Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stupid Saturday

Seriously Stupid

Thanks to Chicago

Secret Saturday Festival

1206 W. 20th in the heights
(713) 869-7000

also the 'ol White Linen Nights for boozin' up on the streets of the Heights!

Can You Feel It Coming From the West

A Gust of Wind
, Gustave Courbet, 1865

Included in the MFAH's current Impressionist mess, The Forest at Fontainebleau; A Gust of Wind seemed so familiar to me yesterday. Then I remembered Modern Art Notes was just talking about it with Robyn O'Neil on Friday.

It sure is a monster, emotional canvass. But you already know that. That painting was Bob Ross heaven. So many palette knife strokes that fade into eye-tricking realism- Rocks! Stream! House in the distance!

The sky is seriously tilted, either pushing your head into tilting itself or leaving one with a serious sense of dread. Whether applied to the painting- with it's storm approaching quickly- or to one's eyesight- there must be something wrong- or more manifestly as applying to your life- welling, growing fear- there is no doubting Courbet's emotional register. Painted in 1865, as the Napoleonic echo was about to fail, the pugnacious pugilist thrived on change and worked through art to bring about rapture. or the Commune. or whatever as long as it happened.

Forest at the MFAH is a low tide Impressionist show, but a few early Monet's make it worth a trip- and all of y'all better see Courbet. Then watch Bob Ross and imagine he's screaming about power to the people.

This is a ridiculous tribute to Bob Ross- watch with care

ps- check out Tyler Green calling out the MFAH for Gust of Wind's inclusion in Fontainebleau. Apparently the scholarship doesn't add up, but that show needed a punch at the end, so screw the scholars.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sam Taylor-Wood Opens Tonight

Fuck Suck Spank Wank

The Last Century, 2005

Still Life, 2001

Kyoto Girls at Rockefeller Center

Link to David, a video of David Beckham sleeping for 67 minutes

Robert Downey Jr., from Crying Men

Opening at the Contemporary Arts Museum
5216 Montrose Boulevard
6:30 - 9pm

What do you think of the fashion photog getting the whole gallery?

She hold up all those temporary walls.

Still Life is at the CAMH and the MFAH at the same time.

Two To See, I Wanted To See Them Together

Dan Kopp and Rene Cruz are both up in Houston through mid-August at CTRL and Domy, respectively. Kopp's paintings really grabbed me last month, and I wanted to juxtapose them with Cruz's Paradise/Gravedigger imagery. Enjoy!

Kopp, Chief

Cruz, Gravedigger

Kopp, Psychic Field


gratuitous shot of Knitta, Please in Austin

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lecture Tomorrow en la Manana

Dr. Franklin played a seminal role in the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education case, marched on Washington in 1963 and in Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the MFAH Lecture: Reflections on a Century of Change in African American Art and Life.

August 1st, 10 am (Donut reception held at 9 am)

Dr. John Hope Franklin
James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History
Duke University

Dr. John Hope Franklin, now 93, reigns supreme as the dean of American history. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, his definitive account of the black experience in America, first published in 1947, remains the core text in the field of African American studies with more than 3 million copies sold.

Gathering of Tribes

RIP Engine Room

See ya later!

Won't miss the bad acoustics!


via Swamplot

Eli as Ally

"Every year there are new galleries and art spaces in Houston. We are getting bigger slowly but surely. I think Houston could be the next major art city. I think we have no where to go but up. And I want to be here to see it, and to help build it."

Nice interview with hat-wearer Eli Brumbaugh about Artstorm and their new digs in the Museum District at Caroline Collective featured on Houstonist!

Eli offers a quick critique on the failure of other orgs to garner excitement; "Well, ArtStorm was the first gallery that didn't ask me for a resume."

Check out a review of their "Creature Comforts" show HERE.

What started Brumbaugh on his descent into the seedy artworld? Artcrawl of course.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nice to see it twice

Lynne McCabe (now off to Cali), Building Walls Together, 2008

Three different perspectives on the Blaffer Area Show from Douglas Britt , Nancy Wozny and Beth Secor.

Douglas: "The result is a mixed bag, with enough strong work to more than justify a visit to the gallery... Artists can make all the references they want, but the work needs to do something more. Otherwise, they might as well just write an essay."

Nancy: "Wit, satire, and biting social commentary rule the walls at the 2008 Houston Area Exhibition at the Blaffer Gallery... humor can be found in Jeff Williams’s grungy set of Venetian blinds, Thickly Settled, which address a kind of neglect using amazingly convincing synthetic dust."

Beth: "There are some works in the show that slightly miss the mark, but it's certainly worth seeing. Curator Claudia Schmuckli's decision to limit the number of artists included and let them show larger installations and bodies of work was a wise one."

Who spit it best?

Scooped in Their Own Town

Why am I reading about THIS in a paper from Tuscon when it happened in Houston?

UPDATE: Blogs are smarter than the news! july 16- Houston Museum of Natural Science quotes...

The first place it was mentioned! Not by a news org!
thanks Allen!

Barack the Casbah

Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier
Barricade in the Rue De La Mortellerie June 1848 (Memory of Civil War), 1849

Because Obama is a walled citadel. And it's a pun on The Clash. How else can you describe the necessary capitulation that comes with writing about art? The myth of the genius and the rumor of principled ideology. Inside the system means, as one Alaska state senator would say; "I'll git 'er done. I'll sell my soul to the devil to git 'er done."

So how does writing about art help artists? It includes them in the system. They become a cog in a capitalist system most accurately portrayed in The Emperor's New Clothes. Or There Will Be Blood. Through speech and acts and faith arbitrary values are assigned to arbitrary items. People of a certain wealth will purchase them. Sometimes they are bought and sold as stocks are, with the artist and her projected clout seen as a dividend and the object (loosely) defined as a certificate of ownership in a piece of that clout. Other times people buy because they like an artwork. Sometimes it is only the physical aspects that sell art, but that's how Santa Fe landscape painters sell their wares. Like tchotchkes.

Rather, the majority of the artworld, and all the people inside it, thrive on ancillary information. The ability of an artist to be successful is directly related to how interesting the breath surrounding their object (or not) is. What the fuck does that mean? It is people. We are soylent green.

I've been obsessed with politics for the past few months. I didn't write about art for a while, but I still pored over websites and videos, dropping my two cents into the cavernous mouth of the interwebs. I rediscovered a love for political cartoons. Bookmark that link. It's good shit. The underbelly of politics is that is all about people, and there is nothing we can do about it. Voting for principles is a hollow endeavor, fooling both the voter and the votee into thinking that this is anything but a personal relationship. I'm glad I realized that writing about art is the same sham.

Art Gous, "Come On Down!!!"

I started writing for Artforum a few weeks ago. I got giddy like a schoolgirl and pissed myself. When the Houston Press called I couldn't resist jumping back in. I'm very sorry that I didn't write any B.S. for so long. I couldn't resist after I saw a poster from a Republican's website. How can I refuse being the difference between Osama and Obama?

May 1968... you son of a bitch. I hate that I had been duped by artists, art writers and art institutions into thinking that the celebration of such a moment was anything but a play for money. You didn't take it seriously. You didn't take it seriously. You didn't take it seriously. You didn't take it seriously. You didn't take it seriously. Fuck you guys. If there is no emotion in your nostalgia then it is not nostalgia, just pandering to another's sentimentality. Huh, irony is dead. Soon the artworld will be dead. What happened in the interim? Art outgrew the world that sells to the rich.

I just rated every gallery in Houston- and unless you click that link and say something yourself then my word is paramount. Excuse me but your authority is leaking. Derek pointed out to me that a group I started five years ago and forgot about soon after is still a hub for a community, a convenient ledge to take shelter and a group defined by itself. No one to point at them. The greatest thing is that we have so many new places to percolate. Taggers FAILE and Banksy sell direct to the consumer, cutting out the middleman. Free is not just for wine to ply your wares, it's a justifiable marketing tool. Both artists sell their work for thousands of dollars. They are traded on Ebay like hedge funds. They live online, their market is able to see their work from around the globe without touching a gallery press release once.

Ha ha ha. So funny! I can't not write about art right now. This'll be too much fun. As we explode.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Red Bull: Can of Bullshit

Now it doesn’t bother me that they cost twice as much per ounce as any other energy drink. Or that they have introduced a new and legal high to America. No, it bothers me that Red Bull decided to throw their bullshit Art of the Can in Houston.

Three and a half minutes of bullshit shoveling, courtesy Shelby Hodge (who knows this is beneath her)

Haven’t heard of it? Seen the billboards of bauxite pterodactyls? Or their web ads with a shiny tin cowboy boot? Hmm… then you must not be one of the five hundred artists who submitted to the exhibit. Pardon me while I tell those artists FUCK YOU YOU GOT HOSED. Excuse me, but I had a feeling one of them might read this and I couldn’t resist the urge to publicly insult someone. If you are sitting next to someone who entered the show tell ‘em for me.

Their ridiculousness is only eclipsed by the willingness of advertisers to use, exploit and degrade you. Three things strike me as particularly stupid in this endeavor, an artist’s willingness to forgo one’s judgment of materials, the inestimable monetary cost of the project and the complacency and triviality of the artworld.

Materials, malleable objects and ideas, are explored through trial and error and practice. Conceptual artists screaming in a dark room go through the same shtick as a watercolor artist painting on a Sunday afternoon. Exploring materials, finding what you like to work with is a big part of artistic identity. Warhol had silkscreens, Rauschenberg had ink transfers and Oldenburg had cloth. Robyn O’Neil has pencils, Bert Long has ice and the Art Guys have their bodies.

Why would you limit yourself to a prescribed, corporate material? Barring an intensely enlightened group working together for a very long time I would not believe an exhibit of one material could ever be justifiable. The fact that the show looked like a high school hallway on parent’s night was unavoidable, but shame on you guys for getting duped into thinking this could ever be worth it beyond that navel-gazing moment of delight that comes with being included. On the team.

By the way, in getting on this team, how much did you guys spend on those cans you’ve woven into dragons, mustaches and the Statue of Liberty? Didn’t think about it did ya. Or maybe it just blew by; you were so high on fructose syrup and guarana. No entry fee for the exhibit? What a crock of bullshit. It’d cost you $200 to construct a spaceman out of your product’s encasement. Maybe it only cost a hundred bucks to cover that guitar in $4 eight-ounce cans. It’s kind of like usury.

Arthur shortens his name to 'Art' when he signs a painting.

Does it seem stupid to enter yet? Or would you like to hear about Arthur Vaisvilas’ piece? The hapless son-of-a-bitch drew The Ramones wearing Red Bull t-shirts as they rock out in a stilted colored pencil attempt at thankfulness. Unless you’re in high school Arthur, you should be punched in the face. You might be big so I’m not gonna do it- but The Ramones deserve better. The oodles of cash Red Bull throws around all over the country on fun, stupid shit is reprehensible if you’re not having fun, but if you’re part of the crowd you may feel some sense of elation, like there’s something new happening and you’re in the thick of it. Shut the fuck up. It’s all the caffeine.

The jittery feeling you get sometimes, when it seems like there is a comprehensive, wide-ranging spectrum of artists out there and possibilities for advancement; that means that someone should back over you with a truck. Don’t assume that those collectors and critics at the opening spell validation. I am terribly surprised at the ability to bend over backwards and lower their standards that many jurors demonstrated, as well as the media outlets and even well meaning artists.

Red Bull Air Show, Perth, Australia

Oh, I mean that I’m so surprised that they can do that when there is money involved. Did that slip my mind? Woops. As one juror stiffly said; “don’t take it so seriously, they’re not artists.” I was staggered. I kind of hoped that they were artists. I kind of believe that they are, even Arthur, and they shouldn’t have to go away when the money leaves. The kvetching that went on when the Hunting Prize patronized to artists sent the community into an uproar, but no one takes this seriously? Damned bull, I would have preferred a pinewood derby or an air show, and this will not do. At least it has proven that corporations have an extensive reach in the artworld, and to resist it is futile. I’m not drinking a can of that shit. I’ll drink the Kool-Aid.