Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Houston's Favorite Art From 2012

Robert Boyd

The votes are in--the people have spoken. Below are the most popular exhibits, performances and art fairs as chosen by an internet poll. There were 329 responses (of which 72 had to be disqualified*). Here's what you all thought was the best art of the year in Houston.

Favorite Exhibits

Christian Marclay, Grey Drip Door (The Electric Chair), 2006, synthetic ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 94 3/8" x 51 1/4" from the exhibit Silence

  1. Silence at the Menil Museum with 28 votes
  2. Richard Serra, Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective, Menil Museum with 26 votes
  3. tie: Hillerbrand+Magsamen , eState Sale at the Art League Houston and Aaron Parazette, Flyaway at the Art League Houston with 20 votes each
  4. Lisa Chow and Y.E. Torres, Once there was, once there wasn't: Two tales from the minds of Lisa Chow & Y. E. Torres at ARC Gallery with 19 votes
  5. Flying Solo at the Art League Houston with 16 votes
  6. tie: Debra Barrera, Kissing in Cars, Driving Alone at Moody Gallery; Staring at the Wall: The Art of Boredom at Lawndale Art Center; and James Turrell, Twilight Epiphany at Rice University with 15 votes each
  7. tie: WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath at the MFAH; Geoff Hippenstiel at Devin Borden Gallery; and Emily Peacock, You, Me & Diane at Lawndale Art Center with 14 votes each
  8. tie: James Ciosek, Human Hamster Wheel at Lawndale Art Center; In Plain Sight at McClain Gallery; [Hx8] at Station Museum;YE Torres and Erin Joyce, Raised in the Wild: Memories of a Bad Unicorn at the East End Studio Gallery; and Eric Zimmerman, Endless Disharmony & Telltale Ashes at Art Palace with 13 votes each
  9. tie: Debra Barrera, Drive Me There and Back Again at Blaffer Art Museum Window Into Houston; Sasha Dela, The Emotional Life of a Spy at the Art League Houston; Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at the CAMH; Laura Lark, The Livable Forest at Devin Borden Gallery; Peter Lucas, Voyager Found at Lawndale Art Center; and David Politzer, When You're Out There at the Houston Center for Photography with 12 votes each
  10. tie: Adela Andea, Primordial Gardens at the Art League Houston; Jamal Cyrus, STACKS residency at the Art League Houston; Sandy Ewen, Projection and Amplification at ARC Gallery; The Big Show at Lawndale Art Center; Lisa Marie Hunter, Camouflage at the Art League Houston; Phillip Pyle II, STACKS residency--Black Friday at the Art League Houston; M'Kina Tapscott STACKS residency--New Soil: Tessellations of Dark Matter at the Art League Houston; Julia Zarate, In Somnis Veritas at the East End Studio Gallery
An additional 357 (!) exhibits got votes, so congratulations all around.

Favorite Performances

Emily Sloan, Carrie Nation Hatchetation, performance at Notsuoh

  1. Emily Sloan, Carrie Nation Hatchetation at the The Lone Star Performance Explosion with 23 votes
  2. Zubi Puente and Y.E. Torres, Let's Play Doctor at the Continuum Live Art Series/Avant Garden with 20 votes
  3. tie: Jim Pirtle performance at Notsuoh as part of The Lone Star Performance Explosion and Tina McPherson, Love Exorcist at the Continuum Live Art Series/Avant Garden with 16 votes
  4. Non Grata, Force Majeure at the The Lone Star Performance Explosion with 14 votes
  5. tie: Nathaniel Donnett, ZZzzzzzz at the Art League Houston and Nancy Douthey, Chicken 'N Dinner at the  The Lone Star Performance Explosion with 13 votes
  6. tie: Emily Sloan, Is that a Baby Ruth in the Swimming Pool? at Darke Gallery and Militia "Malice" Tiamat, Know Thy Self, Continuum Live Art Series/Avant Garden with 12 votes
  7. tie: Daniel- Kayne, Three Day Fast at the The Lone Star Performance Explosion; Orion Maxted performance at Notsuoh at the The Lone Star Performance Explosion; and Non Grata , [performance at Avant Garden], The Lone Star Performance Explosion with 10 votes each
  8. tie: Jonatan Lopez performance at Avant Garden during the The Lone Star Performance Explosion and 1KA performance at the The Lone Star Performance Explosion with 9 votes each
  9. tie: Jamal Cyrus, Texas Fried Tenor at CAMH; Miao Jiaxin, I Have a Dream at Box 13; and Pope L., Costume Made of Nothing at the CAMH with 8 votes each
  10. John Pluecker, Antena Books: Pop-Up Bookstore and Literary Experimentation Lab, Project Row Houses with 7 votes
An additional 43 performances got votes. Congratulations all.

Favorite art fairs
  1. Texas Contemporary Art Fair with 73 votes
  2. Pan Art Fair with 48 votes
  3. Houston Fine Art Fair with 43 votes
A few closing comments. It's not always obvious where the boundary between exhibit and performance is. That was especially the case with with Radical Presence: Black performance in Contemporary Art at CAMH and STACKS at the Art League. Stacks was additionally difficult to deal with because it was, in effect, a series of residencies followed by one-person shows. So do you deal with them separately or as part of a greater show? I split them into separate shows and performances, but several people wrote in STACKS as a combined unit.

The favorite art fair question was admittedly a bit of a joke. 48 votes for the Pan Art Fair probably comes close to the entire attendance of the Pan Art Fair. But thanks everyone who voted.

* Unfortunately, there appeared to be some ballot stuffing activity. I created an algorithm to detect ballot stuffing, and while I probably missed a few, the 72 votes that were disqualified were almost certainly all from ballot stuffing. It's very disappointing that anyone would do something like this. I don't  understand it--there is no prize being given here. It's like cheating to win the election for junior high class president--and about as mature. All I wanted to do with this poll was to see what shows people liked best. The results however are almost certainly somewhat skewed by self-dealing on the part of certain people. You know who you are (and so do I). The result of these shenanigans is that I will probably not be running this poll again next year (or ever). It's not worth it to deal with the cheaters.



  1. Sorry to hear it was such a hassle. Good idea, but like any popularity contest, some people will try to skew the vote. I saw very few of these shows in person, but this blog provided me with a glimpse at many of them. Thanks!

  2. It was really fun to scroll through and remember my favorite performances of 2012. Of course it is a popularity contest, as all art and awards are. It has it's ups and downs but it is still interesting to note ~ thank you MT