More whining about “Austin Arts”

by Ivan Lozano April 26, 2009
A crybaby found on the internet

I keep finding myself getting into conversations with people about what
artists in Austin need, what it means to be an artist in this town and
why things "just aren’t working out. " It happens more often than not
really. The conclusions are almost always the same: there’s "no money"
for the arts in Austin. It’s not that there isn’t money in this city.
There’s plenty of people who have what it takes to be collectors. Some
do. A few. But despite the large crowds events like B-Scene at the Blanton,
Art City Austin or First Night attract, how many of us actually feel
like being an "Austin artist" is a viable alternative?  It seem one of
the only choices is to focus our time, energy and money on making
inroads in Dallas and Houston. Commuting is really the only

Sure, we’ve got some top-notch institutions like the Blanton and Arthouse
that showcase some pretty great art more often than not, and there’s a
couple of local galleries that do a fine job. Lora Reynolds Gallery
obviously takes the cake in terms of making ends meet and actually
selling work. But they play a different game. They aren’t involved in a
local scene and there’s nothing wrong with that. They are vital in this
community for what they expose us all to. Art Palace, Women and Their
Work and Okay Mountain are really the only galleries showing local work
that is involved in a dialogue with contemporary art, but despite their
commendable intentions, art doesn’t necessarily get sold sometimes.

Maybe we haven’t thought about the ways in which art gets sold and
potential collectors become actual ones: gallerists
and art dealers. Who in this town
is actually working to help artists keep working? Sure we have public
arts initiatives that allow for work to be created and for the public
to interact with art, and sure we have street fairs where yuppies can
feel special and cultured in between runs to Whole Foods and Terra Toys
to buy their kids prizes for behaving in public. And sure, local
government has panels to discuss these issues but somehow they end up
missing the point, patting themselves on the back, not listening to
artists, and coming up with cuddly solutions that lead nowhere
for contemporary artists unless we want to put some shit up in an empty
garage on New Year’s Eve or be granted the honor of having our work be
seen by city employees on their lunch break. All
this piss and vinegar is leading to a point: we artists are doing our
part, we’re "providing content" for the KLRU
"Downtown" specials, benefits, auctions, street fairs, festivals, and
we’re making sure that we Do It Ourselves at MASS Gallery, Monofonus, Co-Lab,
Big Medium, Pump Projects, the Texas Biennial, etc. But do we really
have to keep subsidizing it for everyone else?*

*This is mostly a rhetorical question, of course. But should it be?



salvo cheque April 28, 2009 - 11:16

Who is “everyone else”?

Ivan L April 28, 2009 - 14:39

Yeah good point. I’m assuming “everyone else” shows up. I guess for the “yuppies [who] feel special and cultured in between runs to Whole Foods and Terra Toys to buy their kids prizes for behaving in public.”?

kuoskies April 30, 2009 - 11:59

However, even if I bought into your Us vs. Them (the city? the yuppies?) mentality, I think that this post is pretty insensitive to a lot of the Austin artists that you are championing.
Also, if we have to work towards a more productive relationship with the moneyed people in this town it’s probably wise not to approach them from a place of resentment.


Leave a Comment

Funding generously provided by: