Saturday, August 4, 2007
The Lawndale Art Center has announced the next three artists for their Studio Program, and it goes to..... "interdisciplinary artist Danny Kerschen, performance/video artist Lynne McCabe, and installation artist Teresa O'Connor!"
Friday, August 3, 2007
Metroblogging Houston has gone on the offensive after a Houston Press article bashed the Elder Street Artist Lofts; they're covering the Daniel Radcliffe Dong Party too!
Friday show: Now it's got a name! The Daniel Radcliffe Dong Party; although I seriously doubt either the Daniel Radcliffe or the Dong Party content of the show.
Exhibit will be held in the graduate painting studios of the University of Houston Art Building; which has been whitewashed in anticipation of the new school year. Look for artwork from Norberto Gomez, Jeanne Casanova, Cody Ledvina, Sean Carroll, Sebastian Foray, Cheyenne Ramos and Group 925- who invite everyone to add to their sprawling, humorous collaborative drawings. 4th Floor, UH Fine Art Building (above the Blaffer Gallery) 6-9pm, call 832-724-9464 for more information. As Cody Ledvina's titillating flyer professes "bring stuff".
Did I forget to mention those kids up on the 4th floor have their own group? After Gus Kopriva of Redbud Gallery made a few impromptu visits to the art department unannounced after hours and couldn't find a student working on art at night he slammed their commitment to their practice, saying "they're all 9 to 5 painters up there." The kids from the 4th floor took the insult in stride, dubbing themselves Group 925. Without feeling threatened by the memory of all night painting and drinking at the University of Houston Art Department in the late 70s and 80s- the Lawndale years- Group 925 works outside their studios often; starting galleries, building houses in Marfa, chopping motorcycles, playing guitars and traveling through Haiti.
Promoting his Chinhui Ome show, The Mexican Arsenal stopped by KPFT this morning... listen to it here.
David Ubias, an excellently awkward drawer who made it into this year's Texas Biennial, is opening the doors of the new Mackey Gallery on his way out of town. Why does it seem everyone moves to Baltimore these days? Here's what he's got to say to Houston:
Coming to you from the Juice Box; don't the Astros have connections? I wouldn't think they'd have to troll craigslist just to find a graphic designer...
Thursday, August 2, 2007
The University of Houston has just been implicated in a nationwide kickback scandal involving Student Financial Services along with 38 other universities. While a University attorney insists that what the Attorney General of New York handed down was not a subpoena, he also hid behind the "we are looking into it" and "I am not prepared to make a statement at this time" bullshit.
According to a Chronicle article, it is possible that the school received $75 for every student who signed up for a student loan with their "preferred lender"- oddly echoing part of the University's mission statement: Strategic Principle 5. External Partnerships: Partnerships with business, industry, government, the community and alumni are critical to achieving institutional goals of excellence and ensuring the financial health of the UH System universities. Ha! sounds like an invitation to corruption to me.
My, what a wide gulf exists between these artists; paper, flour and water are all that hold this exhibit together. The twin poles of late 20th century culture contrast strongly here, linking the diverse visions of these two. With symbolic imagery pushed to the limit of the spectrum, Give Up mangles screenprint images into unerring statements. He listens to metal. In rainbow figures and earthy tones YAR channels self-deprecating utopian ideals through several historical deaths and failures of the philosophical elite. He listens to folk music. Their paintings are mixed on the gallery walls, claustrophobic in the small front room and hallway of Domy Books. In two murals buttressing the main gallery the artists attempt to hold the overall composition together with an abstracted forest by Give Up on the right and an awkwardly positioned man, a neon green-skinned YAR character, sitting on a high shelf to the left. The self-containment of the show is effective, but the cluttered salon-style curation and unavoidable accoutrements of exhibiting in a book store are detrimental to the show’s cohesion.
Though several mutations, always coming back to the familiar razor blade image, Give Up has established a reputation on the street through volume and content. His dark imagery is permeated by repeated calls for viewers’ suicides and contradictory juxtapositions of flesh and metal. In each portrait on display at Domy the artist has removed the figure’s eyes; either by cropping into faces, employing paint splatters or darkening faces into death’s head masks, more akin to the hollow sockets of skulls. In Virtue a female figure is cropped between her nose and cleavage, the exposed shoulders and breast leading the eye up to a sensuous open mouth. In other images the simplicity of the silkscreen medium enhances simple referential images- hammers, razors, goat heads, teeth, churches and chain saws. Quite the abstraction, LaVey Christ is the most overt sacrilege in the show- the figure peeking out from the shadows is ambiguous, it may be sympathetic or a damning portrait of the most famous Satanist of our century. Throughout the show images are large, simple diatribes- but in Photo Booth the artist examines himself and a close friend; destroying all individual references through obstruction and paranoia. The most important development Give Up has had on the city of
He had on his Mask because he knew all Ubermensches needed Profundity Hidden, 2007
In each YAR work here at Domy Books, the inhabitants of these watercolor drawings strike a passive tone. In gangs, groups and portraits the essential humanity of his figures is that of forlorn disappointment. Bulbous heads and diminutive features emphasize sight, with withered limbs they can do little more than stare at each other in a purgatorial stupor. Within the artist’s intentions are lilting references to pessimistic seers of philosophy; in He had on his Mask because he knew all Ubermensches needed Profundity Hidden a single figure cocks his hip and stands awkwardly in his Batman tee shirt and tiny Nike sneakers. He sprays paint up into the air, where it grows from a single point into an undulating rainbow of color extending off the page. His feeble attempt at disguise is a small black band around his eyes, hardly concealing his identity, especially when he stands exposed in the center of a white expanse. Other figures wear their depressing hearts on their tees; Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Crime and Punishment, or Iranian prophet and poet Zoroaster. Several images relate the life and death of Socrates, which may have its most potent motivation in the philosopher’s sense of irony; feigning ignorance to expose the weakness of another’s position. Perhaps the most revealing of the work here is Backwards Rimbaud Death Mask, more of a schematic than a figure, where all the lines contouring the face lead to two blank eyes; the artist’s intention to squeeze a bit of reality from the tip of a paintbrush is laid bare in his ode to the deranged transcendentalist who influenced so much of the last century.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Did I forget to mention those kids up on the 4th floor have their own group? After Gus Kopriva of Redbud Gallery made a few impromptu visits to the art department unannounced after hours and couldn't find a student working on art at night he slammed their commitment to their medium, saying "they're all 9 to 5 painters up there." The kids from the 4th floor took the insult in stride, dubbing themselves Group 925. Without feeling threatened by the memory of all night painting and drinking at the University of Houston Art Department in the late 70s and 80s- the Lawndale years- Group 925 works outside their studios often; starting galleries, building houses in Marfa, chopping motorcycles, playing guitars and traveling through Haiti.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Mark Rothko, Black on Maroon, 1959 (from the Seagrams series)
Simon Schama's Power of Art has been showing on PBS for the last month, and this week the precocious wordslinger Schama comes to Houston- visiting the Menil to see some of his work from the height of his career 1957-58, and later to the Rothko Chapel, where the host insists "lots of ink has been spilled trying to convince people these paintings are not as dark as they appear" following it with a long pan into the center of a painting he calls "black as Texas oil".
His focus on the Seagrams' paintings instead of either Rothko's most vibrant period or the chapel- his last completed work- is a bit Anglocentric (the Seagrams are at the Tate while the latter two are here in Houston) but the show is, as always, a gushing romance novel about painting and a good story too.
"A Bag of Markers and Weed"
What have they been up to over at Diverseworks? Really?
After that comes the weekend proper, with an August 3rd kick off on the 4th floor of the UH art building bringing together last year's graduates (who have spent the past month whitewashing their studios) and current students like Cody Ledvina, Jeanne Cassanova, Norberto and me too! The party gets going at art show time- 6-9pm, but who knows when it'll really end.
August 4th, over on the wrong side of the tracks, Skeez 181 (busy guy!) throws the all day party Chiahui Ome at CSAW, with Cuallitepetl indigenous music, poetry from around the world, traditional Aztec dancing, and three galleries of artwork. Polynesian, Ecuadorian, Guatemalan, African and Mexican food will be on hand for grubbing in the sun.
Saturday also brings the next incarnation of Apama Mackey Gallery as they migrate up to 11th Street in the Heights as well as the Clay Invitational- no not tennis- at G Gallery next door to the new establishment. 6-9pm
Monday, July 30, 2007
After the Houston Press took an altogether too literal view of the differences in the Black Light White Noise catalogue in their review of the exhibit, Oliver is striking back in a new article on glasstire.com.
an excerpt from M. Handwerker's article:
MH: Will you address some of the difficulties you faced installing an exhibition composed entirely of installations? One critic admonished you for your decision to install Arthur Jafa’s My Black Death and Satch Hoyt’s 8-Track Shack differently from the way they were described in the exhibition catalogue.
It Never Occurred to Me It Wasn't The Beginning, 2007
Recent University of Houston graduate Kelli Vance has sold out her solo show at Joan Wich Gallery! Congratulations Kelli!
Will this mean a revival of depressing and slow-moving films? Psychological dramas with open endings? Wearing black and looking gloomy? (Emo kids don't count) Let's hope so!
Ingmar Bergman trivia.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Damn, my pictures are horrible. I couldn't take any in the exhibit, the lighting was low and the party was held in the lobby of the new building instead of in the giant Modernist space that held the Basquiat parties. The DJs were playing on the valet entrance ramp outside the Red Hot exhibit, and the summer heat and humidity prompted partygoers to shuffle inside to catch a bit of A/C frequently. Inside, the museum was cordoned off , 4/5 of the large entranceway empty.
One gallery was open, the back entrance to the Chaney Collection- but at some early point in the night the collector became worried about the masses filing in to view his fiscally sound investment in art and asked the museum to restrict the amount of visitors in the gallery. This created a long line between the bustling indoor (non-members) bar and the lobby doors where those looking for a cooldown constantly entered. Meanwhile, a second story gallery was commandeered to serve as VIP; the tactless side effect was that they stood in comfort indoors watching the party outside below, hearing the MC give the Chaney family "shout out"s. Just a little too aristocratic for me is all.
After watching John the Third and Ceeplus I went wandering down to the Yellow magazine karaoke bar, where one old man belted out the hits surrounded by the throngs flocking to the only available bathroom, with the James Turrell tunnel and most of the hallway cordoned off. I had paid ten bucks to get in so I grabbed one of the free Starfuckers drinks on the way out and went to take pictures of the sculptures in from of the building where the party should have happened. After I left I could still hear the music from my place over on Waugh, it reminded me of living in the Third Ward and hearing the marching band practice at TSU at night. Eh, that was alright...