Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
I posted this a while ago on my new website Thomas Cummins Art + Photography and thought it might be good to start reposting some of my San Antonio related articles on here.
While working on my current public art project for the University Health System, I was introduced to the artwork of California artist and MacArthur Fellow Ned Kahn. Apparently, it looks like he might be doing a piece similar to these Pittsburgh and Switzerland pieces for the hospital being built in downtown San Antonio.
What makes this piece particularly exciting is that this piece will be on display where I-35 & I-10 meet -a road most San Antonians take as well as pretty much every traveler passing though the city from any cardinal point. You can see a computer animation of the proposed building with the highway intersection here.
StoneHenge in San Antonio? When I stopped to take the photograph, the homeowner came to the screen door and told me he was a carpenter. He said, “if anybody needed any work done, to tell them to stop on by.” The address is 327 Lone Star, San Antonio, TX 78204. Feel free to check it out for yourself.
*update (june 08, 09) I ran into Daniel again and he is now claiming that the bikes will be temporarily displayed throughout the city, and locked in place. He will be showing them soon as an entire group.
Be on the lookout, local artist Daniel Saldana, known most prominently in our community for his unfathomably plated metal objects, has taken to turning his excess metal into art bicycles, and leaving them about town. I’ve seen them left up at SAMA, and Blue Star now, both times without a camera on my person. I caught him at Red Dot with his newest creation, this time, chained to the pole outside. Previous bikes were left to be picked up by lucky takers, and ostensibly this new one, I was told was “not finished,” and would be given a similar fate after completion. If you have other images of these art bikes in their native habitat, give em up, via our contact form.
Over the past 6 months I have been increasingly receiving more and more strange and unaccountable spam on my website for the FL!GHT Gallery, www.turnitoff.tv. It comes in from my contact form on the site, and goes straight into my inbox, disguised as a message from the FL!GHT site. After months of deleting the messages that seemingly pile up 10-15 at a time in one conversation thread, per day… I’ve started to take note of the first line in every one of them, seeing them as daily fortune cookies in my email. Here is what I have received in the last 12 hours.
The rest of the emails tend to be a uniform paragraph of html gibberish with links to old blogs, and odd products. It never seems very targeted to sell anything and the html, when viewed properly or interpreted, is really just a bunch of unusable tags..
San Antonio’s newest public artwork was installed yesterday at the intersection of Blanco and Fulton, in the center of a new roundabout. The internal lighting system is not installed, however, and the piece will not be completed until a December 15 lighting ceremony. A press release sent out by Public Art San Antonio explains the significance of the piece:
The design of this new public art work at the roundabout draws a physical and spiritual link between “Beacon Hill”, the name of the neighborhood in which it is located, and its two most predominant architectural styles: Art Deco and Arts and Crafts. These are symbolically represented by the artwork’s two main components: a “sunburst” motif on the brick pavement of the roundabout and its obelisk-shaped “beacon/luminaria.” The “sunburst”, the most popular of all Art Deco motifs, metaphorically stands for its life giving force and the revitalization of the inner city business corridor. The “obelisk”, a symbolic quadrangular vertical sunray made out of steel, will serve as a sundial during the day. Its perforated allover design begins at the bottom with symbols of indigenous ancestral life cycles followed by references to the landscape that the traveler encounters on route to the town of Blanco, Texas.
Emvergeoning made it out to snap a few photos, followed by (highly recommended) pumpkin empanadas from the D.J. Bakery down the street.
I’ve gotten this press release in several forms over the last few days. Enough that I put in an email asking for further information. If any of you are interested I’d suggest you do it as well. It could be a decent opportunity to have some work exhibited permanently in a public space.
CALL TO ARTISTS PRESS RELEASE
The Benham Companies and Arden and Associates are currently accepting proposals to provide visual art for the San Antonio Military Medical Center. Medical facilities that are part of this project are located at Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. These world class health facilities will house inpatient and outpatient ambulatory care as well as trauma and emergency medical care.
Artwork [proposed for these facilities] must reflect the principles of evidence based design and should capture the historical and artistic influences of the local community while promoting wellness and healing in the healthcare environment.
All artwork mediums will be considered for this project. Selected artwork will be displayed throughout the medical center buildings and at key locations on the sites.
Professional artists from San Antonio and surrounding areas are invited to become part of this exciting opportunity.
For more information, please email:
Go check out the road to the parking lots at the ol’ San Antonio International Airport. San Antonio local, Gary Sweeney has interjected some good humor into a portion of the drive. I managed to catch him there, hard hat and all..
These are just a few of the signs he placed in the drive space, keep an eye out the next time you go for a spin around the SA Airport to catch the rest.
Now that the first batch of artists commissioned for the Riverwalk expansion has been announced (there will be others as the expansion proceeds), I wanted to highlight the most historically significant artist selected, and the most interesting one to me personally: Bill Fontana. I missed the reception for him at Artpace earlier this week, so if you attended feel free to let us know how it went in comments.
Fontana studied at the New School for Social Research in New York, graduating with a B.A. in 1970. From 1972 to 1978 Fontana showed several sound sculptures in galleries, but it was in 1976 that he began producing the large-scale sound installations for which he has become known. Fontana’s work follows directly from the thought of John Cage, who was the most prominent inspiration for the early sound artists:
I began in the late 60s, when I was a student in New York and had taken a John Cage course at the New School, and was really beginning to experiment a lot with sound, found sound, recording sound and playback. The very first sound installation I made was in the very early seventies called Sound Sculpture With Resonators, in which I took some resonant objects, like large bottles that someone had made wine in, and placed them on the roof of a building in New York and put little acoustic microphones in them, and transmitted the sounds to the gallery space below. So you’d hear the object which became this very musical, filtered noise of the city. That’s probably one of the earliest works for me. [source]
In his work, Fontana chose to focus on the idea of musicality being a state of mind more than a characteristic of the sounds themselves:
I began my artistic career as a composer. What really began to interest me was not so much the music that I could write, but the states of mind I would experience when I felt musical enough to compose. In those moments, when I became musical, all the sounds around me also became musical. [source]
One thing that has distinguished Fontana from other sound artists (such as Max Neuhaus) is that throughout his career he has kept working with ambient sound, and never moved into electronically generated sound. He has often worked with types of sound displacement in installations such as “Sound Island” (1994) which allowed people at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to hear ambient sounds from the coast of Normandy and from various locations in the city. This work, which is in a sense extremely minimal, has a number of historical and philosophical implications.
In “Harmonic Bridge,” on the other hand, Fontana deals not simply with displacement of sound, but with revealing the relationship between environmental sounds and the acoustic properties of objects within those environments. By applying microphones the London Millenium Foot Bridge, and amplifying sounds “hidden” in the bridge, Fontana reveals a “music” created from wind, foot traffic, etc., engaging with the resonant structure of the bridge itself. As with “Sound Island,” this piece has a number of social implications lurking just below the surface. A recording of “Harmonic Bridge” can be heard below.
It was closing time at my neighborhood bar, the three of us leaning on a concrete table surrounded by cactus, when I heard about the dumpster full of art. A large scale public mural by Anton Vidokle was in the process of being removed by a company which had bought the building. The mural, an application of 100 vinyl decals on metal panels, depicted simplified versions of logos from bankrupt companies. Now the panels were being removed and thrown in a dumpster in the parking lot next to the building.
Installation shot of
We finished our beers, jumped in the car, and headed downtown. When we found the dumpster at around one in the morning, we realized immediately that we weren’t the first San Antonio art scenesters to have this idea. While almost all of the panels had been removed from the building, only a dozen or so were left in the dumpster. We jumped in and started throwing our favorites out into the parking lot. After cramming as many as we could into the trunk of the car, we took off, leaving a few for any other art scavengers who might not look down their noses on dumpster diving. After installing a panel with red semi-circular fragments of anonymous logos in my living room, I started noticing the other pieces around San Antonio. Stacked up near studios, hanging on workshop walls, leaning up against houses, they spoke of something just out of reach. Over the course of their lives, from symbols of production and commerce which drowned in a sea of such symbols, to their resurrection as material for an intricate yet minimal public mural, and finally to their cold, arbitrary fragmentation along the lines of a surface grid, they moved from abstraction to abstraction, carrying bits of identity from place to place.
Photos of Vidokle panels in the wild by Justin Parr
For a long time I waited for the few remaining panels along the top and down one side of the building to be removed. Every time I drove down San Pedro I looked to see if a few more of these public geometries had been taken from the face of the building, if perhaps the dumpster might have a few more treasures in it. And for a long time nothing happened. The building remained unchanged. After some months I forgot about the few logos that remained in their public home, and the mostly-deconstructed facade slowly slipped into the background of my focus.
Then one day it was gone. Not the facade, the panels that were always too exentric to remain for long, but the building itself, which had been reduced to a heap of rubble. A slight controversey ensued, but that too will slip from the front of our minds before long. Still, these little pieces of the mural endure, reminders of the simplified, fragmented memories we collect from our meanderings through the city; reminders of the sometimes crude identities we carry with us, and the ways they can be resurrected, transformed, annihilated.
Photo of Jorrie Furniture Building rubble by Justin Parr
The New York Times is covering a lawsuit that Gerard Malanga (a Warhol assistant and Factory fixture) recently brought against sculptor John Chamberlain. Chamberlain had sold a series of silkscreened canvases bearing his likeness, and made in Warhol’s style, to a collector. A panel charged with authenticating Warhol’s works had declared them genuine. Malanga accuses Chamberlain selling the prints in bad faith, claiming that they were made by Malanga himself, not Warhol. And now he wants his canvases back. Chamberlain apparently made $3.8 million off the deal, and Malanga is pissed, calling him “a consumate fraudster.”
Of course, some people would apply that label to Warhol. And I do have to wonder, if Gerard Malanga was going around making “Warhols” after he left the Factory, how much room he has to malign the motives of Chamberlain. I’m reminded that Jed Perl once called Warhol the “evil prophet of the profit motive” in art. Warhol had no problem, though, with other artists mimicing his work — he would even give his original silkscreens to people like Elaine Sturtevant to make the process easier. It’s one thing for collectors to be obsessed with the origins of these easily reproduced “Factory” prints. But for Malanga, who worked alongside Warhol, to split hairs over the identity of the artist seems just a bit petty. Even if John Chamberlain is a liar.
UPDATE: Maybe the real story here is the Warhol Authentication Board.
The McNay holds a special place in many of our hearts. I’m not alone in having visited the museum over the years, finding my relationship with certain works growing stronger each time I returned. The lovely dreamlike Redon, the Waterlilies, a little Matisse sculpture — all carefully presented in this old Spanish colonial mansion. Sometimes a piece might pop up that I’d seen a hundred times but never really looked at. So it goes. Almost everyone, in every city, has their little aesthetic oasis. And that little oasis will inevitably change, growing or withering depending on the whims of fate. Now the McNay has a new $50 million wing.
As I thought about the McNay’s new Stieren Center, and what to say about it, I came across Jed Perl’s rumination on museums in the last issue of the New Republic. A lot of it is standard Jed Perl: bitching about the art market, trashing Koons and Hirst and Eliasson, along with some of America’s biggest art institutions. Fair enough — he makes plenty of good points, even if his tirades are a bit predictable at this point. But Perl also develops the notion that the museum ought provide a stable sense of place. And that art itself ought to offer a world to enter into — not just a wry joke or another brand name to buy into.
Perl talks about the reluctance of the New Museum and the Broad Contemporary Art Museum to offer the visitor a sense of ground, of rootedness. For those of us who have lived in San Antonio for a while, or who grew up here, the McNay has always had that sense of place. It is intimate and stable — you can form a relationship with it that endures and grows. So how does the new Stieren Center fit into this concept of the museum as a grounding, intimate public space?
The building itself is nice. It’s nice to have a space at the McNay that was made for looking at art. There’s the high-tech glass ceiling that adjusts to the natural light, and indoor lights set to automatically supplement the sun when necessary. The flow of the galleries works pretty well, and there’s a sense of elegance to the space. Some of my architect friends complain that it’s a Renzo Piano rip-off, and considering how close we are to the Menil, it’s a bit disappointing to have that shadow cast over the space from the very beginning.
But then you see the art. The innaugural exhibit brings out the big guns that have for some reason been collecting dust in the McNay’s attic. Beautiful works by Joseph Cornell, Jean Arp, John Chamberlain, Paul Feeley, John McLaughlin and on and on fill the space (and more contemporary names too — Kiki Smith, Sandy Skogland, Ernesto Pujol). The show’s not so cohesive — the visitor has to move quickly from Op Art to Minimalism to Abstract Expressionism to Conceptualism — but the groupings generally work, and as a collection of modern and contemporary art, I think it’s stronger than the offerings at SAMA or the Blanton in Austin; definitely a major contribution to our city’s culture.
Then it dawns on me: there’s another show coming up in August? Where is all this work going? Back in the attic? And this is where we start to get back into groundedness. In a New Light is honestly a show I could visit many times over, and knowing that it will come down to make way for touring exhibits in a month or two is painful to consider. I take heart in the fact that René Barilleaux has organized some wonderful contemporary shows over the years, and will be able to do so much more with this new space. But at the same time I lament that this part of the collection is not one that I will grow to know as I have the more traditional work in the museum’s collection.
(photo by Justin Parr)
Anne Wallace’s sidewalk stamping project, originally commissioned to her in 1999, is finally able to come to a close with the completion of Florida Streets new sidewalks all the way from 281 to S. St. Marys (San Antonio, Texas). The work includes a range of quotes from neighborhood people about their memories of the area, as well as images of traditional crops grown in the area, which was once the farmland for the Alamo. The corn, beans, frogs, hands, snakes, and text panels are totally worth a bike ride down Florida next time you are down this way.
public art? aqualung? pigeon coop? design by committee? I’m trying to get a good angle on it, but nobody seems to know ANYTHING about these. Pictured below, I’ve spent the last 2 months asking people “in the know,” if they know of, or have seen these objects, to no avail. Do you know anything about these giant acrylic hollow boxes, sheathed in metal and bathroom tile on the fore-front of our walk through downtown to the Alamodome? I’m not sure of the exact install date, but I have seen them unchanged in their current condition since the 2 weeks preceding the Final Four basketball games that gripped downtown San Antonio for a week. Possibly its unfinished? ..or maybe I just don’t get it.
(more images by clicking below)
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A few days ago Dan Goddard posted some interesting details on the museum that will house the contemporary art collection of Linda Pace:
By this fall, the foundation expects to select a site in San Antonio for the construction of a permanent home for Pace’s contemporary art collection, including works by Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Isaac Julien, Richard Tuttle and Rachel Whiteread. British architect David Adjaye, who designed the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, is working on the project.
Some are anticipating that the museum, when completed, will be as important as the Menil in Houston (we’ll see…). Adjaye has already created a model for the museum which was sort of viewable through the glass of a locked office door in the Linda Pace Foundation offices during an event last night. I just caught a quick glimpse, but the model seemed less boxy than some of Adjaye’s more well-known projects, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (above).
An exhibit of Adjaye’s work will be traveling to the Hudson (Show)Room at Artpace in September. The show, organized by London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, is called “Making Public Buildings” (a catalog is available on Amazon). As usual with Hudson shows, Adjaye will be giving a walk-through at the opening on September 11. In addition to high-end London homes and public buildings such as museums and libraries, Adjaye has collaborated with artists Olafur Eliasson (see here) and Chris Ofili (see here) on projects that blur the line between visual art and architecture. Adjaye’s buildings are noted for their experiential sensitivity and their ability to respond to the surrounding environment.
We’ll give you more details as we get them…
Invites have been circulating recently for a reception to mark the opening of the new Linda Pace Foundation offices (adjacent to Pace’s Camp Street residence) that have been quietly renovated over the last year or so. I noticed on my bike ride to the gallery last week that the big blank wall facing S. Flores had been installed with a new text piece. After some research, I’m concluding it is one of the new pieces of the Pace collection, mentioned in the reception invite as a Daniel Joseph Martinez. The invite mentions two new acquisitions for the Foundation, no info as to the other has yet surfaced.
(Photo : Stefan Pangritz)
This morning I woke up around 8:30 am, slightly restless and uneasy. I sat on my bed for about an hour and read a chapter out of Andrew Weil’s “From Chocolate to Morphine,” which just happened to have fallen out of my bookshelf over the King William Fair. It happened to be that the page I turned to was the one detailing how Albert Hofmann had first discovered LSD-25 in 1938. I read the whole story on Albert and continued throughout my day. At several points today small snippets of what I read came back to “bite,” me so to speak within my normal everyday conversations. This was driven even further home by a headline I saw that popped up onto my home page just now signing in to check my email. “LSD Creator Albert Hofmann dies at 102,” it said. The biggest shiver ran down my spine. I don’t normally catch up on drug history in the morning, and I certainly don’t expect my catching up to echo current events. heres a link to an obituary in the UK Telegraph about the man and his accomplishments and beliefs. (more info – NYTimes)
UbuWeb recently posted issues 1-3 of Tristan Tzara’s Dada magazine, which ran from 1917 to 1919. Unfortunately, they didn’t post the final, combined issue 4-5, which features some important works by Picabia, as well as Arp, Breton, Cocteau, and Radiguet. Still, a great little contribution to UbuWeb’s amazing archive.
“Art and money never touch. They exist in parallel universes of value at comparable levels of cultural generalization: Art does nothing to money but translate it. Money does nothing to art but facilitate its dissemination and buy the occasional bowl of Wheaties for an artist or art dealer. Thus, when you trade a piece of green paper with a picture on it, signed by a bureaucrat, for a piece of white paper with a picture on it, signed by an artist, you haven’t bought anything, since neither piece of paper is worth anything. You have translated your investment and your faith from one universe of value to another.” — Dave Hickey, Dealing
“According to this system, bodies act as if there were no souls (though this is impossible); and souls act as if there were no bodies; and both act as if each influenced the other.” — G.W. Leibniz, The Principles of Philosophy, or, the Monadology
The San Antonio Museum of Art recently acquired this Armando Morales painting called Trapiche (Moulin a Sucre) (although the museum seems to be referring to it by the English translation of the title, The Sugar Mill). This 1991 oil on canvas showed up in a Sotheby’s auction in 2003, and this was their description:
In Trapiche (Moulin a Sucre) Armando Morales seems to break with his own tradition of presenting the jungle as timeless and dislocated. In fact the painting belongs to a series executed between 1991-92 based on sketches of buildings on the border between the natural and civilized worlds. As in other paintings in the series, Morales forces the viewer to cross these boundary lines through a series of intersecting axes: the unexpected break in the forest wall that permits a view through to the open sea and distant horizon; the plume that rises from the sugar mill’s chimney to join the clouds that form a second skyline; and of course, the elongated tree trunks that terminated in a billowing foliated canopy.
On Thursday, November 29, Marion Oettinger (SAMA’s curator of Latin American Art) will read from a Gabriel Garcia Marquez essay on Morales to celebrate the acquisition. The reading will start at 6 pm, and is free to the public.