Foundation Established in Honor of Artist Wendy Wagner

Wagner_WendyIn honor of Houston artist Wendy Wagner, who lost her two-year battle against brain cancer a couple of months ago, a foundation for artists has been established. The Foundation’s website (which now only has a front page, but is set to launch in January) sets out the purpose for the Foundation:

The Wendy Wagner Foundation for Funding Creativity empowers artists working across a wide array of disciplines and in all stages of professional development. Preserving the spirit, vision and legacy of its professional namesake, the Foundation provides scholarships, grants, project support and emergency healthcare resources to those who color our world.

Wagner, who loved all things creative, would be pleased to help emerging artists fulfill their projects and to help artists with healthcare issues. Although the website is not yet complete, there is a page to make donations to the Foundation.

Most artists need all the help they can get, so send a special thanks to Wendy, her husband, and her many friends!

Midwest Looks at Mid-Texas: Fort Wayne, Meet Austin!

Art by Brandon Snow

Art by Brandon Snow

In their new exhibition series, “Crossing Lines: Contemporary Art From Coast To Coast” the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana is looking to showcase art from “all corners of the land” but, strangely, they’ve decided to start in the middle, with Austin. Their recently opened show, curated by Curated by FWMoA Adjunct Curator Josef Zimmerman, includes Austin artists Adrian Landon Brooks, Brandon Snow, Brian Imler, Erin Cunningham, Graham Franciose, Jamie Spinello, Jason Eatherly, Laura Latimer, David Lowell, Jason Webb, Nimer Aleck, Mike Johnston.

The nationwide survey is becoming a meme: In September, the splendiferous and deep-pocketed new Crystal Bridges museum kicked off its people-pleasing “State of the Art,” curated by Don Bacigalupi and Chad Alligood after a massive road trip of discovery.

DMA Acquires Frank Bowling Painting in Advance of 2015 Exhibition


(This painting is eighteen feet long.) Frank Bowling, Marcia H Travels, 1970, acrylic on canvas, 120.1 x 224.5 in.

As part of an initiative by still-new Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Gavin Delahunty, the DMA plans to originate more exhibitions of underrepresented artists, and in early 2015 the museum will open a show of works by Frank Bowling  (b.1936).

Frank Bowling: Map Paintings will feature four massive paintings that have not been seen together since their showing in 1971 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in advance of this show, the DMA has acquired  “Marcia H Travels” (1970), which is “the first work in the DMA’s collection by the Guyanese-born British painter.” The other three will be on loan from private collections.

Writes the DMA: “Bowling, widely celebrated for his contributions to the field of abstraction and his advocacy of black artists internationally, created a number of paintings in the 1970s characterized by his use of world maps as organizational tools to explore color as its own subject—a recurring theme in his work.”

Bowling made the Map Paintings while living in New York. “Marcia H Travels,” with ghostly map-like outlines of South America, Africa, and Guyana, refers in its title to Bowling’s friend and fellow artist Marcia Hafif. The exhibition Frank Bowling: Map Paintings will open in February and run through July 2015.

For more info, please go here.



Wow! ArtPrize Is Coming to Dallas!

ArtPrize_Crowd_(3)ArtPrize, the high-profile organization and event founded by web entrepreneur Rick DeVos and launched five years ago in Grand Rapids, Mich., is the contemporary art competition in which the public can bestow up to $200,000 in prize money to winning artists, and another $200,000 is awarded by a jury of art professionals. Total prize money has reached $560,000. ArtPrize announced today that it is expanding into Dallas.

For an agreed-upon three years, starting April 2016, “Invited artists from around the world will show works over several days in galleries, stores, coffee shops, public plazas, parks and other unconventional locations,” (via NYTimes). The money is generated locally, by businesses, grants, and private sources, and, like a sort of mini-art Olympics, the publicity and tourism around the event has generated millions of dollars for Grand Rapids. (We’re talking $22 million in 2013 alone.)

Other cities have shown interest in hosting ArtPrize, but Dallas is the first outside Grand Rapids to formalize the arrangement. The most recent ArtPrize awarded in Grand Rapids a month ago generated nearly 400,000 public votes and awarded the $200,000 public prize to Anila Quayyum Agha, “an artist born in Pakistan and educated in Texas.” Sonya Clark, an artist from Virgina, won the jury prize.

Ariel Saldivar will serve as the Executive Director of ArtPrize Dallas.

Lonely Crates: Marty Walker’s Clever New Business

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 3.40.55 PMGood art shipping crates and travel frames are incredibly expensive to have made by professional art handling services; they’re bulky, made to stand up to rough shipping conditions, and can be nearly as beautiful as furniture. Dumping them after one journey can be heartbreaking. For many galleries and artists, chopping them up to recycle the wood just isn’t viable.

Marty Walker, formerly of Marty Walker Gallery in Dallas, has been brewing a great idea for a while, and now it’s launched. Lonely Crates is an art-crate-matching service: now some of those high-end art shipping crates that would otherwise be junked after one use can find new users.  The site is clear and looks like it’ll be easy to use. If you want to sell your crates, list them; if you’re looking for a crate for shipping or storing artwork, type in the specs. The site matches you up (including by zip code), like online dating! Since crates are originally built for specific works, it might mean a new user needs to tweak a bit, like add a bit of extra padding or foam, but otherwise they should be good to go. The new user makes an offer, and will ideally pay a fraction of the original build price.

I don’t know of any other company offering this exact kind of as-needed service, and I’d like to see it not only take off, but become the norm in the art world. It’s green, smart, and economical, and struggling artists, galleries, regional museums and the like can save a ton of cash, or even make a little on the side.




Tonight! Austin to Learn About Placemaking, Fluxus, and Cat Videos

Schultz_SarahSarah Schultz, former Curator of Public Practice and Director of Education at the Walker Art Center (WAC), will be speaking tonight at 7pm at the Arthouse at the Jones Center. After 22 years at WAC, one of the most successful museums in terms of experimental programming, she can share some serious history of now-common buzzwords like “placemaking.”

We’re not sure what “placemaking” is (it sounds like an artsy version of colonialism; should it be called “placebranding”?; didn’t the place exist before the cultural folk “discovered” it?), but Schultz and her team certainly created a place with the Walker’s experimental Open Field. They didn’t make or discover the place; it’s actually just WAC’s four-acre backyard. They turned it into summer-long (it’s Minneapolis!) experiments in how museums can engage the public in new ways. Open Field hosts over 100 activities each summer season, created and led by interested members of the general public, alongside invited artists-in-residence and activities generated by the Walker.

Open Field is also home to the Internet Cat Video Festival, which on its first opening night, drew a humongous crowd that must have made the “real” art curators jealously insane. In conjunction with WAC’s current exhibitions, Art Expanded: 1958-1978 and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art (curated by CAMH Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver), both of which have a strong Fluxus presence, the Walker programmed a ton of “FluxField” artist events. Schultz recently interviewed former Houstonian (now L.A.-based) art critic Natilee Harren about the connection between Fluxus and social practice. (Read it here.)

Photo by Gene Pittman, Courtesy Walker Art Center. Internet Cat Video Festival at Walker Open Field, 2012

Photo by Gene Pittman, Courtesy Walker Art Center. Internet Cat Video Festival at Walker Open Field, 2012

StoryCorps’ First Dallas Interview Is With Artist Christopher Blay


Christopher Blay

StoryCorps is a national non-profit that uses a “MobileBooth”–an airsteam trailer decked out with a recording studio– to make stops in cities across the country in order to record citizens’ personal stories.

The trailer will be parked at Sammons Park in front of the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas from November 20 to December 20 and, tomorrow, as part of the opening ceremony co-hosted by KERA at 10 a.m., the first two recorded interviews will be with DFW artist Christopher Blay and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Good move, StoryCorps!

The interviews are conducted along with a trained facilitator who guides the 40-minute process. The interviewee receives one CD copy (I wonder if they should switch to thumb drives?) and “With participant permission, a second copy is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.”

Also: “KERA FM will air a selection of the local interviews recorded in the StoryCorps MobileBooth. Segments of select interviews may air nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition.”

For more info on this and the other opening ceremony festivities, as well as information on how to sign up to be interviewed, please go here.

From Walmart to Star Wars: Former Texan Bacigalupi Makes a Big Move

don-bacigalupiAfter all this week’s departure news (Annette Carlozzi leaving the Blanton; Amada Cruz leaving Artpace; and Hills Snyder leaving Sala Diaz), here’s another: former Texan Don Bacigalupi is leaving Crystal Bridges to become the founding president of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The Lucas Museum and Crystal Bridges made a joint announcement on Monday, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Bacigalupi receives honorary Texan status since he spent two decades here. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Houston (’83) and his M.A. (’85) and Ph.D. (’93) from the University of Texas. He was then curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art (’93-95), and chief curator and director of the Blaffer Art Museum until 1999.

After a couple of other director stints elsewhere, Bacigalupi joined the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (sometimes referred to as “the Walmart museum”) in 2009, which opened to the public in Bentonville, Arkansas in 2011. Now, still basking in the success of the mega-exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now (he was even featured on warm and fuzzy CBS Sunday Morning show earlier this month), it turns out that he will be assuming his new position in Chicago on January 15 (four days before State of the Art closes). The $700 million, futuristic Lucas Museum building will be funded by billionaire Star Wars creator George Lucas and has a proposed opening date in 2018.


Rendering of the future Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Chicago’s lakefront


Annette Carlozzi is Retiring From the Blanton: UPDATED

unnamedAnnette Carlozzi, longtime curator at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in Austin, is retiring in December after 18 years on the job. For the Blanton Carlozzi has been Curator at Large, Curator of American and Contemporary Art, and Director of Curatorial Affairs. Among other things, according to the Blanton, Carlozzi “…has played a leading role in key museum initiatives, organized many innovative and game-changing exhibitions, and overseen the acquisition of works by internationally recognized artists (Anselm Keifer, Bill Viola, Teresita Fernandez, Byron Kim…) that are now counted among our visitor favorites.”

Carlozzi joined the Blanton in 1996, and prior to that she served as Visual Arts Producer for the Olympic Games in Atlanta as well as director for the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans and the Aspen Art Museum, and curator at Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin.

Please watch this space for updates as the Blanton releases its official press release on the subject.

Update 11/20: from today’s press release which is not yet posted to the Blanton’s website:

“From 1996–2012, Carlozzi played a critical role in building, interpreting, and publishing the Blanton’s modern and contemporary art collection. Some of her notable acquisitions include Anselm Kiefer’s Sternenfall, Richard Long’s Summer Circle, and Louise Nevelson’s Dawn’s Presence – Two Columns. With an eye for new talent and the support of museum patrons, she sought out cutting-edge works by younger artists now considered contemporary masters, including Terry Adkins, Anne Chu, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Cao Fei, Ellen Gallagher, Rachel Harrison, Emily Jacir, Glenn Ligon, Dario Robleto, and Amy Sillman. She also added works to the collection by such respected figures as Vito Acconci, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, Charles Gaines, Luis Jiménez, Lee Lozano, Bill Lundberg, Ana Mendieta, David Novros, David Reed, and George Sugarman, among others… . When the Blanton’s new building opened in 2006, she co-curated with her then-colleague and curator of Latin American art, Gabriel Perez-Barreiro, New Now Next, a wide-ranging survey of recent contemporary acquisitions, and America/Americas, an integrated display of Latin American and American modernism that reflects the shared affinities among twentieth-century North and South American art; it was the first major collection installation of its kind in any U.S. art museum.”


“Other acclaimed Blanton exhibitions curated by Carlozzi include Negotiating Small Truths (1999); Cartoon Noir (2002) and Transgressive Women (2003); Paul Chan: Present Tense (2006), Mike’s World (2007), Desire (2010); and more recently, the monumental Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections (2013) and the innovative multimedia project, Perception Unfolds: Looking at Deborah Hay’s Dance (2014), currently on view at the Yale School of ArtCarlozzi brought memorable traveling exhibitions to Austin as well, includingBirth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury (2009) and El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You About Africa (2012). And from 2006–2011, Carlozzi spearheaded the Blanton’s project series, WorkSpace, which provided the curatorial staff with opportunities to present new developments in the field; the series included her own provocative projects with artists Matthew Day Jackson and Jim Drain, as well as In Katrina’s Wake, which chronicled the leadership efforts of the New Orleans artist community in the aftermath of disaster.

“Carlozzi’s research has been featured in numerous Blanton publications, including the comprehensive collection catalogue, American Art Since 1900, and the handbooks, Guide to the Collection and 110 Favorites from the Collection. She has also published widely outside the Blanton. In the 1980s, she wrote Fifty Texas Artists (Chronicle Books, 1986), considered a definitive survey at that time, and she will be returning to her early career research on region and place for her next project:  a volume surveying the artistic achievements, cultural patronage, and institution building of the modern and contemporary Texas art scene that will be released as part of the forthcoming series from University of Texas Press, ‘The Texas Bookshelf.'”


Maybe Linda Pace Really is Irreplaceable!

Cruz_Amada.JPGThis past spring, it was announced that Maura Reilly was leaving as director of San Antonio’s Linda Pace Foundation after less than two years on the job joining the organization in November 2012. Now it seems that Artpace’s executive director Amada Cruz will be leaving San Antonio to accept the job as director of the Phoenix Art Museum. Phoenix began its seven-month national search a little over a year after Cruz began her tenure at Artpace in November of 2012. She will assume her new position on February 1.

Cruz will succeed longtime (almost 40 years, and 32 as director!) Phoenix Art Museum director Jim Ballinger, who announced his retirement earlier this year. “The Phoenix Art Museum is at the same crossroads that many arts and cultural institutions are at the end of the recession,” Ballinger told the Arizona Republic. “Infrastructure sustainability is an ongoing challenge.” No need to tell that to the Pace Foundation and Artpace!

(Image courtesy Phoenix Art Museum)


Correction 11/18/14: The original article incorrectly stated that Amada Cruz joined Artpace in November 2013.


The Latest Auctions Set a New Record for Elrod’s Work


“Medium Cool.” Don’t adjust your screen. It is supposed to be blurry.

The latest round of record-breaking NYC auctions on November 12 set a new high (source posted the wrong pic) for Marfa/New York-based Jeff Elrod, painter of digital-abstract scribbles. His 2014 painting “Medium Cool” fetched $305,000. It is 85 x 60 inches, UV ink on canvas. It was estimated at $50,000-70,000.

Let’s look at Elrod’s shooting star of the past two years. Elrod’s paintings at a Journal Gallery show (Brooklyn) in 2012 ranged from $18,000-35,000. Then his show at London’t Simon Lee in 2013 reportedly sold out, in the range of  $50,000-70,000.  Elrod is at Luhring Augustine now as well (NY) and had a solo show in the springtime; the day before that show opened one of his paintings (from 2000) sold at a Sotheby’s daytime auction for $173,000.

This doesn’t mean his retail is is now $300,000, but the new auction price certainly drives up his primary market price.

Protip to artists for the moment: make digitally inspired, disgruntled, abstracted, recognizable work.

Is It That Time Already? Fresh Arts to Host 9th Annual Holiday Art Market

WHAMFor the 9th year in a row, Houston’s Fresh Arts is organizing the Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM), which will take place this weekend. WHAM offers a wide variety of arts and crafts—including paintings, sculpture, and photography, as well as jewelry, clothing and accessories. About 60 artists will be crammed into the second floor of Winter Street Studios, sharing space with DJs and free snacks and drinks. Fresh Arts describes the event as, “one part curated festival, one part holiday party, and all kinds of fun.”

WHAM is not your typical Christmas craft fair; the list of participating artists is pretty interesting and always include a few weirdo vendors (past participants have included Gonzo247 and Bill’s Junk). The preview party on Friday night (6-10pm) costs $10 (free to Fresh Arts members), but it’s sure to be louder, more festive, and you get first dibs on the art. The rest of the weekend is free (Saturday, 11am-8pm and Sunday 11am-4pm).

Whether the holiday season makes you anxious and depressed or filled with love and joy (or all of the above), supporting local artists brings it all home!

Hills Snyder Steps Down: Anjali Gupta to be New Director of Sala Diaz in January

anjali guptaAs of January 1, 2015, Anjali Gupta will be the new Director of San Antonio art space Sala Diaz, taking over from Hills Snyder, who has held the position since 1997. Gupta has been Director of the Sala Diaz residency program Casa Chuck since 2013, served as executive director and editor-in-chief of Art Lies until 2010, and is a contributor to Glasstire.

The changeover has been a long time in the planning. According to Snyder, “in 2005, when Sala Diaz turned ten, we celebrated the anniversary with a show by Leigh Anne Lester. It was a good night and it signaled to me that down the road someone would have to replace me. In 2010 I knew who that someone might be and in 2012 asked Anjali Gupta and she accepted. We announced this locally at a fundraiser in June 2013.”

Snyder added, “the mantra for my job as curator of the gallery has been Casualness, Serendipity and Stealth, meaning easy does it, be ready for happy accidents and let it happen without a letterhead as much as possible. In other words, the intent was to avoid becoming an institution. Never let the outlines harden. Stick with a single bulb in each room for ambient light. Anjali will have her own touch regarding the way things happen.”

In January, Gupta will implement the last of Snyder’s programming, including a show with Mary Walling Blackburn, selected by Guest Curator, Laurence Miller, Then James Cobb, Joseph Phillips, Casey Arguelles, Stevan Zivadinovic, Thomas Cummins, Erin Hinz, Vincent Valdez and Julia Barbosa Landois. Beginning Fall 2016, Gupta will begin her own curating with artists Sarah Franz, Matt Mat Kubo and Buster Graybill.

“It has been a good time,” said Snyder, “but now I’m moving on. This isn’t one of those “leaving to pursue other interests” things — my interests are the same. It’s just time.”

Graffiti Magnet Back From the Brink: Dallas to Keep Irwin’s Park Portal Piece

photo: Steve Rainwater

photo: Steve Rainwater

Robert Irwin’s Park Portal Piece (Slice), installed in 1981 in Dallas’ John Carpenter Plaza, which was slated for removal when street re-routing permanently changed its site, may be re-installed after all.

When plans to reconfigure the severed parts of Carpenter Plaza into an arts district gateway destroyed the sculpture’s original site, the piece was removed, and the permission to destroy it granted by the 86-year-old California artist, who called the piece “leftover steel” in a 2013 interview with the Dallas Observer. The most recent re-designs of the park re-incorporate an Irwin-approved relocation of the piece, despite its long history as a graffiti magnet.

Although Kay Kallos, manager of the city’s public art program, called the loss of Irwin’s 700-foot rusty steel wall “devastating to the city of Dallas,” some of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board were less than happy to keep the industrial monolith amid the bocce courts, food trucks and other amenities.

So far, no one’s worried about the pink granite and bronze sculpture of Texas electric industry giant John W. Carpenter, which was also in the park.
carpenter statue

Sam Holland Named Dean at SMU Meadows School

Samuel S. HollandHollandSam has been named dean of Meadows School of the Arts at SMU. He also will hold the school’s Algur H. Meadows Chair. Holland has provided strong leadership to the Meadows School in both teaching and administrative roles for more than 20 years, and has been director of the Meadows School’s Division of Music since 2010.He has served as Meadows dean ad interim since July 2014, following the departure of former dean José Antonio Bowen.

Said SMU President R. Gerald Turner,“Sam Holland brings experience and success not only in teaching and performing, but also in fundraising, external outreach and impact on his profession.”

Holland joined the Meadows music faculty in 1991, initially serving as head of piano pedagogy and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. In subsequent years, his administrative positions in the Meadows School have included serving as head of the Department of Keyboard Studies and Pedagogy, associate chair and chair ad interim of the Division of Music and associate director for academic affairs of the Meadows School. His teaching at SMU has included piano pedagogy, studio piano, computers and keyboards, jazz piano and piano master classes.

Holland has alos been an active fundraiser. He worked with the Meadows development team to obtain more than $10 million in new giving for piano inventory and programs; renovation of practice facilities; and support for endowed scholarships, new endowed professorships and the ensemble-in-residence program.

Holland has extended the Meadows School’s reach beyond the campus. He developed closer associations with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and organized SMU student performances for civic events, such as the grand opening of the Winspear Opera House and groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center. He developed and shepherded partnerships with community groups including Dallas Chamber Music, Voices of Change, Dallas Bach Society and the Allegro Guitar Society.

“I am deeply honored and tremendously excited by the opportunity to lead the Meadows School at this time in its history,” Holland said. “After years of growth in the quality and reputation of its programs, Meadows is emerging as a national model for arts education in the 21st century. Considering the people at SMU and Meadows, an extraordinary executive board and the dynamism of Dallas, I can’t help but be irrepressibly optimistic about the future. Great cultural centers have great schools nearby. Lincoln Center has Juilliard. Chicago has Northwestern. The Dallas Arts District has Meadows. In my view, the powerhouse schools of the next 25 years will be those in which fine and performing arts are working alongside cutting-edge communication arts – precisely the ingredients we celebrate at Meadows. At Meadows, we will create, communicate, curate, innovate and engage with this great city we call home. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Public Art Installation at NorthPark Brought To You By San Francisco Artist Jim Campbell

5892573718_fbc9d80227Jim Campbell’s “Scattered Light” installation, originally commissioned for Madison Square Park in NYC in 2010, is coming to the outdoor garden at Northpark Center in Dallas.

NorthPark’s manicured CenterPark Garden will play host, starting November 25, to this very popular outdoor installation, which most recently appeared in Hong Kong. It’s made up of  1500 suspended LED lights that look like old-school incandescent bulbs, which are staggered and programmed to blink in such a way as to animate a moving image of human shadows walking across and through the light field. Here’s a link to a short video to better illustrate what I mean. It’s pretty cool.

By photos posted online of its previous installations, it looks as though viewers are also invited to walk and sit among the lights.

The installation will go up in time for the holiday season but stay at NorthPark through the spring. NorthPark, known for its architecture and art displayed throughout, was built by the Nasher family and showcases work from the Nasher collection (and visiting public work) with a program independent of the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Mellon Foundation Starts Curatorial Fellowship Program at MFAH and Four Other Major Museums

The Mellon Foundation has announced its inaugural class of fellows in the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, which provides specialized training in the curatorial field for undergraduate students across the United States from diverse backgrounds. Ten students have been selected for this intensive program, following Summer Academies—consisting of workshops, tours, field trips and networking events with museum professionals—that were held at five partnering museums over the summer. The five participating museums are the Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The new program is organized through LACMA and funded by a grant of $2,073,000 from the Foundation.

So, if you see these two around the Houston art scene, give them a big congratulations!

CernadaJennifer Cernada is an art history major at Houston’s Rice University. She is a first-generation American from Miami. Jennifer began her studies at Rice with the intent to major in biochemistry and cell biology, but an art history course during her first semester awakened her passion for art. Jennifer’s curatorial mentor is Mari Carmen Ramirez, the Wortham curator of Latin American Art.

HamiltonStormy Hamilton is pursuing a B.A. in art at Texas Southern University. Prior to enrolling at TSU, Stormy studied welding and metal fabrication at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Volunteering at the University Museum at TSU under the guidance of Dr. Alvia Wardlaw inspired Stormy to learn more about art history and the curatorial field. Stormy will be working with curatorial mentor Alison de Lima Greene, curator of contemporary art and special projects, and researching the work of John Biggers, who established the art department at TSU in 1949.

H-Town Actor Comes Back Home with Directorial Film Debut: Must See!


Tim Guinee, teenage actor

HaidAmong the 50+ programs and celebrity events happening this weekend at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF) is a quiet, short film directed by Houston native Tim Guinee. A 27-minute film is hard enough to promote at film festivals, but it also breaks another basic rule for short films: Don’t do a period piece. Guinee went ahead and made the film, and it’s been playing at a bunch of film festivals and winning all sorts of awards and accolades.

Tim was born in California, but he is a true Houston boy and attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in the theater department (full disclosure: he was in my class). He now lives in upstate New York in a 1840s farmhouse in the Hudson Valley with his wife Daisy Foote.


Daisy Foote and Tim Guinee

If the name Foote sounds familiar, it’s because actress/playwright Daisy is the daughter of playwright/screenwriter Texan-raised Horton Foote, who wrote the screenplays for To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies, among countless others, including this film, One Armed Man. If the name Guinee sounds familiar, it’s because he’s all over TV and film. If you actually go see interesting movies, you might recognize him from the 1986 epic film Tai-Pan, or from the 1995 indie The Pompatus of Love, or as the star of the very charming and underrated Sweet Land from 2005. But if you’re just a trashy crime drama junkie like me, you know him from several episodes of Law and Order and a juicy Criminal Minds episode. I don’t have cable, so I totally missed the highly critically-acclaimed, but short-lived series Strange World. When the ads came out for the new series Revolution, I was very excited to see Tim featured, and was devastated when he was killed off at the end of the very first episode (although he later reappeared in a few flashblacks). A quick check on shows that I missed him as a recurring character in a number of TV shows: Wiseguy, Golden Years, L.A. Law, etc.

footehorton1Horton Foote wrote the play One Armed Man, which Tim directed and Charles Haid stars in (another crime drama junkie alert! Haid played Officer Renko on Hill Street Blues), is playing at the MFAH on Friday morning at 11am. Several high school classes will be in attendance, including students from HSPVA, and the screening will be followed by a Q&A with Tim, led by Bob Singleton, former director of HSPVA’s theater department. But there are extra seats and the screening is free! HCAF Artistic Director Richard Herskowitz graciously added another screening at Sundance Cinemas on Sunday at 12:30pm (also free!) for the adult working folk.

Speaking of the working folk, Tim discusses Foote’s play in terms of contemporary issues:

Many consider him a behavioralist writer, but I think it’s very much a social issue thing. It’s absolutely current in terms of worker/CEO, wage-earning disparity, worker safety, and in terms of guns and violence as an issue. [DELETED: in order to not give away the ending to the movie] is fascinating, and unsettling, and terrible. What’s the price of the justification that we all participate in? That, to me, is what feels like our great human sin—how much we’re willing to justify everything. Certainly, the cotton gin owner justifies what he’s doing and the guy with one arm justifies what he’s doing. And I’m not convinced that any of them are making the world a better place through their actions.

Tim adds: “I like this piece of Horton’s a lot because it does make us uneasy, and it should!”

As for Tim Guinee’s return to Houston, he’s got a lot going on. Of the MFAH screening, he says, “My mom was a painter, so there’s something so cool about getting to screen this movie at the MFAH and taking my mom along.” In terms of seeing his old friends, he says, “I’ve never made one of those reunion things, so it’s gonna be fun to see people’s faces.” In terms of seeing his family, he says, “The week before we started shooting, while we were in pre-production, my father died. So I’m excited to come home. This will be the first time I’ve come home since he’s passed.”

And, in terms of presenting Horton Foote’s story in Houston, he says, “It’s sort of like the place it should be seen, because it’s Horton’s people. That feels right.”

One Armed Man, 27 minutes, director Tim Guinee. Friday, November 14, 11am at MFAH. Sunday, November 16 at 12:30pm at Sundance Cinemas. Both screenings are free.

Prada Marfa Vandal Admits Guilt, Agrees to Pay for Cleanup

prada vandalismOn November 7, A little more than a week before his trial was set to begin in the 394th District Court of Jeff Davis County, Prada Marfa vandal Joe Magnano pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief. According to the Jeff Davis County District Attorney’s office, Magnano agreed to pay $10,700 restitution to Ballroom Marfa, which maintains the sculpture, and a $1000 fine. He will be on probation for two years, and agreed not to further publicize nor profit from his actions.

The 36 year old Waco artist, acting under the pseudonym 927 1977, was responsible for painting Elmgreen and Dragset’s Prada Marfa blue and attaching incoherent manifestos to its front awnings and windows on March 9, 2014.

On April 17 a Jeff Davis County grand jury indicted Magnano with two counts of felony criminal mischief, each of which could have carried a penalty of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Magnano’s trial was set to begin on November 18. The case was going to be a tough one to win, as Magnano had admitted his crime in to the Waco Tribune and other press outlets.

The investigation of Magnano’s confessions provided a close-to-home illustration of law enforcement’s relations with the press in Texas. On March 14, Jeff Davis deputy sheriff Jerry Walker served Big Bend Sentinel reporter John Daniel Garcia with a subpoena demanding he “produce and permit inspection and copying” of “text messages from an artist known as 9271977.” The Sentinel published an account of the subpoena and comments from law enforcement officials, and a summary of the 2009 Free Flow of Information Act which outlines standards the state must meet to compel reporters to divulge information.

Houston: Listen to a Kiwi Art Critic Shed Some Light On Detroit.

mt0914cont_Anthony_Byrt-150x150Anthony Byrt, Auckland-based arts writer and ArtForum contributor, spent 2013 as the Critical Studies Fellow at Cranbrook Academy of Art just outside Detroit and also wrote a book about globalization’s impact on contemporary art.

On November 25 at the Rice Cinema Film Theater, Byrt will talk about the photography of New Zealand artist Yvonne Todd, but intriguingly, will couch it “in relation to questions of suburbia and monstrosity” in a talk that will deal with “sex, cars, passive-aggressive teenagers, Mike Kelley and Matthew Barney, and end up either on Auckland’s North Shore, or somewhere south of 8 Mile Road in Detroit…two sides of the same coin.”

This is perhaps the most interesting lecture description I’ve read all year. If I lived in Houston I would check it out.

Lecture is Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Rice Cinema Film Theater. A reception with Byrt follows. Go here for more info.