Yesterday I stepped down as the publisher of Glasstire, nearly 19 years after founding it. I remember the beginning vividly: how it made sense to use a website to knit together this imaginary shape on the surface of the earth we call “Texas.” How I was looking for a name, and the artist who would become my husband called me and simply said “glass tire,” and I knew immediately what he was talking about: the sculptures by Robert Rauschenberg of tires cast in glass. Rauschenberg was from Texas; I drove Texas highways a lot looking at art. Perfect.
I remember the first crummy site I built myself. The earliest articles, written by the artist Bill Davenport. I remember driving around the state, looking at art, talking to people, trying to get this idea off the ground. Eventually we all did (and we became experts on the best truck stops along the way).
One of the challenges with Glasstire has always been that people don’t like it when you talk about art being good or bad. They think such hard absolutes aren’t possible. How dare you say this art is good or bad? What if your bad art is my good art? What the hell do you know, anyway? I always figured there is absolutely, rock solid, good art and bad art — that the minute you start down that slippery slope of subjectivity, where everyone’s opinion about art is equally valid, you may as well throw in the towel.
Now I’m not so certain. We have entered a moment where we seem to be feeling our way in the dark, pricked constantly by a million data points that say TRUTH-TRUTH-TRUTH, even when we know they’re not. The country is in a bad mood, and the territories we find ourselves crossing feel treacherous and uncharted (though they shouldn’t to any student of history).
In the midst of such a sea change, perhaps it’s unwise to cling to certainty about what we understood art was for all these centuries. I for one want to set aside all my received ideas about art, where it should be experienced, and what it looks like when it’s good or bad. Like many before me, I want to forget labels like “painting” and “sculpture.” Forget “performance” and “practice.” I want simply to see things people have created, things made with skill and intelligence and wit and grace. If those things are very special indeed, I know they will stick with me for the rest of my life.
That is what “go see some art” means to me, now as I step away from Glasstire. There are many things I will miss. There are regrets — old articles, juvenilia I’d just as soon take back if I could. But I will take with me the rueful joy and sense of freedom and love for looking at art which has always been the heart of what we do.
So many people helped Glasstire become a reality. I can never thank them all, but I want to mention everyone who has ever served on our board, or bought a ticket to an auction or a lecture, or donated money in any way. One time, many years ago, we were in a tight spot and someone anonymously gave us $15,000. To this day, I still don’t know who that was. Glasstire would not exist today if it weren’t for their generosity.
I want to mention all the staffers and writers who have built Glasstire into what it is, in particular our editors over the years: Rachel Cook, Kelly Klaasmeyer, Bill Davenport and the great Christina Rees (our current Editor-in-Chief). Glasstire only lives because they have breathed life into it.
I want to mention Brandon Zech, who, when I asked him to take over for me as publisher, gamely and courageously agreed to do so. Brandon is a kind and funny person with a very fine mind. We are lucky that he ended up working with us.
Last and most, I want to mention the obvious: the Texas art scene, in all its gory glory. Long before Glasstire existed, countless people dedicated their lives to living here, working here, and making something wonderful. To all the gallerists who make it in that extremely tough business, to all the curators and nonprofit people who do yeoman’s work for (almost always) very little money, and especially, most especially, to the artists themselves, on whose back this entire enterprise it built: Thank You.
I’m going, to see some art.
Enjoy your new experiences!
Good luck, Rainey! Congratulations, Brandon!
Your farewell continues to promote an understand of art and Texas. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do in your way!
Tanks so mush for your contribution to Glasstire Rainey. All the best in your future ventures.
Thanks for your hand in building and supporting a community for the arts in Texas. May Glasstire continue for many years to come.
Exemplary job, it would have been an unimaginable media vacume had you not stepped up Rainey.
OK Rainey, go see some art and your fan club will follow you. Please toss us a tip from time to time and give us a thrill as you always have. Thanks for your fabulous efforts – you helped Texas, Bob Wade, Austin
I will miss reading you on Glasstire but am hoping that now you’ll have time to do more podcasts? I really enjoyed your episode on The Conversation. http://www.theconversationpod.com/
Best wishes, Rainey, as you begin this new and exciting chapter in your life! I wish you much happiness and many fun adventures!
Thankx for shaping & making our own TX Art For Whom, ArtNews, etc., right here, right now!
Happy training last…& yes, ditto on BWade, plz chime in!
Extremely pertinent words. Thank you for Glasstire and all you gave to this community; it is a big, beautiful, and important thing!
Glasstire is a must read for many of us beyond Texas. You have served both your community and the nation.
The speed limit sign at the end of your farewell adds a nice irony. It’s just when we’re allowed to speed up that we really need to slow way, way down to experience the amazing art tucked away throughout our beloved state. Thank you for what you started. Happy Trails and Linger Longer!
saw this quote yesterday and thought of your work Rainey. Press On!
Some day you will find out that there is far more happiness in another’s happiness than in your own- Honor de Balzac, Pere Goriot
Thanks for providing the happiness through art.
Goodbye and Good Luck!
Congratulations on the next new adventure in your life, and thank you for glasstire.
Thank You Rainey!
Thank you, Rainey for all you’ve done and meant to Texas Art! I can’t wait to see what you do next! Your
Many thanks to you, Rainey.
I have loved following the Texas art scene over the years through Glasstire even when I was living a thousand or more miles away. You had a great idea and I really appreciate it.
Mary Evelynn Sorrell
Thank you for making something out of nothing.
We’ll miss you, and hopefully will see each other as we “see some art”.