Saturday, April 5, 2008


Check out Arthouston's blog of photos from The Catastrophic Theatre Launch Party
at the super duper warehouse of Dawn Fudge, March 28.

'Hard Times' on Get Fresh

Public Image Ltd fake playing at the zoo

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hunting for Plebs

What's the point of the Hunting Prize?

Impressing very-very wealthy oil executives and their wives.

What impresses oil executives and their wives?

Charming anecdotes related by pleasant folk, self-effacing pandering, shoe shines and tap dances, artists wearing name tags standing next to their artwork like they're selling bushels of corn.

Who decides whose artwork gets into the Salon... er... show?

A trio of curators from the nosebleed seats, Lubbock, El Paso and Corpus Christi.

Who decides who wins this thing?

Three art people representing the three major burgs of Texas. (Since when is a Houston lady-who-lunches on par with the director of the McNay Museum?) They skipped Austin because everyone said they'd be busy.

Anything unusual in the application process?

"Any artwork that includes the use of bodily fluids, degradation of religion or government, and/or depiction of sexual acts or any other medium, presentation or topic objectionable to Hunting PLC will be automatically disqualified from the competition."

How has 2008 winner Michael Tole been doing?

"My wife and I paid off our student loans and put a down payment on a house with the prize money. I also reinvested a lot of it into my business, paying two years studio rent in advance, buying materials, etc. I’d like to say I spent it on hookers and cocaine, but I’m just not that exciting.

"Don’t try to figure out what your work means first and then try to make it. It will be still born. The poison of art school is the idea that you have to know what it all means. Just start making something. The first few things you make will suck, but in the process of making them, you will begin to find what really interests you, rather than what you think SHOULD interest you. ... Theory describes and explains, it isn’t causal.

"Also, although the most important thing to succeeding as an artist is making good work, that’s only 50% of the profession. The other half is meeting people, making the right connections, and getting your work seen. Enter competitions, network, go to art fairs and shamelessly self promote. Finding friends to help you is a must. Likewise, be willing to help others. ... It has worked for me."

via Sprayblog

Where do the 128 "finalists" hail from?

Picked by curators from West and South Texas, the Hunting Prize breaks strong for Houston; trying to win us back, yo?

Houston- 42
H-Town 'burbs- 7

Dallas- 14
Fort Worth- 8
Denton- 4
DFW 'burbs- 4

San Antone- 10

Austin- 3

Corpus- 3

El Paso- 1

Will Hunting offer a chicken tender dinner to the artists before letting guests splurge on shrimp cocktail? Rainey said last year: "Most people in the Texas art world want the Hunting Prize to be something that, for now, it is not. Rather than recognizing excellence, the prize values quantity over quality — as one insider put it, “they’re not looking for the best of the best.” But Hunting could easily create something that actually does help artists other than the winner. For now, the prize is a lottery: artists will apply because of the size of the award — but they won’t take it seriously, and neither will anybody else."

Winners (losers) to be announced May 3rd, 2008.

Beats From the Artery

Last night Mark Larsen told me they had a few things up on youtube in addition to their politically-charged PBS programs. Here's a few cool snippets; if you're not at work, play them at the same time!

Stilt Walking


'Que es el Amor'

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tomorrow at Texas Southern

Words on Actions

Drew Bettge, Lindsay Burleson, April Coutino, Nanc

By Surpik Angelini

Performance Art in Houston may seem to have sprung from nowhere, like an exotic weed growing om the margin of mainstream art, but Houston artists are not oblivious to its impact on the city’s collective memory.

It is precisely the ephemeral nature of Performance that seems to make it the most fitting artistic expression for a city in the making.

Houston thrives not on history but its constant making of industrial ruins, as Walter Benjamin would put it. No sooner is something new built than it is perceived as debris. In fact, we may say that Houston is a city in a perennial performative state.

Wanting to revisit homegrown examples of Performance Art in the past we hear echoes of the outrageous actions by the members of the Ant Farm in the seventies, Lawndale Annex work by William Steen, Mel Chin and Culturcide and the witty and whimsical performances of the Art Guys.

More recently, the traffic stopping Inversion of a Montrose cottage by Dan Havel and Dean Ruck and the provocative exhibitions and performances staged by Otabenga Jones have changed our perception of performance to include interactive artworks.

Taken as a whole, performances seem to counter any contrived desire to fit Modernist or Postmodernist canons. Instead, a unique atmosphere of artistic anarchy seems to fuel the present. Today brings one more group of work to the fore, a collective exhibition of performance facilitated by Elia Arce.

What is unique in recent memory is how Arce has taught successive groups of young artists to incorporate dynamics from their personal environment into ongoing bodies of work. Aspects of their lives become specific performance pieces, bringing depth to other bodies of work like painting and sculpture. Beyond experimental exercises, these artists demonstrate an interchangeable view of performance and life.

In fact, we must note students' productions spilling over into public spaces on several occasions: the civic square, the Mall, institutional spaces, private homes, blogs and web sites. Most striking is how the human content in each performance work becomes heavily invested with the city, while effecting a surprisingly contagious response in the audience.

The most recent group led by Elia Arce will be exhibiting at The Artery Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 from 6-8 pm. Extracted from the personal everyday will be rituals, allegories, social critique, interaction with the public, the body, specificity of site and multimedia.

Each performance is intensely personal while also orchestrated to fit a collective presentation unfolding in the unique environment of The Artery.

Dead Bodies, Dead Air

Or do you prefer the couplet by Lisa Gray? "Artists auction ashes, but their dust is a bust"

There's an interesting sentence in her article: Bidding had peaked in January, when a Fluxus artist — one of those old half-serious pranksters — offered to trade the Art Guys one of his own works, which he modestly valued at $2.199 million. But the Art Guys held out for hard currency.

Kinda like Canadians going on strike and then dying instead of taking the Bennigan's coupons.

Da Ert Guys

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Temple of the Dog

At the famous...
Aurora Picture Show Theater
800 Aurora Street
Houston TX, 77009

Attendees receive a voucher for 1 free submission to the Extremely Shorts Film Festival 11.

Surfer Seeks Funny Shit

Dear Thankless Neighbors 3 Doors Down

Reply to:
Date: 2008-04-02, 12:32PM CDT

You and your airhead girlfriend/wife/fuckwit manage to leave your garage door open and/or car windows open,many a time only to have the neighborhood rabble come rifle through your shit and take whatever they want. And since they have endless access to your various amounts of crap,they decide to go up and down our street and break into other's cars,which ARE locked,thinking our street is a fucking buffet of pawn fodder. I have called the cops a couple of times already to have them close your garage when you aren't home. I have found your skank's bag and I.D. after the rabble have taken what they want from it and leave it by the mailbox. But what really cheese's me off is that I haven't gotten a thank you for watching out for your pathetic asses. Even the cops think you're ungrateful shitheads for being so thankless and careless. I've been told not to even bother calling the cops to protect your house any longer.So the next time I see the "boys" coming down the street to take your shit,I'll just yell "help yourself!" and NOT call the cops. If you don't give a shit,then why should the rest of us? Thanks for making our street a scum magnet. Thanks for furthering the criminal careers of the neighborhood youths. I moved from a shitty apartment to this? Oh,and by the way,I think your girlfriend/wife/fuckwit is cheating on you. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Artnet Babble

We stole their pic'tures.

Did someone say that the 2008 Armory Show was short on photographs? Maybe all those pictures are in Houston, as the city is currently in the midst of "Fotofest2008," Mar. 7-Apr. 20, 2008. Taking place in all Houston art museums as well as an incredible 107 other spaces, "Fotofest2008" features ten shows focusing on China photography and another 135 exhibitions in all.

via Artnet News

On the Road Trip

In one of those floating AP Wire stories (that we were promised when Patricia Johnson appeared to abdicate her position as the Houston Chronicle's art critic back in November) the Chron puffs up the most recent incarnation of a Beatnik exhibit at UT in Austin.

"Kerouac's original manuscript is on display at the University of Texas' Ransom Center cultural archive as the centerpiece of the "On the Road with the Beats" exhibit tracing the influence of the mid-century movement and its leaders, from Kerouac to poets Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs."

Apparently the Ransom Center at UT has missing parts of On The Road, pages from notebooks that were fundamental to the final manuscript- Kerouac claimed to have written 32,000 words in a period of the late 1940s.

"Although he had been thinking about the novel for several years, he put it all on paper in a frenzy. The scroll, which would stretch 120 feet if completely unrolled, lacks the paragraph, chapter and section breaks of the published novel. It includes some material that was taken out in editing, such as rough language and homosexual content."

So, speaking of Patty Johnson, when does adding your middle name Covo to your byline mean the same thing as losing your job?

UPDATE: "Freelance" now.

Tomorrow at the Artery


yeah, yeah, it's a tough flier to get info off of.

Thursday, April 3rd
at The Artery from 8pm to 10pm
(Prospect & Jackson)

Performance Weirdness, Beers and Sweatbands, Cheerleaders, Pain and Stupid Laughter

What's not to like?

Drew Bettge, Lindsay Burleson, April Coutino, Nancy Douthey, Patrick Doyle, Ian Fernandez, Elizabeth Fowler, Mark Hesterlee, Brian McCord, Nick Teele, Tyson Urich, Julia Wallace

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Teen Council Fashion Show
Teen Council Fashion Show
Teen Council Fashion Show

Teen Council Fashion Show

Thursday, April 03, 2008
6:30 p.m.

The Museum’s Teen Council presents their annual Fashion Show outside on the Kempner Terrace, featuring designs by Houston area teens, held in conjunction with their latest exhibit.

No Shit?

Aurora Picture Show Acquired by Edward Cinema Circuit Company
April 01, 2008

Dear Buffalo,

In the midst of an ongoing struggle for independent movie theaters in Houston, Aurora Picture Show has been acquired by Edward Cinema Circuit Company, the national theater chain headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, with over 950 screens in 14 states. ECCC has purchased the brand name and equity of the Houston non-profit microcinema known for showing non-commercial film, video and media art. As long as you actually read this paragraph, you'll know that this is an april fool's prank. Aurora Picture Show will transition to programming features and new releases at its Houston Heights location. All Aurora staff will remain on in temporary roles until the transition has been completed by the end of the year per ECCC spokesperson. Programming of first run features will begin May 2008, including RAIDERS: KING OF THE CRYSTAL SKELETON.

For more information and the official press release click here.


Aurora Picture Show

Houstonist Photo of the Day

Bernice Rrose Sélavy

So cigarettes are totally anathema these days. I walked into the Menil's lobby, packed with black chairs, only a few minutes late for Bernice Rose's lecture last night. Slipping in the door and down the right aisle, I sat down as quietly as possible while Rose pontificated on her first slide.

The lady next to me froze. She turned away. She ducked down. She made awkward hand gestures for a minute and finally shoved by me to sit elsewhere in the room. Jeez. I knew having a drag on the drive over would make me smell like cigarettes, and buying Camel Wides because they were on sale sure exacerbated the situation, but causing a scene was not on my agenda. At least there wasn't a mass exodus from around me. That would've looked really fucking bad. I'm quitting anyway. I don't want to, but it is out of bounds at this point to enjoy a smoke anywhere other than in polite company. I'll quit on International Workers Day.

The Menil Collection's New Drawing Institute and Study Center launched with their recent How Artists Draw show, and their new director Bernice Rose demonstrated her "kitchen sink" approach to the Drawing Institute in both her speech and her curatorial style.

Ms. Rose's lecture (with asides by Menil director Josef Helfenstein) was packed with close readings and revelatory interpretations of Picasso, Duchamp and Max Ernst, but her delivery wound circles around her subjects with frequent pit stops across a spectrum of cul-de-sacs. The tightly packed galleries gave Rose ample opportunity to leisurely pontificate on the established significance of each and every collection- continually driving home the point that this was to be "An Institute based around concentrated collections by established artists that does not seek to be comprehensive, but illuminate the movements of the 20th century," [paraphrased, but she said it enough times- I do not believe that would be contested]

Helfenstein didn't seem to say much, but it was encouraging to hear him bring up the importance of locale in a collection's focus- a large drawing collection is reason for scholars to travel and study, but the geography of an institution is important in realizing the focus of a collection. Granted, he was talking up Robert Rauschenberg (from Port Arthur) but it did seem to leave the door open for some attention paid to Gulf Coast artists or younger Houston artists.

Wouldn't that be cool if a little money and time went into snagging a few drawings on the cheap and having a bit of the contemporary local in there wit' the big boys?

Anyway, Bernice Rose is ridiculously versed in her subjects. Her delivery was a little jumbled, though; as the stories and anecdotes outweighed the forward progress (in Powerpoint and presentation) my ass started to hurt in those uncomfortable modernist chairs. Helfenstein totally phoned it in, dude.

When the lights went up I felt compelled to follow the herd bolting for the doors. Bernice gave me a look like I was skipping class, but I really couldn't sit there any longer without breaking my tailbone. There were maybe ten people not waiting for the Q & A; I didn't realize until I reached the car that everyone I followed out of the building was 18-25. I guess they were feeling a little uncomfortable in their chairs too.

Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1968

How Artists Draw is a painful show filled with amazing work. The earliest pieces in the show are nearly shoved out the door by the burgeoning galleries behind them. I had no choice but to just glance at the Van Gogh, the Seurat and a few amazing sketches from the 1800s and keep moving until the third time I went.

Pick your poison; left to Dada and collages that rival Joy Division and The Replacements for making pleasure out of pain. Right to a suite of Picassos that'll have you stuffed with fat and flavor like a Reuben from Spec's. I was totally pissed that DeBuffet had short shrift on another wall, but they had to jump on to...

Americans! Once again the show is more like Choose Your Own Adventure than a consciously thought out exhibit. Left to Rothko and a bunch of boring little sketches, unless you appreciate that these pathetic blobs were the germ of so many hallucinatory and spiritual canvasses. Two dour easter egg-style paintings by Mark Rothko hang in a cove, powerful despite their lack of transcendental weight. Or... right to Pollock and deKooning, providing an imagist alternative to the other 50s gallery. The first of three late Pollocks is so bright and solid it looks like Nancy Graves, the other two contextualize such solid lines of color with splatter painting and the dyed black brushstrokes usually associated with Pollock as he drank his way to oblivion. The triple odd couple is capped off by a "sketch" where Pollock slapped a big white mess onto a Paris fashion plate.

There is a whole other half of the exhibit, but I won't tell you about it. It would take too long and it is a better representation of how I feel about five exhibits worth of work to cut this sh

A Roof Over Your Head (and a budget too)


Application Deadline: May 30, 2008 by 4 pm

Lawndale Art Center is dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art with an emphasis on work by Houston artists. Lawndale presents exhibitions, lectures and events to further the creative exchange of ideas among the region’s diverse, artistic, cultural and student communities.

The Lawndale Artist Studio Program is part of Lawndale’s ongoing commitment to support the creation of contemporary art by Gulf Coast area artists. (All Gulf Coast; Campeche, Coatzacoalcos, Zeracruz, Tampico, Reynosa, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Screwston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Pensacola, Panama City, Tampa, Naples and Key West)

With an emphasis on emerging practices, the program will provide three artists with studio space on the third floor of the Lawndale Art Center at 4912 Main Street in the heart of Houston’s Museum District.

Artists have full access to their studios 24 hours a day, seven days a week; access to visiting artists, writers and curators; and will receive a $500 monthly stipend for the duration of the program together with an initial $1500 materials budget.

If accepted, artists are expected to present a workshop or presentation to the general public and the local arts community to share their practice or explore a related topic.

Works produced during the program will be exhibited at Lawndale Art Center during May 2009.

You are the We of Cassanova

click the pic for the big panorama...


Shaved Ice!

The N'awlins girl with the Sexual Seduction name has her installation
on display in the brick shotgun shack on the 4th floor of
the Art Building built for Organ acoustics at U of Houston
through April 4th, aka this Friday.

Monday, March 31, 2008

DJ is Bored

Free Dead People

On behalf of the College Student Collaborative, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is hosting a FREE College Night of the "Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption" Exhibit for UH, TSU, St. Thomas and Rice Universities for one night only. Pompeii reveals the ancient world through painting, sculpture, and craft. This show is normally $17.00 per person, but will be free for college students with valid school ID. There will also be refreshments and giveaways. (and people standing around acting like Romans. Heehee.)

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
College Night for "Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption" Exhibit
Friday, April 4, 2008 7:30 to 9:30pm
1001 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005 - Caroline Weiss Law Bldg.

*Remember to bring valid school ID.

Michael Bise in Art in America

via Art in America
April 2008, No. 4
page 173

Michael Bise titled this exhibition “Birthday,” but the announcement card, which the artist reproduced as a small wall drawing at the gallery, showed a grave marker commemorating Michael William Bise, Sr., who died at the age of 50 on Oct. 12, 1999. This first image sets up the autobiographical context for Bise’s large-format graphite drawings (all 2007).

Fall, which uses the overhead view Bise favors, depicts a man in early middle age collapsed on a leaf-strewn patio. Bise’s other drawings narrate in well-selected, telling scenes the confusing and painful days that follow a family member’s death. A dazed son stands in his old room at his parents’ house. A younger daughter sits weeping on her bed in a room plastered with Britney Spears posters. The son has brought his girlfriend home with him, and in one drawing they make love on his twin bed in a room that still has sports trophies on the chest of drawers and Winnie the Pooh valances on the windows.

Most of Bise’s drawings are around 36 by 40 inches, but two much larger works bring greater narrative complexity to the exhibition. Vanishing Points (36 by 84 1/4 inches) gathers mother, son and daughter at the hospital to identify their father’s body. The floor is a cacophony of horrible linoleum patterns, but the drawing’s title tips you to the fact that each of the four characters stands on a piece of floor that disappears into its own vanishing point. Exit (46 by 204 inches) presents the father’s funeral. The daughter delivers her testimonial to dozens of attendees divided into flanking rows pews. The specificity of each mourner depicted establishes them as portraits, and Bise has filled one side of the church with family friends and the other with his own friends from the Houston art scene.

Bise suffers from the same congenital heart problem as his deceased father and so has chosen to use Exit as both a memorial to his parent and a projection of the early death that is possible for him as well. Although this bit of backstory cannot be known by all of his viewers, what animates this subtle body of work is the artist’s faith that precision and detail can be employed to both deal with loss and confront fear.

-Charles Dee Mitchell

congrats on paper-worthy wordage, dude!

The artist sold every piece in the October show except for the big one... which he sold to the MFAH. Sweet!

Jason Villegas at LACMA

Phantom Sightings:
Art after the Chicano Movement

The largest exhibition of cutting-edge Chicano art ever presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art!

Christina Fernandez, Lavanderia #1, 2002

Developed through an ongoing agreement between the CSRC and LACMA, the exhibition will open on Sunday, April 6, and run through Monday, September 1, in LACMA’s Art of the Americas Building. The exhibition surveys 31 artists and approximately 125 works that include paintings and sculptures as well as installations, conceptual pieces, videos, performance art, and intermedia works that incorporate film, digital effects, and sound.

Houstonian (currently in Rutgers exile) Jason Villegas will be lurking around his projection and wall drawing waiting to scare Japanese curators and kidnap Shia LaBeouf.

The exhibition was organized by Rita Gonzalez (juror of last year's Lawndale Big Show), Howard Fox and Chon A. Noriega.

The exhibition will travel to venues in Nueva York, Tejas y Mexico.

A substantial catalog has been published by the University of California Press. There will be an all-day symposium on Saturday, April 5, among other programs.

Festivals on the Horizon

We openly invite artists of all sorts to come display their works, decorate the street, and participate in our live painting project on one of many massive canvases at the 4-12 Westheimer Block Party. Free table space will be provided to artists, just show up before 10:30 AM.

(This space is for people displaying their works, not vendors who sell incense, jewelry, blah blah)

and the next day!

bang rice!

Happy Belated Birthday to Francisco Goya

362 years and one day ago Spanish painter Goya was born. After studying under neo-classicist Francisco Bayeu y Subias he became a favorite of Spanish kings Charles III and IV. Some of his best and most haunting work is his 80 aquatint print series Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra).

With or Without Reason...

The Same Thing.


Bury Them and Keep Quiet.

There is something to be gained.

images via WikiCommons, See all 80 prints HERE.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

And a Party as Well

Photos courtesy Nina and Patrick