Meet the Man Who Made All Your Selfies Possible!

fossumIn conjunction with Science: Photography’s Influence on Science and Medicine, the Houston Center for Photography (HCP) is hosting a lecture by Dr. Eric R. Fossum tomorrow evening, December 17, at 6pm (reception at 5:30pm). Fossum is currently a professor with the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth and is best known for inventing and developing the CMOS active-pixel image sensor and camera-on-a-chip.

In case you’re not enough of a science nerd to understand what that means: this is the technology that enables nearly all camera phones and web cameras, many DSLRs, high-speed motion-capture cameras, automotive cameras, dental X-ray cameras, and swallowable pill cameras. This all happened in the 1990s and is now used in the manufacturing of billions of tiny cameras a year.

(Photo courtesy of Thayer School of Engineering)

50 Artists Selected as Pre-Qualified for Dallas Public Artworks

dallasIt’s become common practice for Texas cities to designate artists as pre-qualified for upcoming public art initiatives based on a biannual Call for Submissions. The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program received 257 submissions by the September 18 deadline and has now announced the 50 artists it has selected for approval, who will remain on the pre-qualified list for projects the next two years. “The Public Art Committee selected 50 finalists for approval by the Cultural Affairs Commission, which accepted their recommendations in a unanimous vote during their meeting on Thursday, November 20, 2014.”

(There are six projects slated for emerging artists in Dallas for 2015.)

The following artists were selected:

Olaniyi Akindiya, Anne Allen, Sheryl Anaya, Leighton Autrey, Ryan Behring, Gary Buckner, Mick Burson, John Camara, Charles Coldewey, Russ Connell, Isaac Davies, Jose Dominguez, David Duncan, Cassandra Emswiler Burd, Heather Ezell, Kate Firth, George Fowler, Abhidnya Ghuge, Jeff Gibbons, Justin Ginsberg, Heather Gorham, Terry Hays, Laura Kante, Chris Lattanzio, Rachel Livedalen, Sara Lovas, Jason Mehl, Leigh Merrill, Francisco Moreno, Cynthia Mulcahy, Lisa Nigro, Nic Nobilque, Kevin Obregon, Julia Ousley, Theo Ponchaveli, Pascale Pryor, Pio Pulido, Fari Rahimi, Sully Ridout, Jeff Robinson, Jay Shinn, Michael Shubin, Jerry Smith, Erin Stafford, Janna Tidwell, Robertus van der Wege, Laura Walters Abrams, Murielle White, Lauren Woods, and Bobby Zokaites.

Congrats to all!

Even if You’re a Grinch, Support Local Artists!

ALH_MNini_MartAmong the many listings in the recent post “The Almost-Complete List of Texas Holiday Arts and Crafts Fairs,” is the upcoming Holiday Mini Mart & Party at the Art League Houston (ALH), described by Glasstire as “a spate of normally respectable contemporary artists selling their best stuff for peanuts!” Here’s a partial list of Houston, Austin, and Dallas artists selling their wares:

Ack!, Jade Abner, Kelly Alison, Nadia Al Khalifah, Sarah Ansell, Daniel Anguilu, Chesley Antoinette, Debra Barerra, Daniel Bertalot, Elaine Bradford, Melinda Laszczynski, Felipe Contreras, Isabel Cuenca, Shannon Duncan, Curtis Gannon, Caroline Graham, Patricia Hernandez, Betsy Huete, Lisa Marie Hunter, IGHouston, Jah Jah, Jessica Kreutter, Jera Lodge, Thedra Cullar-Ledford, Nina Marinck, Paul Middendorf, Hayley McSwain, Fredia L. Mitchell-McNeal, Katie Mulholland, Rajni Perera, Cassie Phan, Fernando Ramirez, Preetika Rajgariah, Patrick Renner, Megan Spacek, Chadwick & Spector, Patrick Turk, 360 Degree’s Vanishing/South African Beaders, Monica Villarreal, Jason Villegas, Kayci Wheatley, Claire Webb, and Rena Wood.

If you’re a last minute shopper, or already received your Christmas check from grandma, stop by and check it out on Friday, December 19, 6-9pm. There’s food, drinks, and music by Glasstire’s Peter Lucas. Everything is under $100 and the artists receive 75%; 25% goes to ALH programming for the new year.

The Menil is Getting a Commission by Cardiff-Miller for its Chapel!

Exterior_Warchol3The Menil Collection‘s Byzantine Fresco Chapel has been empty since 2012, when the Menil deintstalled and sent back to Cyprus the 13th-century Greek Orthodox frescos it was built to house in 1997. The Menil has announced a new installation for the re-purposed space, opening in January: a commission by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, the internationally renowned sound-video-sculpture artist pair based in British Colombia. It was organized by Toby Kamps, The Menil’s curator of modern and contemporary art.

The new installation will be in the Byzantine Fresco Chapel for one year. It’s called “The Music of Spheres” and is a mobile + sound piece which will fill the space and is based on the “theory that the movement of celestial bodies creates harmonies,” and, “Visitors will hear an audio collage including recordings collected by the NASA spacecraft Voyager when monitoring the interaction of solar winds and Earth’s ionosphere.”

Based on the success of Cardiff-Miller’s earlier acclaimed works, such as Forest (for a thousand years)The Murder of Crows, and The Forty Part Motetwe suspect this new commission will be a doozy and look forward to it. For more info on the Chapel and the artists, please go here.


Zip – Up! Menil Gets NEA Grant for Upcoming Newman Show

newmanThe National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Menil Collection $65,000 to support Barnett Newman: The Late Work, scheduled for March 27 – August 2, 2015.The exhibition, curated jointly by curator Michelle White and Menil chief conservator Brad Epley, is the first to focus closely on the artist’s work during his last five and a half years (1965-70).

In the last decade, the Menil has undertaken significant technical studies of Newman’s work, including Epley’s multi-year effort to restore Newman’s Be I (First Version), and the exhibition is an outgrowth of these projects. Said Epley, “conservation work can be revelatory about paintings, allowing us to understand not only process but meaning. This is certainly the case with Barnett Newman, who worked out his ideas on the canvas itself, without making preparatory studies. This generous grant from the NEA will help substantially to bring our findings to museumgoers and scholars alike.”

Bastrop Wildfire Phoenix: New Arts Complex in the Works


Artist’s rendering of the future Lost Pines Art Center

The wildfires that burned in and around Bastrop in 2011 destroyed thousands of acres, homes, and businesses. Litigation around this disaster and funds gathered since then are resulting in a planned Lost Pines Art Center and Commemorative Sculpture Garden.

The Bastrop Fine Arts Guild announced that it has secured more than $3 million in donations and pledges, along with funds obtained through the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative’s obtained settlements, which guarantees the project will move forward, with a total goal of $3.6 million to complete the project in 2016.

The complex will comprise of  a “new 12,000-square-foot art center will house state-of-the-art exhibit space, classrooms, a coffee and wine bistro and retail space for art-related businesses,” as well as four renovated 100-year old silos, three of which  “will be used as studios – one each for pottery and glass, and one for metal, wood and stone carving. The fourth silo will be converted to an apartment for an artist in residence, who will exhibit his or her art and teach classes and workshops for local artists.” The site, near downtown Bastrop, will also feature a commemorative sculpture garden.

For more info on this project, go here.


Houston’s Black Guys Celebrate 24 Hours with Friends

Lightnin_HopkinsIn conjunction with The Black Guys: Robert Hodge and Phillip Pyle the Second, currently on view at Art League Houston (ALH) through January 3, Hodge and Pyle staged an interpretive reenactment of the 1995 behavioral event Stop-N-Go!, by The Art Guys (Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing), in which Galbreth and Massing worked as clerks for 24 hours straight at a Stop-N-Go convenience store in Houston’s museum district. (That’s according to the ALH description, although Hodge posted that the were doing “a recreation of a art guys performance where they stayed at Denny’s for 24hrs.” It works either way.) As of this writing, the performance aspect of The Black Guys’ 24 hours at the Lightnin’ Hopkins Bus Stop is almost over. Located off Dowling and Francis Streets, the site was chosen “because of the recent drug activity at night,” states Hodge. Video of the performance, 24 HRS, will be screened from 6-8pm this Saturday, December 13, at ALH.

Carrie_SchneiderOvernight, images of the event began popping up on Instagram and Facebook. This photo of artist Carrie Schneider was posted on Hodge’s Facebook page with the caption: “Carrie is surprised at all the folks. She thought we would be lonely and we did too.” From the looks of all the photos and selfies, The Black Guys were not lonely at all.


(Images via Facebook posts by Lovie Olivia, Robert Hodge, Michael Peranteau, Ella Russell, Russell V Guess, and Robert Pruitt.)

24Hours1  24Houres3


An Art Guy drops by; ALH director Michael Peranteau shows up with some turkey chili.

“Texas Women Win the Vote” at the Museum of East Texas

resized_Museum_of_East_TexasThis is timely.

The Museum of East Texas in Lufkin, in conjunction with its current exhibition Citizens At Last: The Women Suffrage Movement in Texas, will host a panel discussion on Dec. 14 titled “Texas Women Win the Vote.” The panel is made up of Reverend Bettie Kennedy, Ellen Temple, and Kay Arnold, three women well versed in the history of women’s lives and progress in the state.

The panel takes place on the Museum’s Family Day, which starts at 2 p.m this Sunday; the panel runs from 2:30-4 p.m. in the performing arts center of the museum and is free of charge.

For more information on the panelists, please go here and scroll down.

HAA to Inspire Out-of-Towners with Sweepstakes

HoustonPassportThe Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) may not be inspiring a lot of confidence within the local arts scene as of late, but they’re now looking elsewhere to make new friends. HAA is partnering with Southwest Airlines for a sweepstakes contest called “Let Houston Inspire You!” Individuals may enter through December 19 for the chance to win this “Houston-inspired” spring 2015 weekend for a family of four.

The sweepstakes prize package includes:

Four Southwest Airline tickets
Two rooms, two nights’ accommodations for four
Three meals at acclaimed Houston restaurants
A Houston CityPASS with admission for four to:
Space Center Houston
Downtown Aquarium
Museum of Natural Science
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston OR Children’s Museum of Houston
Houston Zoo OR The Kemah Boardwalk
Tickets to a performance, based on availability.

HAA may be getting a bit more realistic with its deadlines; the contest rules state that, “On or about January 6, 2015, a random drawing from all eligible entries received will be conducted by Houston Arts Alliance.” For more details, go here.

Bayou Bend Collection in Houston Has a New Curator

efedd5960dbd2a5baf03d943b9165569The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is a satellite collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Bradley C. Brooks is its new curator.

Bayou Bend Collection, which is 14 acres and a house museum (a few miles from the MFAH main campus), “is one of the finest showcases of American furnishings, silver, ceramics, and paintings in the world.” Last week MFAH director Gary Tinterow announced Brooks’ appointment. He begins next month and succeeds longtime curator Michael K. Brown, who died a little more than a year ago.

Brooks comes to Houston from the Indianapolis Museum of Art and has “extensive experience in historic house museums.” Welcome, Mr. Brooks.

For more info on Brooks, his background and appointment, go here.

Second-Guessers: Hunting Art Prize Announces 2015 Jurors

As usual, the Hunting Art Prize folks have announced this year’s jury shortly after the deadline for submissions (which was November 30), so that entrants wouldn’t waste time trying to figure out the juror’s preferences. Artists who sent in their single entries in hopes of winning the $50,000 award and now want to fret about whether they sent in the right image can do some research on these jurors:

Adam Justice, Curator of Art at the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida, Amy Moorefield, Deputy Director of Exhibitions at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, and Julien Robson, Curator of the Shands Collection in Louisville, Kentucky.

Many artists complained that the Hunting was too focused on representational art. Then this work by Winston Lee Mascarenhas was chosen as the 2014 prizewinner.

Many artists complained that the Hunting was too focused on representational art. Then this work by Winston Lee Mascarenhas was chosen as the 2014 prizewinner.

The award is the largest prize in its category in North America. Open to legal Texas residents, the competition accepts a single image of a drawing or painting only. The jury will make their cuts (usually to a list of over 100) and make an announcement of finalists (usually in early March). The 2015 winner will be announced at the Hunting Art Prize gala on May 2 in Houston.

Call For Entries for Annual 500X Student Expo Now Open

unnamedThe big annual student expo at 500X in Dallas is often one of the best places to see, under one roof, what Texas art undergrad and grad students are getting up to. Call for entries for the February 2015 show has started, and this year’s jurors are Susan Roth Romans and Jordan Roth, who own Ro2 Art, a contemporary art gallery in Dallas.

All media will be accepted, from students across the state, and this year 500X is using slideroom for entries (as opposed to 500X’s annual open show, in which entries have to dropped off at 500X to be considered, which is unusual these days. I digress). Submissions for the Student Expo are due by January 25, and students will be notified of acceptance by Feb. 1.

For more info and links to Slideroom, etc, please go here and scroll down to “500X Student EXPO 2015 – Call for Entry”

Jed Perl, Art Critic for The New Republic, Resigns in Protest After 20 Years

Jed Perl recently quit his job as art critic of The New Republic, and his elegant resignation has been getting reposted in Twitter and Facebook in the last couple of days:

Perl_tweetPerl’s resignation seemed inevitable in the midst of a recent mass exodus at the magazine in protest over its announcement that it would rebrand the magazine as a “vertically integrated digital media company” and replace its top editor, reports the Huffington Post. Below is part of the statement sent to HuffPost by group of editors and writers:

The New Republic cannot be merely a “brand.” It has never been and cannot be a “media company” that markets “content.” Its essays, criticism, reportage, and poetry are not “product.” It is not, or not primarily, a business.

PerlSince Perl coined the phrase “laissez-faire aesthetics” to express his disdain for the financially-driven compromise of artistic standards among artists, collectors, galleries, and museums, it comes as no surprise that he would bring those same standards to journalism.

Known for his smart (but often contrary and sometimes conservative) essays on contemporary art, art history, and the art world, he has made some bold statements on some art world darlings, such as “Gerhard Richter is a bullshit artist masquerading as a painter,” and “There is not a shred of doubt in Jeff Koons. And where there is no doubt there is no art.” Titles of his articles in The New Republic within the past year include “Liberals Are Killing Art: How the Left became obsessed with ideology over beauty,” “The Art World Has Stopped Distinguishing Between Greatness and Fraudulence,” “Whitney Biennial: The Most Narcissistic of all New York Art World Events,” and “The Super-Rich Are Ruining Art for the Rest of Us.”

Amon Carter Also Announces an End to the Revolving Door

carter doorThe Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth has announced a four-month renovation project, designed to improve the museum’s climate control. New windows and air conditioning will make the art last longer, and, says Director Andrew J. Walker, and “keep the gallery spaces temperate for visitors.” The revolving front door will be replaced with a new, wheelchair-friendly entryway, recreating Philip Johnson’s original design of the museum’s front facade. In line with the current search for relevance beyond simply showing art, Walker noted another goal for the project: “In tandem with this construction, we are working to change the function of the main gallery from solely a place to exhibit art into one that is also a community gathering place. These are the first steps in transforming our entire footprint into an interactive space for all audiences.”

The museum will remain open, and school tours will continue, but there will be no public programs during the renovation, and the museum will close at 5 p.m. on Thursdays for the duration. Construction begins on Groundhog Day, February 2, 2015, with everything scheduled to reopen in June.

San Antonio and El Paso are Looking for Pre-Qualified Artists for Upcoming Public Art Projects

unnamedBoth San Antonio and El Paso announced instructions and deadlines for established and emerging artists to pre-qualify for consideration for the next few years’ worth of their public art projects . The City of El Paso Public Art Program and Public Art San Antonio are seeking applications (there is a rare window for this) now, which allows them to streamline their selection process when they announce calls for entries for projects.

For El Paso, “Once submitted, an artist will be able to remain on the eligibility list for four years before re-applying.  As public art projects arise artists will be pooled from the list and placed for review and consideration to projects,” and, ” Artists living within a 100-mile radius of the City of El Paso are strongly encouraged to apply.” Here is the link to follow. The deadline is January 30.

For San Antonio, the deadline is January 9, and any artist who qualified in the 2012 round would need to re-apply. The link is here.



Tom Sachs Takes Over Austin


The Contemporary in Austin–all three of its locations–will play host to the first-ever institutional show of Tom Sachs works in Texas. Beginning in January, Boombox Retrospective 1999-2015 will spread out across the Jones Center, Laguna Gloria, and the Art School, and: “the project demonstrates the artist’s unique, imaginative, and rigorous DIY aesthetic and is comprised largely of works that riff on the idea of the ‘boombox,’ the iconic emblem of 1980s hip-hop culture.” Sachs has constructed these ceramic boom boxes (some of them he recently made at the Art School) with working parts that allow them to play songlists put together by the artist and some of his well-known music-industry pals. Regardless of function, they’re beautiful, strange, and a heck of a lot of fun.

Though the exhibition will consist of other examples of Sachs’ work, the Jones Center location will host the more comprehensive selection of the recent boomboxes, and Laguna Gloria will showcase some of Sachs’ large-scale bronzes sculptures. In conjunction with the exhibition, at Laguna Gloria Sachs “has curated an exhibition of works by JJ PEET, who taught Sachs to work in ceramics and is the de facto leader of a four-person, off-kilter ‘ceramics circle’ that meets weekly in New York and include Sachs in its ranks.”

For more info, go here.



The Surreality of the Art World: Staten Island, Ferguson, and Miami

Recently, the national news has been overflowing with stories of African-American men (and boys) killed by police officers and the ensuing frustration at the lack of accountability for the deaths. Yesterday, Hyperallergic’s Jillian Steinhauer published a powerful short essay entitled “#BlackLivesMatter vs #ArtBasel.” In Miami to cover the Art Basel art fair, Steinhauer talks about walking out of the fair (which had poor cell phone coverage) yesterday to check her Twitter account. She juxtaposes two photos from tweets she opened and ends her article with the sentence, “What more is there to say?”

Marina Abromovic tucking in the tired super-rich seems like a surreal and out-of-touch counterpoint to the reality of the daily news but, while the Staten Island grand jury announced that it would not indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the killing of Eric Garner, Miley Cyrus—former Disney star/now visual artist—was on stage performing for the celebs in town. Here is a paragraph from the AP article about her show:

“This year has constantly challenged me, and that’s why I started doing art,” she said before launching into a song she wrote after her friend’s cat spoke to her in a dream. The macabre song, which she also played on the piano, seemed to get to her and she abruptly banged on the keys at the end, saying she was sick of talking about death and wanted to move onto something fun.

There may be some artists who are capable of living in the art world and the real world simultaneously and they might be found tonight (December 4, 6:30-8:30pm) at Houston’s El Dorado Ballroom. The El Dorado will be hosting an event entitled, “After Ferguson? Houston Justice Town Hall.”

Amon Carter Getting a Facelift And it Sounds Like a Good One

acm-visitingThe Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth is going to start renovations on its facade in early February and construction is expected to take about five months.

The museum has announced that this renovation will take it back to Philip Johnson’s original design while updating climate controls through improved glass for UV filtration and updated air circulation and humidity control. They’ll do away with the revolving glass front door (good! I hate revolving doors despite their being a comedy goldmine) and make the museum more wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Here is a statement issued by the Amon Carter about accessibility during the renovation: “The museum will remain open during the process, though some galleries will be inaccessible. School tours will continue, but no public programs or member programs are planned within the facility. The museum is also closing at 5 p.m. on Thursdays throughout the project, which is expected to last four months. All galleries are scheduled to reopen in June 2015.”

For more info on the update, as well as alternate entryways and parking during construction, please go here.

Bathroom Art! ALH is Now the Snazzy Place to Pee

ALH_bathroom2In the midst of all the HAA public art controversy, the Houston arts community may not have noticed a more private art addition to the city. Art League Houston (ALH) recently unveiled new artwork in its restrooms!

A quick Google search reveals that most retailers have a subsection for “bathroom art,” but most of the framed pictures of beaches, flowers, and vintage-looking bathroom products seem to suggest that they are simply cheap enough to toss when they get moldy. Zazzle and Wayfair also have some funny, passive-aggressive posters on proper bathroom hygiene. But artists Nina Marinick (also ALH’s evening gallery manager) and Jajah Gray went all out on the immersive bathroom art experience.

Just relax, take care of your business, and enjoy the colorful semi-psychedelic art appropriate to the occasion.


Symbiotic Bubble, 2014. Nina Marinick and Jajah Gray. Photos by Bel Cuenca.

Mark Flood Floods Miami This Week

Flood-M_Tittle-tbc_Long-Lace2Mark Flood will have a mighty presence during this week’s giant international art shenanigan, Art Basel Miami Beach, which opens to the public Dec. 4. His work will not only show up in Zach Feuer‘s NADA booth, but he’s one of six artists having commissioned solo shows at the Rubell Family Collection–always an important stop of the week–and Flood has transplanted his own Mark Flood ResenTS gallery/project from its run in Chelsea NY to 633 Washington Avenue in Miami. REsenTS is Flood’s showcasing of artwork by artists he likes/envies/buys for himself, though the work isn’t really for sale. Stuart Shave/Modern Art, Flood’s London gallery, is an exhibitor at Miami Basel proper, though we don’t know if the gallery will be showing Flood’s work in their booth as well. Probably, because when in Rome… .