September 2008

Monthly Archive

Vietnamese Legalese

Posted by michelle on 23 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: possibilities, silliness

{A brief excerpt from the menu of a local restaurant}


Due to the high cost of supplied foods Siagon Express is obligated asking customers to read this agreement and understand clearly before placing the order. From time to time Saigon Express encountered customers with behavioral discrepancy trying not to pay for the order: By law customers have to pay the order even if they like the food or simply saying cannot consume the food. This trend of behavior raises an extra cost to our operation. It is time such behavior must be put to the hold any tolerance will be faced to the law accordingly and probably will bean to all court costs.


Saigon Express

The Management

Imagination and Gin

Posted by ben on 16 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: books, essays, silliness, video/film

In an essay from , Luis Buñuel, while arguing that gin stimulates the imagination, explains how he came to use two actresses to play a single role in his final film:

If I had to list all the benefits of alcohol, it would be endless. In 1977, in Madrid, when I was in despair after a tempestuous argument with an actress who’d brought the shooting of to a halt, the producer, Serge Silberman, decided to abandon the film altogether. The considerable financial loss was depressing us both until one evening, when we were drowning our sorrows in a bar, I suddenly had the idea (after two dry martinis) of using two actresses in the same role, a tactic that had never been tried before. Although I made the suggestion as a joke, Silberman loved it, and the film was saved. Once again, the combination of bar and gin proved ubeatable.

Buildings and Dumpsters

Posted by ben on 15 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: architecture, design, graffiti, public art, responses/reviews

Near the end of the Q&A following the Art Guys‘ lecture at UTSA last week, one woman challenged the Houston collaborative’s assertion that their art doesn’t have to mean anything. For this audience member, meaning arises between the object and the viewer, regardless of the intentions of the artist. She must have touched a bit of a nerve; for the first time all night, the Art Guys set aside their jokey, unpretentious demeanor and turned ever-so-slightly preachy. Although the exchange was grating to my ears, it revealed quite clearly an underlying agenda of this 25-years-in-the-making art duo: to short-circuit meaning and expectations in human interaction. At one point, Art Guy Michael Galbreth pointed to a chair and rhetorically asked: What does this mean?

David Adjaye

The following night, UTSA (in collaboration with Artpace) hosted a lecture by David Adjaye in which he focussed on his work with public spaces. Early in the lecture he raised the idea of “editing the city.” Throughout the talk this phrase came back to me again and again, as I saw Adjaye weave together cultural artifacts, contemporary urbanist theory, and old-fashioned human proportions into buildings that are at once blank and full of personality. What became clear is that a building can be a segue in an urban environment between two types of space (or even two senses of time), it can tell you something about the city, or about how you should interact. In one case, Adjaye insisted on building a café on the top of a larger London building he was designing, while his clients and others wanted it on the street level. During the lecture he pointed out that having this café above the street would allow people who spend all day on the streets to have a view of the city from above — to see the skyline and the rooftops. But beyond the aesthetics, this placement says something about leisure time, and the way that people ought to share it. Above the street. Away from the hustle.

And so this building says something about the way that people ought to interact, about what they should value. In this same sense, a chair says something about how and where we ought to sit. In the auditorum where the Art Guys spoke, all of our chairs were lined up in a particular way that focussed our attention. If we had walked into a room with 500 pillows on the floor, the space would indeed have had a different meaning. So yeah, Mike, the chair means something.

Gold Dumpster by the Art Guys

But I don’t intend to play a game of gotcha here. John Cage was perfectly right to say that ““, and the Art Guys do a fine job of short-circuiting meaning in a way that reveals and deepens  acts of observing and understanding. An example: During a residency in San Francisco, the Art Guys noticed a dumpster across the street from their apartment. They watched as the community used this resource as a place to discard, and a place to acquire. Something to crouch behind while shooting up heroin, something to throw up in. A canvas for the taggers. It was constantly overflowing with trash, pushed from one end of the parking lot to the other, covered with grafitti. One evening the Art Guys painted the dumpster gold. Shortly thereafter, the property owner cleaned up the area, and started keeping the dumpster under lock and key. The question of why all this happened — why the dumpster was painted gold, why it was treated differently after being painted — is a kind of absurdity that reveals a lot about human interaction. In a sense, it doesn’t mean anything. But it is a catalyst for observation and thought.

Where David Adjaye revealed something about a city by imbuing a building with a different kind of meaning, the Art Guys revealed something about a city through an act of absurdity. In architecture, so often forgotten among its inhabitants, Adjaye pushes us to awareness with an overriding sense of intentionality and purpose; in art, so often overanalyzed by its devotees, the Art Guys push us to awareness with unrelenting whimsy.

Note: The Art Guys have an exhibit called Cloud Cuckoo Land up at UTSA’s 1604 campus through October 12. David Adjaye’s exhibit, Making Public Buildings, is up at Artpace through January 4.

The In and Outlaws Rock The Casbeers

Posted by justin on 15 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: adventure day, art paparazzi, responses/reviews, rock!

(words by Hills Snyder, photos by Justin Parr)

Gordon In and Outlaws Casbeers San Antonio TX hurricane

Friends, these guys put the try back in Country…and by that I mean they really put out. It’s not straight up, but their unicorn-pone delivery isn’t really tongue-in-cheek either, though there is enough iron in it to lay tracks. It’s more like tongue-in-your-lobe. I haven’t smiled so much for a band since I wore red pants to the Wonder Woman Cafe and told the waiter there was a heroine in my soup. Others were smiling too. If the shareef didn’t like it, he wasn’t telling anyone.

Continue Reading »

Mystery de San Antonio Street Art vol. 4

Posted by justin on 07 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: adventure day, wordy

Mystery de San Antonio Street Art by Justin Parr

In a New Light: Q&A with Rene Barilleaux

Posted by michelle on 05 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: interviews

Red Marioni{Rene Barilleaux is the Curator of Art after 1945 at the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. Check out his blog here.} 

EMV: Now that the McNay Art Museum has expanded, what will be your focus as the curator of art after 1945?

RB:The new Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions allows the McNay to present larger scale exhibitions than in the past. With our expanding collection of contemporary art, coupled with the contemporary architecture of the Stieren Center, greater emphasis will be placed on recent art. As before, and even more now, my focus will be on acquiring works for the permanent collection, organizing and installing exhibitions, creating programs and working with our contemporary art interest group, the McNay Contemporary Collectors Forum.

EMV: As part of your curatorial role at the McNay, you travel to ongoing art festivals and biennials. What do you bring back from these events as they become larger and oftentimes feature too much art for one to possibly consider [for example, Miami Basel]?

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Artpace Texas open call – Don’t Forget!

Posted by justin on 04 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: announcements, arts organizations, upcoming events

From the website :

Calling all Texas artists! Visit to submit your Open Call application for the 2010 International Artist-in-Residence program. Every year Texas artists are invited to submit material to be considered for a shortlist that will be reviewed by Artpace�s guest curators. Shortlisted artists� material will be examined by three curators, who may also conduct studio visits. From this process each curator identifies an innovative Texas artist to become an International Artist-in-Residence. 

Baroque Obama

Posted by michelle on 03 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: silliness


Baroque Obamaq


{Hat tip}