Call for Proposals: Year 2 of Wacky Artist Parade Floats

bounty_crewAfter 65 years of Houston’s traditional Foley’s (later Macy’s) Thanksgiving Day Parade, organizers abruptly called it quits last year, but the Mayor’s Office of Special Events quickly found a new sponsor (H-E-B), an artist float curator (Diane Barber), and a new tradition was born. Well, at least, it’s making it to year two.

Last year’s parade was a hit, if only for the weird float designed by Patrick Renner, Alex Larsen, and Dennis Nance. “H-Town Bounty” featured a giant cornucopia that functioned as a half-pipe in which skateboarders dressed as giant vegetables showed off their moves. Potential inventive float artists should consider the gauntlet thrown.

The City of Houston is now seeking proposals from artists or organizations to create parade floats to be part of the 2014 H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. Artists will receive a materials budget of up to $11,000 and a $2,000 artist fee. The deadline for submissions is September 26.

(Photo: H-Town Bounty crew: skateboarders, DJ Gobbles, and artist/float driver/giant fork. Via

Bank Funds Restoration of DMA’s Gem Encrusted Silver Vitrine

Czeschka-silbervitrine-1908In keeping with it’s policy of  “Corporate Social Responsibility,” Bank of America has given the Dallas Museum of Art funds  to restore a gem-studded silver display case the museum acquired last year. The Wittgenstein Vitrine, as it’s called, was designed by Carl Otto Czeschka, and will be the centerpiece of a show opening in November 15 in the DMA’s conservation gallery. Standing over five feet tall, this vitrine is the largest and most lavish example known of the silverwork of the Wiener Werkstätte.

This vitrine was purchased at the 1908 Vienna Kunstschau (Art Show) by Karl Wittgenstein (1847–1913), a Viennese iron and steel magnate and the leader of one of the most powerful families in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Wittgenstein’s family engaged in a series of artistic and architectural commissions in the following years, including paintings by Klimt and the remodeling and furnishing of a number of their homes by the Werkstätte. The vitrine, originally installed in the family’s palace in Vienna, remained in the Wittgenstein family’s possession until 1949, when it was sold at auction.

In 2013, the bank’s Art Conservation Project supported the restoration of Tudor portraits of Queen Elizabeth at the National Portrait Gallery in London; Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s “Diana” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; four portraits by John Butler Yeats at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin; three iconic Jackson Pollock paintings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and Rembrandt’s “Scholar in His study” at the National Gallery in Prague.

Art Apps: the Blanton and LACMA on Snapchat!

via LACMA's snapchat

via LACMA’s snapchat

via LACMA's snapchat

via LACMA’s snapchat

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art made cyber-news recently when Hyperallergic announced that they were the first museum to join Snapchat. A handful of other museums chimed in that they were also using the mobile image-sharing app popular with millennials, however with 40,000 Snapchat views, LACMA is clearly “killing it,” as LAist noted.

Since images or videos sent to other users disappear immediately after viewing, Snapchat has become associated, perhaps unfairly, with content that demands discretion (dick pics in common parlance). Users can, however, post “stories” that remain viewable for 24 hours, which is how most art institutions are using the app.

“The majority of people don’t use it as a sex app,” says Maritza Yoes, LACMA’s social media manager. “They’re using it as a platform for play, from the mundane to the cool. It’s a little less narcissistic than Instagram, it’s ephemeral, it’s quick.” In addition to sharing artwork from LACMA’s collection that she pairs with captions from pop culture, Yoes uses Snapchat to share content not available on other platforms, such as images of her visits to artists’ studios. There is also a new LACMA geofilter with which users can tag their museum snaps to properly brand their experience.

via the Blanton Museum's snapchat

via the Blanton Museum’s snapchat

via the Blanton Museum's snapchat

via the Blanton Museum’s snapchat

The Blanton Museum in Austin has followed LACMA’s lead, captioning old masterworks from their collection with lyrics from pop music, including Beyonce and, unfortunately, LMFAO.


Miranda July's Somebody [via]
Miranda July’s Somebody [via]

If you’re looking for a more analog way to communicate via smartphone, Miranda July has just released Somebody, a messaging app she created in collaboration with fashion brand Miu Miu. The basic gist is that you send a message to a friend, which, instead of showing up on their phone, is delivered in person by another app user in their general vicinity. You can specify inflections or actions such as “longingly,” “fist bump” or “ask her what she’s worried about and reassure her that everything will be OK.” A short film (with Miu Miu wardrobe) produced in conjunction with the app is equal parts sincere and cringe-worthy, so typical July fare.

LACMA's social media manager Maritza Yoes with Somebody sandwich board

LACMA’s social media manager Maritza Yoes with Somebody sandwich board

The app works best with a critical mass of users in one place, so official hot spots have been designated, including LACMA, the New Museum and the Museo Jumex in Mexico City. To promote the hot spot, Yoes recently spent a day walking around the LACMA grounds sporting seriously old-school messaging technology – a sandwich board.

It’s unclear if the hot spots will actually enhance the social aspects of museum-going, or if users will simply race past great works of art in attempts to deliver quirky messages to strangers. Concerns have also been raised regarding privacy issues, since the deliverer of the message is given GPS tracking information about the recipient to help locate them. This seems fine in a public space during the day, not so much if the message is delivered when one is home alone at night. Even less so if the message involves pooping back and forth forever.

The Met Finally Becomes One with Our iPhones

themetmuseumThe Metropolitan Museum of Art became the last of the major New York museums to jump on the dedicated-app wagon. While the museum has been dabbling in digital for a dozen years, it only yesterday launched its own flagship application. (There was a launch party and a performance by the NYC band Interpol.)

Called simply “The Met,” the app is currently available only iOS (the Android version is slated for 2015). It’s not a virtual-tour deal; it’s a service-y one. (Via “The app has a very basic and simple interface, and can serve as the go-to for visitors looking for information on timings, tickets, current exhibitions, must-see highlights of the museum, any special events of the day, upcoming events, staff picks and members-only specials. Tapping on an item provides the user with a brief description and its location.”

For more info and a video about “The Met,” go here.

Texas Arts SchmoozeFest Begins and Glasstire Talks!

TX2013Today marks the beginning of this year’s Texas Contemporary art fair at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. For the fancy folks who shell out $100 for a preview pass, the party starts at 6pm and that first hour and a half benefits the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH). CAMH Director Bill Arning, along with Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, will serve as this year’s jury of the Texas Contemporary Award, a cash prize of $10,000 bestowed to one exhibitor-nominated artist.

The rest of the schmoozers will start pouring in after 7:30pm (if you really can’t find a pass, tickets are $25-35). And there are some pretty good reasons for returning throughout the rest of the weekend (besides never actually looking at much art during an opening). Among other events, there will be the following three Glasstire Talks in the lecture hall:

Saturday, 11am
A Conversation with Hugh Forrest, Director of SXSW Interactive
Over the past 20 years, Forrest has built SXSW Interactive into one of the world’s most influential events for the new media industry. Join Glasstire Founder and Publisher Rainey Knudson for a conversation with Forrest about the history and future of the festival.

Saturday, 1pm
How To Get Rid of the Art You Don’t Want Anymore
Pick up some helpful hints from panelists Sandy Parkerson (Parkerson Gallery), Jessica Phifer (Christie’s), Michelle White (Curator, Menil Collection). Moderated by Glasstire Senior Texas Editor Christina Rees.

Sunday 1:30pm
American Tycoons: What They’ve Bought and Why
Art consultants Julie Kinzelman and Sally Reynolds highlight some of the great corporate collections from the 1960s to the present, in Houston and elsewhere.

(Photo: Texas Contemporary 2013 with Jeffrey Wainhause, Andrew Freiser, Bill Arning, and Max Fishko)

An Artist Discovers a New Use for Copyright Law

DrillingRigTexas artists who own any land in the state might be interested to know how a Canadian artist has handled the pesky oil, natural gas, and pipeline companies that want to enter or tap his property. Peter von Tiesenhausen, of Alberta “…has kept wells, compressors and pipelines off his three square kilometres of fields and trees — a notable feat for his location…” by invoking laws around artistic copyright protections. He has indeed copyrighted his spread.

His action may or may not in the long term stave off a Canadian version of eminent domain, but for now, according to the Edmonton Journal, “His legal move vastly increased the amount of compensation he is potentially entitled to demand from any oil or pipeline company wanting access to his place, because changing his property would be copyright infringement.” Any company imposing new infrastructure in or on his land would mean artistic property disturbance.

It seems to be a language the oil corporations understand, and Von Tiesenhausen can charge the presidents of major oil companies—who are now his visitors—$500 an hour just to speak to him, and they have to pay.

Kudos to Von Tiesenhausen for his creative use of peaceful (and lucrative) resistance to a certain kind of development. For more on the story, go here.

SA Botanical Garden Gets New Arts Collaborator

art in the gardenThere’s still time to catch “Art in the Garden” at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the annual collaboration with Blue Star Contemporary, since it’s on view through the end of January. Founded by Bill FitzGibbons, Blue Star’s Director of Special Projects, this year’s “Art in the Garden” is by long-time Chicago artist Richard Hunt.

The Garden has now struck out on its own in finding a new artistic collaborator: LEGO® Bricks. Starting this Saturday, they will present 27 sculptures that make up 14 displays created from nearly 500,000 LEGO® bricks. The exhibition, entitled Nature Connects (get it?), will be placed throughout the Garden. Each sculpture has an internal structure and is covered with LEGO® bricks, individually snapped in place by artist Sean Kenney.


View the slide show of Lego art at Texas Public Radio.



Lighting Strikes Houston in a Permanent, Bronze Sort of Way

unnamedYesterday, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston announced that it has installed on its South Lawn a new acquisition, Albero folgorato (Lightning Tree), by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone. The installation of the two-ton, 36-feet-high piece was the culmination of a long process, according to MFAH: “The journey to Houston began in Italy two years ago, where Penone first conceived and then cast the sculpture in bronze from a lightning-struck oak, which he had shipped to his studio, gilding its core to capture the power and drama of a bolt from the heavens.”

For more on this story, including more about the making of the work itself and some interesting details and photos of what exactly a big installation like this entails, please go here.


Artists of Color: Welcome to Houston!

Houstonians are eagerly awaiting the late October presentation of Selven O’Keef Jarmon’s piece 360 Degrees Vanishing, commissioned by Art League Houston (ALH). It’s set to be as big of a traffic stopper as Patrick Renner’s popular Funnel Tunnel or Havel Ruck Projects’ 2005 Inversion (until very recently, still documented by the Inversion Coffee Shop’s big photo mural, but that’s another story). Jarmon and his crew of South African beaders and local volunteers plan to wrap the Art League’s building with beads.

BAMBulelwa Bam is one of 16 traditional beaders from the Eastern Cape province of South Africa here in Houston for a few months as part of ALH’s cultural exchange program. She is staying with an ALH patron in River Oaks and, baffled by Houston’s extreme dependence on cars, has been taking the city bus from a stop near her host’s home to ALH and to the building on the Rice University campus where beaders and volunteers are weaving the 350,000 acrylic beads. The other day, a River Oaks Police private patrol car, equally baffled by a black woman casually walking in the neighborhood, stopped her.

As reported by Free Press Houston (FPH), the conversation went something like this:

“Awfully hot day to be walking,” he said to her.
“Yes,” Ms. Bam agreed, “it is very hot.”
“Where do you work?” the officer then asked.

When Bam told the officer that she was not an employee of the neighborhood but a guest, he did not comprehend and again asked where she worked. When she could not remember her host’s last name, he detained her and called for backup. While he sat in his air-conditioned car making calls (and while several light-skinned folks jogged or sauntered by, Bam told FPH), she phoned Jarmon, who then spoke with the officer. The officer ultimately spoke with the host and allowed Bam to proceed to the bus stop.

Welcome to Houston!

(Photo via Bulelwa Bam’s Facebook page. This story was also reported by Houston’s Channel 2, which includes interviews with Bam and Jarmon.)

This Just In: Another New Gallery Opening in Dallas Next Week


Dorota Kozieradzka, “Rodzinne / Family Photography,” 2008

Goldsmiths MFA grad and Dallas native Hanh Ho is opening up a new gallery in the Design District and she’s calling it Cydonia*. The first exhibition is a group show called “EX-Y: Representations of Contemporary Masculinity” and opens to the public on September 12; it will feature work by “nine artists from around the globe that represent ideas of manhood.”

This place reads as seriously ambitious. Its website and support materials are slick. According to the press release: “After all three waves of feminism, Cydonia’s introductory collective show is among the first few exhibitions to explore ideas of maleness in a vastly evolved world 20 years after Thelma Golden’s seminal show about (African- American) maleness ‘Black Male’ and Helaine Posner’s ‘The Masculine Masquerade.’” Our impression is that Hanh Ho’s education in curating and work background for the Venice Biennale and the Cranford Collection in London give her a foundation for putting together some potentially interesting commercial shows. Let’s put it this way: She’s no yokel.

Also from the press release: “The public is invited to attend a reception for artists Alan and Michael Fleming and Jan Mioduszewski from 6pm-9pm [Sept 12]. Warsaw-based artist Jan Mioduszewski will perform Reka on Friday starting at 7pm.”

For more info, go here.


* “Cydonia” can mean:  1) a mysterious region on Mars, 2) a specific flowering plant, 3) reference to a song by the band Muse





Water, Water, Everywhere (in art)

flooded-museumOn Wednesday at 3pm, Dr. Mark Thistlethwaite, the Kay and Velma Kimbell Chair of Art History at Texas Christian University, will present a lecture entitled “Water Matters in American Art” at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

So, how much can one say about water in art? Apparently, A WHOLE LOT!

Dr. Thistlethwaite will be delivering lectures on the theme of “the appearance, meaning, and importance of water (and water-related issues) in American art” every Wednesday from September 3-December 3 (except November 26). For the full schedule and list of lecture titles, go here.

The Perot Museum in Dallas Gets a Mammoth Gift


Rendering of a Columbian mammoth (not as wooly as you may have predicted)

While excavating, a farmer in Ellis County hit the tusk of a mammoth buried on his land; further investigation by the pros have unearthed a nearly complete and intact female Columbian mammoth skeleton dating back 30,000 years or so. Her pristine condition makes her exceptional. The farmer, Wayne McEwan, is donating the find to the two-year-old Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.

It took a group of paleontology professionals and amateur enthusiasts, overseen by Tom Vance of Navarro College, two months to unearth the Late Pleistocene beast (she was small for a mammoth; about the size of a modern elephant). For at least the next year, Vertebrate Paleontologist Dr. Ronald Tykoski of the Perot will study and assess the skeleton at an undisclosed location in Dallas. The great news here is that the animal wasn’t sent to the auction block only to disappear into a private collection never to be seen again. Kudos to Farmer McEwan for doing the right thing, and welcome to Dallas, Ms. Mammoth!

Transported and Renewed: Icing on the East End Development Pie


Beginning September 1, Houston’s fast-revitalizing East End will host “Transported and Renewed” a two-month series of art projects organized by Houston Arts Alliance. The East End is the city’s historic transport hub, where railroads meet the ship channel and heavy industry hopscotches with little homes, giving the area that peculiarly Houston no-zoning charm, and a rash of toxic waste sites.

Already on view are Amber eagle’s Autoflora, giant flowers made from old VW hoods, and Conduit, an interactive wooden-slat sculpture by artist Patrick Renner. Both will be “unveiled” at a celebration at 1 p.m. on September 27, 2014, and will be on view through November 1.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker will officially announce the projects on  Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 11 a.m., in front of City Hall, in the shadow of Sharon Engelstein’s Whatever Floats, an inflatable tugboat, in the reflecting pool.


Lock in your homestead and over 65 property tax exemptions now! Over half a billion dollars is being invested to spiff up the Greater East End, including the new light rail line to re-connecting this part of the city to downtown- and where artist go, yuppies are sure to follow.

Local Art People Talk About the Scene at the DMA

timthumb-1.phpFor every new art season, KERA and the Dallas Museum of Art pair up to bring us the State of the Arts conversation series, with one of the evenings dedicated to a discussion with local visual artists and/or people involved in the contemporary art scene.

It’s hosted by KERA’s Jeff Whittington at the DMA. The next installment takes place on September 11, and Whittington’s guests are Devon Nowlin (Fort Worth artist and founding member of Homecoming!Committee), Arthur Peña (Dallas artist and founder of the recently retired Ware:Wolf:Haus, an alternative art space), and Darryl Ratcliff (Dallas community activist).

Whittington makes an affable host and the conversations tend to be lively and honest and usually revolve around—you guessed it—the state of the local art scene (though also about the individuals’ work and processes). For more info about tickets, etc, please go here.

State of the Arts, KERA/DMA, September 11, 2014 at 7.p.m at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Houston Couple Donates $10 Million Collection to Blanton

tate_galaHouston residents Charles and Judy Tate have donated their private collection of 120 modern and contemporary Latin American artworks, valued at nearly $10 million, to the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas. In an extra fit of generosity and smart thinking, they also donated more than $1 million to an endowment that supports a Latin American curatorship.

As Houstonians, the Tates could have donated the collection to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s impressive Latin American collection. They are also MFAH supporters, but as UT alumni, the couple says they always intended that the collection go to the Blanton. “As a teaching institution, the Blanton has other missions. It relies on alumni for support,” Tate said.

Texas art lovers tend to take their Latin American art for granted, but the Blanton and the MFAH were huge pioneers in the now-popular field. For more on the players and history of Latin American art at the two institutions, as well as the Tates’ gift, read Molly Gletzner’s in-depth article in the Houston Chronicle.

(Photo: Blanton Museum of Art)

O Superman! Laurie Anderson Lectures in Houston

unnamedThe Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston continues its Mitchell Artist Lecture, which “spotlights innovation and the creative process,” on September 10 with Laurie Anderson, NYC-based pioneering artist of sound, technology, and performance art.

The Mitchell Center characterizes Anderson as “known primarily for her multimedia presentations…[and] has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist.” She’ll be speaking about her various collaborations over the course of her career, which has included projects with “Wim Wenders, Jonathan Demme, Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, and Robert LePage.”

Click here for free reservations: Please note that ticket availability is extremely limited for this event

MITCHELL ARTIST LECTURE featuring Laurie Anderson, September 10, 2014, 7:00pm lecture (reception beginning at 6:00pm), at Moores Opera House, University of Houston, Entrance 16 off Cullen Blvd

galleryHOMELAND Returns! New Space, New Mission

GalleryHomeland_logoThe folks at Houston’s galleryHOMELAND are gearing up for the opening(s) of their revamped space in the East End (2327 Commerce Street). They’ve brought in a new board and expanded their mission to include more ambitious programming, such as “an international artist residency, monthly performance events, a national and international lecture series, and ongoing programming engaging the audiences of our culturally rich communities and regions.”

galleryHOMELAND will reopen with two receptions: one on Wednesday, September 3, 6-9pm, and another on Friday, September 5, 8-11pm; one is pre-Texas Contemporary art fair shenanigans and the other is right in the midst of it. The opening exhibition, Urban Tactics, will feature Houston artists Daniel Bertalot, Jed Foronda, and John Forse.

Fort Worth Venues Welcome All for Big Free Day in the District

fw-moma-0506Following yesterday’s news about Austin’s Museum Day comes news of Fort Worth’s similar initiative, now in its ninth year, called a Day in the District (meaning FW’s Art District). This family-friendly event takes place all day on Saturday, Sepember 27, with free admission to nine museums and other non-profit art venues. There’s plenty of events and programming throughout the day, and while the neighborhood is walkable, there’s also free transportation on The T (FW’s city bus service) for the day.

The Amon Carter, Kimbell, and the Modern are of course participating, and six other organizations, including the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden; the full list of venues and special programming is here.

Fort Worth’s Day in the District, Saturday, September 27, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. at multiple venues.

The World’s First Citywide Photoblog!

Who knew that Garland, Texas has “the world’s first citywide photoblog”? That’s what they claim on To post on the site, the images must be of Garland, by someone from Garland, or of someone from Garland and it looks like Garlandites take a lot of pictures. The site is divided into bunches of galleries like “Animals,” “Landscapes,” “Personalities,” and “History.” Some are the expected clichés that such an open forum would attract, but some are quite good. Now, they want to share Garland with the exhibition Garland Eyes at Garland’s Granville Arts Center, which starts tomorrow and runs through mid-October.

From the looks of their “Eyes” gallery, a large percentage of Garlandites seem to wear glasses. Maybe they spend a little too much time squinting through those viewfinders.


Austin Museum Day Returns With Free Admission to the Big Venues AND Some Unexpected Gems


The Harry Ransom Center

The 17th Annual Austin Museum Day returns September 21 with its hallmark free admission to 35 institutions and non-profits throughout the city; many of the spaces offer special events and programming for the day as well. It’s an all-day event that Sunday; for a look at the schedule of tours, events, participants, etc, go here.

The participants are a varied bunch, from the major players like the Blanton and the Contemporary at Laguna Gloria and UT’s Visual Arts Center, to cool special interest players like the Harry Ransom Center, to the charmingly esoteric, such as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the Texas Medical Association History of Medicine Gallery, which states: “Your only chance on a weekend to see the popular Bugs, Bones, and Blood exhibit on the history of forensic medicine.” Go see some art (and other stuff)!


Austin Museum Day, Sept. 21, 2014