Pulitzer-Winning Cartoonist Michael Ramirez Talks Media Ethics at SMU

MJS_Michael_Ramirez_Editorial_Cartoon.21On Thursday October 2 at 8 p.m., one of the most celebrated political cartoonists of our time will speak at SMU’s Bob Hope Theater, as part of the Sammons Lecture Series and the Division of Journalism at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Ramirez Has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his sharp, dark cartoons, which have appeared in just about every major paper and magazine including (though certainly not limited to) The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Post, Time Magazine, National Review and Los Angeles Times. He’s was a frequent on-air contributor and commentator on News Hour with Jim Lehrer. And he’s won every prestigious journalism award out there.

This is an installment of the annual Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics. It is free and open to the public. For more info, go here.

Lauster Lone Texas Artist Shortlisted for ArtPrize Award

lausterArtPrize, the international art competition based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, announced its juror’s shortlist yesterday, selecting twenty artists from the 1,536 entrants. Darryl Lauster, selected for his installation God Bless America, is the only Texas artist on the list.

Jurors will award $200,000 to the Grand Prize winner and $20,000 in each of four categories (2-D, 3-D, time-based, and installation). The same prize amounts and categories will also be decided by public vote, for a total of $560,000 in awards. An artist could potentially both a public vote and juried prize.

Round 1 public voting has begun and will continue through October 4, so go to the ArtPrize site and register to vote!

(Image: Lauster in video still from Prone, Episode One: The Landing)

Wanted: New Public Artwork for Austin Studios Expansion

austin_studios__silva__ainsworth__0001The Austin Film Society is expanding its headquarters, Austin Studios, and has partnered with the City of Austin in an open call for Texas artists to submit proposals for a new public artwork as part of the expansion.

This follows the approval of a bond package to renovate and expand the Austin Studios’ existing site, which will eventually include “the 75,000 square foot former National Guard Armory building (NGB) which will be transformed into the Creative Media Hub.” The Creative Media Hub will function as an extended campus for AFS and its various programming and projects—a “hotspot for digital and convergent media” if you will.

The organizers are looking for a public work that will boost the profile and visibility of AFS and also “reflects the AFS mission and personality.”

The budget for the new work is $95,000; the submission deadline is Oct. 30, and AFS will host an informational meeting for interested artists on October 9.

For much more information, go here.

Want a Show at ALH? The Clock is Ticking!

havelruckThe Art League Houston (ALH) reviews submissions to its open call for exhibition proposals but twice a year and the deadline for the next batch is midnight tomorrow night. If you have an idea for the main gallery, the front gallery, or the sculpture garden, finish up that proposal and send it in.

ALH has been in the forefront of the (finally) growing trend of actually providing stipends to artists, so recipients receive a show and a few dollars. Just make sure you follow the proposal guidelines.

(Photo by Logan Beck: current ALH exhibition by Havel Ruck Projects)

Mark Osborne Named Executive Director of The Printing Museum

osborneMark Osborne has been named Executive Director of The Printing Museum in Houston.  Osborne took over the duties from Interim Executive Director Amanda Stevenson on August 18, after serving as Director of the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum at Lamar University in Beaumont.

The Printing Museum was founded as the Museum of Printing History in 1979 by four printers intent on sharng knowledge about printing’s contribution to the development of the civilized world and the continuing advancement of freedom and literacy. The rambling organization on West Gray St. sponsors exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies and a small permanent display of historical printing technology. The museum will host Zinefest Houston, dedicated to underground DIY media and art on October 4, and the 12th annual Houston Book Fair on November 8.

UNT Art-Ed Institute Re-named to Honor Onsteads

ntievaThe University of North Texas College of visual arts and Design has renamed The North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts (NTIEVA) as the “Jo Ann (Jody) and Dr. Charles O. Onstead Institute for Education in the Visual Arts and Design” after a $2.5 million gift from the Dr. Charles & Jo Ann Onstead Foundation. UNT educates about half of the state’s certified art teachers.

The institute was founded in 1990 by the Getty Education Institute to promite discipline-based art education in Dallas-fort Worth public elementary schools. In 1994 NTIEVA (now renamed!) established a National Center for Art Museum/School Collaborations focused on collaborative programming between art museums and schools.

The Institute also prepares free curriculum resource materials making them available to teachers through its newsletter and website.  Most recently the Institute has collaborated with the Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas art to develop classroom materials based upon the work of early Texas artists.

Both Charles and Jo Ann “Jody” Onstead are UNT Alumni. Jody graduated in 1944 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Charles graduated with a political science degree in 1947 after serving in World War II.

“Street-Level Gallery Of Chalk Masterpieces” at Annual Chalk It Up festival, San Antonio: Artists Announced

Artpace Chalk It Up Website banner

ArtPace in San Antonio has announced the 20 artists, chosen by guest curator Nina Hassele, who will participate in the 11th Annual Chalk It Up street festival, which takes place this year on October 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. downtown on Houston Street. Each artist will transform a stretch of sidewalk into a personal mural. In addition, says ArtPace: “The community is encouraged to contribute to a Freestyle area and help complete a city block-sized mural, and a variety of hands-on educational activities are offered in our Kidzones…  There will also be food, [and] music… .”

This year’s Chalk It Up artists are:

Fernando Andrade
Katherine Brown
Margaret Cook
Turtle (Joel) Cruz
Ernesto Cuevas Jr.
John Eric Delazerda
Zach Dorn
Alexandra Dubois
Irma Garcia
Raul Gonzalez
Ouro Boros (Robert Charles Gonzalez)
Eric Mathis
Amari Mizziw
Tim Olsen
Dora A. Orejel
Thomas Paulson
James Raska
Danie Rios Rodriquez
Alexis Souza
Luis Trevino Vega

For more info on the event, please go here.

Texas Filmmakers Lend Insights into Fugitive Eric Frein

otis and ivete

Texas Filmmakers Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas have been siezed upon to provide insights into the character of fugitive Eric Frein, accused of killing one police officer and wounding a second in Pennslyvania, now the subject of a massive manhunt. Bresnan and Lucas interviewed Frein in 2010 during filming of their their upcoming documentary about Vietnam War reenactors titled “Vietnam Appreciation Day.” The duo’s footage of Frein appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America on Sept. 23, and the filmmakers themselves appeared on NBC. On Sept. 24, they were again interviewed by Anderson Cooper. Quotes from those interviews have been distributed worldwide as the sensational scenario continues to unfold.

Nancy Newberry Gets a Full Showing in the New York Times

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From Newberry’s “Halfway to Midland” series

Here’s a nice find: Today Dallas/Marfa-based photographer Nancy Newberry (included in the last Texas Biennial) is featured in the New York Times’ special “Lens” section,  which covers photography and photojournalism. Seventeen photos from her project “Halfway to Midland” make up a full slideshow, and in a written interview Newberry talks to Matt McCann about the impetus for the photos and her philosophy of taking pictures in her native Texas.

Those who know Newberry’s work will be familiar with the imagery; this particular body of work starts where her Mum series leaves off and further illuminates the lives of rural and small-town high school cheerleaders, marching-band kids and football players, as well as some of her more immediate neighbors’ nesting instincts.  (And she’s right: That mirrored horse from the house next door is looking pretty good. I would have offered to buy it, too.)



It’s a Nerdfest! Comic Art Comes to S.A.

In recent years, geekdom has finally been declared cool, or has The San Antonio Current explains in anticipation of the upcoming Alamo City Comic Con, “Now, nerding out is the new normal.”

Stan_LeeFor those interested in all things comics, the convention starts tonight at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, with a preview from 5-9pm. All day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there will be comics and toys, photo ops, and panel discussions with artists and writers (as well as other celebrities of nerd culture). Of course, George Takei will make an appearance, but the superstar all weekend will be the “grandfather of comics,” Stan Lee of Marvel Comics.

(Photo: Stan Lee. Image via

Someone Had To Do It And Frisco Has Agreed To Take It: A Museum of Video Games



Frisco will be the home of the country’s first and only museum dedicated to video games. The Videogame History Museum has up until now been a traveling operation, launched by three guys from different parts of the country who decided in 2009 to pool their collective obsession with classic home and arcade video games and create a non-profit. John Hardie, Sean Kelly and Joe Santulli have reached an agreement with the city of Frisco to house the museum initially in the already existing city-owned Frisco Discovery Center, and after a capital campaign it will likely get a building of its own, also in Frisco. 

The city will pay the rent and for some renovations in the space the museum will take up for the time being; some grants are incoming for start-up costs, and the museum itself will match funds. The museum is slated to open in April, and will OF COURSE feature Pong. As well as Sega stuff, all Atari, Vectrex, Intellivision, et al, and every other classic and retro game and gaming system you can possibly remember from that era going forward, plus paraphernalia, prototypes, and other ephemera. I personally am hoping to once again play the original Defender in the museum’s promised recreation of a ’80s gaming arcade. Newsflash extra: I am terrible at Defender but I love it.

Meet the New Lawndale Residents

JooYoung Choi

JooYoung Choi

So who are these three artists who beat out bunches of eager applicants for the ninth round of Lawndale Artist Studio Program’s nine-month residency? What are they going to do with that free studio space and stipends? Stop by Houston’s Lawndale Art Center this evening at 6pm to find out more. Josh Bernstein, JooYoung Choi and Lina Dib will give informal presentations of their work and talk about plans for their residency.

And artists: try again next year, and keep your eyes out for other residency opportunities.

We Still Miss You But Congrats! Suzanne Weaver Takes Miami

2014-09-23-moca-north-miami-ica-miami-Suzanne-WeaverThose of us who so fondly remember the golden era of Suzanne Weaver’s “Concentrations” series at the Dallas Museum of Art from 1996-2009 (and credit her for being so uniquely invested in the local scene) have kept one  eye on the curator’s career after she left us for the Speed Museum in Louisville. Today it was announced that the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, has appointed Weaver as its interim director.

The Institute of Contemporary Art is a rechristening, in a new location, of Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which closed in August amid controversy over funding from and its relationship with North Miami. The museum threatened to close and move, and it has, to Miami’s design district. It’s slated to reopen in time for Art Basel Miami in December. The museum was founded in 1994 and has a permanent collection of around 600 artworks thus far.

Note: It’s heartening to see seasoned and passionate curators appointed as museum directors. They’re often as invested in the well-being of the art (and the mental health of a museum’s curatorial team) as they are the PR and money side of things, and while many curators might be loathe to take on such responsibility, this is one way to make sure our museums maintain a dignified and intelligent relationship to collecting and exhibitions.

Oh My! Naked Sculptures in Downtown Houston!

Wings-of-the-CityIt must be a slow news week when a man calls KPRC Houston to complain about naked sculptures at Discovery Green and they actually send a camera crew to interview him and then run the story repeatedly. “Oh, it’s not art,” says Henry Lopez, who started the ruckus. “It belongs in a strip club somewhere.” Lopez says he will no longer bring his granddaughters to the park because of the “porn.” While the news crew was there, they found a few other visitors who also said the sculptures made them uncomfortable, including Blanca Flores who said, “I would not like my kids to look at it.”

The sculptures in question are part of Wings of the City, an exhibition of nine bronze sculptures by Mexican artist Jorge Marín, presented by Discovery Green from September 5, 2014 to February 8, 2015. The sculptures display a sometimes-winged man in different disguises and he isn’t always fully clothed. At the very end of the KPRC story, they add, “Many people at the park told Local 2 they enjoy the art, and said that’s all it is—art.”

Perhaps Lopez was inspired by the fact that it’s National “Banned Books Week” (September 21-27), and just got it backwards. It’s not in support of banning books; the subtitle is “Celebrating the Freedom to Read.”

(Image via

Ballroom Marfa Appoints New Executive Director


Susan Sutton

Fairfax Dorn, Ballroom Marfa‘s co-founder and outgoing executive director, is transitioning to Ballroom’s artistic director. Today the board has named Susan Sutton as its new executive director. Sutton comes to Marfa after four years as assistant curator of Houston’s Menil Collection. (Sutton recently organized the Menil’s “A Thin Wall of Air: Charles James.”)

Via Ballroom Marfa: “Sutton studied at Pratt Institute and San Francisco Art Institute and holds a bachelor’s in art history from the University of Houston and a master’s in art history of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.”

MFAH Appoints Curator of Islamic Art

Screen shot 2014-09-22 at 7.25.21 AMThe Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) only launched the “Arts of the Islamic World Initiative” in 2007 and initially raised enough money to acquire six objects for a permanent collection. Eventually, the MFAH established a formal department and a permanent gallery and, in 2012, appointed a senior adviser for international initiatives. Later that year, the Museum reached a landmark agreement with the privately held al-Sabah Collection, one of the greatest collections of Islamic art in the world, for a long-term loan of some 60 objects. Now, the MFAH has announced the appointment of Aimée E. Froom as curator of Islamic art.

Froom has acted as a consultant to museums such as the British Museum, London, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris and has taught at Brown University, Bard Graduate Center and the American University of Paris. From 2001-05, she served as associate curator of Islamic Art at the Brooklyn Museum and, until recently, has been an independent scholar based in Paris. She has published and lectured extensively on Islamic art and is currently preparing a book on Ottoman Sultan Murad III for Koç University Press.

Welcome to Houston!

Mexico’s Art Market a Casualty of the War on Drugs

A Mexican anti-drug mural. Photo: Chris Martin, via Flickr.

A Mexican anti-drug mural.
Photo: Chris Martin, via Flickr.

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by Sarah Cascone

Mexican galleries and auction houses claim their business is shrinking because of the recently introduced anti-money laundering regulations aimed at crippling the country’s drug trafficking business, reports the Washington Post.

The new law requires businesses like casinos, pawnshops, jewelry stores, armored-car dealerships, and art galleries limit the use of cash and share more information about their customers and their purchases with the government.

“The art in Mexico is marvelous. It is superb. The market should be growing. But it has totally frozen,” Guillermo Zajarias, the owner of Aura Gallery, complained to the Post. He claims his sales have fallen 30 percent since the law was enacted last year, “and it’s 100 percent related to this law. This is fiscal terrorism, and it is not fair.”

Fearing the government, many prospective art buyers are delaying their purchases, or taking their business north to the US because they “don’t have the confidence that their information will be protected,” explained gallery owner Oscar Román.

An informal, cash-based economy is still widely prevalent in Mexico, and many rankle at the attempted reform. However, the Mexican drug cartels are very real. Drugs are linked to violent crime as well as rampant money laundering, which allows drug dealers to purchase lucrative restaurants and hotels, as well as mansions, private jets, and other luxury products.

Despite its prevalence, money laundering has led to a minimal number of criminal convictions, something this law is aimed at changing.

Whether art is a hot ticket item among the drug lord crowd remains up for debate. For his part, Román refers to televised raids of their homes, where “they have posters on the wall. You don’t see a single piece of art.”

Follow @sarahecascone on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on Artnet News on Friday, September 19, 2014.



Big Gift Moves Irwin Building Forward at Chinati

irwinRobert Irwin, 86 year old California light-and-space artist has finalized plans for a 10,000 s.f. building at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa with the help of Vernon and Amy Faulconer of Dallas, who are giving Chinati $1 million: half in support of the Irwin project and half for Chinati’s operations.

“I have had the pleasure of experiencing Chinati’s collection for many years. It has expanded my understanding and appreciation for art profoundly,” says Vernon Faulconer, who has been on Chinati’s board for nine years. “Judd did things his own way and it hasn’t been easy out there in Marfa. But I’ve always believed in the underdog and Amy and I are happy to support this unique institution. Irwin’s project is really something, quiet yet spectacular, and it will certainly change the art landscape in Texas.”

The new Irwin is a building with an interior installation (scrim!) on the site of the former hospital for Fort D.A. Russell, at the edge of Chinati’s grounds on the outskirts of Marfa. Construction will begin in early 2015 with an opening anticipated for 2016.

Lucia Simek is the New Communications Manager at the Nasher


Simek during a KERA-hosted round-table discussion called “State of the Arts” at the DMA in 2013.

Lucia Simek, who has written for this site plenty and recently finished her MFA at TCU in sculpture, is crossing over the the dark side (joke!) as the Nasher Sculpture Center‘s new communications manager. Kristen Gibbins, who held the position for nine years, is leaving. 

Putting an artist and writer in a PR position isn’t a completely new concept for a museum, but it’s not the obvious one either. It seems Simek’s deep ties to Dallas and presence as a curator (The Art Foundation, which she co-founded, was a an artist-curator collective that was active up until about a year ago), artist, and arts writer on the local scene makes her well-positioned, however, to jump into Nasher’s already well-oiled publicity machine to see what she can do. We approve! (She didn’t ask, but we do anyway.)


Memorial Park Master Plan Unveiled in Houston

lnd bridge

Houston’s Memorial Park, haven of joggers, turtles and squirrels, is the subject of a twenty-year master plan, unveiled yesterday by representatives of Memorial Park Conservancy, Uptown Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) and Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Designed by landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz, the plan will unite the parts of the park sundered by Memorial Drive with a “land bridge” allowing park users and animals to migrate. The plan will be submitted for approval by City Council in spring 2015. No word that public art will be any part of it, though.