Sunday, May 19, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

Robert Boyd

This has nothing to do with beginnings and endings--I just liked it (hat tip to Scott Gilbert)

Goodbye Joanna. Hello Brandon. There was a slightly confusing news bit in the Houston Press recently about the Joanna closing up. I asked Cody Ledvina about it, and here's what he told me.
The Joanna's last show is May 31st (Bill Willis). I'm doing all the press on Monday. Brian [Rod, Joanna's co-director] and I decided it was time to wrap it up. While I'm moving on to The Brandon, Brian will be working on projects in Houston and Austin.
"Brandon"? Was "Chad" taken?
Brandon is my puppet who happens to also be the director of the space. Although Chad is equally as funny a name for a space.
Is Domy closing?
I don't know. That's up to Dan [Fergus, owner of Domy]. There is the possibility of it moving next to Brasil in what is currently "Space". I know a lot of people will be upset.
Are you just taking the whole Domy space?
It'll be all gallery space. We have our fall programming already in line to start with a large group show in September.
Why are you guys closing tha Joanna?
I think it was just time. Brian wants to focus on other projects and because he was the lease holder of the space I totally respect his decision. It was totally amicable.
Domy closed down in Austin, and I guess it could happen in Houston. Let me say, as someone who has spent hundreds of dollars over the years on books at Domy, that its closing would be tragic. But given the tough market for "brick and morter" bookstores, I would understand. Nonetheless, while I have nothing against Space, the world is full of stores that sell tchotchkes but still needs eccentric art bookstores like Domy.

All that said, welcome Brandon!

Future site of Brandon. (Via

Charles Burns at the 2010 BCGF

Goodbye Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. In the world of art comics, there are a bunch of small festivals around the country and in Canada. At any given time, one of them is considered the standard bearer--first APE, then SPX, then MoCCA and most recently the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. (Now the champion is TCAF in Toronto based on what I've heard).  The BCGF has run since 2009. I attended two of them--2010 and 2012. I loved the 2010 festival but was pretty miserable at the 2012 festival. My misery was mostly my own fault, but part of the problem in 2012 was that the festival had gotten too big and too crowded for its physical venues.

The festival was owned by three people: Dan Nadel, who is also the owner of the comics and art book publisher PictureBox and co-edits the Comics Journal website; Gabriel Fowler, owner of Desert Island, which is my favorite comic store in the world (visit it if you're ever in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn); and Bill Kartalopoulos, an independent scholar of comics who has recently started a publishing company, Rebus. Apparently tensions between the three owners had increased over the past few months, and on May 16, Kartalopoulos and Nadel announced the end.

Nadel, Kartalopoulos and Fowler each have a different take events, but I think in part the end of the BCGF can be attributed to its success. After the 2012 show, they must have realized that they needed to grow or die. But growth is a big commitment. Each of these guys is quite busy with other stuff, and growing would have probably required serious sacrifices in time from all of them. Would Nadel be willing to give up working of the Comics Journal, or would Kartalopoulos be willing to drop Rebus in order to expand the BCGF? Apparently not, and I don't blame them.

According to the article in the Comics Journal, Fowler still seems pretty keen on a show of some sort. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if he got together some new partners and put on a similar show with a different name.

Michael Heizer, 45°, 90°, 180°, 1983, Color lithograph, screenprint, etching with stamps on paper. 

Not really relevant to the topic at hand, but I don't know where else to put it. This lithograph by Michael Heizer is being auctioned right now--the perfect gift for an art-loving Rice University engineer. The lithograph is a spin-off from the large piece in the engineering quad at Rice, 45°, 90°, 180°. Since it was installed in 1984 (I was an undergraduate at the time), it has been a popular site for climbing expeditions, sunbathing and other activities.

Photo by David Rod from Rice News, 2007


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