Monday, March 12, 2007

On the Street - Artpace, 2nd Saturday, 300, and SXSW Free Shows

Posted on Mon, Mar 12, 2007 at 12:00 AM

On the Street - Artpace, 2nd Saturday, SXSW Free Shows On the Street - Artpace, 2nd Saturday, SXSW Free Shows

As SXSA SA Indiefest proudly (and nervously) took center stage for the week, a few other events and occurrences transpired across our effortlessly serendipitous yet lamer than lame city.

On Thursday night Artpace unveiled the latest work from its three artists-in-residence: Glenn Kaino, Robert Pruitt, and Katja Strunz. I arrived in time to hear the artists' dialogue, which helped give an important understanding to the work. According to curator Debra Singer the artists were chosen with contrast in mind, which is cool because in knowing that I don't need to try and force some tenuous connection between the three. Nonetheless, at least for two of the artists, a shared interest in music and comic books were revealed as influences. For Pruitt, soul/funk album covers were a specific point of departure.

Pruitt's exhibit of photos, drawings, and sculptures "exemplifies his renegotiation of stereotypes of black identity." {1} Pruitt came across as very sincere and thoughtful as he talked about his work. He mentioned a shared theme in black culture and history - looking for a way out. By that he meant escape to another place, and made the connection between the writings of Marcus Garvey to the intergalactic "travels" of Sun Ra to the album covers of Parliament Funkadelic. In several of his pieces, Pruitt created his own escape narrative as different characters look off into the distance waiting to be saved.

If my ears were correct this drawing was entitled "Waiting for the Mothership" - an apparent allusion to the P-Funk album "Mothership Connection".

This sculpture, 100 handcuffs welded together in the shape of a... flyer saucer?, is perhaps another hidden allusion to "Mothership Connection." Song #5 of the album is entitled, that's right, "Handcuff."

Katja Strunz spoke the least during the dialogue. Because of this, I learned little about her show, except that it was titled "Lazy Corner", assuming I heard her right. And worse, my camera battery died before I was able to photograph any of her steel sculptures.

I was able to borrow this image...

...which is not justice. There will be one more opportunity to ask her questions for those interested - a brown bag lunch on Wednesday April 11 from noon to 1pm, with food provided by Sip. Call Artpace for reservations.

Glenn Kaino, in some ways, stole the show during the dialogue with stories about his other life working for Napster and directing a commercial for the Superbowl. Kaino's kinetic energy translated to his work - both with We Will Breathe Later (3 hourglasses spinning around with the help of an off-angle centrifuge) and Quarter Mile ( a three-channel video installation.)

Quarter Mile contrasts the varying movements of three different people navigating a quarter of a mile: 1) jazz singer Olu Dara walking through Harlem, 2) race car driver Kenji Yamanaka speeding past a wreck, and 3) "Olympic athlete Sinjin Smith sprinting away from where a destructive storm has hit." {2}

Each video channel begins and ends at the same time but changes speed throughout, expanding and foreshortening the temporal experience, and perhaps, commenting on the Law of Relativity.

In We Will Breathe Later sand from 3 different locations are placed in the separate hourglasses - 1)from the Middle East, 2) from Texas, 3) from silicon valley. Through the motion of the machine the sand is never allowed to drift downward. The title of the piece is a quote from some anonymous but infamous graffiti from the May 68 uprisings in Paris.

On Friday at Holden's 101 Bar graffiti art was on full display as various artists donated their work to raise money to pay medical bills for a friend. It was probably the most people I've seen yet at Holden's, though one can't tell from this photo..

...because everyone else was photo right getting hammered.

Also on Friday I stopped by i2i Gallery at 2110 McCullough to see the photos of Justin Parr. The show was entitled "Invisible Houses", which were photos from a trip he recently took to Marfa. Here Justin smells one of the dozens of small photos of Marfa featuring a reoccurring red balloon.

Justin's point of view?

On Saturday I heard that a band Temple of Bon Matin was going to play at 1906 S. Flores. From what I read online I expected to hear a cross between Ornette Coleman and Judas Priest. The bridge between this gap was loudness. Instead, they played a much quieter set, and perhaps, lost a chance to embrace San Antonio's leathery, metal roots.

Most people were inside 1906 S. Flores for "2nd Saturday" wherein several galleries at this warehouse unveiled new artwork. At Fl¡ght Gallery, Robert Tatum and Jason Gonzales shared a show. Below is a vanishing point of Tatum's toilet dispensers entitled "love is...letting it flow."

This gentleman decided to get comfortable with the artwork before he considered making a purchase.

Here are a couple of faceless but irreverent paintings by Jason Gonzales...

Since the Current has started the blog I don't believe the Spurs have lost a game. Coincidence? The synergy between the two groups is not obvious but palpable in a sort of indirect way. If the Spurs do lose a game then I feel confident that chisme libre will continue. The main reason for the Spurs unexpected return to form is the dominating play of Manu Ginobili. He hasn't played this well since his heroic exploits in the playoffs of the 2005 Championship. Another coincidence - the concomitant improved play of Manu and the phenomenon of manusexuality. It's not too late to take the quiz. Are you a Manusexual?

On Sunday morning after having breakfast at the solid Magnolia Pancake Haus, I went next door to the Embassy theater to see the animated sword and sandals disaster 300. Later that night I saw Ebert & Roeper's 2 thumbs up review of 300, which is perplexing. Granted Ebert was on leave this episode I saw, but how could two professional film critics approve this movie? Seduced by the cgi spectacle, they were confused into equating faithfulness to a graphic novel with interesting filmmaking. The only real plot twist was when a Benedict Arnold hunchback exposed the secret goat trail to the invading Persian army.

Looking ahead, after SA Indiefest, I realize more than a few people would like to head up to Austin for SXSW. I remember getting a free wrist band in 1993 (before one needed anything more) and still thinking that the $40 price was too much. Now one needs a badge worth half a thousand dollars to be able to confidently see anything. I've written the festival off since then as being too much of a hassle. Now, the overwhelming success of the festival has actually created a critical mass where the festival is worthwhile again, sort of. The preponderance of free day shows makes the festival actually interesting, even if they have nothing officially to do with the festival and are basically mutualistic parasites. Here is THE website to check for free musical events in case anyone wants to make the trip. Scroll down to Wednesday and beyond for the free stuff. Enjoy (at your own risk.)

{1} Kate Green, Artpace Gallery Notes, New Works 07.1

{2} Ditto



Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.