February 2007

Monthly Archive

Collectors Beware

Posted by ben on 26 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: music

General Idea AIDS BookIf you’re looking for cheap but hip collectibles to decorate your walls and your sound space, these are the sites for you. Steven Leiber Basement has everything from Dada mail art to General Idea multiples to posters and catalogs for Sol LeWitt and Joseph Beuys shows. They have a huge catalog, and a lot of it is relatively cheap. Mutant Sounds has rips of some incredibly rare records and tapes that are pretty much impossible to find in their original formats. Psychedelic, prog, krautrock, free improv, it’s all here. You probably won’t know what most of the stuff is (unless you’re a total music geek), but that makes it all the more fun to explore.

Fucking Art Fucking Art Fucking Art Fucking Art Fucking Art

Posted by michelle on 25 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: art paparazzi, responses/reviews


San Antonio artists Maurice and Liz Trevino invite you to an orgy at Art Palace and their lascivious visions don’t disappoint. Gauging the local proclivity for profane imagery and references [the Donkey Show, big dongs and panty shots in Dark Matter @ Okay Mountain, and Seth Alverson's goat headed girls gone wild in the dining room at Art Palace last month], it looks like spring is in the underwear. With the animalistic hubris of an unbounded libido, the Trevino duo shamelessly reveal all the devilish details of copulation and mild cannibalism. Sighs Matters illuminates sex acts with black lights, bright stoner-flourescent color schemes and scenes of slippery pleasures.
The loaded content leads us through a series of encounters that display pornographic compositions alongside symbols of virility, greed and an indefatigable appetite for the flesh.

The couple works together to create sculptures and paintings that tell a venereal tale meant to illicit hot cheeks and fog up an architect’s spectacles. It would be difficult to ascertain where one artist begins and the other ends and the show itself sheds the notion of collaboration as a dichotomy of two different styles or approaches to the same subject matter. The punchy title gives us a pun intent on investigating the life of a coxcomb. The entire house [Art Palace is a hybrid of a domestic dwelling/gallery space] pulsates with a sui generis power that is impossible to resist. You are absolutely compelled to contemplate a muscular, almost maniacal Leprechaun man busting through bright orange bricks somewhat mimetic of The Thing from Fantastic Four. Liz & Maurice took Mexican ceramic sculptures and made them their own by coating them with thick, golden glitter and intense, sanguine red/inky black paint that harbors significant connotations of bloodshed in dried and vivified forms. On the back wall of the gallery, a trifecta of paintings and intermingling lovers gives us a look at a man biting the back of one of his libertines. Flanked by two ravenous tiger heads, the scene quintessentially visualizes a cardinal drive while nibbling around masterpieces like Goya’s Saturno. It’s brilliantly deviant art that’s capable of lingering in your mind; a hot night of raw copulation that you can replay long after the act itself is over.

emvergeoning sun worship vacation

Posted by justin on 25 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: art paparazzi, performance art, silliness

Ed saavedra swings from a homemade rope swing at the Tacoland Park

TCA Update

Posted by ben on 23 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: announcements, opportunities

I tried digging up information about the nixing of the TCA, but I guess I’m just not much of an investigative journalist, ’cause I got nowhere. But, via ‘Bout What I Sees, I found an article on Cantanker about major political problems for TCA.

Written in November of last year, the article details dissatisfaction with the management of TCA:

The Sunset Review Commission threw the Texas Commission on the Arts a startling blow last session when it reversed its staff’s recommendations and gave TCA only a two-year continuation, rather than the customary 12-year stay that most state agencies are granted.

The Sunset Commission, a 12-member body of legislators and public members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House, was concerned with the dual direction the agency was taking as being both a funding organization and a service-oriented organization. They felt TCA should prioritize its role as a funding entity and were concerned that the agency was not taking its directives seriously. As a result, they took the necessary steps to send TCA a strong wake-up call.

The same article lays out the consequences of dissolving the 40-year-old state agency. Not only would the $3 million of state funding for the arts dry up, but the $800,000 Texas gets from NEA would also be jeopardized. Considering the amount of money Texas artists and institutions get from other sources, the loss of less than $4 million a year would not exactly be a mortal blow to the arts community. However, I know from personal experience that the TCA does provide some unique funding services, especially for arts workshops in schools, that would be missed.

The best thing for us to do now is contact state-level Senators and Representatives to try to find advocates for the agency. Rep. Bob Deuell formed the Cultural Resources Caucus in October of last year, which will hopefully be an ally in this battle. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more…

Utopia or Dystopia?

Posted by ben on 23 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: music, video/film

I’m honestly not sure if this Kraftwerk video presents a chilling vision of the future, or a glorious dream that one day all men will wear blinking ties. Maybe that’s what makes it so brilliant, a perfect Friday afternoon treat.

adventure day

Posted by justin on 22 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: adventure day, art paparazzi, graffiti, silliness

this is one of those anti blog type posts where I tell you about mine and bens adventures on the south side.

(using convieniently placed photos)

ben judson holds a sign on the south side, san antonio tx. bike ride days.

heres ben judson holding a monkeywrench.

South San Antonio Railroad Tracks

heres a sky in the shape of a brush fire.

funny San Antonio Graffiti 2007

heres some really silly graffiti.

thats all for the today.  I didnt even include any photos of my cat, marn-ball.

( adventure day was officially february 20th 2007 )

Might Be Gummed…

Posted by michelle on 22 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: responses/reviews


While i2i Gallery transgresses an unusual identity crisis [photographer Gary Smith plans to change the name to VTrue Artspace] , the latest show offers sculptures twisted in sexual tension and sailboat festooning. Artist Jerry Monteith carves up objects that ply the unfamiliar with a wandering hand in Hilarious Wounds.

Heading the sculpture department at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Monteith takes injured tree limbs from his home state and modifies them to assume human anatomical presence. The result is an imbroglio of antlers, wooden, mossy orbs and gnarly tree limbs that elicit surprising elements from forest detritus.

Alberto Giacometti’s Suspended Ball [pictured above, right] softly lingers in sexual imagery that perpetuates a state of alertness and arousal. Using mimetic juxtapositions, Monteith places smoothed wooden elbows sheathed in coarse fur alongside a buffed, pink convexed curve. The slightest nudge would create a satisfying connection, yet Montieth enjoys this interstitial space. This slightly provocative playfulness keeps Monteith’s work sincerely quixotic.

The centerpiece of the show accosts viewers with a garish display of neon orange, wooden ovals of unripened coconut green and a mess of red, blue and black cross hatching with tape or colored vinyl wrapped around a forked piece of wood. It’s one of the few pieces I simply couldn’t unravel from its abstract intentions.

How many Spanish, Surrealist crutches can you find in this body of work? One of them morphs into a petite horse’s arse, only to become a rocking horse base. The clam beak creature pictured above breaks out of black pearls cloaked in sheer nylon. Exotic allusions to Indonesia and South Pacific gems give this critter an abundance of hidden potency. In a lighter, wall-mounted sculpture, verdant, intertwined wooden limbs end in carved hands that could have been clipped from the criminal mittens of a wayward Pinocchio. One goofy megaphone-mouthed giraffe dipped in deep yellow goads familiarity until it becomes just slightly ambiguous and impossible to define. Be on alert as you peruse the Hilarious Wounds, you might be gummed.

 monteeth Continue Reading »

Ken Little brings hacking everyday objects to UTSA

Posted by justin on 20 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: announcements, upcoming events

Bettina Wenzel at UTSA / curator Ken Little I thought this looked like fun… Got this in email from Ken Little (of Rodeo Ho Ho fame)

An Exhibition and Lectures by three European Artists visiting UTSA

The Lectures:
3.01.18A (third floor, Art Building)

The Department of Art and Art History Visiting Artist Series Presents:

Composer, Performer, Sound Artist (Germany)

Performer (Germany)

Hans W. Koch, currently on the faculty at California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, will present video clips from his subversive media installations, hacking into everyday toys and tools. Hans and Bettina Wenzel will also present some of their collaborations with media, showcasing Bettina’s extraordinary vocal techniques. Website to preview

The Exhibition/ Openings/ Peformances: “Works for America” is an exhibition by three European artists at the UTSA Satellite Space on Thursday March 1 and Friday March 2 from 6-9 PM. There will be live performances by the artists during the openings at 8:00 PM each evening. “Works for America” features works by artists Hans W. Koch (Germany) Bettina Wenzel (Germany) and Heimo Wallner (Austria). Wallner will show wall drawings and animations, while Koch will present subversive media installations, hacking into everyday toys and tools. During the opening they will be joined by Bettina Wenzel, presenting some of her pieces with media and extraordinary vocal techniques and perform all together including the curator, Ken Little. Fun and excitment guaranteed. No entrance fee, no money back.

The Future of the Arts in Texas

Posted by justin on 19 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: announcements, opportunities

Got this in email today from Michele Monseau over at Three Walls Gallery:

Texas Artists Call to Action:

The Governor’s office has a proposal to assume control over the Texas Commission on the Arts. The 40-year state agency would be eliminated and its power and agency would become a part of the Governor’s office. The future of the state arts supporting agency is at a crossroads and we need every Texas artist to wake up and contact their state representative and state senator and ask them to join the Texas Cultural Resources Caucus.

By your state representative and state senator joining the Texas Cultural Resources Caucus, artists will have a centralized and direct legislative power base to review the Governor’s proposal and the future of the Texas Arts industry. The political and funding implications for the Texas Commission on the Arts being under the Governor’s office need to be studied and reviewed carefully. The politics of the arts under the Governor can be
beneficial with an arts-supportive Governor but what happens next Governor or the next?

Is this a short-sighted fix to a battered agency or the long-term solution? The proper analysis has not yet been done therefore it is important for all artists to become engaged and encourage their state representatives and state senators to join the Texas Cultural Resources Caucus where we can have a centralized political discussion and analysis of this latest proposal. The more legislative members involved in the Texas Cultural Resources Caucus would also create more power regarding the fate of the Texas Commission on the Arts created by the grassroots army of Texas artists.

There are already an estimated 50 House and Senate members who have joined the Texas Cultural Resources Caucus. To contact or to identify your state representative or senator, go to the Texas Legislature website.

Please pass this E-mail action alert to every Texas artist and Texas’ arts group and encourage them to get involved today.

Richard May
Arts Alliance
Austin, TX

Franco french kissing a woman? photos-from-inside the Franco Mondini-Ruiz limo!

Posted by justin on 19 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: art paparazzi, in yo face, party photos, responses/reviews

Its a ghastly place. The floor is smudged with a thousand chocolate hearts, trampled on by high dollar pointed shoe-weapons. The glasses are all asunder, glowing behind them is a thousand LED lights, like tiny stars in the walls, a disco light on the ceiling and pink “fluff,” or “tool,” everywhere. The “tool,” has been heaved around like a massive giant stirred a martini with his finger, while the smattered chocolates just make you think of the fecal fetishes I jokingly hear about every so often in these funny art circles. Strange. It started out innocent enough. Clean, full bottles of tequila, stained pink, sat lined up in rows on the inside of the limo. Boxes and boxes of chocolates lie calmly awaiting consumption by the precious glittering hordes of fans, friends, followers, and skeptics. I worked on the inside. Not inside Lisa Ortiz’s Galeria Ortiz, where the Franco Mondini-Ruiz Love Stories was about to take place, but inside of the limo that Franco hired to party your pants off if you bought a painting from him. Included with this was the opportunity to go inside the limo and have your polaroid taken with Franco. Being the dedicated shooter, I think I saw everything. Here is what I can show you. The others might get me maimed, shot, murdered, or even “ruin my career,” in San Antonio. I joke, and you laugh, but dont even think these photos below are going to blow your mind. Here they are, by request from anonymous fans abroad (really? ..thats what ben tells me.) ; photos from the inside..

(I’ll tell you as much as I can about each image if you hover your mouse over them..)

Ok, well maybe not much about this one.

Franco Mondini being filmed by the paparazzi artists outside.

i need some love potion.

Oh my god, theres money in that womans chest (she has an upcoming show at Salon Mijangos, its gonna be good)

what kind of disco hell is this?

very friendly folks. quite friendly. nice folks.

turnin on the ol charmer

cheap headshots anyone? I know this guy, hes real good.

Continue Reading »

More Jed Perl

Posted by ben on 18 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: responses/reviews

I came across this article on Spiked about Jed Perl and thought I’d do a follow-up on my earlier post. The Spiked article emphasizes some other aspects of Perl’s dissatisfaction with contemporary art that I think are worth addressing.

One issue here is a general skepticism towards postmodern values, which I must confess I share. It’s not that I don’t find postmodern work interesting or valuable (I was delighted to find Richard Prince’s Paintings – Photographs on Amazon for $20), but this viewpoint does lend itself to abuse. At a certain point you have to find something that is concrete and essential in a work to get a grasp on it, but there is a tendency to focus on context at the expense of the actual work.

Another, related point is the role of democracy in the arts. It could be argued that for a museum to be filled with Rembrandts and Mondrians makes it a sort of elitist institution — it refuses to participate in the kind of culture that most people are really interested in. It claims that its standards are higher than the denizens of the MySpace-YouTube Axis of Drivel. Perl turns this argument on its head by insisting that the refusal to make the Mondrians available to the prols is in itself a kind of elitism. It is tantamount to claiming that Jane Wine-box can’t possibly grasp a Mondrian, so why waste her time with it? The museums were instituted for the noble purpose of bringing high art to the masses, and why should that role be any different now than it was fifty years ago?

Clearly Perl’s arguments have a hyperbolic ring to them. The Spiked article quotes Perl as saying “Surely in a wealthy society we have room for a Kandinsky, a Mondrian and a motorcycle show?” — but it’s not as if museums have stopped showing Mondrian. And it seems to me that plenty of art critics are still capable of discussing the formal qualities of a work apart from its cultural context (although I’m not in a good position to judge that, having no formal training in art and not really following the critical dialogue). A lot of people are also probably thinking that Perl is just another Greenbergian curmudgeon, bitterly fighting against cultural trends he doesn’t comprehend.

But I think there is a kind of conceit in certain conceptions of the ‘postmodern’ era. The name itself betrays that conceit — it’s as if there is a belief that we have moved beyond the fundamental problems that faced people a hundred years ago, that we can just slough off the baggage of structuralism and hierarchy like an old pair of shoes. The idea that a work of art can evoke feelings that are both universal and deeply personal, that there are essential human problems that can be addressed through art, is being thrown out as well. This, I think, is what’s bothering Perl — that as we try to move beyond the modern era, we start to deny essential aspects of what it means to be human. One of those aspects is the ability to have a truly personal and intimate relationship with a work of art.

Banding Together

Posted by ben on 16 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: responses/reviews

Japanese Apricot 2 by Chiho Aoshima (Detail)Over at his blog on Glasstire, Bill Davenport takes a stab a pinning down the allure of art corporations like Kaikai Kiki (corporate home of Chiho Aoshima, who recently anthropomorphized half the buildings in downtown San Antonio in her Artpace installation). His conclusion is that, apart from the marketing benefits, perhaps these institutions provide artists with a fortress to protect them from constant calls for innovation. If the corporation is seen as innovative, then the artists can just work within the stylistic language which has become its signature. They can refine rather than innovate. Perhaps it goes back to the traditional artistic families in Japan, with their domination of certain art forms and their rigid allegiance to tradition.

While I agree with him about the harmful effects of forced innovation, I don’t see why he’s so quick to dismiss the idea that banding together in this way can help artists pioneer new forms. Despite the tendency of institutions to become conservative to the point of sluggishness, well-run corporations have learned to spur innovation in many areas. Although I don’t know much about Kaikai Kiki, it seems to function in a way that is very similar to a record label, discovering, cultivating, producing, and promoting young artists, often with heavy merchandising. In some cases, by bringing groups together under a single imprint, labels are able to cultivate a market for a burgeoning artistic style. Under the right circumstances, this can lead artists to push the limits of the style further, as the audience expands to meet them.

I know the opposite is more often the case — but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the notion that a corporate setting has the potential to encourage innovation.


Posted by ben on 15 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: music, net.art, sound art

Three to One by Max NeuhausMax Neuhaus has been a visionary in the artistic use of sound for decades. In the 60s he worked with some of the most innovative musicians in America (Cage, Stockhausen, Feldman), and was a pioneer of “live electronic music.” But soon he sloughed off the constraints of traditional musical performance altogether. The limitations Neuhaus tore down include time-based sound composition and the separation of audience from performer. To free sound from the tyranny of time, Neuhaus developed the concept of sound installations, which work as audio sculptures to be experienced as spacial components of the environment (one of these pieces is located in Times Square, and maintained by the Dia Art Foundation).

To break down the isolation of audience, performer, and composer, Neuhaus began to work on community-based sound compositions in the 60s. To do this, he connected two widespread audio networks: the telephone and the radio (apparently this was before the days of call-in radio shows). By putting ten telephone lines into a radio studio in New York, and developing a device to answer them and mix the audio, he created a sound piece in which the audience was the primary composer and performer of the work. He later convinced NPR to let him repeat the project across the nation in the late 70s. For Radio Net, Neuhaus connected 200 NPR stations, five of which were accepting calls. Over the course of two hours, ten thousand people participated in a nationwide audio loop.

His newest project flows out of these ideas of communities collaborating with sound, but moves the work to the Internet. With his Auracle website, Neuhaus has built both an instrument and a space within which to perform. Using a microphone, visitors can use their voice to control a sophisticated sound-creation tool. Your voice is analyzed by a JavaScript program on your computer, and certain gestural cues are sent to the server, which then sends them back to your computer to generate the sound. When you enter the website, you can set up virtual spaces (like chat rooms) in which you can perform with a group of other people. The sounds generated are ghostly electronic echoes, but in them can be heard the gestures of human speech. They are simultaneously mechanical and natural, robotic and organic. As Neuhaus says, “what these works are really about is proposing to reinstate a kind of music which we have forgotten about and which is perhaps the original impulse for music in man: not making a musical product to be listened to, but forming a dialogue, a dialogue without language, a sound dialogue.”

[Image courtesy Lawrence Markey Gallery]

The Jesse Amado Experience

Posted by ben on 13 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: responses/reviews

Death is the Mother of BeautyArtpace and Finesilver crossed the proverbial streams by each opening a Jesse Amado exhibit last week, on the 8th and 9th respectively. The show at Artpace is a kind of mini-retrospective or survey of his work, while the Finesilver show is more like an upscale studio visit — from what I understand, it was not curated, and is a way of letting the artist show new work that Artpace doesn’t have the space for. The Finesilver show thus has the kind of loose, work-in-progress feel that Artpace residencies sometimes produce (empty cardboard boxes sitting in the corner, pieces hung with scotch tape).

The only common elements are recent compressed cellulose sponge pieces such as the one pictured here. Still using his signature Helvetica typeface (like design group Experimental Jet Set, Amado displays an unusual loyalty to Helvetica), Amado spells out the dots and dashes of a Morse-coded message. In other pieces, he uses the same medium to write out “death,” “desire,” and “beauty.” (Not coincidentally, I’m sure, the title of this Morse code piece is “Death is the Mother of Beauty” — a reference to a Wallace Stevens poem: “Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, / Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams / And our desires.”)

At Artpace, the work spans a broad range of styles from Amado’s early felt cones (inspired by Joseph Beuys) to the stacked letters to the sponge pieces. Here we see him critique the exploitation of Joseph Beuys in a fashion magazine spread, while at Finesilver we see him echo Warhol’s secularization of The Last Supper. At one moment he references poetry about the ultimate meaning of death and sacrifice, at another he seems to use text as an almost arbitrary medium. Seeing these shows simultaneously (and hearing him talk about the work at Artpace) has brought to the forefront Amado’s schizophrenic ideas of art being just a “good picture” on the one hand and a philosophical statement on the other. It’s a schizophrenia he shares with much of the art world, trying to be decadent and austere, flippant and sincere.

I can’t tell if it’s a commentary on human nature or a defense mechanism.

Scribble Scrabble at the Blanton

Posted by michelle on 11 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: responses/reviews

leon ferrariStare at this drawing by Leon Ferrari for a few minutes. Just stare at it until your pupils become puddles of ink dipped, tiny tornadoes. Somehow this drawing punctures holes into every big problem I think I have these days. It’s complicated yet pellucid. Things get tangled up until you look back at your circuitous path and wonder, what have I been doing? How did I get here? Dude, where’s my carcass? Then a security guard tells you to stop loitering in the wonderful drawing room at the Blanton. Bummer. The Gego drawings in there are magnificent and this Ferrari piece offers insight into texts as they deteriorate into schizophrenic strings of indecipherable subtext. Yeah, you heard me the first time. And if you haven’t been to the Blanton yet, take a drive up 281 so you can see all the miniature ponies along the way!!

Next Page »