Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pan Recommends for the week of February 28 to March 6

Robert Boyd

Here are a few things in the coming week to check out, if you have the time.


Here's an old one by Jonathan Leach

Jonathan Leach, Time Does Not Exist Here, at Sonja Roesch Gallery at 6m (up through April 17). The maestro of candy-colored hard-edge painting is back with a new show, which is sure to be excellent.

Bert Long piece from his exhibit opening Thursday

Bert L. Long, Jr--An Odyssey at Houston Baptist University Contemporary Art Gallery, 6 pm (runs through April 18). It's tragic that Bert Long didn't get to see this show, which has inadvertently become a memorial exhibit. It's hard to imagine a better way to honor the memory of a Houston art great.


Julon Pinkston, Baby Honey-Bee, 2012, acrylic and plastic BBs on wood panel, 10 x 6 x 3 ½”

Art+New: 4 New Gallery Artists at Zoya Tommy Contemporary, 6 pm (up through March 16). First she moved her gallery to a new space, and now she's given it her own name. The first show under the name Zoya Tommy Contemporary features work by Scott Everingham, Louis Vega Trevino, John Stuart Berger, Julon Pinkston and the late Laurent Boccara.

Jang Soon, Dong-tak burns Nakyang transferring capital to ZangAn, Digital print, 40" x 28", 2011

Jang Soon: Gone Not Around Any Longer at the The Joanna, 7–10 pm. The Joanna is back with a new show by CORE fellow Jang Soon, known for his intensely colored historical battle scenes.


Toby Kamps, New York, 2010, Gelatin Silver Print, 8x10" 

Toby Kamps: 99 Cent Dreams at Front Gallery ,4 to 6 pm (up through April 16). Here's my theory of critics versus curators. When a critic shows his artwork, artists are likely to shrug and say, "Don't give up your day job, asshole." But when a curator shows his artwork, artists will say something like, "Great show, sir! Your work is exquisite! I weep with joy in its sublime presence!" We'll see it this theory holds water when we see former CAMH curator/present Menil curator Toby Kamps' new photo exhibit at Front Gallery.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dissatisfaction: A Talk with Marzia Faggin

Virginia Billeaud Anderson

Recently two Houston critics published reviews of Marzia Faggin’s Dissatisfaction exhibition at d.m. allison art, which can be seen through March 2, and if I invoke them, it’s because they are informative. Devon Britt-Darby, writing for Arts & Culture Magazine, considered Faggin’s thirteen wall mounted three-dimensional panels to be a continuation of the work she showed at Nau-haus Art in 2011, which he described as “life-size painted cast-plaster still lifes of potentially addictive pills like Lithium, Xanax and Adderall, which she juxtaposed with equally convincing replicas of equally addictive chocolates, cookies and other sugary snacks.” Faggin’s new work, according to Britt-Darby, “keeps the same intimate, life-size scale, but ups the ante both conceptually and formally. Candies, some half-eaten; pills; and snuffed-out cigarettes now sit along expertly cast and hand-painted copies of books from Faggin’s personal library. And what a library it is: Junky by William S. Burroughs, Albert Camus’s The Stranger and Charles Bukowski’s Ham on Rye are among the volumes sharing real estate on what Faggin calls ‘details of a nightstand’ with scattered chocolates, capsules, and other bits of evidence of how the nightstand owner numbs or deflects his or her pain.”

Writing for the Houston Press, Abby Koenig described the objects on Faggin’s panels as those “one might find after a night of soul searching and debauchery,” and rightly associated the panels’ books with our yearning for meaning in life. The “hopelessness” that leads us to read Sartre, Burroughs and Bukowski, she suggested, explains our use of pills, booze, cigarettes and Kit Kat bars. The critic further noted how realistic the objects seem, “the details are so perfect; the rice crisps of the Krackel bar pop out of the plaster chocolate,” she wrote, which is precisely the reaction I had the first time I encountered one of Faggin’s panels of addictive pills at PG Contemporary in 2012.

Cumulatively the two critics provide a fine description of Faggin’s art. After talking to the artist I would like to add a tiny bit more.

Marzia Faggin, Detail of a Night Stand: Ham on Rye, 2013, Hand painted plaster (Hydrocal),12 x 12
Virginia Billeaud Anderson: Let’s get the topic of addiction out of the way, for anyone who thinks your art is about addiction, or wonders if you have had personal experience with addiction, either yours, family or friends.

Marzia Faggin: The art is not about addiction, it’s about existential angst, our need to understand human existence. I was thinking about what a lonely space a nightstand can be, the half-eaten chocolates, and other objects speak of "dissatisfaction." I have been smoking cigarettes since I was 13 and have quit at least 25 times, the longest stretch without being over a year when I was pregnant and nursing. Addiction to anything can be miserable and I empathize. Effects on the mind and body vary, but addiction can bring suffering and self loathing. I have friends without any addictions, friends who are addicts, and some are former addicts. The most common addiction among my friends is food.

VBA: Briefly describe the process of making casts - do you construct a mold from the real object, how is it done?

MF: When I began working I often incorporated pre-fabricated molds along with the original molds. For "Dissatisfaction" I constructed molds for everything except the art’s base, which I cast from a 12" x 12" pre-fabricated tile mold. I use a two-part silicone to make a mold of the objects, cast from real objects, and pour plaster into the molds. It's not a complicated process and is similar to baking. At first you follow the recipe, then you learn to eyeball the ingredients.

Collaboration with my brother Eric Faggin brought me to this. In early 2010 we worked together on a piece called Natura Morta for the group show Material and deStructure, curated by Zoya Tommy at PG Contemporary Gallery, which is now called Zoya Tommy Contemporary Gallery. We made a cast concrete frame above a bed of grass with flowers. When water was sprayed on the frame, the inscription Natura Morta, (“Still Life” in Italian) appeared. While Eric worked on the concrete frame, I experimented with materials to make the flowers, searched the Internet for materials and molds, eventually trying latex, alginate, putty, silicone, baking molds, as well as various types of plaster. About the time I decided to use Permastone, the artist Richard Soler suggested I use Hydrocal because it's lighter and whiter.

Two of my paintings in Zoya's show caught the attention of the critic Robert Boyd, who contacted me a few months later and asked me to be part of an exhibition he was curating for the Freneticore Theater Fringe Festival. The 15 plaster wall hangings I made represented my beginning in this art form.

Marzia Faggin, Detail of a Nightstand: The Stranger, 2013, Hand painted plaster (Hydrocal),12" x 12"
VBA: Do you sketch or design the composition before you create each panel?

MF: No, I don't sketch or design the compositions. I’m usually unsure about arrangement until I’ve completed the individual elements. It's like having a bunch of puzzle pieces that can be re-arranged, until I'm satisfied that the results communicate what I have in mind. For Dissatisfaction, I knew which books I would include, and also which objects - candy, cigarettes - would be “details of a nightstand,” but not the arrangement of the panels.

VBA: Are the “real” candy, pills, books or cigarettes in front of you to guide you?

MF: Yes, I have the "real" object in front of me as a guide, but I tend to make colors brighter, since I love color.

VBA: It must require precise brush handling to make plastic appear like real chocolate or Xanax. Is coloring a lengthy or tedious process? Make a comment about the brushes you use.

MF: The brushes range from size 000 to 6. Painting is labor intensive, and can take 8 hours to paint 3 chocolates, I spent 6 months painting half-eaten chocolates, so boring. I was not sure why I was doing it. A half-eaten chocolate represents something painful. Even the act of painting these chocolates depressed me.

VBA: Why do you think you are drawn to such precise manipulation of materials?

MF: I love to work with my hands, I love to paint, and I'm a "bit" obsessive. Working in 3-D suits my skills, I can more effectively express myself.

VBA: In the past when you painted, I can’t help but wonder if you had an obsessively representational style. Did your paintings and print art forewarn of the work you are doing now?

MF: I don’t know if my style was representational, but my technique was one that lacked visible brush strokes. Precision and color are very important. When I printed with Dan Allison I applied paint to some of the prints. Drawing is not my forte. But combining computer images with traditional techniques suited me because with the computer, images become objects that can be endlessly moved around, similar to the 3-D objects I create, and move around until I'm satisfied the composition expresses what I’m feeling.

Marzia Faggin, Detail of a Night Stand: Go Now, 2013, Hand painted plaster (Hydrocal), 12" x 12"
VBA: You were formally trained to manipulate images. According to your biographical material you studied graphic design at the Instituto Europeo Di Design in Milan, and paper conservation at Atelier Deltos di Simonetta Rosatelli. Surely experience in graphic design adds to this artistic expression, but do you think the chemistry you learned when studying paper conservation flavors the work with molds and cast plastic?

MF: Studying graphic design shaped me tremendously. It taught me to be precise and clean, even if I did not start out that way. The first months of school took some adjusting. I presented my exercises with fingerprints, smudges and creases on the paper and my classmates and professors were horrified. I didn't even know how to use a ruler. The X-Acto knife was suicidal, which is funny, because now the ruler and X-Acto knife are as indispensable as my hands. School taught me precision and patience. Paper conservation is precise and repetitive, patience is key in that work.

VBA: Let’s talk about the books. In our previous discussion you acknowledged their existential significance, and said you choose books that “relay the darker element of suffering.” Rimbaud, Sartre and Burroughs are bleak, but Camus! I remember dissecting The Stranger in a graduate school seminar, and thinking how perfectly its opening lines convey the absurdity of our existing as mortals within an indifferent universe. In Camus’s story, which you reproduced as a nightstand element, existence is alienated from meaning. Comment on your connection to the literature. Did you “seriously” study this literature, in an academic environment?

MF: I did not "seriously" study literature. I like to read, but don’t consider myself well-read. I gravitate toward books that question life, and entertain the psychological motivations behind behavior, reasons for hypocrisy, criminality, injustice, loneliness, violence and suffering, as well as the search for truth. I like books that make me think.

I want to say this, even if it sounds corny or lame. Ever since I was a child I've been hoarding candy, the brighter the colors, the better, for me candy is one of the most beautiful things in the world. As an adult I don’t have to hide my candy, and I have it everywhere, which is strange because I don't have much of a sweet tooth. This might seem to contradict my previous description of half-eaten chocolate bars as sad, but in my imagination chocolate absorbs sorrow, and candy seems to deflect it.
And this might be too corny, but in 2004 while living in Florence I decided to discontinue working as a graphic designer about the time of my first solo show in a bookstore called Libreria Martelli, organized by Paolo Giomi, the husband of Simonetta Rosatelli who operated Atelier Deltos where I apprenticed in paper conservation. My husband Manuel Terranova supported my decision to pursue a different career. We moved to Houston in 2006 when I was 7 months pregnant and the house we bought was near Texas Collaborative, Redbud and G Gallery, which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. About a year after having my daughter Isabella, I started to harass Dan Mitchell Allison, Gus Kopriva, Max Boyd-Harrison, and Heidi Powell Prera, bothering them in their galleries, humiliating myself. Moral of the story: If I hadn't moved to Houston, I might not have realized my goal of becoming an exhibiting artist. Houston has been incredibly supportive, people here gave me a chance, for which I will always be grateful, and particularly to Dan Mitchell Allison and Zoya Tommy for fostering my "career."


Picasso Black and White

Robert Boyd

Picasso was a great artist and a prolific one, whose career lasted 70 years. This is great for curators and museums because it means that every few years they can put up another big Picasso show. All they have to do is think of a hook on which to hang the show that will distinguish it from the 50 previous Picasso exhibits. The hook this time is "black and white."

The Guggenheim and the MFAH have teamed up for Picasso Black and White, curated by Carmen Giménez. The show looks great--the galleries are well-proportioned, and there is just the right amount of wall information. There is something for everyone--the early Picasso with his portraits of gaunt poor people, the analytical cubist Picasso, the synthetic cubist Picasso, the neoclassicist Picasso, the surrealist Picasso, the dirty old man Picasso, etc. And there is a beautifully produced catalog for the show. It's to the catalog we have to turn in order to find out what justifies this particular Picasso exhibit. Why is work in black, white and grey worth singling out?

There isn't a single answer. In fact, the contributors to the catalog each have a different answer, often quite different from one another. And the fact is that all of them could be right to one extent or another. Carmen Giménez locates the source in Spanish artists. She points out that Picasso loved El Greco, whose work was rediscovered when he was a young man. El Greco, she points out, is the most monochromatic of the old masters, and you can see echoes of El Greco in Picasso's early work, such as Woman Ironing (La reasseuse) from 1904. It is monochromatic (essentially black, white and gray) with a gaunt, elongated figure that recalls El Greco's Mannerist distortions. Giménez also mentions the blacks of Vélazquez and Goya (to which one could add the blacks of Francisco de Zurbarán and Jusepe de Ribera). And amazingly, a viewer has an opportunity to compare those painters to Picasso, because the MFAH is concurrently showing Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado, which has examples of work from each of those Spanish masters. Especially magnificent and relevant to Giménez's argument is Vélazquez's King Phillip IV in Hunting Garb, which is painted in greys, browns and deep blacks. Picasso revered Vélazquez and quoted his paintings in his later work.

Pablo Picasso, The Kitchen (La cuisine), 1948, 175.3cm x 250 cm

Richard Shiff locates the origin of Picasso's tendency towards black and white in his reliance on touch more than vision. Picasso was also a sculptor, of course, but Shiff points out that drawing itself is very much about touch and contact with the canvas or paper. We think of Picasso as a linear artist, more interested in drawn shapes than areas of color (not that his color was bad). He sits on the opposite pole from Matisse, for example. A work like The Kitchen (La cuisine) exemplifies this.

Olivier Berggruen reminds us that Picasso was an artist of the 20th century and therefore spent his life surrounded by photos and films--particularly black and white photos and films. Dore Ashton comments that when Picasso had a serious message to convey (which was rare), he reverted to black and white, as in Guernica and The Charnal House. These large black-and-white paintings could be seen as reflecting (and competing with) newsreel films showing the horrors of aerial bombing or Nazi death camps.

Pablo Picasso, Head of a Horse, Sketch for Guernica (Tête de cheval, étude pour Guernica), 1937, 65 cm x 92 cm

Pablo Picasso, The Charnel House (Le charnier), 1944-45, oil and charcoal on canvas, 199.8 cm x 250.1 cm

Ashton may be right, but this exhibit shows Picasso using black and white for much more ordinary subjects as well.

(There is a Guernica-shaped hole in this exhibit. One would expect that an exhibit called Picasso: Black and White would include the artist's most famous black and white painting, but I suppose it's too precious to travel.)

Pablo Picasso, Bust of a Woman, Arms Raised (Buste de femme, les bras levés), 1922, 65.4 cm x 54 cm

Picasso was a sculptor and was influenced by sculpture--African sculptures, of course, and primitive Iberian sculptures, but also classical statuary. He may have painted Bust of a Woman, Arms Raised (Buste de femme, les bras levés) from a live model, but by virtue of painting her in grey and with empty eyes, it comes across as a picture of a statue--perhaps a Roman statue in the Constantinian style.

The exhibit also includes lots of drawings and an etching, which is a little bit of a cheat since drawings and etching are customarily black and white anyway. Still, I was happy to see them, especially the etching Minotauromachy.

Pablo Picasso, Minotauromachy (La Minotauromachie),1935, etching and engraving, 19 1/2" x 27 3/8"

Picasso really worked the plates on his etchings. This means they have some especially black blacks. Minotaromachy is a deep, dark work with a rhythm of light and dark that is astonishing. I also like that it shows an event or an episode from a story. And if you wish, you can compare Picasso's technique to that of Goya. There is a whole gallery of Goya etchings in the Portrait of Spain exhibit right upstairs from Picasso: Black and White.

This show is a bit exhausting. At the end, you long to see some bright colors--perhaps Girl Before a Mirror. After all, Picasso didn't eschew color. What this exhibit mainly demonstrates is that Picasso was so prolific that it is possible to mount a substantial exhibit exclusively out of all the work he did without color. A similar exhibit could be mounted using only of Picasso works with fairly intense colors. I look forward to that one and many more.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Beth Secor Trees

Robert Boyd

In 2009, Beth Secor had an exhibit, Riffing on Langer’s Lines, at Inman Galler. It consisted of a series of portraitscomposed of brightly colored embroidered threads. It was an interesting technique--the threads seemed chaotic in both the directions of the stitches and their colors, but despite this, they cohered into very affecting portraits. And it was the obsessive stitching, which could be lickened to mark-making, that made them work.

Beth Secor, Pecan Tree, Fall 2012, 2012, ink, gouache and pencil on paper, 18" x 20 1/4"

I was slightly disappointed that the work in this new show wasn't sewn (even though I can understand not wanting to repeat what must have been a difficult, tedious technique). But the strange thing is that while Secor is using more traditional means to create these new pictures, they still look similar to the stitched pictures.

Beth Secor, Oak Tree, Summer After the Drought 2012, 2012, ink, gouache and pencil on paper, 22" x 16"

Part of this has to do with the subject matter she's chosen. Trees with blue sky showing between the branches afford her an opportunity for a surprising range of colors--blue, many greens, reds, yellows, and browns. That range is fully on view in Oak Tree, Summer After the Drought 2012 and Pecan Tree, Fall 2012. And the way she applies these colors, in little drawn marks, resembles the stitching of her earlier works.

Beth Secor, Oak Tree, Summer After the Drought 2012 detail, 2012, ink, gouache and pencil on paper, 22" x 16"

These color drawings aren't quite as audacious as the sewn drawings (for instance, Man From Photo Booth, 3/4 Portrait). The drawings of trees generally depend on local color, except for a couple that are essentially monochromatic. The sewn drawings have all kinds of colors as elements that build up into a recognizable whole (in a way similar to Chuck Close portraits, where each individual color may be unrelated to the flesh he is depicting, but it wall works out when you step back).

Beth Secor, Man From Photo Booth, 3/4 Portrait, 2007, embroidery on cloth

What fundamentally links the two bodies of work is the mark-making. The stitches in the embroidered pictures read as choppy little marks, which are also the basis for the tree pictures. Based on Trees and Riffing on Langer's Lines, you might conclude that Secor has a signature style of mark-making. But if she does, it wasn't very evident in her Project Row Houses installation, Blueprint for Heaven.

Beth Secor, Distressed Pecan 2011, 2011, ink, gouache, watercolor, whiteout and pencil on paper, 20 1/4" x 16"

This group of pictures reflects trees that have lived through the drought of 2011, which is reckoned to have killed millions of trees in the Houston area alone (I've seen estimates reported that range from 19 million to 66 million trees dead locally). Many of Secor's trees are portraits taken during the drought. And I presume Distressed Pecan 2011 is distressed because of the drought conditions. But all of her trees are alive, and to an untrained eye don't appear to be in bad shape. One might almost take away a message of resiliency from these pictures. But if you view them as nothing more than pretty pictures of trees, that's OK too.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tooling Around Dallas in a Rental Thinking About Art

Robert Boyd

I was in Dallas last weekend to see the Ken Price retrospective at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The last time I was in Dallas, I had promised myself that the next time, I'd make a point of checking out some alternative galleries and artist run spaces. And I didn't do that. I was even planning to go to an opening at 500X, but by the time it rolled around I was tired and just wanted to stay in my hotel room and write. Next time, I promise.

So I saw some museums and nice art spaces and wandered around a bit. Last time I wrote about Dallas and Fort Worth, I had a thesis and I pushed it hard. This time around, things may be a bit more discursive, and are unlikely to gel around any solid idea. This post is more about wandering the streets of Dallas than about making a grand statement.

My first stop was the MAC--the McKinney Avenue Contemporary. Last time around I mentioned that the big institutions in Dallas and Fort Worth mostly ignored local artists. In contrast, the MAC, a medium-sized non-collecting venue, explicit includes featuring work by regional artists as part of its mission. It was established in 1994 and is located in the Uptown neighborhood. My impression is that the Uptown neighborhood is that it is pretty high-end and very urban (i.e., mostly apartments and condos, very few lawns). It feels like a neighborhood for young yuppies. There are lots of mid-rise and highrise residential towers, including a lot of mixed use buildings. And there is a free trolley that runs along McKinney that goes from the arts district 4 miles north along McKinney. This seems like the very definition of a "toy train" (down to the cutesy old-fashioned trolley cars), but it does connect a residential area to a business area, which is what you want mass transit to do.

The MAC is extremely blue

The current show is Out of Commerce, which features Texas A&M-Commerce professor Michael Miller and a group of his former students and other alumni of Texas A&M-Commerce. I had never heard of Texas A&M-Commerce before this show. I didn't even know where Commerce was (it's about 67 miles northeast of Dallas). Now the justification for this show is that a surprising number of excellent artists have come out of this program. So many that it makes me kind of embarrassed not to have heard of it. Given the people in this show, if I were a gallerist, I'd make a road trip out to see the student exhibits every year. Because you could discover the next Trenton Doyle Hancock, Robin O'Neil or Lawrence Lee.

Michael Miller creates collaged works where the elements come out of pop culture. He blows up  images (usually drawn images) so they end up having a ragged feeling to them. The work derives in a way from street art, and perhaps also from Mimmo Rotella--the ragged nature of these pieces recall decollage even though they are collages. There is some political comment--Miller seems to be mocking the kind of capitalist effusions one might hear from advocates of the "prosperity gospel." It's a message worth satirizing in Texas, where this kind of thing is quite popular on Sunday morning.

(I failed to get the titles of all the pieces in this show--my apologies!)

Michael Miller, Happiness, 2010, acrylic and fabric on paper, 72 x 72 inches

Michael Miller, Conway Heart Loretta, 2009, acrylic and fabric on paper, 44 x 35 inches

Michael Miller

Michael Miller

Michael Miller

What was most interesting about this show was seeing Miller's work in conjunction with Trenton Doyle Hancock's. Knowing now that Hancock went to Texas A&M-Commerce (BFA, 1997) and Miller has taught there since 1982, we can guess that Miller taught--or at least knew--Hancock. And given how important collage is to Hancock's work, is this something he was encouraged to do by Miller? (Or did the influence run the other way?) There are strong stylistic similarities in the work.

Trenton Doyle Hancock

Trenton Doyle Hancock

Trenton Doyle Hancock

The other artists don't have an obvious stylistic relationship with Miller. Their inclusion is justified because of the Texas A&M-Commerce connection and because they're interesting artists in their own right.

Jeff Parrott, Composition Cloth, 2012

Robyn O'Neil, A Birth in Grief and Ashes, 2008 

Lawrence Lee, Luche!, 2011 

Lawrence Lee

And remember when I said that galleries should prowl the student shows at Texas A&M-Commerce? I'm guessing that's already a thing--Trenton Doyle Hancock was reportedly "discovered" at his BFA student show, and these artists have relationships with such galleries as Moody Gallery and Barry Whistler Gallery, which is the show's sponsor. (Does this seem a little off that a comercial gallery is "sponsoring" a show at a non-profit space?)

One thing I like about the MAC is that they have a little bookstore which they stock with small catalogs of the artists they show--even if the catalogs are from other shows. I was able to pick up a Trenton Doyle Hancock catalog from a show at the University of South Florida, a Michael Miller Catalog from a Barry Whistler show, and two catalogs from recently departed Houston artists, Daniel-Kayne and Bert Long.

When I was last in Dallas, they were still working on Klyde Warren Park. This is a park that was built over a sunken section of the Woodall Rogers Freeway. The idea here is that a freeway forms a kind of barrier between two areas of a town that keeps them for interacting organically. So Uptown, where lots of people live, wasn't really connected to downtown, where lots of people work, even though the two areas are adjacent. That damned freeway was a psychic barrier between the two, despite the many bridges across the freeway.

Klyde Warren Park with the Woodall Rogers Freeway emerging from under it

It seems overly hopeful that this little park will change things all that much. We won't know for a while, I suppose. It takes a long time for people to change their habits. But while I was there, it was obviously well-used, and the presence of multiple food trucks helped to make up for the paucity of dining options in the Art District.

Klyde Warren Park

In any case, it's sure to benefit the arts district by virtue of just being there. You can go to the museum then have a little picnic in the park. The park is right across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Garden.

But when I got out of the downtown/Uptown area, things got weird. Like, what does this sign mean?

This was on Commerce west of downtown. Is it saying that art is a con? Or advertising in some very subtle way an upcoming art convention?

And I found an awesome place to buy some statues over in the design district. Say you're a fifty-five year old Dallas man. You've made a lot of money and you have a hellacious mansion out in some rich suburb. You've ditched your wife (she was old!) and got yourself hitched to a blonde 28-year-old sorority girl--hell, you deserve it, right? So how are you going to decorate the grounds of your new mansion? Well, you'll leave the details to Amber or Missy or whatever her name is. But you want to have a statue that reflects who you are. Successful. Manly. Potent. So here's the statue for you.

You can buy this bronze stallion at ASI Art. They have a huge selection of bronze decor and statues--they claim to offer "the most extensive collection of bronze statuary and fountains in the world." It's an amazing yard, well worth checking out. And if our Dallas success story doesn't find that a rearing stallion quite captures the massiveness of his prowess, he can get exotic with his erectile symbolism.

Yes, you can buy a life-size bronze rhinoceros at ASI Art.

I was in the Bishop Arts District when I saw these two refugees from the Great Gatsby, and they weren't the only ones I saw. Was Sunday "Dress Like a Flapper" day? If so, I approve! I'll take it over Go Texan Day for sartorial flair.

Finally, I want to mention Lucky Dog Books, also in the Bishop Arts District (I think--I'm not sure where the precise boundaries are). I was able to find a bunch of interested art-related publications here, including some ancient issues of ARTLies (useful for my project to reread the as much of the original run as possible) and a relic from 1986 called Fifty Texas Artists: by Annette Carlozzi.

This well-produced survey is fantastically interesting from a vantage of 27 years later. Without knowing anything about the selection criteria, it's fascinating to see what someone then, right around the time of the Fresh Paint show, thought represented the best of Texas. A lot of names are very familiar (James Surls, James Drake, Dorothy Hood, Luis Jiménez, Bert Long, Jim Love, Melissa Miller, Nic Nicosia, etc.) and a bunch are totally unfamiliar to me. And while the art is quite varied, there is this trend of neoexpressionist painting combined with Mexican/border colors that seems to have utterly died since the mid-80s. A perfect exemplar is a Dallas painter named Martin Delabano, who had a piece called Flaming Ladder Stele in the book. Did it have lots of purple, orange and red? Check. A flaming corazon? Check. Expressive faux-naif brushwork? Check.

Martin Delbano, Flaming Ladder Stele, 1984, acrylic on wood, 82" x 36.5" x 16"

This kind of art seemed kind of funky and cool back then. Now? Oy. Delabano is still around, and you can see from his website that his art has evolved quite a long way from its faux magical Mexican neoexpressionist beginnings.

I saw a few other things in Dallas and Fort Worth, and I'll probably write about them. But the conclusion I draw from this trip is no conclusion at all--just a series of mostly random encounters. Perhaps that's the best way to see a city.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Comics Art Tidbits

Robert Boyd

Here are a bunch of items and links have little in common except that they have to do with comics and art.

  • "Six great but forgotten comics anthologies" by Chris Mautner (for his January 28 post in the  Robot 6 blog on Comic Book Resources) was a listicle on some of less well-remembered art comics anthologies. The ones that all serious art comics fans know are Zap Comix, Arcade, Raw, and Weirdo, and most would also include Kramer's Ergot and Mome in there, and if you read French, you would have to include Lapin at the very least. Mautner lists a few that haven't made it into institutional memory, including a single issue I edited of an anthology called Mona. Mautner writes, "Here was Kitchen Sink’s swan song, one of the last great things published before the company gave up the ghost for the more financially solvent shores of candy bar sales. Mona promised great things, but sadly was only able to get one issue out of the door before Kitchen Sink shut down. But as sad as the unfulfilled promise is, at least there’s this great first issue to gaze fondly upon." Fourteen years later, that's very gratifying to read. (But the typo on the cover--above, image by Jaime Hernandez--still nags me.)