Thursday, June 6, 2019

Experimental Film Series Landing in San Antonio This Weekend Takes Aim at Confederate Monuments Across the South

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge A STILL FROM SABINE GRUFFAT’S FILM TAKE IT DOWN.
  • A still from Sabine Gruffat’s film Take It Down.
Launched with a nod to disruptive art critic Dave Hickey and his 
click to enlarge THE LOGO FOR AUSTIN-BASED DIRTY DARK PLACE.
  • The logo for Austin-based Dirty Dark Place.
unconventional Austin gallery A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (1967-1971), Dirty Dark Place (DDP) is billed as “an errant, artist-run project space” that’s dedicated to creating challenging programming and “disrupting the hierarchical and socioeconomic systems that shape access and patronage of contemporary art.” An irreverent offshoot of Daedelus Hoffman and Lindsay Starr’s Cattywampus Press, the Austin-based operation admirably keeps an eye on San Antonio and its robust art scene.

After Cattywampus Press celebrated Alamo City eccentric Barney Smith in its 2017 book King of the Commode: Barney Smith and His Toilet Seat Art Museum, DDP spotlighted a smart assortment of San Antonio artists — Christie Blizard, Anthony Rundblade, Daniela Cavazos Madrigal and Buster Graybill among them — in its amusingly titled “Backdoor Biennial.” Staged in booth B7 in the back left corner of the Kyle Flea Market, the 2018 series of 12 solo exhibitions playfully critiqued “biennials, art fairs and the elitist impulse embedded in the institutional presentation of contemporary art.” 
click to enlarge DDP’S “WALTZ ACROSS TEXAS” LANDS IN SA ON JUNE 8.
  • DDP’s “Waltz Across Texas” lands in SA on June 8.
Recently “resurrected” as a series of free public film screenings and events scattered across the Lone Star State, DDP is currently showcasing the unusual output of Sabine Gruffat and Bill Brown — North Carolina-based moving-image artists who employ celluloid film as “both a material register and critical resource for interrogating the documentary image.” Titled “Bill and Sabine Waltz Across Texas,” the roving endeavor kicked off at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art on June 2, touches down at Art League Houston on June 7 and culminates in San Antonio on June 8 with a BYOB, al-fresco evening at beloved Southtown art space Sala Diaz.

Wildly experimental in nature, the selected works come together in a trippy melange combining vintage rodeo footage, hypnotic reels of text and graphic patterns, Brown’s conceptual travelogue XCTRY (Cross Country) and Gruffat’s Take It Down, a solarized 35-mm film that takes aim at “Confederate soldier monuments standing in courthouse squares across the South” amid the rise of white supremacy in the Trump era.

Free, 8-11pm Sat, June 8, Sala Diaz, 517 Stieren St., (972) 900-0047, dirtydarkplace.com.
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