2013: The Year in Texas Art

by Bill Davenport December 31, 2013

People love lists! In case you missed last year, here’s a five-minute summary of some of the more notable Texas art occurrences, culled from last year’s  337 articles and 598 news items:


d-miningQuantification was the name of the game in arts funding last year, the Houston Arts Alliance brought in guru Randy Cohen to show Houston how. Southern Methodist University in Dallas launched a National Center for Arts Research in partnership with the Cultural Data Project. Carrie Schneider’s post collecting graphics relating Psychographic Consumer Profiling was popular.



renner-300x232Temporary was the word in public art, with the usual high highs, and even lower lows: the Nasher XChange project installed ten more or less decent temporary pieces around Dallas, UT got some Sol Lewitts, the Texan-French Art Alliance’s Open Door Project plunked panels around Houston. San Antonio’s Linda Pace foundation is set to unveil Adam, by Arturo Herrera. Patrick Renner’s Funnel Tunnel inaugurated a new collaborative process between the city of Houston Parks Department and nonprofit art orgs for temporary outdoor pieces.


dma32013 is the year Texas art became historical; many initiatives began to preserve the works and stories of underdocumented generation of Texas artists, including upcoming monographs on Bert Long, and the Dallas Museum of Art’s DallasSITES project, and Diverseworks 11th Hour.



Cleveland_love-deeply-300x200Several people important to the Texas art scene died in 2013:

Artists Bert Long, Casey Williams, Cholla Kepner, Jimmy Jalapeeno, Lee Littlefield, and Cleveland Turner.

Anthony Palasota, and Ed Cooper, tireless Houston arts supporters.

Tejas Engelsmith, curator, gallerist, and radio personality.

Nabila Drooby, boardmember and ex-director of Houston’s Rothko Chapel.

Ruth Carter Stevenson, Fort Worth philanthropist and Amon Carter Museum founder.

William F. Stern, Houston Architect and art collector.

Thomas McEvilly, noted art historian and former Rice University professor.

and Houston philanthropist Jack Blanton.



On January 5, we got the Bad News From Bert Long, which proved all too true.

It was the year of the DFW art collectives: in January, Michael Corris profiled S.C.A.B., Apophenia Underground organized several pop-ups,  and Homecoming! Committee ended up the year with sliding noodles; these groups’ numerous, and usually brief events filled many Glasstire pages this past year, always trailing a stream of lively comments. The only thing more popular than emerging artists in Dallas was arguing about them at panel discussions, and more panel discussions!

At the end of the month, award-winning Glasstire Editor Kelly Klaasmeyer bid us farewell, as she finished up a five-year hitch to pursue other projects, some creative and some (hopefully) lucrative.

2013 was the year of the Art Guys, the 30th anniversary of their collaboration. They planned, and survived, 12 events in 12 months to celebrate, even as their controversial piece “The Art Guys Marry a Plant” was quietly deaccessioned from the Menil’s collection, and ended the year agreeing on painting, again.

The Dallas Contemporary got their hand caught in the cookie jar, unloading donated prints from local artists on eBay for pennies on the dollar, causing a micro-scandal.

The Dallas Museum of Art pioneered free admission with it’s new Friends and Partners program- now everybody’s a member! The program is so popular it attracted an anonymous $9 million grant in November!


price pagelFebruary

The Chinati Foundation began its transition to a post-Judd future, becoming more community minded, helping Marfa continue to blossom as a remote art mecca, and appointed Jenny Moore as their new director.

Artist and Glasstire contributor Michael Bise wrapped up his three-part cartoon saga, Life on the List with a happy ending—in which he survived his heart transplant and found true love.

Janet Tyson declared that 2013 was the year of Ken Price. His retrospective stopped at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas on the way to “redeem an art world that has been dead for some time, despite twitching occasionally when money is thrown at it.” The beautiful non-pot objects got a beautiful write up from David Pagel.

Houston art-car icon, “Scrapdaddy” Mark Bradford got his retrospective at the Beeville Art Museum.



Dallas (and the rest of the artworld) go gaga over Cindy Sherman’s retrospective at the DMA.

Rice Gallery opens its new video Cubicle.

Lady Base gallery opens in San Antonio’s burgeoning Lone Star Arts District.



My review of Daytime Television at Gallery Homeland in Houston, in which fair is foul and foul is fair, required a secret decoder ring to unravel.

The DMA’s parody of Downton Abbey, featuring museum staff and supporters was a hit at their Untitled Art Ball.

Gwen Goffe, formidable Associate Director for Investment and Finance a the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, retired.

Bill Davenport (that’s me!) took over, officially, as Editor of Glasstire.

The fifth Dallas Art Fair spun off satellites: Blogger Robert Boyd’s PAN Art Fair at the Belmont Hotel, the Fallas Dart Air at Mamam Faye’s BBQ, and Caja Dallas at the Dallas Contemporary.

A perfect storm of celebrity brought artist Jeff Koons to talk with Gary Tinterow about Pablo Picasso at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, sponsored by Louis Vuitton!

Sixto Wagan left Diverseworks to head the new University of Houston Center for Arts Leadership.

Works by fisherman/mystic Forrest Bess  opened at the Menil Collection.



Gary Sweeney’s retrospective at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum.

San Antonio’s Blue Star complex evolved from an alterna gallery incubator to an establishment nightspot, even as the museum’s  longtime director, Bill FitzGibbons resigned to pursue a booming career in public art, losing Cactus Bra space and Three Walls Gallery in June.

The International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen also lost a director, Joe Bravo, who left behind seventeen pages of advice!

Art as a vehicle for money laundering hit the spotlight as a truckload of it belonging to alleged Green Diesel scammer Philip Rivkin was seized. In September, Houston art collector Jeffrey Shankman was indicted for using art to conceal assets.

Menil Picasso vandal Uriel Landeros was convicted and sentenced to two years.



The Linda Pace Foundation got Maura Reilly as their new director.

Nicole Longnecker Gallery opens in Houston

Dallas artist R.E. Cox took body art to a new level by incorporating the amputation of his lower leg into a show at CentralTrak!

Austin iconoclasts smashed a window at Okay Mountain, but missed Joel Ross and Jason Creps “Torture Sounds Incredible” sign; meanwhile, a yarn haters clipped down Houston’s first publicly-sanctioned yarn bombing project!

The Nasher Sculpture Center and its shiny neighbor, the Museum Tower, exchanged chess moves all the long hot summer, resolving nothing.

The summer of James Turrell touched Texas at the MFAH with The Light Inside.

The new Safe Room Gallery at the Texas Theatre in Dallas opens with Raychael Stine and Titus O’Brien’s Same Roof show.



AMOA-Arthouse emerges, rebranded as the Austin Contemporary under the leadership of Louis Grachos, and begins a set of ambitious shows focused on international names.

A fire destroyed just opened (now re-opened) Gallery Jatad in Houston. Nearby coworking space and sometime art venue Caroline Collective closed, too.



Do it: Houston placed pieces by everyone, for everyone, at Houston art space Alabama Song.

Afrofuturism exploded in Houston, with Robert Pruitt’s surge of national fame. Robert Hodge’s Beauty Box project, and twin Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants for Pruitt and Hodge, even as Darryl Ratcliff’s Glasstire article on the incendiary Black Letter in Dallas raised a mini-firestorm.

Colette Copeland’s article on Thumb Wrestling at the Dallas Museum of Art also raised a mini-firestorm, so go figure.

The Texas Biennial opened everywhere amid a forest of disjointed noses, and everyone was a critic, with Glasstire’s help.


bise thumbSeptember

Anne Wilkes Tucker, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s founding curator of photography retired.

Michael Bise’s Kingdom of the Sick at Moody Gallery in Houston.

Slabfest celebrated a different kind of art car coming out of Houston.



Project Row Houses, perhaps Houston’s most influential contribution to 21st century art so far, turned twenty with a big block party.

Mark Larsen’s Artery, another Houston space mixing events and community with visual art, closed after 26 years.

The Menil, correcting Renzo Piano’s one mistake in their original campus, announces plans for a cafe!

The Southwest School of Art in San Antonio announces its new BFA program after a six month delay caused by a procedural goof.



Seminal Houston Artists Kermit Oliver and Rachel Hecker honored at Art League Houston.

Voters doom the Houston Astrodome.

After a savage battle over aesthetics, hucksterism and  highway beautification, Richard Phillips’ Playboy Marfa is moved.

A brief Glasstire news bit about skateboarding vegetables in the Thanksgiving parade goes viral?!



Apartment gallery Red Space in Austin closes.

Glasstire sponsors its first lecture, beginning at the top with Dave Hickey!

The Kimbell Art Museum, which already has a cafe, opens its Renzo Piano Pavillion.

Happy New Year!



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Loli Fernandez (-A Kolber) January 1, 2014 - 08:53

Happy New Year ART!

Adolfhitlersghost January 4, 2014 - 02:25

I’m really glad zat zey removed zat homozexual plant from ze Meneiaeial Colleczion. Zat plant really offended me ven it married zos two men. I am glat zat zey haf proven to ze vorld zat ze art und der politics do mix. Ze art unt der politics are peeing in ze pod az zey gayly go trompzing down der path of ze life hand unt hand vistling showtoons. I holhartedly applaud zem for bowing to der moving tide of ze public opinion unt removing zis degenerate art. 2013 shows us zat zer ist hope for der future! Dat ve az a people are ready to rize up against ze art zat ve don’t zink agreez viz our political views unt zay “Zis ist DEGENERATE!!” Ve can’t have people zinking about ze zlippery zlope argument… We can’t have ze people zinking unt queztioning! Vat if ze zink, “vell, if a plant can marry two men zen vy can’t two plantz marry an apricot tree and if a two plantz can marry ze apricot tree vy can’t an apricot tree marry ze rosemary bush unt pretty zoon ve vould have ze chaos! CHAOS!! ZE PLANTS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO MARRY! IT IST FORBODDEN!! ZEY MUST BE ZILLENCED! ZILLENCE ZE PLANTS!


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