Who’s Afraid of the Big bad Show?

by Rainey Knudson July 8, 2010

 Lawndale’s Big Show has been the first line item on many a Houston artist’s resume. It’s the one time every year that Lawndale sets aside its curatorial authority in the name of supporting the community with a big ol’ enveloping-and-not-too-particular bear hug. The idea is that the quantity over quality approach will hopefully give a boost to some good artists who are just starting out–and to be fair, many of the past prize winners include some of Houston’s best artists. So it’s kind of unsporting to pick on it. But damnit, can’t this show be any better? The unavoidable truth is that when you go, you expect the quality to be mixed, to put it charitably. You just hope that too many dabblers and high school seniors who need to find something else to do with their lives didn’t make it in, and that there will be a couple of decent showings from young artists who might have potential. And that’s pretty much what this year’s show delivers. Here’s a sampling:


Geneva Gordon, Untitled, 2010, sheet metal

Is artist Geneva Gordon making a spanglish joke (Spanish speakers put an E before words starting with S, as in "espaghetti"), or is she commanding a stop to the electronic madness, (a la "e-commerce" or "e-tail")? Hopefully it’s… probably the former?


Joel Hernandez, Carmelita, 2008

Jasmyne Graybill, Soap-cracked Fan-tail, 2008, sculpey and drain cup

Bexar Olivier, Panacea II, 2008, digital photo on lenticular lens

(This photo doesn’t do a good job showing how the blobs of color hover over each other and move as you walk past.)


Hayden Garrett, Prescriptive Future, 2010, pine wood strips and vinyl contact paper

Hard to say what was going on with this piece, beyond the obvious: an old dude who’s given up on inhibition posing with whatever audience member sticks his/her head through the bikini babe carnival plywood. Will the gent be on view during the run of the show, a la the go-go dancer in the Felix Gonzalez-Torres piece at the Menil Collection a while back??? You’ll have to visit Lawndale to know for sure!!!!

Speaking of exposed flesh, there’s a lot of it on view. What is it with the soft porn (all women, no men)? Maybe when the going gets tough, the tough reach for the boobage. One example subtly makes the connection between porn and the internet:

Joshua Bienko, Golilocks (Too Hot), 2009, oil on wireless keyboard

There’s more Art Houston to come, all weekend long!!!

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