Thursday, December 31, 2020
Tonight I did two reports. First was this one on Yard Art and Handmade Places: Extraordinary Expressions of Home by Jill Nokes with Pat Jasper, with photos by Krista Williams except for some photos by John Fulbright. It deals with gardens and environments in houses all around Texas. I focus my report on her chapters on Charlie Stagg, Cleveland Turner, aka the Flower Man, Vince Hanneman who built Austin's Cathedral of Junk, Rufino Loya Rivas' Casa De Azúcar in El Paso, and Dr. Joe Smith's yard sculptures in Caldwell, Texas.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Today I report on Superpresent, a new art & literature magazine from Houston. The editor is Kevin Clement, and I discuss work in Superpresent by Kristy Peet, John Adelman, Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon, R.C. Rice, Brandon Hernsberger, David McClain, and Justin Varner.
Annie Koyama is a Canadian woman who was involved in the Toronto art scene. Without knowing all that much about this part of Koyama's life, I have to assume that Toronto, like any other big city, has a vibrant art scene. A little more detail is available in this short oral history of Koyama Press published in Quill & Quire, a trade magazine for the Canadian publishing industry. Apparently Koyama Press was initially financed when Annie Koyama made a very good investment in the stock market, and was motivated by a health scare. I imagine her thinking, life could end at any second, so I better do something I really want with it. (I guess we should all be glad that her secret ambition wasn't to try heroin.)
She decided to bring this project to a close this year. Koyama Press lasted for 13 years, and she shut it down on her own terms (which is rare in the world of small press--they usually end because they are forced to end, as I personally know).
Anyway, there aren't many publishers that I think of as having a personality. I think the publishing industry is too corporate for that these days. But small presses are the exception, particularly if they are still run by their founder. While it is sad that Koyama Press is going away, it has always been down to Annie Koyama. The entire line of books reflects the taste and vision of one person. Raise a glass to the great Annie Koyama.
I want to list a few of my favorite Koyama Press books.
I haven't written extensively about Eleanor Davis. I should have written about this book. You & A Bike & A Road is a diary comic about Davis's epic bike ride from Tuscon, Arizona to Jackson, Mississippi. She intended to go all the way to her home in Athens, Georgia, but she reached her limit earlier than hoped. She drew it as she traveled which gives the book a very immediate feeling. Her father built the bike for her, and this ride had to be the adventure of a lifetime. And her telling of the story is moving--all the people she meets on the way, the things she witnesses--some quite shocking. But one question is why even do this crazy thing?
I highly recommend this You & A Bike & A Road.
Julia Wertz's The Infinite Wait and Other Stories is simultaneously hilarious and painful. I wrote a brief review of it here, but you should search it out and read it for yourself.
But these are just a small part of Koyama Press's output. Annie Koyama published many other great books, most of which are still available for purchase. You can see them here. I've read about 35 of them, but there are actually quite a few I haven't read. Her standard of quality was high. I know she has been giving artists grants through her personal grant-making venture, Koyama Press Provides. But I believe that is meant to end when the press does. So I wonder what Annie Koyama is going to do next. Something personally satisfying, I suspect.
Friday, December 25, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
I got to know Richard Stout by eating breakfast with him and other artists on Fridays. He was born in Beaumont in 1934 and died this year, in April. Another reason why 2020 sucked so bad. What I get out of these videos is his depth of knowledge and erudition. These qualities were always present when one talked to him.
Modernism in Houston Art: 1950 to 1970, part 1
Modernism in Houston Art: 1950 to 1970, part 2
Modernism in Houston Art: 1950 to 1970, part 3
Modernism in Houston Art: 1950 to 1970, part 4
Modernism in Houston Art: 1950 to 1970, part 5
Modernism in Houston Art: 1950 to 1970, part 6
Modernism in Houston Art: 1950 to 1970, part 7
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Today I talked about Neruda: The Poet's Calling by Mark Eisner. Spoiler alert: I enjoyed this biography quite a lot.
Thursday, December 3, 2020
I haven't done one of these in years. The thing is that after several years of relative quiescence on this blog, COVID has triggered a bunch of new videos, it has made me interested in blogging again. I will never go back to the days of 2012 when I (and my collaborators) produced 330 blog posts. (Not unless someone wants to pay me.) The last real estate art post was done in 2017.
So this morning, as I drank my coffee, I idly was flipping through HAR.com and came across this gem in River Oaks. This house can be yours for 7 million dollars. And it is filled with art. (Which I assume is not included in the purchase price.) A lot of the art is under glass, so it's hard to tell if it is a print or even a poster. I will leave that for you readers to decide. A few pieces I could identify--I leave the rest to you, dear readers.
Robert Longo drawings.
George Rodrigue piece. It appears to be a poster. The presence of a Rodrigue makes me question their taste a little.
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Today I looked at Music & Literature no. 4, a journal devoted to deep dives of a relatively small number of writers and musicians/composers. In this case, the people under discussion were:
Brazilian novelist, Clarice Lispector
Irish double bassist and composer, Barry Guy
Swiss early music violinist, Maya Homburger
American poet, Mary Truefle
I talk a little about each of them, with side-trips to Rachel Kushner,
I went back and looked for additional photos of