Friday, July 25, 2008

Report from San Antonio II

We got our biscuits as previously advertised. Yum. Sausage gravy, bacon, fresh fruit -- all good things. But lordy, those biscuits.

After that we did the Alamo City gallery crawl. A modest show of small colored pencil drawings at Joan Grona Gallery by Bill Amundson -- a smart caustic take on suburbia and market-driven real estate consumption -- won my heart. Also at Grona were works by Min-Tse Chen (post-manga obscure narratives, mostly in ink on paper) and an installation by Jason Jay Stevens about something. Maybe it was Schroedinger's particle/wave voodoo. Maybe not.

It was too early to get into the Blue Star Contemporary Center, so we drove up to the San Antonio Museum of Art, which is located in a rambling old 19th century brewery. It was good to see works by Bill Davenport (a lumpen little crocheted beer bottle coozy) and Ed Blackburn in their collection. The whole contemporary art exhibit was rather densely installed, though. Everything wanted more air and space, especially the Stella.

Back at Blue Star, we saw a show featuring artworks that dealt with time -- duration, passage, past, future, etc. Joey Fauerso, who exhibited a watercolor and a video at SAMA as part of their recent acquisitions show, presented a video at Blue Star, too. While the didactic label's references to spiritual transcendence fell a bit flat, the lovely imagery of watercolor figures dissolving and being washed away left me both satisfied and ready for more.
Also most informative was seeing an assemblage by the late Linda Pace in this context. It was Pace (of picante sauce) funding that led to one of San Antonio's more celebrated art venues: Artpace, which was our next stop.

The current show at Artpace features their four international artists in residence: Marcos Ramirez ERRE (don't know why he usees all caps in that last bit), Mark Bradford, William Cordova, and OLiver Lutz. All were expansive and assertive. Automobiles figured prominently. So did the dynamics of majority/minority social group relations. And the individual's position relative to the social surround. Lutz's Paint it Black at first appeared to be a room of monochrome black paintings with an inexplicable NASCAR race soundtrack, but an adjacent room held video monitors playing surveillance tapes of people (me included) looking at the paintings which -- through the magic of video -- had been transformed to images of a race and its spectators. Sketches for the installation, also in the video room, prove Lutz can draw like a trooper.

There was more, but I've hit the highlights.

Tomorrow, we're off to Austin. There's a video show opening tomorrow night at Art Palace Gallery I need to see. Also dinner at a place my daughter recommended to us.

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