Arts : Artifacts

News and notes from the San Antonio art scene

The red carpet and paparazzi packed off to some other celebrity lovefest, I headed down to Blue Star Contemporary Art Center to see Terra Nostra: Solamente Salma, a tribute to the actress Salma Hayek by George Yepes and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. One advantage of San Antonio’s distance from the West Coast has been the relative lack of confusion between art and personality, but the Yepes-Rodriguez show is a textbook example of the phenomenon. There’s a word for it: it starts with “star” and ends with “ucking.” The entire main gallery is given over to the paintings, which look rushed, with sloppy surfaces and sophomoric imagery. It’s hard to say whether Rodriguez alone can paint based on this show, but we know Yepes is capable of better work. Decide for yourself: It’s up through June 17 at 116 Blue Star.

The trip certainly wasn’t wasted, though. Recent UTSA grad J. Derrick Durham is showing sharp graphic paintings at Joan Grona Gallery, as well as his “Tighty Whitey” series, featuring silver undies in relief on, um, goldenrod canvases. (One collector bought multiples and gifted his friends.)

Artists taking part in StoneMetal Press’s Building Up Steam event were busy with heavy machinery in the back parking lot, and large black-and-white prints were being ferried quickly into Blue Star Brewery to dry. Flight Gallery’s Justin Parr, who was out enjoying the spectacle, is excited about his new space in Andy Benavides’s One9Zero6 Gallery at 1906 S. Flores. Parr, who relocated from the Blue Star Art Silos, will host his first opening during Contemporary Art Month — stay tuned for details. The new Flight Gallery will keep the art-action level high on South Flores (which is also home to Gallista Gallery and Salon Mijangos) while One9Zero6 goes into hibernation for six months beginning in August.

If you’re thinking your neighborhood sounds a little sleepy compared to SoFlo and Blue Star, maybe it’s time to funnel some City arts funds into your district. Through May 26, the Office of Cultural Affairs is accepting applications for Neighborhood Arts Program grants, which range from $5,000-20,000 and are awarded on a two-year cycle. Eligible applicants are arts organizations or individual artists partnered with community organizations such as schools, hospitals, and neighborhood associations. Final funding decisions will be made in September. For info, an application, and guidelines, visit or call Program Manager Victoria Garcia de Marquez at 207-8488.

One essential non-art item that’s been missing from San Antonio’s scene is a wide selection of post-show places to wine and dine. But hope has arrived in shiny black shells by the bowlful. Damien Watel’s new Southtown venture, La Frite, 728 S. Alamo, seats until 9:45 p.m. on weekend nights. Not exactly nightlife hours, but late enough to skid in for dinner and a Belgian beer after an opening. If you do stop in for a snack (the french fries are even better than the pommes frites Watel serves at Bistro Vatel), make sure to mention how much you’d love to eat mussels on the sidewalk at midnight.

Elaine Wolff

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