2011 Fall Preview

by GT contributors September 6, 2011

Here they are, sorted by city, our picks for the best shows in Texas this fall!


Eric Zimmerman: Sixteen Tons
The Old Jail Art Center
September 24, 2011 – January 22, 2012

Void (Log), Graphite on Paper, 11" x 14", 2011

Hey North Texas: if you missed Eric Zimmerman’s recent shows at the Austin Museum of Art, Art Palace Gallery, or the Southwest School of Art and Craft, here’s your chance. For this show, the artist will pair his masterful drawings with sound elements from spaghetti westerns, presidential speeches, and the Voyager record ‘Sounds of the Earth,‘ all distorted and looped with his own voice. As a bonus, he’s creating a newspaper “take-away” that promises to “blur the lines between source material, gallery guide, artwork, and souvenir, as well as truth and myth.” [Disclosure: Zimmerman is a Glasstire blogger, and is the new editor of the Austin publication …might be good.] – Rainey Knudson



Queer States
University of Texas Visual Arts Center
September 9 – November 5, 2011

Jason Villegas’s ever-evolving sexual futurism in “Impish Animal,” 2007 at Okay Mountain

The visual arts exhibition element of this multi-event examination in the VAC  includes two artists whose work has completely bowled me over in recent memory, and whose contributions I’m eager to seek out.

Jason Villegas is a young artist originally from Houston whose dynamic, immersive, beautifully-wrought works of mixed media installation and painting won me over as part of the fantastic 2009 traveling exhibition Phantom Sightings: Art After The Chicano Movement, curated by Rita Gonzalez at LACMA. I haven’t been able to stop talking/writing about this show for over two years, and his work is some of the reason why.

I wrote then, for the San Antonio Current:

 In response to this perhaps-painful, but certainly-fruitful alienation, Villegas has developed an exuberant, liberated cosmology involving absurdist creatures from outer space cultures, a meta-narrative of limitless imagination and uninhibited sexuality that touches on fashion, body image, and the lawless and fantastic realms of desire.

I cannot wait to see what he makes for this show. It’s funny; in that same artist roundtable I’m talking about there, he described himself as “not political.” I think he’s political in the most imaginative, reflection-driven, organic way.

As for Libby Black, I fell for her work as part of the New Image Sculpture exhibition curated by Rene Barilleaux at the McNay this past Spring. Her handmade, meticulous replicas of designer objetshandpainted cardboard Louis Vuitton trunks and Chanel handbags and a (fictional) Prada ice axe and crampons (!), touched the fancy-stuff-lovin’ girlish part of my brain while forcing me into some meandering revelation. Libby Black’s stuff is beautiful partially because she presents these ridiculously overpriced status items as beautiful, which they are. The objects upon which Libby Black’s work is based are overvalued like crazy, and represent a grasping consumerism which I’m at once scornful of and embarrassed by…but Black’s accomplishment is that she made me feel absolutely giddy. I wanted all these things she made. I also wanted some of the stuff she was lampooning, which, due to the loving detail of each of her 3-D lampoons, represent something more ambiguous and desire-fed than just making-fun. — Sarah Fisch


Margaret Meehan: Hystrionics and the Forgotten Arm
Women and Their Work

October 6 – November 10, 2011

Artist (and Glasstire blogger) Margaret Meehan self-describes her aesthetic influences as drawn from pugilism, Victoriana and the photo portraiture style of 19th c. cabinet cards. When I first saw this image, I was drawn into the enigmatic narrative. Initially reminded of Matthew Barney, upon looking longer and harder, there’s a specifically female appeal to rage and loss and endurance. This pugilist is a new, haunting archetype mixed from some heavy disparate elements. On her website, Meehan thanks the model, Amy Revier, “for her patience and exquisite loveliness throughout a very long and uncomfortable shoot.”

This acts as a description of the underlying story, for me, as well; something grotesquely lovely wrought from scary variables. Her work brings to mind the recent discovery that for people with any European ancestry, there’s a likelihood of carrying some Neanderthal DNA. Meehan’s pugilist recalls the oh-so-human, not-so-human enigma of this revelation; we’re more than we thought we ever were, and consequently must think more of the Other than we generally have — the trappings of being human just got weirder, richer and more mysterious. — SF


RAIN: New Works by Cruz Ortiz, Randy Wallace and Esteban Peralta
East Austin Studio Tour

2103 Chestnut Ave.
November 12 – November 20, 2011

Photo of Wallace's "Times and Other Serial Studies," 2011, courtesy Randy Wallace

New work by Colorado-born, ex-San Antonio resident and current Austinite Esteban Peralta, San Antonian printmaker Cruz Ortiz and Trinity University instructor Randy Wallace. This is a very interesting trio who could bounce off one another like electrons. Esteban Peralta, in addition to making visual art, is a social activist, web designer and writer. Randy Wallace creates astonishingly smart and kinetic performance art; his coal mine performance installation, “Times and Other Serial Studies,” was one of the highlights of this year’s Luminaria for me. It combined the rudiments of a Brechtian coal mine manque, with Wallace himself as a Virgil figure keeping enigmatic tallies of words and numbers as assistants hauled briquettes down chutes, painted the cart track and looked genuinely irritable. Cruz Ortiz was trained as a printmaker, but has expanded his repertoire into large-scale installations, performance, video, catapults, pushcart derbies and teaching high school. This smaller, out-of-the-way show represents a further happy incursion of SATX artists into SATX and vice-versa. — SF



Obsessive Worlds
Art Museum of Southeast Texas
September 24, 2011 – January 8, 2012

Lauren Levy

If you’ve ever loved an artwork by someone who clearly spent a lot of time on it (like, say Tom Friedman), then here’s your chance to see more work by artists who push excess, repetition and attention to detail to the extreme in their work. Featuring Charlotte Smith, Shawn Smith, Ellen Frances Tuchman, Paul Booker, Marco Maggi, Gabriel de la Mora, Jonathan Whitfill, Susie Rosmarin, HJ Bott, Beili Liu, Elisa d’Arrigo, Vincent Falsetta, Mary McCleary, Lauren Levy and John Adelman. -RK



Silver: 25th Anniversary Exhibition
The Gallery at University of Texas at Arlington
September 6 – October 15, 2011

Hung Liu

There is much talk in Dallas of late about the city being on the cusp of a tremendous artistic surge — hopeful, inspired talk about possibility and new frontiers. There doesn’t tend to be much looking back in DFW, though, at the artists that have paved the way for any current momentum that our local art scene may have. Certainly, if anything big is going on in town now, it’s due, in no small part, to artists that have been toiling it out here for decades. For the last quarter century, The Gallery at University of Texas at Arlington has been showing the work of just such artists. Silver: 25th Anniversary Exhibition highlights their roster of DFW and Texas-wide artists, among others, who have helped shape the current artistic climate.  Look for work by 25 trailblazers, with such notables as Frances Bagley, Mel Chin, Vernon Fisher, Linnea GlattAnnette Lawrence, Hung Liu, Tom OrrLinda Ridgway and Ann Stautberg. — Lucia Simek


Tony Cragg: Seeing Things
Nasher Sculpture Center
September 10, 2011 – January 8, 2012

Tony Cragg, Eroded Landscape, glass, 252x150x150, 1998, photo Simone Gänsheimer

Following its recent commitment to showing the work of living sculptors, this fall the Nasher Sculpture Center will present the work of British-born sculptor Tony Cragg in the artist’s first museum exhibition in 20 years. Cragg’s show Seeing Things will feature work made since 1993 with a wide array of the artist’s large and medium-scaled works placed throughout the Nasher’s museum and grounds. The artist, who began his foray into art as a lab technician at the National Rubber Producers Research Association in England, is perhaps best known for his impressive sculptures of the 1980s made up of collections of banal, discarded objects arranged in provocative and beautiful formations. Cragg’s more recent work continues to cull from his fascination with science, but also literature, making for sculptures  that are overtly biomorphic and lyrically hodge-podged, sometimes rigidly industrial and other times fragile and evanescent, as in his towers of broken glass. But all are monumentally present and promise to make wonderful use of the Nasher’s excellent spaces. — LS


Gaffes and Informations: Kevin Todora and Jeff Zilm
Fort Worth Contemporary Arts
September 17 – October 30, 2011

When I asked Christina Rees, curator of Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, what we could expect from her space this fall, she told me Jeff Zilm and Kevin Todorawould be doing a collaborative show called Gaffes and Informations. That’s about all she knew. “It’s (I think) a continuation of the fucked up shit they did at Modern Ruin,” Rees said, which is exactly why FWCA continues, entering into its third year under Rees’ direction, to be one of, if not the, most challenging and rigorous-minded art spaces around—she lets artists have the run of the place, to almost always good ends. The “fucked up shit” at Modern Ruin that Rees is referring to by Zilm and Todora was a room, in that oft-mentioned WaMu bank nearly two years ago, filled with rotting Asian fruit of some kind, a photograph of Ben Bernanke, freaking loud music (I think) and a general sense of pop culture-politico-Armageddon mayhem that felt like a revolution, loaded and provocative, albeit a little confusing. And they’re about to offer us more in that vein? I’ll raise my flag to that. — LS

Jennifer Rubell
Dallas Contemporary
September 24 – December 4, 2011

Often employing vast quantities of food in utterly surprising ways—think a room upholstered in 1800 cones of cotton candy or a ton of ribs systematically drenched in honey to symbolize the creation of Eve—former food writer and art-party planner turned food-artist Jennifer Rubell, makes work that centers around the metaphorical powers of food, pushing art and its viewers/participants into uncomfortable realms in which to consider cultural consumptions. In keeping with the Dallas Contemporary’s adventurous programming under the direction of Peter Doroshenko, Rubell descends upon the Contemporary this September for a one-night performance called Made in Texas during the institution’s Legendary fundraiser.  For it, Rubell will pull from her cache of metaphorical ingredients to mix up a humble little cocktail for Dallas’s insatiable art-noshers by revealing the human labor that toils behind-the-scenes in many of Dallas’s food industries in a series of live-scene installations, the results of which visitors can partake. The performance will also welcome in Rubell’s show called Nutcrackers—a series of life-size female mannequins that double as nutcrackers which viewers can use for cracking a one-ton pile of pecans in the gallery. In typical Rubellian, double entendre fashion, the show toys with notions of the idealized female form and the figure of the nut-cracking, ahem, power-hungry uber-woman. — LS


Connections: Haley-Henman
In a West Dallas warehouse
301 Singleton Blvd.
October 14-16 and 21-23, 2011

Over the past couple of years, Dallas has had a few adventurous shows in odd, non-gallery spaces that have garnered a lot of attention: Modern Ruin at an unused bank and Sustenance in an abandoned warehouse in West Dallas being the most noteworthy among them.  In each of these shows, artists have been given free reign of the space, making for sometimes very compelling forays into a more alternative arena, one in which they can explore and work out ideas. In keeping with this forward-thinking, much-welcomed trend, Haley-Henman Gallery will present Connections, a collaborative art installation by gallery artists, volunteers and community members in another vacant warehouse west of the Trinity River. Located in the shadow of Calatrava’s new bridge, the show hopes to use the icon of the new bridge as a jumping off point, so to speak, for considering themes of community connection and exchange, as well as the challenge of bridging distances in time and space—all topics which are increasingly de rigueur in Dallas. — LS



Working the Line: Photographs by David Taylor
El Paso Museum of Art
October 2, 2011 – March 18, 2012

Border Monument No. 81, 2008, 31 x 24 inches, archival inkjet print, © David Taylor 2010

As a concept, Working the Line could easily come off as a bit hokey: it’s photographs taken along the US-Mexico border, of obelisks which mostly date back to the 1890s and which were used to mark the border before we had high tech metal fencing (or a presumed need for it).  But David Taylor’s project is powerful because it is not so much about border issues (which have been addressed a lot lately by artists) as it is about the border itself. Taylor’s obelisk photographs suggest an anachronistic, even artificial, delineation at a time of heightened focus and tension around this very important, yet totally imaginary, line. -RK



Perry House: Movin On
HCC Central Fine Arts Gallery
3517 Austin at Holman in Midtown
Information:  713-718-6600
August 31 – September 30, 2011
Reception, Wednesday, September 7, 5-7pm

Houston art pioneer Perry House‘s paintings mixed gestural abstraction and cornball figuration years ago when abstract painting was a religion, making him a heretic. Today, his disreputable abstract illusionism is embraced by younger artists precisely for that iconoclastic edge. Perry House wraps up his 30-year teaching gig at Houston Community College with 30 farewell paintings. But it’s not goodbye: when this show closes, the unstoppable House will start preparations for his major solo exhibit at Houston’s Art Car Museum next May! — Bill Davenport


Houston Art Fairs
Houston Fine Art Fair, Sept. 15-18, 2011
Texas Contemporary Art Fair, Oct. 20-23, 2011
George R. Brown Convention Center

The first of the first two art fairs to hit Houston this season, the Houston Fine Art Fair, opens September 15, and win or lose, it will be a game changer . . . at least until the Texas Contemporary Art Fair hits the field after a month-long half-time show. The sudden interest on the part of dueling national fair organizers on the Bayou City has already energized the scene with fevered, anxious preparations appropriate to hurricane season. In the aftermath, will Houston celebrate the way we all pulled together, or will we be sopping up muddy water with sofa cushions?— BD

Walter De Maria: Trilogies
Menil Collection
September 16, 2011 – January 8, 2012

Remember the Lightning Field? The Broken Kilometer? The New York Earth Room? Unbelievably, Walter De Maria, who fills the latter pages of many an art history textbook, has never had a major museum exhibition in the United States. Organized by the artist and Menil director Josef Helfenstein, Walter De Maria: Trilogies, opening on September 16, is proving that good things come in threes:  the show gathers three series of three related works by the seminal conceptualist, some created specially for this exhibition:

1. Menil collection standbys like the painting formerly known as The Color Men Choose When They Attack the Earth (1968) will be repurposed as part of a new three-painting installation. 2. The polished aluminum Channel Series: Circle, Square, Triangle (1972) will be dusted off (literally), but will remain tantalizingly pristine, sadly untouchable by gallery-goers, given the artist’s history of interactive game-art. 3. Bel Air Trilogy (2000-2011) spits three beautifully restored 1955 Chevys on 12-foot stainless steel skewers. Not to be missed, Trilogies embodies some of the defining features of De Maria’s work: installations that explore the conceptual, the monumental, the minimal and the real. — BD


Fifth Ward Jam
3705 Lyons Ave.
October 1, 2011

The much-anticipated new Dean Ruck/Dan Havel house-intervention piece, Fifth Ward Jam, opens on October 1st at 3705 Lyons Ave. It’s architecture turned into sculpture, turned into architecture again with the rabbit-from-a-hat magic that made Inversion, the demolition duo’s now-legendary piece at the Houston Art League, well, legendary! The current run-down bungalow, which was moved into place last year, was reclassified by the City of Houston as a sculpture en route from its original location; Havel and Ruck have been as busy as Sawzall-equipped beavers improvising a canyon-like corridor through the wood-frame building that splits the house in two, ending in a band-shell and a new deck halfway between the little pig’s house of sticks and a particularly rustic Gothic cathedral. The piece, funded by the Houston Arts Alliance, is in its own new pocket park on Lyons Ave., which will host events showcasing the music and oral history of the 5th ward. — BD


Communograph: Mapping Through Creative Action
Project Row Houses (in conjunction with the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts)
October 2 – December 3, 2011
Communograph: Mapping Through Creative Action is a sprawling conglomeration of exhibitions, lectures, and events organized by Project Row Houses artist in residence Ashley Hunt, reiterating PRH’s basic goal: combining public art and social practice. Begin with a Project Row Houses Round 35 exhibition; mix in artist talks from Mel Chin, Ashley Hunt, Rick Lowe, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles, tours by bus with architectural database Stephen Fox, and and on foot with photographer Ray Carrington, all aimed at activating and analyzing Houston’s Third Ward. — BD

Communograph Events:
October 2, 2011, Artist Talk: Mel Chin 3-6pm Eldorado Ballroom
October 12, 2011, Artist Talk: Rick Lowe and Ashley Hunt
October 15, 2011, Communograph, PRH Exhibition Opening: Round 35
November 16, 2011, Artist Talk: Mierle Laderman Ukeles
November 19, 2011, Walking Tour: Experience the Third Ward with Ray Carrington
December 3, 2011, Bus Tour: Architecture and Community with Stephen Fox



David Schalliol: Isolated Building Series
SRO (Standing Room Only) Photography Gallery
Landmark Arts at Texas Tech University
August 29 – September 25, 2011

Isolated Building Study 486, 2009, digital chromogenic print, 30 x 20 inches

This is the second time in as many previews that we’ve featured something from Landmark Arts’ outstanding series of photography shows in their SRO gallery. (It helps a lot that they have an outstanding website that’s always up to date. Hint.) This show features the work of Chicago sociologist David Schalliol, who photographs lonely, crummy buildings to “capture the effects of economy, politics, and community relationships that surround these structures.” The effect is gloomy to the point of being a touch theatrical, even maudlin, but the images are nonetheless compelling. “As our homes go, so do our neighborhoods,” says Schalliol. -RK



AutoBody (Featuring North of South, West of East)
Ballroom Marfa
September 30, 2011 – January 29, 2011

Meredith Danluck, Fairlane, 2009 Digital C-print 30 x 40" Courtesy of the artist

This show about cars and all the romantic ideas we enshrine in them (freedom being the big one) will feature a newly commissioned four-channel video work, North of South West of East, by artist Meredith Danluck. Shot on location in Detroit and Marfa, North of South West of East “uses the car as an entry point, a subtle connective tissue, between the equally loaded but seemingly disparate archetypes of the Cowboy, the Rebel, the Immigrant, and the Actress. Eschewing the simplification of abstraction, the film employs the mainstays of narrative with a strong focus on temporality.” Marfa local punk band Solid Waste and New York musician John Carpenter are featured on the film’s soundtrack.  -RK



Laura McPhee: River of No Return
The Southwest School of Art
September 1 – November 20, 2011

Laura McPhee, from River of No Return.

Massachusetts-based lensperson Laura McPhee will be showing at the Southwest School of Art starting September 1, with an artist talk at the Central Library on October 1. A Princeton and RISD-grad, McPhee is now a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, as well as a past MacDowell Artists Colony fellow and recipient of John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

The exhibition SSW’s bringing us, The River of No Return, originated in Boston in ’06, and took the artist numerous visits over several years to the Sawtooth Valley in Central Idaho. She documents landscapes with an eerie stillness and an editorial rumination about land and its uses, the wild vs. the cultivated, and the impact of such large-scale photographs make it the kind of show you have to see in person. — Sarah Fisch


Chuck Ramirez: Minimally Baroque
The Blue Star Contemporary Art Center
September 1 – November 6, 2011

Trash Bag Series: "Black Sack 1 (2001)"

Chuck Ramirez, one of San Antonio’s signal contemporary artists of the last 20 years, died suddenly in a bicycle accident last November. Blue Star Contemporary Art Center hosts the Victor Zamudio-Taylor-curated Chuck Ramirez: Minimally Baroque, which opens September 1 and remains up until November 6, the one-year anniversary of his death.

Chuck Ramirez trained as an art director and graphic designer, and worked for the almighty H-E-B empire for years. Ramirez could stage, light and shoot consumer products as if they were movie stars, could render them into glorious mysteries of the tangible, inciting longing and even envy. Chuck was openly gay and openly HIV+ since the early ’90s. In his 20s and 30s, Chuck Ramirez expected to die soon and, by his own admission, partied like there was really no tomorrow. By the time he was well into his 40s, a longtime survivor of AIDS and of surgery to correct an enlarged heart, he was coming to terms with staying alive. Over this process of years, Ramirez turned his sharp eye to the fallout of life as party. Used brooms, busted piñatas, empty candy boxes, all funny, all gorgeous, all redolent of sorrow, too. Ramirez is no minimalist, but the bard of the often violent and desolated underpinnings of celebration, the saint of used-up things. — SF


Jayne Lawrence: New Drawings and Sculpture
David Shelton Gallery
December 1, 2011 – January 7, 2012

A vignette of previous Jayne Lawrences. Courtesy David Shelton Gallery

Jayne is a crazy woman. I mean that in the best possible way. Her drawings, which is how I first got to know her work, are these densely-worked, harrowing experiences. Alongside Leigh Anne Lester, she engages the micro-crafts(wo)manship of 18th and 19th century botanical (and, in Lawrence’s case, zoological) drawing and makes of it something monstrous and fascinating. Lawrence’s peculiarities are totally different than Lester’s, though, as she brings forth these horned and multi-legged critters all awash with this very delicate, extremely odd and audacious color sense. I’m less familiar with her sculpture, but from what I’ve seen of it she manages to fabricate 3D versions of this off-kilter feminine, scarifyingly seductive biome her subconscious calls home. Calls home — hee. Jayne Lawrence: Extra-Terrestrial! — SF



Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from The Victoria and Albert Museum
Tyler Museum of Art
September 4 – November 13, 2011

Artist unknown. Panel of the Assumption of the Virgin, later 15th century. Alabaster, 16 3/8 x 10 1/2 inches. On loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This is one of those little shows in an out-of-the-way venue that features extraordinary folk objects, dripping with theological significance, from a long time ago. If your plans this fall don’t involve the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, go see these odd, crude, earnest carvings—a charming slice of their collection—in Tyler. -RK



Mel Chin: The Funk and Wag from A to Z
The Nave Museum
September 2 – October 16, 2011

Mel Chin

The great Mel Chin

Never one to half-ass anything, Mel Chin has come up with a room-sized, spider-legged, sculptural homage to artists Louise Bourgeois, Jesse Lott, and Madeline O’Connor, in addition to generating hundreds of collages from the 1953 Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia — and “adorning” the Greek revival exterior of the Nave. Mel, you had us at  “room-sized sculptural homage to Jesse Lott”! If you’ve never been to the Nave, it’s a wonderful, jewel-like building in downtown Victoria, and this show definitely makes the trip worthwhile. – RK


1 comment

You may also like

1 comment

Visual Arts Preview: The Gallery and Museum Shows You Can’t Miss This Fall | FrontRow September 9, 2011 - 11:09

[…] Rees, one of the bank show curators, has tapped the two artists for a second collaboration, promising Glasstire’s Lucia Simek (yes, there’s a relation)  that they will deliver some “f*cked up s*it.” That’s one way to […]


Leave a Comment

Funding generously provided by: