The Art of MMVII

Here’s a list of things that caught my eyes this year, besides what I’ve previously written about. This year I seemed to miss all the well-reviewed and hyped shows and catch mainly the “off” shows. I still think the “off” shows were equally valuable experiences. The openings aren’t all crowded and noisy, you get a better sense of the space, and most importantly, you can actually look at the art. Same as the music list, I’ll be adding to this list as I remember things.

First things first. R.I.P Volitant Gallery, 1906 and while I’m at it, Clap! Clap!

The Screamer Company’s experimental art and design publications One and Two.

The freaky-fabulous installation environment of Art Palace’s Tabletop Sculpture.

So far, Art Alliance Austin gets an A for effort; we’ll see what the real results are this spring with Art City Austin and their other major events.

museo {i}menos‘ electric stencil workshops in the RGV and Front. Tamps. and global art activism via the web.

Congrats to AVAA on 30 years! It just goes to show that hipness and hype do not necessarily guarantee staying power, it’s all about hard work and dedication. Although a little more help in launching 3rd- and 4th-tier local artists and talented ameteurs to the next level would be great.

Florian Slotawa: One After the Other at Arthouse. I’m a sucker and advocate for peeling back the layers of history.

I thought AMOA’s EXTRA-ORDINARY: The Everyday Object in American Art (Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art) was nicely done, although I’m not sure if a real critic would take points off for the pieces being part of another museum’s collection. And crap, I thought I’d written a post about this. Maybe I wrote it out in my notebook. Oh well, I’ll just dive right in here instead. There’s probably so many levels of curation involved that it’s hard to say if the art being shown is what has been the most filtered and diluted. I did happen to be around when a presentation was going on, and I thought the way the objects were presented to the public was illuminating. The exhibition asked the question, “Why the hell is this art?” which I’m sure is what a lot of average joes think when they see contemporary art. The lecturer’s answers were good in most cases–he elaborated on things like craftsmanship and underlying meaning. But what stood out more to me was that on a couple of pieces, he admitted (in elaborate terms and euphemisms), “Well, really, we don’t know why this is considered art. We don’t really know what the artist is saying. It’s just something that makes the world a more interesting place.” And being a graphic designer, I was partial to the display of local industrial designers in the back. I almost bought my dog one of those neat metal food bowls for Christmas (they’re available at Groovy Dog Bakery).

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