Bert L Long, Jr., 1940-2013. Photo by Brett Coomer
Since iconic Houston artist Bert Long died last year, friends and fans have been busy paying tribute. Last month, there was a celebratory fundraiser to help publish a posthumous book on the artist and now, in conjunction with the exhibition Bert: Back and Beyond on view through March 8, Deborah Colton Gallery will be screening the documentary, Bert, on Wednesday, February 26. Written, produced, and directed by Houston-based arts patron, John Guess Jr., the film follows Long’s life as seen through the eyes big-time admirers in the art community.
For those who couldn’t get past the overflowing crowd at the Menil Collection’s Valentine’s Day screening of the documentary will want to arrive early. There will be a 6:30 pm reception; the film starts at 7 pm, followed by a Q&A with Guess, CEO of the Houston Museum of African American Culture.
The folks who organize San Antonio’s Contemporary Art Month (CAM) will again host the Miss CAM Antonio contest, a virtual pageant to find the perfect person to represent the local contemporary art community. The contest is open to anyone currently living in San Antonio—male or female, young or old (the pageant’s Facebook page reiterates: “Open to everyone…and we mean EVERYONE!”)
There is no swimsuit competition involved; contestants will be judged merely the on answers to the pageant-inspired question, “As Miss CAM Antonio, how would you promote contemporary art in San Antonio?” Entrants must post answers, in the form of text, videos or photos, to the contest’s Facebook page before midnight on March 4. The final four will be selected by popular vote (“likes”) and the winner will be chosen by a panel of CAM board members. Miss CAM Antonio will be crowned (with a custom designed crown by local artist Marlys Dietrick). during the CAM kick-off party at Blue Star Art Contemporary Arts Museum on Thursday evening, March 6.
Photo: Doug MacCash/NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune
Native Houstonian Mel Chin’s 40-year retrospective of sculpture, video and installations at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) opened on Thursday with a panel discussion and on Friday with the opening reception party. Organized by NOMA Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Miranda Lash (an honorary Houstonian for her tenure as curatorial assistant at the Menil Collection), the exhibition is already getting a lot of attention, enthusiasm and press. It’s not just New Orleans art lovers who are enjoying the show; there seems to be a refreshing mutual admiration between the artist and curator, as recorded by Gambit (bestofneworleans.com):
Finishing up an interview on the eve of the opening of his first-ever retrospective, Rematch, which includes more than 70 works of a lifetime of art, the artist looked dapper and pleased, crediting the museum’s curator of contemporary art, Miranda Lash, for the show’s exquisite use of space. “It’s her show,” he said smiling.
Miranda Lash in front of Chin’s Cabinet of Craving, 2012, at a concurrent show at Jonathan Ferarra Gallery. Photo: Jim Mulvihill
Congratulations to Mel and Miranda!
There’s a new gallery coming to the El Paso art community called the Cube (or, according to its letterhead and Facebook page, the “CUB3″). Plans are for three-week exhibitions, with opening receptions to take place on the last Thursdays of each month, coinciding with the El Paso Downtown Arts District Art Crawl. The Cube is positioning itself to be a more experimental gallery; it describes itself as “a new art venue that will bring forth innovative thought and education in the arts, created to show that art is more than an object that hangs on the wall or sits on a pedestal.”
The Cube’s Director/Curator Angel Cabrales has scheduled the first exhibition, Borderlands, set to open next week on February 27th, with an opening from 6-9 pm. Borderlands will feature two installations by artist Angel Cabrales. Wait—that name sounds familiar! Oh well, support a new gallery with an ambitious mission, check out the art, and ask Director Cabrales for more details about the long-term exhibition schedule.
Menil Drawing Institute (Johnston Marklee / The Menil Collection)
The Menil Collection unveiled plans for its new freestanding drawing institute on Wednesday and the reviews are starting to come in. One might think that Culturemap Houston’s hometown familiarity with the Menil aesthetic may have influenced its headline description of the building as a “modest stunner.” But Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne seconded the assessment, deeming the plans “deceptively simple.”
So it would seem that architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, of the LA-based firm Johnston Marklee & Associates, might actually get the Menil thing. Hawthorne called the plans for the flat-roofed, pavilion-like building seemingly “self-effacing.” The Menil Drawing Institute will be modestly scaled: Hawthorne describes it as “bigger than a house but smaller than most museum buildings”; the Houston Chronicle points out that its16-foot height makes it no taller than the surrounding neighborhood bungalows.
Menil Drawing Institute at dusk, looking past the west entrance courtyard. (Johnston Marklee / The Menil Collection)
Hidden behind a group of large oak trees, half of its square footage will be underground storage. The ground level will contain a large, main gathering space called the “Living Room,” a private study space called the “Drawing Room” (get it?), an exhibition space, a library, rooms for seminars, courtyards and a conservation lab.
Hawthorne also points out that the design’s subtlety could make fundraising trickier than a campaign for a flashy building to be built by a flashy architect. But Menil Director Josef Helfenstein seems not to be worried about that at all. “We’re in good shape with the fund raising,” he stated. “We wouldn’t go public with the announcement if we weren’t.”
Construction is slated to break ground early next year and the building is set to open in 2017.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the oldest privately supported art museum in the US, has reached a preliminary agreement with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University (GWU) to take stewardship of its art collection, college and landmark Washington, DC building. Under the proposed three-way agreement, the Corcoran’s College of Art and Design, as well as its Beaux-Arts home near the White House, would fall to GWU.
The Corcoran’s collection of some 17,000 world-class artworks would go to the National Gallery, who will oversee exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in the building under the name Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art. They will also maintain a Corcoran Legacy Gallery, featuring works closely associated with the Corcoran’s history. The plan is that the National Gallery will absorb as much of the collection as possible, especially in areas in which it is lacking (such as the Corcoran’s excellent contemporary collection) and redistribute the rest to other museum collections, with a preference for DC area museums. But, as the Washington Post reports, “much of the collection could end up in Tennessee or Alaska.”
Most involved in the proposal seem to be trying to put a positive spin on it (The National Gallery is free and more accessible! GWU will pay for the building’s much-needed renovation! Most of the art will stay in DC!), yet most comments include a tinge of sadness at the loss of the Corcoran’s 140-year-old independent spirit. “There is no way to continue the Corcoran as we knew it or as we know it,” Peggy Loar, interim director and president of the Corcoran told the Washington Post. “That’s going to be the kernel of pain for some people.”
Most people in the arts actually visit museums, but many others experience images—even museum paintings that art history students initially learned from textbooks—almost exclusively through the Internet. Today, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center announced that together they are adding more than a combined 1,700 high-resolution works of art to the Google Art Project.
Now Online! Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, 1890. Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.
The Google Art Project is an online platform, originally launched in 2011, of high-resolution images of artworks from its partner museums (It started with 17 museums including the Tate, the Met, and the Uffizi; now there are images of 57,000 objects.). Its development grew out of Google’s “20-percent time” policy, by which employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their time working on an innovative project of interest. Enough Google employees were into it that, eventually, curators and museums were brought on board. Visitors to the Google Art Project can now browse works by the artist’s name, the artwork, type of art, the museum, the country, collections, and the time period. The hi-res images can withstand super microscopic viewings and users can become virtual curators, creating and sharing their own “collections.” Some works have audio/visual content and educational components for teachers and students. (Google+ is a plus for the fancier features.)
And when you’re in tune, you’re in tune.
-Bonnie Barnett to the LA Times on a HUM performance in a MacArthur Park tunnel
Bonnie Barnett. Photo by Steve DeGroodt, 2012
One of the many, crazily ambitious avant-garde events that took place during the New Music America 1986 (NMA) was Bonnie Barnett’s participatory performance of HUM in the downtown Houston tunnels (and simulcast on KPFT radio). Twenty-eight years later, the Los Angeles-based vocalist/composer/improviser has returned to Houston to recreate the piece. Twice.
On Thursday evening, Barnett will bring HUM to James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, located adjacent to the Shepherd School of Music on the Rice University Campus. Skyspace HUM will begin at 7 pm and all are invited to participate—no musical or vocal experience is necessary. Then, on Friday at noon, she’ll be doing it underground again! Audience participants can go to the Esperson Building, 808 Travis Street, enter through the lobby and take the elevator down to the tunnels.
The two performances are being held in conjunction with the exhibition SonicWorks at DiverseWorks, a show of sound art originally inspired by NMA, which was headquartered at DiverseWorks back in 1986. For some history of the NMA, read Peter Lucas’ recent article “SonicWorks Echoes Past Blasts.” The exhibition, which includes NMA ephemera, will be on view through March 1.
Like a lot of people who work in the arts, University of Texas Art History Professor Ann Collins Johns was a little perturbed at President Obama when he dissed art historians during a talk at a GE plant a few weeks ago. “I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art-history degree.” Although he finished his statement with, “I love art history—I don’t want to get a bunch e-mails from everybody,” it was too late.
Johns got on the White House web site and defended her profession. She told Hyperallergic that she couldn’t quite remember what she wrote (“I’m pretty sure that my email was not so much one of outrage at his statement, but rather a ‘look at what we do well’ statement.”), but was totally surprised when she received a hand-written reply from the President a few days ago, which was published in today’s Hyperallergic.
Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.
So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.
Ben Shahn, Demonstration, 1933. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard Norton Memorial Fund, 2011.12
Houston artists should be finishing up their lists of hopes, dreams, and gripes because this evening is the “Artist Town Hall Meeting,” organized by Fresh Arts and Art League Houston. All artists are invited (as individual artists, stress the organizers, not as representatives of arts organizations) and all issues are up for discussion—creative, social, or financial, whether utopian or practical.
The meeting’s location has been changed to the Eldorado Ballroom, 2310 Elgin Street, and will begin at 6:30 pm.
On Sunday, a visitor walked into the Ai Weiwei: According to What? exhibition at the new Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), picked up a vase and, when approached by security, purposefully dropped it to the floor.
The art smasher was Miami painter Maximo Caminero, who said he broke the vase to protest that the museum only displayed art by international artists, according to the police report.
The vase, reportedly valued at $1 million, was part of the installation “Colored Vases,” in which the Ai dipped vases from China’s Neolithic period into brightly colored industrial paint. While some view that very process as an act of vandalism, it is meant to serve as a “metaphor for the conflict between East and West, a conflict between culture and commercialism.” Ai has long attracted international attention for criticizing China’s government policies on democracy, free speech and human rights. On a local broadcast, CBSMiami’s Gary Nelson stressed the distinction between the acts, stating that Caminero’s vandalism was ”based not on politics, but on jealousy.”
Caminero said he planned to host a news conference on Tuesday to explain his actions. Maybe it will make more sense than Uriel Landeros’ lawyer’s explanation for his June 2012 defacement of a Picasso painting at Houston’s Menil Collection: “what he did to the painting was not criminal mischief, it was an artistic statement, an expression, much like graffiti art is.”
Note photos displayed behind the vase installation: Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn. 1995, B/W-triptych. Photocredit Ai Weiwei © Ai Weiwei
Place family-friendly art here.
The City of Austin is looking for a professional artist, or artist team, to design and fabricate artwork for the city’s Montopolis Neighborhood Center. Through its Art in Public Places program (AIPP), the commission will include a $42,000 budget. The submission deadline is Thursday, March 20.
That may seem like plenty of time to work up a proposal, but if the stated goal of the project seems vague (“to develop a family-friendly experience that is integrated into the campus, to engage facility users, and to reflect the diverse community served by the Center”), artists may wish to attend one of the Artist Information Meetings. One will take place on Wednesday, February 19th from 5- 6:30 pm at the Cultural Arts Division offices at 201 E. 2nd Street; another will be on Wednesday, February 26th from noon-1:30 pm at the Montopolis Neighborhood Center, 1416 Montopolis Drive.
Proposals will be accepted from artists living or working within 150 miles of Austin. Download the complete Request for Qualifications here.
George S. Zimbel, Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder, “The Seven Year Itch,” New York, 1954, gelatin silver print, printed 1993, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Jonathan and Cynthia King. © George S. Zimbel
To draw attention to its current exhibition Made for Magazines: Iconic 20th-Century Photographs, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is holding an old-fashioned photo contest. Of the 80 works on display, the MFAH has selected seven photographs to inspire contest entrants, including O. Rufus Lovett’s Kilgore Rangerette, George Zimbel’s shot of Marilyn Monroe over a subway grate and Peter Stackpole’s portrait of Alfred Hitchcock.
With the popularity of social media, images come and go in milliseconds, and the MFAH hopes that this exhibition will show that “the impact of important images made for magazines still resonates in the 21st century.” Of course, the contest itself takes place on social media and the name of the contest is “#made4magz.” Open to all skill levels, whether using fancy cameras or smart phones, maybe the contest will at least inspire some obsessive photo posters to put a little bit of forethought and classical inspiration into their selfies.
CEO Louise Blouin
Louise Blouin seems to be in trouble these days. Her reputation as an employer is so clouded that when the CEO of Blouin Media, publisher of Artinfo.com and Art + Auction, called a snow day yesterday, Dan Duray of the Gallerist suggested that it was simply because it was payday and, since Monday is a holiday, the company could avoid paying its employees until at least Tuesday.
The snow day came only a day after Blouin and the company president were served with lawsuit papers, filed by two former top executives who claim that they were fired after complaining about missing paychecks and commissions. A Blouin spokesperson said “there were disputed commissions that did not belong to them, and that is why they were terminated,” but the lawsuit claims that Blouin explained to other staff members that the plaintiffs were “greedy,” “evil,” and “stole” money, clients and commissions. The New York Post reports that the two plaintiffs are among a number of former Blouin staffers who have left to join Artnet News, a digital publication that aims to compete with Artinfo.com.
Blouin’s reputation as a fair employer has been nose-diving for a while now. Last month, C-Monster Carolina A. Miranda, freelance arts writer, launched a relentless Twitter campaign called #BlouinShaming:
The two plaintiffs also charge that, despite many years of service at Blouin Media, they were classified as independent contractors when they should have been classified as full-time employees. It should be noted that all Glasstire writers are part-time freelancers, which, as Glasstire contributor Laura Lark explains in her recent article “The Lark Guide to Artworld Behaviors,” makes it “not a ‘real’ job, but then here is a little bit more of that sentence (the all caps are hers):
…it really boils down to money—and though Glasstire PAYS ITS WRITERS BETTER THAN ANY PUBLICATION I’VE EVER WORKED FOR, it’s not a “real” job…
Those still scrambling for a unique Valentine’s Day experience might consider contacting Brightwork CoResearch to see if there is still space in this evening’s “Sweet on Science” workshop (6-8 pm). Modeled on those places that teach you how to paint a sunset while getting tipsy on wine with your pals, this workshop offers the same thing—except the paint is actually made of live, colorful proteins. Before painting, the workshop begins with a short lesson on the history of proteins and the role they play in research. Then, as a Valentines Day bonus, everyone also gets to make a bioluminescence necklace!
Located in Houston’s Rice Village, Brightwork CoResearch seems to be set up similarly to the budding Makerspace in East Houston. Makerspace offers classes and workshops for artists, but also memberships that provide access to studio space, equipment and tools. Brightwork provides the same sort of networking, equipment access and social experience, but for science nerds.
After the successes of the scrappy East Austin Studio Tour (EAST), WEST has been picking up steam. May 10-11 and 17-18 will mark the third incarnation of the West Austin Studio Tour, presented by Big Medium. But, for artists and studios that want to participate and open their doors for the two weekends, the deadline is looming. The last day to apply for the open call is February 17. For information and guidelines, visit Big Medium’s WEST page. Hurry!
At her death in 1950, Marion McNay left more than 700 works of art, along with her house, surrounding 23 acres, and an endowment to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas. In 1954, San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum opened its doors to the public and this weekend, it is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
They will kick it off on Thursday at 6:30 pm with some history: a talk with the director and curators on Marion McNay’s favorite objects, followed by a champagne toast. For those who just want the birthday party, there will also be free live music and beer and food trucks on the grounds from 6-9 pm. On Friday evening (Valentine’s Day), there will be groovy 60s music with champagne, hors d’oeuvres, dessert, dancing, and entertainment by the Allegro Stage Company. On Saturday, there are free tours and a ceramics workshop. Sunday starts off at 10 am with a 5K run around the museum grounds (winners get art!) and then tons of kid-friendly activities and entertainment (and birthday cake) at the Free Family Day from 11 am-3 pm.
Most of the activities are free, but some require registration or tickets. For more information on the weekend celebration, go here.
We are pleased to announce that Alecia Harris has been appointed as Glasstire’s Associate Publisher, a newly created position. Formerly the Membership and External Relations Associate at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Alecia was selected from an extensive field of national candidates. She will assume her post effective immediately.
Glasstire has experienced unprecedented growth over the past couple of years and looks forward to continued expansion in Texas as well as Southern California in the near future. “With the addition of Alecia to our team, Glasstire has an opportunity to dramatically increase the scope of our activities, focusing on the hunt for great art, and promoting it to local and national audiences,” says Rainey Knudson, Glasstire’s founder and publisher.
“I am very excited to join Glasstire during this period of expansion. I look forward to working closely with everyone to further Glasstire’s ability to support and promote visual arts in Texas and beyond,” says Alecia. A native Houstonian, Alecia brings several years’ experience in arts non-profits to Glasstire. In addition to her role with Blaffer Art Museum, she served at Artpace San Antonio and the Museo Alameda, the Smithsonian affiliate in San Antonio, in the role of visitor relations.
As a big museum with a lot of objects, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) has maintained a small conservation studio for the last 30 years, but recently it kicked up the program by several notches and, this past November, the DMA’s new Paintings Conservation Studio officially opened to the public. Now, it is showing off the first four paintings from private collections to undergo conservation treatment in the new studio and putting them on display. One of the four, The Blacksmith Cupids by Charles-Antoine Coypel, has subsequently entered the DMA’s permanent collection.
Charles-Antoine Coypel, The Blacksmith Cupids (Les Amours Forgerons), c. 1715-1720, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Campbell
Mark Leonard, chief conservator at the DMA, explains: “In many instances, these types of partnerships result in the opportunity to exhibit the works on public view for a period of time after completion of the conservation treatment, and in the case of the Coypel, add the work to the Museum’s collection. We are extremely grateful and excited by this opportunity.”
And, if the display of the paintings inspires budding conservation enthusiasts, the new studio also has an adjacent public gallery designed to teach visitors about conservation-related study and treatment.
Few people look forward to funerals, but a lot of people look forward to the annual rodeo. So this year, the National Museum of Funeral History is hoping to jump in on that rodeo fever and attract some new visitors. Timed to coincide with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this March, the museum is going to present an exhibition called Last Tip of My Hat.
The show’s big feature will be a custom-made pine coffin, on loan from Cowboy’s Last Ride casket company in Early, Texas, set amid a backdrop of a final sunset. “If boots and hats and roping and riding are your style, your last hoorah can reflect that,” says Genevieve Keeney, president of the National Museum of Funeral History. Visitors can also view the memorial folder from Roy Rogers’ funeral.