Saturday, November 3, 2007

Not Orange, Green

an island as it might be, 2005

Arthouse Prize goes to Katrina Moorhead... $30,000 for the Northern Irish painter and sculptor... view work from Inman Gallery and Blaffer Gallery...

Mandell Park Art Swap Today

Impromptu Mandell Park Art Swap

Saturday, November 3rd

sketching in the park
bike races
chess tournament
in the park at the corner of Mandell and Richmond
across the street from Lucky Burger

Saturday Morning Cartoons

A little Maria Guzman for ya!

Part of a large wall installation at CSAW, 2006

Westheimer Block Party installation, 2007


Plates from a Midtown Art Center Show, 2007

Last one is from the Domy Books Monster Show 2, up right now!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Poll Results- Christopher French Wins!

Christopher French- 34%
Kelly Klaasmeyer- 29%
Michelle White- 14%
Bill Davenport- 10%
Meredith Goldsmith- 3%
Margo Handwerker- 2%
John Devine- 2%
Evan Garza- 1%
Garland Fielder- 1%
Patricia Johnson- 1%

Christopher French! The perfect mix of public recognition and artworld insider, apparently! This respected writer, married to Blaffer Director Terri Sultan, is a fixture at Art Papers magazine out of Atlanta and his globetrotting endeavors with his wife have been popular attractions on the glasstire site. Not to be confused with the UFO obsessed psych professor, Christopher is characterized by a crisp style of description, his complicated artworld and pop culture references tempered by curt language that keeps the reader trucking along towards the ever-present hook at the end of the article.

Leading for most of the race Kelly Klaasmeyer comes in a respectable second here. In addition to being the lead writer for the Houston Press, Kelly recently took over the reins as Articles Editor at glasstire. Known for her even takes on local artists and respectful comments on various styles, Klassmeyer also has a "mean streak" resulting in some of the most virulent bloodletting I have ever witnessed- and good for her! While most of her writing is soft and decorous, the writer appreciates being able to slip in a little disturbing imagery into fluffy work designed for her audience at the Press.

Menil curator (assistant doesn't give her enough credit) and Artlies editor Michelle White comes in a surprising third here, besting one of the early leaders with a strong finishing surge. Her writing is simpler than the latter three, preferring to come across strong and solid rather than stylistic or ambitious. To be sure, her academism is deep, and her personal respect for conceptual work is palpable in her opinions; the crescendo from simply structured observations to complex full paragraph, single sentence marks her as an artworld insider.

Bill Davenport, a very recognizable figure in Houston, fell to fourth at the last minute in our poll. After high-profile writing at the Houston Chronicle and elsewhere this artist and writer, married to artist Francesca Fuchs, is now settling in to a position at glasstire as a blogger (I think I mention glasstire too much) for the city of Houston. After the recent hubbub at the Chronicle didn't include Bill, I must assume he had already severed his ties that there touted years ago during a big push to include a large article on Otabenga Jones after the collective's inclusion in the Whitney Biennial.

Meredith Goldsmith, of the MFAH's CORE Critical Studies program, has been keeping a smile on her face as she inks her modest contribution to art in Houston. Margo Handwerker, who I mistakenly called Margot and then couldn't change her name after the poll started, is an assistant curator at the MFAH in the prints and drawings department. Her solid production of writing is defined by her formal dryness- but not in a bad way. If anyone actually lets the reader know what something looks like and how the spacial dynamics work, its her. Perhaps a little too descriptive for his own good, John Devine writes with lists and frosts them with conversational quips. Rounding out the list, don't forget Evan Garza and Garland Fielder, who have yet to make a significant impact 'round these parts- but we hope to see them grow!

As a final bit of our poll, and a final mention as a writer for the Houston Chronicle, Patricia Johnson received one vote. Her dedication to Houston art cannot be overlooked, as I have had the pleasure of reading many of her early 80s articles while researching the Lawndale Annex's tumultuous past. Her gossipy description of a Replacements show that went ugly at the artspace in 1985 was an invaluable marker of the tone of the city during its dark days- when the 'donut hole' of downtown decay was a severe crisis. Several articles from the late 70s and early 90s touted the work of James Surls and others in a purely provincial manner, but I would not say that we have moved past what this great woman has done for the city, even if she (and her art department) have been dropped by the only daily publication in town.

Want to see what these writers have been actually spittin'? Click HERE for a hypertexted article.

Kinda Funny-

This is how an online career search defines an 'artist'


A Day in the Life

“If you’re lucky, you’ll spend most of your time alone and working,” wrote one 20-year veteran painter. The artist seeks to express a specific and unique vision through painting, sculpture, drawing, or mixed media. While many spend time in workshops, attending other artists’ shows and seminars, and doing research, the heart of the profession—the reason why people choose to join the very selective fine arts—is that they love what they do. Numerous artists use their specific set of marketable tools as freelance commercial artists, producing work on consignment to another’s specifications. Some note that this selling of their skills at times affects their ability to produce their own work. “It’s hard to paint my own pictures when I’m sketching a box of oats all day,” said one.

Paying Your Dues

History is filled with examples of self-schooled artists with no formal educational training. They are both brilliant and innovative; unfortunately, history is also filled with examples of starving artists who died in obscurity. Formal educational training in this field is becoming the norm, with most earning BFAs in graphic design, painting, or art history. Some find it helpful to continue their education and earn graduate degrees (primarily MFAs), particularly if they desire to teach painting at the secondary level or above. Many academic programs provide at least an introduction to computer-assisted art. Artists tend to congregate around major urban centers, such as New York and San Francisco, in which the multiplicity of galleries and artists makes it easier to form connections; this also offers the unproven artist the opportunity to have his or her work shown.

Associated Careers

Artists have a number of opportunities available to them, both during their careers as artists and after they’ve decided to hang up their brushes. Many work as commercial artists, computer artists, and electronic layout consultants using their aesthetic and representational skills in higher-paying professions. Some become art directors for magazines, online services, software companies, or publishing houses. Other artists move into advertising, promotion, and product design.

Undead Cactus

Patsy Cline, 2007

Cactus Music, a Houston stalwart that went under last year, has opened up a new location right down Shepherd at 2110 Portsmouth, in the plaza with Amy's Ice Cream. Even before the store opens next week, check out the opening of Carlos Hernandez's new exhibit tonight from 7-10pm. A series of Day of the Dead-inspired portraits, these silkscreen prints emulate music icons Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, and Patsy Cline among others. Knowing that there's always a keg of Shiner at Cactus events? Priceless.

"It's a weird little corner at Portsmouth and Sandman," said owner Quinn Bishop, who will be circulating and showing off the new digs at tonight's reception. "But it's a great space. I think people will be knocked out by it. This is our way of having a little fun and building the anticipation."

From The Quilters

Quilt of Belonging, 10' x 120' with 263 handmade blocks representing every country

Ray Massa of Baytown pauses as he looks at the faces on a quilt that memorialize service men and women who've died in Iraq and Afghanistan

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Booster Seat

This must be from HAA in some way or another, but all I can see on youtube is "coreboy12". Check out New HAA head Jonathan Glus lookin' like he just got off the plane from Pasadena and talking like he's from Pasadena!

Nothing To Laugh At

They see me quiltin'/they hatin'/
patrollin' tryin' to catch me quiltin' dirty/
(tryin' to catch me quiltin' dirty)

Does this sound like a degree holding conceptual artist? "
Hollis Chatelain paints her quilts with dyes, then washes out the cotton cloth before she starts to sew. In the scene Archbishop Desmond Tutu stands in a field surrounded by children from different countries. Everything is tinted purple; faces, clothes, trees, animals. Even the sky had a purple cast. Hope for Our World uses purple dyes, but most of the color in her work comes from tiny machine stitches, often in thread colors that she helped design." It does to me!

You can't make fun of Chatelain for being an amateur, she just won the $10,000 prize at the International Quilt Festival in downtown Houston, and her work normally sells for between $40,000 and $150,000. She even gets a little artworld snooty about it! "There has been a division in the quilting world between art quilts and traditional quilts. Now there's a huge amount of diversity, which is great."

Even in the Chron you can find an article about art; you just need to rewrite it for them!

Right On Time

Carmelita (detail), 2004

Surfing on Acid, 2005

Tomorrow the new Mary Heilmann exhibit opens at the CAMH from 9:00 – 11:00 p.m.; yesterday both Art in America and Artforum came out with covers adorned with the artist's abstract canvasses. Riding the wave created by the Orange County Museum of Art, there is now a lot of verbiage out there about why this artist should be included with other late AbEx masters in all the textbooks forthwith.

The standard line (playing off the "musician's musician" caveat that keeps noodling guitar players on top ten lists) sounds cooler than "little-known" or "new to you": "Known as an “artist’s artist” for her impassioned following among younger painters, Heilmann’s work draws upon Southern California beach culture, experience with rock music, and life in New York City to create highly personal works that evoke her distinct sources through the use of bright colors and a minimalist aesthetic." Think it'll be a good show? It'll be a good party anyway!

Sticky Icky Icky

Halloween costume: Sam Houston

A kind bud of a mention from Mr. Green in Modern Art Notes; if you want to get in under the wire for the poll check out a hypertext post where you can see what each of the writers in the poll have been up to!

Rachel Cook Reaffirms that Houston is Better than Austin

Referring to my perceived shift from Houston to Austin in glasstire and ArtLies' coverage, Rachel Cook (see HERE) set me straight:

"In the last month we have published 3 reviews of Houston exhibitions and 2 interviews with Houston artists. In comparison we have only published 1 review for both SA and Austin. As for the rest of the month's content we have interviewed a Dallas artist, a SA collaborative team and done one international story with a curator.

So as far as I can see we are still covering Houston more than any other community.

As for Artlies the last issue they had 3 reviews of Houston/Galveston, 1 review from SA, 4 from DFW, 4 from Austin and 4 national/international reviews."

Something To Do

The Blaffer Gallery's Houston Area Show will accept applications up until this November 15th to be considered for the quadrennial exhibit. Curated by Claudia Schmuckli, the Houston Area Show will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. E-mail submissions are accepted at Open to all residents of Houston and within a 100-mile radius of the city age 18 and up. No entry fee.

The 2007 School of Art Exhibition, featuring work from the painting, sculpture, photography, graphics and digital media departments and including performance, interior design and jewelry work will run from December 1st through the 15th at the Blaffer Gallery. Opening November 30th 6-9pm.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


With the imminent demise of the Houston Chronicle's art department, the artworld cord to the general population has been more or less severed. The Houston Press deleted their art listings years ago but persist in their art reviews and capsules. With the new move to Articles Editor at glasstire, Houston Press writer Kelly Klaasmeyer may be acknowledging the relevance of getting off the newsprint page, but will she make the move entirely?

Not likely, she is now the most widely read art writer in town, with competition coming only from statewide or specialized sources. Artshouston focuses on Houston art, but burns pages on theater and opera. There is always and article or two on the subject in 002 and Envy, the gaudy Tribeza and Houston glossies, and the underground Free Press. Papercity is a cum dumpster for art parties and openings, but not so much writing.

Texas art news wranglers ArtLies and glasstire used to be based out of Houston, but now they have focused their attention on Austin- where the LA influence is much stronger and the clientèle hipper. It is nice to see Houston in national mags like Art Papers, Artforum or Art in America but it seems like we get the same coverage as Kansas City. (The new cover of Art in America does have the CAMH's new show of Mary Heilmann on the cover- but then again it came from Orange County first)

Who's blogging? Well the ranks of blogs about art are pretty slim- although I hope I can do something about that. Andrea Grover has a blog at the Aurora Picture Show and for her UH Participation Art class, Keith Plocek runs a graffiti site for the 3rd Coast, and a few artists run their own sites. Bill Davenport writes a lazy blog on glasstire. In general news blogs art has better placement than it ever did in the Chronicle; Houstonist is helmed by Monica Danna, blogHOUSTON is out there and Metroblogging too.

So what do we need to cover art is Houston better? More photos, more writing, more criticism- but mostly more transparency. If everyone is guarding their own interests and attempting to avoid offending people then we'll never get anywhere. The good 'ol boys system has gotta go.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

If I may add... the last post about the Chron sucking balls when it comes to art, check out the artbeat blog! Puke..

I'm Totally Jacking Rainey

Bloodbath at the Chronicle - 10/30/07 - Rainey Knudson

The first sign of trouble was an email yesterday from longtime Houston Chronicle art critic Patty Johnson that she was leaving the paper... turns out she's not the only one: a bunch of features writers have either been laid off or offered severance packages, including Louis Parks and Bruce Westbrook, both of whom covered film.

Looks like the Chronicle (which did not return a phone call for comment) is cutting feature writing to stringers and becoming even less relevant, less sophisticated, and less out of touch with what's interesting in the city. There is no expectation that a salaried art critic will be brought on board to replace Johnson, so we can all look forward to coverage of major shows at major museums, and little more -- beyond the grotesque T.M.I. and other coverage that assumes the worst of the readership -- and delivers it.

*If I may digress off the topic of art, the cloyingly named "Flavor" section every Wednesday is an abomination for anyone who knows anything about food.

via Glasstire

Tonight on Almeda

"Graffiti lovers can get their (legal) kicks by attending the DiverseWorks and Aerosol Warfare unveiling of the 'This Old House' project (1625 Alabama) from 5-7pm. The 2-story technicolor Victorian home will serve as a satellite art space and also as a great excuse to hit Soul on the Bayeaux (3717 Dowling St.) down the road for catfish and ridiculously good gumbo."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
DiverseWorks & Aerosol Warfare Present: This Old House
1625 Alabama
Houston, TX 77004
5 to 7pm

Damn We're Rich

Beating out MOMA, the Smithsonian, Boston's Museum of Fine Art, the September 11th Memorial and the Met, Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts received more private donations than any other U.S. arts organization in 2006, according to the results of a survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and reported by Bloomberg. The museum brought in $185.8 million.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Getting Creepy

"Surveys have shown that there are some people
who go to horror movies and like other risks like
drinking and drugs, gambling and risky driving."

A quote from horror lover Cynthia Freeland... Chron article HERE.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

recognize this smiling face?

Morsiani said she was "totally honored" by her new appointment.
"It will be an amazing opportunity for me"

The CMA gets a piece of the CAMH... article HERE.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Halloween From b.s.!

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thanks Becca!