First* Friday preview

Holy arbitrary calendrical shenanigans, you guys, it’s actually 2010 right the hell now! Dig us, we’re living in the future. Also: This coming Friday marks the first First Friday of the new decade. Yet it won’t be the first actual Friday, which was New Year’s Day — it would’ve been difficult to get art peepers out to the art places that night (and, according to our sources, it was tried, and pretty much failed). So 1/8/2010 shall bring unto us the first First Friday of the 20-teens.

This inaugural First (yet second) Friday presents a koan, or something. We’re starting off not on the wrong foot, but on the second step; this “First” Friday thusly seems intrinsically cattywampus, unorthodox, ambiguous, brimming with conscious artifice — and, more concretely, not happening entirely on Friday (when, we’re also told, a coldfront of epic fireside tales for future generations is on the way, and one gallerist suggested, was reason enough for shuttering up). This devil-may-care treatment of the alpha probably means something, maybe bears a semiotic significance which’ll telescope out for the next 10 years. How’s about some spurious art predictions based on this howdoyoudo?

OUT: self-portraiture of any kind, in any medium. IN: unflattering nude portraiture of strangers extrapolated from their Facebook profile photos, Google searches, and the like. The artist both vanishes and invades.

OUT: pixillation. IN: gouache, mime, and plein-air paintings of people eating lunch will come back in a big, big way.

OUT: the consumption and dissemination of readily available videos online. IN: a militant movement toward acting out common online-amateur-video tropes (such as animal behavior and dangerous stunts) in-person, one-on-one.

More and more baby pandas. Possibly painting, or used as art materials.

Computers and stuff.


6-9 p.m. Wednesday

Blue Star Contemporary Art Center,

119 Blue Star,

Now then. What-all do we have going on this ersatz art-viewing weekend? Blue Star will not be open this Friday, having opened to little fanfare (or avail) on 1/1/10. They’ll be open from noon till 6 on Saturday, though. In the space, it’ll be two-thirds stuff that’s been there since last decade; in the main gallery, the Ovidio Giberga-curated The Familiar Unknown presents some gorgeous and some mind-bending ceramics. Anne Drew Potter’s brilliantly realized, Brueghel-esque figural pieces (above, left) continue to mess with my particular head.

In the Project Space, you can still find Sally Weber’s Tertium Quid, (left) the third thing, a cavalcade of, among other things, holographic images of gym-toned bodies — images which apparently are underpinned by grief and the philosophic ramifications of photon-based technique, but which reminded me of something from the Sharper Image catalog circa 1987. Weber combines these with a rather tacked-on and upsetting-in-the-wrong-way ode to 9/11: a wall projection of era-evoking verbiage such as HOMELAND SECURITY. Worst of all, she displays a box of matches from the Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the North tower of the World Trade Center. The matchbox is held relic-like in a vitrine, two burnt matches protruding from it, in case the whole 9/11 twin towers thing was lost on you. However, Weber is also showing a more abstract holographic installation that is undeniably beautiful. Look at that one.

New lightbox paintings by Marc Wiegand will take up residence in Gallery 4 starting Wednesday, January 6, with an opening reception from 6-9 p.m. Blue Star’s Zinnia Dunis Salcedo describes the works as a built-in installation with adjustable lighting that makes it a little interactive. I.E., there’s apparently a dimmer switch.

Ron Adams, African-American Printmaker: His Own Works

6-9 p.m. Thursday

StoneMetal Press, Blue Star Building B

Master lithographer Ron Adams made himself an artist-of-all-trades in order to make a living this past 25 years; he’s worked in technical illustration, commercial design, and printing. Adams has also collaborated as a printer or lithographer with 20th century biggies like Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Judy Chicago. StoneMetal Press starting Thursday shows off the work of Adams’s own hands and agenda, sans dayjob or celeb collaborator. Anet Alaniz at StoneMetal tells us there will be 20 of Adams’s works, including the last printing of his iconic “Profile in Blue” (above). Don’t miss this fascinating artist’s gallery talk at 2 p.m. Sunday, January 10, either.

Relative Distances: Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Wesley Harvey, Paul Northway, Ryan Takaba

6-9 p.m. Thursday

UTSA Satellite Space, 115 Blue Star

Ceramics also take over the Satellite Space this month, and this exhibition is likewise curated by UTSA Assistant Professor Ovidio Giberga (see above). Judging from advance photos, these aren’t your mom’s ceramics (which we’re sure rock, but still): Wesley Harvey’s works carve out a familiarly warped domesticana — in “The Kiss,” a crockery rooster both courts and menaces a doll-like figure (strongly recalling the combined sculptures of Leslee Fraser). “The Dinner Plate” contains a floral pattern and a Goya-esque figurative scene reminiscent of the ironic dinnerware of Brooklyn designer Jason Miller. Harvey’s work is beautifully made, magazine-ready, hip stuff in the main current of alterna-ceramics. Ryan Takaba’s free-flowing untitled vaselike object, however, appears mysteriously powerful.


6-9 p.m. Thursday, TBD Friday (call 210 385-2484)

The February Collective, 104-A Blue Star

This is a spontaneous-seeming show curated by Kevin Rayhons in the temporary gallery space he took over at Blue Star. WTF is February Collective’s swan song/free-for-all; while previous exhibitions featured photography, WTF mandated that participating artists (which could be anybody) remove a 12-by-12-inch Asian-inspired print by Rayhons from the wallspace (which they could take away with them, apparently, as a keepsake), and in its place hang something, anything, without taking up more than 12 square inches — reminiscent in differing ways of Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger’s 2006 Artpace installation Found and Lost Grotto for Saint Antonio, and Nate Cassie’s For You art exchange, which was featured at Three Walls in 2008. The exchange work went up in the gallery during a “hanging party” on December 30, 2009. What went up must come down, and might be interesting to check out in the meanwhile.

We’re told the Bent Easel, 121 Blue Star, Suite 6, also plans to be open Thursday evening.

Quiescent: Soomin Jung

6-9 p.m. Friday

REM Gallery, 219 E. Park

REM Gallery’s still-new location exhibits the drawings and scupture of Soomin Jung, who anchors her precise images of meticulously modulated color in the architecture of the human body. It’s body as metaphor and as microcosm, too; a crowd of bent, greenish fingers stands in for whole bodies in her drawing “Rave,” while her colored-pencil-on-mylar piece “Oblivion” depicts a muti-part portraiture of ears in a grid, two of whose “blocks” are a pinkish flesh tone, as though to represent somebody missing. Her sculpture “Clouds,” formed of red thread and mixed media (which she calls “space drawings”) look a bit in the press advance photo like flaming Cheetos, but on second glance are both more and less whimsical than that, rendering the mundane abstract (Current writer Bryan Rindfuss calls them “delicate botanicals sprouting from an alien planet.”). We think you should see this one; both the new location if you haven’t been there yet, Soomin Jung’s work.

Continue the Friday art goodness at the Second Friday Art on the Hill Art Walk, 6-10:30 p.m.. which includes nearby High Wire Art Gallery, 326 W. Josephine.

Danville Chadbourne: New Works

6-9 p.m. Saturday

Galerie Nord 2009 NW Military Hwy.

This Saturday, Galerie Nord opens a show of new work by Danville Chadbourne, who had the first part of a career retrospective at Blue Star last spring (see “Arrested Development,” May 20, 2009). The photo of Chadbourne’s work on the Castle Hills art-outpost’s website presents the familiar masterfully worked surfaces, organic forms, and geologic gestures. Soli Chamber Ensemble performs in the gallery at 8 p.m., January 25. •

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