Will Dario Robleto be the First Person to Send a Response to Extraterrestrials Trying to Contact Us?

The_Sounds_of_Earth_-_GPN-2000-001976Probably not, but he’s on the ground floor of a huge new international initiative to explore how to detect intelligent life elsewhere and exactly what humans would do if we do make contact.

Two days ago, Houston-based artist Robleto joined Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and a team of the world’s top astronomers and physicists, including Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees, in a press conference in London to announce “unprecedented $100 million global Breakthrough Initiatives to reinvigorate the search for life in the universe” (via  Astrobiology Magazine).

The first initiative, Project Listen, will dramatically increase and accelerate the search for intelligent life in the universe. It is the “most powerful, comprehensive and intensive scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth.” Read the details here.

But where does Robleto come in?

The second, offshoot initiative they announced is called Breakthrough Message, which will “will fund an international competition to generate messages representing humanity and planet Earth, which might one day be sent to other civilizations.” Robleto befriended that initiative’s leader Ann Druyan, who was the creative director of the the Interstellar Message of NASA Voyager (and the Golden Records which NASA sent into space) and is the widow of Carl Sagan. A Golden Record features the sound of Druyan’s heartbeat, and Robleto used some of that recording in his  project “The Boundary of Life is Quietly Crossed” last year at the Menil.

Druyan brought Robleto along for the announcement of this project, as it’s the kind of thing Robeleto has been thinking about for years.

For more on this and Robleto’s take on it, go here, where the Houston Chronicle’s Molly Glentzer has the scoop.


Houston Artists: Artadia Wants to Give You Money!

Artadia: The Fund for Art & Dialogue is a national non-profit organization that gives unrestricted, merit-based awards to visual artists in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Unrestricted. Merit-based. No application fees. No project outline requirements.

Chris Vroom co-founded Artadia in response to what he says was a fairly obvious problem at the time: there were very few sources of direct support to individual artists. “I honestly found it a little peculiar that there were so many people engaged and benefiting from so many aspects of the arts ecosystem,” he says, “yet there were no means to sustain and make viable that ecosystem.”

Chris Vroom co-founded Artadia in response to what he says was a fairly obvious problem at the time: there were very few sources of direct support to individual artists. “I honestly found it a little peculiar that there were so many people engaged and benefiting from so many aspects of the arts ecosystem,” he says, “yet there were no means to sustain and make viable that ecosystem.”

In the past 15 years, Artadia has awarded over $3 million to more than 300 artists throughout its participating cities. Applications are now being accepted for Houston/Harris County artists. If you have lived in Harris County for two years or more and are not currently enrolled in an art-related degree program, it’s time for you to join this impressive list:

Mequitta Ahuja (2008), Dawolu Jabari Anderson (2008), The Art Guys (2004 & 2006), David Aylsworth (2010), Rotem Balva (2006), Amita Bhatt (2004), Amy S. Blakemore (2004), Serena Lin Bush (2006), Jillian Conrad (2012), Rachel Lynn Cook (2004), Santiago Cucullu (2003), Jamal Cyrus (2006), Bill Davenport (2010), Augusto Di Stefano (2010), Nathaniel Donnett (2010), Gilad Efrat (2006), Daniel Fabian (2006), Jeff Shore & Jon Fisher Collective (2010), Francesca Fuchs (2006 & 2012), Trenton Doyle Hancock (Houston, 2003), Havel Ruck Projects (Houston, 2006), Joseph Havel (2004), Rachel Hecker (2006), Katy Heinlein (2008), Wesley Heiss (2004), J Hill (2010), Jang Soon Im (2012), Lauren Kelley (2008), Laura Lark (2004), El Franco Lee (2008), Eileen Ann Maxson (2004), Lynne McCabe (2008), Michael Jones McKean (2006), Will Michels (2006), Seth Mittag (2012), Delilah Marie Montoya (2008), Katrina Moorhead (2008), Zach Moser (2006), Floyd E. Newsum (2008), Demetrius Oliver (2006), Karyn Andrea Olivier (2004), Robyn O’Neil (2003), Aaron Parazette (2004), Robert A. Pruitt (2004), Sigrid Sandstrom (2003), Soody Sharifi (2006), Matthew Stuart Sontheimer (2004), Brent Steen (2003), Carl Suddath (2012), Nestor Topchy (2010), Stephanie Toppin (2008), Jason Villegas (2004), Allison Kay Wiese (2004), and Joseph Wooten (2006).

The awards range from $5,000 to $20,000, and include ongoing assistance throughout the artists’ careers. The deadline for applications is October 15.

Upcoming Texas Art Mag Sounds Exceptionally Cool


Exu cover by Ike Morgan

The Great God Pan is Dead, a longtime Houston-based blog about art and comics founded by Robert Boyd, is launching an art/prose/comics print publication called Exu, and it promises some very cool features and contributors in the upcoming first issue.

Via its Indiegogo page, each page of the full-color issue of Exu Magazine “will have one image by one artist (except for the pages devoted to prose and comics). The idea is to give these artists a large showcase in which their art will have a bold graphic effect. It’s the visual impact of old tabloid newspapers that inspires Exu.”

Contributors to the first 48-page issue include Trenton Doyle Hancock, Seth Alverson, Debra Barrera, JooYoung Choi, Nathaniel Donnett, Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Emily Peacock,  Jason Villegas and more! There’s original prose and comics too, by talents like Pete Gershon, John Nova Lomax, and Jim Pirtle, and Mack White, Scott Gilbert, Sarah Welch and Brett Hollis.

The first issue is $9 (and it’ll be worth more than that in years to come). Sign us up. Here’s where you find it.

El Paso Artist and “Archie” Illustrator Has Died

Photo: Rudy Gutierrez via El Paso Times

Photo: Rudy Gutierrez via El Paso Times

El Paso native Tom Moore died Monday morning at the age of 86, reports the El Paso Times. Moore is best known as being the illustrator for the Archie Comic Book series from 1953 through 1988.

Born in 1928, Moore was a graduate of El Paso’s Austin High School. He joined the Navy and, after leaving, attended Cartoonist and Illustrator School in New York with the help of his GI Bill, studying under “Tarzan” comic strip illustrator Burne Hogarth. A year later, Moore signed up with Archie Comics and was the primary talent behind the popular series. (Bob Montana created “Archie” in 1941; Moore began inking the character in 1953.)

Moore was also an illustrator for “Snuffy Smith,” “Mutt and Jeff,” “Underdog” and “Mighty Mouse.” After his official retirement, Moore continued to freelance and teach part-time at El Paso Community College. In 1996, the El Paso Museum of Art held an exhibition of some of Moore’s work and his comic collection.

His wife of over six decades, Ruth, also worked with Archie Comics in the 1950s as a writer. They raised two children, Bujanda-Moore and Holly Mathew.

Art History Degree More Worthless Than Ever Since Computers Can Do the Job Now

Art historySmithsonian Magazine reports that an algorithm, built by Rutgers University computer scientists Babak Saleh and Ahmed Egammal, allows computers to recognize and classify artworks with the reliability (or even beyond the reliability) of art historians.

The MIT Technology Review originally cited the findings. It reports: “In just a few years, computer scientists have created machines capable of matching and sometimes outperforming humans in all kinds of pattern recognition tasks,” and where visual art is concerned, “the results reveal connections between artists, and between entire painting styles, that art historians have labored for years to understand.”

Frankly, as described, the computers aren’t able to do anything above and beyond what historians have always done, though the MIT story does conclude (of course, because it’s MIT) that the algorithm “provides a new and powerful tool for historians to look for influences between artists that may never have been aware of,” and “also allows a new form of art exploration, jumping from one image to another similar one, in a process that is visually equivalent to finding synonyms.”


(image via MIT Technology Review)


Out of the Closet and onto the Screen: QFest Returns!

James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I am Michael (2015, 98 minutes)

James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I am Michael (2015, 98 minutes)

Just because the Supreme Court ruled last month to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, it doesn’t mean Houston doesn’t still need its annual QFest! Now in its 19th year, the International LGBTQ Film Festival returns to its roots, once again engaging The Southwest Alternate Media Project as its fiscal sponsor in order to provide a big dose of vitamin Q to moviegoers.

Today is the final day to purchase the QPass, which gives full access to all events (except opening night). To purchase one for $75, go here. For those would rather wait for a sneak preview of the films, DiverseWorks will be hosting the free Festival Preview and Pre-Party on Wednesday evening at 6pm. QFestees Kristian Salinas and Stephanie Saint Sanchez host the sneak peak of QFest 2015.

For true film buffs, FotoFest will host a reception for a number of the filmmakers. The event is called, appropriately, “Meet the Filmmakers” and takes place on July 25 at 6pm (again free). For a full calendar of films, visit the QFest website; admission for most individual films is $10, although a good number of the films are free.

Micol Hebron Banned from Facebook for Posting Glasstire Article About Being Banned from Facebook

Facebook's message to Micol Hebron regarding her most recent suspension.

Facebook’s message to Micol Hebron regarding her most recent suspension.

In a move that puts them in the running for the George Orwell censorship awards, Facebook has again temporarily banned LA-based artist Micol Hebron. As we previously reported, Hebron recently received a three-day suspension from the social networking site for violating their community standards regarding nudity, specifically female breasts. Hebron has been a vocal critic of gendered double standards online, creating the Internet Acceptable Male Nipple Template last year, an image of a male nipple which can be pasted over female nipples to make them internet “safe.”

Her three-day ban ended last Monday, and Glasstire published our piece about her three days later. She posted a link to the story on her Facebook page (now unavailable) and, by Sunday morning, it was taken down with the above message. Hebron received another message informing her of the week-long ban and asking her to prove her identity by sending in a picture of her ID card.

When we posted a link to the article on our Facebook page, the image that automatically accompanied the post was a photo of artist Nona Faustine posing nude, which is perhaps why it was taken down. It should be noted however that Hebron likely did not choose this image to accompany the post, it was automatically selected by Facebook. Even if the accompanying image does violate their guidelines, the irony of being banned for posting an article about censorship is hard to miss. Representatives from Facebook had not returned requests for comment by press time.


HAA Receives Grant to Join Houston Parks


Hermann Park’s McGovern Centennial Gardens

It was recently announced that the Houston Arts Alliance has received an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This grant, given to HAA for the Bayou Trails project, will work to connect the three parks that run along the Brays Bayou: Mason Park, MacGregor Park, and Hermann Park.

This is the second time HAA has received an Our Town grant; last year, the grant was used to partially fund Transported + Renewed, an event that didn’t go over so well with some people in Houston’s art community. This year, HAA aims to create a “bayou corridor” that will “engage neighborhoods from the Latino-identified East End through the largely African-American Southeast sector to the culturally-mixed Museum District.” To do this, they are partnering with Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Hermann Park Conservancy, the Friends of MacGregor Park, and others.


Mason Park

Jonathon Glus, HAA’s President and CEO, is positive about the possibilities offered by creative placemaking within Houston. He says: “I believe that this is a testament to what an extraordinary city Houston is—a relatively young city that is incredibly rich with possibility and opportunity for creative placemaking due in large part to its geography and its diverse cultural landscape.”

Polke Painting (Allegedly) Discovered in Houston


Photo via ABC News

It was reported yesterday by ABC News that a Houston man believes he has found an original Sigmar Polke painting. Ray Riley bought the work at The Guild Shop, a neighborhood thrift store, for $90. Upon inspecting the piece further, however, he found the letters “p-o-l-k-e.” He researched Polke and came to the conclusion that this piece is authentic.

Riley: “I’m talking to a guy in California who’s going to examine the painting and hopefully authenticate it. There are a couple of unique characteristics that will be key to proving its authenticity.”

If this painting turns out to be the real deal, it will not be the first time a piece of fine art has been discovered at The Guild Shop. A work by William Gay Yorke is currently for sale at the shop, but has a lofty $18,000 price tag.

Riley plans to sell the painting if it is authenticated. As for The Guild Shop, they told ABC News: “People come here to find the treasures in our shop. We have hundreds of art pieces that come through all the time and we obviously don’t know if some of them are worth millions.”

See Some Art, Get a Free Party from Blaffer

blaffer promotion

Blaffer Art Museum is offering a special promotion that can win you a FREE ticket to their 2016 gala after-party on May 14, 2016. All you have to do is go to Blaffer, pick up a sticker card, and “collect a sticker for every Blaffer exhibition you see between Summer 2015 and Spring 2016.” If you don’t think you can hold onto a sticker card for that long, don’t fret! You can also keep track of your museum visits via email.

Since some of the exhibitions are on view simultaneously, you only have to visit the museum five times to collect all eight stickers!

Go see some art and get a ticket to what Blaffer claims will be the “hottest party of 2016.”


The current exhibitions, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: Sound Speed Marker and Early Awnings: Henning Bohl with Sergei Tcherepnin are on view at Blaffer until September 5th.

Max Anderson Wants You! He’s Looking for 3 New Curators

DMA Director Maxwell Anderson wants you! Photo via

DMA Director Maxwell Anderson wants you! Photo via

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) announced yesterday that it is looking to fill three curatorial positions, including one new one, reports ARTnews. Those positions are: Lillian Clark Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, Lupe Murchison Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art (which has been open since 2011, when Charles Wylie retired after 15 years at the museum), and Adjunct Curator of Early European art, a newly created job.

The museum’s director, Maxwell L. Anderson, told ARTnews, “We look forward to welcoming new members of our curatorial team who will bring exciting new perspectives to our renowned encyclopedic collection, which encompasses the breadth of creativity across history.”

Not curatorially inclined? There are bunches of openings at DMA!

Dallas Does Dijon Does Dallas

1A new artist exchange program has kicked off between SMU Meadows School of the Arts and École Nationale Supérieure d’Art (ENSA) of Dijon, France (which is a Dallas sister city). The first two artists participating in this postgraduate fellowship program will be featured in an exhibition at SMU’s Pollock Gallery in August and (via SMU) “…ENSA will host an exhibition of the two artists’ work at Le Consortium Contemporary Art Center in Dijon in October.”

Dijon’s artist, Hugo Capron, will be a resident at SMU this July and August, and Texas’ Melissa Tran (SMU M.F.A. ’14) will be in residence at ENSA in Dijon this September and October. The program features “a six-week residency on exchange at the other, which will include studio and living spaces and an exhibition in each location,” and it looks as though the artists will meet with students at each school. “The artists were selected through a nomination process at each university, and the final selection was made by Astrid Handa-Gagnard, director of FRAC Bourgogne in Bourgogne, France.”

The Pollock Gallery exhibition is called From Dijon to Dallas and takes place August 10-29, 2015, with a reception on Sat., Aug. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. For more info, go here. 

Plano to Create Official Arts District

planoAccording to Wikipedia, Plano, Texas is known as the “Gymnastics Capital of the World.” On the front page of the Historic Downtown Plano Association (HDPA)’s web site, they throw out this line in bold caps: “URBAN. HISTORIC. HIP.” There seems to be some serious rebranding going on in Plano.

Now, the City of Plano is developing an official arts district in its historic downtown area, reports They already have new “loft” apartments that cultured people love so much, but the galleries and theaters are too scattered. So, now they plan to build an 800-square foot outdoor performance venue and the Arts Center of Plano will also relocate in the area. A number of historic buildings will be renovated or repurposed to create seven designated public arts venues.

HDPAAnd then there’s the rebranding. Stickers already dot storefronts designating the area an arts district, although Plano’s Deputy City Manager says the reshaped plan will likely go the city council for approval in the next 45 days or so.

Microgrants for Microprojects

rhizome project

Image from Viral by Lena NW & Julia Kunberger

Artists! Rhizome in NYC is offering the opportunity to apply for five microgrants of $500 each. This open call closes July 23rd and has one catch: the projects must “use the web as their main platform.”

Via Rhizome: “Proposals comprise a single image or sketch (smaller than 1MB) and a short description (less than 150 words). Artists may only submit one proposal.”

Go here for more info and go here to check out the experience of one of last year’s awardees.

UMLAUF Announces Prize Winners: Artists Get an Exhibition, a Lecture, and Cash

24_Hawk_MoezziWhile the yearly UMLAUF Prize usually honors one outstanding art graduate student from the University of Texas at Austin with an exhibition at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, a lecture, and a cash award, Juror Suzanne Deal Booth selected two artists for the 2015 award: Ryan Hawk and Gracelee Lawrence. Booth notes, “Being a juror for the UMLAUF Prize is daunting because it requires distinguishing something in the work of a group of peers that is noteworthy, unique, fresh—and yet has the potential to stand the test of time. The graduate students of UT Austin do not make this choice easy.”

gracelee_lawrenceBoth students are working with UMLAUF Curator Katie Robinson Edwards this summer to develop new work for their exhibitions. The UMLAUF Prize opening will be Friday, September 10.

Congratulations to both!


(Lower photo by Mark Schultz – The News and Observer via

Former Houstonian Returns to Lead Rice’s New Center for the Arts

Alison Weaver. Photo: David M. Russell/Watershed Visuals ©2014 Watershed Visual Media. All Rights Reserved

Alison Weaver. Photo: David M. Russell/Watershed Visuals ©2014 Watershed Visual Media. All Rights Reserved

Alison Weaver, an art historian and former director of affiliates for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, has been named the first executive director of Rice University’s new Moody Center for the Arts, reports Rice University News.

In her six years at the Guggenheim, Weaver led its programs and operations in Berlin, Venice, Las Vegas and Bilbao, Spain, while managing its departments of Exhibition Management, Registration, Art Services and Library/Archives in New York. She also coordinated the museum’s strategic-planning process and managed the Guggenheim’s reaccreditation by the American Association of Museums.

Weaver has a M.A. from Williams College and will complete a Ph.D. in art history this fall at City University of New York, where her research focuses on the dialogue between Europe and the United States from 1945 to the present. She also has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. cum laude in the history of religion from Princeton University.

“Alison’s combination of a strong business background, an incredibly strong academic background and very significant museum experience is remarkable,” said Sarah Whiting, dean of Rice’s School of Architecture, who chaired the director search committee. “She can engage artists, faculty, students and the general public with the same ease because she has such a breadth of experience and interests.”

Weaver expressed her excitement about partnering with the Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and other local arts organizations on exhibitions at the Moody Center. “It will be a homecoming of sorts,” she said. Weaver grew up in Houston and developed her own passion for the arts by visiting local museums, theaters, and art spaces. “My interest in art began while growing up in Houston wandering through the Menil and marveling at its extraordinary collection, and was further developed as an undergraduate at Princeton,” Weaver said.

Weaver will oversee the $30 million, 50,000-square-foot facility, currently under construction, that will be an interdisciplinary center with space for arts education, performances, gallery exhibitions, material fabrication and digital media art production, as well as a site for collaborations with local and international arts institutions.

The center has been in the works for almost four years and is scheduled to open in fall 2016. The director search was initiated at the end of last year. Weaver will start her new position September 1.


Rendering of Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts, currently under construction




Japan’s Earthquake Comes to Denton

unnamedNovelist and playwright Shay Youngblood, currently based in Denton, was in Japan on a writers’ residency when the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster hit. She was in Tokyo and working on a novel around themes of memory and home by interviewing architects and like, but the experience prompted her to shift gears and spend time talking with people who had lost everything in the devastation.

Youngblood (who was the first-ever writer in residence at the DMA) will present her performance piece, Add Architecture, Stir Memory, which “uses a mixture of interviews, animation, live action, video and soundscapes she recorded in Japan,” on Tuesday evening, August 4th at UNT On The Square in Denton.

Via UNT: “’The novel paled to these real life moments that were happening,’ she said. ‘So many people had lost their homes. What does it mean to have lost not only your home and loved ones but your entire community?’  She noted some people talked about very specific places, such as a fireplace and staircase.”

Shay Youngblood will perform Add Architecture, Stir Memory from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 4 (Tuesday) at UNT on the Square. It is free and open to the public. For more info, go here.



Michael Heizer’s City Saved by Obama

Image via DSM Public Art

Image via DSM Public Art

A few days ago, President Obama announced the creation of three new national monuments, including the Basin and Range in Nevada. The iconic landscape that includes rock art dating back 4,000 years also encompasses the site of Michael Heizer’s sprawling land art piece, City (1972–present).

Senator Harry Reid, who last year spearheaded efforts to conserve the region, stated, “This is representative of what desert is all about in Nevada,” as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And to make it extra special you have this work of art that he’s been working on for 48 years,” Reid said of Heizer. “You’ve got petroglyphs all over the area. I think it is very important this not be ruined.”

In 2010, Heizer announced he would bulldoze the entire work if the Department of Energy followed through on its plan to construct a rail line for carrying nuclear waste through the area. (It didn’t.) Last year, Senator Reid introduced a bill to protect the area. (It didn’t pass.) This year, the art world joined in and, as Hyperallergic reported in March, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) began promoting a petition on social media. On June 10, the White House released the announcement of the designation of the new national monuments.

One of the other sites that became protected on the same day is Waco’s very own Waco Mammoth site, a significant paleontological area featuring well-preserved remains of 24 Columbian Mammoths.

Everyone’s a Winner at Lawndale Big Show


Last night, the Lawndale Art Center’s Big Show opened, which is normally when the winners of the show, selected by the guest juror, are announced. However this year’s guest juror, George Scheer, opted not to pick winners, but to to divide the $3,000 in cash awards amongst all 62 participating artists, meaning each artist in this year’s Big Show will take home $48.37.

No word yet on whether every artist will also get a trophy.

Scheer also awarded five “special distinction” awards to artists Allyson Huntsman, Amy Richards, Herbert Shapiro, Charles L. Thomas and Justin Zachary.



Hope or Despair? S.A. Arts Org Creates Forum for Environmental Discussion

hope_despairIn conjunction with its exhibition of Nature on the Edge: Mutation and Hybridity in 21st Century Art (up for two more weeks), Bilh Haus Arts is presenting a gallery talk called “Denature by Design: A Sociological Exploration of Disasters,” on the human response to disasters exacerbated by climate change by Lisa Zottarelli, PhD, director of Social Sciences and Humanities at San Antonio College. The talk will take place tomorrow, July 11 at 2pm. The following Saturday (also at 2pm), it will present a poetry reading organized by poet Mobi Warren, founder of

If you can get over your despair and denial, these folks may have some helpful hints or, at least, a few nice nature poems.

Nature on the Edge was guest-curated by David S. Ruben and features work by 17 established and up-and-coming San Antonio artists.

(Image via

Funding generously provided by: