Continuously surrounded by art, I write about my experiences and their influences on my artistic practices. I am a starving artist that spends every minute I can being exposed to as many types of art as possible.

Posts tagged “Megabus

Cindy Sherman comes to Texas

Enjoying seeing Cindy Sherman so much in New York, I was excited to be able to view her Retrospective again because it was coming to the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA).  Of course, I did write about my experience with Sherman at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).  It had opened in Dallas in mid March, but I was way too busy to go then.  Although, having said that, I did make time to see Cy Twombly and Picasso in Houston in March.  Since I had known in advance, I was able to plan a good time to get out of town, get cheap bus tickets on Megabus, and my friend was able to get a free hotel room for a couple of nights.  I always want to get out of town to see art. Finally arriving at the exhibit, well, was not quite as exciting.  Not because I had already seen it, but the display didn’t seem as dynamic.  It was not a very dramatic display, in fact, it was a extremely safe.  Walking up, was an open room with a piece taken from different series, then that was mixed within a series of large photographic murals from 2011-2012.  This particular series is very different to me because Sherman doesn’t seem to be portraying a “type” here, she seems to be creating these characters out of her imagination.  I don’t Cindy Sherman Photographic Muralfind these personas particularly relate-able, but they are the most curious.   A juggler with short blond hair, wearing a nude body suit under a decorative leotard performing outfit, with knee socks and tennis shoes.  This gives Sherman a very boy-like, flat chested appearance.  Yet another image is also sporting the nude body suit, but this time a white corset costume made up with layers of fringe, reminding me of feathers, gold gloves going up to her elbows and maybe tap shoes.  This is a more feminine depiction than the previous, emphasizing the body, complete with a red bob cut.  Eventually, Sherman is “nude” in similar clothing, with breasts and pubic hair.  Still a different piece is created from an odd, almost knight/warrior looking outfit, with some type of made up looking crest, then is strangely paired with velour tiger striped pants with footies or socks.  This is the most of androgynous of the figures, with curly short hair and oversized baggy clothing.  These misfits seem like they don’t belong anywhere, maybe roaming around as a band of gypsies or with a carnival.  The background of these images are black and cream imagery of nature, I assume extremely photo-shopped photographs, as some have been altered to have a painterly quality while others remain more photographic looking.  The background imagery reminds me of the pattern in toile, or some other traditional image.  These pieces also differ from her other series as they are presented as site specific photographic murals that stick directly to the wall.  MOMA had them displayed as you walk to the exhibit as well, however, they were eighteen feet tall.  At the DMA, it was hard to tell the size, but approximately half that.  The scale changes the presentation greatly.  These fictitious characters should be much larger than life , their imaginary world should be an environment.  Combined with the generic decision to make a compilation of her work in the front room and place them among the murals was not a successful layout. My other concern with the display was that fact that it did not flow.  This was mainly due to the each gallery only having one door.  You walk in, you walk out, you walk past the same art in the hall again, you go to the next room.  I do hate directly comparing to MOMA, but the eleven galleries there led you to the next in a chronological experience through Sherman’s work, creating a continuity in the exhibit.  Discussing this after with my friend Jim, he said I am spoiled working with such a great Exhibition Director, Kathy Armstrong, at the Southwest School of Art.  It is true, I have learned a lot from her.  Paying close attention to the display of the work, I have seen walls built and removed, even creating a room when necessary.  I have experience from building a twelve foot wall in my studio, the DMA could have easily made some adjustments, as simple as adding an additional doorway to some of the rooms. Despite how I felt by the display of the work, ultimately, I was still pulled in by Sherman’s pieces.  Her work stands on Cindy Shermanit own, captivating me.  Most of the work on display is large scale, contrasting her first landmark series, Untitled Film Stills, 1977-1980, which is a collection of eight by ten inch black and white photos.  Immediately, I am drawn to Untitled #153, 1985.  Or as I refer to it, Dead.  The image is haunting, her lifeless body staring off with empty, open eyes.  Of course, this is my narrative.  As it stands untitled, there is no indication that this is a dead body.  It obviously isn’t, Sherman is alive and well.  But these are the implications of a wet body, covered in debris, laying on the muddy ground.  This piece in particular makes me want to know more.  What happened?  Who is she?  Is she dead?  Traumatized?  I want to know how this body ended up laying on the ground in some non-descrip location, very anonymous.  Even if this body is not supposed to be dead, this person certainly is not mentally present, looking far off into the distance, trying to think past what is happening now, possibly already empty and emotionally dead.  Engaging pieces like this are what is great about Sherman’s work and leaves you with more questions than answers. The description on the wall discusses how Sherman’s construction of the feminine is far from desirable.  This is notable in pieces such as Untitled #175, that I simply call Bulimic.  One of her many images she refers to as Grotesque, this work is composed mainly of half eaten Cindy Shermanfood and a pile of vomit.  The food is strewn around, as if hastily eaten and discarded, in a frenzy, as if on a binge.  In this series, Sherman begins to remove herself from the work, leaving only a glimpse or piece of herself, until ultimately removing herself for a period.  The only reference to Sherman in this piece is the look of self loathing on her face as it is reflected in a pair of sunglasses, also haphazardly thrown down in the middle of this moment of excess.  The piece still refers to feminine issues from a female perspective, even without the female form being the center of this image.  The Grotesque Series is unappealing, experimental, and often disgusting.  And I am very much drawn to them.  A glimpse, to an eye, then just a shadow, until Sherman is completely removed from the image.  Reading about this, Sherman felt she may be too dependent on her image and wanted to Cindy Shermansee if she could create the same type of narrative removing herself.  The results are a body of work that discusses what lies beyond the surface in a very physical, almost aggressive manner, creating what I would consider her more shocking work.  I have watched many people dismiss this work, barely glancing at it, possibly because it is so raw.  In these pieces, there is not the illusion of being fake or uncomfortable, as many of her subjects take on.  These take on a seemingly more honest approach as she confronts private, taboo topics.  Changing her props to vomit and a shit looking substance covering all but her eye, this series is not for the faint of heart.  While Sherman herself becomes absent, the use of her costumes such as wigs take over and the use of body parts from a medical catalog are used very sexual ways. The Centerfold Series is another controversial body of work by Sherman.  I did discuss this when I originally saw this exhibition in New York.  The work was commissioned, then rejected by Artforum, because it appeared too controversial.  The issue surrounding these works stemmed from the emotional states portrayed and were seen as women about to or that have already been victimized.  These women are all exposed in many ways.  Physically, they are laying down and closely cropped, confined into a tight box of charged mental states.  Emotionally, these women are staring off into the distance, not directly acknowledging the camera, as seen in other series such as the Head Shots or Socialites.  They are contemplating, daydreaming, or possibly scared.  The viewer becomes a voyeur to an intimate, vulnerable moment.  I find them haunting and chilling, the emotions feel so real to me.  Attracted by their displayed vulnerability as well as the fact that they are oblivious to the camera, the gaze, as they are caught up in their private thoughts with a public display of emotion.  Greatly differing from the often straight on look from a naked woman normally in this same position.  The format of the two page centerfold spread has long been associated with seduction, and displayed to be viewed by men.  While the imagery Sherman provides is a contradiction to that, they are still exposed, but in a much different way than the stereotypical centerfold tart.    As a series, this was the one I spent the most time with.  Despite the original controversy, Untitled #96, 1981 was sold in 2011 for $3.89 million, breaking records for the sale a single photograph.  That image displays a great use of color, with a young girl lost in thought staring off into the distance, holding a newspaper ad.

Cindy Sherman

Untitled #86, 1981

Fashion JunkySherman’s fashion series are parodies of the superficial world of clothing, name brands, and looks as a job.  Untitled #137, 1984 or Fashion Junky, to me touches upon well known drug use in these circles, both as a model to stay thin, but also to have a good time, the night life.  This “model” takes this further, looking strung out on heroin in expensive clothing.  Another reference I read was she looked like a victim of domestic violence, hair disheveled, with a blank look on her face.  Many critiques of Sherman’s work often and quickly discusses how many of the women seem to be victims.  Other images in this series are stiff and aggressive, or display very over done women, and include many variations of beauty.  As unflattering as these depictions are, quite a few designers and magazines have worked with Sherman, allowing her artistic vision to control the images. So why am I such a huge fan of Cindy Sherman?  Yes, it begins with her imagery, but goes much deeper than that.  It is impressive that she is the artist, model, stylist, makeup and hair artist, and photographer.  I can appreciate the hard work and vision of an auteur.  I talked earlier about a particular series of work I found unrelate-able.  Discussing this with someone, they laughed, and said they couldn’t relate to any of her characters.  I didn’t understand that.  We have all seen the femme fatale, the housewife, the model, the socialite, a clown, etc… In fact, that is the relate-able part to me, these figures exist in our lives.  Sherman is commenting on the plasticity and how malleable a persona actually is.  Often, I believe she is talking about what lies beneath the facade.  Most fairy tales are creepy.  While I didn’t discuss any imagery from that series (or several others), Sherman is capturing the essence of what is there, not just glossing over what is on the surface, often our only type of experiences and encounters with these women.  Ultimately, she is proving a person can be whom ever they choose.  None of these personas are her alter ego.  They are a compilation of the saturation of media Sherman has been exposed to all her life.  In fact, since her work doesn’t refer to anyone specific, they are “representations of representations” (Respini, Eva, Cindy Sherman. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2012)

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Seeking Refuge: Twombly, Flavin, and Picasso

The stress of Contemporary Art Month has been creeping up on me.  It has been a fantastic, crazy, last few weeks.  Beginning with a successful Seven Minutes in Heaven 2013 and continuing with a great inaugural opening of PS102, a new gallery space located inside a business, where I am now curating exhibitions monthly.  In between all of this, I have been working on some new work for my open studio tour coming up in a few days, as well as slowly thinking of what I want to exhibit for another upcoming show I will be having in July.  If I can get my work together.  There is always something to work on, always something to think about.  Since March is Contemporary Art Month, it has been my busiest time of the year for the last couple of years.  But this year, I have never taken on this many projects.  It’s enough to drive a girl mad. Beautiful day in Houston!Despite the fact that I have a huge load of work, I decide to get out of town.  There’s a lot on my mind and I feel like I need a change of scenery.  I haven’t left town for no reason in quite a while.  Well, isn’t my sanity the best reason?  Looking up something to do, there is a Picasso exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) that looks amazing.  Surprisingly, there is a second major exhibit touring there as well, Portraits of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado, that will be closing soon.  These exhibits are normally $20 each to get into, but I find on one particular night this week, they are letting you in for $10 FOR BOTH.  I think I have found a place to escape and clear my brain from the now.  Luckily, my friend in Houston takes me in, so that is where I head, on the Megabus. The first few hours in town are spent by myself.  This is refreshing and fantastic.  I ignore my email, facebook, and texts, to just breathe for a while.  I decide to just stroll around downtown.   I’ve mentioned how I love the city.  Yes, there is a lot going on around me, but it feels much different when it’s not me rushing around.  I am the one in slow motion as everything is running around me.  People watching, architecture, just observing life.  As usual, I see art everywhere, as I think of Richard Estes, staring at these huge store windows.  While I have always loved and photographed reflections, Estes gave me an appreciation for layered realities.

IMG_8166

I hop on a bus to the Menil.  Instead of heading straight inside, I turn to go to the little park there. This new route took me on a side of the Menil that I had never noticed before.  Enjoying the outdoor sculptures is something I don’t always take advantage of when I am here.    There are three negative sculptures by Michael Heizer on the lawn of the museum, created from 1968-1972.  Known for creating land art, these sculptures are small scale replicas of three pieces from his “Nine Nevada Depressions” series of work, made in 1967.  These pieces laid the groundwork for one of his major works, Double Negative, created in 1969-70.  Studying DN in school, the scale of land art fascinates me.  The design of Rift reminded me of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, designed by Daniel Libeskind.   It is such a beautiful day, just relaxing under a tree is exactly what I needed.  I sketched a little and worked on some of my titles for my current pieces, but nothing pressing, nothing that had to be done now.  Just thinking and brainstorming.  The stress was beginning to melt away. IMG_8162 Cy TwomblyWhen I finally got up (probably after about an hour), I decided to head to the Cy Twombly Gallery.  The Menil is fantastic, the way it has several additional buildings in the immediate area, dedicated to a particular artist or specific type of art.  I will openly admit I used to never appreciate Twombly.  While not being exposed to many images of his work in school, I had still seen several of his pieces in Cy Twomblydifferent museums, but only one or two together.  They never really said anything to me, there was not enough of a discussion.  Then I went to the Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston for the first time.  Getting to see so many different bodies of his work let me appreciate the gestures and lines, an important element of many of his works.  One of my favorite series here is Untitled (A Painting in Nine Parts), 1988.  The deep, gestural greens seem to lead into the abyss.  These pieces are full of emotion and gesture.  Using a limited color pallet, the work is expressive of something much deeper.  Staring into them, I feel a sadness, as if I were Ophelia, letting the weight of everything pull me down.  The heaviness keeps me exploring further.  Even in this series, Twombly adds lines in the form of text,  a poem to Rilke, enforcing the mood he has created in this room, with this painting, in nine parts.

(Ponds) to Rilke

and in the ponds

broken off from the sky

my feeling sinks

as if standing on

fishes

For the first time, I fall in love with a new series of Twombly’s work, Analysis of the Rose as Sentimental Despair, a set of five paintings, 1985.  Viewing them before, I apparently never appreciated the depth these paintings offer.  While these large pieces are composed on white backgrounds, the feelings of despair, continue to hang in the air in this room also.  This is an interesting combination using this color.  White normally represent things such as youth, purity, and innocence, yet here is in juxtaposition with mature perceptions.   The emotional gestures in a seemingly chaotic mess exude complicated passions.  The “rose” seems to display a bleeding heart – messy, dripping, and coming out of the canvas.  Amid the abstract imagery, the pieces also incorporate text, forming characteristic scribbles.  It’s interesting when Twombly uses “legible” text, he creates a distinction from the imagery.  Where as in many of his most recognizable works, the scribbles are the work, presented as indecipherable and repetitive gestures.  In this instant,  quotes from Rilke, Rumi, and Giacomo Leopardi are crammed into a compartmental space above the imagery, shaping the panel. Each series I encounter offers more to the conversation with Twombly.  As each room houses a different body of work, more of his thoughts and gestures are revealed.  Cy Twombly, Thicket (Juniper Island), 1992Extending past the canvas, his work also includes sculptural pieces.  While not a huge fan of his sculptural work, there has always been one piece in particular that has always drawn me in, Thicket (Jupiter Island), 1992.  Made of wood, plastic leaves, plaster, and paint, the media differs greatly from his more characteristic work.  I always return to this piece.  Something about the way the plant looks like it’s suffocating, drowning in the paint, fascinates me.  It is completely covered, yet the plant doesn’t seem weighed down, it is still springing up.  Any life is blocked by the plaster, coming or going, yet it has this tenacity, aiding it’s survival.  Previously, I discussed an exhibit of huge still life photography by David LaChapelle, referring to a particular piece as “the Suffocating Bouquet”.  In both pieces, the “life” is restrained by an outside force.  But I never get the sense of something being dead, the life has not been removed, somehow these piece are still breathing.  They are both the color white, the color of life.  It is captivating to look at. Twombly’s work culminates in Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor), 1994.  This enormous triptych takes up an entire room, at 53′ wide and 13′ high, showcasing the range of mark making he utilized throughout his many bodies of work.  This particular piece is both minimal and yet very expressive at the same time.  Completed over a span of twenty years, this is the full discussion Twombly wanted to exhibit.  While the most complete, this may be the piece I discuss the least.  It is something to be viewed and contemplated in person.  See this piece after you have viewed the rest of the gallery and don’t underestimate it.  There is a bench.  Just sit down for a while. CyTwombly Cy Twombly detail Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor), 1994, Detail In an entirely separate building a few block away is Dan Flavin.  Richmond Hall is yet another building exclusive to one artist, by the Menil.  Flavin is one of my favorite artists that works with light and this is one of my favorite pieces.  I have been fortunate enough to see quite a few of his works, such as in New York, Berlin, and Munich.  But my other favorite Flavin installation I have written about is in Marfa, Texas, at Chinati.  His individual pieces don’t compare to the way the light works together when combined to create these massive works.  Using a characteristic limited color pallet, this piece incorporates pink, yellow, green, and blue, and uses one additional color I have never seen utilized in another work of his, purple, in the form of a fluorescent light splitting down the middle of the entire length of the piece, anchoring them together.  The lights reflect on the floor, extending the work from the walls into the space.  While there are the physical components of a light piece, it is about what is radiating and how it works with the environment it’s in, that is the most interesting part of experiencing light pieces.  It is about the space, a much different viewing experience than looking at a two dimensional piece of art. Dan Flavin When I first walk in, there is actually a contemporary dance troupe performing amid the installation.  Their body movements were mesmerizing, I kept thinking how exceptional  it is to be able to perform in the midst of such an amazing Dan Flavin Detailenvironment.  The piece highlighted motion and gestures using only their bodies, in a space where the art was exuding from the walls.  This was indeed a unique experience.  The performance was by the MFAH Core Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art and I talk to the choreographer.  I tell her about Luminaria, a huge city art event in San Antonio that is about light, but encompasses all arts, including literature, performance, and dance.  I have worked with Luminaria, on a couple of occasions,  most recently this year as Site Manager for a fringe location.  They give out grants to perform.  I write down the info for her and she gives me her card.  It really was a special piece, I would love to see it travel.  Isn’t that what I do as a curator?  Make sure art is seen?  While not curating now, I have to share info with this spectacular program. IMG_8234 This signified the end of my introspective time alone, this is where my friend met me.  After dinner, we head to the MFAH.  The special entrance doesn’t start for another hour, so we decide to enjoy the permanent collection, it is free today.  The Abstract Impulse: Selections from the Modern and Contemporary Collections is one of the exhibits they have out.  A large imposing Soundsuit, 2011, by Nick Cave towers over you at the entrance.  Cave makes these suits out of different materials, this one composed of various rugs. The feet are the only reference to a person, yet there is a major presence as you walk around the piece.   The suits are meant to be worn and performed in.  He will be performing in Grand Central Terminal in a few days.  I was very disappointed that I missed his exhibit of these suits at the Austin Museum of Art (AMoA) last year, I heard that was an amazing show.  Another exceptional piece is Grupo Mondongo, Calaveras 4Calavera 4, created by Grupo Mondongo, an Argentinian Collective of three artists.  This huge piece is approximately 6′ x 6′, demanding my attention.  Made of plasticine and wood, this piece is entirely carved, revealing a rich history, mythology, as well as leading to up to current pop culture.  The detail is pristine, as the imagery comes alive from panel on the wall.  The depiction of evolution expresses the continuing changes, crammed among each other, as if occurring in a short period of time.  Maybe it has, we just assume our lifetime is an eternity.  The piece is exhibited along with a touch screen tv, describing in detail all of the intricately carved imagery.  There were plenty of other pieces to discuss in this exhibit, but this was not my primary reason for being here today.  However, this show is an excellent example of the modern and contemporary artwork in the permanent collection.  As a former registrar, I would love to be able to get my hands on these pieces.  I promise I’ll wear gloves. Calaveras 4, Detail James Turrell MFAH also has an amazing light installation.  The James Turrell piece, The Light Inside, takes up an entire underground hallway, connecting one part of the museum to another, the dimensions are 11′ x 20.5′ x 118′.  The media is neon and ambient light.  The entrance is blocked by a large wall of light, which you have to walk around to enter or exit.  There is a solid walkway, while the entire room is filled with light.  It is a little disorienting to walk through at first.  Even though the walkway is only a few feet above the ground, the color makes it seem endless, as if walking over water.  This light piece definitely utilizes the space, creating it’s own environment. And then onto the main attraction: Picasso Black and White.  While Picasso is known for experimenting with color in phases throughout his life, this show focuses on his monochromatic work, stripping the color to focus on the subject, something he Picasso Black and Whitecontinued to do throughout his career.  Unfortunately, since I didn’t purchase a catalog and the security was extremely tight (as to be expected), I have no photos.  It was quite an amazing, as well as ambitious exhibit.  With over one hundred works, his subjects varied from everyday life to the horrors of war.  While Picasso is of course a master and ground breaking artist, his most powerful work is where he is working with a theme, such as Guernica.  The broken fragments of cubism can be used to express emotions of  chaos and violation.  Of course, that piece is not included in the exhibition, however, many of the studies and precursor imagery were.  An artwork so monumental, in both scale and concept, may be worked on for quite a while before realizing the potential of what it is to become.  But there are plenty of beautiful pieces every direction you turn.  One of my favorites is Woman Ironing, depicting working class daily life.  Another is a still life, Cock and a Jar, where the broken imagery brings an incredible energy to an otherwise static display.  Yes, Picasso’s work is amazing. On another floor is the other stunning exhibit, Portraits of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado.  The polar opposite of Prado: Portraits of SpainPicasso, this exhibit displays the opulence of the ruling class in Spain.  Jewels, ornate clothing, and lavish households of the ruling class are the main subject of these paintings.  In fact, included were several pieces showcasing their amusement, little people.  The wealthy class did not think too much of the commoners they ruled over.  Showcasing several major artists, including Titian, Rubens, and Velasquez, the show would not be complete without Goya.  Goya’s body of work ranges from the elaborate portraits commissioned by the Spanish ruling class, to his raw and expressive still lifes, reminiscent of Dutch still life paintings, and his emotional work portraying war.  The highlight of the entire Prado exhibit was his prints.  The subject matter, the details, the emotion.  None of Goya’s other works compare to the profound imagery he depicts in his printmaking. The amount of art therapy I had was just what the doctor ordered.  Sometimes life is crazy and seems to throw unending curve balls at you.  But the art today did exactly what it is meant to do – allow me to contemplate, offer inspiration, and add an incredible amount of beauty and skill to my day.


Visiting Dallas: A visit with Erin Stafford, Purity Ring, & the DMA

Purity Ring is an amazing electronic band from Canada.  Their debut album, Shrines, is amazing.  Their show sold out in Austin before I could buy tickets!  However, they were also playing in Dallas, so my friend and I decided to go.  We took the five hour trip on the Megabus for less than $5 roundtrip for both of us.  Since my friend works at the Hyatt, we also got a free hotel room.  The current exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) looks like an interesting show.  This should be a good trip. bar belmont, Dallas, TXI set up a meeting with Erin Stafford, one of the artists in Seven Minutes in Heaven (SMIH), currently living in Dallas.  I have known her for a few years, however, this is the first time I will be working with her.  Although, I have seen her work exhibited several times and wrote about one of her recent San Antonio shows in Seduction and Private Moments. We meet at bar belmont at the Belmont Hotel.  It’s a cute bar up on a hill with a fantastic view of downtown Dallas that apparently used to be a crack house.  Interesting.  Sounds like something I would move into with a bunch of other artists.  I have always been attracted to the raw, gritty, real aesthetics of dilapidated, old buildings.  I always want to move in and turn it into something I can use.  We discuss several different projects she is working on and all of Stafford’s ideas are fantastic and fit right into SMIH.  She has a couple of great pieces already completed that I love.  That is great for press, as well, being able to make the deadline to include in our press kit and any additional requests for images.  Best of all, it relates to her paintings, but is an entirely different medium.  I really want the artists in this show to push what they normally would create for an exhibit.

The gorgeous sunset view from bar belmont

The gorgeous sunset view from bar belmont

After drinks, we head back to the hotel to get ready for the show that evening.  We are staying in the middle of Downtown Dallas, and it is nice to stroll through, well lit up.  I love neon and it is everywhere!  I know I have previously written about light pieces from various artists, particularly my favorite, Dan Flavin and several pieces at The Houston Fine Art Fair.  The vintage Greyhound sign is my favorite.  The way the area is lit up makes it fun to walk around and explore.  It’s definitely a different feel from Downtown Houston, where it seems to become a ghost town at night.  I will always be a City Girl, a Downtown City Girl.  Never growing up quite so metropolitan, it all changed when I went to high school in the middle of downtown.  I had so much fun…I never looked back.  It’s the center, where everything and everyone meets.  When I was in high school, I couldn’t realize that my life would be wrapped around a ten mile radius of that school – where I work, where I live, and my studio. Downtown Dallas Neon Downtown Dallas Neon                   The show is great!  Purity Ring sounds amazing in person.  It is electronic music, with the Purity Ring at the Granadaexperimentation being the best part.  I am really amazed this is their first album, I hope they can continue making music without losing what they have captured here.  Although their stage presence could use a make over, they were still fantastic to see live.  It was their first tour, after all. Check them out:  Purity Ring: Fineshrine Purity Ring: Amenamy IMG_8011   The Granada was a nice location, I had never been there before.  One thing that highly interested me was their social media.  On both sides of the stage were huge projection screens.  In between the two bands, they projected their twitter feed.  This caused people to twitter just to see it up on the screen.  Genius!  I think we may have to do this for SMIH.  We haven’t started a twitter account yet, but plan to have that up and running by the show.  It was just a fun way to promote the event.  The comments did get a little “adult” but I would expect no less for SMIH… Of course, I have to fit in art before we leave and head to the Dallas Museum of Art.  I already have plans to visit in May to see the Cindy Sherman Exhibit.  I made a special point to go to New York to see it before, of course I will travel 5 hours to see it in Texas.  It was that amazing.  But today is another show, Cindy Sherman has not yet entered Texas. One of the current exhibits is presenting all women artists, Difference?.  Encompassing various media and themes, the fact that the work was all created by females in the past fifty years is the only connection between the artists in this exhibit, an interesting choice.  Yes, I feel women have a point of view that needs to be expressed.  No, I don’t think it should be exclusive.  Art is in your soul, not your sex.  What I do believe is that both sexes have a different message and have had different experiences.  Art would not be complete if one side was missing, as it was for centuries.  Without these pioneers, my work today might not be taken as seriously.  Louise Bourgeois is a great example.  Seeing her Small Spider sculpture in New Orleans was amazing.  The works exhibited here, at the DMA today, seem so simple, yet carry complex ideas.  Of course, feminist work is included, such as a fantastic piece made out of snaps and latex by Hannah Wilke.  It would be ignorant to ignore such a strong point of view.  But this show encompassed so much more than that one viewpoint that is often associated or blindly labeled with female artwork.  Feminist work was a small part of this exhibit, in no way highlighted or called attention to. Louise Bourgeois - DMA Square Tubes (Vierkantrohre), 1967/2009 by Charlotte Posenenske is intriguing and amusing.  Removing the artists’ hand completely, this piece is made of six industrial Charlotte Posenenske Square Tubes (Vierkantrohre), 1967,2009geometric hollow tubes.  Though Posenenske was in Germany, Donald Judd was working on his minimal pieces fabricated with industrial materials in the US during this same time.  Also removing his hand from the work, his work differs because it is not interactive, he has made all of the decisions.   Posenenske’s work is to be put together by the installer/owner, taking the removal of the artists’ touch even further, while using a considerably masculine material, removing any possible feminine qualities. Tara Donovan, Untitled (Toothpicks), 2004 In stark contrast to the smooth polished metal, is a piece by Tara Donovan.  Untitled (Toothpicks), 2004, this work is anything but inviting.  Created by possibly thousands of toothpicks, this speaks to my love of ritual and repetition.  It is rough, sharp looking, and full of chaos, yet is neatly compartmentalized in a square, uniform shape.  Also in contrast to Posenenske’s work, Donovan uses common daily items, not industrial, specific materials.  This inspires my current series of work greatly.  I have been choosing to work with common items with history and re appropriate them with a different, emotional meaning, expanding them from their strictly utilitarian use.  So, if I didn’t know the title of this exhibition and just viewed the pieces independently, no, I would not have assumed this was an all female show.  It wasn’t all pink and made of roses.  Point made.  Thank you. Another show on exhibit is Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950’s to the Present.  Themes included Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and the Figure.  Composed primarily from pieces in the DMA collection, This included work from quite a few of my favorite artists.  There is a huge Donald Judd that looks like it goes a couple of stories high and also a Gerhard Richter that differs greatly from his stylistic blurry paintings.   This piece was a mirror.  A blank canvas for the viewer to interact with.  What was interesting to me was that Richter was  displayed near the piece by Michaelangelo Pisoletto, which varied greatly from the last pieces I viewed by him in New York, which were paintings on mirrors.  Again, interacting with the viewer, but putting them in an specific environment.  Today, Pistelleto’s piece is a box on the floor, I believe made out of mirrors, but turned backwards, revealing no reflections, just the coated backside.   Paintings by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock also grace the walls.  There is a fantastic neon piece by Bruce Nauman.  Again, I find what people do with light is compelling.  Besides this neon piece, I have seen Nauman create in many different mediums, including sculpture, video, and also a sound installation, Days, at MOMA a few years ago.  This exhibit is displayed in the Barrel Vault, a huge and open gallery space, allowing plenty of room to view or interact with the art.

Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman

Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko

This was a fun, quick trip where I feel I got a lot accomplished.  Meeting with Erin, an artist in Seven Minutes, seeing Purity Ring, a great show at the Granada, and the fabulous art at the Dallas Museum of Art is a lot to pack into an overnight trip!  If I’m going to travel five hours, apparently I will make it worth my while.  Now that the DMA offers free general admission, hopefully more people will get exposed to this fantastic collection and amazing travelling exhibits.

 


Figuring Out 2013 – Whatever That Means

Last year was crazy, unpredictable, and exciting!  All that without a full plan.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I work pretty hard at what I do, whatever that is, put myself out there , and accept most opportunities that I’m lucky enough to have come my way.  A new year to me means new opportunities and adventures.  I do not return to the same boring desk job after Christmas.  I get to plan my year out however I would like.  I am very lucky.

With that in mind, how do I begin to plan for the new year?  Some things are already on my calendar, such as Seven Minutes in Heaven (SMIH) 2013, which will be March 2, 2013, my first CAM studio tour on March 24, 2013, and the show I am curating at Alex Rubio’s gallery, R Gallery, of my five artists July 13, 2013.  That’s a lot to be excited about already, but doesn’t take up nearly enough of my calendar.  That means work to do and new opportunities to find.

Beginning January 1, Megabus put up travel through April, so travel is my next stage of planning.  My husband and I are heading to New Orleans in a week with friend, although we will be driving there.  Then I head to Dallas before the month is over for a music show with a friend.  Both trips include meetings with artists in SMIH and visits to the Museums of Art. Technically “pleasure” trips, work and art are, as usual, always included.  I know I will be in Austin for a music show in March, a few days after SMIH.  I know the West Austin Studio Tours are in April this year, and last year was so much fun, I won’t be missing that!  In May I will be heading back to Dallas for the Cindy Sherman exhibit.  That will be such an exciting trip!  I spent several hours in the exhibit at MOMA last March and look forward to doing that again.

http://hownottomakealivingasanartist.com/2012/03/22/cindy-sherman-at-moma/

I will also be in Detroit visiting someone very dear to me, I think in the beginning of June,  but I will be flying there.  However, it would be really easy to hop on the Megabus to Chicago.  I have visited both cities before, although not in quite a while. I was lucky enough to see Throbbing Gristle perform in Chicago a few years ago.  That was a pretty legendary show I was lucky enough to attend.  Detroit has some great art to visit such as the DIA, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, and cool galleries like CPOP.  In Chicago, there is the Art Institute, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, and I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit my friend, artist, Grayson Bagwell, currently attending Grad School at Columbia.  He is in SMIH this year.  I keep dragging him back to San Antonio to exhibit.  And I keep visiting him.  He used to live in Brooklyn, so of course I would pop up there.  When he attended Pratt he was fantastic enough to take me on a tour and to the Grad office.  It is the school with my dream program, a dual masters program in Art History and Information Sciences (Library Sciences).  They offer a summer program to study in Venice and do internships with the Met.  Their main campus is in Brooklyn, but their Art History campus is on Manhattan. It would be perfect since my husband is also interested in attending Grad School in New York, at the New School.  He is an experimental writer looking for an untraditional program.  Although with his high GPA and great references, I’m pretty sure he could get in anywhere.  It’s me I’m a little worried about.  My GPA is slightly lower due to not dropping a one class in time.  Really.  That killed my GPA for a few semesters.  I am now just thrown in the average pool.  Which is why I am hustling everyday, trying to build my resume and get my name out there so I stand out when I do apply.  I need scholarship money to live in New York.  Oh yes, please let me learn all about curating in New York!

And what about “work?”  I mean, I am always working, always glued to my phone or laptop, always attending art exhibits and meeting people.  What I really mean is paying work.  Regularly.  Money is a funny thing.  I swear I don’t live by it, but it sure does make my plans come together much more smoothly.  As of now, I don’t have anything scheduled until February.  January is always the slowest month for me work wise.  Everyone has already taken their vacations during December and won’t take time again until the summer.  It’s a little tough financially, but I always have a lot to do.  Last year I learned I better focus on SMIH or it definitely catches up with me all at once.  Not to mention I need to organize my life again.  Spring cleaning is serious business to me, after the whirlwind of my first open studio, the holidays, art events, and parties, I am completely disorganized.  My house and studio are normally a wreck.  So is my brain.  I will set up my calendar and travel, begin to work on my house so it no longer looks like a war zone, clean my studio, go back to yoga to relax my mind, oh, and breathe.  I have to be able to clear through some of these things before I can focus on my art again.

Being self employed is not for everyone.  You have to be a go-with-the-flow kind of person, which I am only sometimes, and have lots of confidence, which I do most of the time.  Inviting people you’ve never met before to work with you at a place/event they have never heard of (mainly out of town artists), you have to sound like you know what you’re doing, or they’re not interested.  Sometimes they’re not interested even when they do know you and what your doing.  Marketing to strangers.  Yes, I have definitely built up this skill in the last year.  Also fundraising.  I could not possibly afford everything I want to do, so I do need help.  I’m very fortunate to have people believe in me.  I have produced a few events now, worked with quite a few artists, and have had a good track record by showing up and supporting many artists and art events.  Believing I will make enough money by the end of the month to pay for my studio rent, my art supplies, and any art events/parties I am throwing.  That is the most go-with-the-flow-part.  Sometimes that gives me a huge headache, but again, I am learning to breathe and take it one day at a time.

I am excited to work on my art again.  I have several big projects that I am working on and now have the space to begin to put them together.  I have to be ready with my work for the studio tour in March.  Both displaying my older work and really putting in some time on my newer projects.  The studio tour is in about eleven weeks and I want to have something to show.  I have been fortunate to receive so many opportunities when I have shown I am serious about curating.  Who knows what will come up when I show I am interested in showing my art again.  The last few shows I have been in were invitational group shows, but I will be ready this year to exhibit some of the major projects I have been working on.

So I begin to prepare for the new year.  Whatever that means.


East Austin Studio Tours

November means it’s time for studio tours!  The East Austin Studio Tours takes place this month annually, in fact this is the 11th annual E.A.S.T.  I have been going for quite awhile now and have always enjoyed visiting artist’s studios.  At the time, I didn’t realize how important these tours would become for me or even that they would become something I would do to work.  I just knew I liked it, so I kept doing it.  Now, there are several objectives I have when doing studio tours.  First, I want to see what is out there – what ideas other artists are working on now, the media, their surfaces.  Second, I am curating.  This began by keeping track of artists I was interested in working with, yes, just in my head.  Then I finally started to see enough artists I liked working on similar ideas.  The exhibitions I am currently piecing together include nontraditional contemporary portraiture, nontraditional landscape, and experimental process or media.  And, of course, my main and largest project by far, Seven Minutes in Heaven 2013.  However, a new priority is really observing these studio spaces for, well, their space.  I want to compare how they store their work and supplies, divide their work space, display their art, or find new ways to use the space.  Yes, I have always noticed, lusting after these large studios.  But now it’s all possible.  If I want it, I now have a place to make it happen. A little low on funds, I decided to experiment with how I could make this work.  The tours take place over two weekends, with over 200 locations on the map, this included hundreds of artists.  I could only attend the first weekend, next weekend is the Houston Artcrawl.  I meant to rent a room, but I waited to long and couldn’t afford that.  So I booked two roundtrip tickets on Megabus to go both Saturday and Sunday.  My total was $12 – for both days.  That is less than gas for one trip.  That is why I love Megabus.  The only drawback is that you can’t bring a bike.  Luckily, since all the studios are fairly close in proximity, walking is a great option. Day 1 of the tour is very disorganized for me.  I forgot how important it is for me to plan ahead and nothing was really going according to my loose plan anyway.  Due to an accident on the freeway, I arrived an hour and a half later than expected.  A friend from school and her husband met me and we drove not too far into the East Side of Austin.  I had been so busy, I did not print a map, I figured I would just pick one up at one of the locations, I knew the general area.  Yes, we got to the general area, no, there were no maps or catalogs available.  They were all gone, this is a very popular tour.  I was disappointed, the catalogs are actually a beautiful highlight of the tour, the one for the West Austin Studio Tours earlier in the year was very impressive.  In fact, I feel the Austin Tours are a great model for artist studio visits, one of the largest and best organized.  After what seemed like an eternity, I printed a map at the library and we were on our way.  By not going through the list to edit, this caused major mistake #2.  With a couple hundred of artists to view, I will probably only be interested in 25 – 35% of the art, and only about 10% will I seriously be interested in working with.  While exploring is fun, with so much, there needs to be some organization.  So a lot of Day 1 was spent trying to gain my bearings.  I saw a lot of art, but not really anything that I would seriously consider.  So I began to prepare for Day 2 on the ride home.  I began to comb through the artist list.  This begins by identifying the locations with the most artists there.  If I had a catalog, each artist or location gets a page with an image of their work and their website.  But no such luck and the catalog is not listed online yet either.  That makes trying to form a strategic plan a little difficult. Day 2 was a million times better!  First, I arrived on time.  Armed with my map, I jumped in a cab and got dropped off at the furthest point away that I wanted to visit.  And just spent the day walking back, hitting as many studios as I could.  This included Big Medium, Pump Project Art Complex, and ARTPOST.  Those three spaces alone had over fifty artists. IMG_6974A major highlight was finding Industry Print Shop.  Immediately, I recognized the style of prints by the artist I saw at the Mexi-Arte Museum Graffiti Exhibit.  There his work opened the show, overtaking the entire first wall.  He has some work up, as well as some smaller prints on a table for sale.  The works are sensual advertisements using sex for promotion.  To promote what?  These pieces don’t have a product to sell, just imagery and catchy slogans.  These prints feel nostalgic, designed like vintage signs, but I begin to realize it’s also in the attitude.  The sexy tart can always get what Antonio Diazshe wants.  But how do those attitudes work today?  Sex sells more than ever.  Are these women being taken advantage of or in control of the situation?  How have these attitudes changed in the last 50 years?  Can a woman embrace her sexuality?  While sex sells, there still remains the stigma of being a whore.  Sex will make money but the woman better act like she doesn’t know anything about that.  I pick a print to purchase, how can not?  I also buy an awesome shirt for a gift.  All I had to do was ask for more info.  The artist is Antonio Diaz, and he is (one of?) the owner(s) of Industry.  I let him know I am a fan of his work.  Mentioning seeing their work somewhere else is always a great way to begin a conversation with an artists I want to meet.  They are interested when you know their work or have seen their other shows.  We go into his office and he shows me some more prints.  I discuss Seven Minutes in Heaven 2013, inviting him.  He would make a great addition to the show.  Interested, he gives me his card, I will definitely be in touch.  I have just begun to finally organize things for Seven Minutes in Heaven 2012.  Working on the Invisible Gallery website for several months now, I have organized SMIH 2012 page with the artists and press.  I would love for this to work out. IMG_7084 I love that during his open studio tour, Mark Johnson sits facing the corner of his studio, clacking away on a vintage typewriter, not paying attention to the crests of people in and out.  His mixed media works include various typography, referencing the home and domesticity.  There is a sense of longing, a void was left from all the chaos.  I find his work compelling and would possibly like to work with him in the future, although I have no idea right now where he would fit in.  Nothing I am currently working on.  But that doesn’t mean something won’t come up.  I can’t find any cards and I feel awkward trying to talk to him as he is typing away.  But I ask if him for his card, he politely stops, hands me the top piece of paper from a pile, each piece freshly typed as I was there.  The little piece of art with his most recent words was his card.  Yes, it had his contact information.  Back to typing. Mark Johnson Discovering the Pump Project Art Complex for the first time was cool.  There are a couple of collective studios there, such as MAKEatx and Women Printmakers of Austin.  There are also quite a few individual artists studios there, as well.   I find the ceramic work of Debra Broz.  Her manipulation of decorative kitsch is playful.  They are incredibly well crafted.  Taking these items from thrift shops, she alters them in an amazing way, where you cannot tell that it was not originally like that.  But you know it wasn’t.  This is her skill, her trade is a porcelain restorer.  A multi talented woman, she is also the director of Pump Project. IMG_7070IMG_7074 IMG_6985The photography of Jon Oldag catches my interest.  Stitching together photos physically versus digitally doing this in Photoshop is a lost craft he is continuing.  This gives the image a soul, some motion, in contrast to the flattened quality a computer can often produce.  There is always an attraction to the handmade, something exhibiting the artists’ touch.  He is actually selling his work for whatever you would like to offer him.  As much as I would love a piece, I have no cash and he is not taking credit cards. And then I found a free catalog at a little gallery.  I was so excited!  It really is a nice book, a great reference for Austin artists, and advertised as the companion book to the West Austin Studio Tours catalog from earlier in the year, which I have.  They were for sale at Big Medium, but free at all the other galleries in limited quantity.  As usual, I was on limited on funds.  What I do have I will spend on art.  It’s really good.  This was such a productive day, I am extremely pleased with the amount of work I got done.  Finding one artist for SMIH is a huge accomplishment.  The Austin Studio Tours always have intriguing art, I always find new artists to work with, get explore new spaces, and return to favorite spots.  I think this may have been the very first large studio tour that I ever went on, who knows how long ago.  Finding diversity in media is always welcome.  I really chose to discuss these artists randomly based on how much I like their work.  Afterwards is when I noticed I was discussing screen printing, mixed media, ceramics, and photography. Obviously, I feel it still delivers fresh artwork every year.


The Houston Fine Art Fair

Deciding to go to the Houston Fine Art Fair, I was excited to see what all the galleries had to offer.  This is the 2nd annual fair in Houston.  I wasn’t able to attend last year, so I was eager to go this time around.  Only three hours away, my friend and I hopped on the Megabus for about $10 round trip for the both of us and arrived into town.  One of my employers, The Southwest School of Art is hosting a booth there, so I stumble upon a free passes as well.  With 80 galleries in attendance, over 500 artists were represented, displaying a diverse amount of mediums in this huge space. Fine art fairs are interesting.  You get to see so many galleries in a single space, yet they have a limited area to show in and represent themselves with one to maybe five artists.  It is a fun, yet exhausting experience.  Once you sort through the ‘bad’ art, there are still plenty of great artists trying to sell their work and share their ideas.  I need to believe that galleries will show great art from great artists, not just be a showcase for people with connections or money.  There was a combination of both, luckily, still with plenty of interesting artworks to explore. Walking into the huge arena, we find the art fair and immediately see this fantastic huge light piece by Matthew Schreiber in the front ticket area of the show.  One of my favorite mediums to view is light, I love the way it works with the environment.  By deciding to use untraditional materials, I feel an artist needs to use push it to react or engage with the viewer in a different way than traditional mediums, and using the environment is a good way to do this.  This should be a particularly important issue for light artists.  This piece is maybe five or six feet tall,  the same in width, exuding a simplistic, beautiful light. There were other light artists being shown as well.  The pieces by Chul Hyun Ahn were amazing.  Even though they were bound to the wall, it still felt like they went on forever.  The piece on the floor, again, gave the illusion of a bottomless well.  The materials were listed as plywood, lights, and mirrors.  That seems so uncomplicated for something that looks so complex. Another fascinating use of light was an installation by Jay Schinn.  His media was listed a latex paint and light projection.  It was much more luminescent in person. Cheech Marin was there in association with Thomas Paul Fine Art.  He was actually just sitting at the booth, talking to who ever wanted to have a conversation.  The work the gallery was promoting was Carlos DonJuan.  I am familiar with his work, most  recently having seen him in a graffiti group show in Austin, but originally as a grad student at UTSA when I was there.  Since then, I have see his work around, always with a different names – Carlos DonJuan, Carlos Sour Grapes, Miguel DonJuan.  That doesn’t really matter, but I wonder if he will ever eventually choose one name to show under or if he is differentiating between different bodies of work.  If he is, it is not clear to me.  I can always recognize his style before I even see the wall label. I did attend a lecture by Marin, discussing his collection of Chicano art and why it was important to him.  While not having an education in art, he was always attracted to art and studied it in books at the library as a child in East LA.  By the time he started to make money, he felt he was able to distinguish the good art from the bad, and not just like something.  His collection took a particular focus as he started purchasing Chicano Art.  Marin goes on to discuss how you can not be born Chicano, it is something you claim, a culture to connect with.  This is when he directly hit the stigma attached to the word Chicano.  Nobody wanted to show his collection.  However, his tenacity paid off  and he finally got a major corporate sponsor.  His collection then did a huge fifteen city international tour.  The story was very inspiring.  Art is so subjective, it can be very tricky trying to negotiate unknown or experimental projects if people can’t, or won’t understand the vision.  But great artists won’t back down from their ideas and the persistence can be greatly rewarded.  Marin was funny and very insightful to listen to. The work of Laura Ortiz Vega catches my eye immediately.  This past year my interest in street art has really peaked.  I began to realize urban artists are far more visible in the public eye in everyday life than fine artists.  Not to mention street art has slowly been creeping into galleries begging the question is it still street art if it’s in a gallery.  But looking at the fine detail of Ortiz Vega’s work, there is no question this is fine art.  While small in size, the detail of her embroidery is amazing.  If I ever put together a graffiti show, I would love to work with her in the future. Always a fan of great hyperrealism, I was excited to see the work of Luciano Ventrone, represented by Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York.  I was mesmerized by how this artist could accomplish turning paint into a image that looks so real, like a photograph.  I have always been a fan of Richard Estes and other photorealist painters.  The watermelon was so visceral, smashed up, referencing the decaying and used items of food in Dutch Realism paintings.  The only sign that it is a painting is the weave of the canvas when reflected in the light. This installation by the Art Guys is great!  Their art is always witty and fun. Beginning their collaboration at The University of Houston, they continue to work in Houston in many different mediums, including sculpture, performance, and installation.  They also gave a great lecture at UTSA when I was a student there. With over 500 artists being shown, I could obviously go on forever.  These were just a few of the highlights of this art fair for me.  Much more commercial than studio tours, this was an interesting experience.  Finding great artists, ideas for shows to curate, as well as new galleries to add to my list was the objective of this trip.  It is my ambition to get to the Pulse Fair in New York and eventually Frieze in London. I’ve been to both locations before, so it’s not too crazy of a goal, however, the main obstacle is financial.  But this is my Catch 22.  I can get a full time desk job and have money for all of these trips but I would not have the freedom to actually go.  I think I’m doing ok right now.  Besides, I may be in New York soon enough.


Weekend with Godard and Graffiti

My friend invited me to head to Austin to see Weekend1967 by Jean-Luc Godard.  Having seen a few of Godard’s films, this was a new one for me.  A great director of French New Wave, I always enjoy watching experimental film.  We take the Megabus, a bus service that has expanded their market from the East Coast into Texas.  For less than $5 round trip for both of us, it is an easy and worry free journey. 2.0 The Paramount Weekend is showing at the Paramount Theater, a beautiful and classic venue, located in downtown Austin.  It’s a nice experience viewing a movie here.  Playing with the convention of both the plot The Paramountand editing, Godard gives a small portrayal of the broken and fragmented minds that covet money and possessions over the value of life.  Roland and Corinne are a married couple taking a trip to collect an inheritance.  Quickly understanding there is little else they care for, they attempt running over pedestrians, nonchalantly walk through dead bodies, and have a disdain for even each other, as they plot the death of one another.  Throughout the movie, Corinne collects clothing from each event, changing her outfit several times.  This is a great trailer for Weekend, the entire movie done in this random sort of format.  Flashing words, inappropriately played music, and including the breaking of the picture reel at one point, are all Godard’s stylistic way of portraying his observations of society. This is another fantastic collage of Godard’s imagery: Original French Weekend Trailer.  While no dialogue is in the beginning of this clip, the silhouetted figures are a great representation of the dead, emotionless conversation they are having, illustrating their feelings for everything and everyone, including each other.  Roland iA still from Weekends very disinterested as Corinne describes a threesome she had, asking her only “and then” in a bored voice and “is that all.”  Her casual body language in this still, reflects her careless attitude as well, her head propped up by her hand.  Although, I wish this trailer had subtitles to understand a few parts.  The first young woman covered in blood and screaming is yelling how her rich, dead  boyfriend is the one worth living, the life of a poor peasant is worth nothing.  Another crash, the cars are on fire, and the only time Corinne is screaming, she is hysterically shrieking “My purse! My purse!”, as Roland rolls out from the burning car.  And at the end, when she is eating, she is told she is eating her husband.  She calmly asks for a second helping to go, for her to eat later.  Ending the film with Fin de Cinema, the End of Cinema, this was also the last film Godard did in this manner, choosing to focus on a documentary style. Because I always love hearing German, here is a another clip I found, Weekend Dubbed in German Why am I not surprised that this consists mainly of her taking a bath?  Well, it’s perfectly natural as the portrait she is imitating suggests.  Even though the camera is focused on Corinne as she bathes, the entire time Roland is lecturing her, the only nudity is the portrait hanging behind her. If you’re really interested in Weekend, here is the famous Weekend Traffic Jam Scene With Commentary that brings the story to a halt and lasts seven minutes.  It is discussed how Roland and Corinne are breaking the rules, an example of how they treat societies civilized mores “visual variety”.  There is also a longer 15 minute clip, with two great monologues juxtaposed with an interesting choice for imagery. Update: Weekend has been added to the Criterion Collection!  If you want to watch amazing movies, they are usually released by Criterion or Janus Films. Since I didn’t plan this weekend trip, I had no art itinerary planned.  But walking down Congress, we passed the Mexic-Arte Museum that was advertising a graffiti show, so we had to stop in.  Having never been in here before, I was impressed with the layout, very spacious – a great place to exhibit. Antonio Diaz Walking into the exhibit, the first wall is taken by a huge pop mural, grabbing my attention immediately.  I have always been a fan of pop and Andy Warhol, particularly loving the bright, bold colors.  Not one for subtly myself, I appreciate not being afraid to express something in a loud manner.  The subject matter always intrigues me.  Usually comments on society, I think it is very clever to pick up on everyday thoughts and imagery that has seeped into our subconscious and realize that even though we are bombarded with this now, it is actually a fleeting experience that is unique to our society at this particular moment.  I love that art can actually document something as intimate as our attitudes.  While a time capsule may preserve history and reveal many things, pop takes it in a different direction.  Loud, brash, and unapologetic, it has always stated the obvious right now.  Focusing on subjects like commercialism and consumerism, these pieces force you to contemplate the same things that overload your brain everyday, hopefully, making you aware and rethink the things that are constantly blurred in the background of everyday life, buzzing around you.  I am very interested in the fact that a graffiti exhibit is making my thoughts go to Warhol and his philosophies.

Antonio Diaz

Antonio Diaz
Damsel in Distress #2 (left), Three-color Screenprint, 36″ x 24″
War Hall (right), Screenprint on Industrial Boards, 13’6″ X 6″

I recognize the work of another artist in the show, Miguel DonJuan.  It’s weird because the imagery is very different than what I’ve previously seen of his work.  In fact, Miguel DonJuan, La Tigre, 2012, mixed media on birch, 4'x3'there is very little exposed wood, normally characteristic of his pieces.  But there are masked faces and graffiti, and although done differently, they still seem familiar to me.  The work still seems to deal with the topic of concealed identity, a particular issue for graffiti artists.  In this series of work, the figures are animals or donning an animal mask.  This work incorporates some words in Spanish, another varied element, I normally see his work as referencing other cultures.  He was in the Graduate program at UTSA when I attended there.  I have seen his work under Carlos DonJuan, Carlos SourGrapes, and now Miguel DonJuan.  I’m not sure why the use of different names, although his bio explains he is part of the Sour Grapes Collective. Niz.On the Fence, 2012,aerosol paint on found object,25x25There is an interesting piece by Niz, I believe the only solo female artist in the show.  Created with aerosol paint, I love the use of an old window as the object to directly paint on while also framing the work.  There are so many windows already in my collection…It’s nice to see old materials being incorporated into art.  This particular piece is political, discussing current concerns about the border.  Old, weathered items can help illustrate a mood or certain points you are trying to make.  A new window wouldn’t suggest an issue that as been there for a while, having a history. More images from the show by Origin of Cool. Since my friend collects vinyl, we head to End of an Ear, a fantastic record store.  Interestingly enough, we run into an album with the artwork of one of the artist that I represent, Linda Arredondo.  It is always great to see artists I am working with have their art exposed to different viewers. This piece was actually purchased at Justiceworks, I remember their farewell show late 2011.  Designed by fellow San Antonio artist, James Woodard for the band The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.  This was from her Monsters in Love series of mixed media pieces. Linda Arredondo & The Grasshopper Lies Heavy AustinAustin is a fun little town just a jump away from San Antonio.  I love that I can change scenery so easily.  As usual, I packed quite a bit into an overnight trip, experiencing film, art, and music here. Austin