seeing the bigger part of reality.

Many years ago I climbed up a mountain with my sons in Switzerland at 5, 6 o’clock in the morning. We looked out at the 3 or 4,000 meters, and we saw six islands sticking out of the clouds. Six black islands sticking out of the clouds. And if that’s where you were born, if that’s where you grew up, if that’s all you’d ever seen, it would just look like six islands sticking out of the clouds. You wouldn’t know that the whole of Switzerland was down in the valley, people getting in their cars, milking their cows, thanking their petrol state, going to the bank. That’s myth, and I think that’s absolutely the situation we’re in. Between the table and the chair, there’s nothing. There’s millions of forms that don’t exist because of the table we sit at, the table we ate at, the chair we sit on, so again, our needs. Utilitarianism eliminates forms.

CT: You know what’s interesting? You don’t like the right angles. You’re going against it. You’re countering it.

TC: It’s a homogeneous form of the world, a reality. Go out in the streets, you could be anywhere in the whole of the United States, or most cities in Europe. I go back to ecological questions. What we’re doing with the environment is reducing the rate and number of species. Things are going extinct. Things are also evolving, but not at the rate at which they are being destroyed.

CT: Last question. What are you reading now?

TC: I am reading two books at the same time. One is Joseph Conrad’s The Jungle, and the other is, I can’t pronounce his name, but it’s called something like "Digital Reality."

Charissa N. Terranova is Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. A freelance curator and scholarly critic, she has recently completed a book-length manuscript entitled Automotive Prosthetic: The Car, Technological Mediation, and the Conceptual Turn in Art, 1951-Present.


To Read Again: “The Buenos Aires Affair"
Book review as interview
The Buenos Aires Affair, by Manuel Puig, 1973

By Alejandro Cesarco and Mary Walling Blackburn

The many covers of The Buenos Aires Affair by Manuel Puig, originally published in 1973.

In different seasons, Alejandro Cesarco and Mary Walling Blackburn came as artists in residence to testsite. While here, Walling Blackburn found Love Poems, the only object on a high shelf. It was the Uruguayan poet Idea Vilareno’s Poemas de Amor (1957) translated into a visual by Cesarco. Now Cesarco and Walling Blackburn reread and review Manuel Puig’s The Buenos Aires Affair (1973) and tinker with the discrete genres of interview and book review.

Alejandro Cesarco [AC]: You mentioned that you first read The Buenos Aires Affair “too early, too soon.” What do you remember of that first reading? What triggered you to reread it now?

Mary Walling Blackburn [MWB]: The sculptor, Gladys Hebe d’Onofrio, was on the cover of that edition. She was in bed. Her blonde hair masked her face. The shadow of the male art critic loomed over her.

I realize now that what I remembered as shadow is an actual body. I was eleven and living in a small mountain village of 300 people. We were often snowed in and read often. The book was just lying on the living room floor. The book itself is a crime scene, and it is said that the reader is the detective.

In the blushes of the first reading, the literary devices dissolved and all that remained was the adolescent Leo Drucovitch, the future art critic, making out with a girl with mossy teeth. Pages later, the same man broke open the skull of another man with a brickwhile raping him in a vacant lot. My memory stopped there. I was startled twenty-five years later, reading the back of a new edition, to realize that the perpetrator was an art critic and the one eyed woman, an artist.

I reread it because a child reader mulches political torture, sado-masochism and unsavory art world machinations in an entirely different manner. I reread it because I am both artist and art critic, and I wished to reread it with you because you are an artist, and I’d been your critic. Moreover, your indexes for books that do not exist are rife with references to books I have read. It’s only logical that you had read this book as well. Why doesn’t it surface within your beautiful lists?

You tend to articulate trauma through what appears to be cool chambers, a remote machination within yourself. Here you may dissect and disclose the traumatic read nestled within a hyperbolic convention.

AC: While writing the book, Manuel Puig explains in a letter to a friend, “My next novel, a crime story, is currently being shot on location in perverted Buenos Aires. It’s a sort of thriller. Do you remember MGM’s slogan to promote I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955) with Susan Hayward? It said, ‘A film shot on location: inside a woman’s soul!’ Well, the same could be said of my next novel.”

MWB: Puig's quote regarding women's soul as location is clever, but alien. Women and souls, as categories, are mysterious to me. Both constructs have the quality of a fictive set location; walking out of the dark of the "theater,” the concept of woman or soul dissolves in the sunlight. Let's say a work can be built within another’s interior, without occupying her, without territorializing him, to be inside without taking. What sort of anti-colonial trick is that?

In a Buenos Aires penitentiary in 1903, a criminal psychiatrist, José Ingenieros, observed inmates. He published a work of crime psychiatry titled La simulación de la locura (The Simulation of Madness). Ingenieros begins to collaborate on a case study with a coterie of literary figures, including modernist poet Rubén Darío, where they tested the efficacy of insinuation. They used false narratives to convince a fragile writer that perhaps he was channeling Comte de Lautréamont. Soon after the study’s publication, Ingenieros was appointed director of the Observation Room of the Buenos Aires police prefect, where he remained until 1913. In The Buenos Aires Affair, police work and psychiatry forget where one ends and the other begins. There is this local precedent-- where literary strategy and forensic narratives intersect.

AC: While recovering some of the conventional tropes of the sentimental novelthe woman wrongly married, the unscrupulous don juán, the floozy upper-crust girl, the resentful spinster, the mislead maidbut working them through a series of, let’s say, “experimental” resources, Puig manages to distance his writing from pure sentimentalism and reveal the aesthetic, moral and ideological folds that stereotypes attempt to silence. Something akin to this is what I think you are, very rightly, fighting against at the start of your response.

In the novel, genre, in its dual acceptation of sexual identity and conventional form, quite literally implodes. In fact, I think that genre is, perhaps, the principal subject of the book.

The novel is inspired by “women films” from the 30s and 40s that Puig, an erudite cinephile, watched growing up. Cinema is reread through literature. In a way, Puig replaces the library with the movie house. Puig re-presents “women” as portrayed in these films (ill or chased, suffering or passionate, wives, lovers, or sacrificed mothers) as cases or topics.[1]

In the first chapter of the book, the author proposes a crime story, an enigma to be solved: a woman has disappeared from a house on the beach where she is recovering from a nervous breakdown. In the second chapter, he outlines a first probable answer: the woman in questions sleeps under the effects of chloroform in an apartment filled with art objects, while a half-naked man alertly watches herthe image on the cover of the book you first read. Puig then dedicates the following chapters to a somewhat detailed account of the life of the disappeared woman, a contemporary artist, and the man, a prominent art critic, in a mix of sentimental feuilleton and psychological case studies. The outcome of the police investigation is intertwined and dependent on the clarification of the emotional enigmas of, and between, the main characters.

The perversion of the art worldthe perverted Buenos Aires Puig alluded to in his lettercorresponds to the country’s social and political perversion, and is compounded in an exemplary case of sexual politics, summarized in the title’s affair: a masochist artist is persecuted by a powerful and sadistic critic. The author, somehow transvestied in a visual artist that works with the debris of arta clear transposition of Puig’s own literary methods, is finally seduced and manipulated by a bisexual critic, acting out as a hyper-aggressive macho, whose “craziness” mirrors, though is not explicitly identified with, military repression during the dictatorship. I really don’t think either of us is represented by this characterization.

MWB: I am not Leo, and you are not Gladys; and yet, because I am not quite sure who the art critic, as cultural figure, should be, Leo still represents me. What do my art reviews and the critical relations embedded within them do to one another? It’s work, but to what end? To up-end? There is also a problem of how the artist receives the critic, if the critic is not an authority, a god, if she is not the lover or just a PR man by another name. There is no cinema to show us another wayto instruct the artist’s response to vivisection in the name of cultural dialogue. I wish you would tell me what the perfect critic is.

During strong storms in Montevideo in the mid 1800’s, it was reportedly not uncommon for those whose homes overlooked the bay to watch tall ships struggle. The witness could hear wind but not the noise of vessels breaking apart. It was slow and terrible and beautiful; there was nothing to be done because the observer could not safely reach the craft. The critic might be this: violently impotent. Leo is this and ultimately something else: dead.

I don’t want to forget the artist’s glass eye. Hers is the brutal after-effect of an extended stay in the capital of the United States of America. It can’t read the criticism, and it can’t make record of the world. This crystal orb, not dead and not alive, is an un-sanctified art object in the critic’s living quarters, which you mentioned, is filled with objects of art.

Puig’s psycho-sexual thriller is set in May of 1969, but for the artist and the art critic featured within this detective novel, The Cordobazo, a workers’ uprising of 50,000 in Cordoba (May 1969) is not happening. They keep it outside of their gaze, and it is not an object to them. She is not the artist that makes protest an object. Because The Buenos Aires Affair is a movie in the guise of a novel, we look for production equipment, the stray sound boom hanging at the edges of the screen and the hand that holds it.

AC: What Puig ultimately does, what his writing produces and is a product of, highlights the fact that cinema constitutes the unconscious of the 20th Century. Mass culture, that is, industrially produced culture, is the discursive form of a certain mode of domination that functions on the basis of repetition. Therefore, it is logical that every aesthetic genre corresponds to a moment of reoccurrence. Genres work as modes of cultural recognition and models of identification. Genres are a way of organizing our “everyday” experience.[2] The complicity between genre, text and culture guarantees potential legibility. Each genre is a way of explaining a parcel of life, a way of reading and decoding that slice of our being. Each genre organizes our experiences in relation to a topic or aspect of our lives. For example, what melodrama does (and perhaps Puig is closest to this genre than any other) is simply organize the experience of love, anguish, sorrow and abandonment. What melodrama does is literally narrate and exploit to the point of exasperation the cultural behaviors associated with love. The problem, or the exception, is that love has the capacity to loom over most everything: war, famine, sickness, misfortune. It can all be read as a form of love, or of its lack.

The critic is in fact violently impotent and, to this extent, frustrated because he or she always arrives after the fact. This temporality is very different from you having read the novel so young or the certainty that artists are also always working in someone else’s footsteps or in someone else’s shadow.

Alejandro Cesarco is an artist living and working in New York. His work was featured as part of the Uruguayan Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy.

Mary Walling Blackburn, artist, lives in Brooklyn. She is a Visiting Artist at Cooper-Union School of Art. Other works were recently published within E-flux Journal, Paper Monument and Triple Canopy.

[1] Perhaps though, more than a genre, what “women films” actually regroup is a series of more or less conventional sub-genres centered around three classical themes:
a. Female’s suffering: Cat People, Jacques Tourneur (1942), Now Voyager, Irving Rapper (1942), Rebecca, Hitchcock, (1940) or Gas Light, George Cuckor, (1944) in which women
responding to a definition of woman in terms of pathologysuffer a certain kind of nervous affliction, or a paranoid trap, fear their husbands are bound to kill them, etc.
b. female sacrifice: melodramas such as Mildred Pierce, Michael Curtiz (1945) or Stella Dallas, King Vidor (1937), played primarily by women forced to separate from their children
c. and female choice (love stories or career women comedies): centered around deciding between lovers, professional choices, or the conflictive opposition between them.
[2] Is it therefore possible that genres actually produce a form of pure difference and that the regularities found in the genre are merely effects of reading?

Margaret Meehan
Women & Their Work, Austin
Through November 12

By Lee Webster

Margaret Meehan, Laceing, 2011, Archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist and Women & Their Work.

There is a figure in the history of the circus side-show who embodied the freak and the familiar and is often overlooked. Supposedly saved from a life of sexual slavery in the Harems of Turkish nobility by entrepreneurial showbiz men like P.T. Barnum, the Circassian beauties were said to be the most beautiful women in the world. With an exotic sounding name and hair teased high in an afro-like halo, the Circassian beauty’s alabaster skin reflected both a familiar and idealized beauty to bourgeois Victorian audiences as well as an otherized specter on which to lay their fantasies and sympathies.

Margaret Meehan digs deep into the registers of 19th century history for facts and mythologies to explore, explode and reassemble. Her work often investigates the quality of viewership, what it means to be a spectator—a gawker, a consumer of art and entertainment. In Hystrionics and the Forgotten Arm, on view at Women and Their Work, Meehan applies the metaphoric structure of the boxing ring to the tale of the Circassian beauty evoking a theater of structured violence by which exploitation and atrocity is made entertainment.

Contemporary and archaic boxing terminology make up the titles of Meehan’s works. A glossary is printed on the back of the list of works to help decipher the meanings, though terms like “rope a dope,” “skinning the gloves” and “glass jaw” are evocative even when left undefined. At the entrance to the gallery, we’re greeted by The Journeyman (2011), a full-body photographic portrait of Meehan’s stand-in for the Circassian beauty. The Journeyman is part woman and part albino werewolf, with white fur covering her face, hands, lips and eyelids each a tender shade of pink. Dressed in a white gown with one boxing glove-clad hand draped over a chair in the style of Victorian portraits, she walks the line of familiarity and otherness in the same manner of the Circassian beauty. The figure’s blank stare perfectly captures the trepidation of a fighter before a fight or the uncanny gaze of a subject in an antique albumen print.

This, and two other portraits of the same figure, carry the show, bearing most of the narrative weight in the tableau Meehan constructs. Lacing (2011) is a close-up of the same figure bloodied with a black eye, looking defiantly askance at the viewer. In Jab (2011), she appears to be mid-fight, readying herself to throw another punch. This strange creature, some combination of a bearded lady and savage, dressed up as the proper specimen of Victorian woman-hood, embodies the various histories Meehan is working with in one compelling figure.

Meehan places The Journeyman figure in a larger sororal order of female werewolf boxers with The Barnburners (2009-2011), a collection of modified vintage cabinet cards arranged in a large grid on the wall. The portrait of the The Journeyman echoes the style of these antique portraits, and in turn Meehan brings these ladies into the sisterhood by giving them the trademark “mossy” hairdo of the Circassian beauty or a mask that conjures those of lucha libre wrestlers.

The sculptural works in the show establish the dramatic framing for the figure in The Journeyman, but lack some of the same layering of meaning present in much of the other work. Glass Jaw (2011), a punching bag that shines with black glitter, occupies a corner in the gallery painted black and strung with bare bulbs. The Circled Square (2011) pulls together the center of the gallery with a circle drawn in glitter around a pair of aluminum cast boxing gloves. These pieces are essential in defining the sporting arena as a theater of violence and the performance of hysteria that Meehan conjures, but rely more heavily on time-worn juxtapositions that don’t serve the oddness and complexity of the figures present in her two-dimensional pieces.

The visually striking and cohesive installation works best when seen as a whole, and as such is an enthralling take on the history of race, sex and spectatorship. Meehan’s resurrection and manipulation of forgotten histories is a surprisingly fresh investigation into the psychology of contemporary entertainment. The fascination of Victorian viewers with the Circassian beauty isn’t much different than the contemporary popularity of shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, or even the nightly news. Meehan makes you the viewer and the voyeur, but instead of just presenting the prime-time bits, she makes you wait in the wings and then shows you the whole bloody mess.

Lee Webster is an artist living and working in Austin, Texas.

Aaron Parazette
Dallas Contemporary
Through December 4

By Benjamin Lima

Aaron Parazette, North Swell (Installation view at Dallas Contemporary), 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Dallas Contemporary. Photo credit: Kevin Todora.

At the Dallas Contemporary, Aaron Parazette’s exhibition is installed on the two long walls that run along the space’s north and south sides. Eastern light comes in from the glass wall at the front of the gallery, and southern light from a row of clerestory windows along the length of the wall above the featured mural. At the back of the space is a reading area with couches, a coffee table with stacks of surfing magazines, and a few strategically placed catalogs of work by Al Held, Jo Baer, Kenneth Noland and Blinky Palermo, all of which provide contextual clues to the artist’s background.

The focal point of the exhibition is North Swell (2011), a mural on the south wall, about ten feet by sixty feet. A time-lapse video of its creation is on YouTube. This is a concatenation of polygons in shades of gray, anchored by orthogonally aligned rectangles that define the highest and lowest points of the painting, where it is tallest and shortest. These rectangles are connected to each other by diagonals that give the upper and lower edges of the composition an interrupted zig-zag pattern. This makes the anchor rectangles appear to be pushing in and out of the picture plane. However, such a perspectival reading of the shapes is ultimately frustrated because the diagonals that lead back from the rectangles do not terminate in the kind of central horizon line that this interpretation would predict. Instead, the upper and lower formations are joined directly to each other by lines that create a series of four- and five-sided polygons that run along the middle section of the work. The unresolved polarity between the apparent depth of the upper and lower edges, and the flatness of the middle section, creates a tension that continues along the length of the painting. Following the alternation of darks and lights along the whole length of the painting produces a pulsing sense of rhythm and energy. The vast horizontal sweep contrasts with the shorter, alternating vertical expansions and contractions, creating a sense of dynamism in both dimensions.

Opposite this is a row of fifteen acrylic word paintings, with dimensions between three and seven feet, that date from 2004 to the present. They are generated by taking a single word of surfer slang set in Helvetica type, then stretching and shuffling the component letters to the point of being distorted and out of order. The edges of the letterforms are given extra definition by a layered outline that sets them off from the background, termed “pinlines” after the same decorative element in surfboard design. In Groovy (2011), blue-green edges surround pink forms, while Spinner (2008) has red-orange pinlines on a green background. The most striking elements are those that approach complete abstraction, such as the oval dot on the ‘i’ in Boink (2007) and the elongated ascenders and descenders (the vertical stalks on the d and p) in Side Slip (2005) and Shacked (2004). With the longer words, such as Indicator and Spinner (both 2008), the letters pile up on top of one another in a pleasing jumble; while the shorter words, as in Jet and Axe (both 2006), take on a monumental simplicity.

Only Gone (2011) is dominated by the kind of cool blues that offer a sense of tranquility and absorption, as if you ‘d just taken a dive into the ocean itself. Others explore clearly synthetic combinations—the green, pink and brown in Side Slip, for example—suggesting that a communion with nature is not the ultimate object of the surfing references. Instead, the work, with its perfectly crisp edges and clean colors, invites us to enjoy the pleasure of the purely synthetic, much as man-made materials—polyurethane foam, polyester resin and fiberglass—give a modern surfboard its perfect shape.

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

Collaboration Labs: Southern California Artists & The Artist Space Movement
18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica
Through December 16

By Travis Diehl

John Dorr/EZTV, The Case of the Missing Consciousness, c. 1980, VHS video still of John Dorr. Collection of EZTV.

In the spirit of a moment when artists spoke of consciousness raising and when pooling ideas and resources opened up daring new forms, Collaboration Labs seeks to inscribe the particular histories of five Los Angeles-based artist collectives into the larger narrative of the emergence of video, performance and artist groups in the 70s and 80s. The show presents a collection of documentation and wall texts that looks and feels like an exploded art history textbook. The old photos, sketches and props have their own appeal, but the most exciting discovery is perhaps how Los Angeles artists at this time seized on new technology as a means to raise consciousness across the globe.

The exhibition presents a few established artists such as Rachel Rosenthal, Barbara T. Smith, Suzanne Lacy, and Leslie Labowitz-Starus, though with a focus on their collaborative projects. For Field Piece Workers (1970), Smith preserved “glimmering pools of resin” black and white photos of the “art-workers, artists, and friends” who helped realize her monumental Field Piece (1968-71). One particularly savvy work by Lacy and Labowitz-Starus, part of their series exposing the culture of violence against women, was conceived for a television audience. Lacy, Labowitz-Starus, and a cast of other women artists performed Record Companies Drag Their Feet (1977) beneath a billboard for the KISS album Love Gun. The artists invited local news media, gave them a “shot list,” and then produced a kind of consciousness-raising telethon for the cameras.

Lesser known are the techno-collectives like EZTV and Electronic Café who experimented with the cutting edge broadcast electronics of their day in order to make sci-fi global unity a reality. In 1979, John Dorr founded EZTV, the first video theater in the country. Viewers sat in couches and chairs crowded around multiple television monitors. EZTV also functioned as a production studio; video was seen as a kind of homemade television—immediate, accessible, even democratic—where the means of production were within reach of the underrepresented and oppressed. At 18th Street, a handful of videos screened at EZTV loop on a monitor. These include stroboscopic, spectral visualizations by Michael Masucci and James Williams, which push the mind-expanding potential of psychedelic drugs into virtual reality.

Operating parallel to East Coast video collectives like Paper Tiger Television and Ant Farm, these Californian artists understood the dangers and potential of this new medium just as well. Early satellite works by Sherrie Rabinowitz and Kit Galloway as Electronics Café International even predate similar experiments by Nam June Paik. While the Getty's Pacific Standard Time initiative revives comparisons between East and West Coast art, Electronics Café worked to erase such distinctions. Their Hole in Space (1980) connected the public in Times Square, New York and Century City, California via satellite. Later pieces utilized a virtual, satellite-linked performance space, a venue “without geographical boundaries.” The exhibition includes a number of drawings and plans for Electronics Café works which are themselves remarkable. The sketches depict celestial bodies, meditative poses, and human silhouettes linked by ricocheting satellite beams. One unrealized piece joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in a televised split-screen image. These artists sought to realize collaborations in an expanded sense, overcoming through technology the limitations of nations, distance and ignorance.

Travis Diehl is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles.

Museum as Hub: Alpha’s Bet Is Not Over Yet
New Museum, New York
Through December 4

By Brian Fee

Museum as Hub: Alpha’s Bet Is Not Over Yet: Steffani Jemison and Jamal Cyrus, 2011. Photo Credit: Naho Kubota.

When the New Museum—New York City's only museum exclusively devoted to international contemporary art—settled in its new location on the Lower East Side in December 2007, it introduced a dedicated "laboratory" that exists along side the ever-changing gallery floors. This is the Museum as Hub, a dynamic, cross-borders conjunction of art and ideas located just below the museum's Sky Terrace. Reflecting its relocation to the Lower East Side the Museum as Hub's inaugural show introduced visitors to the Hub's partner organizations and their respective ‘neighborhoods’—i.e. the relevant concerns of their institutions and contexts for their unique and divergent perspectives as artistic catalysts.

Insa Art Space (Seoul, Korea), Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City, Mexico), Townhouse Gallery (Cairo, Egypt) ,Van Abbermuseum (Eindhoven, the Netherlands) and the New Museum itself formed the Hub's initial network. Art space pool (Seoul, Korea) and El Museo Experimental El Eco (Mexico City, Mexico) are recent additions. Each institution took turns over the course of 2008 in highlighting their respective ‘neighborhoods.’ Then, taking the hub metaphor further, synapses fired between participating institutions and encouraged intriguing collaborations. One of the strongest Hub events originated from just such teamwork: The Incongruous Image (2011), an imagined dialogue between Belgian Conceptualist Marcel Broodthaers and Argentinian simulacrum virtuoso Liliana Porter (a pairing that might make Hans Ulrich Obrist blush), organized by Annie Fletcher from The Van Abbemuseum and Tobias Ostrander from El Museo Experimental El Eco. Hub exhibitions expanded beyond its participating venues last year with The Bidoun Library Project, organized by the magazine Bidoun: Arts and Culture From the Middle East and was enriched by Iranian Diaspora film and literature.

The Hub's current iteration continues this diversification. Steffani Jemison and Jamal Cyrus' Alpha's Bet Is Not Over Yet, features a reading room and discussion space with a newsstand containing complete reproductions of independent Black periodicals published between 1902 and 1940—from The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races to Ebony. Jemison and Cyrus first realized this project as Book Club (2010), a literary workshop at Project Row Houses, a neighborhood-based nonprofit art and cultural organization in Houston's historic Third Ward, the heart of the metropolis' African-American community. 2010 marked the 100th anniversary of W.E.B. DuBois founding The Crisis and was Jemison's impetus for organizing Book Club, as according to her the concept of crisis, "serves to highlight the complex role of 'critique' (in its philosophical meaning—'an opposing force') in African American aesthetics and literary theory."[1] Certainly it remains a significant topic of discussion today.

Alpha's Bet Is Not Over Yet commenced readings on October 20 with writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts and New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als—reconfiguring Book Club's tight-knit sessions for New York City's larger arts community—which recur during the museum's free Thursday evenings and will feature other invited guests. Some dozen artists created posters inspired by the American Library Association's READ campaign, while others contributed contemporary chapbooks and self-published volumes to accompany the newsstand. Finally, there is The Reader, an illustrated compendium of essays, interviews and selections from the displayed periodicals and posters, edited by Jemison and designed by artist Nikki Presley. It's a tactile and portable publication for visitors wishing to delve deeper into the project.

Jemison and Cyrus' collaborative work is particularly significant to me as a native Texan. I was raised outside Galveston on the Gulf Coast, a short drive into downtown Houston, and my immediate family still lives in the area. I cannot claim to have visited the Third Ward beyond a handful of occasions, and certainly not in the last seven years, amidst the proliferating vitality of its arts community, when I lived in New York City. Alpha's Bet Is Not Over Yet, while echoing Museum as Hub's initial ‘neighborhood’ focus, compels me to revisit a community that, as a childhood neighbor, I should really know better. Considering the New Museum's forays in networking a global audience and social space, it's Alpha's Bet that hits me, in a word, closest to home.

Brian Fee is an art punk currently based in Austin, TX. His culture blog Fee's List covers his three loves (art, film and live music) occurring in his other three loves (the Lone Star State, the Big Apple, and Tokyo).

[1] Jemison, Steffani. “Artists Statement: The Present Crisis.” PRH/Core Residency. 2010 < http://projectrowhouses.org/public-art/prh-core-residency/>.

project space

David Horvitz is a Brooklyn-based photographer and performance artist, known for his often bizarre and absurdist DIY instructional projects, including work on Wikipedia. He was born in Los Angeles, California in 1980, and educated at Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. He has published several books, and his exhibitions have been shown at major galleries and museums, including Art Metropole, the Or Gallery and the New Museum. In 2011 he was nominated for the Discovery Award at the photography festival in Arles, France.

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

Bradney Evans: Still
Lora Reynolds Gallery - Project Room
October 28 - December 3, 2011

Everyone loves a project space, or as Lora Reynolds Gallery has chosen to call it, a Project Room. These typically compact spaces allow artists to highlight a few works in a concise and often experimental way that, in one way or another, end up paying dividends for the viewer. Los Angeles based artist Bradney Evans' exhibition looks to continue this tradition by showing three works on paper that use what appears to be packing paper to construct images of an eclipse, a constellation and a sunset. However, in a nod to our easily deceived perception, Evans pieces are in fact rendered by hand. These trompe-l’oeil images are accompanied by a single-channel video that extends Evans over-arching themes of enchantment, perception and the slippery slope lying between knowledge and desire. Slippery or not, we know that we definitely want to see what Evans exhibition and Reynolds Project Room is offering.

Issue no. 1, ‘The Sun Had Not Risen Yet/Now The Sun Had Sunk,’ Fall 2011.

Barry Stone, Background: “Seascape, Cape Charles, VA, 8.13.2010,” (Left to Right) “Rudie on the Porch at Georgia’s Seventh Birthday Party, Scarsdale, NY, 3.10.2007;” “Cave with Ocean View,” 2010. In Pastelegram no. 1, “The sun had not risen yet / Now the sun had sunk,” (Fall 2011): 41-42.

We here at ...mbg are pleased to recommend and welcome a new arts publication coming out of Austin. With the ongoing dormancy of Art Lies, Pastelegram is a welcome addition to the critical dialogue concerning visual art. ‘Critical dialogue, what does that even mean?’ Don’t worry we’ve asked ourselves the same question. Rather than a lengthy and prosaic explanation, let's just say that Pastelegram offers poignant, sophisticated and pithy writing both online and in their biannual print issues. In their own words, "Pastelegram is an online and print publication concerned with images and their sources." Artist and Issue no. 1 collaborator Barry Stone’s images weave together and are the source for the wide ranging texts that make up their first print issue, The Sun Had Not Risen Yet/Now The Sun Had Sunk (Fall 2011).

With a section of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) along side contemporary essays and an interview with Stone by Editor Ariel Evans, Pastelegram elbows in alongside Cabinet as a journal that looks expansively at art, ideas and the process by which we come to understand them. Collaborations with artists and art historians will form the bones of the print issues while weekly reviews and monthly features highlight the online offerings. If the past few months of online content and a solid first print issue are any indicator, we’re thrilled about what the future for Pastelegram holds and happily count ourselves amongst its readers. For a flip-through of the actual issue, click here. To get your hands on a copy or to subscribe, click here.

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

Announcements: news

Houston News

Michelle White Named Menil Curator

Menil Director Josef Helfenstein has promoted Michelle White to the role of Curator.

White arrived at the Menil in 2006 (via the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she was curatorial assistant) as assistant curator and was promoted three years later to associate curator. Said Helfenstein: “In a very short time, Michelle distinguished herself at the Menil by organizing splendid exhibitions, presenting lectures and participating in other programs, and making important contributions to our scholarly publications.”

Notable exhibitions White has organized for the Menil include Imaginary Spaces: Selections from the Menil Collection, Leaps into the Void: Documents of Nouveau Realist Performance, and the recently opened Seeing Stars: Visionary Drawing from the Collection.

In her expanded role as curator, White will be instrumental in the planning of exhibitions and collection management of the museum’s holdings of works of paper. She will play an active part in the museum’s full slate of lectures, gallery talks, and other public and membership programs.

Crucially, White will also conduct object-based research related to the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as initiate and contribute to exhibition catalogues and other Menil publications.

White attended the Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London, and earned her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and her M.A. from Tufts University (her thesis topic was on Robert Ryman), where she served as teaching assistant in art and architectural history and theory. During those years White also worked as Special Projects Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and as Print Room Assistant at the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard University.

White has lectured at the Glassell School of Art, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, and has contributed articles and essays to such publications as Modern Painters, Art Papers, Spot, Dwell, Glasstire, and Artlies (where she served as regional editor from 2004-2009).

For more information and the full press release, contact press@menil.org<mailto:press@menil.org></mailto:press@menil.org>

Dallas News

Maxwell Anderson Appointed as Dallas Museum of Art Director

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson has been appointed as its Eugene McDermott Director. Anderson, who is currently the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), succeeds Bonnie Pitman, who retired on June 1, 2011. Anderson will assume his role at the DMA on January 9, 2012.

Anderson has served for more than 20 years as a museum director. Since assuming his position at the IMA in 2006, Anderson has added over $30 million to the museum’s endowment through gifts and pledges; built a significant international exhibition program; resumed a free general admission policy; more than doubled attendance to reach some 450,000 visitors annually; and led the IMA to become the first museum in the country to achieve the EPA’s Energy Star certification for its environmentally responsible practices. During his tenure, the IMA also launched innovative web-based tools to engage the public, such as a dedicated video channel for art and artists known as ArtBabble, as well as a Dashboard of real-time statistics and a deaccessioning database on its website to promote transparency, both of which have become new models for the museum field. In 2009, the IMA received the National Medal of Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve as the next Director of the Dallas Museum of Art,” said Maxwell Anderson. “The DMA has been distinguished by the great leadership of my predecessors and by outstanding trustees who understand the transformative power of art and have demonstrated a sense of civic responsibility that is unparalleled. I look forward working with the museum’s terrific professional staff and legendary patrons in enhancing the role the DMA plays in the lives of people in the region, nationally and internationally.”

For more information and the full press release, contact Jill Bernstein at JBernstein@DallasMuseumofArt.org.

Announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Bradney Evans
Lora Reynolds Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, October 28, 6-8pm

The three works on paper, titled Eclipse, Constellation and Sunset, each appear to simply be layered pieces of torn packing paper arranged to form rudimentary constructions that represent the cosmic events of their titles. The source of light particular to each event appears to emanate from behind the paper through small rips or imperfect intersections. Upon closer inspection, the drawings are, in fact, delicately and masterfully executed trompe-l’oeil renderings.

Sam Sanford
Red Space Gallery
Opening Reception: October 29, 7-10 pm

This exhibition represents Sanford’s continuing research into the limitations of the scientific worldview. Can empiricism and rationality discover everything that is real and true? Can they help us solve the most important problems, such as how to be happy? Or is rational thinking sometimes an obstacle to achieving our goals?

Tag We're It
Flatbed Press
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 5, from 6-9pm

Tag, We’re It is an exploration of the relationship between data, memory and aesthetics. Through the use of Augmented Reality tags, also called Quick Response (QR) codes), we can dissect the visual ‘there’s more information here’ symbol of the tags, which are easily scanned by anyone with access to the Internet and a smart phone or tablet. For more information, contact Melissa Ladd at mladd8@yahoo.com or click here. Not to be missed!

Ragnar Kjartansson
Opens Saturday, November 5

Ragnar Kjartansson’s work ranges from the use of traditional media such as painting, drawing, and video to the explorative practice of durational performance, for which he is primarily known. Throughout his practice, the concepts of theatricality, repetition, and identity serve as ever-recurring themes as he taps into nostalgic imagery from bygone eras of theatre, television, music, and art.

Gray Duck Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 5, 7-9pm

In honor of the upcoming holiday season, grayDUCK is throwing a Wapatui! If you're not from the Mid-west, you might know this under another name: Trash Can Punch, Suicide Punch, or maybe even a Hairy Buffalo; It's a drink created by the community. In that same spirit, I've asked fifteen fabulous artists from Austin and beyond to mix up a visual Wapatui.

Mai Yamashita and Naoto Kobayashi
Opens Monday, November 7

To produce Infinity, video art duo Yamashita and Kobayashi jogged for eight days in the pattern of an infinity sign until their footsteps inscribed the symbol in the flattened grass. Descended from artists who experiment with combinations of endurance and Land Art, such as Richard Long, Yamashita and Kobayashi employ nature as both the subject and medium of their work.

Henry Horenstein
B. Hollyman Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 19, 6-8pm

In collaboration with Austin Center for Photography (ACP), B. Hollyman Gallery will be exhibiting Henry Horenstein’s series Animalia, a collection of intimate and intriguing portraits of land and sea creatures made between 1995 and 2001. These portraits are at once abstract and telling. Horenstein shoots with a balanced uniqueness, experimenting with view, angle, and perspective.

Lisa Choinacky
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 19, 7-11 pm

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.

Austin on View

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.

something happened here
Through November 12

Champion is pleased to announce something happened here, curated by Jennie Lamensdorf. The two-person exhibition of painting, photography, and sculpture, features works by New York artists Yadir Quintana and Matthew Schenning.

Gael Stack
Holly Johnson Gallery
Through November 12

Gael Stack's new drawings continue to explore the ephemeral nature of memory and the past's implacable hold on the present. Her work incorporates fragments of words and images, often layered over one another to create a visual language with which she has made duration visible.

Renée Lotenero
SOFA Gallery
Through November 12

LA sculptor Renée Lotenero created an assignment for herself: draw one sketch per day. Lotenero has always sketched, especially during idle moments while traveling (she exhibited 204 of these small drawings at SOFA in 2009). For Three Hundred and Sixty-Five, Lotenero decided that no matter the circumstances of her day, whether she was traveling or in the studio, busy with family or work, she would create one small drawing.

Margaret Meehan
Women and Their Work
Through November 12

With images of Victoriana, pugilism, medical anomalies and barren landscapes, Margaret Meehan's work proposes a choreographed fight outside the circled square. The drawings, photographs and installations are derived from 19th c. cabinet cards. Here the innocent collide with the monstrous, evoking race, gender, and empathy for otherness. Interested in real and mythical monsters, she combines the man made with the freak of nature. Victims become aggressors and the feral becomes rarefied. White is emptied of purity and black is not in the dominion of abject mystery – instead both are transformed in a moment of spectacle filled with violence and beauty.

Hanne Lippard
Arthouse, Austin
Through November 27

Hanne Lippard’s video Beige utilizes the simplicity of the still image and an understated narrative to explore the color beige and its context within the artist’s own life, her perception of society, and ultimately, the universe. Although the video starts by focusing on the color, it soon becomes part of a larger discussion as the artist draws upon her past life experiences.

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

Dameon Lester, Jessica McCambly & L. Renee Nunez
grayduck Gallery
Through October 30

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
Through October 30

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.

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.

San Antonio Closings

Loyd Walsh and Georganne Dean
Sala Diaz
Through October 30

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
The Walls
Through October 30

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.

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.

Austin Openings

Ink Tank
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 5, 7-11 pm

Ink Tank is an evolving artist collective with the expressed purpose of executing creative ideas in all media. Through collaboration and experimentation, the flux of members in the collective creates a space for projects that compliment each other’s abilities and motivations. The individual parts discover a whole within the unity of sharing ideas and offering support.

San Antonio Closings

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.

Houston on View

Barry Stone
Art Palace
Through November 12

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.

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

Jed Foronda & Emily Link
Box 13
Through November 5

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
Through November 5

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.

Lisa Choinacky
Box 13
Through November 5

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.

Krista Brinbaum
Box 13
Through November 5

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.

Dallas Openings

Helen Frankenthaler and Philip Pearlstein
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 29, 6-8pm

Talley Dunn Gallery is pleased to present two concurrent exhibitions by iconic artists who have re-defined twentieth century painting, Philip Pearlstein and Helen Frankenthaler. Pearlstein’s subjects present straightforward, unidealized nudes without reference to mythology or allegory.Like her contemporary Pearlstein, Helen Frankenthaler also re-defined the history of post-war American painting in her own way – with a radical treatment of the canvas. By pouring pigment directly onto large-scale, unprimed canvases and avoiding the gestural brushstrokes of the abstract expressionist painters, Frankenthaler achieved a transparency of color that has inspired subsequent generations of artists, including Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis.

Dallas on View

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.

...painting is a philosophical endeavor, duh!
Oliver Francis Gallery
On view

Group show featuring mixed media installation and performance.

El Paso on View

Regina Silveira
Rubin Center
Through December 10

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.”

Wimberley Openings

Katie Maratta and Randy Twaddle
d berman gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, November, 5-7 pm

D Berman Gallery presents two Texas artists with contrasting views of landscape.

Palmerston North, New Zealand Closings

Bogdan Perzynski
Engine Room, Massey University
Closing October 29

Selected photographic documents and video works of Bogdan Perzynski

Announcements: events

Austin Events

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.

Talking 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.

Eyes Got It! 2011
Eyes Got It!
Friday, November 18, 2011 6:30-9:30 p.m

Austin art blog ‘Bout What I Sees has organized an art competition as part of the East Austin Studio Tour 2011. Eyes Got It! 2011 is an open call art competition inspired by American Idol, Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist and other arts based, reality-TV game shows. In contrast to traditional juried call for entries, the panel of local arts professionals will conduct their review process in front of a public audience and after 3 rounds of elimination will award one artist a solo exhibition at grayDUCK Gallery in 2012.

San Antonio Events

Jane Greenwood
McNay Museum of Art
Thursday, November 10, 6:30 pm

Lecture with Jane Greenwood. Educated at London's School of Arts and Crafts, Jane Greenwood moved to New York City in 1963 where she began her career as a costume designer. A professor of drama at Yale University since 1976, she has received 17 nominations for the Tony Award in costume design and was honored with the 1998 Irene Sharaff Award for Lifetime Achievement in costume design from the Theatre Development Fund.

announcements: opportunities

Call for Entries

People’s Gallery Program at City Hall
The People's Gallery
Deadline: Monday, December 5

The 2012 People’s Gallery exhibition will be the 8th annual installation at Austin City Hall. Austin area artists, galleries, museums and arts organizations are encouraged to apply. The extensive annual art exhibition will be showcased throughout the building and is designed to allure viewers while encouraging dialogue. Applications for the exhibit are currently being accepted for 2- and 3-dimensional artworks in any medium through Monday, December 5, 2011. Applications and up to five digital images of the artists’ available artwork must be submitted via the ASAPP! online public art application system. The complete call for artwork information and a link to the online application is available at www.austintexas.gov/aipp/cityhall. For more information contact peoplesgallery@austintexas.gov.

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