Blanton in Austin Sort Of Gets Its Own Rothko Chapel by Acquiring an Ellsworth Kelly Building

kellysquaresThe Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin has just announced the acquisition of a to-be-built Ellsworth Kelly standalone building titled Austin. The stone structure will be 73 x 60 feet ( 2,715 sf) “with luminous colored glass windows, a totemic wood sculpture, and fourteen black-and-white stone panels in marble, all designed by the artist.” It will be part of the Blanton’s permanent collection. (Seems the University of Texas is getting all the big art these days.)

Kelly has donated the design, “including the building, totem sculpture, interior panels, and colored glass windows.” Cost for construction is an estimated $15 million; $7 million has been raised thus far.

Also, UT “has committed $1 million, funded by earnings from the University’s Longhorn Network, to create an endowment for the care and conservation of Austin and for the research and study of Kelly’s work.”

Austin is the only freestanding building Kelly has ever designed.

College Studio Art Project Gone Wrong Shuts Down City

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by Daria Daniel, Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Desert highway in downtown Atlanta because of school art project. Photo: City of Atlanta Police Department Facebook Page.

Desert highway in downtown Atlanta because of school art project. Photo: City of Atlanta Police Department Facebook Page.

For those of you who ever doubted the power of art, it can evidently empty out a major highway within minutes.

A Georgia State University art project brought 12 lanes of traffic to a screeching halt this Monday, as investigators and a bomb squad looked into a suspicious object taped along the 14th street Bridge in downtown Atlanta.

The downtown interstate was completely shut down for two hours while crews investigated a strange device. A 911 call regarding the package was made early Monday afternoon. Initial police who were called on site said the item (a soda can covered in duct tape) resembled an explosive.

It turns out the spherical device was in fact a pinhole camera, fashioned for a solargraphy project monitoring the rising and setting of the sun over a 3 month period. Students were told to place their cameras in locations that would make for an interesting study of sunlight. The locations were arbitrarily selected by 18 students in the class. Some of the devices peppered around the city even had notes on them warning “this is a solargraphy project for my intro to studio class.”

After a brief investigation, no doubt to the thrill of those stuck in the traffic-jam, no explosives were found and the roads re-opened at 4 pm. Georgia State University has since apologized for the embarrassing traffic debacle. Atlanta police issued a statement that the student responsible for taping the item in such a public space could be charged with reckless conduct.

Alas, this is not the first time that an art project has created a public stir. In 2002, authorities also feared terrorism when faced with the experimental work of student Clinton Boisvert. The 25 year-old artist attached 37 black boxes, emblazoned with the word “fear,” onto walls in the Union Square subway station as part of a project for his class at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. The black boxes immediately caused widespread panic and police shut down the station for hours while a bomb squad investigated.

The Georgia State University student may suffer Boisvert’s fate; he was charged with reckless endangerment.

UT Will Celebrate its Much-Anticipated New Gargantuan Nancy Rubins Commission


It’s not finished yet!

Nancy Rubins, Californian sculptor of things fantastically giant, metal, and distressing (but great that way), will be on hand next month when University of Texas at Austin celebrates its newest campus public artwork, her Monochrome for Austin (2015). The largest work on campus, it’s comprised of 60 long aluminum canoes configured in an unlikely and explosive bouquet hanging 50 feet in the air (from cables and an armature); Rubins started the Monochrome series in 2010 and has completed similar works in Paris, Chicago, and Buffalo.

The piece is commissioned by UT’s Landmarks, which oversees its public art program, and is located at 24th Street and Speedway. On March 5, there will be a celebration of the completion of the work, which will “feature a public Q&A session with Rubins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception with live music, food and drinks at 6:30 p.m. at the Norman Hackerman Building.” The event is free and open to the public, but you must register in advance to attend. Go here to do so.

Met Curator Among 6 Killed in NY Train Crash

WalterLiedtkeWalter Liedtke, longtime curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was one of six victims of the crash of a commuter train in suburban New York City on Tuesday night, reports the New York Times. The Met’s director, Thomas P. Campbell told the Times that “he was one of our most esteemed curators and one of the most distinguished scholars of Dutch and Flemish painting in the world.”

Liedtke earned his master’s degree at Brown and a doctorate at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and intended to be a teacher. He spent four years on the faculty at Ohio State but, in 1979, he received a Mellon Fellowship to study at the Metropolitan Museum, and ended up staying for 35 years.

CULTUREGRRL (Lee Rosenbaum) wrote of the loss in her ArtsJournal blog yesterday: “I’ve attended hundreds of museum press previews over the past four decades, but the ones I relished most were those where Walter Liedtke was our erudite, entertainingly witty host.”

In the online series 82nd and Fifth, produced by the Met, Liedtke discusses Rembrandt’s Aristotle With a Bust of Homer (1653) in a 2013 episode, explaining, “We see Aristotle in his late years and he’s thinking, ‘Will I be remembered like I remember Homer? Material things, honor, fame—so what? Did I say anything important?” Over the years, Liedtke organized dozens of major exhibitions for the Met. Liedtke was 69 years old.

(Photo: Gary Schwartz)

Of Course. Gréaud Claims He Planned His Own Public Shaming All Along

loris_greaud_portrait_3So by now we all know that following the opening of his solo show at the Dallas Contemporary and a less-than-glowing review posted by Lauren Smart at the Dallas Observer, French artist Loris Gréaud private message’d Smart to deliver some ill-mannered advice about her sex life. She posted the screenshots of it on January 26. By now everyone in Texas  (and elsewhere, presumably) is burned out on the subject, but via Artnet today: Our dear Loris, as many of us predicted, now claims that he planned in advance “to respond provocatively to the first negative review in hopes of the story going viral.” Writes Artnet: “This was really all about the destruction of the artist’s image, apparently.”

Of course he has. Conceptual art is, if anything, convenient. (As in: Smart’s review was the third to come out. Glasstire’s review came out first and was not positive. D Magazine’s review came out second and was not positive.)

Artnet requested “date-stamped emails or other evidence that the plan was hatched before January 27,” and, “though [Gréaud] answered emails, he has not provided any such documentation.” WE IMAGINE HE’S HAVING DOCUMENTATION PRODUCED AT A GLASS FACTORY OUTSIDE OF VENICE RIGHT NOW.

(We also wonder how Gréaud, as part of his master plan, forced Smart to post the screenshots at a media outlet instead of ignoring them or sharing them only with a few friends. Long-distance mind control? That would be some art news.)


DFW Museums Join Smithsonian to Create American Art Database

Charles M. Russell (1864–1926) Charlie Himself, ca. 1915 Wax, cloth, plaster, metal, string, and paint Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX

Charles M. Russell (1864–1926)
Charlie Himself, ca. 1915
Wax, cloth, plaster, metal, string, and paint
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is heading a group of 14 museums across the country, The American Art Collaborative (AAC), to build a new humongous online art database, after receiving funds from the Andrew M. Mellon Foundation. The museums participating in the AAC are meant to represent some of the most important collections of American art in the world and two of those museums are the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Dallas Museum of Art.

Members of the AAC are meeting in Washington, D.C. this week to plan the implementation of their Linked Open Data Initiative, which seeks to expand the possibilities inherent in linking museum collections through Linked Open Data (LOD). According to

The Collaborative plans to create a diverse critical mass of LOD on the Web on the subject of American art by putting the collections of the participating museums in the cloud and tagging this data as LOD. This will exponentially enhance the accessing, linking and sharing of information about American art in a way that transcends what is currently possible with structured data.

“Ultimately, we hope to demonstrate the power of Linked Open Data to the museum world and to the study of American art, history and culture in order to inspire more museums to follow suit and to continue to build on the possibilities presented by the Web,” said Betsy Broun, Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

German Artist Thorsten Brinkmann Explains His Unsettling House Project At Rice

unnamedThis Thursday, German artist Thorsten Brinkmann will give a talk at Rice Gallery about his unusual permanent installation in  Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill neighborhood. He’s taken over and transformed the interior of an abandoned century-old  house, and his talk at Rice will include a video tour of the project.

Via Rice: “Using found and discarded materials, such as vinyl records, furniture, trophies, as well as things of his own invention, like custom-designed wallpaper and casts of the artist’s own fist in a faux boxing ring, Brinkmann turns the ordinary into an extraordinary ‘gesamtkunstwerk, where life and art melt into one.'” Wallpaper Magazine describes it as “an exercise in creative (and creepy) re-use” and the entire three stories of the house plus its basement “wildly re-imagined” by the artist.

The title of the installation, La Hütte Royal, is a cod-German/French mashup meaning, “The Royal Hut.” He’ll speak at 6 p.m.

Thorsten Brinkmann on La Hütte Royal
Thursday, February 5, 6:00 pm
Rice Gallery, Sewall Hall 309

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft: HCCC Residency Deadline Approaches

hccc--residents-jeraCalling all craft artists! The deadline to apply for a residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is March 1. Not sure if you’ll fit in? Check out HCCC alumni; they seem to have a healthy mix of the craft vs. art perspective.

It’s a pretty good deal with pretty nice studio spaces (sinks, phones, wireless, accessible 24 hours), a $500 monthly stipend (plus another $300 to help with housing and/or materials), possibilities of teaching gigs, and a big group show at the end of the residency cycle.

There are 3, 6, 9, and 12-month residencies available to craft artists from anywhere. The “accepted media” are wood, glass, metal, fiber, clay, and mixed media (doesn’t “mixed media” cover everything else?). For more information, go here. For an amazing Carpenters video, go here:

Ballroom Marfa Announces New Associate Curator

unnamedToday Ballroom Marfa‘s board announced the hire of Laura Copelin as new associate curator. For the past four years she’s been developing exhibitions and programs for the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Copelin joins artistic director Fairfax Dorn and executive director Susan Sutton at Ballroom.  Previously the associate curator spot was held by Erin Kimmel.

At  SMMoA, Copelin worked on projects with artists such as Joyce Pensato and Michael Queenland, as well as helping develop Machine Project, and “contributed to the seminal art and music journal Arthur as well as emerging Los Angeles publication VIA; and operated artist micro-residency Housework in Venice Beach.”

Copelin “holds a B.A. in English and Art, Magna Cum Laude with Honors, from UCLA.”



3D in 2 Days: Free Symposium on 3D Printing at Southwestern

3D_printerThe Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Georgetown’s Southwestern University is presenting a two-day symposium called What Things May Come: 3D Printing in the Fine Arts and Sciences. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place February 26-27. The stated goal of the 37th Brown Symposium “is to show not only how 3-D printing technology will impact our lives, but also how it is changing the way we think and approach creative solutions.“

The symposium will focus on how 3D printing has affected the fields of sculpture, music and medicine, as is noted in this crazy, sci-fi-looking image created for the event poster:


There will be workshops will all sorts of 3D scanners and the 3D Doodler and presentations from a number of speakers, including digital sculptors Bruce Beasley, Robert Michael Smith and Christian Lavigne. In conjunction with the symposium, there will also be an exhibition, What Things May Come: The Third International 3D Print Sculpture Exhibition, which opens on the 26th . For the full schedule, go here.


Last Week of Funnel Tunnel!!

Patrick Renner’s Funnel Tunnel is coming down after a longer than expected temporary stay on the median of Montrose Blvd. across from Art League Houston, which has scheduled a celebratory  break-down event on Sunday, Feb. 8  from 10am-2pm. Participating destructors are welcome to keep a piece of wood from the sculpture as a souvenir.

The work will take new form in New Orleans’ Poydras Corridor this summer as part of a project to bring attention to the visual arts and the artists of post-Katrina New Orleans. Local artists will assist and install the artwork on a Poydras Street median.

The Art League commissioned the Funnel Tunnel in 2013 as the first Esplanade Project, which aims to place public art pieces on the medians of Montrose.


Not Grad School – Flex School! New Art Space Offers One-Night Education

flex sublime rock

Sublime rock at sunset.

She Works Flexible, the latest art enterprise to occupy the space next door to Dan Fergus’ Brasil Cafe in Houston, opened its first show, Sensational Landscape featuring works by Texas artist Cat Clifford and Arizona-based artist Erika Lynne Hanson on January 16, and, in the style of post-Internet venues, has appended a series of seminars and events:

Every other Wednesday, She Works Flexible will be hosting film screenings on the adjoining patio of Brasil. First up, on February 4th at 6:30 pm, is Sans Soleil, directed by Chris Marker in 1983, the third best documentary film of all time.

On February 12th at 7:30  “Flex School” opens with a free seminar, The Subject to the Sublime, taught by Houston writer and philosopher Joshua Lawrence. Looking at “the construct of the self and the landscape that surrounds us.”  The seminar is open to 15 students the public on a first-come basis. Sign up here.

Art Guys Colossi Under New Mangement- Upgrades in Progress!

art guys statues

Gigantic foam sculptures of Houston art personalities The Art Guys have surprised drivers on North Shepherd’s strip of used car lots for a decade, as they slowly cracked, faded and were bizarrely once used for archery practice.

Yesterday, the new owners of the lot set about renovation, hiring laborers to repaint and patch the big guys, without knowing the origin of the piece or who it represents.

The guys’ original conservtive  suits have been updated and colorized: Jack’s been given a spiffy new red jacket and a dark handlebar moustache, like a 70’s lounge singer!


Art President of Dallas Campaign Begins

photo: Rodney Rogers

Campaign button. photo: Rodney Rogers

Electronic voting for Art President of Dallas is now open. Campaigning began last night at Ro2 art, where candidates (and campaign instigators) Thor Johnson and Joachim West delivered stump speeches at the opening of West’s uplifting new show, Mother Earth is a Dirty Whore.

When not running for Art President, West’s “artistic research practice explores the intervening role of chance into formalist aesthetics by combining production commodity painting with a unique mediated monoprint/painting transfer process.”

Other candidates on West & Johnson’s Art President Ballot include former President Ludwig Schwarz, Gabriel Dawe, Arthur Peña, Ricardo Paniagua, Danielle Georgiou, George W. Bush (who has previous administrative experience, despite his weakness in the art area), and Chuck and George.


Jacqueline Anderson Named Director of Crow Collection Wellness

A few weeks ago the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas announced that it would create a new institute that would be “a bridge between Asian art and western well being.” It named Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson, wife of DMA director Maxwell Anderson, as its director.

Anderson is “a recognized advocate in the field of wellness and lifestyle medicine.”  States the Crow press release:  “As American health declines, we want the Crow Collection to become known not only for its art and gardens but as a wellness center where nearby workers, families and children can experience everything from mini-meditation sessions to start the day off right, to health-oriented lectures, to yoga and tai chi.”

(Attached here is a presumably unauthorized mash-up featuring excerpts of a video Anderson made and released under the name Jacqueline Buckingham in 2013 explaining and showcasing her wellness philosophy. Her teenage son shot the original footage. We cannot find the intact original video online, but Tim Rogers of D Magazine keeps this version of it on indefinite life support on YouTube:)


Billboard Project Moves West to El Paso with Marty Robbins

rosa1Out in the West Texas town of El Paso

I fell in love with a Mexican girl.

Night-time would find me in Rosa’s cantina;

Music would play and Felina would whirl.


For those keeping track of The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project as it makes its way westward from Florida to California, the sixth chapter has arrived in El Paso. Artist Jeremy Shaw has installed his set of ten billboards, all of which portray the “Marty Robbins Biggest Hits” 1982 album cover. (One of those big hits was Robbins’ 1959 hit song “El Paso,” which won a Grammy and reached number one on the pop charts in the ‘60s.)

Last summer, Zoe Crosher presented Chapter 4: it is so, is it so in Houston and, last fall, John Baldessari installed his Chapter 5: Love and Work in San Antonio. The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project is placing 100 boards by 10 artists along Interstate 10 by spring 2015. The project was conceived by artist Zoe Crosher, organized by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), and curated by LAND’s curator/director Shamim Momin.Marty_Robbins

Chapter 6: Marty Robbins Biggest Hits will be up through February.

Carlos Martiel Brings His Extreme Art To A Discussion on Immigration

CM-00On Feb. 5 UTD’s CentralTrak in Dallas will host a moderated panel called “Art, Immigration & Politics.” The special guest panelist is Havana native and performance artist Carlos Martiel.

As his work, which is often extreme, “addresses topics of injustice, repression, discrimination, censorship and immigration,” we think the discussion will follow this lead.  This event is taking place a few days before a performance by Martiel, also at CentralTrak. One of the organizers of Martiel’s time in Dallas is PerformanceSW, which is “a project in support of the proliferation of performance art outside of the mainstream American discourse.” Translators will be on hand for this discussion.

Panel: Thursday, February 5, 2015, 8:00 p.m. at CentralTrak, 800 Exposition Ave. Dallas, TX 75226.

Hello Austin, What’cha Knowin’? Public Art Project Allows the City to Talk Back

During the summer of 2013, the British design and research studio PAN, Tom Armitage, and Gyorgyi Galik installed their “citywide platform for play,” Hello Lamp Post in Bristol, England. Up for three months, it allowed participants to have conversations with the city’s infrastructure (lamp posts, mail boxes, moontowers, manholes, telephone poles, and such). The team won the 2013 Playable City Award.

Now the team is bringing it to Austin for ten weeks (February 12 through April 27). Anyone with a cell phone (smart phone not necessary) can text Hello Lamp Post: Austin with the numbers found on thousands of objects throughout the city. The lamppost (or mailbox, etc.) will then “wake up” and initiate a conversation. The conversations get more complex as more and more people use the program.

The project was commissioned by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department in celebration of the Art in Public Places program’s 30th anniversary year, and in partnership with Art Alliance Austin. Also, it’s an “official art project of SXSW.”

Watch the video below, created during the Bristol installation:





The Arts Make a LOT of Money For Texas But We Guess Greg Abbott Doesn’t Care

TCTC Logo - JPGYesterday the Texas Cultural Trust (TCT) released its State of the Arts Report, which looks at the economic (and for the first time, educational) impact of the arts on the state.

As expected, it’s a big ol’ super-positive impact. Long story short:

“The economic results, compiled from state and federal data sets, highlight how the 42 Art and Culture Industries collectively generate $5.1 billion for Texas’ economy, and contribute nearly $320 million in state sales tax revenue annually. TCT research over the years shows how this economic impact has grown steadily since 2003, increasing 24.6 percent over the past 10 years.”

Here is the full report.

(And yet it seems our new governor Greg Abbott’s first order of business was to fire Casey Monahan, the director of the Texas Music Office, who served under four governors and is widely recognized for cultivating the health and economic vibrancy of the state’s music scene.)

Selma Composer Returns to Houston to Collaborate with Artist Robert Pruitt on “The Rauschenberg Project”

Jason_MoranThis fall, Houston native Jason Moran began a multi-year residency with Da Camera in partnership with the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. Besides working with local schools and the Da Camera Young Artists program on year-long projects, the jazz pianist/composer is creating The Rauschenberg Project: Holed Up, a new multimedia performance inspired by Texas-born artist Robert Rauschenberg and his work in the Menil Collection, along with Moran’s response to his native city.

It’s not the first time Moran worked with, or been inspired by, contemporary art. The MacArthur “genius grant” recipient has created a number of projects for museums and collaborated with many contemporary artists (although he has recently received much attention as the composer of the Selma soundtrack). Among the many influences from his Houston upbringing that Moran cites are his visits to the Menil Collection, where he first discovered the art of Rauschenberg. For this project, he is collaborating with Houston artist Robert Pruitt (of the collective Otabenga Jones & Associates).

On February 5, the Menil Collection will feature a free program of Moran and Pruitt in conversation about the project. On January 31, Project Row Houses‘ El Dorado Ballroom will present a Listening Party with Moran, co-hosted by Houston artist Tierney Malone (and host of KPFT’s Houston Jazz Spotlight). The world premier of The Rauschenberg Project: Holed Up, a ticketed event, will be held at the Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, on February 7.