Michael Craig-Martin Invades All of Dallas


A young Craig-Martin standing beneath his seminal piece, An Oak Tree, circa 1973

Michael Craig-Martin, artist/former Goldsmith’s professor and so-called godfather of the YBAs, is on his way to Dallas for his big takeover of ten different venues. That’s hyperbolic, of course, but barely: his work will be on display across a number of sites in conjunction with his being guest of honor at MTV’s RE:DEFINE auction gala (which takes place April 10), co-hosted by the Goss-Michael Foundation and the Dallas Contemporary (and MTV).

Here’s a list of places around town where you can see Craig-Martin’s work (painting, prints, sculpture) starting in early April and in many cases running through summer: Goss-Michael, the Contemporary, the Nasher, DMA, the Joule Hotel, Northpark Center, SMU, the Meyerson, the restaurant le Bilbouquet, and the downtown branch of the Dallas Public Library (yes!).

RE:DEFINE is in its fourth year in Dallas; proceeds from the auction go to HIV/AIDs research and the Dallas Contemporary.



Austin: It’s Okay Mountain Month!

OK_grouppicAustin’s Okay Mountain, the nine-member artist collective, is about to have a busy few weeks. The Blanton Museum of Art announced the acquisition of Roadside Attractions, a 2012 installation by Okay Mountain, which will go on view at the museum beginning tomorrow. Also, the Blanton has commissioned the collective to create an outdoor mural on March 29-30 at the Frank Public Art Wall (4th Street and Colorado in downtown Austin). The public is invited to watch them install the mural, which will remain on view throughout April. There will be an opening reception for the mural at Frank on April 15 from 6-9pm.

Roadside Attractions. Viewers are invited to take the goofy brochures, which can be seen here.

Roadside Attractions. Viewers are invited to take the goofy brochures, which can be seen here.

On April 4 at 2pm, the Blanton will host a lecture with all nine current members of Okay Mountain. Formed in 2006 and based in Austin, the members are scattered around a number of cities. This lecture will mark the first time that the entire group has ever spoken together in Austin.

From One Warehouse to Another: Houston Makerspace Moving

makerspace sawAfter a year in its Hutcheson St. warehouse, Houston Makerspace has announced it will be moving to a new building at 3605 Texas Street as of May 1st. It’s not such a big move: the spaces are three blocks from one another in Houston’s burgeoning East End, and about 50 yards from the Coffee Plant stop on the soon-to-be-opened MetroRail green line.

Hard on the heels of the move comes gentrification: the old building’s owners plan a teardown to make way for townhomes.

Saturday May 16th there will be a grand re-opening and one year anniversary party at the new space.

Preview of ArtPrize’s Public Appeal Comes to the Dallas Contemporary in April


Anila Quayaam Agha’s prize-winning “Intersections”

Dallasites looking for clues of what the next year’s ArtPrize is all about might want to go check out an installation opening April 9 at the Dallas Contemporary. Anila Quayaam Agha’s large-scale Intersections won both major categories of the high-profile, Grand Rapids-based art competition (one category is voted on by the public, one is juried), and Dallas will debut its own iteration of the ArtPrize next year– the first city outside of Grand Rapids to franchise the competition.

The Pakastani-born, Indianapolis-based Agha studied Fiber Arts at UNT. She won $300,000 for Intersections in Grand Rapids last year; around 400,000 people voted in the competition. The Contemporary’s new senior curator Justine Ludwig, who specializes in South Asian contemporary art, was instrumental in bringing the piece here. The installation will open at the Contemporary alongside two other exhibitions: David Salle and Nate Lowman.

Bastrop Boosters Get into Sculpture: Stroll Set for Sunday

Bastrop art

The city of Bastrop’s Art in Public Places Task Force has scheduled the town’s first Sculpture Stroll for 1 pm Sunday March 22.

Strollers begin at City Hall at 1311 Chestnut St. following a free map, and tour works by  Benjamin McVey of San Antonio, Cat Quintanilla of Sunset Valley, Dan Pogue of Marble Falls, Jennifer Chenoweth of Austin, Julia Ousley of Arlington,  Peter Mangan of Blanco, Tom Tischler of Perth, Australia, Warren Cullar of Austin, whose works will be on display around the city’s historic downtown for a year.

It’s a contest, too: pieces were selected from an open call for entries last summer, and the top three sculptures will be awarded $1500, $1000, and $500 prizes at a reception at 3pm at the First United Methodist Church, 1201 Main St.

This is the latest in a series of public artification projects by BAIPP, and follows a popular initiative that hired local artists to paint transformer boxes around town.

Marfa Gets A New Mural by Musician/Artist Grouper


photo via

The massive SXSW in Austin has led to a number of smaller overspill festivals in other Texas cities eager to take advantage of so many music acts passing through, and last weekend Marfa enjoyed its second annual Marfa Myths festival, organized by New York record label Mexican Summer and Ballroom Marfa. Globe-trotting musician/artist Grouper was one of the dozen or so acts in the international festival lineup and has stayed on in Marfa to create an outdoor mural on a wall in the Lumberyard.

Grouper (Liz Harris), got to know Marfa during a music residency there in 2010, and splits her time between making music and making art. She tells blouinartinfo that this mural is ” mainly improvised;” it’s a long wall of blocks of lines set in a diagonal weave pattern, painted in black and white. The plan is for the mural to be semi-permanent. To read more about her process and inspiration, go here.


ISIS: Leave the Art Alone!

For generations, Italians tolerated the Sicilian Mafia as a fact of life, even as horrible crimes and murders were committed. But, in 1993, a car bomb went off next to Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, damaging and destroying some serious artwork. Suddenly, Italians thought that the Mafia had gone too far.

Mosaic-the-Bardo-Museum-Tunis-Tunisia-Artist-Nick-BoardIn the past few weeks, videos have been released showing ISIS (or ISOL, or the Islamic State) destroying sculptures in Middle Eastern museums. Now, authorities have arrested nine people in connection with a gun attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis that killed 22 people and two alleged attackers, a spokeswoman for the Tunisian presidential office told ABC News.

In New York overnight, extra police were assigned to the city’s most popular museums in a direct response to the attack at the museum in Tunisia.

Most people, artists and art lovers included, tend to think that art is removed from the realities of the political world. But it’s often the case that, when the real world disrupts art and culture, people finally pay attention. Maybe art really does have the power to disrupt the more awful realities of the world.

Big Medium Announces Monster List for West Austin Studio Tour 2015

unnamedBig Medium, the Austin non-profit responsible for the Texas Biennial as well as the annual East Austin Studio Tour and West Austin Studio Tour (among other efforts), has just announced the participating studios and venues in this year’s West Austin Studio Tour. It is huge. For a list of this 4th iteration of the ever-growing event, go here.

To brush up, the West Austin Studio Tour, like the older East version, takes place over two weekends– this year it’s May 9-10 and 16-17. It’s self-guided and gives people an opportunity to wander in and out of hundreds of artist and artisan studios and other art venues and non-profits. Artists and art professionals chat with visitors about their work and processes. The studio tour is free; there is event programming over the course of the weekends and some events charge admission. In advance of the tour on April 30, Big Medium will hold a fundraising event called Due West to raise funds for the tour catalog and special West group exhibition. For all pertinent info, please go here.



In Houston, It’s All About Drawing

Drawing Symposium and Panel Discussion (MAR 20)This Friday, the Rice Media Center will host On Drawing: Symposium and Panel Discussion, presentations and discussions about drawing with Claire Gilman, Curator at The Drawing Center in New York; Michelle White, Curator at the Menil Collection (and, as Glasstire reported yesterday, one of the “25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up” according to Artnet’s new list); and Los Angeles-based artist Robyn O’Neil (and former Kingwood resident, winner of the 2009 Hunting Art Prize).

For those who love the simple process of drawing, this group definitely shares that passion. Presentations begin at 11am and lunch will be provided afterwards.

The panel discussion should get Houston all geared up for groundbreaking celebration for the Menil Collection’s new Drawing Institute, which will take place on the following Friday morning.

Three (Women) Texas-Based Curators Make a New Artnet List


Michelle White of the Menil (photo: Eric Hester)

Whatever one thinks of Top-Whatever lists and segregating women from men for the sake of online clicks, we are pleased to see two Houstonians and one Austinite on Artnet’s new list of “25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up” (we interpret this as a.k.a. “25 women curators under 50,” and that’s fine).

Rachel Cook of DiverseWorks (sporting the liveliest pic) and Michelle White of the Menil Collection are included, as is Heather Pesanti from the Contemporary Austin. The list is a very international one; we’re happy to see Texas so well-represented on such a short list. Nice work, curators!

$70K El Paso Public Sculpture Disappears


Installation photo via Facebook, posted March 3.

A twenty-foot sculpture, entitled Uplift, commissioned by the city for a new roundabout in a West El Paso reconstruction project, has been removed before the completion of its installation. City officials told The El Paso Times that it was because “it was not built as planned.”

Created by artist Margarita Cabrera, with the help of Mexican children who have survived the violence in Juárez, the sculpture was meant to represent a flock of 600 birds taking flight to promote peace and unity on both sides of the border.

A local resident told KVIA News that he saw the sculpture being installed, but that it left as quickly as it came. Both The El Paso Times and KVIA News report that they received no comment from the artist and that public officials were vague about the “inconsistencies” found in the project. “We just want to ensure quality work and something that’s gonna stand the test of time,” El Paso Quality of Life Managing Director Bryan Crowe said. “We had some concerns with the fabrication so we’re gonna be taking those up with the artist.”

Below is a video of Cabrera explaining the original project:

Fort Worth Gets its Art On; Spring Gallery Night is March 28

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 3.20.20 PM

Nancy Lamb’s work will be up at Artspace 111.

The Fort Worth Art Dealers Association (FWADA) is preparing for its annual Spring Gallery Night set for Saturday, March 28; this year the 20 host galleries and non-profits will be joined by 13 “Friends of FWADA” venues and nine restaurants as showplaces for artwork.

Like many organized gallery walks in other cities, this one is city-wide (it actually extends to Haltom City, Bedford, and Arlington) and all the venues are open until at least 9 p.m. to host the wandering crowds. Usual suspects include the major museums in the Cultural District, TCU’s two galleries, and stalwarts like William Campbell Contemporary Art and Artspace 111. The Fort Worth Art Collective will have a pop-up for the third consecutive year; the Botanical Research Institute of Texas is participating this year as is the AIA FW Center for Architecture. The event is free (generally speaking) and open to all comers. For more info and a download of this year’s program and map, go here.

Yeehaw! Texan Teen Realist Painters Win Seriously Super Huge Big Money

baggerlyCongratulations if you recently sold a work of art for $100, $1,000, $10,000, or even $100,000! But two high school artists entering the rodeo art contest beat you by a long shot.

Although most entries into the rodeo art contest are usually based on photos and depicted in Prismacolor pencils, both winners are referred to as painters. The grand champion painting by Raina Baggerly, titled There’s Work to be Done, depicts a cowgirl leaning on a saddle. It sold for $150,000 to former art auction committee chairwoman Terry Agris. “We bought this painting in memory of my brother-in-law,” Agris told the Houston Chronicle. “He loved Western art, and this was a great painting he would have loved.”

At the school art auction, buyers pooled money to take home the two top paintings, including spending a record $211,000 for the reserve grand champion work by 18-year-old Vanessa Sosa. Both artists are students in the Pasadena School District.

Luminaria gets Full Time Director: Kathy Armstrong of SSA

armstrong treesLuminaria, the annual multi-disciplinary arts fest in San Antonio, has hired it’s first full time executive director, luring Kathy Armstrong, director of exhibitions at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio into a three-year contract. Luminaria will be seven this year, and Armstrong is looking for ideas to shake up the erratic “Festival of Lights”, including an open call for proposals for this year’s event, scheduled for Oct. 23 and 24.

It’s Official, Again. HAA Merry-Go-Round Makes A Full Turn

HAA_150228WilsonMobileGlasstire reported Wednesday that Houston Arts Alliance had re-awarded Houston artist Ed Wilson the $830,000 commission to create an interior artwork for the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center in Houston; now the official press release is out and the whitewashing has begun in earnest.

HAA CEO Jonathan Glus is quoted as saying, “We are delighted to announce that Ed Wilson has been awarded this important commission,” and the smoothing-over of serious conflicts in the process was continued by HAA board chairman Marc Melcher, who said “We took a few weeks to ensure that our policies and procedures are tight and that the process was followed for this important commission. In fact, they were, and with a re-endorsement by the executive committee, we were able to move swiftly to complete the process and deliver this proposal from Ed Wilson to Houston First. We are very pleased to offer this size of commission and level of prominence to one of Houston’s long-time artists, with deep roots in our community.”

HAA described the delay which attracted incredulous reports from the national media thus: “In November, 2014, HAA temporarily halted the review process of artists’ proposals to reevaluate its review process and its own policies and procedures. Once the Executive Committee of HAA re-endorsed its policies and procedures, HAA expedited the review process for the GRB interior artwork by inviting the seven semi-finalists from the initial process to re-submit their projects.”

In fact, the process was made into a fiasco, and more than three months were wasted by disagreements between members of the Civic Art Committee and the staff of HAA’s Public Art + Design department, which led to the angry resignation of Matthew Lennon, HAA’s public art director, and his replacement by Sara Kellner.
Voila! The opacity surrounding composition and authority of the Civic Art Committee in these decisions remains intact. The CAC is still empowered to overrule decisions of staff and independent selection panels, and its deliberations are still secret. The new selection process is indeed exactly the same as the process which chose Wilson in the first place!

Reminder To DFW: Tom Sachs Extravaganza Extends Our Way March 17

unnamedAs we are all well aware, Tom Sachs– the New York-based MacGyver/MacGruber of the art world– has essentially taken over Austin for a spate, but on March 17, he comes to Fort Worth as special guest of the Tuesday Evenings at the Modern lecture series.

This must be a branch off of his protracted spin around Austin, and makes sense in the same way DFW (and especially Denton) has always enjoyed the windfall of great bands stopping off to play shows on their way to and from SXSW. To whet your appetite for an audience with this marvelous artist, the release for the Modern brings us this quote from him: “I’m obsessed with innovation. It’s like that David Foster Wallace thing: If you worship money, you’ll always feel poor. If you worship beauty, you’ll always feel ugly. If you worship power, you always feel powerless. I worship innovation and I always feel like I’m not doing enough new stuff. That’s my impulsiveness.”

Free, as always, but this one will be full; show up early if you want a seat, or relax in the Modern’s restaurant/bar area with a drink for the live feed of the talk. For more info, go here.

Ed Wilson Re-Wins the GRB Commission!

Screen shot 2015-03-11 at 6.53.54 PMHouston Artist Ed Wilson has, finally, been re-awarded the artwork commission for the George R. Brown Convention Center. After Wilson’s original award was strangely withdrawn in late November, it drew much media attention from to Houston Arts Alliance’s selection process, and led to the resignation of HAA’s head of Civic Art + Design, Matthew Lennon, in protest.

We expect a press release from HAA in the morning but, meanwhile, ED RULES!

A Tiny, Cool Art Invasion at SXSW


painting by Eddie Argos

The Show on the Road is a high-low art gallery housed inside a 1993 Chevy box truck; it was founded by gallerist Karen Light and it will be an exhibitor at SXSW’s Music Gear Expo from March 19-22. The Austin-based pop-up space on wheels will be showing drawings and etchings by Sonic Youth’s co-founder/guitarist Lee Ranaldo and paintings by Art Brut’s multi-talented frontman Eddie Argos.

Light founded a gallery called Garde Rail in Seattle in 1998; it specialized in outsider and folk art. Says Light about her year-old truck gallery (which has made dozens of appearances around Austin since it launched) and its inclusion in SXSW: ““My hope is that by revealing the visually-creative side of some of our favorite musicians, people will develop a deeper sense of connection to art and music… The two work so well together!”

Finished! Architectural Master Plan for Houston’s Memorial Park

On Monday evening, more than 300 people attended the final public meeting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston about the redesign of Houston’s Memorial Park. After a year and a half, eight public meetings, nine focused workshops, 20 expert interviews and an interactive website, landscape architect Thomas Woltz’s firm has completed its master plan for the park.


SAD PARK. Photo by Bruce Bennett

The Houston Chronicle reports that the redesign aims to restore the park’s ecological health (which was devastated in the past few years by a hurricane and the worst drought in Houston history—the park lost half its trees!) by incorporating more native plants and making the park more user friendly. The plan involves rerouting Memorial Drive, building a hill over it, and relocating the sports fields, among other major changes.


HAPPY PARK. Photo By Nelson Byrd Woltz

The plan still has to go to the City’s quality of life committee on March 25 and is on the docket for City Council’s approval the first week of April. And, although the City Council unanimously approved the budget of $100-$150 million more than a year ago, the Memorial Park Conservancy will need to raise another $150 million over 20 or 30 years to achieve all the amenities the plan envisions.

For more information on the master plan, read the Chronicle article or visit the architect’s website. To read about people who are still skeptical about the plan, read this Houston Press blog.