Saturday, September 15, 2007

Open For Business

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Kenya Evans, Michelle White, Jamal Cyrus, Robert Pruitt, Jabari Anderson, and Franklin Sirmins @ Lessons From Below

Otabenga Jones' proxy exhibition is on view at the Menil right now; perpetrators Kenya Evan, Jamal Cyrus, Robert Pruitt and Jabari Anderson showed up dressed as their favorite protagonist from the past four evolutions of African-American martial identity. Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Afrika Bambaataa and Ice Cube spoke with curators Michelle White and Franklin Sirmins about the long history of anti-diasporic and self-empowering thought in the Black community, and Melanie Lawson tried to corner the group by saying that the Freedom Riders were the last group of non-African Americans to sympathize with the civil rights cause (is that the case?). Be sure to check out Pruitt's favorite piece, a signed stock certificate for the Black Star Line with "Africa: The Land of Opportunity" printed on a map of the world.

In certain spots of the museum Otabenga has placed monitors where Amiri Baraka- in his former incarnation as Leroi Jones- speaks at TSU in 1970. The intervention is at its best when it comes across as aural graffiti, when one is walking through a quiet room of Yves Klein's paintings and the sound infiltrates your whole perception.

The exhibit's classroom atmosphere is not just for show, there are five Saturday sessions of lectures scheduled (with more to be announced) but at any time the bank of art history and history books on the shelf is there for your perusal, there's some good stuff!

How Much, How Long


an installation and performance exhibit focusing on the abundance of Houston growth,
both technological and ecological.

Saturday October13th
12-8 pm

In conjunction with the Westheimer Block Party

Paula Anicete
Betsy Askew
Eli Baumgarten
Joey Bender
Vonetta Berry
James Ciosek
Bryan Cope
Sasha Dela
Norberto Gomez Jr.
Tina Hernandez
Robert Hodge
Mark Hougham
Chad Jessel
Mary Keene
Cody Ledvina
Frank Olsen
Patrick Renner
The Rick Bros.
Derek Shumate
Jeff Smith
Chloe Stewart
David Waddell

presented by the American Wandering Club

Friday, September 14, 2007


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I hate these allergy freakouts, but I've got to go sleepy-time now... Back tomorrow with Overgrown artists!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What Is It Good For?

Shots from Ed Hill - Suzanne Bloom - MANUAL show at Moody Gallery...

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Ed Hill, Wounded Soldier, 2007

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MANUAL (Ed + Sue)

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Danse Macabre, Suzanne Bloom, 2007

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The last three are computerized music programs that play songs/sounds based on the repeating images of skulls, ballerinas and AK47s, surprisingly interesting music too. In the gallery they are looped on a flat-screen, but it'd be cool if they would pop up on youtube for mass distribution!

Thanks Adrian!

Kelly vs Robert

Klaasmeyer vs Chaney? You decide...

Admittedly, my broke ass knows very little about investing. But as an art writer and an MFA degree holder, I do know contemporary art trends are bullshit.

Artists don't think in trends — at least, good ones don't. They make work out of what interests them; those who strategically try to ride a "trend" or "movement" generally suck. They are jumping on the bandwagon instead of having something of their own to say.

Dealers often try to tout "trends" as a sales tactic. I think a zeitgeist sometimes exists, but it isn't usually identified as a trend until after the fact.

Houston Press article HERE

Going Out To See Below

Heading out to the Menil tonight? The Otabenga Jones opening will bring out all the suits and slummers; here's a little relevant local history to peruse in the meantime.

A 'police riot' took place at Texas Southern University (TSU) in 1967. Rev. William Lawson wrote the following: "It has been called a 'riot' but most of the ingredients of riot are absent. There is no evidence of looting. There are no noticeable attempts at repetition. There was not even wide-spread resistance to arrest even though brutality by police was painfully obvious.

"Yet for some reason the full concentration of police power was sent to a college campus and ordered to attack its dormitories like an enemy village. One man died, at least three were wounded by gunfire, scores of others were injured by the police. One dormitory was so plundered as to render it unfit for residence. 489 college students were arrested – the largest mass arrest in the city . . ."

After the incident, Houston SNCC members were charged with murder. It was discovered that the policeman killed at the 'riot' was the result of gunfire coming from other policemen.

This incident motivated SNCC organizers to increase their organizing efforts throughout Texas. Houston, at the time, was known as one of the most racist cities in Texas, and one in which open violence against blacks was the rule.

In quoting James Q. Wilson, Carmichael and Hamilton (1967), in Black Power said: "When faced with demands from black people, the multi-faction whites unite and present a common front. This is especially true when the black group increases in number, ". . . a large Negro population is politically both an asset and a liability. A large Negro populace may not only expect to influence the commitments and behavior of a governor, but it also may expect to arouse the fears of many whites. The larger the Negro population, the greater the perceived threat and thus the greater the resistance to broad civil rights laws."

from Aframnews

On July 26, 1970, Carl Bernard Hampton, was slain by the Houston Police Department's Central Intelligence Division (CID). At the age of 21, Carl was a tireless organizer for the People's Party II, modeled after the Black Panther Party.

Dowling Street was known for its illicit activities of alcohol, drugs, prostitution and killings within the Third Ward. It all began on a hot and humid summer afternoon, July 17, 1970.

Upon arriving and stepping out of the car, he noticed two uniform patrolmen harassing a young man selling the Black Panther Newspaper in front of the Headquarters. Carl approached the officer wearing an unconcealed .45 automatic pistol strapped across his chest in a shoulder holster (legal at that time). The police officer, startled at seeing a young Black man openly wearing a pistol, confronted Carl as to why he was wearing a gun. Carl responded by telling him he had a constitutional right to bear arms. The officer reached for his gun, Carl instinctively drew his gun from his holster, beating the police to the draw.

At that same moment, two members in the community center emerged with weapons to join in the confrontation. The driver of the patrol car quickly radioed for back up.

It was a standoff, and it would only be minutes before the area would be sealed off by police reinforcements. Carl and the other members cautiously barricade themselves at the back of the office. They could see increasing police presence, dressed in riot gear escalating tensions. A officer of Houston Police Dept. entered the office in an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate surrender.

Rather than be taken to jail, Carl felt his chances would be better out on the street, having his lawyer negotiate terms for surrender. The negotiating officer quickly exited the doors after seeing no sign of compromise.

Meanwhile, a large crowd of people began to congregate in front of the office. They offered themselves as a shield between the PPII members and the police. The crowd dared police to fire on PPII Headquarters and the police not know how to properly deal with it. They decided to retreat and develop a contingency plan; this was followed a sense of victory in the peoples' ability to back down the HPD.

By this time, most of Houston became aware of the standoff between PPII and HPD; from all over the city's Black communities poured into the 2800 block of Dowling Street to offer support. Many men brought weapons, mothers and sisters came with prepared food to offer the defiant PPII.

Days wore on, and everyone had become fatigued, tense and weary. Also waiting and observing conditions, the Houston Police Dept. and intelligence agencies made a decision to use a well planned military maneuver to assassinate Carl.

On day 10, Sunday July 26, several officers armed with high-powered telescopic rifles secretly gained access to the roof of St. Johns Baptist Church. The tallest building on the block, it would provide the tactical advantage to hold off any return fire. As nightfall approached, Carl was speaking to a crowd of about 100 people at a spontaneous rally in front of the office to raise bail money for two brothers who were arrested earlier.

A car sped by with two women in it shouting out that men were shooting from the roof of the church. Carl asked Roy Bartee Haile and armed members of JBRL (a white militant allied with the PPII who came out to the scene shortly after hearing about the standoff) if any of his members were on top of the church. Upon finding out that it was not JBRL people, Carl picked up a M-1 carbine rifle and proceeded to investigate.

Several people accompanied him. As he attempted to cross the street to get a better look, Howard Dupree, a white news reporter for radio station KULF on the church roof, pointed him out to the snipers. The conspirators shot Carl several times in the stomach and chest with (illegal) hollow point bullets. A very courageous sister dragged Carl to her car and rushed him to Ben Taub Hospital in a futile attempt to save his life. It was there in the emergency room that he died.

Several hundred riot-gear equipped police sealed off a 10 square block radius and swept through the area. Throughout the night and into the dawn, over sixty people were arrested and detained for questioning. "By making the Supreme Sacrifice and Surrendering his life to the Revolution, Carl became a martyr for our inevitable liberation."

Tough To Ignore

How ignoble can you get! This video was painful to watch as it cruised around the sports sites, but this morning it's featured on Yahoo, and there's nothing to do but pout. U of Houston catches a lot of shit, and this is a cow pie in the face.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Humberto, I Hardly Knew Ye

Get outta here!

is this Houston?

Check out this blog of cell phone pictures of Houston HERE.

To The MAXX!!! What the F*ck Is That?

Takashi Murakami did the album art for Kanye West's Graduation, last night on 106 and Park the rapper said that he hopes his discs are worth something down the road- and he's betting on the album art by the Japanese otaku master to lift them out of the trash bin and into the art institution (judging by West's bombastic attitude, he may be aiming higher) Think he'll make it?

click HERE for Kanye West visits the Kaikai Kiki Factory.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jerusalem 2012, Berlin

excerpt of Rua Minx Collaboration with AIDS 3D at Program, Berlin August 18th, 2007

Tuesday Morning Cartoons

Here's some Dawolu Jabari Anderson for ya...

The Diabolical Uncle Ben, 2005



The Smok’n Ethiopian, 2005

Negro Week, 2006

Frederick Douglas Self-Defense Manual Series,
Infinite Step Escape Technique #1: Hand Seeks Cotton, 2005

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Modern Patronage

This is a rare opportunity, the mounting of an exhibit involving the MoMA, MFAH, Centre Pompidou, and other institutions. The oddity here is that a vast debt is owed to the relatively demure Menil Collection; treasures donated by the deMenil family to leading museums were pulled for the exhibit from vast collections in vaults, in some cases ignored or forgotten by their owners. A Modern Patronage mobilizes the particular intricacies of the deMenil’s collecting practices and doubly serves as a measure of the type of works deemed proper to be donated to some of the world’s greatest art institutions. In situ, the show exists in support of a few works that stand head and shoulders above the rest. An innovative mix of tribal artifacts from around the world and mid-century Modernism, the exhibit contrasts the forms of a wide range of artworks, finding similarities in disparate sources.

René Magritte, The Empire of Light II, 1950
Oil on canvas
The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Gift of D. and J. de Menil
(c) The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA /
Art Resource, NY. (c) ARS, NY

This Houston institution places their intimidating group of works in a darkened gallery, adding to the pervasive grey tone in the body of work and dampening the drama in the gallery. The first room focuses on Magritte, and while the viewer filters past a foreboding and solid Aztec standard bearer and a mystical stone figure, an Akwanshi from Nigeria, the stonework in the surrounding paintings gains weight. Just inside the second room of the exhibit hangs a painting by the mysterious German painter Wols. A simple figure is aggressively scrawled onto raw canvas in black and red, simple shapes delineating a mouth and eyes in enraptured shock. A member of a short lived and nihilistic group living in Paris in the ruins of the Second World War, the artist channeled a dark, violent energy during his short career, and is often ignored as a precursor to the emergence of Abstract Expressionism in New York. A notable loan from the MFAH, the sculpture untitled, by Lee Bontecou, is a standout expression of the artist’s depth of emotion in her inventive constructions; atypical for her era and foreshadowing artistic and architectural forms that have grown viable in the past fifty years.

Jackson Pollock, The Deep, 1953
Oil and enamel on canvas
Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
CNAC/MNAM/Dist. Réunion des Musées Nationaux /
Art Resource, NY (c) ARS, NY. Photo: Jacques Faujour

The lynchpin of A Modern Patronage is a late Pollock, The Deep, on loan from the Pompidou Centre in Paris and unlikely to be seen on American soil again for decades. This large painting, once decried as a symptomatic failure of the late work of the Abstract Expressionist, is now resurrected by the Menil- the focus of an artist’s roundtable in July- as a powerful image worthy of praise. The work is flanked by other works by Pollock, earlier and later, owned by the MFAH and the Menil, along with an Asante vessel, a powerful Wols, Manhattan, and an early Rothko- notably different from the ethereal mood of later, more famous works on exhibit here and in other galleries of the museum.

Andy Warhol, Big Electric Chair (1967)
(not included in the exhibition)
137,2 x 185,2 cm, Collection Froehlich, Stuttgart

The fourth and largest room holds a blush of bright electric chairs, four paintings by Andy Warhol from different periods in his career including Lavender Disaster. The space is balanced by three large sculptures; two oversized Oldenburg sculptures in white, one an electric fan that dangles from the ceiling, the other a sunken drum kit, and a Larry Rivers sculpture with two pairs of female figures perpetually reversing the roles of dominance, satirizing Manet’s Olympia. Two models for Christo’s early works and their mock-up collage photographs are playful sculptures. As miniatures their absurdity is blunted by the reality that; yes, the artist did go around wrapping buildings in massive swathes of cloth. Coyly curated, the Menil Collection’s laissez faire attitude sells less books and tee shirts than the rest of the uber-branded museum world, but their prudishness can buy clout in short supply with those willing to look hard enough.

in the new issue- Artshouston


Mel Chin, 9-11 / 9*11, 2005-7

Free screening of Mel Chin's new movie 9-11 / 9*11 at the MFAH
tomorrow at 6pm. Free. Color. 22 Minutes.

September 11, 1973: Santiago, Chile. September 11, 2001: New York City. The Chilean military coup of President Allende ushered in 17 years of autocratic rule that left countless victims of torture and more than 3,000 dead. The terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of New York´s World Trade Center forever scarred the security of the American people. In this somber animated short, Houston artist Mel Chin tells a tale of two cities, a tragedy of two times, through a story of love and hope wrecked by overt and covert manipulations of power. Part of a global dialogue about the human impact of these collective traumas, 9-11/9-11 debuted at the MFAH as a work in progress in 2006.

"Following the screening, an exclusive live video conference will be transmitted from New York City and Santiago, Chile. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., the Houston audience will "witness" commentary and discourse from both countries. The real-time interplay will be projected on the big screen in the Brown Auditorium Theater. Citizens from two cities that were transfigured by tragic 9-11 circumstances 28 years apart will be given time for individual expression and recollection. The transmission will pause for a rescreening of 9-11/9-11 and return to a view of live bi-city audience response. The evening concludes at approximately 9:00 p.m. CST."

What'cha Been Doin'?

We are throwing a show for the Westheimer Block Party this October on Saturday the 13th called "Overgrown". We have 8 setups for 2D work on 2 4x8 panels flat panels set at a 90 degree angle, to be installed in front of Numbers and at the corner of Westheimer and Taft. As well, we will have installation and performance pieces surrounding Helios, Mangos, La Strada and Numbers and along Westheimer near the festival.

"Overgrown" is an installation and performance art exhibit focusing on the abundance of Houston grown, both technological and ecological. Artists living here in the city are constantly aware of the long reach of human construction and manipulation, as well as the organic effects of an overactive natural environment that seems to find ways to envelop and adjust to anything in its path.

We'll have a full list of artists by this Wednesday, September 13th.


buffalo sean

Drawing Everybody Down

Wooooo!!!!!! We won a game!!!

The Chron likes to toot Houston's horn, but their latest tangentially art-related article makes Paris look like buddies with the good 'ol boys in Texas. With an exhibit about rugby during the Rugby World Cup, the Quai Branly museum is looking for the same kind of viewers the MFAH was fishing for during the Super Bowl in 2004 with Houston Texans photographs and Gun Show exhibits.

masque fibres végétales, baguette polychrome, écorce battue, plumes, graines

Check out their site at the Quai Branly- it is usually a non-Western and tribal museum with their last show focusing on the Polynesian art of New Ireland... most of the Menil's large Polynesian pieces are from the same mountainous island... check out some New Ireland sculpture HERE...

Oh, and go Texans...

Sunday, September 9, 2007


is that really necessary?

I was driving down Allen Parkway, and the Large Spindle, 1969, by Henry Moore has a big trash can next to it. It's a small piece in that big field, but the only 'iconic' sculpture in the vista. I think I saw it in a Ford commercial once...

This won't make any sense in nine days

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Cody Ledvina, Interview, 2007

Penny Rocket