Actual Artist Lofts For Actual Artists Planned for New Arts District Tower

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 6.34.31 PMAnd the Dallas Art District continues to grow: A new residential tower is going up at the corner of Flora and Olive, called Atelier/Flora Lofts (and next door to Museum Tower), and this one boasts plans for 39 artists lofts amongst its 370 luxury apartments. The non profit La Reunion TX is partnering with the developers to assign the rental lofts to deserving visual and performing artists for below-market rate. This has been a long time in the making but now appears to be moving forward. As early as 2013, La Reunion outlined its plans for the lofts via Art & Seek: The lofts would cost no more than $800 per month (a crazy bargain for the neighborhood) and “La Reunion will assemble the advisory board responsible for approving resident applications from artists.”

Note, via Steve Brown for the Dallas Morning News: “Unlike Museum Tower, which has a reflective glass skin that has been the source of a long-running controversy, the Atelier/Flora Lofts building has a masonry exterior with inset balconies. Much of the glass is recessed into the face of the building.”





Turrell’s Houston Quaker Skyspace Has Reopened

Image: James Turrell, Skyspace at Live Oak Friends Meeting House, Houston, Texas, 2000. Retracted skyspace shows light changing as sun sets. Photo by Joe Aker. Courtesy the artist and Live Oak Friends.

Image: James Turrell, Skyspace at Live Oak Friends Meeting House, Houston, Texas, 2000.  Photo by Joe Aker. Courtesy the artist and Live Oak Friends.

Since August 2013, when the Live Oak Friends Meeting House had to close its public viewings of James Turrell’s One Accord Skyscape due to water damage, no one has really had a chance to lament its absence. That was the same year that the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) hosted a huge Turrell retrospective and UT Austin opened The Color Inside Skyspace above its student activity center. And Houston’s Rice University had just debuted its Twilight Epiphany Skyspace the previous year.

But for Turrell lovers, there’s a special affection for Friends Meeting House piece. After the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston organized James Turrell: Spirit and Light in 1998, the MFAH commissioned The Light Inside, the light tunnel that connects its two museum buildings, which opened in 2000. Also in 2000, the Live Oak Friends Meeting House opened with its Skyscape.

Initially, the Friends were very suspicious of the entire project. A New York Times article at the time catches some cautious quotes from members, such as, “We have a testimony of simplicity. We have people who would have preferred to build a building of hay bales and corrugated fiberglass.” Here’s another from a later article: “In our meeting, we all share a common link—that there is a God. The language we use for that is ‘the inner light,’ But it is not physical light.” As self-proclaimed non-experts about art, the members held meetings with Turrell, who is also a Quaker, until they had an understanding of the project and gave the go-ahead.

Even the latest post on the Live Oak Friends Meeting Facebook page has some interesting quotation marks within its notice about the official reopening and its opportunities: “to talk with non-meeting ‘experts’ who will discuss James Turrell’s art and the place of our meeting house in that body of work….. for new or prospective docents to experience the art and for those new to our community to find out what the ‘Art’ is all about.

The Meeting House and Skyspace will now be open (weather permitting) every Friday evening, and on the first Sunday evening of the month, approximately 30 minutes before sunset for prayer, meditation, and viewing of the Skyspace. Private group viewings can be arranged by contacting the meeting scheduler at




How Did National Adjunct Walkout Day Go in Texas Artland?

pwcupiamjvg89xnshmieToday was the first (will it be annual?) National Adjunct Walkout Day; at noon on college campuses across the country, adjunct professors were urged by a common cause to walk away from their teaching posts in order to draw attention to their dire employment arrangements, which includes criminally low wages, no benefits or job stability, and just generally feeling totally jerked around by the same system that loaded them up with degrees at high cost and them sent them, often over-qualified, out into the world to teach Drawing 101.

Presumably, and going by my own FB feed, plenty of adjuncts in university art departments across Texas have strong opinions on the matter. But did they walk out? If so, will they teach again next semester? How sympathetic did the tenured faculty seem toward them this week?

Why Can’t TX Bring Back Its Curators/Directors?

Brooks Museum’s new E.D. Emily Ballew Neff. (Photo courtesy of Brooks Museum of Art)

Brooks Museum’s new E.D. Emily Ballew Neff. (Photo courtesy of Brooks Museum of Art)

Yesterday, as Glasstire’s Christina Rees posted her Weaver Watch (former DMA curator Suzanne Weaver’s exit from Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art), the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art also announced the appointment of the its new executive director, Emily Ballew Neff.

It was a little more than a year ago that Neff left her curatorial position at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston after almost 20 years to assume the directorship of Oklahoma University’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

The president of the Brooks board of trustees said that the search committee was impressed by Neff’s experience: “She has a good understanding of the role of the museum in the community and its responsibilities.” He also stated that Neff’s approachability and her articulate character impressed the committee. “It’s really exciting. I feel as if this is the beginning of a new era for the Brooks.” Neff is also president of the Association of Art Museum Curators and recently served as a fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York.

Suzanne Weaver resigns from ICA Miami Six Months After Taking the Job

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 6.34.34 PMContinuing our devotion to watching the movements of former DMA curator Suzanne Weaver: Six months after the announcement of Weaver’s appointment as director of Miami’s beleaguered Institute of Contemporary Art (formerly the Museum of Contemporary Art) Weaver has either resigned or simply finished her task of restructuring the space and gone on her merry way. She was indeed described at the time of her hiring as Interim Director, charged with helping reestablish the ICA’s program and financial underpinnings as it planned a move to a new address.

While some sources close to the ICA claim Weaver has resigned (which implies she intended to make the transition to permanent director at some point), board members claim she was brought on only to see them through a troublesome growth spurt and that she has indeed done so, and the ICA is ready to hire a permanent director.

For more on this, go here and here.


BRRR, It’s Too Cold for Art in North TX

Image via WordPress: The Ice Museum inside Trick Eye Museum, Seoul, South Korea

Image via WordPress: The Ice Museum inside Trick Eye Museum, Seoul, South Korea

The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Granberry reported last night that the Dallas Museum of Art, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Crow Collection of Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center have all announced that they will not be open today due to weather conditions. As of last night, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth had made no announcement, but the “Inclement Weather Policy” posted on its website states that it will not open if FWISD decides to close which, according to its Facebook page, it decided to do later in the evening.

For today, at least, we amend the Glasstire editors’ usual sign off on its weekly Top Five list. Instead of “Go see some art!,” go make some art! (Or just read a book or watch some movies with a cup of cocoa—but stay warm.)

Our Neighbors’ Art Billboards Make Residents Think “Terrorism!”


One section of the coast-to-coast Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) series, called the Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, has struck fear in the heart of local residents. On a stretch of Interstate 10 along the New Mexico side of the NM-Texas border are 10 billboards by Daniel R. Small, and the Greek/Hebrew-derived text running across them, though actually a variation of the Ten Commandments (and an editor’s proofreading markups of it), has caused suspicion among those on the ground around Las Cruces.

Via Hyperallergic and the Las Cruces Sun News, reactions have been along the lines of: “I was beginning to wonder if it was some kind of threat or warning. You never know, we’re close to the border and you think that ISIS or some other subversives might be trying to get at us.”

Comments in the Sun News and on its Facebook page are similarly marked by mistrust, about terrorism in particular: you can read more here. To be fair, some of the nice photos of the billboards do evoke, for this sci-fi buff, some Area 51/Close Encounters mystery. To each his own.

Video Killed the Photography Star! (Maybe) in Two Talks

Keasler_SmithTomorrow night (February 24 at 7pm), photography and video will battle it out in a talk at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Curator Andrea Karnes will hold a conversation with Misty Keasler and Allison V. Smith, two artists featured in the current exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video. Okay, the argument is probably photography/video versus every other art medium, as is exemplified by the Modern’s exhibition description:

Like [Susan] Sontag’s assessment of photography [in her 1973 essay “In Plato’s Cave”], video also has the ability to seamlessly flow between reality and fantasy—and each medium does so to a marked degree over painting, drawing, or sculpture, especially because they often depict objects, places, and people from the real world. Yet even with their believability over other mediums, by the aim of the camera, click of the shutter, or roll of the film, artists choreograph and construct their shots, bringing their subjectivity to the image.

If you’re more north of Tuesday evening’s DFW talk, check out the program at the Mary Moody Northern Art Gallery (West Texas A&M). In conjunction with the show Multi-Channel: Currents in Contemporary Video Art, Chip Lord, video art pioneer and former member of Ant Farm (creators of the Cadillac Ranch), will give a lecture at the Branding Iron Theater.

For those too young to get the reference of the headline, here’s an extra treat: the first ever music video shown on MTV in the U.S., at 12:01am on August 1, 1981. Watch and believe—you can’t make this stuff up!

Religion and Hip Hop: Bun B & Anthony Pinn’s New Online Class Now Enrolling

breaking breadLast Thursday, Houston, Rice U professor Anthony Pinn and rapper Bernard “Bun B” Freeman launched a new book of collaborative writings on churches and hip-hop, authored by the CERCL Writing Collective. They also announced a new free massive open online edX course, “Religion and Hip-Hop Culture” (RELI157x). Both the book and MOOC grew out of the duo’s popular classroom course they have been teaching ar Rice since 2011.

Titled “Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats: Churches and Hip-Hop — A Basic Guide to Key Issues,” the book is a project where 10 people write as one voice to illuminate the ways that hip-hop and the black church agree, disagree and inform each other on key topics.

“Our classroom course at Rice went so well that people off campus were contacting us and asking us about the course and how they could take it,” said Pinn. “Working with Bun in the classroom, it became clear that there were ways of learning and teaching that we hadn’t tapped. The MOOC gave us a way to be even more creative and innovative in terms of how we link the rest of world with the cultural richness and diversity of Houston to get information across.”

Bun B and Anthony Pinn’s Religion and Hip-Hop Culture course begins March 24. More information here.

Homeless Jesus Sculpture Blessed By Pope Debuts in Downtown Austin

CPC-HomelessJesus-1sAn anonymous gift to Austin’s Central Presbyterian Church has led to the upcoming unveiling of a new permanent public sculpture on church property at the corner of 8th and Brazos streets downtown. The sculpture, called “Homeless Jesus,” is a life-size bronze of a sleeping cloaked figure with stigmata on both feet. The artist is Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz and this is the third edition of the piece (the other two are in North Carolina and Illinois). The model used in making it was blessed by Pope Francis in 2013 in Chicago.

The dedication ceremony is Thursday, February 26 at 9:30 a.m. (the piece is dedicated to the memory of an Austin a couple who long served its homeless community). Whatever the passing public thinks of this public work on private property, the pastor of Central Presbyterian, Reverend Joseph Moore, says this:

“Our church sits three blocks from the State Capital and three blocks from the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. This statue sits at the intersection between power and powerlessness. Tonight over 2,000 people will sleep on the streets of our great city, and we believe this statue has the potential to inform the ongoing conversation around the issue of affordable housing and chronic homelessness in Austin.”

For more info, go here.

Gallery Row Rebranded: Tomorrow it’s Art Afternoon on Upper Kirby!

chambersSaturday, Feb. 21 is Art Afternoon among the Upper Kirby Galleries. Formerly Houston’s principal “gallery row” on Colquitt St., the venerable culture nexus has rebranded and expanded to include nearby McClain Gallery, and is experimenting with Saturday afternoon receptions rife with food trucks and free parking in a bid to revivify itself in the face of an Houston gallery scene which includes competing clusters of venues at Isabella Court on Main St., and the 4411 Montrose building, which compete for crowds on prime opening evenings.

From 2-5 pm this afternoon, the galleries, including Moody, McClain, Hooks-Epstein, McMurtrey, Nicole Longnecker, and others are promising artist talks, and special events in conjunction with their shows, which include:

Lisa Ludwig: Nests at Betty Moody- bronze twigs, and plenty of ‘em. This is harder to do than it looks.
Lindy Chambers at d.m. allison – you’ll remember Chamber’s colorful trailer-home scenes, like Cape Cod cottages, with alligators and pitbulls.
Katsumi Hayakawa: Paper Works at McClain, if it’s still on view. The show officially closed on Feb. 14th!
Colored glass sculptures and vessels by Toots Zynsky at Hooks-Epstein.
Photographs by Croatian artist Stanko Abadzic at Catherine Couturier Gallery.
Amy Lin / Cathie Kayser at Nicole Longnecker.
Sarah Williams’ paintings of rural America at McMurtrey (and don’t miss Hiyme Brummett: Semantic Color Space at white-hot Hello Project gallery inthe back room!)

Robert Irwin Installation to Proceed at Chinati


Installation shot of Irwin’s untitled (Four Walls), 2006, at the Chinati Foundation.

California-based sculptor Robert Irwin has spent 14 years planning an installation for the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, and construction for the project is set to begin this summer. This follows a grant for $750,000 from the Lannan Foundation to pair with Chinati’s campaign which raised $3.7 million last year. The budget for the Robert Irwin Project currently sits at $5 million.

The installation will continue Irwin’s exploration of light and shadow and will be housed within an old army hospital and its courtyard. Read more about it here.


OUTsider Arts Fest to Prove That Sometimes Austin is Still Weird

OUTsiderLike many cities, Austin has fallen prey to the same homogeneity created by the constant influx of young, white people with way too much money. That’s why those “Keep Austin Weird” bumper stickers seem overly self-conscious, desperate, and basically useless (and usually found on the cars of those rich white kids). Occasionally, though, Austin’s weirdness still pops up its joyful little head. In the next few days, the inaugural OUTsider Film and Arts Festival will provide some genuinely weird (or, at least, less than mainstream) experiences.

OUTsider will present performances, films, art, and music with a focus on queer artists (full schedule here). Tonight’s VIP opening features at Salvage Vanguard Theater features performance artist Silky Shoemaker’s Gay Wax Museum and performance artist Narcissister, whose act on America’s Got Talent is posted below.

SMU and Pastelegram Team Up for New Texas Art Magazine


Video still from Mary Walling Blackburn’s Son and Father, Konya, Turkey, 2012; image courtesy of the artist.

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas and Pastelegram, the non-profit art annual based in Austin, are collaborating on a new online art magazine called Coronagraph. The publication will feature “in-depth interviews between art thinkers and practitioners.”

Says Noah Simblist, the chair of SMU’s art division: “We wanted to create a platform that would allow for deeper conversation about artistic practice… to create a site that was unafraid to be too esoteric, theoretical or political, areas of discourse that are rare right now in Texas.”

The interviews will link Texas-based artists and writers to national and international ones, and feature talent from SMU and UT Austin. The interviews will fall under one of two headings: Objects and Acts, or Practices and Processes. The first three interviews have been posted here.

Menil to Honor Bill Camfield’s Picabia Work

PicabiaBill Camfield may have retired from teaching at Rice University in 2002 (where he had taught art history since 1969), but he hasn’t quit working. Over the years, Camfield has published a number of books and articles and now, in celebration of his recently published Francis Picabia: Catalogue Raisonné, Vol. 1, 1898–1914, the Menil Collection is hosting a book signing at 7pm tonight, with a short talk by Camfield at 7:30.

warhol_camfieldHoustonia magazine notes that Dr. Camfield, along with a team of French art historians, and in close collaboration with Picabia’s family, has been working on the catalogue since 1992. Camfield, who wrote his graduate school dissertation on Picabia, has four more volumes to publish, which he expects to happen at about the rate of one a year until the entire endeavor is finished around 2019. (A fifth volume dedicated to Picabia’s drawings is also planned.)

At Rice, Camfield originated the internship course that sends a number of students to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (and sometimes to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston) each semester. The well-loved professor emeritus should have plenty of ex-students and art history buffs to come show their respect tonight and get an autograph.

(Photos: Francis Picabia in his studio, ca. 1912. Courtesy of Bain Collection, Library of Congress. Andy Warhol and Dr. William Camfield at the University of St. Thomas, May 1968. Courtesy of William Camfield.)

TONIGHT! Weigh in on the Future of Houston’s Arts & Culture

Rendezvous Houston, 1986. Photo by Patrick Burke via Wikipedia

Rendezvous Houston, 1986. Photo by Patrick Burke via Wikipedia

The City of Houston is seeking input from residents on its Art & Cultural Plan, a 2-year initiative begun in early 2014, through a series of “Community Conversations.” There are three of these Conversations left:

Tuesday, February 17th, 6:30–8pm
Charlton Community Center
8200 Park Place Boulevard
Houston 77017

Wednesday, February 18th, 6:30–8pm
White Oak Conference Center
7603 Antoine Drive
Houston 77088

Thursday, February 19th, 6:30–8pm
Sharpstown Community Center
6600 Harbor Town Drive
Houston 77036

The last cultural plan was made more than 20 years ago and Mayor Annise Parker has directed that the plan be finished before she leaves office at the end of 2015. When she named Philamena Baird and Rick Lowe to serve as co-chairs of the Arts & Cultural Plan Advisory Committee (for the full member list, go here), she stated, “It’s time for a new plan that will position Houston as a leader and destination for arts and culture.”

The City’s website says, “We need your input to help move our city forward. As part of the Arts & Cultural Plan process, the City will look to the community for opinions, experience and feedback.” Okay, Glasstire readers: we know you have plenty of opinions, experience and feedback. So go join the conversation!


Tomorrow: ‘Tuesday Evenings’ Kicks Off With Janet Zweig and Dan Maginn

Modern-Art-Musuem-Fort-Worth-Ando_9The excellent and popular long-running artist talk series, Tuesday Evenings at the Modern in Fort Worth is starting up its new season this week with guests Janet Zweig and Dan Maginn.

The series’ organizer Terri Thornton, the Modern Art Musuem of Fort Worth’s Curator of Education, says this of the New York and Kansas City-based artists: “You may or may not be familiar with Janet Zweig’s work or that of Dan Maginn but what they have to offer in the realm of ‘public art’ defies the stereotypes that can give the noble effort of making art available in public spaces a bad name. Work like Zweig and Maginn’s stands to change attitudes and communities as it appropriately challenges us in order to include us.”

This season lasts until April 21 (Laurie Simmons that night!). The lectures are free and open to the public (seats are first come first serve) and usually begin at 7 p.m. and end around 8 p.m. For the full season program, please go here.  Remember: tomorrow evening is the first installment.

Wars Fought With Art, Latest Battleground: Garland, TX

Photo: American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Photo: American Freedom Defense Initiative.

After last month’s shootings at the Charlie Hebdo Paris headquarters, the remaining staff continued publication and the issue sold out seven million copies in six languages, in contrast to its typical French-only print run of 60,000.

Then, earlier this month, NBC news reported that a global cartoon competition based on the theme of Holocaust denial was launched in Iran in response to the magazine cover that featured a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. All cartoons must be submitted by April Fools’ Day because “April 1 is the day of big lies, and the Holocaust is a big lie that the Zionists invented to suppress the Palestinians,” said Masoud Shojaei-Tabatabaii, head of House of Cartoons and one of the competition’s organizers. A total of $25,000 will be awarded to three winners.

This Valentine’s Day, a gunman fired into a Copenhagen café, where a debate on freedom of speech featuring Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was being held. Vilks is the creator of a number of controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. He has been living under 24-hour police protection since 2010. One person was killed and three police officers were wounded.

Now, Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), has announced that she is organizing a “Draw the Prophet” contest and event in Garland, Texas—the same site of a recent “Stand by the Prophet” conference, organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (and protested by AFDI members). Artnet News called the AFDI contest “shameless Muslim-baiting.” The winner of this competition will be awarded $10,000. Entries will be accepted through April 5th and the event will take place on May 3rd.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed the AFDI a hate group and refers to Geller as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the ‘love child’ of Malcolm X.”

Are you ready for the Southwest School of Art BFA? Deadline Feb 20!

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 10.40.48 AMThe Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, the only independent art college in the state of Texas, is currently accepting applications for the fall 2015 class of its new four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program. The priority deadline for applications is February 20. Students who complete their application by the priority deadline are eligible for scholarship consideration, including full tuition scholarships.

The program at SSA accepts 20-25 students each fall, and offers degrees in ceramics, drawing and painting, metals, photography, printmaking or sculpture and integrated media. For more information, please contact Leigh Baldwin, Director of Communications, at


Nasher Introduces Microgrant Program for Artists

2015-microgrant-bannerThe Nasher Sculpture Center has announced its Nasher Sculpture Center Artist Microgrants program, which will distribute small-sum grants to North Texas artists. Twice a year a jury chosen by the Nasher will pick artist recipients, who will be eligible for grants ranging from $250-$1000 for the purpose of supporting their projects and practices.

Via the Nasher: “The microgrants aim to champion artistic excellence and encourage innovation, collaboration and engagement within the local visual art community. In addition, by bringing in jurors from the international and regional art communities to meet the grant recipients and discuss their work, Nasher Artist Microgrants will help bridge the gap between the North Texas art scene and the world.”

The deadline for the first round is April 3, with the grant recipients to be announced May 1. The program’s first jurors are: “Dallas artists Frances Bagley, Annette Lawrence, and John Pomara and the Chicago-based artist Tony Tasset, as well as Nasher Assistant Curator Leigh Arnold and Nasher Curator of Education Anna Smith.”

For more info on the program, eligibility (the program pertains to artists in counties in North Texas) and the application, please go here.