Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pan Recommends for the week of November 28 to December 4

Robert Boyd

I figured that there'd be nothing happening artwise this weekend. Still it's slow compared to the average week, as you might expect. The Museum of Fine Arts, CAMH and the Menil are open Friday (I'm not sure about Diverse Works, the Art League or Lawndale). This might be a good time to catch up on your viewing--I know I want to see the CAMH's big abstraction shows again (for the third time).


Patrick Renner, Alex Larsen and Eric Todd's ambitious float design. Looks oddly familiar!

Thanksgiving Day Parade in downtown Houston, 9 am til whenever. The parade was almost cancelled this year, but was saved in part due to the actions of the HAA and independent curator Diane Barber, who have roped a bunch of Houston artists into making floats, including Patrick Renner, Alex Larsen and Eric Todd. Glasstire has the story (that's where I got the image above from). Thanksgiving saved by artists. Who'd a thunk it?


Take the day off, Houston.


yes, that is a piece of carved wood by Troy Wood

The Story… featuring Troy Woods at the Galveston Arts Center, 6:30–8:30 pm. Troy Woods will be showing his sleek, formally inventive sculptures.

“Black Saturday” – A tribute to Bert Long, Jr. featuring work by Bert Long, Jr, Dr. John Biggers, Lester Marks, Daniel Johnston, Daniel Anguilu, Jim Adams, Ian Anderson, The Alter Girls, John Berry, Vonetta Berry, Michaels Chukes, Kyle Fu, Matthew Gannt, Kentra Gilbert, Gonzo247, Mitch Samuel Grystar, Janet Hassinger, Jim Hatchett, J.P. Hartman, Paula Hawkins, Eric Harker, Paul Horn, Eric James, Marjory Johnston, Solomon Kane, Randall Kallinen, Chicago Kim, Shelly Shanks Lockwood, Lionel Lofton, Jonatan Lopez, Van MacFarland, Marthann Masterson, Mark Masterson, Lynet McDonald, Christian Perkins, Jonathan Rosenstein, John Runnels, Charlie Jean Sartewell, Alfredo Scaroina, Louise Schlachter, Greg Scott, Khalil Taylor, Monica Vidal, Dianne Webb and Victor Zambrano at Black Heritage Gallery, 7-10 pm. An overstuffed show organized by the indefatigable Solomon Kane in honor of the recently deceased Long.

 34 people drawn by Russell Etchen
About Seven Hundred Twenty People and About One Hundred Rocks: Drawings by Russell Etchen at Kaboom Books From 7-10 PM. The former Houstonian (current Austinite), Sketch Klubb member and founder of Domy, Russell Etchen has a bunch of drawings to show us.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another Year, Another Artcrawl

Robert Boyd

I've been going to Artcrawl for several years. Some things are always the same, evolving slightly over the years. Like this little dilapidated house at the corner of McKee and Nance.

That's how it looked in 2010. Then in 2012, someone had added this sign to it.

This year, it looked like this:

I look forward to taking a picture of it every year. But let's be honest--it's slowly deteriorating. And that was the feeling of Artcrawl this year. For example, every year I've gone to Artcrawl, the building on Richey Street where Oxheart is located always has had a big bunch of exhibiting artists in a large central room. This year, nothing:

At least the tattoo parlor next to Oxheart had some art up--not to mention some tattoo artists at work.

Not only were there fewer venues for art this year, there were a lot fewer people. I hope that this is purely a result of the weather--cold, windy and damp. I hope this isn't a trend because one of the very great values I've see with Artcrawl is that in past years it has always drawn in a large, diverse audience. I go to art events every week and usually see the same people at them (and even within the events and openings I attend, the audience is segmented--there is little overlap between people who attend openings at Colquitt St. galleries and people who show up for El Rincón Social shows). But we can't forget that Artcrawl is just another "entertainment choice," and on a grey drizzly cold day, people may choose not to walk around a bunch of unheated old warehouses.

Mother Dog Studios is the driving force behind Artcrawl and they always have something special in their studios for the event. This year was no different. They had a show of "snake"-based art and included in this was an actual snake wrangler who brought his snakes and let people handle them.

That's where I saw painter Bas Poulos, talking with a lady snake wrangler who was showing off their collection of venomous snakes commonly found in the Houston are. Yikes.

Poulos, a retired Rice University art professor, had a couple of pieces in the snake show.

Bas Poulos paintings

He told me that his model was for some reason reluctant to model with her nipples showing, so they taped them like so. I replied that taped nipples were a thousand times dirtier than visible nipples.

In the same room as these paintings, a pair of air-brush artists were body-painting a cobra onto a very patient young woman who didn't seem to mind 1) that there were dozens of people taking phone photos and 2) that it was fucking cold in the unheated studio.

John Runnels contributed his own piece to the exhibit--a typical text piece from him.

 John Runnels, Genesis, 1995-2013, acrylic and colored pencil on paper, 68 x 30 inches

Solomon Kane, Caduceus of Creation, 2012, polyurethane intermediate and car paint, 33 x 66 x 14 inches

Solomon Kane had one of his encrusted polychromatic sculptures in the show. And I made a quick stop at Brandon Araujo's studio. (That's him in the hoodie. Did I mention that the studios were unheated?)

Most of the work on display I had seen before. But he showed me some large works in progress that he hadn't hung. We were standing in front of one talking about it and I noticed that there was a lady hovering nearby. I thought maybe she wanted to ask Brandon something so I stepped aside and he greeted her. She was apparently unknown to him--just a random Artcrawler. She wanted to take a picture of the big unfinished painting. Brandon politely told her no--it was a work in progress.

In past Artcrawls, the streets have been full of people. It was just too cold this time, but not for the guy in shorts in the picture above. He wasn't going to let 45 degree weather slow him down.

A Daniel Anguilu mural attracted a few admirers.

 Over at Atelier Jacquinet, there was this nice model shrimp boat.

And this guitarist on the kitchen counter. (Atelier Jacquinet always has good music every year. I don't know who this singer was, but she had some adoring fans.)

The Last Concert Cafe also always has some good music, but folks didn't linger in front of the outdoor stage this year. I liked that the guy on the right got dressed up for the occasion.

This broken vinyl record in the dead winter grass was a poignant symbol of something or other.

Over at the Foundry, there was a group pop-up show featuring David Graeve, Michael Meazell, Alfredo Scaroina, Patrick Renner, Felipe Lopez, Cecilia Johnson and Lester Marks. It's where Graeve's studio is, so he was in the position to stage his work quite dramatically. For example:

Two David Graeve sculptures

Two by Alfredo Scaroina

 The rest was hung a little more casually.

And here is Alfredo Scaroina himself. He and his crew were serving tacos (yum!) and beer, so it was hard to leave the Foundry. But I pressed on.

My next stop was Studio Twenty Twenty (I think) on Commerce Street. I liked this Ozzy/O.J. combo. The Ozzy stencil was painted right on the wall.

Then I swung by Super Happy Fun Land. They're a bit off the beaten track for Artcrawl, but they go all out.

The Raggedy Ann wall at Super Happy Funland

This band, Afternoon Power, was playing. Not bad! I hung out listening to them for quite a while, but finally went over to El Rincón Social for a very nice photography exhibit, which deserves more than a drive-by post like this. After hanging out there for a while, I headed home, stopping to pick up some champagne at Spec's (for mimosas at Sunday brunch). 

Artcrawl is a Houston tradition, just like purple drank. Long may it thrive.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pan Recommends for the week of November 21 to November 27

Robert Boyd

Kind of a lot of stuff happening this weekend. When was the last time Lawndale and the Art League had an opening on the same night? I guess with Thanksgiving next week, a lot of events have to be crammed into this week. Good times!


Sally Bennet, Making Faces,  32x31x2.5 inches

Sally Bennett and Ann Huey: New Works at Koelsch Gallery,  6–8 pm. Work that plays with illustration and design.

David Row, Ellipsis, 2012, Oil on canvas, 50 x 96 inches  

David Row: Elements at McClain Gallery, 6:30–8:30 pm. Paintings, works on paper and sculptures made of cast glass.


from Emily Peacock's W.T. series

Learning Curve 7 and See Food: Contemporary Photography and the Ways We Eat curated by Natalie Zelt and featuring Corey Arnold (Portland, OR), Jonathan Blaustein (Arroyo Hondo, NM), Christin Boggs (Washington, D.C.), Damaris Booth (London, England), Nolan Calisch (Portland, OR), Jody Horton (Austin, TX), Andrzej Maciejewski (Ontario, Canada), Mark Menjivar (San Antonio, TX), Emily Peacock (Houston, TX), Emily Sloan (Houston, TX) and David Welch (Martha's Vineyard, MA) at the Houston Center for Photography, 6–8 pm (with a panel discussion for See Food Saturday from noon to 1 pm). Learning Curve 7 is their annual student show, and See Food is pictures of food, obviously.

That's Monica Vidal, looking pretty damn ecstatic in front of her installation Falling Hive

FALLING: Monica Vidal and Everyday Grace: Sedrick Huckaby at Art League Houston 6–9 pm, with artists' talks at 6:30 pm for Sedrick Huckaby and 7 pm for Monica Vidal. Monica Vidal brings Falling Hive home to Houston, just down the hall from Sedrick Huckaby's paintings.

Beth Secor, Sudden Appearance in Places Unknown, 2013, Found embroidered linens with drawing and embroidery, 30" x 30" 

Superficial Outgrowths by Sang-Mi Yoo, Melinda Laszczynski and Jessica Ninci: This End UpBeth Secor: The Significance of "Material" and Regina Agu: Nerve Endings at Lawndale Art Center, 6:30–8:30 pm. I don't have much to say except that all these shows look great!

Winter Street Studios

8th Annual Winter Holiday Art Market at Winter Street, 6 to 8 pm Friday ($10 admission), 11 am to 8 pm Saturday (free) and 11 am to 4 pm Sunday (free). Don't let the bleak industrial landscape above fool you--this weekend it will be packed with artists and craftsmen selling their stuff.


They played at last years' ArtCrawl

ArtCrawl at multiple locations just north of Downtown and on the East End, 10 am to 9 pm. The annual trip through various art spaces and artists' studios near downtown. ArtCrawl related events include:

Anasheh Partiai

The Art of Everyday Politics featuring Amber Baker, Anasheh Partiai, Sarah Rodriguez, and Brandon Zech at Alabama Song, 8 pm Saturday to 8 pm Sunday. Hey, if you have 24 hours free, there's a one day (literally) only show with performances by Amber Baker at 6:45, Anasheh Partiai at 7 pm and Brandon Zech at 7:15, plus other activities throughout the night to help you stay awake!

Debora Smail, I fucking love you, Polaroid Installation

RATIO featuring Jenn Blackburn, Ben Tecumseh DeSoto, David Salinas, JoAnn Santangelo, Alex Larsen, Ashleigh MacLean, Abrahan Garza, Edna Sandoval, Galina Kurlat, Ben Parks, Theresa Escobedo, Emily Peacock, Bryan Forrester, Matthew Landry, Rosa Gurrero, Shannon Duncan, Laura Corley Burlton, Maureen Penders, Mark Audacity Romberg, Traci Matlock, Debora Smail, Joe Winsto and Gary Griffin at El Rincón Social, 7 pm to 2 am. El Rincón Social always have these events that last until 2 am, and old guy that I am, I always wonder who is going to hang out until 2 am? Pathetic, huh? This looks great--a lot of my favorite local photographers will be there.


Edward Lee Hendricks On the Move

Robert Boyd

I see this post on Swamplot and the first thing that comes to mind is, "Boy, whoever owns that house really loves Edward Lee Hendricks!" So naturally I leave a comment to that effect.

Swamplot's commentariat are not ones to let sleeping dogs lie, and they quickly discover that Edward Lee Hendricks and Jo Lynn Massey indeed live there (or lived there). And now it's for sale. Do you want a $1.3 million dollar house with an artistic pedigree?


Changing Horses at Full Gallop: Howard Sherman at McMurtrey Gallery

Robert Boyd

Hollywood stuntman Yakima Canutt was famous for jumping from a horse onto a pair of horses pulling a stage and then dropping under the horses. He did this in John Ford's Stagecoach. Howard Sherman hasn't risked his life like Yakima Canutt, but he has metaphorically jumped from one horse to another with his current show, Metaphysical Batman at McMurtrey Gallery.

Last year, his work looked like this:

Howard Sherman, Fear Eating Machine, 2012, acrylic and marker, 70 X 60 inches

Fear Eating Machine combines paint and marker, so we can say it has some link to street art, but otherwise it is identifiably a traditional painting. A flat image on a flat surface. His new work looks more like this:

Howard Sherman, Sportsmanship is For Suckers, 2013, acrylic, marker and acid free paper on canvas, 83 x 76 x 13 inches

It's not so much that Sherman is now using paper as a collage element in his paintings like Sportsmanship is For Suckers, it's that he is using it as a deep relief element. These are no longer just paintings. They have a sculptural element to them now. We've seen this kind of expansion from the picture plane by artists before--Frank Stella is the most famous example.

So Sherman has jumped horses. Did it work? Well, at first glance the new work seems strikingly different from the old work. But when you see the smaller works on paper, which he calls "Internal Dialogues", Sherman uses paper collage but in a more traditional way. The paper is more-or-less flat on the ground. It is usually torn, Robert Motherwell-style. But aside from the paper bits, these look pretty much like his older work in technique and style.

Howard Sherman, various "Internal Dialogue" paintings on paper, 2013

When you go from the "Internal Dialogues" to Sportsmanship is For Suckers, it again isn't a gigantic leap. He retains the slashing colorful paint and the scribbly marker lines. He is still affixing paper to a ground. The only difference--and it's admittedly a big one--is that he is crumpling and folding the paper so that it projects forward from the canvas.

Howard Sherman, Letter of Correspondence, 2013, acrylic, marker and acid free paper on canvas, 83 x 76 x 13 inches

I don't think this approach always works. To me, the relief elements in Sportsmanship is For Suckers and especially in Letter of Correspondence feel tacked on. Sherman is between two horses on the runaway stage without being firmly on either one. The work feels like there are two competing visual ideas that aren't willing to come together.

Howard Sherman, A Giant Among Pygmies, 2013, acrylic, marker and acid free paper on canvas, 83 x 76 x 13 inches

But this might just be us viewers seeing him "mid-leap". If so, that's a privilege. And in A Giant Among Pygmies, he has surrendered the canvas entirely to the paper relief elements. While I like the idea of a piece that exist in the liminal space between sculpture and painting, I like the all-over relief of A Giant Among Pygmies better than something halfway there like Letter of Correspondence. It doesn't feel like it's at war with itself. It allows the shape, the volume, the light and shadow of the relief element to dominate, and those elements are excellent in this piece.

So maybe this is the direction he's going--his new horse. We won't really know until the next show, I suppose. But A Giant Among Pygmies strikes me as a good start.

One final note--paper. Maybe it's the klutz in me, but paper as a sculptural material rubs me the wrong way. It seems too fragile! When I look at A Giant Among Pygmies, I imagine it made of sheet metal like a John Chamberlain. But maybe that's just my own fear of bumping into artworks and destroying them. (I love beautiful glass sculpture, but I'd never own one!)