MBG Issue #34: October 1, 2004

Issue # 34

October 1, 2004

October 1, 2004

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Comic Release: Negotiating Identity for a New Generation
Through October 24, 2004

There are some good, engaging works of art in "Comic Release: Negotiating Identity for a New Generation," including those by Haluk Akakge, Christa Conner, Marcel Dzama, Gottfried Heinwein, and Melissa Marks. A large number of them are delightful, in a disturbing sort of way, while others are just disturbing, which I appreciate as well. However, there is in my opinion a gap between the claims made for the exhibition by the curator and the exhibition itself. The introductory text near the door describes the artists as "bravely taking on" such important social issues as "the Holocaust, 9/11, and social inequities." Yet it isn't always obvious which artists are addressing which issues, since almost none of them do so directly. Some might say this is the point, but for me it's a problem. Most of the artists in the exhibition make recourse to allegory, and I'm not at all convinced allegory is the most effective (or the bravest) form of social critique. The performance/video Macho Shogun by Reed Anderson and Daniel Davison, for instance, clearly "takes on" the current epidemic of militarism and hypermasculinism, but it does so using mythical characters from the past, thereby diluting (perhaps even trivializing) a very real problem. The only artist who manages to transcend the
limitations of allegory is Kerry James Marshall. Ultimately, it's not that I didn't enjoy the works in Comic Release, it's just that I didn't always enjoy them for the reasons the curator seemed to think I should.

Art Guide Texas by Rebecca Cohen
University of Texas Press, Austin, 2004

Have Art Guide Texas, will travel.

Texas is home to a wealth of art. Until now, there has never been a comprehensive guide to the numerous art institutions and art spaces throughout Texas. Author Rebecca Cohen, a self described recovering art dealer, saw this void and penned the Art Guide Texas. In creating the guide, she traveled
throughout Texas and explored over a hundred museums and non-profit galleries. The diverse institutions range from the small - The Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permian Basin in Odessa - to Texas' largest art institution, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The book is logically divided into seven Texas regions with a brief description of the region preceding the art space listings. Additionally, Cohen includes helpful hints ranging from parking tips to whether or not an appointment is needed to conduct research.

Due to the seemingly continual change of names and places as well as the rapid building of new museums, Rebecca Cohen is already planning a second edition. Art Guide Texas is a valuable travel companion as well as a great way to discover the treasures in your own neighborhood. Available in bookstores throughout Austin and Texas.

Arthouse Presents... Satellite Zine Shoppe
Through October 24, 2004

Austin-based artist Peat Duggins opens shop! Stop by Arthouse and visit Satellite Zine Shoppe, a curated comic, graphic novel and zine shop located in the Jones Center's public office space which Duggins has turned into a comfy living room! Satellite Zine Shoppe features both Austin-based and nationally recognized artists including Daniel Clowes (Ghost World), Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Art Spiegelman (Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers), Adrian Tomine (Summer Blonde), Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth) and Jim Woodring (Frank). Additional Satellite Zine Shoppe participants include Dan Abdo, Laura Balch, Mark David Bryant Jr., Sam De La Rosa, Jo Dery, Tim Doyle, Peat Duggins, Leif Golburg, Cole Johnson, Hal Lee, Brad Neely, Chris Nicholas & David G. Lamplugh, Paper Rodeo, Reed Posey, Rosa and Michael Sieben.

Reflections on Bridget Riley's lecture...

Camping with Bridget Riley

Earlier this year, while camping in the Okavango Delta, I was taught a few techniques to avoid deadly animal encounters. In the belly of Botswana, people customarily remarked that if you saw 10% of what saw you in a day, you had made excellent sightings. The survival techniques I learned concerned only the 10% of creatures we could get our eyes on. For lions - don't run. For snakes, stand still, unless it's a Mamba, in which case run fast. Evading the elephant involved a complex evaluation of one's position
relative to the elephant's, with critical considerations made for wind direction. But, in the end, your fate came down to the elephant's history of interactions with humans- how he remembered our race.

Saving your life from a leopard had a captivatingly simple protocol. You get to live if you can believably pretend not to have seen the leopard. Immediately erase it from your memory, give it back its image, and it will not attack. It's as though Leopards consider looking an act of aggression, a transgression against them. Maybe that's why they tend only to prowl in the dark of night.

From darkness to light. In "God in Time" Pierre Schneider, longtime historian of Henri Matisse, uses a discussion of sight to recast the opposite notions of history and paradise. He explains that any sight that occurs for the first time partakes of the sacred. (90) Which means that, in leopard terms, one could potentially return a sacred image to its owner by forgetting that the first image had ever occurred- by erasing the sacred. I had been able to rationalize this cat's mind, but, I didn't know if I, or anyone else whose eyes and intellect are tightly bound, would be able to forget having seen a sacred image.

That's what I was thinking when I read an interview with one of Bridget Riley's close friends. He said that sometimes Bridget would recognize a gorgeous light that appeared to have been caught momentarily in the air, and exclaim, "Dont look at it, just glance!" His explanation was that, "an oblique glance would be appropriate to the fundamental discord of the sudden appearance of shine or crystallization or veiling."

Riley looks delicately. Her eyes can trace surfaces, tread lightly, skate and glide. She can take just a glance, but she holds onto it hard. Her visual memory has a tenacity that turns the ephemeral into firmament. She looks, and she doesn't let go. She'd be leopard bait, for sure.


Position Available at Austin Museum of Art, Downtown

AUSTIN MUSEUM OF ART seeks Manager of Membership and Annual Giving . Responsible for increasing membership base, revenue, & annual giving. Responsibilities include planning, executing & managing the membership program to renew & upgrade existing numbers & recruit new members. Ensure production of monthly renewals, direct mail solicitations, & annual giving appeals. Development & delivery of membership benefits including events. Qualifications: only candidates with 3 yrs proven experience in nonprofit membership & annual giving programs will be considered: excellent project management, written & oral communication skills. Familiarity with Paradigm & Raiser's Edge fundraising software. Fax resumes to, Attn: HR, 512.469.9159. No phone calls or e-mails please.


The Fresh Up Club in Portland for Affair @ the Jupiter Hotel
Portland, Oregon
1-3 October 2004

The Fresh Up Club is in Portland this weekend for Affair @ the Jupiter Hotel, curated by Stuart Horodner (who also curated Walk Ways on view last fall at Arthouse). This is the first professional art fair in Portland and brings together 22 art dealers and guest curators (Austin's own Dave Bryant among them) to set up temporary galleries in rooms at the newly opened Jupiter Hotel. From the website: At AFFAIR @ the Jupiter Hotel there will be art on the beds, the walls, in closets, in bathrooms. Visitors will roam the rooms on the hunt for beauty, intelligence, and a good deal. For more information, check out www.affair-jupiterhotel.com

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