Thirty Seconds

The average viewer spends around thirty seconds in front of an artwork. Seems unjust considering how long the artist likely spent making the thing. But I will admit that my first visit to any exhibition is spent quickly looking over every artwork, and there is something to be said for works that grab my eye [...]

Lane Hagood at David Shelton

Birding as Art? For Sanity’s Sake: Yes

Lynn Barber lives in Rapid City, South Dakota. She has degrees in microbiology and law, and intermittently works as a patent attorney. She enjoys playing the hammer dulcimer and the concertina. She’s married to a shy guy named Dave, who holds advanced degrees in meteorology and theology. Both are members of the ACLU and are [...]

Lynn took this photography on August 22, 2007--of a rufous hummingbird that annually returned to her yard for at about six years.

On Institutional Cowardice: The Menil Collection

[Disclosure: I am married to one of The Art Guys. I am not an impartial bystander. Read the following with that in mind.] It was announced yesterday that the Menil Collection is removing the artwork The Art Guys Marry A Plant from its collection. Practically speaking, this means digging up a small tree and removing [...]

On Institutional Cowardice: The Menil Collection

Main Street Projects

The windows at 3700 Main Street in Houston have been getting interesting. I live above this building and have grown increasingly curious about the project as I’ve watched the windows fill up with artwork. As I walk to and from my apartment I’ve been witness to photographs by Galina Kurlat, a sculpture by exurb,  and [...]

Main Street Projects

Bryan Adams “Exposed” at Goss-Michael Foundation (yeah, that Bryan Adams)

The Goss-Michael Foundation’s zesty, celebrity-filled exhibition of Canadian pop star Bryan Adams’s photography embodies the essence of escapist entertainment that Dallas confuses with reality. I have a history of bashing this gallery for pandering to fame, but Adams is a sensational photographer, and I suspect his famous subjects—including Mick, Posh and Amy Winehouse—were all the [...]

Bryan Adams “Exposed” at Goss-Michael Foundation (yeah, that Bryan Adams)

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

  I thought I just really hated art. Or the art world. Like Dave Hickey does. Maybe I do. Maybe not. Let’s find out together. One month ago, I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BD-NOS), or, in less official parlance, bipolar 3. My new psychiatrist describes bipolar 3 as a mixed-mood disorder [...]

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

We Begin With Equality: “Lincoln” and “Django Unchained”

Two recent films made by two very different directors have accomplished something a bit rare for a mainstream Hollywood production: They not only bring to the screen glimpses of American history, they are timely commentary on contemporary American existence. The wizardry of Spielberg and the ridiculously superb performance of Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln” made me [...]

Ed Kienholz, Five Car Stud, 1969-72, recently acquired by Fandazione Prada.

“Norman Bel Geddes Designs America” at the UT Harry Ransom Center

Norman Bel Geddes’ compass always pointed forward. From his design of the Palais Royal nightclub in 1922 to his plans for a pilot television studio for NBC in 1954, Bel Geddes proved to be a fearless and imaginative dreamer who was convinced that art, design and architecture enriched people’s lives immeasurably. The exhibition I Have [...]

Norman Bel Geddes with Futurama Diorama, Photograph by Richard Garrison, ca. 1939.  Image courtesy of the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation / Harry Ransom Center.

Laura Lark Loves You #6: Personal Best

It’s been a while. Many people have contacted me with the same question: “Doesn’t Laura Lark love me anymore?” To this I‘ve replied: “Laura Lark loves you as much as she ever did!” And I really, really mean it. I’ve had a lot going on here at home. There’s dirt out there that has ground its [...]

Thanks, Bill! You've given the phrase "All Pants Half Off!" the proper spin.

The year of Ken Price?

My first and likely only prediction for visual art in 2013: thanks to the retrospective that was organized by and debuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ken Price will lose his cult status and be embraced by the unwashed masses, and perhaps even by Michael Kimmelman. As a result, the legacy of [...]

My favorite work from the book: 'The Pinkest and the Heaviest' (1986) in two parts. Fired and painted clay from the collection of Betty Lee and Aaron Stern.

Drawings!: My Favorites From Houston 2012

There has been a lot of excitement about painting in Houston this year, with Aaron Parazette’s In Plain Sight at McClain Gallery and a big exhibition planned for the CAMH’s 65th anniversary. But what about good old drawing? Often more humble and imaginatively evocative than painting, there have been some outstanding drawings shown in Houston [...]

Eric Zimmerman at Art Palace

“Soldier, at Ease” at the Houston Center for Photography

Soldier, At Ease, at the Houston Center for Photography, runs concurrently with the extensive WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts. Both exhibitions include works by Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu and Erin Trieb. WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY focuses on an exploration of the role of photography in documenting various aspects of conflict, including the periods between fighting. Soldier, [...]

Louie Palu (Washington, D.C.)
US Marine Lcpl. Patrick "Sweetums" Stanborough, age 21, Garmsir, Helmand, Afghanistan. Patrick is from Carmel NY and he has also done a tour of Iraq in addition to this tour. 2008
From the series Afghanistan: Garmsir Marines
Pigment print
20 x 24 inches
Courtesy of the artist and ZUMA Press (San Clemente, CA)

Beyond Constructed Dialogues

Constructivism in Latin America provided fertile ground for a plethora of different movements, proposals and ideas from the 1930s onward as seen in Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection, currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (only until January 6, 2013). The rich traditions of [...]

Cover of the 1958 issue of Escuela del Sur, Montevideo

M’Kina Tapscott’s New Soil

M’Kina Tapscott’s installation New Soil: Tessellations of Dark Matter is part of STACKS, a group show at Art League Houston curated by Robert Pruitt. Tapscott’s installation is refreshingly immersive and cohesive, so much so that this post can’t do it justice: it is meant to let you step in and be saturated. It’s a shame [...]

M’Kina Tapscott’s New Soil

YuleTube: Ghosts of Christmas TV Past

People used to gather around the “electric fireplace” at this time of year for Christmas variety shows. These boasted sing-along medleys, unlikely collaborations, corny jokes and often over-the-top clothes and décor. The format didn’t really survive through the 1980s, but in that decade a few Christmas music videos appeared and “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” did a [...]

YuleTube: Ghosts of Christmas TV Past

Apocalypse: Desire for the End

Oh how we long for the End! Is there not something slightly disappointing about waking up to an unchanged world after everything was supposed to be snuffed out? That small sense of dread, the apocalypse has not arrived and our daily routines resume as if nothing at all happened (because nothing at all did happen). [...]

Jan van Eyck and Workshop Assistant, detail Crucifixion and Last Judgement diptych, c. 1430–40. Oil on canvas, transferred from wood.

The Film Festival Summit

Austin hosted its second International Film Festival Summit December 3 – 5, bringing together film and music festival organizers and industry folks from coast to coast. Staff from Sundance, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and distributors like Warner Brothers rubbed shoulders with directors and programmers of small to large-sized festivals, cross-pollinating and [...]

A breakout room at the IFFS.

Food: Mostly Outside the Loop

As the holiday season arrives, we all have a little reprieve from the busy slate of art openings, lectures, performances and other events. I have used this mini-break to do something I started this past summer, which is to branch outside of my immediate Montrose/Rice Village area. My trips started with an attempt to work [...]

Food: Mostly Outside the Loop