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.


John Hovig said...

Nice post. Required reading.