Marfa Community Day 2014

marfa community day

Few communities are close-knit enough to call to order an annual gathering and feast to celebrate each other and their space in the world, but Marfa, TX is one of those places. The West Texas outpost—part rancher wilderness, part artist enclave—is one of the few places in the US that can claim such a dicotomous identity and still seem to function peacably (at least on the surface).

The Chinati Foundation, the legacy of artist Donald Judd’s half-life spent there, hosts an annual party for the town every spring called Marfa Community Day—an all-are-welcome, look-at-art, and have-some-Mexican-food-and-beer fest. Chinati really throws its doors open to the public for this day, allowing self-guided tours of Judd’s home, the Mansana de Chinati/The Block, where much of his work is situated, as well as his studios. Visitors may also explore selections from Chinati’s permanent collection including the John Chamberlain building, Dan Flavin’s Untitled (Marfa Project), Donald Judd’s 100 works in mill aluminum and 15 works in concrete, Richard Long’s Sea Lava Circles, and Claus Oldenburg and Coosje von Bruggen’s Monument to the Last Horse, as well as participate in a number of other on-site activites.

Marfa Community Day is free and open to the whole wide world of anyone at all, from here, there or anywhere.

Sunday, April 27, 1-7 pm

Effectual Networking for the Undiscovered

Curator Astria Suparak

Curator Astria Suparak

Unless you are very well-connected to wide art-market networks, getting renowned art professionals–curators, educators, artists–into your studio may be a long-shot, especially of you are just starting out as an “emerging” artist. Reaching out to people who have no idea you exist is a hard task, especially when networking from Texas, even if all of your ducks are in a row: good work, good website, good CV. An advocate, an intermediary of some kind, is in order if a No Name is going to get face time with a Real Name. Diverse Works in Houston wants to be that intermediary.

Diverse Discourse brings national curators, artistic directors, and critics to Houston to present a free public lecture and conduct studio visits with selected Houston-area artists, performers, and writers.  Diverse Discourse provides a significant opportunity for area artists in all disciplines to have their work reviewed by a variety of distinguished arts professionals, fostering a cultural exchange across the nation between artists and cultural producers.

This year’s lecturers/studio visitors include Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Education and Public Programs at San Francisco Art Institute and Astria Suparak, Independent Curator. Applicants will be selected by the visiting lecturers.

- must reside in Harris County, Texas (or studio must be in Harris County)
- must be a DiverseWorks member at any level (artists who participated in the most recent Luck of the Draw benefit are automatically DiverseWorks members)
- must NOT be currently enrolled in a degree-granting program (i.e. BFA or MFA)

Application deadline is APRIL 28.

What Texas Art Organizations Will Receive NEA Grants?

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

The National Endowment for the Arts isn’t funding art like it used to back before the so-called cultural wars led to the gutting of the budget. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t important funding up for grabs. The NEA announced their spring arts grants, which included a total of 37 grants for Texas arts organizations totaling $1,685,900. Typically, performing arts organizations gobble up the majority of those funds, but there are some visual arts organizations and related programs that will benefit. Here’s who:

Though the organization is not in Texas, the Cultural Landscape Foundation received $35,000 to support its online database, What’s Out There, which will tap landscape architecture faculty and students from four Texas universities to research and photograph the historic, designed landscape of Texas.

The Texas Commission on the Arts: $911,900 to supports its programing, including arts grants.

The University of Texas at Arlington: $15,000 to conduct a study which tries to measure the impact of arts industries and small-scale urban manufacturers on the economy.

The Austin Fine Arts Alliance, Inc.: $10,000 to support collaborative, site-specific art works for a weekend festival.

The Austin Independent School District: $20,000 to support instruction in game design, graphic design, and narrative storytelling.

bcWORKSHOP: $30,000 for the Dallas-based urban planning, community-building and architecture nonprofit’s Dallas Public Design Impact Program, which matches designers, design firms, and academic programs with local nonprofit organizations in need of design support.

Houston’s Diverseworks: $25,000 for the DiverseDialogues Series, which brings international artist to Houston to engage with local communities.

The Houston Arts Alliance: $40,000 for the Houston Folklife and Traditional Arts Program.

Voices Breaking Boundaries (Houston): $30,000 for its community art workshops, which examine intercultural conflicts in North American and South Asian border regions.

The Ellen Noel Art Museum of Odessa: $20,000 to support its programing for the visually challenged.

San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Affairs: $15,000 for its downtown temporary public art projects.

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center (San Antonio): $25,000 for programming and art exhibits.

The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (San Antonio): $40,000 for a program which offers arts management training to mid-career artists

And finally, our very own Glasstire received $25,000 to support the expansion of what we do, which is bring you news like this. High fives all around, Texas Art.

Fl!ght Gallery to Relocate/Upgrade to Larger Space

Fl!ght Gallery. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas

Fl!ght Gallery. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, courtesy the San Antonio Express-News.

San Antonio’s Fl!ght Gallery, located in the popular South Flores Arts District, has announced that it will be moving to the Blue Star Arts Complex in time for the monthly art walk/gallery night First Friday in May. The relocation of the 11-year-old gallery was a decision that gallery director Justin Parr made after seeing a larger, more equipped space, complete with kitchen, bathroom, studio space and more natural light near Blue Star. The possibilities in that that space could offer are greater than the ones of the current space. The move to the highly recognized Blue Star Art Complex is a real estate step-up, for sure, and seemed the right route for the gallery to take, Parr told Glasstire. “It’s a great step forward for us.”

How to Ask for Moolah 101

  Christopher Wool,  Apocalypse Now, 1988, Alkyd and flashe on aluminum and steel, 84" X 72"

Apocalypse Now 1988 Alkyd and flashe on aluminum and steel, 84″ X 72″

In the lifelong battle that is eeking out a living for most artists, navigating the mystifying world of grants and creative financial support can be a quagmire few are brave enough to wade into. Understanding that, next Monday, April 21, Fresh Art presents a workshop called “Funding Strategies for Independent Artists” at Art League Houston, with the aim of getting artists, performers, writers, etc. in the know about how to tap into creative cash flow.

Led by Fresh Arts Executive Director Jenni Rebecca Stephenson and composer and musician Jerry Ochoa of Two Star Symphony, the workshop will focus on: identifying grant opportunities (including several key local opportunities), increasing accessibility to additional funding through fiscal sponsorship, and securing individual contributions and institutional support. It will also gives clues on crowd-funding campaigns (Kick Starter, etc) and offer examples of how local artists have successfully raised money for their projects.

The Art Barn is No More

Photo By Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle

Photo By Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle

After setting aside only the metal siding that used to cover its exterior, at the request of a group of alumni, Rice University went ahead with its plans to demolish the architecturally significant Art Barn today, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry-designed building was commissioned my John and Dominique de Menil in 1969 as a temporary space for an art exhibition, but the building remained for nearly 50 more years, much-loved and emulated by architects all over the world for its simple corrugated metal exterior.

A great deal of outcry from admirers of the building (properly called the Martel Center) followed reports that the university intended to tear it down make room for more lawn, and a brief stay of execution was granted to rethink the proposal. But the university has resolved to carry out the leveling which began today in full by tomorrow.

Machine Project Rolls into Houston

machine project

CORE program alumnus and director of the LA-based Machine Project, Mark Allen, comes to Houston this week pulling along a big bag of tricks to unpack—three nights + three venues of Machine Project memories + drawings of his own besides!

As a primer, Machine Project is a storefront space in the Echo Park neighborhood of LA where events are staged about two times a week—anything from scientific talks to poetry readings to musical performances to competitions to group naps and cheese tastings. Machine Project is also an educational space, loosely called, instructing on things like: “electronics, sewing, pickling, computer programming, car theft and so forth.” As a third leg of cheeky awesomeness, Machine Project is also a group of art/performer collaborators who get invited by museums to bring this array of identities to the public.

Here’s the rundown on Machine Project’s Houston take-over:

Thursday night, April 17, Machine Project will be at MFAH screening some of their experimental films which include such themes as “pizza, babies, psychics, swimming pools, sonic massage, trapdoors, an opera for dogs, plants on vacation and a bunch of other stuff.” This movie mash-up goes down at 7 pm at the Glassell School of Art..

Friday night, April 18, from 6 to 9pm, the Brandon is the opening Other Ways of Looking At It: The Graphic Design and Films of Machine Project. This is the first retrospective of the screen prints and performance documentation that the collective have made over the last 10 years.

Saturday night, April 19, Mark Allen, the man behind Machine Project’s curtain, is opening Mark Allen: Drawings and Notes, 2013-2014 at Front Gallery from 5-7 pm. This show is a collection of more than 50 drawings in ink or colored pencil that Allen has made over the last year and a half, and will be his first show in Houston in 15 years.

DMA brings Takashi Murakami to Dallas!

Takashi Murakami Jellyfish Eyes, 2013 Film still © 2013 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Image courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

Takashi Murakami, Jellyfish Eyes, 2013, Film still
© 2013 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Image courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

The Dallas Museum of Art will be the first stop on a nine-city tour of the US for Japanese artist and art world big-shot Takashi Murakami’s live action film Jellyfish Eyes, the museum announced today.  The film blends Murakami’s trademark anime-inspired sensibility with socio-political themes, as well as themes of self-empowerment. Typically dealing in fast-action gross-outs loaded with social commentary about consumerism and glut, Murakami’s foray into feature-length filmmaking promises to be equally as compelling, or repellent, depending on your stance.

In his feature filmmaking debut, renowned visual artist Takashi Murakami transforms the classic cinematic trope of the new kid on the block into a genre-defying adventure. Having recently lost his father, young Masashi moves with his mother to a small city in the Japanese countryside. But when he discovers that their new apartment is already inhabited by a pint-sized, gravity-defying creature, Masashi begins to pull back the curtain on this sleepy town and finds that very little is what it appears to be.  As a connoisseur of Japanese popular culture, from children’s manga and anime to classic monster movies, Murakami packs his film with a delirious abundance of ideas and imagery. What other coming-of-age fantasy has romance, battling CGI avatars, nuclear intrigue, rival doppelgangers, and a giant monster?

Right on. And, just to be sure that Murakami is a real person and not himself some avatar in a virtual world, the man will be at the museum IRL (that’s computer for in real life) on May 1 after the screening of the film to dialogue with DMA curator Gabe Ritter, an expert on contemporary Japanese art.

UNT Acquires Fort Worth Family’s Photography Collection

Foot race on Fuller street Fort Worth, Texas 1959. (Shot by Byrd IV at age 7)

Foot race on Fuller street Fort Worth, Texas 1959. (Shot by Byrd IV at age 7)

The University of North Texas recently purchased the massive photography collection of the Williams family, an old Fort Worth band of fathers and sons who were all photographers and who have been documenting the city and its environs since the late 1800′s, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The collection catalogues major landmarks and moments in Fort Worth throughout the generations, but also includes scenes farther afield, like the Texas-Mexico border, “where Byrd Williams II photographed soldiers fighting with Mexican Revolutionary Gen. Pancho Villa near El Paso in 1915.”

Byrd Williams IV, 62, believes that as much as the collection is a document of Texas, it is also a document of the evolution of photography itself. “Photography was only invented in the 1830s,”says Morgan Gieringer, head of archives and rare books at UNT in Denton.  “The Williams collection documents the history of photography as a growing way to capture and document our culture.”

The photographs are on view at the reading room in UNT’s library.

Margaret Crow, Prominent Art Philanthropist, Dies at 94

Margaret Doggett Crow, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News.

Margaret Doggett Crow, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News.

Margaret Crow, art collector, philanthropist and wife of famed developer Trammell Crow, died from natural causes at her home in Dallas Friday night, the Dallas Morning News reports . Crow and her husband were world travelers and amassed one of the best Asian art collections in the world, founding the Crow Collection of Asian Art to showcase it in 1998.  Since then, the Crow Collection has established itself as one of the anchor museum tenants in the Dallas Arts District, helping push that area’s reputation for excellence.

Crow, who was a survivor of the SS Athenia when it became the first British ship sunk by a Nazi U-boat in World War II, leaves behind five children, many of whom are active supporters of the arts just as their parents were, including daughter Lucy Billingsley, owner of a prominent real estate company that operates out of the Arts District.

The Dallas Art Fair Kicks Off, Says Everyone

The Dallas Art Fair kicked off Thursday, and the reports are starting to trickle in. D Magazine picks the top 10 galleries it wants you to see (beware the glut of abstraction). And the Dallas Observer rounds up a colorful smattering of work, including Brian Jones’ self-portrait, burning Bit Tex.

Also in Dallas for the fair, radio, a LA-based underground station that has set up at the very above ground Joule for the weekend. Their guests and hosts include a list of New York art world personalities, some Dallas guests (like Power Station proprietor Alden Pinnell and artist/critic Noah Simblist), and the ubiquitous Richard Phillips, who seems to be everywhere in Dallas this weekend. You can read more about the station over on the New York Times’ T blog.

And now, courtesy of Blouin Art Info, here’s DAF in 60 seconds! (Abstraction!)

The Art of Hiding, for Teens

Teens let loose. Band of Outsiders, 1964

Teens let loose in the museum. Band of Outsiders, 1964

The Contemporary Austin will host an evening for teens celebrating the art of hiding, as if teenagers don’t have that skill mastered already, at an event called Le Caché: A Masked Celebration of the Art of Hiding. Using the French word for “hidden,” Le Cache is a perhaps genius move, at once calling teenagers out on the fact that they are at the most sneaky stage in their lives, and giving them license to be just that. Making masks under black lights and hiding in a photo booth are all good arenas for acting out an adolescent need for darkness in tight spaces. Or something.

Also expect a pop-up art show and stop-motion animation station hosted by The Edge of Imagination Station.

This Frenchy action goes down next Saturday, April, April 19, 5-7, Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave.

New Artist-made Creative Stations to be Implemented at the Blanton

blanton workstations

Beginning in June, the Blanton Museum of Art at University of Texas at Austin will implement the use of a series of works of art-cum-creative work stations made by artist Leslie Mutchler, Director of the Foundations Program at UT.  The commissioned hybrid artworks/artwork-making-places will be called WorkLAB Satellites and are flat-pack style constructions that are able to be configured in a number of ways. They will be situated throughout the museum so that visitors have places to let their creative juices overflow after looking at art in the galleries, “represent[ing] current thinking about the role of creative problem solving, and how art can be used to facilitate learning,” says the museum. This means the workstations serve as interpretive centers, much like one would find at a nature preserve, helping make big ideas, like photosynthesis or abstract painting, be easily accessible and applicable to everyday life.

The logic of such manufactured sites of engagement is to encourage “creativity, dialogue, and play among our visitors,” says Blanton director of education and academic affairs Ray Williams, in the hopes of creating a lasting relationship between art and children, primarily, though anyone, adults included, can hunker down at a station and make a paper and pipe-cleaner sculpture if they feel the inspired urge.

MAC Announces Departure of Executive Director

heesMcKinney Avenue Contemporary’s Executive Director Lisa Hees has announced she is leaving the art space after three years at the helm, effective June 1.  Hees will pursue arts related opportunities in the Boston area. The MAC, under Hees’ direction, experienced organizational growth through new collaborations and programming initiatives, and the quality of the art exhibitions produced while under her direction were largely excellent. Many received recognition in local and national media.

“I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with my incredible staff and Board of Directors,” says Hees. “The past three years I was Director at The MAC have been both professionally and personally rewarding beyond anything I could have imagined. I look forward to the future of The MAC and watching it continue to grow and serve its important role in our expanding cultural landscape.”

Free Art, Austin!

A street art collective in Austin known as SprATX has been sending folks all over town on mad-crazy scavenger hunts every Friday night. The treasure? Free art. Small token artworks are left throughout the city with clues posted by the artists on Instagram. Then, like so many Bansky fans, scavengers scramble throughout the city to snatch up what ever they can find. Austin’s PBS station KRLU has just produced a short video of the SparTX team’s Free Art Fridays as part of its Arts in Context short film series:

Membership Workspace for Artists/Creatives to Open in Houston


Houston Makerspace. Image courtesy Marisa Brodie.

It’s a fairly common problem: you go to art school, make lots of stuff using all the available tools, get used to the convenience, graduate, and then lose the free studio and free tools. You’re SOL for a table saw, lasercutter, 3-D printer and even just tableroom to work. So unless you and some buddies can pool your funds to make a legitamate studio workshop, you better start making small works on paper at your dining room table (which is now (again) your studio).

A scenario such as this is why some clever folks in Houston have developed an art-gear mecca called Houston Makerspace, which opens this Saturday, April 12, with much fanfare, after which time “Houstonians will have access to an unparalleled arena of workspace offerings including a wood shop, metal shop, rapid prototyping lab (read: laser cutters and 3D printers!), screen printing studio, letterpress shop, jewelry studio, and sewing and textiles lab.” They’ve also got the fittings for ceramics, glassblowing, and blacksmithing, and are beginning to build-out a 10,000 square foot community garden. Also, classrooms and studio space will be available, because seriously, you may just want to be there always, chatting at the coffeemaker with all the other types like you who need coffee a lot, pretending you’re in school again.

Membership for use of the facilities (minus the studio space, that’s extra) starts at $150, and “you’ll only pay for what you use, removing the burden of long leases. It’s like a gym, for makers!”

Pay attention artists/entrepeneurs in other Texas cities (ahem, Dallas)! Every city needs a place like this. (Just don’t be dumb like other cities (ahem, NY) and screw it up).

Paolo Soleri Documentary to Have Texan Premiere


vision-of-paoloBy popular demand, this week The Contemporary Austin premieres the film The Vision of Paolo Soleri: Prophet in the Desert for the first time in Texas as part of its Rooftop Architecture Film Festival on Wednesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 10. Soleri, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, was a pioneer in environmentally sustainable architecture, what he called Archology, or “architecture coherent with ecology,” and most known for his beautiful, still-in-progress compound in the Arizona desert called Arcosanti which he began in 1970 with a long-view of the site’s future.

The film is a biographical look at a man whose “vision remains largely unrealized,” focusing on the current global crisis, highlighting how Soleri’s life’s work rings with the pitch of prophesy. Soleri died in April 2013.

Slow Down, Art-Eaters!

Thomas Struth  Kunsthistorisches Museum III Wien, 1989   chromogenic print   145 cm x 187 cm

Thomas Struth, Kunsthistorisches Museum III Wien, 1989, chromogenic print

In an effort to make art viewers look at art at a more contemplative pace, museums across the world will participate in Slow Art Day this Saturday, April 12. The name of the game is this: visitors to participating galleries and museums commit to spending a total of 10 minutes in front of 5 separate works, gathering their thoughts and reactions; then everyone gets together to discuss their experience, in some cases over lunch. It seems a loose and easy affair, more of a suggestion than a mandate. And the day might be good medicine, in direct opposition to the speedy consumption of cultural goods and experiences that is the bill of fare these days in bigger museums and galleries where the public is baited with spectacle, often involving celebrities, herded through turnstiles and fleeced for their demographic info. A reminder to eat more slowly so as not to choke seems in order.

Texas’ most chilled-out, participating museums and art spaces include: the Old Jail Center in Albany (which has a pretty great drawing show up right now, btw), the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, the Art Museum of Southwest Texas in Beaumont, and the Stark Museum of Art in Orange.

Art and Business Meet at the Water Cooler


As if the plain old art market wasn’t enough of a rat race, more and more, as museums across the country attempt to become more entrepreneurial in an effort to increase traffic and track that traffic’s personal information, art is being corporatized.  Advertising companies are even getting in on the art action by partnering with museums to project well-worn art images at us while we drive.

In the spirit of the entwined bedfellows that are art and commerce, or perhaps to ride the art gravy train, the Naveen Jindal School of Management at University of Texas at Dallas will be rounding up artwork from off the walls and out of the lobbies of area corporations this month for a show called—with diligent, perfunctory finesse, à la Dilbert—Artistic Impressions of Management. It’s an initiative “to advance creativity and innovation in a world-class business education.” In addition to creating a Corporate Art Showcase of loaned work, the school will also host a photography competition among its students that will be juried by Jacqueline Anderson, a show with work by Dallas artist John Fowler, the unveiling of the Jindal Art Collection, the contents of which have not been disclosed, as well as other art events. Why the big to-do? To raise money, of course! 

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Jindal School’s art fund, which will be used to commission a glass sculpture by local artist Jim Bowman as well as contemporary works for the new building expansion. This collection is designed to provide a cultural experience for Jindal School students as they receive a world-class business education.

And what will business students do with all of this art-fueled inspiration?!  This seems in the spirit of the day.

Democratic Process to Determine Art for National Ad Campaign

Edward Ruscha, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1962, from Twentysix Gasoline Stations, 1963. Gelatin silver print, © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art.

Edward Ruscha, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1962, from Twentysix Gasoline Stations, 1963. Gelatin silver print, © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art.

This summer, as you drive around the country, keep your eyes peeled for billboards and other signage emblazoned with gigantic images of art. As part of a cooperative agreement between the Outdoor Advertising Association of America and the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, images of 50 great American artworks, as selected by the general public, will festoon ad space in an effort to. . . er, champion the art prowess of ‘Merica!

Starting TODAY, April 7, anyone—art-lover, art-hater, art-poll-saboteur—can log on to to vote for one of 100 selections made by the respective museum curators. The final list will be narrowed down to only 50 works, the images of which will be digitally throbbed to the masses on August 4 in Times Square and then filed out to public surfaces all across the country, from California to the New York Island, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream Waters.

Expect the master list to include the classics: Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Andy Warhol’s soup cans; but hope for a puckish curatorial selection from somebody (please?), like something out of the Herb and Dorothy Vogel Collection, National Gallery, right?! Maybe Lawrence Weiner’s MANY THINGS PLACED HERE & THERE TO FORM A PLACE CAPABLE OF SHELTERING MANY OTHER THINGS PUT HERE & THERE, 1980. Too conceptual? Probably. But I’d slow my car down for it (whatever it looks like); that and Bruce Nauman’s Shadow Puppet Spinning Head if it was playing on one of those fancy digital billboards, DMA. . .

Let the voting begin for “the biggest art exhibition ever conceived!”