Ah, the Internet: Banksy Arrested. Not!

BanksyWhile most people were sleeping last night, the National Report (“America’s #1 Independent News Source”!) released a story with the headline “Graffiti Artist Banksy Arrested In London; Identity Revealed.” The in-depth story recounted the bust made by London’s Anti-Graffiti Task force, beginning with this paragraph:

London, England — The elusive graffiti artist, political activist, film director, painter and long time fugitive that for years has gone by the pseudonymous name of Banksy, was arrested early this morning by London’s Metropolitan Police. After hours of questioning and a raid of his London art studio, his true name and identity have finally been revealed.

Within hours, the story was shared over 200,000 times on Facebook and Twitter and picked up by a number of major online sites, including the Gawker blog Jezebel. The story quotes “London Police Chief Lyndon Edwards” at a press conference “confirmed by the BBC” and includes an “AP” photo of the real Banksy.

This morning, though, several news sites have reported that the whole story was a hoax. Then again, this very story could be a hoax planted by Banksy fans while he sits in jail. But, no—because everything you read on the Internet is true.

Richter Swap: Pace Foundation Managers Sell Painting To Fund New Art Campus

richterBuried in a recent newsletter from the Linda Pace Foundation is the news that the foundation plans to auction off Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild (774-4), from their collection to fund new construction of a proposed “artful campus”, including a building by international architect David Adjaye. The foundation is readying two sites adjacent to their offices in San Antonio across from SPACE and CHRISpark. It is hoped that the sale will net $14-18 million for the foundation at the November 12, 2014 sale at Christie’s in New York.

Transition manager Kathryn R. Martin, president of of Arts Consulting Group, Inc. is currently Interim Executive Director, and began work in September, six months after the sudden departure of former director Maura Reilly. According to her bio on the ACG website, “Ms. Martin has helped numerous organizations strategically move through periods of transition and increase their earned and contributed income.”

The newsletter insists that the work “was consistently installed in Linda Pace’s private residence; it has not been on loan or public exhibition since its acquisition in August, 1993,” which seems to mean that the piece, not being on public view much, will be no loss.

Foundation Trustee Kathryn Kanjo also felt the need to explain the sale, which is apparently a sensitive subject, saying, “The collection is a vibrant repository of more than 600 works of art, not only paintings but also sculpture, installations, and videos, including many pieces acquired in the year in which they were created.  Linda had ambitious plans, and was proud that as a result of her investment in the Richter, this one work might someday make her vision for an arts campus possible.  The decision to de-accession a work for sale through public auction will move us to the next step in this process, by establishing a Board designated fund to build the Adjaye designed exhibition space, while continuing all our other mission-driven work.”

“Selling at auction is a process that is transparent to the public, which a private sale does not afford.” Kanjo continued, “The Trustees of the Foundation take their fiduciary responsibility seriously, and decided that a public sale provides an additional opportunity to share the vision of Linda Pace with a global audience.  Christie’s, the auction house of choice, will provide the broadest possible platform for the sale of this rare and beautiful painting.”

New Multi-Use Art Space Announced for the Cedars Neighborhood in Dallas


The building that will become Cedars Union

The Bowdon Family Foundation,  known for supporting visual art in the Dallas area, has purchased a 40,000 square-foot building built in 1921 in the emergent Cedars neighborhood, and have ambitious plans for it.  They’ll call it the Cedars Union, and its future purpose is multifold, according to Robert Hernandez, the foundation’s executive director, as quoted in the Dallas Observer. And here I summarize what the Cedars Union, at 1201 South Ervay, is proposing to be:

1) studios and tools, and it sounds like the studios might be equipped to deal with sculpture

2) workshops for artists on how to professionalize their practice

3) an international artist residency

4) employment hook-ups for artists (“Like if the Dallas Opera needed a carpenter and someone with those skills needed part time work, and there you go,” says Hernandez.)

5) Micro-lender for artist to have access to lines of credit

That sounds admirable. The foundation has started building an advisory committee for the initiative, and the Observer reports that Jeremy Strick of the Nasher Sculpture Center and Kenny Goss of the Goss-Michael Foundation have signed on. In addition to the above description, there will be an underground bar, a street-level cafe of sorts, and gallery space. The Cedars Union won’t get going unil 2015 or 2016, but will be joining a neighborhood already on a lot of people’s art radar, due to spaces like RE Gallery, Homeland Security, and And Now.


Dating App as Social Media Lab: Tinder Guys Posing With Art

jerredFor Houston artist Sally Glass, Tinder is over. She’s “so bored, in fact, that I’d rather make a funny archival project than find a life partner through a smartphone app,” she says in an interview with the Daily Dot about her Tumblr blog, “Tinder Guys Posing with Art.” Glass posted the first of the 54 pics on her blog on April 1, 2014, and her most recent yesterday.

Audra Schroeder, a self-described friend of Glass’ who posted the Daily Dot piece, puts the project in context of “Tinder Girls Posing at LACMA,” which began a couple days later, and features mostly pics of women posing with Chris Burden’s Urban Light, a forest of street lamp poles, and/or Jesus Rafael Soto’s Penetrable. After all, as listicle writer Johnny Debruin commented “Nothing says romance like a bunch of dangling sensory noodles that have probably never been washed.”

Related: surprising cultural niche revealed by Tumblr “Women Laughing Alone With Salad.”

Belo Is Selling Off 300 Pieces of Its Corporate Art Collection


David Bates’ “The Blue Heron” (1985) is up for auction this Saturday

It is upon us. The big Belo Collection auction takes place at Heritage Auctions in Dallas this Saturday. A.H. Belo Corporation, the parent company of the Dallas Morning News, has collected artwork for its corporate collection for years, and has been planning this auction for awhile now; 300 pieces of postwar and contemporary art will hit the block at Heritage’s annex in the Design District.

Judith Segura, curator of the collection since 1986, worked in consultation with Murray Smither, and often concentrated on regional artists, though amongst the lots are works by Judd, Lichtenstein, and Rauschenberg. Some regional artists represented are Dennis Blagg, Bob “Daddy-O” Wade, David Bates, Billy Hassell and Danny Williams, along with hundreds of photographs snapped for the Morning News over the years by artists such as Allison V. Smith (though some of these photographs are labeled as by “unknown”).

The auction preview started today. Auction proceeds will go to the Belo Foundation, which contributes to journalism education and Dallas’ public parks. For more info, please go here.

Congrats to TX Craft and Craft Award Winners at HCCC

Craft2014At the opening of Houston Center for Contemporary Craft’s CraftTexas 2014, the eighth in a series of biennial juried exhibitions showcasing the best in Texas-made contemporary craft, the exhibition jurors awarded three artists (Jim Keller, Ana Lopez, and Olivia Neal) Awards of Merit, which included a $1,000 cash prize to each. Of the 44 artists included in the exhibition, Roy Hanscom and Caitie Sellers were also given honorable mentions. Congratulations to all!

To check out the show and congratulate at least one of the award winners, drop by the gallery talk and artist chat with Heidi Gerstacker and Caitie Sellers this Saturday at noon.


Photos: (Top image) Attic Turbine Vent (Shoulder Brooch) by Ana Lopez, 5 Layer Lidded Form by Roy Hanscom, Houston Necklace (detail) by Caitie Sellers, Tropophobia (detail) by Olivia Neal, Bastrop 2011 by Jim Keller. (Lower image) Roy Hanscom, Caitie Sellers, and Jim Keller at CraftTexas 2014 opening reception. Photo by Roswitha Vogler.

So You Can Help Save the Water Theater at White Rock Lake

white_rock_fullIf you live in Dallas and you care about whether the city is prepared to take care of the public art work it commissions (instead of say, abandoning it to ruin or removing it when it just needs a paint job) then you might think about attending tomorrow’s Cultural Affairs Commission meeting at 4:30 pm at the Latino Cultural Center.

At the spiritual center of this meeting (so to speak) is the fate of artists Frances Bagley and Tom Orr’s “Wildlife Water Theater,” a really nice piece at White Rock Lake that plays well with the water and the wild bird population, installed in 2001. Earlier this year the Commission, having no funds post-2009 budget cuts to maintain the artworks it commissions, proposed removing the installation instead of rehabbing it, to great public controversy.

The issue was tabled after the brouhaha, and now it’s being revisited in tomorrow’s meeting, when, per D Magazine’s Frontburner: “…commissioners will vote on allocating funds to study the needs of the collection and possibly hiring a conservation manager to implement that review.” Supporters of Bagley and Orr’s work and the general health of Dallas’ public work are encouraged to attend by a group called “Save the White Rock Lake Water Theater.”

Again, the meeting takes place tomorrow, which is Thursday, October 16, at 4:30 p.m. at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas, 2600 Live Oak Street.

SWAMP Goes Virtual—But Not Before a Big Party and Garage Sale!

SWAMPAfter almost 30 years, Houston’s Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) is moving out of its physical location at 1519 West Main and into a “virtual office” (Mary Lampe’s living room?). On Sunday, October 19th, from 9am-5pm, there will be a going-away party for the SWAMP house with beer, wine, snacks, and memories. SWAMP is also emptying the house of everything, which means that film geeks can rummage through film equipment, a library of filmmaking books, and movie posters to find some bargains.

SWAMP will continue to work on producing the 35th season of The Territory, its groundbreaking, statewide PBS broadcast series featuring independent short films and videos, scheduled to air in early 2015.

NEA Chairman Visits Houston for First Time Tomorrow and Will Answer Your Questions About the Future of the NEA

Jane_Chu photo for confirmThe Houston Arts Alliance will be hosting a visit and talk by the new National Endowment For the Arts chairperson Jane Chu tomorrow at the Asia Society. This is Chu’s first visit to Houston, and she’ll follow her talk about her vision for the NEA with a public question-and-answer session.

Chu’s position before her NEA appointment in June was as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. She’s a native of Oklahoma and was raised in Arkansas, and got her masters at SMU in Dallas and her PhD in philanthropic studies from Indiana University.

Afterward, Chu will visit Project Row Houses with Rick Lowe. The earlier talk starts at 11:30 am on Wednesday, is free and open to the public (and moderated by Houston Arts Alliance president Jonathon Glus) but space is limited, so go here for info on how to secure your spot.



Honorary Texan Wins $300K in ArtPrize Competition

Agha_DanaAlthough Glasstire reported that Darryl Lauster was the lone Texan shortlisted for the ArtPrize (the international art competition based in Grand Rapids, Michigan), we are also going to claim the grand prizewinner as an honorary Texan. Anila Quayyum Agha received her MFA in Fiber Art from the University of North Texas in Denton in 2004. She then hung out in Houston for while as a 2005 artist-in-residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and participated in the 2005-6 Creative Capital Professional Development Workshop at DiverseWorks.

Intersections by Anila Quayyum Agha won both the Public Grand Prize and tied for Juried Grand Prize, making her the first artist to win in both categories. She received a total of $300,000 in prize money.

Agha(Photos: Grand Rapids Art Museum director Dana Friis-Hansen with Anila Quayyum Agha and installation view of Intersections. Both photos by Drew Davis.)

The Nasher Has a New Assistant Curator and You’ll Never Guess Who It Is! Oh Wait! Yes You Will!

1907896_10101566392997843_2801089436063520071_oI may be jumping the gun a tad, but not by much. Some little Facebook birds let on over the weekend,  possibly inadvertently but nonetheless clearly, that Leigh Arnold has been appointed Assistant Curator at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Up to last year, as she finished her masters at UTD, she was a research project coordinator at the Dallas Museum of Art and the researcher and co-curator for the “DallasSITE” 50-year retrospective there. After that fellowship ended, she joined the Nasher as curatorial fellow. Now they’ve made her a an honest woman by giving her the real title and responsibility. Arnold has been a key and keen member of the Dallas art scene since she landed here 2006. Congrats, Leigh Arnold! We’re glad you’re sticking around.



Bloomberg Wants to Give $1 Million for Your City Art Project

MBloombergUltra-rich former NYC mayor Michael (he’s “Mike” on all his websites) Bloomberg’s charitable foundation has announced a “Public Art Challenge” today, inviting U.S. cities to develop temporary public art projects that “enhance cultural and economic activity.” Mayors in cities with populations of 30,000 or more (Texas has some of those!) can submit proposals beginning today for visual, performing arts and multimedia projects. Finalists will be selected in February and at least three cities will be chosen in May. Each will receive $1 million to develop projects over two years.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has posted the application and guidelines on its website. Artists: it’s time to come up with some huge, crazy projects and cozy up to your local mayor!

(Image: Associated Press)

IRS Tries to Upset Artist/Teacher Applecart: Crile Case Makes Art Safe for the Unprofitable

crileThe United States Tax Court ruled earlier this month that artists who make little or no money from the sales of their artworks and support themselves through teaching can continue to deduct their business expenses on their annual tax returns.

In Susan Crile v. Commissioner, a case that had the potential to upset the artist/teacher applecart, the IRS contended that artist Susan Crile, who teaches at Hunter College in New York, was making her art primarily as a prerequisite for keeping her teaching job, and that it did not constitute a legitimate “activity engaged in for profit,” and so was not eligible for the tax deductions normal for businesses of other types. It also maintained that, even if Crile’s art was a legitimate business, that many of her deductions were not “ordinary and necessary” business expenses.

The court documents recap Crile’s extensive resume, establishing beyond doubt her status as a legitimate professional, and Judge Albert G. Lauber ruled that she was indeed engaged in the “trade or business” of being and artist, and that the “enjoyment of her art activity–at least some of its
aspects–is not sufficient to cause it to be classified as a hobby rather than a business.”

Despite the clear recognition of Crile’s professional status, the expense-qualifying part of Crile’s case was iffy. Despite earning a total of $667,902 from sales of art between 1971-2013, with her best year, 1995, adding $111,815, Crile has never reported a net profit from her art business. The judge split the cases, and will consider the details of Crile’s accounting later.

The case brought forth some strange opinions from artworld experts who testified for Crile:

According to the New York Times, “Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art, said Monday that the ability to deduct art-related expenses — in art careers that might generate little money — was ‘one of the last remaining areas where the federal government cuts artists any slack to allow them to do what they do,’ and that its protection was crucial,” which seemed to argue exactly against the winning contention of Crile’s lawyers that Crile’s art was a business like any other!

With the media full of tales of fast money, soap-bubble speculation, and insane auction prices, the lengthy description of the specifics of Crile’s long, serious, and not-too-profitable career is a sobering reality check.

New Faces at the Dallas Museum of Art: Berry CFO

On Friday, The Dallas Museum of Art announced a pack of staff appointments:

Brenda Berry

Brenda Berry, photo:

Brenda Berry has been named its new Chief Financial Officer, responsible for all accounting, financial operations, and financial reporting on the museum’s $26 million budget. She joined the DMA in 2012 as its controller. Before working for the DMA, Berry worked for Resources Global Professionals (RGP), a consulting firm. A certified public accountant, Berry’s earlier professional experience includes Audit Partner and other executive positions at Hogan & Slovacek, Tulsa and Deloitte & Touche L.L.P., Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, CA. She graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Business and Commerce.

Marin Fiske-Rankin is the DMA’s new Director of Special Events. She came over from SMU’s Meadows Museum, where she was Assistant Director of Events and Food Service Operations for six years. Fiske-Rankin holds a BFA in Design and Visual Communications from Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky.

Mary Balthrop has been appointed the Museum’s first-ever Secretary & General Counsel. She will see to the needs of the Board of Trustees as well as advise on legal issues. She joins the DMA from the Dallas office of Baker Botts L.L.P., where she worked as a transactional lawyer. Balthrop holds a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she earned the Order of the Coif distinction, and a BA in Sociology from Rice University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Following graduation from law school, Balthrop served as a law clerk to Justice Diane M. Henson of the Third Court of Appeals of Texas.

Aubrey DeZego has been named Director of Institutional Giving, another new position, in the Museum’s development department. She joins the DMA from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she was most recently Assistant Director of Grants and Corporate Partnerships. DeZego is a graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis and holds a BS in Arts Administration.

Artnet Names Two Texas Foundations in a Top Ten List

Bulding-at-night-576x321Artnet asks: “Who are the Henry Clay Fricks, J.P. Morgans, or Andrew Carnegies of our era?” In Texas, I would likely point to the de Menils and the Nashers, but Artnet News had other ideas and were going for smaller, younger, quirkier. In its recently published list of Top 10 Private Contemporary Art Museums, two Texas non-profits made the cut: The Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, and the Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio. What, no Rachofsky? It looks like Artnet left off those gifting their collections to major museums, so despite the fact that the Rachofskys have not one but two non-DMA spaces dedicated to their collection, the DMA’s eventual windfall keeps Rachofsky off the list.

The top ten list of course includes the De La Cruz and Rubell Family Collections in Miami, and Peter Brant’s place up in Connecticut gets the top spot (thought the choices aren’t really ranked).

Don’t Mind the Pelicans! Galveston Artist Residency Greets 2014-15 Artists

GAR apartmentGrace Ndiritu, Dan Schmahl, and Hilary Wilder have been named 2014 – 2015 Artists in Residence at the Galveston Artist Residency.

Ndiritu is a British/Kenyan artist whose performances, writing and videos have been shown all over Europe. Schmahl is a recent BFA graduate of Florida State University, searching for the sublime through photography video, and his own small press, Super Hit Press. Wilder is returning to the Houston area; she was a CORE fellow in 2004, and has since gone on to other resdencies and a teaching job at Virginia Commonwealth University.

GAR also announced Victoria Sambunaris as a “Special Project Artist.” Sambunaris, a photographer who crosses and recrosses the United States on “journeys,” has, most recently, been working along the border in South Texas.

Two of the three new residents are accepting deferred invitations from past years; only one is a new grant. Residencies at the GAR last for 11 months, and include a studio, an apartment, a stipend of $1,000 per month and a bicycle.

Smither Park is Getting There: Let’s Party!

Amphitheater: almost done!

Amphitheater: almost done!

It’s probably a sign of its funky aesthetic that the folks at Houston’s new Smither Park will put on a party at the drop of a hat (“We thought of it” party, “We have architectural drawings” party, “We’re starting the wall” party, “We have the shell of the amphitheater” party). The half-acre of land adjacent to the Orange Show Monument is really coming to life now, so it’s time for another celebration.

This Saturday, October 11th from 11am-3pm (at 2411 Munger Street), the park will celebrate its progress with a day of music, dancing, kids’ activities, and food. There will be performances from the lovely and crazy Loreta Kovacic and The Alchemist Piano Theatre, Poi dancers, the Art League Houston African beaders, food trucks, chalk drawings, and artists working on the Smither Park Memory Wall. And you can bring your broken china, colorful ceramic tiles, seashells, kitchen utensils, costume jewelry, keys, and such, which may be transformed into something as wonderful as this:


FotoFest Announces Theme and Dates for Its Big 2016 Biennial

SONY DSCFotoFest is gearing up for its 16th Biennial in spring of 2016 and today it announced this installment’s title and theme: “CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES: Looking at the Future of the Planet.” The event, an international biennial of photography and photo-related art (and one of the longest-running and most prestigious of its kind) will take place as usual in Houston, March 12 – April 24, 2016, and this biennial’s curators are its new executive director, Steven Evans, along with FotoFest co-founders Frederick Baldwin and Wendy Watriss.

The press release explains this theme best: “CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES will present artists, experts, scientists, writers, and policy makers looking at the inter-connected issues of climate change, population growth and migration, globalized use of natural resources, capital, and the impact of new technologies. The exhibitions and other programs will focus on the future of the Earth by examining challenges, and by proposing new ideas and solutions.”

The events draws hundreds of thousands of visitors internationally over its six-week run. For far more info on its exhibitions and programming, watch this space in the coming weeks and months.

Weekend Warriors Head West for Chinati Festivities

chinati_sunriseChinati Weekend is coming!

From 5-10pm on Friday evening, studios and galleries in downtown Marfa will be open with exhibitions and performances. On Saturday, there will be a big reception for Larry Bell’s new exhibition, followed by talks, including Bell in conversation with Marianne Stockebrand (for those not in Marfa, the talks will stream online from the Chinati website beginning at 3pm). There will also be a film screening of Donald Judd interviews, more openings, the annual benefit dinner, and a concert by The Polyphonic Spree.

For anyone who still has energy on Sunday, there will be a sunrise viewing of Judd sculptures. For those who sleep in, there will be more art and more talks throughput the day. Check out the full schedule here.

Irving Lands a Very Rare Show of Pre-Inca Art

624x468After a five-month stint at the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C., an impressive show of Peruvian, Pre-Inca artifacts has traveled to the Irving Arts Center, which will be its only other Stateside appearance. “Peruvian Gold: Ancient Treasures Unearthed” was organized by the National Geographic Museum and opened in Irving last weekend. It showcases “ancient gold and silver artifacts excavated from Peru’s legendary royal tombs…” in the form of “ceremonial and funerary masks, textiles, ceremonial ornaments,” as well as ceramics, pottery and other jewelry from the era.

The key piece in the show, called El Tocado, sounds spectacular: it is the biggest and “most ornate pre-Columbian headdress ever discovered.” It dates from around 1000 A.D, and this is its first appearance in the U.S. since it was discovered 20+ years ago. In fact, none of these works have traveled much and are on loan from three Peruvian institutions: Sican National Museum, Larco Museum and Museum of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru. The show runs through December 31. For more information, please go here.