Arts : Artifacts 

News and notes from the San Antonio art scene

That magical visual-art time of year is just around the corner: July is officially Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio. But like many American festivities, CAM is suffering from holiday creep. Shows billed as CAM events are already open in the city (see our events listings, page 18), and many more shows will be on view before the official CAM First Friday, July 7. For a complete listing of events, visit Camsanantonio.org, and keep your eye on the Current. We’ll provide special CAM coverage and a complete listing of CAM events beginning June 21.

At the top of our CAM must-see list is the dedication of a memorial to late Blue Star Arts Complex founders Arthur “Hap” Veltman and Bernard Lifshutz. Mister Danny Geisler has raised funds from 200 individuals and organizations to pay for a plaque that reads “You Are Here ... Because They Were Here,” and two street signs for Rue Bernard and Hap Veltman Way, which will be installed on pathways at the complex. The names of the project’s supporters are “a testament to the power of Hap and Bernard and their influence on the lives of so many different kinds of people,” says Geisler. Fittingly, the dedication doubles as the official CAM closing ceremony and, also fittingly, partying will ensue. Etch it into your calendar now: 6 p.m. Sunday, July 30, at the Blue Star Arts Complex, 119 Blue Star.

The San Antonio Museum of Art, which at 25 years is only a tiny bit older than Blue Star, has hired David Rubin, visual-art director of New Orleans’ Contemporary Art Center, to be its curator of contemporary art. Rubin, who joins SAMA in late September, will be responsible for the care and feeding of the museum’s contemporary and modern collections. The commitment of another local institution to actively collecting contemporary work is wildly welcome.

Speaking of candidates for collection, sculptor Richie Budd, video artist Guy Hundere, multimedia artist Ethel Shipton, and Trinity University art professor Trish Simonite are recipients of Artpace Travel Grants for 2006. Offering funds up to $2,500, the program supports domestic and international travel for a variety of art-related pursuits. Simonite, who is developing a body of work inspired by Vita Sackville-West, will travel to England to visit Sackville-West’s White Garden. Budd, known for his interactive glue-gun sculptures, will use his newfound wealth to participate in residence programs at Brooklyn’s Triangle Art Association and the Vermont Studio Center. Hundere was nominated to the Artists Hermitage Retreat in Edgewood, Florida, and Shipton, who has been working on a series of drawings inspired by interstate highway systems, will head to Ceramica Suro in Guadalajara, Mexico, in December.

You can see one permutation of Shipton’s new series when her Artpace WindowWorks exhibit opens June 15. The installation will be on view in Artpace’s front windows at 445 N. Main through September 10.

- Elaine Wolff


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SHORT AND SWEET

Short stories come in two flavors these days: The open-ended, Raymond-Carver-esque style purveyed by graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop, and the drop-kick perverse-punchline efforts once deployed to some effect by Neil Labute and a cohort of young literary things with agents, now handed out like forged hall passes to apathetic monitors. This is true even of Latina fiction. Cristina Henriquez, graduate of the Workshop, came through town recently with Come Together, Fall Apart, a gauzy collection of open-ended tales about post-Noriega Panama and its diaspora that bore the unmistakable post-Carver stamp.

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Christine Granados’s collection of short stories, Brides and Sinners in El Chuco, released in February by the University of Arizona press, could slip into the second camp. Her stories offer (often-abrupt) closure — the closure of dead ends that all too often rear up in Mexican-American El Paso to thwart young dreamers. But this single mother’s humor pulls her back from the edge of LaBute, even when she’s purveying bolillo stereotypes that put those old Spaghetti Westerns to shame. Catch her at 5 p.m. Thursday, at the Twig, 5005 Broadway.

- Elaine Wolff


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ROCK FOR CHOICE

Help send a message of solidarity for women’s rights at Ruta Maya on the Riverwalk, 107 East Martin, Saturday, June 10. Live music, a silent auction, drag show, and performance artists come together to get the pro-choice message out at a time when the right to health care and reproductive freedom is in jeopardy. Rock for Choice was founded in the fall of 1991 to support safe and legal abortion. The San Antonio event features musical performances by DJ J. Lopez, Girl In A Coma, Beso Negro, Mal Hecho, New Radio, & Yoshimoto. Doors 7 p.m., music 9 p.m. Tickets $7, donations appreciated. Info: myspace.com/sananto_rockforchoice.com.


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