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.


Frank said...

You make it sound as if theatre and opera are not art! We have some readers that arent really into visual arts... You can advertise with us and then we'll have more pages to cover visual art! We've got a blog too.

John Hovig said...

Good luck with that, Sean. Say hi to Sisyphus for me. But I'm glad you've got the energy and determination to rustle things up.

Talking about Houston art online is like living in that Juan Munoz exhibition at CAMH a few years back. [#1] [#2] [#3]. Your latest poll proves you have at least 50 readers. Maybe more of them will start leaving comments around here. (With luck they will even be about art).

P.S. Art in America had some interior shots of the Menil a short time ago. The Feb issue, maybe?

Rachel said...

Artlies has their main office in Houston as well as Glasstire's main office/phone line, but by their nature their mission is to cover TX Visual Arts which includes other cities besides Houston. In fact Artlies has their editor in San Antonio, their E.D. in Austin and their board president in Houston.

As for the LA comment, that is an internal dialogue Glasstire is having with expanding to CA, not just LA. Glasstire has always had a statewide focus never one particular city as its focus.

Maybe what we should be asking is why is sloopy writing being taken seriously especially when it is never fact checked.

b.s. said...

so are you saying that you have been putting out sloppy writing, Rachel? No, I think you are referring to me! I never said that ya'll moved your offices to Austin, but the focus of the majority of your articles on glasstire is about austin these days, to the detriment of houston and dallas. the style in austin is much more influenced by LA style- which means Southern California style- and it is less texan as a result. crown the new king, rachel- but i still think austin is aloof and superficial.

Rachel said...

That is fine to think whatever you want about Austin, but don't make assumptions about the content on Glasstire without doing your research.

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.

b.s. said...

oh good! i must have been comparing how it feels to me instead of checking my facts. I will remember to try to be more factual on my blog.

No, I probably won't. But I will admit when I'm wrong!

Anonymous said...

Most of you don't have a clue how lucky you are. In South TX the amount of contemporary art [other than cowboys and cattle ranching theme] is very sparse. Not to mention the support of any of the arts as a whole. And here you are battling over this city-worship bullshit. Coming from Alice, TX I know how lucky Houston has it, and I feel excited to be here. Start focusing on what you have, not what you don't have. Although thank god I grew up in an area that could give a shit about this scene, that scene, this critic, and that critic, this gallery, and that gallery. I'm looking forward to NOT learning while in Houston.

John Hovig said...

Norberto -- When you're born and raised in NY state, lived in Boston, Chicago and Philly, and owned season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera for a few years, you get to say stuff. So I'm going to say stuff. "Most of" my friends are like me and they're going to say stuff too. You need to accept that. But I like your spirit. Houston will benefit from energetic people like you.

Anonymous said...

Right Hovie, I just wanted to make it clear that I hope I didn't come across as saying we COULDN'T be critical... In fact, I think there needs to be a healthy amount of both pride and ambition to make it work... I was just offering the other side. Thanks for the comment