MBG Issue #93: Sense of Timing

Issue # 93

Sense of Timing

February 22, 2008

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Jorge Macchi with David Oubinam, Zeno’s Arrow, 1992, DVD Still. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art. (detail)

from the editor

After reading Andrea Guinta’s review of Jorge Macchi: The Anatomy of Melancholy, I returned to the Blanton to see the show for a third time. Macchi has said that the city of  Buenos Aires is his muse; his use of the city—through maps, newspaper clippings and snapshots—make this statement literal. However, as Guinta conveys, the delicacy of Macchi's work, his sense of timing and his engagement with music—both written and performed—make his treatment of the city and the themes he finds there particularly bewitching.

Another highlight of the past two weeks was a visit to Ivan Lozano’s Fantasy Vision Meditation (In Color), a multimedia video installation at MASS Gallery, which is reviewed by Andy Campbell in this issue. In his review, Andy captures what I found so compelling about the installation, namely Ivan’s ability to evoke the complicated mixture of nostalgia, grief and exhilaration now associated with late 1970s gay culture. In Fantasy Vision Meditation (In Color), Ivan memorializes an era—West Coast gay disco culture of the late 1970s and the impending AIDS crisis—to resurrect these moments both for himself and for a generation of viewers too young to have lived through them. In so doing, Ivan raises the question: How can contemporary queer communities engage with the forgotten—or possibly suppressed—histories of their predecessors?

I also attended the opening of Austin Museum of Art’s New Art in Austin: 20 to Watch this past weekend, and I’m looking forward to sharing my reflections on the show in the next issue of …might be good. Our next issue will also include a review of Montage: Unmonumental Online (February 16 – March 30, 2008), the final installment of the  New  Museum’s Unmonumental exhibition, by Lyra Kilston. In addition, Lyra will host a roundtable discussion with a number of young New York artists about Unmonumental, which takes place at the  New  Museum’s decidedly monumental new building on the Bowery.

Dig in!


Christopher Eamon

By Claire Ruud

Julika Rudelius, Still from Forever,, 2006, Video Installation, 16:40 min, English spoken, 2 DVD's. Two synchronized projections, with separate soundtracks played via four speakers, placed on the opposite wall from the projection. Courtesy Figge von Rosen Galerie.

Christopher Eamon is Curator of the Kramlich Collection and Director of the New Art Trust in San Francisco. In 2006, Chris curated SLAPstick at Lora Reynolds Gallery here in Austin and, at the time, he sat down with …might be good to talk about the position of new media within the field of contemporary art (see Issue #70). When Chris was back in town for the opening of Mads Lynnerup’s If You See Anything Interesting Please Let Someone Know Immediately at Lora Reynolds, we sat down to catch up with him. In addition to hearing about what he’s up to these days, we quizzed him on the accessibility of new media works and the systems of distribution used by film and video artists today.

…might be good: I wanted to begin by discussing the accessibility—or lack of accessibility—of new media. Presenting a three-screen film installation by Isaac Julien, for instance, requires equipment and technical expertise that some small art institutions simply can’t afford. For this reason among others, it’s difficult for many viewers to get access to new media work.

Christopher Eamon: When I think about accessibility, my question is: What is the intention of the artist? Is the artist’s intention to create an installation that has a certain sense of scale, a certain sense of sound and so on? If this is the case, the installation must be shown in a specific location that creates these conditions. In a way, the site-specificity of these kinds of video installations is self-marginalizing, because without having seen the installation in person, it’s difficult to conceptualize and difficult to study.

mbg: As I’m sure you know, it’s fairly expensive to rent film and video works even for just a single, educational screening. I was talking to a friend who teaches contemporary art at Texas State, and he told me he actually uses YouTube instead. For instance, he recently showed his class Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece through YouTube. Do you think YouTube is becoming a viable way for artists to avoid the accessibility issues we just discussed?

CE: On one hand, I think that the emergence of YouTube has given people a little extra push to rethink the question of accessibility in respect to video—particularly since access to YouTube is free. It has opened up the possibility for video art to have a broader audience. On the other hand, I think the real pleasure of YouTube is the clips that show humorous mistakes or absurdities; video art is a very small part of the website.

…mbg: What kind of strategies do you think young artists are adopting to make their work more visible to the public?

CE: Very recently, you see a lot more interest among younger artists in trying to offer free distribution of their video work. But often, these same artists market and sell their work through galleries as well. Some artists—Paul Chan and Seth Price, for example—will find a way to make one piece, sell it to a collector and then re-edit the piece for distribution on YouTube or through an organization like Electronic Arts Intermix. Many of these artists are making a second version of a work for ideological reasons—they believe the work must be accessible in order to bring about real change. But sometimes it’s not clear that the decision is anything more than an economic one—the artist wants to make a living from collectors, but also wants the notoriety that might come from free distribution. In my opinion, multiple versions of a work are only interesting when the artist tailors each version with an eye to the different contexts in which it will be viewed. When the work is altered for the Internet, distribution through EAI or a gallery installation, there must be substantive meaning behind the change in the work’s form for each of its incarnations.

…mbg: I remember that last time you talked to …might be good, you argued that form and context have been grossly overlooked in the exhibition of new media works. I’m wondering how you dealt with the specificity of form and context in the large-scale exhibition you were working on at the time, Beyond Cinema: The Art of Projection, which opened in Berlin later that year.

CE: Actually, the exhibition was really fulfilling for exactly that reason—we were able to be very faithful to each artist’s original intention for each of the 26 installations included in the exhibition. We had the luxury to pay attention to the kinds of details that make such a difference to the experience of a work—for example, the wattage of the projector, the amount of light entering the gallery—because we had a lot of space, proper budgeting and a very capable crew of technicians.

Before Beyond Cinema, I had already worked on two earlier large-scale exhibitions of film and video, Into the Light and Seeing Time. After working on these two exhibitions, I remember thinking that I would never work on a large-scale exhibition of video again because it’s just not natural to the work. Usually, film and video installations are intended to be shown singly. But in most museum spaces it’s nearly impossible to prevent sound and light bleed from one installation to another, and moreover, there’s viewer fatigue involved—it’s just an unreal expectation that a viewer should be able to sit through 26 installations in a row. The pieces aren’t meant to be viewed that way.

The innovation of Beyond Cinema was to make all 26 installations into a series of solo shows. The building we were in gave us 100,000 square feet to work with, so we were able to build a number of individual gallery spaces inside this one building. There could be vast spaces between installations, we could carefully control the amount of light entering each space and we could easily prevent sound and light bleed from one installation to another.

 …mbg: In terms of future projects, your catalogue of the Kramlich collection, Prime Mover: Five Exhibitions from the Pamela and Richard Kramlich Collection is coming out soon. Why did you decide to structure this catalogue as a series of potential exhibitions?

CE: In 1998, I designed five exhibitions of works in the Kramlich Collection as a way to help Herzog & de Meuron—the architects of the Kramlich’s house—figure out how to design functional spaces tailored to the type of work the Kramlich’s had in their collection at that time. In the last ten years, I’ve tried to acquire new works that would relate to one of these five exhibitions—in particular, I’ve tried to bolster these exhibitions with historical video work and works in other media. When the opportunity arose for me to make this book, I decided to use the structure of the five exhibitions to reveal my curatorial approach to the collection.

…mbg: One final question—who do you think is making exciting work in 2008?

CE: Julika Rudelius. She’s an artist who splits her time between New York and Amsterdam. She makes unrelenting portraits of people speaking very candidly about themselves. For instance in her work Forever (2007), which I included in my exhibition for Pulse Miami, wealthy older women living in the Hamptons discuss beauty and happiness. Every time Forever started in the Pulse video lounge, the room filled with people, and every time the piece ended, the room completely cleared. She’s actually in Washington D.C. right now shooting a new work and I hope to show it this summer.


Jorge Macchi: The Anatomy of Melancholy
The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art
On view through March 16, 2008

By Andrea Giunta

Jorge Macchi, Nocturne, variation on Nocturne No. 1 by Erik Satie, 2002, Paper and nails, 50 x 62 cm. Private collection. Photo: Jorge Macchi.

It is curious how one remembers many of Jorge Macchi’s works exactly as they were in the place where one saw them for the first time. Probably this stems from the fact that each work involves a precise moment of discovery: a surprise or the revelation of a paradox in the face of which we stand, thinking. Perhaps it is this moment of thought, this pause or the sentiments that reverberate in many of his works, that keeps them connected to that first moment of our perception of them. This has to do with the capacity of each of his works to create a halo of spatial meaning, to impregnate an imaginary sphere. For this reason, a cumulative exhibition—a chronological series of his works—hardly seems appropriate because, rather than successive evolutions, these works refer to problems, interests and interconnected themes. Jorge Macchi: The Anatomy of Melancholy—a monographic exhibition curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro for the Mercosur Biennale in
Porto Alegre and reformulated for the Blanton Museum of Art—successfully transports us to this state of coincidences and coexistences between the shared and the different in the corpus of his works.

Jorge Macchi’s fascination with music is evident. It is not just anecdotal to recall that for many years he studied piano: rhythm, timing, chords, musical annotation, the keys of G and F, Satie, and collaborations with the composer Eduardo Rudnitzky constitute the support for many of his works. Works such as A.B. (1996), which reconstructs the musical staff with delicate hairs, or Nocturno; variación sobre el nocturno I de Erik Satie / Nocturne: variation on Nocturne I by Erik Satie (2002), in which every note is perforated by a nail, fastening the sheet music to the wall, direct us to the daily routine of the performer before the musical composition. It is as if in each of these pieces he has captured the diverse options he had imagined, the other uses, the infinite possibilities of this music that every day his fingers created as they played the notes. They are the thoughts produced by the performer through the synthesis of composer and sound, entering into another dimension—written music—a visual relationship in which the music is perceived as a drawing and converted into sound.

The collaboration with Rudnitzky—Fim de Film / End of the Film (2007)—draws upon the musician’s overflowing yet perfectionist imagination. The work first appeared in 2001 (as La canción final / The last song, with musician Alejandro González Novoa), but only now, in this version, has it reached its intended dimensions for orchestra as performed by the Symphony of the city of 
Porto Alegre. In Fim de Film, the closing credits from several films rise on the screen, out of focus and illegible. The text is an image that interprets the sound: each line of text appears at the bottom edge of the screen in correspondence with the tempo of the music. The lines of text establish the moment of the notes, a new writing system for music. The piece captures the tension between music and writing, between sight and sound, with the sense of revelation that is produced by an object trouvé, in this case observation of the musical character of the texts at the end of a film.

From every accident consequences may be drawn. The accident lies in the gaze making associations between events, in the discoveries that lead us to connect different things. The found object evokes possible stories but not necessarily real ones. More than simply juxtaposing objects so that their chance combination may explode into multiple meanings, Macchi uses chance, discovery or accidental association, as operational devices within his poetic. Macchi observes objects and guides them along an itinerary subject to his thoughts and feelings.

In Argentine art of the 1990s, Jorge Macchi occupies a particular place.  Like other artists of his generation, he employs mundane and banal objects but inscribes them within unexpected psychological registers. In Vidas paralelas / Parallel Lives (1998), he uses the matchbox Gran fragata, a popular brand in 
Argentina, but does so in a different way than, for example, an artist like Marcelo Pombo includes soap or medicine boxes in his work. Macchi is not caught up with the visual aspects of representation or the features of kitsch in the commercial market. Nor does he make a social comment on consumerism. He focuses on what the object enables him to imagine as a possibility, what might be, what we dream or desire, but what is impossible to realize. It is theoretically possible for 400 matches to lie perfectly ordered in two compartments of the box, but it is unverifiable—just as two pieces of glass could almost never break in exactly the same way—which would be as impossible and as desirable as finding one’s soul mate or the love of one’s life. A banal object is the point of departure for a reflection on logic and translated into a sensitive or romantic register, as Pérez-Barreiro has pointed out.

The accident takes place when Macchi detects a mischievous story in the normality of things. Nothing happens without a reason, the artist seems to be telling us. When he discovers the unexpected, he doesn’t want to let it escape and he slows it down in the music or in the visual narrative. The dynamic work has a retardant effect—retard Duchamp would say—in this discovery, as if the artist wanted to prolong the moment of revelation. The shadow of the window in his studio in
Rotterdam provokes an association with streets. In a series of photographs, the shadows become the stage for a work of fiction: an accident between two small toy cars, or all that could possibly happen if these automobiles were real and the shadows were highways or urban roadways (Accident in Rotterdam, 1996-1998). This incidental thought, like the background music, has some relation to the facts, but is not necessary. Rather, it is fortuitous and, nonetheless, it is not insignificant: it is full of potential to lead us to a random discovery.

Buenos Aires Tour (2003) is the work that most intensely pauses to consider the consequences of that moment whose protagonist is chance. Broken glass on a map of the city marks the routes with which Macchi, Jorge Rudinsky and María Negroni create itineraries through the city—itineraries that can be recreated by using a box the artists made that contains a guide, a map, a CD-ROM, a dictionary, a mass book, a letter, postcards and stamps. It is the narration of a trip that began with a random proposal—an urban narrative, the nomadic walk of the seeing traveler, the intellectual, who follows his gaze, attentive to the objects and the encounter that provoke in him certain reverberations. The city is presented as a text to be walked through. I think again of the moment when I first saw Fuego de artificio / Fire of artifice (2003) in a gallery in
Rotterdam. It was the footstep of a sole whose marks expand as if they were investigating other possibilities for an indecisive route, trapped by multiple stimulants. It is an image that condenses many others recalling the urban maps of Paris, Venice,
Buenos Aires, or of the world, maps on which Macchi cuts and pastes, exploring other forms, other possibilities.

In a recurring fashion, Macchi’s work is also a meditation on the absurd, like outcomes that are a consequence of carrying a paradox to an extreme. The visual result of an attempt to illustrate the logical premise of Zeno—that the path of an arrow towards its target is always divisible by two—is the objective of the video made with David Oubiña: the last second of the countdown at the beginning of a film is divided by two to such an extreme that the numbers, reduced and compacted, become just a line (La flecha de Zenón / Zeno’s arrow, 1992).

The absurd can also become a social commentary. In Un charco de sangre / A Puddle of Blood (2001), Macchi clips the words of the title from the pages of a magazine and obsessively pastes them into the context of a newspaper article. The text is repeated fifteen times, one beneath another. The sensationalistic drama of the phrase becomes a block of identical letters in fifteen lines that expand into more than three meters of paper: an image that is perceived first as lines and then as text. It is a horrific text, hidden in the beauty of the drawing, whose discovery causes us to recall the equalizing power of the news, vulgarized by the mass media.

Macchi’s work is a meditation on the order of things that becomes a how-to manual—extracting texts from the newspaper, cutting out blocks of a city, transforming the map of the world. It is a body of work consisting of inexpensive materials, based upon the investigation of the minute, because all discovery involves the possibility of making us think about a set of questions that are as everyday as they are relevant: the representation of the infinite, the power of the gaze, relationships among things. Whether by driving a nail into a musical staff or drawing a fresh stroke of tempera over a page, Macchi allows us to discover the complex in the simple. 

Translated by Peter Khan.

Andrea Giunta is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art at Buenos Aires
University. She is the author of Avant-Garde, Internationalism and Politics: Argentine Art in the Sixties, Duke University Press, 2007.

Ivan Lozano: Fantasy Vision Meditation (In Color)
Mass Gallery
On view through March 8, 2008

By Andy Campbell

Ivan Lozano, Fantasy Vision Meditation (In Color), 2008, Balloon, mirrors, glitter, chain, television, Dimensions Variable. Photo: Anna Krachey.

Ivan Lozano’s first gallery show, Fantasy Vision Meditation (in Color), is a multimedia installation at MASS Gallery through March 8, 2008. Lozano’s work investigates the parallel historical narratives of disco, gay liberation movements and AIDS, as well as the forgotten figure of 

Los Angeles gay pornographer Fred Halsted. In the center of  MASS’s darkened gallery, a TV monitor sitting on the ground plays a three-minute loop from A Night at Halsted’s (1980), a film directed by and starring the pornographer. In this loop, an actor stares up at the ceiling through partially closed eyelids and his slack mouth offers a glimpse of white teeth. Watching this video, I kept thinking, this man is either in trouble or in ecstasy—it’s tough to tell.  Hanging above the TV monitor, a huge inflated balloon registers the projections of  an eight-minute loop of kaleidoscopic color patterns. On the back wall, a colorful halo outlines the shadow of the balloon. Mirrored tiles placed on the floor create a pyramidal altar before the TV monitor, and piles of glitter seem to spill out of it onto the mirrors, like metallic blow. (If Carle Andre were a disco-loving queen, perhaps he would’ve ditched the bricks for mirrors and glitter.) Echoing the visual din, disco music fills the room. The music, like the videos, is slowed down to a frighteningly glacial pace. The effect is simultaneously chilling and heartbreaking, gorgeous and glamorous.

The artist’s choice to resurrect Halsted—a figure largely ignored in queer historical accounts of the period—tells us something about the kind of history Lozano wants to remember and record. In focusing on Halsted rather than a brighter star in the queer historical pantheon, Lozano is unearthing a historical moment in queer culture that would be otherwise lost to contemporary viewers. All the referents in Fantasy Vision Meditation point to this 1970s gay subculture in Los Angeles. Lozano calls this his “West Coast” work, and promises to compliment it in the future with and East Coast episode. Perhaps we can convince him to do a Gulf Coast episode as well, as vibrant queer cultures appeared there around the same time.

In Fantasy Vision Meditation Lozano approaches late 70s and early 80s queer history as a collection of feelings—feelings of loss, nostalgia and even, dare I say, jubilation—that conflagrate into a messy, complicated series of engrossing, open-ended narratives. In short, the installation is a history of feelings, our feelings. It reflects the challenges we face when we engage with this critical period in queer history. Fantasy Vision Meditation is pornography without gratification and disco without dancing. Something is fundamentally amiss and we miss it—the sex, the disco, the dancing, the blossoming counterculture. Ivan Lozano’s new installation is a literal and critical reflection on the visual output of the disco era and the cunning of history: your hangover may subside and your body may recover, but the past is the hardest thing to recuperate.

Andy Campbell is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at the University of Texas in Austin. He is currently writing about gay and lesbian leather communities and visual cultures in the 1970s.

The Puppet Show
Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
On view through March 30, 2008

By Catrina Hill

Charlie White, The Persuaders, 2003, Light jet chromogenic print mounted on plexiglass, 42 x 60 inches. Courtesy of Brändström & Stene, Stockholm.

"If you like Kermit the Frog, this ain’t the place for you" could be the tagline for The Puppet Show, currently on view at Philadelphia’s 

Institute of Contemporary Art. The exhibition, which runs through March 30, 2008, features the work of 28 artists from around the world

. The exhibition is not about puppet history or theater but about the puppet as a conceptual metaphor readily associated with manipulation and control. It also considers the resurgence of puppets in contemporary art—in other words: Why puppets now?

After walking through heavy, black velvet curtains, a visitor to The Puppet Show enters a small area dubbed “Puppet Storage.” Conceived as a backstage or storage area, Puppet Storage is a small wooden room that houses the majority of the puppets in the exhibition. Inside, you find a microcosm of the exhibition as a whole: hand puppets of Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon from the Andy 

Warhol Museum; photographs of Hollywood Squares star Madame (without her puppeteer Wayland Flowers); and monitors screening episodes of the 1960s British television show Thunderbirds. Withholding a conventional display, the puppets in “storage” rest on shelves behind a thin wire screen; silent and inanimate, they can not entertain or inform an audience.

For The Puppet Show, the normally open and brightly lit space of the ICA has been transformed into a De Chirico-esque landscape: tall buildings, long shadows and solitary figures abound. The central focus is a structure created by the exhibition’s designer Terence Gowers—a mini-theater with viewing booths for video works by four artists. On either side of this building stand a series of wooden storage crates that visually recall Puppet Storage. These crates serve as kiosks that contain monitors screening video projects, one of which is Doug Skinner and Austin-based artist Michael Smith’s collaboration Doug and Mike’s Adult Entertainment (1992-1996), a video performance that uses obscenity-laced jokes to discuss quotidian subjects like job interviews and resumes.

Moving through the shadowy exhibition hall one encounters a brightly lit low stage full of sculptural pieces suspended by string, wire and metal. Louise Bourgeois’s Untitled (1996) consists of four separate pieces each suspended from different sections of a tall, rotating metal post. The pieces, clothed and nude, dangle like headless puppets suspended from their extremities or the fabric of their costumes. Kiki Smith’s Nuit (1992) suspends plaster casts of a woman’s arms and legs from white string. Like marionettes, these works are proxies for humans but can not be animated without human manipulation. Set in a surreal landscape, the sight of lifeless bodies and disembodied limbs raises thoughts of violence. Yet the only work that use discernibly human figures is Dennis Oppenheim’s Theme for a Major Hit (1974). This work features five identical motor-driven marionettes that are sporadically manipulated and dance in unison. Oppenheim created these figures to explore the possibility of developing performance art from which he himself is absent, a theme well suited to the carnivalesque atmosphere that pervades the exhibition.

Ultimately, The Puppet Show seems most interested in exploring puppetry’s ability to comment on violence, uninhibited sexuality and the grotesque. Kara Walker’s 8 Possible Beginnings or: The Creation of African-America, A Moving Picture by Kara E. Walker (2005) is one of the best cases in point. Here, Walker turns her silhouette figures into shadow puppets presenting scenes of lynching and same-sex slave-master sexual encounters that result in the birth of cotton. The Puppet Show’s strategy seems rather astute:  The light-heartedness typically associated with puppets allows the serious ideas they address to be diffused, making these complicated subjects more approachable for a general and university audience. Moreover The Puppet Show demonstrates how puppets can serve as economical and mobile stand-ins for humans, an advantageous quality given that the works included in this exhibition are contributed by an international group of artists who, obviously, cannot remain on site. The Puppet Show can be viewed as an act of reclamation and renewal. While reminding us of the importance of puppetry as an historic entertainment and craft, it also suggests that ideas brought into art by Surrealism are still viable subjects for artists working today.

Catrina Hill is a native of Detroit. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Pennsylvania.

project space

Rebecca Ward

By Rebecca Ward

I started collecting images when I wanted to build a robot costume for Halloween. The amount of information available is a bit overwhelming (in terms of historical importance, type, genre, etc.), but ultimately I think the idea for a bot needs to come from within. My favorite source is a children's book I checked out from the library called Ultimate Robot.

The week following Halloween, this was my horoscope in the Austin Chronicle:

A top official at the European Robotics Research Network predicts that humans will "be having sex with robots" sooner than anyone expected—probably within four years. I hope this little shocker will help motivate you to follow my astrological advice for the coming week, which is to flee in the opposite direction of that trend. Start by phasing out any robotic, machine-like behavior that may have crept into the way you make love. For that matter, deprogram yourself of any automatic, lifeless habits that are infecting your approach to expressing intimacy, tenderness, and togetherness.

I became even more obsessed after I realized I was continuously encountering robots and robotic personalities on a daily basis.

I guess I am a little afraid of my own robotic tendencies. I can be rather obsessive-compulsive, and my work up to this point has definitely been machine-like (i.e. calculated number patterns, using weird mathematical equations, doing repetitive tasks, taping lines upon lines upon lines).

And I love the shininess…silver is so sexy.

Rebecca Ward is an Austin based artist whose work is included in New Art in Austin: 20 to Watch at the Austin Museum of Art, on view through May 11, 2008. She enjoys long bike rides, microbiology and mango flavored kombucha.

announcements: exhibitions

Austin Openings

Eric Zimmerman: Atlas
Art Palace
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 1 from 8 -10 pm

Atlas presents Eric Zimmerman's most recent body of work, a series of graphite drawings that derive their imagery from topographical maps, visionary architecture, astronomical illustration and the natural world, from forests to icebergs and glaciers. Zimmerman's work investigates the concept of intermediary space—the space between here and there, then and now and the real and the imaginary.

Wheelchair Epidemic
Gallery Lombardi
Opening Reception: Saturday March 1, 7:00 - 10:00 pm

Wheelchair Epidemic takes its name from the 1980s song by The Dicks and this exhibition presents a range of work by artists who are either current or former members of influential punk or rock and roll bands. Wheelchair Epidemic includes The Dicks band members Gary Floyd and Buxf Parrot, former Big Boys member Tim Kerr and STB band member Ian Schults.

Austin On View

Katy Heinlein: Unknown Pleasures
Women & Their Work
On view through March 29, 2008

Women & Their Work presents Unknown Pleasures, a solo exhibition by Houston-based artist Katy Heinlein. Using sinuous folds of draped fabric as her medium, Heinlein creates surprising structures full of elegance and moxie that invite the viewer to look beneath the surface. Swathed around hidden buttresses and assuming shapes ranging from quirky to austere, Heinlein’s work challenges our perceptions of traditional sculpture. Fabric is deeply rooted in our lives as it both adorns and conceals, and Heinlein’s sumptuous materials, bunched-and-gathered shapes and flirtatious jolts of color playfully navigate the line between preserving mystery and revealing unknown pleasures.

Jess: To and From the Printed Page
Harry Ransom Center
On view through April 6, 2008

Jess: To and From The Printed Page was organized by the Independent Curators International, New York, and was curated by Ingrid Schaffner, the Senior Curator at Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (and future testsite 08.2 collaborator). The exhibition features more than 50 original works of art, a 16mm film transferred to DVD and a sound recording by the artist “Jess” (Burgess Collins, 1923-2004) whose work developed in 1950s San Francisco from within the context of Beat literary culture.

San Antonio Openings

Art & Persuasion: Feminine in Flux
Central Library
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 6 from 6:00 - 7:00 PM

Presented in honor of Women’s History Month, Art & Persuasion: Feminine in Flux was inspired by the work of San Antonio-based, female artists who use their work to investigate the current state of feminine identity.  In conjunction with this exhibition, seven library branches will showcase the individual artists’ work at the following locations:  Maverick Library, Great Northwest Library, Cody Library, Forest Hills Library, Guerra Library, Memorial Library and Brook Hollow Library. The artists include: Lili Dyer Pena, Adriana García, Gisela Girard, Elizabeth Goode, Mira Hnatyshyn-Hudson, Vikky Jones, Anna-Marie López de León and Marie Jassie Ríos.

San Antonio On View

And so the story goes…
Unit B Gallery
On view through March 7

And so the story goes... brings together the tall-tales and humorous yarns of three emerging artists who explore the darker side of visual stories. Artists Duncan Anderson and Damon Bishop are based in Chicago and Kelly O’Connor is based in 

San Antonio.

Frozen Music II: The Architecture of Ricardo Legorreta
Bluestar Contemporary Art Center
On view through March 23, 2008

Curated by Bill FitzGibbons, this exhibition showcases the original drawings of internationally acclaimed architect Ricardo Legorreta.

Dominick Lombardi: The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo: A Ten Year Survey
Bluestar Contemporary Art Center
On view through March 23, 2008

Dominick Lombardi has been working on his Post Apocalyptic Tattoo Series for the past ten years. Through a comic book and tattoo aesthetic, he creates individuals who might survive the apocalypse.

Kate Gilmore: Girl Fight
Hudson (Show) Room, Artpace
On view through April 20, 2008

Girl Fight, curated by Artpace Executive Director Matthew Drutt, includes nearly a dozen videos by Kate Gilmore. The exhibition is the debut of Girl Fight, a video documenting Gilmore’s attempt to pile a motley collection of furniture in Artpace’s ground-floor courtyard. Once the colorful mountain of discarded sofas, chairs and dressers reaches the second-story ledge, she ascends the precarious tower dressed in a ball gown and wearing high heels, and enters her exhibition space via a red-carpeted ramp. During the run of the exhibition, only the video and piled furniture will remain as evidence of her Sisyphean task.

Houston Opening

Demetrius Oliver: Firmament
Inman Gallery
February 29 - April 5, 2008

Demetrius Oliver: Firmament contains a series of works the artist created during his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Oliver's impressive resume includes solo shows at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Atlanta Contemporary, P.S.1 MoMA and Inman gallery, as well as group exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem. He was also a Core Fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Glassell School.

William Christenberry
Moody Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 23, from 1:00-5:00 pm

This exhibition of  work by the venerable photographer William Christenberry's includes Palmist Building, Havana Junction, Alabama," a suite of 20 photographs from 1961-1988 as well as four new drawings.

Houston On View

Chantal Akerman: Moving Through Time and Space
Blaffer Gallery
On view through March 29, 2008

See Clare Elliott's review in issue #92

Charlie Roberts: Mambo Jambo: Gallery of the Cosmos
Rice Gallery
On view through March 2

At Rice Gallery, Charlie Roberts combines painting and sculpture to create his first site-specific installation. Inside the gallery, a colossal wooden cabinet reaches almost to the ceiling. Roberts has filled the cabinet with wooden sculptures built on site, while the doors are covered with almost 200 of his detailed paintings. The installation is inspired by Roberts’s 2006 painting, Mystery Cabinet, a take-off on the cabinets of curiosities in which wealthy Europeans displayed their art collections and souvenirs of the natural world.

Nan Goldin: Stories Retold
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
On view through March 30, 2008

In two room-sized installations, Stories Retold brings together three bodies of work originally exhibited at separate times in the artist’s career and now rewoven to tell a story of the artist’s life. Goldin’s work, which has evolved from the informality and directness of snapshots, breaks down the traditional barriers between photography, cinema and installation art.

Design Life Now: National Design Triennial
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
On view through April 20, 2008

Design Life Now: National Design Triennial presents the experimental projects, emerging ideas, major buildings, new products and media that were at the center of contemporary culture from 2003 to 2006. Inaugurated in 2000, the Triennial seeks out and presents the most innovative American designs from the prior three years in a variety of fields including product design, architecture, furniture, film, graphics, new technologies, animation, science, medicine and fashion. The exhibition presents the work of 87 designers and firms from established design leaders such as Apple, architect Santiago Calatrava, and Nike, Inc., to emerging designers like Joshua Davis, Jason Miller and David Wiseman.

Dallas On View

Show #14: Kristin Lucas
and/or gallery
On view through March 1, 2008

In this exhibition, internationally acclaimed artist Kristin Lucas presents two recent bodies of work: Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive (2007) and Refresh (2007). In the three channel video installation, Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive, Lucas assumes the role of a retired bingo caller suffering from a horrific rash. The back gallery contains Refresh a series of photographs and other types of documentation related to Kristin Lucas’s government issued name change from “Kristin Lucas” to “Kristin Lucas”—an attempt by the artist to literally “refresh” her identity.

Collecting & Collectivity
Conduit Gallery
On view through March 22, 2008

Curators Noah Simblist and Charissa Terranova have created an exhibition about two seemingly opposite ideas. Politically, collecting—the gathering of objects—is associated with capitalism and collectivity—the gathering of people—with communism. The exhibition asks: Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has a new paradigm for collectivism developed that has been informed by collecting? And how independent is the avant-garde, a force seemingly driven by an independent spirit, from the market?

Damien Hirst
Goss Michael Foundation
On view through April 2008

The Goss Michael Foundation is a new (as of June 2007) and welcome addition to the Dallas art scene. Longtime collectors George Michael and Kenny Goss established the Foundation to share their collection with the public and increase the appreciation of contemporary art, specifically in the Dallas area. Their current exhibition showcases works by internationally recognized British artist Damien Hirst. Hirst’s visceral installations, sculptures, paintings and drawings challenge the boundaries between art, science and popular culture. His work explores such themes as life, death, loyalty and betrayal.

Real Time: Live Streaming Video
Dallas Contemporary
On view through May 10, 2008

The art of the mobile phone is the art of the hurried, the time starved, the always on.  It is the art snapped while waiting in lines; art captured while sitting in traffic and mind numbing meetings.  It is the art of the exhausted, overworked American. Real Time collects these fleeting images to reveal a larger reflection of our overworked society.

Forth Worth Openings

Martin Puryear
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
February 24 - May 18, 2008

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents a major exhibition of the sculpture of the acclaimed American artist Martin Puryear (b.1941) organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The retrospective features approximately 45 sculptures and follows the development of Puryear's artistic career over the last 30 years. Puryear's works, often deceptively simple, can be associated with the sentiments of his Minimalist contemporaries, but his supremely quiet, poignant forms continually defy further categorization and reflect his own unique style. These often monumental sculptures are distinctly sophisticated, especially in regard to the artist’s skills as a woodworker. Puryear's Ladder for Booker T. Washington, 1996, in the Modern's permanent collection, is a visitor favorite.

Forth Worth On View

Joshua Mosley
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
On view through February 24, 2008

Part of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s FOCUS series, this exhibition features Joshua Mosley’s high-definition animation short and sculpture installation titled A Vue, 2004. “A vue ”is a French rock-climbing term meaning a clean ascent with no knowledge of the route. Like much of his work, A Vue addresses Mosley’s interest in the complex nature of balancing the personal with societal responsibility. The animation combines digitally photographed stop-motion puppets, a 24-inch-high bronze monument and ink-wash painted environments.

Openings Elsewhere

Setareh Shahbazi: Why Not Bazar
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum
Opening Reception Saturday March 1, 6-8:00 pm

If you find yourself in Santa Barbara this month, go check out Why Not Bazar, the first United States solo exhibition of Iranian-born and Berlin-based artist Setareh Shahbazi. Curated by Fluent~Collaborative founder Regine Basha, Why Not Bazar presents Shahbazi’s two and three dimensional collages. Containing images culled from a variety of sources including advertisements, magazines and postcards, Shahbazi uses these collages a vehicle through which to investigate cultural collision and intersection.

Austin On View

In Katrina’s Wake
WorkSpace Gallery, Blanton Museum of Art
On view through May 25, 2008

How do artists respond to calamity? In New Orleans, many resident artists and a number of those observing from outside have been moved by the need for community relief, healing, and support and have directed their work to address these immediate social and spiritual concerns. This group exhibition —the result of a year's research by curator Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, a former resident of the city — will feature film and video, drawings, photographs, and mixed media works by artists including Willie Birch (New Orleans), Paul Chan (New York), Dawn Dedeaux (New Orleans), Jana Napoli (New Orleans), Cauleen Smith (Boston) and others.

Fritz Haeg: Attack on the Front Lawn
On view through March 16, 2008; Sundown Schoolhouse Workshops every Saturday from 3-5pm through March 8

Fritz Haeg: Attack on the Front Lawn surveys a number of ecological initiatives recently completed by the Los Angeles-based artist and architect known for his socially-responsive and community-oriented practice. This exhibition brings together photographic and video documentation from Haeg’s ongoing Edible Estates project (Regional Prototype Garden #5 will be planted in Austin from March 14-16, 2008) along with ephemeral items and site-specific elements created by the artist for Arthouse’s space that relate to gardening and sustainable food production in Austin. Sundown Schoolhouse Workshops: How to Eat Austin, a weekly series of free workshops related to the cycle of food production and consumption, take place at Arthouse every Saturday, 3-5 pm, through March 8, 2008.

San Antonio On View

Terry Karson
Sala Diaz
On view through March 16, 2008

Inspired by his travels to Turkey in recent years, Montana artist Terry Karson has moved from the natural history themes of his previous work to something more archaeological in nature. Making use of recycled cardboard packaging, Terry distresses and scrambles the lingering logos and texts in a cadence falling between recognition and obscurity.

Austin On View

Jorge Macchi: The Anatomy of Melancholy
Blanton Museum of Art
On view through March 16, 2008

See Andrea Giunta's review in this issue.

Hills Snyder: All Good Children (dedicated to Linda Pace)
Gallery 68, Flatbed Press
On view through February 24, 2008

After a lengthy manhunt and speedy trial, Hills Snyder's date with eternity came to pass at 8:30 pm, January 19, 2008, at Gallery 68 in Austin,Texas. Snyder's list of victims is long and includes Regine Basha, Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, Mike Casey, Frances Colpitt, Anjali Gupta, Laurence Miller, Cynthia Toles and Catherine Walworth. The prisoner was delivered to the chair personally by arresting officer, Elaine Wolff. The execution was performed on January 19 by "head" Curator, Nate Cassie.

New Art in Austin: 20 to Watch
Austin Museum of Art
On view through May 11, 2008

New Art in Austin: 20 to Watch introduces emerging and lesser-known artists from Central Texas whose work stretches the boundaries of contemporary art. As a state-wide traveling exhibition accompanied by a full-color scholarly catalogue, the exhibition will bring cutting edge work in a variety of media to a broad audience.

Austin Openings

Senior Art Exhibition 2008
Creative Research Laboratory
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 23 from 6-9 pm

Each year roughly 160 students graduate with a B.A. or B.F.A. from the Studio Art Division or a B.F.A. in Visual Arts Studies Division in the Department of Art and Art History. Senior Art Exhibition 2008 presents the work of Austin's most exciting young emerging visual artists. This year's juror, Clint Willour, curator at the Galveston Art Center, has compiled an exhibition representing a full range of media from drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, metals, prints and photographs, to video and performance.

Austin On View

Mads Lynnerup: If You See Anything Interesting Please Let Someone Know Immediately
lora reynolds gallery
On view through March 1, 2008

 See Kate Watson's ...might be good recommends in issue #92.

Ryan Lauderdale and Michael Berryhill: Greetings from Berrydale
okay mountain
On view through March 15, 2008

Michael Berryhill and Ryan Lauderdale create works about the ephemeral nature of memory and personal history. Berryhill is currently based in New York and will finish his M.F.A. in Painting at Columbia University in 2009. Lauderdale is based in Austin. Both artists received their B.F.A.s from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ivan Lozano: Fantasy Vision Meditation (In Color)
MASS Gallery
On view through March 8, 2008

See Andy Campbell's review in this issue.

announcements: events

Austin Events

Sundown Schoolhouse Workshops: How to Eat Austin
Saturdays, 3- 5 pm through March 8, 2008

In conjunction with his solo exhibition at Arthouse, Fritz Haeg will offer a series of free weekly workshops related to the cycle of food production and consumption—everything from cooking to composting.

Considering “Jess” Today
Harry Ransom Center
Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 pm

In conjunction with the current exhibition Jess: To and From the Printed Page, the Harry Ransom  Center will present the panel discussion "Considering Jess Today." Ingrid Schaffner, the exhibition's curator (and future testsite 08.2 collaborator), Michael Duncan, an independent curator and writer and  Lance Letscher, an Austin artist, will discuss Jess's literary collaborations and his mastery of the collage medium.

Austin Museum of Digital Art Presents Carl Stone
Ballet Austin at the Firehouse
Wednesday, March 5th, 8pm - 10pm
Admission: $10 for AMODA Members/Students; $12 general

Austin Museum of Digital Art is pleased to present a performance by world renowned electroacoustic composer Carl Stone. Stone will perform Guelaguetza, a work for electronic digital sound and images originally commissioned in 1996 by the Bay Area Composers Forum. While many of Stone's shorter works focus on sounds drawn from a single work or genre, in Guelaguetza Stone has created a kaleidoscopic montage of digital samples from many disparate sources. When Guelaguetza was premiered, the work was accompanied by a presentation of photographic images. During the performance at the Ballet Austin at the Firehouse, these images will now be dynamically transformed through a variety of digital manipulations that parallel many of Stone's signature audio processing techniques.

Katy Siegel and Wade Saunders: Viewpoint Lectures
Art Building, Room 1.102, University of Texas Department of Art History
March 20 and April 17 at 4 pm

Viewpoint 2008 marks the seventeenth year of this annual series of concentrated visits by leading curators, critics and scholars involved in the contemporary art world. The lecturers are invited in pairs and present various programs including public lectures, seminars and individual studio critiques with graduate students. Katy Siegel and Wade Saunders are this year’s invitees.

59 Seconds International Video Festival
Creative Research Laboratory
Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 pm

Launched by Project 59 in 2005 at 59 Franklin Street in New York City, 59 Seconds Festival  presents 59 videos and animations, each of which are 59 seconds long. Embracing the idea of the short format video, 59 Seconds Festival gives audiences the opportunity to see a large number of artists and a wide range of video works. The works in 59 Seconds Festival were selected through an open call; artists were encouraged to incorporate 59 into their works in creative ways.

Houston Events

Vito Acconci: Lecture
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
March 5 at 7:00 pm

A free lecture by internationally renowned artist and architect Vito Acconci leads a packed schedule of dynamic public programs to be held in conjunction with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s presentation of the Design Life Now: National Design Triennial, on view through April 20, 2008.

Fort Worth Events

Tuesday Evenings at the Modern: Noah Simblist
The Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth
February 26 at 7:00 pm (Seating begins at 6:30 pm)

Noah Simblist, a Dallas-based artist and writer, has made a significant mark on the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex in the brief four years since he arrived from 

New York to teach painting at Southern Methodist University. Most recently he has organized a monumental undertaking, Collecting & Collectivity, which is a year-long program including a symposium, lectures and an exhibition. Simblist’s art shows the same rigor as his scholarly and curatorial pursuits. Through methodically executed paintings, drawings, videos, text pieces and sound installations, he surveys the politics of identity and the way it is manifested within formal investigation.

Tuesday Evenings at the Modern: Katrina Moorhead
The Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth
March 4 at 7:00 pm (Seating begins at 6:30)

Katrina Moorhead, is a Houston-based artist who was recently awarded the prestigious 2007 Arthouse Texas Prize and included in the group exhibition The Nature of Things, which represented  Northern Ireland in the 2005 Venice Biennale. Moorhead is known for her obsessive artistic practice, in which humble materials are taken to poetic ends in spellbinding sculptures and installations. For Tuesday Evenings,  Moorhead shares such works and the thoughts and experiences behind them.

Austin Events

Jorge Macchi: Artistic License
Blanton Museum of Art
Tuesday, March 4 at 6:30 pm

Participate in a conversation with Jorge Macchi and composer Edgardo Rudnitzky on the collaborative nature of their work. The talk will include time for audience questions and comments and will be moderated by Gabriel Perez-Barreiro, curator of Latin American Art.

Announcements: opportunities

Calls for Entries

I-35 Biennial Invitational
Dunn and Brown Contemporary
Deadline: March 8, 2008

Dunn and Brown Contemporary invites artists 35 years old and younger to submit works in all media for the I-35 Biennial Invitational. The group exhibition will feature the most recent work of eight to twelve emerging artists. Works from new and lesser known artists will be selected to be exhibited at Dunn and Brown Contemporary, opening May 30, 2008. For more information on submission guidelines, click here.

Fotofest 2008 Film Program
Southwest Alternate Media Project
Deadline: February 29, 2008

In cooperation with Fotofest 2008, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) has opened a call for submissions of short films inspired by FotoFest’s two inter-related themes of “China” and “Transformations.” SWAMP challenges filmmakers from Texas to imagine China by producing a short film on the topic. Films concerning the theme of “Transformations” that are not necessarily about China, will also be considered. For more information and submission guidelines, click here.

Artist Grants

Creative Capital 2008 Grants: Emerging Fields, Innovative Literature and Performing Arts
Creative Capital
Deadline to submit online inquiry: March 4, 2008

Creative Capital’s application process includes three steps: inquiry, application and panel review. A Creative Capital grant to an individual artist averages over $25,000. Creative Capital 2008 Grants will be awarded to artists in Emerging Fields, Innovative Literature and Performing Arts. Emerging Fields may include all forms of digital arts, audio work, multidisciplinary projects and new genres. Innovative Literature may include poetry, fiction, nonfiction as well as genre-defying work by writers who demonstrate exceptional stylistic, linguistic, and formal originality. Performing Arts may include dance, music, theater, experimental music performance, experimental opera, spoken word, theater/performance art and interdisciplinary projects. To apply for a grant, click here.

Grants for Project and Curatorial Research

Etant donnés: The French American Fund for Contemporary Art
Deadline for proposals March 31, 2008

Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art offers financial support in the form of grants to American nonprofit institutions organizing exhibitions, installations, artist residencies, publications, or other projects by living French artists or to French nonprofit institutions presenting the same types of projects involving American artists. Qualifying projects may be in the fields of visual arts, architecture and design. Since 2005, Etant Donnés has also offered Curatorial Research Grants supporting the professional development of American curators by offering them extended stays of up to three months in France for research projects in the field of contemporary art. The grants are intended to facilitate the discovery of new talents, reinforce interest in established contemporary artists, and encourage the exploration of France’s cultural resources. For the complete guidelines and application forms, please click here

Calls for Exhibition Proposals

Apex Art Unsolicited Proposal Program
Deadline for proposals: February 29, 2008

Exhibition proposals will be accepted from until February 29, 2008 for two of the eight shows scheduled the following season (September 2008 to August 2009). Submissions will be accepted online only and are limited to one page (800 words maximum) emphasizing and explaining the idea behind the show. For more information and to submit a proposal, click here.

Lawndale Art Center Call for Exhibition Proposals
Lawndale Art Center
Deadline: March 15, 2008

The Lawndale Art Center is seeking proposals from artists for exhibitions and performances. Located in Houston’s Museum District, Lawndale’s mission is to present work by both emerging and established Houston artists, as well as regional artists. Lawndale seeks to sponsor educational forums and dialogues that address the relationship between art and society. For more information and to apply, click here and follow the link to Call for Exhibition Proposals.

Curatorial Fellowship

Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowships
The Warhol Foundation
Deadline: March 1, 2008

The Warhol Foundation has expanded its grant making activities to include Curatorial Research Fellowships. The foundation will accept proposals from institutionally-affiliated curators twice a year at its regular March 1 and September 1 deadlines. Curators at any stage of their careers are eligible to apply. Research must be attached to a potential exhibition and curators must have the support of their institutional director. For grant guidelines and to apply, click here.

Call for Applications

Call for Applications in Fine Art, Design and Theory
The Jan van Eyck Academie
Deadline for submissions is April 15, 2008

The Jan van Eyck Academie is an institute for research and production in the fields of fine art, design and theory. Every year, 48 international researchers realize their individual or collective projects in this artistic and critical environment. Artists, designers and theoreticians are invited to submit proposals for individual or collective research projects for a one-year, two-year or variable research period in the departments of Fine Art, Design and Theory. For application details, please click here.


Membership and Administrative Manager
Art Lies

Art Lies seeks an enthusiastic and dedicated Membership and Administrative Manager.  The successful candidate will support the organization’s mission across the state with an emphasis on coordinating membership and subscription services.  Another key component of this position is representing Art Lies in the Houston area and, as directed, at membership events throughout the state.  This position reports to the Executive Director.  Applicants should work well with minimal on-site supervision, be self-starters, have strong written and verbal communication skills, have experience working with boards, understand the importance of maintaining records, and enjoy the visual arts and interacting with the public. Please mail resume to: Art Lies, P.O. Box 1408 Houston, TX  77251; Or email to: info@artlies.org. For further information, click here

The Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art of The University of Texas at Austin is currently seeking a dynamic, highly qualified museum director. As a nationally recognized art museum in a major research university, the Blanton is a center for research, teaching and education of the general public. The director will be responsible for the museum operations, staff management, financial management, fundraising and public community relations. For more information, click here.

Executive Director
Salvage Vanguard Theater

Salvage Vanguard Theater seeks an Executive Director with a passion for bold experimental artistic work and the skills and experience to lead administrative and fundraising activities for a growing, dynamic organization. SVT is a non-profit arts organization located in 
Austin, Texas, committed to fostering a dynamic exchange between visionary artists and audiences new to their work. An active theater company for over 13 years, the organization has grown rapidly over the last two years and is seeking an energetic, out-going person with a desire to grow into an influential role in one of the most artistically rich cities in the country. For more information and to apply, click here.

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