Coming to a Billboard Near You!

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 2.51.58 PMWe’re closing in on the opening day of Art Everywhere, the nation-wide public art initiative (modeled after a successful UK program of the same name) that will put the images of 58 beloved American works of art on billboards, the sides of public transit, newsstands, telephone kiosks, and other highly visible commuter spots across the nation—tens of thousands of spots, in fact. On August 4, the directors of the five American museums that participated in the program by supplying the available works will converge on Times Square in New York to kick off the event. Among them is Maxwell Anderson, director of the Dallas Musuem of Art. Other participating museums can be found here.

Over the spring, 170,000 votes came in from the public to narrow down the original pool of 100 images dating from before the American Revolution, through the Civil War era and both World Wars, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, right up to this decade. Beside the museums, other entities had to cooperate to make all this possible, including the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), plus foundations, estates, and in some cases the artists themselves. The display will run for a month. Of the winning 50 images, the originals of the ten works belonging to the DMA are currently on exhibition at the DMA throughout its building, which is free and open to the public. A list of those works is here. (They’re all great; go view the real McCoys, DFW!)


(Photo rendering by Art Everywhere; image: Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942, courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago and Friends of American Art Collection)

President Awards James Turrell the National Medal of Arts

turrellArtist James Turrell received the 2013 National Medal of Arts from President Obama during a White House ceremony on Monday. The Houston Chronicle referred to the light artist as a “Houston-centric” since he has more public installations in Houston than in any other U.S. city

Houston’s first major blast of Turrell was the 1998 exhibition James Turrell: Spirit and Light at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Soon after, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) commissioned him to create The Light Inside within the tunnel to its new building. In 2000, he installed one of his famous Skyspaces at the Live Oak Friends Meeting House. In the past few years, Turrell installations have been popping up all over the world, including Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin. When the MFAH held a major retrospective of his work last year, Turrell told the Chronicle, “Houston has done all right by me.”

In yesterday’s ceremony, the President introduced Turrell (the only visual artist in this year’s group) with this description: “Capturing the powers of light and space, Mr. Turrell builds experiences that force us to question reality, challenging our perceptions not only of art, but also of the world around us.” To all the honorees, he said, “The moments you help create—moments of understanding or awe or joy or sorrow—they add texture to our lives. They are not incidental to the American experience; they are central to it—they are essential to it.”

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Nasher’s PR Initiative Wins Big

Nasher-Sculpture-Center-PR-Award_134244In what seems like a completely appropriate move, the highly respected Public Relations Society of America and other national organizations have recently handed the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas seven different awards and commendations for its communications around the Nasher XChange public art program.

Last month the PRSA gave the Nasher’s  PR staff  “the 2013 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for its ‘Integrated Communications’ campaign that utilized traditional and nontraditional marketing and public relations tactics to reach audiences locally and nationally” (via CultureMap Dallas). Contrary to what you may think, the Silver award is its very top award, not the first runner up.

The PRSA also gave the Nasher a “Bronze” award for media relations, and two other organizations, PR News and Ragan Communications, gave the Nasher commendations in the non-profit sector for their media relations and PR campaigns. Kudos to the Nasher PR team!

(photo of winning team: Nasher Sculpture Center)

Help for Artists with Legal Tangles to Untangle

banksyTexas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA) will offer a one-on-one legal clinic for artists and arts-related organizations tomorrow evening at Houston’s Fresh Arts. Legal advice is absolutely free “for those with an annual income of under 50k” (that should include most artists) and they will be ready to answer any questions (actually, “questions must be related to work in the creative fields,” so they will not get you out of that speeding ticket).

Participants should register online ASAP for a half-hour time slot on July 29, 6:30-8:30pm.

$17M Gift Creates New O’Donnell Art History Institute at UT Dallas

Dallas arts patron Edith O’Donnell has made a $17 million contribution to UT Dallas to create the new Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. “UT Dallas excels in science and engineering.  The moment is right to build a program of the same quality and rigor in art history,” said Mrs. O’Donnell.  “There is a natural affinity between science and the arts.  UT Dallas founders Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott and Cecil Green actively supported the arts.  Now, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for art history, UTD-style.”

Brettell_1Rick Brettell will lead the stand-alone Institute as the first Director and Edith O’Donnell Distinguished Chair. He will also serve as a vice provost, reporting to Executive Vice President and Provost Hobson Wildenthal.

Brettell, a professor of art and aesthetic studies who also holds the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies in the School of Arts and Humanities said, “Mrs. O’Donnell has made it clear that what interested her about funding art history at UT Dallas was our strength in the sciences, technology, and management, thus creating the conditions that could foster a wholly new kind of art history. With art historians on campus who study the intersections between art and cartography, art and biology, and art history in the context of big data, UT Dallas has demonstrated a willingness to think about art and about history in new ways.”


Mrs. O’Donnell gift will endow Dr. Brettell’s position as the Institute’s Director and O’Donnell Distinguished Chair; four O’Donnell Distinguished Chairs; ten O’Donnell Graduate Research Fellowships, and a research and program fund.  The Institute will provide support for conferences, research travel, and visiting faculty and lecturers. The Institute’s campus offices will be housed in the new Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, a 155,000-square-foot facility that houses programs in arts and technology, visual arts, emerging media and communications, as well as a 1,200-seat lecture hall.

The Institute will open this fall.

Amon Carter Gets Peale Peaches in Memory of Ruth Carter Stevenson

2014-17_sThe Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth has announced the the acquisition of Peaches and Grapes in a Chinese Export Basket (1813) by Raphaelle Peale (1774–1825).

Though they have works by William Harnett, William McCloskey and John F. Peto, the new still life is the Carter’s only work by Raphaelle, the black sheep of the Peales, a family of noted artist/scientists in turn-of-the-ninteenth-century Philadelphia. It was purchased in memory of the museum’s founder Ruth Carter Stevenson (1913–2013) and will be on view July 29 in the main gallery beginning July 29.

Los Angeles Street Art Gallery Expands into Dallas


Lab Art’s Eric Rosiak, Iskander Lemseffer and Adam Persiani

Three-year-old Lab Art, a Los Angeles gallery dedicated to street art and graffiti, is opening a second space in the Dallas Design District in September. Founder Iskander Lemseffer, whose background is in fashion, opened the original space in 2011 in the mid-Wilshire neighborhood of L.A. to showcase and sell the work of street artists (and here we won’t get into the pros and cons of domesticating urban art or the long and mixed history of commercializing it). The gallery’s list of artists—many who use only their tag names—can be found here.

While Lemseffer was looking to expand Lab Art into other markets, the gallery’s Instagram caught the eye of Dallas-based investment guys Eric Rosiak and Adam Persiani, who have since partnered with Lemseffer; they’ll open the 4500 square foot space at 315 Cole Street in Dallas with a group show from the gallery’s L.A. stable on September 18. The second show, opening in October, will be a solo show by a Lab Art mainstay who goes by Alec Monopoly, whose bio on the Lab Art website reads: “‘Alec Monopoly’ is the alias of an unidentified graffiti artist, originally from New York City. The artist primarily works in the urban environments of New York, Los Angeles, and London using varied materials… to subversively depict the mascot of the board game, Monopoly.” And there you have it.

Says Lemseffer (via CultureMap Dallas): “The Dallas Design District is booming right now, and I ship so much to Dallas it’s not even funny.”


(photo: CultureMap Dallas and Lab Art)



South African Beaders to Assemble Selven O’Keef Jarmon’s Big Tapestry Project at Rice

Selven O'Keef Jarmon

Selven O’Keef Jarmon

As the second of it’s public “art on the esplanade” pieces, the Art League Houston has commissioned Houston artist Selven O’Keef Jarmon’s piece 360 Degrees Vanishing, a set of curtainlike beaded tapestries that will wrap the Art League’s building on Monrose Blvd. in late October. Spearheaded by ALH, the project is a cultural exchange with South Africa, focusing on the disappearance of traditional beading in that country, and of vanishing traditions in general.

Everbody’s involved – the piece will use beaders from South Africa to weave 350,000 acrylic beads at a temporary studio at “X-Lab”, Suite 202 of the Rice University Biosciences Research Building, a space the  school has designated for collaborative and interdisciplinary projects that connect the Rice campus with the broader Houston community. The beaders will be at work at Rice through August 29. (volunteers wishing to participate and learn something of this intricate craft, sign up here) As part of the project, Houston artists will travel to South Africa to bead a government building. It’s even got it’s own coffee blend, “COFFEE 360” an African coffee-blend, which the Art League is selling to raise money for the project!


Artist's concept drawing

Artist’s concept drawing

The project has received major support from Rice University, Louisa Stude Sarofim, the Morgan Family Foundation and the city of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. Institutional partners include the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Our Image Film and Arts, the City of Houston, Rice University, Texas Southern University, the Mitchell Center at the University of Houston, Workshop Houston, and the Houston Arts Alliance and the South African government.

Spanish Chef Superstars Take Over Texan Art Kitchens

iPnZrus.pxsIEl Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain has been called the best restaurant in the world; the wait list is notorious and you’re looking at a year to get a reservation. But if you’re a client of BBVA, a Spain-based financial services group, you might be catching the famed Roca brothers, the restaurant’s owner-chefs, at one of two art venues in Texas next month, where they’ll prepare dinners for their regional VIPS at The Rachofsky House in Dallas and the Rienzi in Houston. The Rachofsky House is a private residence with rotating exhibitions and strong ties to the Dallas Museum of Art through its owners, Howard and Cindy Rachofsky and the annual AMFAR/DMA benefit TWO x TWO, and the Rienzi is home of the European art collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the “BBVA is sponsoring the chefs’ tour as part of its three-year partnership with El Celler de Can Roca.” The restaurant will be closed for five weeks this summer (we of course know to not expect things in Spain to be open in August), and the Rocas will “recreate their restaurant experience for clients in countries where BBVA operates, including the U.S., Mexico, Peru and Colombia.” The tour kicks off in Texas, starting at the Rienzi ballroom in Houston on August 4 with dinners for 300 people over three days, and then hitting the Rachofsky House in Dallas on August 8 and 9. ¡Buen provecho!

(photo: Bloomberg)

Glasstire Sets Trend of Contemporary Art Video Chat!

Now that Glasstire editor Bill Davenport and publisher Rainey Knudson released this week’s Top 5 countdown on video, it seems everyone wants to jump on the YouTube bandwagon to chat about contemporary art.

This week, Ovation TV launched its first original web series, called Touching the Art. The black-lipsticked artist and comedian Casey Jane Ellison interviews (apparently always female) art-world guests with smart/dumb/glib questions: “What is art? Who cares? Why?” The show seems to straddle the lines between accessible and obscure, sincere and sarcastic. It remains to be seen whether it will actually catch on, but the first episode proves one thing: artist Catherine Opie is pretty smart and funny!




Houston Arts Alliance Late with Grant Announcements


Konstantin Dimopoulos’s temporary public art installation The Blue Trees, a project of HAA’s civic art program.

For the second year running, the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is late announcing grant awards. Although the grant period has already started, grantees (including Glasstire) do not know how much their award will be for the 2014-2015 grant cycle. Grantees were surprised when HAA, which had been scheduled to announce grant awards in June, pushed the announcement date to July on its website without warning.

There has been growing concern among Houston arts organizations about HAA’s administration of grants; specifically around late communications and opacity in the decision process. It is unclear how HAA arrives at award amounts. In addition, many arts organizations in Houston are concerned about the fundraising activities of HAA, which directly conflict with those of its grantees.

In January, leaders of Houston arts organizations voiced these concerns to the leadership of HAA at a closed-door meeting. Six months later, organizations that need to finalize budgets for the current fiscal year cannot do so because they don’t yet know the amount of their HAA award.

Diem Jones, the former head of grants at HAA, is no longer with the organization as of this summer; and Richard Graber, who was previously HAA’s Director of Programs + Services, took on the role of Director of Grants this week.

HAA is the non-profit corporation charged with administering Hotel Occupancy Tax-funded city grants to arts organizations and individual artists in Houston. It was created by former Mayor Bill White to combine administration of grants and public art into one entity.


Wunderbar! Blue Star Selects Berlin Artists-in-Residence

Artist digs at Künstlerhaus (Photo: Georg Schroeder)

Artist digs at Künstlerhaus (Photo: Georg Schroeder)

San Antonio’s Blue Star Contemporary has announced its selection of four local artists to take part in three-month residencies in Berlin, Germany: Justin Boyd, Adriana Corral, Jessica Halonen, and Chris Sauter. Boyd has already left for the first residency term.

This is the second year that Blue Star has served as the only U.S. partner of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, an organization that has earned an international reputation for its residency studio program, giving 25 artists from around the world residencies at their facility in the heart of Berlin’s art scene. Blue Star plans an exhibition featuring the inaugural group of resident artists (Richard Armendariz, Cathy Cunningham-Little, Karen Mahaffy, and Vincent Valdez) in March 2015 during Contemporary Art Month.

Cool Happening for Would-Be and Former Punks in DFW

10552001_615900091840649_1643712070_nThis Sunday at 7 pm, the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson will host artist Bill Daniel for a screening of his 2005 art-film-cum-documentary “Who is Bozo Texino?”, which is a black-and-white meditation on the hobo train-hopping graffiti artists of the past century. (Note: hobo graffiti is its own tradition and not to be confused with today’s urban tagging.) The Drafthouse will also show clips and photographs from Daniel’s upcoming publication, “Tracking Down the Texas Punk Problem,” a photo-essay book of the Austin and Texas punk scene in the early ‘80s, which he was very much a part of.

Following the screening is a Q & A discussion with Daniel titled “North Dallas teen alienation and resultant cultural pushback.” That title alone is worth the trip.

Daniel, a Dallas native and graduate of UT Austin, is a Guggenheim Fellow and film-festival veteran. He’s shown internationally while documenting some of the most overlooked and compelling subcultures in Texas. (After a long stint on the West Coast, he’s currently based in Pasadena, Texas.) This should be an interesting evening at the Alamo, and if that’s still not enough to get you out on a hot Sunday night, the Alamo will screen a bonus 16mm print of a vintage Butthole Surfers short made by Daniel. Boom! Be there or be square.


Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, Sunday July 27 at 7 p.m.
Note: 18 and up; kids 13 and up will be allowed only with a parent/guardian. No children under 13 admitted.

(photo: Alamo Drafthouse)

We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Showing Some Movies!

BehaviorThe folks who put the Q in QFest are gearing up again for the five-day annual film festival dedicated to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer cinema. It begins Thursday evening with the Texas premier of Appropriate Behavior at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and runs through Monday, July 28. QFest will feature 17 programs hosted at seven venues throughout Houston (full schedule here).

For those who want to start the party early, the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) is hosting a “Sneak Peak and ‘Bumper Crop’ Video Party” tonight at 6pm. QFest Artistic Director Kristian Salinas will share festival highlights and QFest Festival Administrator Stephanie Saint Sanchez will present this year’s submissions in the QFest Bumper Crop Shout Out. SWAMP is located at 1519 West Main.

(Image: film still from Appropriate Behavior)

We Lost a Good One in Dallas: Nona Barrett

NONAGenerous art collector and benefactor Nona Norsworthy Barrett, of Dallas, died last week. She is survived by her husband Richard. There has been no official obituary released as of this writing. This post will be updated when one becomes available.

Nona and Richard Barrett had been collecting art for about 25 years, and started their collection with regional work (Nona’s first purchase, while working with Dallas dealer Murray Smither, was reportedly a Vernon Fisher). Over the years they have gifted many works to the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and other major institutions, sometimes with stipulations that some of the work find its way to regional museums across the entire state. Later on, they began collecting Swiss and Czech modernism.

In 2004-5, SMU’s Meadows Museum presented the well-received “Texas Vision: The Barrett Collection,” exhibiting more than 100 works from their private collection.

Nona was one of the top collectors in the region. She was a 4th-generation Texan who was a tremendous champion of Texas artists, and she will be missed.

(photo: Nona and Richard Barrett in February. Dallas Morning News)

The Dog Days of Texas Summer


Student art at the Dog Show, Photo By Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle

Art at the Dog Show. Photo by Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle

Of course it’s hot and muggy in Texas this time of year, but it suddenly seems like it’s literally the dog days of summer around here. If you missed the five-day “Houston World Series of Dog Shows” (and its accompanying exhibition of student art) that ended yesterday, don’t worry—there are more dogs on the way!

coloringbookHouston’s DiverseWorks, Barrio Dogs, and Box13 Artspace have teamed up to present No One’s Dog, a community-based project that uses art to bring attention to Houston’s animal overpopulation crisis. The project involves a photography exhibition at DiverseWorks (July 26-August 9), a community awareness event at Box13 (August 9, 5-7pm), and a commissioned coloring book created by Houston artist Michael Bise. The coloring book tells the story of Rusty the dog (in English and Spanish), one of Barrio Dogs’ greatest success stories, and will be distributed free of charge.

Austin animal lovers have been enjoying the Blanton Museum of Art’s summer exhibition In the Company of Cats and Dogs. They’ve already held their Pooch Parade and their Doga Class (yoga for dogs and their owners) but, in August, they will be hosting a few serious lectures on how we relate to our cats and dogs.

Speaking of Austin, has anyone in town fessed up yet to the friendly dognapping of Marfa’s missing art dog?

Tom Tierney, King of Paper Dolls, has Died in Smithville

tomTom Tierney, illustrator of the long-running and popular series of paper doll books for Dover Publications, died on July 12 at his home in Smithville, TX at age 85. The New York Times says Tierney “almost single-handedly revived the lost art of paper-doll making” in the 1970s as Barbie was killing a once-popular genre.

Born in Beaumont in 1928, Tierney studied art at UT Austin them moved to New York, where he began as a fashion illustrator. He spent most of his career in New York, drawing over 400 books of dolls and costumes ranging from Marilyn Monroe, to Drag Queens, to The Virgin of Guadalupe and the presidents of the United States, many with detailed annotations. He moved to Smithville in 2007.

leigh paper dolls

New Faces at the El Paso Museum of Art Foundation

EPMA foundation faces

Allan M. Goldfarb, Charles de Wetter, Stacey S. Hunt

The El Paso Museum of Art Foundation, the nonprofit which funds acquisitions, conservation/preservation, education and interpretation, not provided for by the City of El Paso, has announced it’s new executive officers for 2014: David Bernard, President; Katherine Brennand, Vice President; Jackson Curlin, Treasurer; and Rebecca Krasne, Secretary.

New board members were also announced: Allan M. Goldfarb, Charles de Wetter, and Stacey Hunt.

Allan M. Goldfarb, a native El Pasoan, is a partner and Chairman of Kemp Smith’s Business Department. Mr. Goldfarb’s primary focus is working with and advising owners and principals of closely-held and family businesses.  In addition, Mr. Goldfarb has extensive experience in probate and estate matters, including tax planning and filings with the IRS.

Charles de Wetter is the current Covenant Real Estate Managing Broker for west Texas and southern New Mexico and former President of De Wetter Hovious, Inc. He is chairman of El Paso’s Make-A-Wish Foundation a board member of the El Paso Community Foundation, and a past president of the Center Against Family Violence.

Stacey S. Hunt is a community advocate and volunteer. She worked in San Francisco and El Paso as an occupational therapist prior to having children. She is on the board of the El Paso Children’s Development Center, the El Paso Opera, Kids Excel El Paso, and the Lydia Patterson Institute. Mrs. Hunt was also a member of the Junior League of El Paso.

Meet Sandy, Galveston’s Newest Pink Resident

unnamedGalveston has a new monument, a pink dolphin carved from red limestone quarried from Corpus Christi. The dolphin-sized statue, installed at R.A. Apffel Park/East Beach on the island and conceived by artist Joe Joe Orangias, writer Sarah Sloane, and scientist Frank Pega and carved by Orangias, celebrates Galveston’s sexual and gender minority communities and its history of embracing these communities.

The statue takes its form and name, The Pink Dolphin Monument, from the storied Galveston watering hole the Pink Dolphin Tavern, as well as Galveston’s LGBTQ Pink Posse activist community.

According to its corresponding website, the “Pink Dolphin Monument is part of a network of monuments dedicated to gender and sexual minorities around the globe, but it is the first of its kind within Texas and the southern United States.” A list of other monuments in this global network can be found here.

The dolphin, nicknamed Sandy by park employees, was donated to the park by its creators, and its unveiling happens on July 25, 2014 from 5 to 6pm at R.A. Apffel Park/East Beach Pavilion, Galveston Island, Texas, 1923 Boddeker Road. It is open to the public.

Treehouse of the Future to Open in Houston’s Memorial City

treehouseWhen’s a treehouse on a freeway? MetroNational, the real estate corporation that runs the Memorial City Mall in West Houston is putting the finishing touches on Treehouse Memorial City, a showpiece of green design they’re billing as “The Office of the Future” at the corner of Bunker Hill Rd, and Gaylord in Houston.

Studio Red Architects (designers of the planned MATCH arts center in Midtown Houston) and Acumen Design are collaborating with MetroNational’s VP for Design and Construction and newly designated “environmental Czar of Green initiatives,” Glenn Fuhrman on the new hideaway- the building is reached from the MetroNational offices via a suspension bridge (Ewok City?) and sports every possible tree-hugging feature: a rooftop garden of native plants, solar panels, rainwater collection, a geothermal cooling system, furniture made from recycled plastic bottles, and a wind turbine by Houston art-cartist Mark “Scrapdaddy” Bradford.

Workers from Embark Services, a MetroNational subsidiary, hugging a giant live oak in Spring Branch.

Workers from Embark Services, a MetroNational subsidiary, hugging a giant live oak in Spring Branch.