Houston Artist/Science Nerd Completes Rice Residency With New Installation

barrera_rice2Houston artist Debra Barrera, along with artist Carlos Hernandez, recently completed an understated installation entitled Asymmetric Seekers in Rice University’s Brockman Hall for Physics. Barrera has spent the past year as artist-in-residence at Rice’s School of Physics and Astronomy (How does one get that gig?) and worked with the students and faculty to obtain and research images of science.

barrera_riceBarrera, who refers to the folks at the School of Physics and Astronomy as “rock stars,” says her residency led to a deeper understanding of the connection between artists and scientists. She told the Rice University News, “We are ultimately excited by the same idea: making the impossible possible.”

To view more about this project, commissioned by the Rice Public Art Program, here is a short video. (Video posted by Rice, created by Brandon Martin. Other images via Rice University Public Art Facebook page.)

Are you a Texas artist who needs legal advice?

Your lawyer will probably not look like this. That’s okay!

The Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts will offer a free clinic in Houston on June 30 for Texas-based artists and arts-related non-profits; people can meet one-on-one with volunteer legal professionals who can answer their questions “related to the creative sector.” TALA continues, “Musicians, artists, and representatives of arts nonprofit organizations will be provided up to 30 minutes consultation… . This legal clinic will give participants the opportunity to gain valuable advice on music and art-related issues.”

Note: the clinic is free to artists who make less than $50K annual income, and non-profits with annual gross revenue less than $200K (and less than $500K in total assets).

You have to register to get your spot. Do that here.

The clinic takes place on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30-8:30 pm at Fresh Arts, 2101 Winter St., Studio 11, Houston, TX 77007

For more info go here.

How Do Local Arts Communities Organize?

HAA’s Jonathon Glus (Photo by Mark Hiebert via OutSmart Magazine)

HAA’s Jonathon Glus

How do local arts communities organize?

In a few weeks, the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is setting out to answer that question, or at least to see how Houston stacks up to other arts communities. HAA President/CEO Jonathon Glus will moderate a panel of national folks who hold similar positions in their communities:

  • Danielle Brazell General Manager, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Michael Killoren, Local Arts Agencies & Challenge America Director, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Matthew J. Nielson, Deputy Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events-Cultural Planning and Operations Division
  • Jodi Ulich, Director of Convention & Cultural Services, City of Sacramento

HAA promises “an in-depth conversation on how other American cities organize themselves through the arts, the form and function of their LAA models [Local Arts Agencies], and trends across the country.”

“A National Conversation: How Local Arts Communities Organize” will take place on Tuesday, July 14, at 2:30pm at the Founders Club, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. There will be a reception afterwards from 4-5pm. NOTE: This event was originally planned for this week, but has been rescheduled to the new date due to a calendar conflict.

(Photo by Mark Hiebert via OutSmart Magazine.)

Guy Clark collapses in Austin before his Hall of Fame induction

Guy_Clark_BW_Press_04For some music news on your Saturday: Guy Clark was one of five acts inducted to the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame on Thursday night, but instead of enjoying the ceremony at the Moody Theater he spent the night in an Austin hospital. Clark, 73, was taken by ambulance to an area hospital, and according to ACL producer Terry Lickona (via had “apparently had a bad reaction to medication he’s been taking for some recent surgery.”

Guy Clark’s Facebook page was updated (not sure of the poster) last night to read:

I’m sorry this update didn’t come sooner but this is as quick as I could get to it. Many of you have seen the news stories about Guy collapsing at the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame event last night. The trip from Nashville was rough on him and he did indeed get sick and have to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. His Austin doctor was on top of things and they did a battery of tests and kept him overnight. The last I heard he was doing much better and they were releasing him from the hospital. His vitals are good and the MRI showed no stroke or any such event. I have not seen him since he collapsed as I had to fly to Phoenix this morning to visit my mother. Guy’s sisters are with him in Austin, as is his caretaker Joy along with his long time doctor so I know he is in good hands.

It’s a shame that Guy missed the tribute to him. It was lovely. Lyle Lovett sang “Step Inside This House” and “Anyhow I Love You” and presented the award (and, as it turns out, also accepted on Guy’s behalf). Jason Isbell sang “Desperados Waiting For A Train” and “Black Diamond Strings.” I’m sure Guy is disappointed to have missed it.

The other inductees were Loretta Lynn, Flaco Jimenez, the late Townes Van Zandt and Asleep at the Wheel. The list of performers for the evening is impressive, and the night was hosted by Dwight Yoakam.

Godspeed, Guy.

For more info on Guy Clark and the ceremony, go here.


Lawndale announces newest artist residents and you’ve heard of them!

220px-LawndaleArtCenterFacadeLawndale Art Center in Houston has announced the three artists who will participate in the tenth round of its Lawndale Artist Studio Program: Bradly BrownCobra McVey and Anthony Sonnenberg. The three begin their nine-month residency in September and will talk about their work on on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Lawndale.

Included in the residency is a non-residential studio, and the artists “will have full access to their studios 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each artist will receive a $500 monthly stipend for the duration of the program and a $1500 unrestricted materials allowance.”

These three were selected from a pool of 101 applicants. The jury for this round were Emily Peacock, artist and Lawndale programming committee member; Bob Snead, artist and director of Press Street, New Orleans; and Clint Willour, curator at Galveston Arts Center.

For more info on the program and the artists, please go here.

Happy Juneteenth 2015?

Juneteenth2People all over the country have been holding vigils for the nine people who were killed in the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday, and today (and throughout the weekend) people will be celebrating Juneteenth with parades, picnics, and music. While it’s difficult to reconcile the grief with the celebrations, it seems like a crucial year to show up to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the day Texan slaves were freed.

JuneteenthJuneteenth (then called Emancipation Day) celebrations have been taking place every year since, but it was not until 1979 that a bill was introduced to make it a state holiday (and many other states later followed suit). It was not until last year that a historical marker (photo above) was erected in Galveston on the spot where the original announcement of emancipation was made. And the spellchecker on the computer used to write this post still does not recognize the word “Juneteenth.”

So here are a few links to some of the festivities throughout the state (but check for weather-related updates).

Dallas Juneteenth, also the 1st Annual Black Music Festival
Houston Area Juneteenth Celebrations
Austin: Juneteenth Central Texas
Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration
Fort Worth Juneteenth Freedom Fest
Juneteenth San Antonio
El Paso Juneteenth in the Park
Waco Juneteenth Celebration
Corpus Christi Juneteenth
Beaumont Juneteenth
Lubbock Unified Juneteenth
Galveston Juneteenth Festival

For those who wish to honor the day by looking at a lot of art, the University Museum at Texas Southern University (TSU) will be hosting the opening and awards celebration of the Citywide African American Artists Exhibition this evening from 6-8pm, presented by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in collaboration with the Museum’s Five-A patron group, and the University Museum at TSU.

(Top image: Photo by Billy Smith II/Chronicle staff. Lower image: Martha and Pinkie Yates in a buggy decorated for Juneteenth, Houston Library. Photo via The Ultimate History Project.)

Jesús Moroles Memorial Service Announced for Saturday


Photo via Delilah Montoya and

In the wake of artist Jesús Moroles’ death on June 15:

Visitation to be held Friday, June 19th from 5- 9 p.m. at:

Charlie Marshall Funeral Home
814 E Main Street
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 729-2451

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, June 20th at 10 a.m. at:

Martha Luigi Auditorium
Rockport – Fulton High School
1803 Omohundro Street
Rockport, TX 78382

“In lieu of flowers, contributions could be made to the charity of your choice or Arco Iris Earth Care Project non-profit 501c3, HC70 Box 17A, Ponca, Arkansas, 72670.”

For more information, please go here.

McNay Director Gives 67-Week Notice

Chiego2William J. Chiego, Director of San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum, has informed the museum’s board of trustees of his intention to step down from the directorship of the McNay on September 30, 2016.

The McNay board will need that time to figure out how to organize a search for its new director, a task with which it has little experience. By the time Chiego retires, he will have served more than 25 years as director, only the second leader of the museum in its 62-year history.

“The timing of this announcement is to ensure that a succession-planning process will be deliberate and seamless until the best qualified candidate is secured and a smooth transition follows,” stated Board President Sarah Harte in a press release. The McNay has appointed a transition committee, which will direct the international search for a successor.

During Chiego’s tenure at the McNay, the collection more than doubled from 9,000 to over 20,000 works of art and the museum’s footprint nearly tripled. Chiego spearheaded a $51 million capital campaign that culminated with the 2008 opening of the Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions.

Chiego Iooks forward to a continued association with the McNay and having more time to spend with his wife and family.

(Photo: Courtesy McNay Art Museum)

DiverseWorks’ Rachel Cook Among Warhol Fellowship Winners


Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook, associate curator of DiverseWorks in Houston, has been named as one of four national recipients of the Spring 2015 curatorial fellowship granted by the Andy Warhol Foundation. The foundation has been granting these fellowships since 2008 with funds of up to $50,000 per curator project, which ” …are designed to support travel, archival research, convening of colleagues, interviews and time to write.”

The fellowship category is Travel and Research, and Cook’s project will entail travel to New York and Africa to research Walker Evans’ photographs of African art and artifacts. In preparation for an exhibition around this research, she’ll also conduct studio visits in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, and Houston, and the project will culminate with discussions, shows and events at the Menil, MFAH, and DiverseWorks.

For more info, go here.


FOOD. ART. HCP Brings Slideluck to Houston!

SlideluckDallas has held two successful Slideluck events; Austin has held seven. Now, the Houston Center for Photography (HCP) is holding the very first Slideluck Houston!

Part slide jam, part pot luck dinner (although both slides and pot lucks are pretty rare these days), the event is presented in cooperation with New York-based Slideluck, a non-profit organization dedicated to building and strengthening communities through the mixture of food and art. Since 2000, Slideluck has shown the work of roughly 10,000 emerging and established artists in over 100 cities worldwide.

Slideluck Houston will take place at Cottonwood (3422 North Shepherd Drive) on Wednesday, July 22, from 7-10pm. Artists are invited to submit their photographic or video works for consideration by Friday, June 26. (Guidelines on submission specifics and entry form may be found on HCP’s website.) The theme of the Houston presentation is “Cruel Summer,” inspired by the Bananarama song of the 1980s.

Jesús Moroles, 1950-2015 (Updated)



Jesús Moroles, Sculptor, 1950-2015.

Jesús Bautista Moroles died yesterday in a car accident north of Austin, near Georgetown. The Rockport Pilot reports that the artist returned to Rockport from an installation in Dallas in order to report for jury duty on Monday, then left in the evening, headed towards Oklahoma to begin work on his next commissioned piece. As he was traveling on IH35, Moroles was involved in the deadly car accident.

Born in Corpus Christi in 1950, Moroles was an internationally renowned sculptor and National Medal of Arts honoree whose work has been featured in museums and institutions around the world, including the White House and the Smithsonian Institute. In 1978, he received his BFA at the University of North Texas, Denton, after which he served as apprentice to sculptor Luis Jiménez and then spent a year working in Pietrasanta, Italy.

In 1981, Moroles purchased his first large diamond saw, which began his long-term commitment to create a studio in Rockport. By 1983, the Moroles studio became a family effort involving his parents Jose and Maria, his brother, Hilario, his sister, Suzanna, and brother-in-law, Kurt Kangas. In 1987, Moroles completed his most visible work, “Lapstrake,” a 64-ton, 22-foot-tall sculpture located across the street from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His largest single work is the 1991 site sculpture, the “Houston Police Officers Memorial.” There are also several sculptures by Moroles in his hometown in the sculpture garden at the Rockport Center for the Arts.





White Art Student/Black Activist Outed as Caucasian

Dolezal_PariahThis morning, Houstonians missed out on Matt Lauer’s interview with Rachel Dolezal because the NBC affiliate chose to cancel it in order to have minute-by-minute hysterical coverage of the any-minute-now-almost-rain coming with Tropical Storm Bill. (But you can click on the link above to view the interview.)

If you’ve been under a rock this past week, you may have missed the controversy surrounding Dolezal, the former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane (she resigned yesterday). The bizarreness of the story stems not from the fact the Dolezal is Caucasian (It’s not the NACP; there are white people in the NAACP, which stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), but from the fact that she allowed people to assume that she was African American or “transracial” and, in some cases, actually lied about her heritage.

The later news that she (unsuccessfully) sued Howard University, a historically black school, for racial discrimination while she attended as a white student simply adds to the baffling story. But the confusing touch for art lovers is that she received her MFA from Howard as a major in experimental studio with a minor in sculpture.

In Lauer’s interview with Dolezal, she reveals her artistic inclinations as well as her racial identity issues as early as five years old: “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and the black curly hair.”

Dolezal’s website, which doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2012, shows much of her artwork, including Pariah (above) and Regret (below).Dolezal_Regret

Vernon Fisher retrospective opening in LA this week


Hotel, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 54 x 54 inches.

Vernon Fisher, artist and pillar of the Texas scene (and based in Fort Worth) has a retrospective opening at Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles on June 18.

Fisher’s work is in the permanent collections of nearly every major museum in the U.S., and the Modern Museum of Fort Worth held a major retrospective of his work in 2010-11. The curator of the Mark Moore retrospective is Hugh Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Via Mark Moore Gallery:

Hugh Davies first saw Fisher’s work in the late seventies and was immediately impressed with the combination of conceptual rigor, and consummate craftsmanship. Davies, along with co-curator Madeleine Grynsztejn, organized a mid-career retrospective of Fisher’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in 1989. In the accompanying catalogue essay, critic Dave Hickey stated that Fisher works in a kind of formula of “imperfectly analogous juxtapositions of three imperfectly distinct kinds of phenomena (the personal, the social, the natural), described by three imperfectly distinct information systems (the literary narrative, the iconographic image, and the cartographic grid).”

The exhibition will run through July 18. For more info, please go here.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Invites Aliens to the Rothko Chapel

Rothko_Chapel_2A few days ago, superstar astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium and executive editor/host of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, the recent reboot of Carl Sagan’s landmark television series) posted an AMA (“ask me anything”) on reddit on the topic of art.

Of the many questions asked, one was, “Which three works of art would you choose to give to an alien species that you feel best expresses the human experience?” The Rothko Chapel topped his list! Here is Tyson’s response:


I think I would have them visit the Rothko Chapel, in Houston. Obviously, there’s more than one work of art there, but it emanates from the same soul of creativity. That would be one of them, if I would be allowed to group that as one work of art.

Another group of art, I would say the Sistine Chapel, the ceiling. That captures the height of our artistic expression, triggered by religious emotion. And religion is a big part of what civilization has been. The Rothko Chapel is a path to your inner solitude.

And the fact that art can get you there – in a space, I think – matters.

And I would say third, again it’s a space – the Waterlily Room, in Paris, where you have the Waterlilies, where as Impressionist Art, you don’t think Waterlilies by seeing the artwork, you feel them. And it’s a way to have art convey a feeling more than a visual.

And this would tell the aliens that we, as a species, do much more than think.

We feel.

And then they’d have to contend with that.

Maybe they’d vaporize us, haha! I don’t know any force operating in our culture but art to capture that fact.

(Thanks to Cody Ledvina for catching this and passing it on to Glasstire!)

A show that celebrates the interns


“Hannah” by Desiree Espada

Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas has of course employed interns since it opened in 2005, and they were and are most often photography BFAs at the University of North Texas and other schools in the region. Evidently, some of them are quite talented.

As part of its ongoing celebration of ten years in Dallas, on June 27 the gallery opens My Favorite Intern, an exhibition that showcases the work of more than 20 of these interns.  Here’s the list of artists:

Julianne Rose Aguilar, Eva Aldridge, Megan Armstrong, Shoragim Amir, Robert Collier Beam, Kasumi Chow, Roxanne Cottongame, Rachel Cox, Sara Deal, Megan DeSoto, Brandon Dupre, Desiree Michelle Espada, Ðan Lam, Dannie Liebergot, Jonathan Molina-Garcia, Gibson Rēgester, Natalie Sales, Mallory Stika, Macy Villars, Travis Williams, Mary Kathryn Wimberly and Trey Wright.

The show runs through August 15. For more info, go here.

Tomorrow: Artist Mark Menjivar leads a death-row workshop in Houston


In conjunction with its current exhibition by Amy Elkins, which explores death row and the capital punishment system in the U.S. and Texas, the Houston Center for Photography is offering a fascinating-sounding free workshop in which participants “will learn about the basic processes of the capital punishment system in Texas through interdisciplinary artistic activities.” Texas has executed 500 people since 1976.

San Antonio-based artist Mark Menjivar and educator Ryan Sprott, who will lead the workshop, “have been working with a group of high school students using public archives, oral history, community engagement and the arts to explore capital punishment from multiple perspectives.”

Menjivar, known his projects which fall under the banner of Social Practice, has recently had a book published on one of his ongoing projects. Read about it here.

This workshop takes place tomorrow (Saturday), June 13 from 1-5 p.m. For more info, please go here.

Oak Cliff Film Festival Kicks Off Tonight


Still from Rick Alverson’s movie “Entertainment”

The fourth annual Oak Cliff Film Festival  in Dallas starts up tonight and runs through the weekend, primarily at the Texas Theater, the Kessler Theater, and the Bishop Arts Center, and is organized by the Aviation Cinemas crew (a.k.a. the diehard cinephiles who run the Texas Theater).

This is a growing, international festival that’s getting national attention, with a lineup that skews indie and art-house. Via the Festival’s site, this year’s theme “…takes its inspiration from the No-Wave movement of the late 70’s that took root in New York City before spreading throughout the world.”

The great-looking schedule can be found here.

For information on attending the festival or individual screenings, go here and scroll down.

Francois de Menil Quits the Cooper Union Mess

Dominique de Menil with son Francois, architect of Houston's Byzantine Fresco Chapel, completed in 1997. (Photo By Betty Tichich via Houston Chronicle)

Dominique de Menil with son Francois, architect of Houston’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel, completed in 1997. (Photo By Betty Tichich via Houston Chronicle)

On Tuesday night, five members of the Cooper Union’s board of trustees (and staunch supporters of the college’s president) resigned en masse, including Vice Chairman Francois de Menil. On Wednesday evening, the president of the art, architecture, and engineering university also resigned.

The president and board have dealt with criticism, protests, and sit-ins since they decided to start charging tuition for the first time in its 150-year history. The school was established in 1859 as a free school and the idea of free tuition has become a growing national discussion, especially after President Obama’s proposal for tuition-free community college in his recent State of the Union address. But to get a sense of the humongous mess that has been going on at Cooper Union for the past few years, visit the websites of Free Cooper Union and CSCUFCSCU (Committee to Save Cooper Union from the Committee to Save Cooper Union), both of which display cleverness and humor in their mud-slinging against each other.

From the Free Cooper Union website

From the Free Cooper Union website

From the CSCUFCSU website

From the CSCUFCSU website

De Menil was not one of the three trustees who decided to publicly post their resignation letters, but it must have been a difficult decision for him. The fourth child of John and Dominique de Menil had a career in publishing and filmmaking before he decided to go back to school and get a degree in architecture at Cooper Union. He graduated in 1987 and established his own practice in 1991. De Menil has served on the Cooper Union board twice—from 1993 to 2000 and from 2005 until Tuesday evening. In 2011, he was elected as vice chairman, and he led the search committee for the current president (whose resignation is not effective until the end of the month).

‘Not That But This’ Launches New Site with a Party This Saturday


Houston-based webzine Not That But This––is celebrating its redesigned site with a party at Project Row Houses this Saturday evening. The website was founded by Nathaniel Donnett in 2012, and features contributors M’Kina Tapscott, Autumn Knight, Kenya Evans, Robert Pruitt, Jamal Cyrus, and contributing editor Kathy J. Brown.

Via Not That But This, the site was “created out of necessity, by artists and various creatives, that seeks to showcase and celebrate contemporary art and culture created by people of color throughout the African diaspora. Not That But This strives to be an expressive, critical, and experimental platform for the investigation, interpretation and freeform exploration of the contemporary art world, as well as the everyday aspects of modern life.”

The party runs from 7-9 p.m. and will feature music by DJ Flash Gordon Parks. The writers will be in attendance and will be able to talk to partygoers  “about the website and its purpose.” (Via Project Row Houses.)

For more info on the launch party, please go here.

More Aggie Art! Exhibition Promises Updated Version of Conservative Collection

ForsythAs if in response to Rainey Knudson’s recent essay, “The Cult of Memory at Texas A&M,” the Forsyth Galleries at A&M opened an exhibition called A Second Look: Interpretations of Selected Works from the Permanent Collection. The Forsyth Galleries is known for its collection of 19th and 20th-century decorative arts and American paintings, but the exhibition description promises an update to the conservative collection:

This exhibition juxtaposes traditional paintings from the Forsyth Galleries’ collections with responses to those works by area artists. Working in various media, the artists invite viewers to see the “conventional” works in innovative ways, while introducing refreshed interpretations of medium, theme and subject.

(Of course, the show is not in response to Knudson’s essay—the show opened June 5 and the essay was posted on June 7. There will be an opening reception tomorrow evening from 5:30-7pm.)

Funding generously provided by: