Photo via Art.Science.Gallery.
An expected 3,500 entomologists are swarming the Austin Convention Center this week for the 61st Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). While it may include the usual networking, dry seminars and some bug swag, it also hosts the annual Linnaean Games, a highly anticipated national insect trivia competition. The college bowl-style competition on entomological facts is serious business and has merited an article in Smithsonian Magazine.
Also on the schedule this year is the insect-inspired group exhibition, Eclosion, organized by Austinite Hayley Gillespie at Art.Science.Gallery. Gillespie and a jury of national artist-scientists selected 57 works in a variety of media by 44 artists from across the country. Eclosion (the act of an adult insect emerging from its pupal case) should entertain the ESA conventioneers this week, but it will remain up during East Austin Studio Tour (November 16-17 and 23-24).
John Chamberlain, HURRAY FOR BERNIE GALVEZ (3 CENTS UNDER THE LIMIT), 1981.
Dia Art Foundation, to be sold to establish a fund for acquisitions
The founders of the Dia Art Foundation have filed suit to stop the foundation from selling artworks in Dia’s collection. Heiner Friedrich and Fariha Friedrich (formerly Philippa de Menil), who formed Dia in 1974, filed suit in New York state court last Thursday, seeking an injunction against the foundation and Sotheby’s, which is planning to auction Dia works by Cy Twombly, John Chamberlain and Barnett Newman. The 27 works of art worth are expected to raise as much as $20 million at the auction on Wednesday.
An article in Art in America gives a condensed version of the arguments:
The Friedrichs: To remove them “from public access and viewing in direct contravention of Dia’s entire intent and purpose.”
Dia director Philippe Vergne: “Dia cannot be a mausoleum.”
Former Menil Director Paul Winkler (and brother of the other Dia co-founder Helen Winkler Fosdick) in a letter to Vergne: “To sell art works at the core of the ideas and collections of Dia is an outrage and to do so for the purpose of acquiring works by other artists is counter to the unique vision and spirit of Dia.”
Gaga, Koons, and Abramovic at ArtRave. Image via Complex Art+Design
Everyone should have seen the Gaga/Koons collaboration coming from miles away, but now it’s official. Last night, Lady Gaga and Jeff Koons hosted an “ArtRave” extravaganza party, showing work by experimental director/playwright/artist Robert Wilson, photographers Inez and Vindoodh, and performance artist Marina Abramović. According to Complex Art+Design, a group of new works by Koons were also unveiled, including the gigantic image that is featured on the singer’s new album cover.
Lady Gaga/USA TODAY logo design by artist Jeff Koons (Photo: Jeff Koons)
And, in today’s “Life” section of USA Today, the famous blue dot logo is replaced by one designed by Gaga and Koons. USA Today says that the two are first guest contributors to design a logo for the newspaper. In reporting this story, Digital Arts felt compelled to put quotation marks around “guest contributors,” adding its own interpretation that it’s “the first time the dot has been given over to a commercial campaign.”
Northern-Southern (at 1800 Koenig Lane) will hosts it inaugural exhibition, LUCK, this Friday, November 15, from 6-10 pm. Northern-Southern isn’t exactly a new gallery; it’s a new design consultancy firm that plans on hosting thematic exhibitions as part of their ongoing practice. It also seems to plan on mixing the local with the national—four of the nine cross-disciplinary artists included in LUCK are from Austin.
LUCK is a hopeful title for a first venture, but keep an eye out for more binary titles to match the firm’s name. Northern-Southern partner Phillip Niemeyer recently guest-curated Red Left Blue Right at Austin’s grayDuck gallery.
For 21 years now, Art from the Streets has been holding open studio art sessions for Austin’s homeless community. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at St. David’s Trinity Center in downtown Austin, homeless and formerly homeless have a safe space to create artwork (materials provided) and store unfinished work for later completion, with people who can help the artists get works ready for exhibition.
This weekend is the 21st Annual Show and Sale put on by Art from the Streets, which takes place at the Austin Convention Center, Saturday and Sunday, from 12-5 pm. The sale features more than 2,000 works of art created by 70 creative people who range from enthusiastic amateurs to trained artists (yes, it could happen to anyone). Prices start at only $35; proceeds go to the artists.
Houston arts folks are still reeling from the news that most of the on-air staff at classical radio station KUHA-FM was laid off Thursday morning. The Dallas Morning News called it “bad news”; Culturemap Houston’s Joel Luks called it a “bloodbath.” The layoffs, which included some behind-the-scenes employees as well, meant the end of long-time show The Front Row and its producer Bob Stevenson. There is already an online petition in circulation politely pleading for the return of the show.
Bob Stevenson. Photo: HoustonPublicMedia.org
The Front Row featured in-depth interviews with artists and art organizations—usually from the musical and theatrical arts, but it often included enthusiastic interviews with visual artists. Just in the past few weeks, artists Michael Crowder and Todd Hebert were interviewed, as was filmmaker Barbara Hammer, in town for the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, just Wednesday. (Podcasts are sill online.)
Now, according to a KUHA press release, The Front Row is being “re-imagined into multi-platform local content that exposes artists and arts organizations to wider audiences,” said Lisa Trapani Shumate, executive director and general manager of Houston Public Media.
When a dozen employees were let go in February 2011 as part of a reorganization plan that combined KUHF 88.7, KUHA Classical 91.7 and PBS affiliate KUHT Channel 8, Shumate said, “This is a one-time move we’re going to make to align expenses and revenues.” But Culturemap also reports that Shumate let go several more staff members in June, including station manager Debra Fraser. Fraser’s departure upset the station’s most generous single donor, who withdrew a $500,000 matching challenge upon learning of Shumate’s decision.
Since the news of these latest layoffs came at the very tail end of KUHA’s membership drive, it will be interesting to see if any of their members balk at mailing those checks in support of now non-existent programs.
Jos van Riswick, Beer still life, 2010
As “a major supporter of the arts for the past 25 years,” Beck’s Beer has been presenting the Beck’s Art Labels project (reported here this summer because Austin artist William Hundley was one of six artists for this year’s labels); now they are presenting the results of their inaugural “Beck’s State of the Arts Study.” The study, conducted online by Harris Interactive, was meant to examine American attitudes toward art and the manner by which it is consumed.
Here are some results of their study:
- 82 percent of young, adult Americans (aged 21-29) agree that art is a valuable cultural institution.
- Young, adult Americans appreciate graffiti/street art more than their older peers; 70 percent of young, adult Americans believe that graffiti and street art should be hanging in art museums and galleries. Less than half of Americans age 30 or older agree.
- For 33 percent of young, adult Americans, it has been at least one year since their last museum or gallery visit, and a full 19 percent have never visited an art museum or gallery in their lifetime.
- Americans aged 21-29 tend to consume art via the Internet (52 percent through the internet, non-mobile device, 51 percent on their smartphone/tablet), while Americans aged 30 or older are more likely to consume art with a visit to a gallery or museum than via smartphone or tablet.
- 50 percent of Americans aged 21-29 regularly consume art organically, on the street or by walking around, whereas only one-third of older Americans say the same.
- Those who have not seen at least one of these famous works of art in person were asked to choose which they would most want to see in person. The results, in order of preference:
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (34 percent)
Michelangelo’s “David” (27 percent)
Monet’s “Water Lilies” (15 percent)
Banksy’s “Balloon Girl” (6 percent)
JR’s “Inside Out Project” (4 percent)
Basquiat’s “LNAPRK” (2 percent)
- Preferred art medium:
Painting (30 percent)
Sculpture (8 percent)
Drawings (5 percent)
Graffiti/Street art (3 percent)
Video (3 percent)
Graphic design (2 percent)
Other medium (1 percent)
No preferred medium (32 percent)
In conjunction with the exhibition Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, the Blaffer Art Museum will present “Sunday Soup: Houston” at The Brandon on Sunday, November 24, from 4-7 pm.
Sunday Soups are meal-based micro grant events that have been catching on in various parts of the country and the world. There is not yet a real Sunday Soup group in Houston; this program is presented on behalf of InCUBATE, a Chicago-based research institute and artist collective.
The premise is quite simple: collect grant proposals, make some soup, invite people to pay and eat ($10 for all-diet friendly soup) and have the diners democratically allocate the meal’s profits. They are looking for projects that represent a diversity of approaches, mediums, and creative communities, with a particular interest in those with limited funding options elsewhere. Applications are due November 20 at 5 pm. Send answers to the following micro-questions to email@example.com.
2. Email address
3. Project title
4. Project description (no more than 500 words)
5. If granted, how do you plan to spend the money?
6. Aside from money, what other resources or support (if any) do you need (i.e. volunteers, skilled labor, specialized knowledge, tools)?
Oklahoma University (OU) announced that Emily Ballew Neff will be the new director of OU’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, pending approval by the OU Board of Regents, according to a recent article in The Oklahoma Daily. If approved, Neff will assume the position in January.
Neff was the founding curator of American painting and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), where she has served as curator since 1997. She recently mounted the MFAH’s current exhibition American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World, as well as last year’s American Made: 250 Years of American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Neff holds a B.A. in art history from Yale University, an M.A. in art history from Rice University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also the current president of the Association of Art Museum Curators.
Beehive sculpture at Bee Cave Park
On Saturday, from 2-5 pm, the Bee Cave Sculpture Park, outside of Austin, will celebrate its grand opening and dedication, featuring eleven original sculptures now installed in the five-acre park. There will be a mayoral ribbon-cutting, kids’ activities, food, live music and, of course, excited exhibiting artists hanging around.
Apparently, this is only phase one of the park—meant to eventually include performance and event areas, expansion of the trail system, an outdoor amphitheater, rock and landscaping enhancements and a dock to extend over the reflecting pond—but an art party is always a good place to start.
Photo: HTX Walk Social/Carrie Schneider
“Forget Monticello or the Chrysler building: There may be no piece of architecture more quintessentially American than the Astrodome.” That is how Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times architecture critic, began yesterday’s essay on the historically famous Houston dome. But Harris County voters did not agree. In yesterday’s elections, the referendum that would have authorized bonds to turn the stadium into a giant convention center and exhibition space failed to pass.
In a Huffington Post/AP article, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the stadium’s future was pretty much sealed with the referendum’s failure; there are no other plans to revamp the stadium. Beth Wiedower, of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, one of the groups that promoted passage of the referendum, said this was the end of the Astrodome. “We’re discouraged and saddened this icon is lost,” she said.
“Even if its attitude toward the environment now strikes us as deeply naive,” wrote Hawthorne in his essay, “the Astrodome deserves to be protected simply as a singular monument to the American confidence and Texas swagger of the 1960s.” The “Eighth Wonder of the World” will now likely be razed within a few months.
The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced an anonymous gift of $9 million over three years to ensure free general admission to the DMA and enable the Museum to publish its entire collection online.
The donation will provide $4 million in unrestricted general operating support to continue its free general admission. The remaining $5 million will complete the digitization of the Museum’s permanent collection, including the creation of educational content. The gift includes resources to measure the educational impact of the project.
At the beginning of 2013, the DMA returned to a policy of free general admission in tandem with a new platform of visitor participation called DMA Friends (where visitors earn points in exchange for being tracked). DMA Friends is gaining popularity as a model for museums across the country; in September, the Museum received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to study the research potential of this model with three partner institutions: Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Junell and Fields
Max Fields, one of the ambitious young curators behind do it: houston, has now started an online art gallery. Its inaugural exhibition features artist Lillian Paige Walton, whose exhibition, Linear Movement, was originally shown in Dallas at Oil and Cotton.
The team behind the website, Suplex, consists of Fields, Olivia Junell, Rachel Vogel, and Nick Jude Watt. They describe themselves as based in Chicago and Houston, mainly because Junell, the other do it curator, has recently relocated to Chicago to get a few more degrees under her belt. Fields and Vogel have continued the affiliation with Alabama Song Art Space with the presentation of their monthly lecture series/group discussions “The Narrative Process.” The next in the series (always limited to 15 participants) takes place next Monday evening and features artist Jillian Conrad.
The website also includes a section for arts writing called “Suplex Voice.” The combination of the new online gallery, real world exhibitions, new writing voices and intensely earnest community programs is a bit scattered in intention and focus. The self-described “curatorial collaboration in which artists and communities engage in syncretic learning experiences” is still pretty new and raw, but the group’s enthusiasm, energy and professionalism should make it fun to watch it grow.
News broke yesterday that 1,500 artworks—paintings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka—were found in an old man’s Munich apartment in 2011. At least 300 paintings are thought to belong to a group of about 16,000 works declared “degenerate art,” a term the Nazi regime used to describe nearly all modern art, but others are suspected to have been owned by Jewish collectors who were forced to leave their belongings behind when they fled.
Apparently, the reason news has only now come out of the discovery is due to a careful accounting and assessment by German customs and officials, but some Jewish groups have accused Germany of moral complicity in the two-year concealment of the found paintings.
The works were discovered in the meager apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a specialist collector of the modern “degenerate” art. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels recruited Gurlitt to sell the art abroad to try to earn cash for the state; Gurlitt bought some for himself, as well as from Jewish dealers who were forced to sell in desperation. The collection’s value is estimated at over $1.3 billion.
Former President George W. Bush’s newfound painting talents have already moved him from his “self-portraits in the shower” phase to portraits of dogs and cats (and a few landscapes). Now, according to the New York Times, he plans to produce portraits of 19 foreign presidents and prime ministers he worked with during his time in the White House. In a recent article in the UK’s The Telegraph, the British seem quite anxious to view the famous amateur’s rendition of Tony Blair.
Window Walk by John Mark Luke
The first four projects of Austin’s new TEMPO (temporary public art) program will be installed in the next few weeks. The TEMPO project launched in spring of 2013 with an open call to Austin-area artists to submit proposals for temporary artwork on City parkland. The City parks eligible for TEMPO sites are all located outside the downtown area, so that the project can reach into neighborhoods that may not currently have public art. Eleven proposals by eight individual artists and two artist teams were selected and will be installed for varying durations beginning in fall 2013 and continuing through summer 2014.
The TEMPO Kick-off Celebration will take place November 16 at noon at Plaza Saltillo, the site of one of the works. Three of the TEMPO installations are part of the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST), a free, self-guided tour of studios, galleries, and installations east of I-35. EAST, which is produced by visual arts nonprofit Big Medium, also begins on the 16th and continues the following weekend.
The four installations to be celebrated at the kick-off party are Festoon by Jessica Braun, Window Walk by John Mark Luke, Space Camp by Mason Leland Moore and Joel Nolan, and Below by Jacob Villanueva and Jeff Clarke.
Austinites have grown used to the THIRST tree hovering above Lady Bird Lake since it was installed by Women & Their Work in late September. Meant to call attention to the 300 million trees that died in the 2011 Texas drought and “to reconsider our relationship to water,” the THIRST tree has been severely damaged by the recent flooding in Central Texas. Just when they repaired the lighting, roots, and buoys, another flood came through and washed away all their efforts.
For those prone to point out the irony of the event, Women & Their Work is quick to point out: 1.) In spite of all the recent rain, the drought is still not over, and 2.) It is weather extremes that cause both droughts and floods.
Although the temporary installation is scheduled to come down on December 16, Women & Their Work is trying to quickly raise $15,000 to repair the work.
The University of Texas has now gone to a Los Angeles court in a last-minute bid to have Ryan O’Neal‘s star witnesses (Farrah Fawcett’s former costar Jaclyn Smith, friend Alana Stewart and son Redmond) blocked from providing testimony in the ongoing dispute over an Andy Warhol painting.
The university is suing O’Neal over the painting of Fawcett it claims the actress left to the school when she died in 2009 (the will was last updated in 2007), while O’Neal claims the painting belongs to him. The painting “disappeared,” then seemed to appear in the OWN reality TV show Ryan & Tatum: The O’Neals. And then there’s the former star quarterback, Lubbock resident Gregg Lott who recently popped and says he had been having a secret affair with Fawcett for the past 11 years and is willing to testify on the behalf of UT.
The whole thing seems pretty icky—a little too arty for TMZ and a little too trashy for UT—except for the fact that some sources put the value of the painting as high as $30 million. Ryan O’Neal and the University of Texas could probably both use that kind of money these days.
It seems to be high fair season—art fairs, book fairs, quilt fairs. Now, Austin’s Flatbed Press has announced that it will be hosting its first annual print fair. Working in conjunction with PrintAustin, the Flatbed Contemporary Print Fair will take place at Flatbed Press and Galleries on February 14-15 to provide a venue for printmakers and print publishers to showcase work to the public and give printmaking demonstrations.
All they need now are exhibitors. Interested printmakers and publishers should check out the fair information; applications are due November 30.
The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) has announced that Kevin W. Tucker has been promoted to the position of The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, effective November 1. Tucker joined the Dallas Museum of Art as curator of decorative arts and design in 2003. He has more than twenty years of experience in the field and is a specialist in American decorative arts and design of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Currently co-organizing the first retrospective of industrial designer Peter Muller-Munk, in 2010 Tucker authored the catalogue and nationally touring exhibition Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement, a major study of one of the seminal figures in early 20th-century design. Tucker has lectured and written on various aspects of modern design and was the DMA’s project director and co-curator for the nationally touring exhibition Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design.
“Kevin’s work over the last decade has firmly established the decorative arts and design program in Dallas as one of the finest of its type in the country,” said DMA Director Maxwell L. Anderson. “For his many efforts as a leader in his field, we are very pleased to recognize Kevin with this promotion.”