Monday, June 22, 2009

DEBRIS: More than Enough to Shake a Stick At

After a sugar high comes the inevitable crash. It’s a lesson seldom learned by children, but apropos of all sorts of substance abuse that kid will encounter. A spring full of amazing exhibits this year has left me nowhere to go but down, and I have appropriately become irritable, sleepy and withdrawn. I’m scanning the horizon with bloodshot eyes as my hands start to shake and my brain feels tortured with anguish. Where will my next fix come from?

Slama, Abduction

I’ve been to the Contemporary Arts Museum, but the Torsten Slama show makes me want to kick puppies. Seriously, the “What the fuck is this shit” quotient has to be exceedingly high for this exhibit; the plaintive landscapes with wonky Modernist buildings in anal-retentive exactitude and man-boy seduction scenes in pencil are so barren of emotion I was waiting for a warehouse fire or a rape scene. At the Blaffer Gallery, Existed: Leonardo Drew mashes both Robert Ryman-inspired exactitude and Bob Rauschenberg-style accumulations of detritus into dreary claptrap. Whatever cultural context Drew professes to illuminate is buried in the same sand that his head is in. Brent Steen’s drawings at Inman Gallery can’t even give enough to the viewer to be as dreary as Drew’s instead they come off as both lazy and uninspiring. Marlene Dumas’ massive show at the Menil Collection may have merit as postmodern portraiture, but unless you really get into it, they’re only going to make you depressed about South African racism, exploitation of women, heartbreak and dead babies.

Marlene Dumas, Lucy


Carlos Cruz-Diez’s installation of painted crosswalks is terribly pleasant to walk across, but the one-off nature of his project- confined to the street directly in front the Museum of Fine Arts- leaves me thinking that unless he went big and painted a whole neighborhood in them its just a navel-gazing exercise magnified by all the press this paint on the street has gotten. The Texas Sculpture Roundup at the Art Car Museum suffers from the opposite problem; the whole place is stuffed with large sculpture, but the presence of bad work with the good drags the whole show down. Where will it all end?!? I may jump in the bayou if this doesn’t get any better. Maybe the summer will kill me off; I’ll just lie in the sun all day, drinking salt water, slathered in baby oil, next to a pile of burning tires.

thanks for the tires, kid.