MBG Issue #29: July 16, 2004

Issue # 29

July 16, 2004

July 16, 2004

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Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler: Single Wide
Whitney Museum of Art at Altria, New York
July 22 - October 22. 2004

Austin-based artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler present their first U.S. museum exhibition, Single Wide, at the Whitney Museum of Art at Altria. Single Wide consists of a single-shot looped projection on a screen within the gallery space. Stemming from their earlier photographic work, this cinematically referential, single-pan video investigates architectural space as a psychological metaphor, exploring the dichotomies of inside/outside, light/dark, male/female, and individual/community.

Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
On view through September 12, 2004

Ignore the childish thematic 'constellations' ('Play and Grief, 'Cryptic and Committed'), ignore the pompous catalogue (if you can even pick it up), and enjoy the greatest Latin American art blockbuster ever. Those who remember MFAH curator Mari Carmen Ramirez from her days at the Jack. S. Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin may wonder why the most intelligent critic of the general Latin American thematic blockbuster has created, well, precisely that. But gripes aside, this show is a thrilling roller coaster ride through many of the most important avant-garde movements
in Latin (mostly South) America. Highlights include the reconstruction of Cruz-Diez's Cromosaturacion (eat your heart out Dan Flavin), Oscar Sony's working-class family on display as an art object, and the delicious Brazilian abstract art of the 1950s and 1960s. If you ever doubted that American art history is a derivative footnote to the rest of the world, get yourself to Houston right now.

Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Sarah Morris
The Ballroom, Marfa
July 2 - September 20, 2004

If you've been wondering if The Ballroom in Marfa has been hosting a good enough program to make the trip (or looooong drive as John Waters reminds us) worthwhile, then the answer is yes. The space is handsome, understated and fresh for contemporary art. With only 2 rooms, the galleries lend themselves well to 2 person shows or special projects - which is what is happening there right now. Franco Mondini-Ruiz and Sarah Morris share the bill with works that are supposed to reflect a sort of fetish for the urban culture of gloss, surface and decor. San Antonian Franco Mondini-Ruiz, known in the 90s for his nomadic 'Botanlca' installations, has finally pushed his work beyond the expected colorful arrangements of Tejano chotchkies. Given the proximity to Judd, his minimalist site-specific installation feels more like 19th century curiosity cabinets enhanced with the flagrancy of Jeff Koons. British artist Sarah Morris's videos (also loooooong) depicting separately, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Miami, and New York's mid-town, was unfortunately boring enough to challenge even the most hard-core video fan. Even if her super cool husband, Liam Gillick, wrote the score. If a video is going to be 18 minutes long, please provide seats.

Skulls & Crossbones: Poisonous Pathways
Cactus Bra, San Antonio
July 1 -31, 2004

Houston artists Aimee Jones and Wyatt Nash collaborate on the project Skulls and Crossbones, Poisonous Pathways at the Cactus Bra space in San Antonio (as part of their Contemporary Art Month) in an installation encompassing the entire room. Venus fly traps scatter across the floor with bloody human limbs fallen to the side, a treacherous landscape with a flimsy hammock as the centerpiece. Bottles of poison are thrown about and a large skull and crossbones looms over the space, turning the pathway into a deceitful graveyard. Nash is a sculptor creating objects out of plastics with a high level of finish while Jones relies on craft materials in her installations. The show is a success in that their collaboration is fluid and their individual styles are overshadowed in order to produce an artwork unique to the both of them. Morose but sweet, the piece pulls you in but warns not to get too close.

Allison Wiese: Come To Find Out
Women & Their Work, Austin
June 24 - July 31, 2004

Women & Their Work seeks to attract an unusual audience with their current installation by Allison Wiese entitled Come to Find Out. Commenting on the lack of artwork directed at farm animals, Wiese fills the downtown space with bailed hay in order to lure the critters into the city. As you walk into this rural landscape don't be surprised as to find a goat, a cow, or sarcastic arts-writer. Performance events are planned throughout the exhibition creating a meeting place of sorts. This return to the country proves a welcome retreat from the summer city heat.


Artists Call for a Cultural Policy

Artists from all over the country are petitioning for a reasonable cultural policy for our country. We urge you to take a look and to consider joining them. Click here for more information.

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