The Armory this year was solid. Pulse and Volta, on the other hand, felt mostly like the art world slinging the same hash we’ve been chowing down for the past decade.
A mechanical bull decorated with cut-up Budweiser cans and bling, by Kristian Kozul with TZR.
Like many dealers at Pulse, Austin’s Lora Reynolds followed the Volta practice of only showing one artist, in this case Tom Molloy. Here is Reynolds:
Also flying the TX flag with nary a sequined saddle in sight was Dallas’ Light & Sie, who were busy in their crowded booth:
Everyone kept saying that Volta was much better than Pulse. I think that’s true, though it’s easier to like Volta because the single-artist approach helps keep things visually consistent. I ran into artist Hilary Wilder there:
She’s one of those artists who no longer live in Texas who we miss having around.
Nuthin’ but luv for the guys from Houston’s CTRL Gallery (with Dan Kopp’s paintings)
Allen drew and redrew things starting with each letter of the alphabet until the image was completely abstracted, then constructed a sculpture to resemble that image. Here is his drawing for "F":
He had a sculpture for every letter of the alphabet in the booth.
Across the way was Margarita Cabrera, on view in the booth of LA dealer Walter Maciel. Cabrera has continued the series of terra cotta sculptures first displayed at Arthouse for her Texas Prize project in 2007. For that show, she created a life-sized terra cotta tractor decorated with the little clay flowers and birds that are "mass produced" by women in Mexico. The Maciel booth featured more manageably sized versions of other farm implements:
Alejandro Diaz, whom I still think of as a San Antonio artist even though he hasn’t lived there for years, had a terrific booth for LA’s The Happy Lion that got mentioned in the NYT for the affordability of Diaz’s marker-on-cardboard drawings:
After Pulse and Volta, I decided to skip the rest of the fairs and visit museums. Martin Kippenberger’s show at MoMA was a revelation for the hilarious attitude and mockery of the hyperserious postwar German art scene. Every young artist making bad paintings for the sake of being funny and giving the art world the finger needs to see this show, and find something else to do with their time. Kudos to MoMA for their helpful, intelligent, pitch-perfect wall text in this show. Whoever’s writing that stuff deserves a big raise.
After Kippenberger, the Museum of Art and Design was deeply disappointing, but I’ll save that rant for later this week.
*There is a lack of irony in the way Kozul has gone swimming in Texas kitsch that suggests (ironically?) the very same lack of irony in the works of the Serious German Painters (Richter, Polke, etc) that Kippenberger mocks in his MoMA show. What is it about German culture that makes it so darned earnest? And whose German head did Kippenberger himself spring out of?