News & Exhibitions / Houston
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Art & Dialogue: Houston Public Program with Beatriz Santiago Muñoz
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, artist and co-founder of Beta-Local, San Juan, Puerto Rico, presented a public program at the Lawndale Art Center as part of Artadia’s Art & Dialogue: Houston on Thursday, September 20. The event was free and open to the public.
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is an artist who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she currently lives and works. Her recent exhibitions include Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: A Universe of Fragile Mirrors, Pérez Art Museum Miami (2016); Ce qui ne sert pas s’oublie (what is not used is forgotten), CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France (2015); La Cabeza Mató a Todos, TEOR/éTica, San José, Costa Rica (2014); Under the Same Sun: Art From Latin America Today, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014); Post-Military Cinema, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow International (2014); Beatriz Santiago Muñoz / Trinh T Minh-Ha / Gregorio Rocha, Tate Modern, London (2013); and Capp Street Project: Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2008).
Santiago Muñoz is also a co-founder of Beta-Local, an arts organization in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Director of Sessions, a series of intensive seminars anchored in the specific geography, emerging art practices, and sociopolitical conditions of Puerto Rico. Santiago Muñoz is a 2015 Creative Capital Visual Arts award grantee.
Lawndale is a multidisciplinary contemporary art center that engages Houston communities with exhibitions and programs that explore the aesthetic, critical, and social issues of our time. Lawndale believes in the role of art and artists to inspire and inform the world around us. By serving as an intimate gathering place to experience art and ideas, Lawndale seeks to foster connections between communities in Houston and beyond. Lawndale presents a diverse range of artistic practices and perspectives through exhibitions and programs, including lectures, symposia, film screenings, readings, and musical performances. Through exhibition opportunities, the Artist Studio Program, institutional collaborations, and the engagement of an advisory board comprised of artists, curators, and scholars, Lawndale seeks within its mission to support all artistic and cultural communities of Houston.
Artadia’s Inaugural Houston Fellows Identified
Artadia is pleased to announce the five inaugural Houston Artadia Fellows: Abdul Basit, Pakistan; Lanre Buraimoh, Nigeria; Eduardo Herrera, Ecuador; Karen Navarro, Argentina; and Sanya Wafeq, Afghanistan.
The Houston Artadia Fellowship is a pilot program designed to connect Houston’s diverse immigrant and refugee artists with other artists, each other, and the international art world through close collaborations with local partners, critical discourse, exhibition opportunities, and studio visits with renowned curators and artists to support and cultivate artistic excellence. Fellows are invited to participate in conversations around art practice, sustainability, and the locality of the city’s art scene while simultaneously providing the resources to address needs specific to those communities.
Inaugural Houston Artadia Fellows will receive the following:
A $2,500 unrestricted honorarium
An introduction to an artist mentor, chosen by Artadia from its pool of Houston-based Artadia Awardees, and the facilitation of a series of meetings catered to the specific needs of each fellow. Meetings will include studio visits, discussion of artwork and practices, and introductions to the Houston art community.
A Presentation of work by fellows and Awardees to the Houston art community, including artists, collectors, dealers, critics, curators and arts professionals will take place Spring 2019.
This pilot program is generously supported by the Houston Endowment.
Image by fellow Karen Navarro.
Announcing the 2018 Houston Artadia Awardees
Artadia is pleased to announce the Awardees for the 2018 Houston Artadia Awards: Francis Almendarez and Dana Frankfort. As the 2018 Houston Artadia Awardees, Almendarez and Frankfort will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds as well as access to the ongoing benefits of the Artadia Awards program.
In the first round of jurying, Huma Bhabha, Artist; Dean Daderko, Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Claire D’Alba, Curator, Art in Embassies (personal capacity) selected five Finalists: Francis Almendarez, Rabea Ballin, Natasha Bowdoin, Dana Frankfort, and Angel Oloshove. Kanitra Fletcher, Curatorial Assistant, Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, joined Daderko for the second round of evaluations. The jurors conducted studio visits with the five Finalists to determine the Awardees. This is Artadia’s ninth year providing unrestricted Awards to artists in Houston. Applications for the Awards were open to any visual artist living in Houston for over two years working in all media, and at any stage of their career.
Of the jurying process, Daderko and Fletcher noted: “It’s been an honor to work with our colleagues at Artadia on this jurying process. Through their support and guidance, we were able to offer two generous, merit-based, and unrestricted awards to the Houston-based artists Francis Almendarez and Dana Frankfort. We shared similar enthusiasms about their individual commitments and clarity-of-vision.”
The jurors praised the practice and committment of each Awardee: “Dana Frankfort’s dedication to process, formal experimentation, and the depths and pleasures of color animate a body of paintings in which she explores the legibility, visual potency, and dissolution of written words.”
“In Almendarez’s inspired and ambitious multi-channel video installation works, we were moved by investigations of memory and history evident in thoughtful manipulations of mood, and temporal and physical distance. We look forward to following the development of their promising practices.”
Artadia is a national non-profit organization that supports visual artists with unrestricted, merit-based Awards followed by a lifetime of program opportunities. Artadia is unique in that it allows any artist to apply, engages internationally recognized curators to review work, and culminates in direct grants. Since 1999, Artadia has awarded over $3 million to more than 310 artists in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
The 2018 Houston Artadia Awards are generously supported by The Brown Foundation, the Houston Endowment, Artadia Houston Council members, and Artadia’s Board of Directors.
Awardee Spotlight: A Dialogue with Lily Cox-Richard
Lily Cox-Richard is a Virginia-based artist and teacher. A 2015 Houston Artadia Awardee, Lily creates sculptures that “engage familiar forms and materials that have become unmoored from their original contexts and roles.”
What made you decide to be an artist?
As a kid, if asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I likely said artist, but looking back, I had no idea what that meant. I grew up on a small family farm surrounded by home-grown projects and inventive solutions with varying degrees of success and practicality, like a hot tub made of extra cinderblocks. It was a culture where adventurous thinking was undeterred by the potential for failure, which gave me a lot of freedom and undoubtedly nurtured my creativity, but of course, I didn’t appreciate it at the time. I got as far away from the farm as I could, and studied jewelry and metalsmithing at California College of Arts and Crafts. There I was exposed to contemporary art and artists, and my work moved from jewelry towards sculpture.
What is your work about? How is it made?
I’m interested in how materials and forms can hold meaning, as well as the larger systems they are a part of: cultural histories, and questions of value, labor, and stewardship. The materials and processes I use depend on the work at hand, and range from carving plaster to hydraulically compacting scrap metal.
What were you working on when you received the Artadia Award in 2015? How has your work evolved since then?
The Artadia Award coincided with two other opportunities that made for a pivotal year in my practice. I was about a year into doing research for Old Copper Futures, which became a series of compacted bales of scrap copper from different American cities. Now that the project exists, each one weighs about 1000 lbs and is supported by a custom plinth that also serves as a pallet to move the sculpture. I hadn’t figured out how to realize the project—I had used all of my contacts and resources on a disastrous first attempt, and I was hitting brick wall after brick wall. I was working full time as the critical initiatives coordinator for the Core Program, which was super interesting and engaging work, but also pretty all-consuming. I found out that I was a finalist for Artadia and a residency at Artpace at about the same time, and I remember thinking, “if I can just get one of these opportunities, I know I can make this project happen.” Being awarded both Artadia and Artpace was indeed greater than their sum: not only did their combined support help me realize this project, but the affirmation of each was reinforced by the other.
My Artadia Award allowed me to buy more copper and funded a residency at RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residence) in Philadelphia, which helped me navigate the industry and find the right kind of baler. Having a studio at a waste reclamation facility also forged a more intimate relationship to trash and helped me better understand waste systems. After my RAIR residency, I headed to a two-month residency at Artpace in San Antonio, TX to figure out how these bales of copper can work as sculpture, and create other works for my exhibition Salv.
In addition to creating a new body of work, the concurrent grants and residencies made it possible for me to leave my job to take full advantage of these opportunities–still, that was a really scary decision for me to make. The recognition and support fueled a very generative year, and I couldn’t have taken the leap without these awards: I am deeply grateful.
Do you find that you are most generative while on residency?
There are so many different kinds of residencies. Longer term ones, like the Core Program, become daily life, while other residencies, like MacDowell, make the chores of daily life disappear allowing for sustained and intense studio focus. It’s easier to carve out time for deep work when other responsibilities and distractions are eliminated. Last summer, I moved to Richmond to teach at Virginia Commonwealth University. Now I’m trying to figure out ways to sustain that intensity of focus in my studio here without a formal residency.
Meeting new people and exploring different places always opens things up and shifts perspectives, which is incredibly generative in a different way. I’m in the second year of a ten-year (intermittent) residency at Yvonne in Guatemala City. This is a long-term experiment, and we’re not even sure if “residency” is the best word for it, but I will live and work with/at Yvonne for several weeks each year. So far, this has connected me to creative communities there, where I’ve gained a new understanding of, and deep admiration for, the contemporary art scene in Guatemala, as well as fresh perspective on my work and context. The first year, I made a series of prints with Taller Experimental de Gráfica de Guatemala (TEGG), and an exhibition, If not an hongo // Si no es un mushroom. This began with an investigation of a biological occurrence native to Guatemala: an abnormal growth (sometimes called a matapalo) that occurs on certain trees in response to a parasitic mistletoe. Often mistaken for some kind of mushroom, these intricate woody tumors are collected and sold as decorative curios. As I questioned guest/host dynamics in relation to parasitism and hospitality (and my own role as a visitor) I made a series of concrete sculptures that engage and respond to architectural details throughout Yvonne. If not an hongo, and perhaps my ongoing engagement with Yvonne, looks for ways to live under threat, finding models for necessary resistance that might, in turn, foster the growth of something beautiful.
How do you come up with your ideas?
I percolate ideas pretty slowly, which might be why I’m especially drawn to a 10-year residency. Much of my work has started with me noticing something that I previously overlooked, asking questions of it, and then rather than answers, just finding better questions. This has led me to other kinds of residencies where I’ve focused on research. I pursued RAIR and the Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship for specific projects and lines of questioning that were already underway, and the access they provided was crucial to the development of the work. But being so focused on a specific project meant that I didn’t explore some of the tempting tangents that I could have followed. When I was at RAIR in 2016, I remember that there was a giant bale of tinsel sitting out behind one of the buildings. No one knew what to do with it, or how to recycle it. It would get covered in dust and debris, and then rain or wind would wash it clean, and it would become blindingly sparkly again. I think about this bale of tinsel all the time. Seriously, it has dedicated space in my mind’s eye. I called Billy Dufala at RAIR to ask what happened to it and he said it was still there, so I last week, I visited the tinsel bale. I don’t yet know where this is going, but it is leading to some pretty good questions!
You have said that you are interested in everyday objects and details that are often overlooked. Why and how are these important in your work?
There’s so much at stake in paying attention to what gets obscured by dominant voices and main characters. Attention to details and peripheries is one way I’m working to dismantle white supremacy and other systems of oppression. I thought a lot about this in my recent show Sculptures the Size of Hailstones at the Old Jail Art Center in Albany, TX. Like the hail scale, my sculptures in this series range in size from a pea to a softball. They were positioned on a massive plaster plinth that had cast woven baskets forming niches and craters. What seems small for sculpture can be lethal as a hailstone. Modesty of scale can make something easier to dismiss, but it can also grant the ability to go stealth: little things that might be mistaken for ornamentation but are in fact infrastructural, or just the visible element of an extensive vital system. By making the plinth so much larger than necessary, I wanted to insist on the importance of its supporting role and claim space for it. I installed Strike: Solitary Confinement in the adjacent room, a group of reclaimed lightning rods, their grounding cables woven between the bars of the cell. This room was not accessible and was best viewed by the security monitor near the front desk, reminding visitors that today they came to a jail because it had art, not people, inside.
What is your dream project?
I have a running list of dream projects: literally, artworks that I’ve made in dreams. I awake to think, “I should make THAT!” These include a collaboration with earthworms, a sculpture of the space between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and a glowing three-dimensional asterisk made of asparagus.
What is next for you?
I’m working on sculptures for an exhibition at Diverseworks in Houston in September, which will explore convergences of infrastructure and natural systems while challenging assumptions of positionality and value. I’m creating new aggregates that fuse crafted objects, found materials, and cast concrete. The space has a row of low, floor-level windows that stretch the length of the gallery. I think the ideal vantage point for my show will be kneeling on the sidewalk just outside the gallery.
And of course, thinking more about the tinsel bale.
Lily Cox-Richard’s sculpture engages familiar forms and materials that have become unmoored from their original contexts and roles. She mines this distance by digging into their cultural and materials histories and forging new paths between them. She has been awarded an Artadia grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows, and residencies at the Core Program, Millay Colony, RAIR Philadelphia, and the MacDowell Colony. Recent solo exhibitions include Yvonne (Guatemala City), Artpace (San Antonio, TX), She Works Flexible (Houston), Hirschl & Adler Modern (New York), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), and the Hudson River Museum (New York). Lily Cox-Richard lives and works in Richmond, VA, where she is an assistant professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts.
Announcing the 2018 Houston Artadia Awards Finalists
New York, NY – Artadia is pleased to announce the five Finalists for the 2018 Houston Awards: Francis Almendarez, Rabea Ballin, Natasha Bowdoin, Dana Frankfort, and Angel Oloshove. The Finalists will receive studio visits with second round jurors, who will ultimately select two artists as Awardees to receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds.
The Finalists were selected by jurors Huma Bhabha, Artist; Dean Daderko, Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Claire D’Alba, Curator, Art in Embassies (personal capacity).
Local juror Daderko noted: “It’s an honor to have been involved in this jurying process alongside Huma Bhabha and Claire D’Alba, and I look forward to seeing how Artadia’s generous support will enable these Houston-based artists to advance their compelling practices.”
The review piqued D’Alba’s interest in the Houston arts community: “The Artadia Houston submissions were incredibly diverse. The range of artists’ backgrounds and cultural identities was notable, but the variety of media and practice was also striking. It was a pleasure to spend time considering the work of so many hard-working artists, and I’m inspired by how much vibrant and compelling art is being made in Houston.”
This is Artadia’s ninth Award cycle in Houston. The application was open to all visual artists living in Houston for over two years, working in any media, and at any stage of their career. Finalists and Artadia Award recipients are selected through Artadia’s rigorous, two-tier jury review process. In the first round of review, jurors evaluated the merit of all submissions and collaboratively determined the five Finalists.
Artadia is a national non-profit organization that supports artists with unrestricted, merit- based Awards followed by a lifetime of program opportunities. Artadia is unique in that it allows any artist to apply, engages nationally recognized artists and curators to review work, and culminates in direct grants. Since 1999, Artadia has awarded over $3 million to more than 310 artists in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
The 2018 Houston Artadia Awards are generously supported by The Brown Foundation, the Houston Endowment, Artadia Houston Council members, and Artadia’s Board of Directors.
Awardee Spotlight: A Dialogue with Mequitta Ahuja
Mequitta Ahuja is a contemporary American feminist painter who currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She creates works of self-portraiture focusing on themes of figurative painting and the artist as picture-maker. Her work has been exhibited at MCA Chicago, The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington, DC), among other notable international institutions and galleries. The 2008 Houston Artadia Awardee joined us in conversation.
What were you working on when you received the Artadia Award in 2008? How has your practice evolved since then?
Going back to my adolescence, my story is that I have a relatively unique cultural heritage—I am African-American on my mother’s side and South Asian Indian on my father’s side. In the United States the conversation about race is almost always black and white. If somebody is mixed-race, we assume they’re mixed black and white, not two non-white ethnic groups. Often, I felt like an outsider, and for a long time, creating a visual unity of my cultural heritage was the subject of my work, but as I aged, those concerns receded. At some point, it no longer felt important whether or not I fit other people’s expectations. As those concerns faded, I needed to reinvent my work, and to do that, I needed to expand the terms of the self-portrait. The genre of self-portraiture, especially when it is an artist of color or a woman, is circumscribed by identity and its politics. It became important to me to move self-portraiture, as a genre, away from identity and toward a discourse on representation. That transition is about authority. Because we as women, and we, as people of color, are not only experts on ourselves and on our social condition. I am also an expert on art. My paintings tell you what you need to know about paint – its form, its conventions and its history. As women, as people of color, we can have that authority. I picture it.
What was the impact of the Artadia Award for you? What did you do with the funds? How did it affect your career trajectory?
The impact of these kinds of awards, the Artadia Award or the Guggenheim Fellowship, which I was awarded this year, is three-fold – status, money, validation. As artists, we figure out how to work when any or all of these is in short supply. If we’re lucky, we get occasional infusions of one or another, enough to keep us afloat. For me, the most profound impact of any of these kinds of prizes (when you get them and when you don’t) is always existential and psychological – they contribute to the shape of the story we tell ourselves, about our efforts, our lives, our purpose and those stories are either fuel or weights. Often, it fulfills a need we each have to construct our personal narratives of success and overcoming challenges. The stories we tell ourselves have both psychological and practical outcomes. The confidence they impart makes us better at what we do. It also challenges us to live up to them. Once we receive recognition, we have to prove we deserve it.
Your work repositions portraiture and ideas of representation by layering information, histories, narratives, and material. What are you hoping people will get from your work?
In my works, I position a woman of color at the center of a discourse on representation. I established this objective from my study of art history. It is my assertion that the entire figurative painting tradition can be summed up this way: the figurative tradition is the unseen made visible through a meaningful fiction. Unseen because it happened in the past or away from public view or in the mind of the artist or the sitter. And meaningful fictions include all the mechanics of illusionism such as one-point perspective, or a single source of light, as well as the conventions of painting established and reinforced over the history of painting – ideas like, painting as a stage set established by a pulled back curtain, or using architecture to frame a narrative, or depicting a piece of paper as a trompe l’oeil or “trick of the eye.” I consciously make use of painting conventions to position my work in dialogue with the figurative painting tradition. Often, I include elements in the work that reveal its character as a construction self-consciously staged for a viewer.
What’s next for you?
In my new work I’m addressing domesticity, the body and painting – painting as an act and painting as an object. The work I exhibited in 2017 at the Walters Art Museum was the start of my imagery depicting paintings within paintings. I’m continuing that theme because it allows me to explore the full range of my medium – its full formal and pictorial history. By creating a contrast between the painting’s overall figurative style and the style of the internal painting – the painting within the painting, which ranges from naturalism to folk art to text, I’m able to work expansively across pictorial idioms. Working this way forces me to expand my skills and my references. In my most recently completed painting, “Seated Scribe,” I was influenced by the artist Corita Kent. The process of working on this painting opened up areas of art and art history that I’d barely visited. Before working on the canvas, I first had to wrap my mind around a graphic design problem – how to make something legible that also worked as an abstract pattern. This is not a problem I’d tackled before in painting, so I spent a lot time drawing letters, cutting them out and arranging them on paper then trying to approximate a printmaker’s graphic flatness in colored-pencil drawings before moving into my final painterly approach to the text.
For me, painting, it’s practice, it’s mechanics and its history, is a lens through which I view everything. My daily concerns are formal – questions of mark and surface, structure and space, color and shape. My body of work documents my development as a maker and as a thinker. I want my viewers to see what I see and to see how I visually problem solve, which is a way of thinking. I want the viewer to see me in my process of thinking and painting, painting and thinking.
Application Now Open for the 2018 Houston Artadia Awards
Artadia is now accepting applications for the 2018 Houston Awards from all visual artists who have lived and worked within Harris County for a minimum of two years. Individual artists and collaboratives working in all visual media and at any stage in their career are strongly encouraged to apply. Awardees will be selected through a two-tier jury process that employs a panel of prominent curators and one artist in the spring of 2018. This is the ninth Houston Awards cycle.
A preliminary panel will evaluate all online submissions and select five Finalists in mid-May. A second panel will conduct studio visits with each Finalist, gaining a broader context for the artists’ work. Two Awardees will be selected from the Finalist pool to receive unrestricted Artadia Awards of $10,000. The 2018 Houston Awardees will be announced in June.
The Houston Artadia Awards are:
– Open to anyone living in Harris County
– Free of application fees and project outline requirements
Apply if you:
– Have lived in Harris County for at least two years
– Are not currently enrolled in an art-related degree program
– Would like to have your work seen by a panel of prominent curators
Application due May 1, 2018
11:59 pm CST
Art & Dialogue: Houston Summary by Anne Ellegood
Art & Dialogue: Houston summary by Anne Ellegood
I always enjoy visiting Houston, so when Artadia invited me to do studio visit and give a public lecture, I jumped at the chance. As is well known, Houston is a city with several great museums, nationally respected galleries, top-notch curatorial talent, and fantastic food and music scenes to boot. What became much more apparent to me during this visit, however, is that Houston is also a city with a very active and impressive community of artists. In addition to visiting artists who had received the Artadia award at some point in the past, I was also able to do a number of studio visits with artists in the CORE Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art. Artadia has been giving grants to artists in Houston since 2003, so there are numerous alumni of the program; indeed far more than I could visit in a short trip. But the combination of Artadia artists and CORE artists, most of whom are recent MFA graduates, meant that I was able to visit with artists at various points in their careers and with very different approaches to their practices. Visiting artists in their studios is a great honor, and the opportunity to see how artists remain committed to making work—amidst other daily responsibilities and sometimes despite very real challenges—is always inspiring and illuminating.
My first visit was with Jamal Cyrus, whose work I have known for several years, since seeing it in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and in subsequent exhibitions. Having just returned from Miami where he had a successful solo presentation in the Positions section of the fair with Kerry Inman Gallery, and for which he was shortlisted for the BMW Art Journey award, we talked about the work on view there. A centerpiece of the presentation was a sculptural installation featuring an imaginary record label he calls “Pride Records,” inspired by his interest in the history of black music and its connections to civil rights struggles. Also included in the booth—with a couple of new works from the series underway in the studio as well—were collages integrating images and text from his archive of Jet Magazine. Densely layered and visually energetic, these modest works perfectly encapsulate Jamal’s ability to call attention to how material culture is saturated with specific histories and how information gets obscured and interpreted in myriad of ways over time, a web of material to be untangled.
I then met with Katrina Moorhead at Inman Gallery to see her work in the group show I Won’t Let You Say Goodbye This Time. I was familiar with Katrina’s work from many years ago, and believe I may have even met her once before in Houston. I liked her work very much when I first saw it and felt she was someone to watch, but it had been several years since I’d seen it, so it was great to reconnect and see the latest pieces. Taking up abstract subjects that are almost unwieldy in their scope (how knowledge is obtained, for example), through her precise choice of materials or images, she distills her ideas into gorgeously elegant and conceptually rich objects. There is a meticulousness to her work that reveals an astute understanding of her subject, yet a refreshing openness that leaves much room for interpretation, as well as the simple pleasures of observing a well-made object.
I also visited with Augusto Di Stefano and got to see his labor-intensive drawings and paintings, many of simple architectural forms that in their austerity suggest nearly surreal spaces full of intrigue. That evening I gave a lecture on the work of Jimmie Durham—whose retrospective I organized for the Hammer was currently on view in New York at the Whitney Museum—to a group at the MFAH, and was happy to see a few familiar faces in the crowd, including a grad school friend, Xandra Eden, the director of DiverseWorks, who I was able to spend some time with over the weekend and hear more about her prorgram. This was followed by a lovely dinner at the home of Kerry Inman where I got to meet a number of other artists, writers, and curators in the community, including two of the critics-in-residence at the CORE program, Kate Green (whom I’d met briefly previously, as fellow Bard alumni) and Laura Wellen. This was a real pleasure, as I greatly admire both of their work. I got to spend more time with Laura the following day, as she graciously took me around town to see some museum and gallery exhibitions.
Over the next two days, I did several more studio visits with Artadia alumni. I was charmed by Rachel Hecker’s shrewdly funny work. Francesca Fuchs and I talked about the power of objects, the entwining and life and work, and the imperative to slow down and observe in a chaotic world. Jeff Shore shared with me the installation he made with Jon Fisher in the enormous silo spaces of Site Gallery. Having seen their work years before in New York, I was reminded of their ability to use technology in ways that are alluring and surprisingly approachable. I was impressed with the sheer pleasure and levity of David Aylsworth’s engrossing paintings, and enjoyed talking to him about the color pink. And lastly, I really appreciated speaking with Katy Heinlein about her sculptures: the interplay of soft and hard forms, the emotional resonances of color, and the ongoing investigations into gravity, tension, and balance in her seductively absorbing works. No trip to Houston would be complete without visiting the city’s incredible museums, and although I didn’t have time to see everything I wanted to, I was able to see the stellar exhibition of Mona Hatoum’s work at the Menil and to visit the Christopher Knowles survey and project by Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz at the CAM with my dear colleague Dean Daderko. It was a wonderful visit overall, and I remain impressed with Houston as one of the most vibrant cities for art in the country where artists are able to find support, community, and space to make their work.
Anne Ellegood is Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum. She was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC from 2005-2009. Previously, she was the New York-based Curator for Peter Norton’s collection, and from 1998-2003, she was the Associate Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Since joining the Hammer in May 2009, Ellegood has organized solo projects with Claude Collins-Stracensky, Rob Fischer, Keren Cytter, Friedrich Kunath, Diana-Al Hadid, Eric Baudelaire, and Tom Marioni.Ellegood has contributed to a number of publications including Artforum, Mousse, and Tate, Etc. Recent writings include the introduction for Phaidon’s Vitamin 3D, a survey of contemporary sculpture; an interview with Haim Steinbach for MATRIX/Berkeley: A Changing Exhibition of Contemporary Art; a catalogue essay for Iván Navarro for the Chilean Pavilion for the 2009 Venice Biennale; a catalogue essay on the work of Sara VanDerBeek for the Tang Museum at Skidmore; a catalogue essay on Bjorn Dahlem for his Quadriennale show in Düsseldorf; and a catalogue essay on Kerry Tribe for her show at the Arnolfini.
Announcing the 2017 Houston Artadia Awardees
Houston, TX – Artadia is pleased to announce the Awardees for the 2017 Houston Artadia Awards: Regina Agu and Kaneem Smith. As the 2017 Houston Artadia Awardees, Agu and Smith will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds, as well as access to the ongoing benefits of the Artadia Awards program. This is Artadia’s eighth time providing unrestricted Awards to artists in Houston since the first Houston Artadia Awards in 2003. The 2017 Awards application was open to visual artists living in Harris County, TX for over two years, working in all media, and at any stage of their careers. Agu and Smith join an exalted group of 61 artists who have received the Houston Artadia Award.
In the first round of jurying, Ryan N. Dennis, Public Art Director and Curator, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX; Claire Gilman, Senior Curator, The Drawing Center, New York, NY; and Los Angeles-based artist Ryan Trecartin selected five Finalists: Regina Agu, Catherine Colangelo, Gabriel Martinez, Kaneem Smith, and Sarah Welch.
Evan Garza, Director, Rice Public Art, Rice University, joined Dennis for the second round of jurying, conducting studio visits with the five Finalists to determine the Awardees.
“I am so happy to have spent the day visiting studios with my colleague Evan Garza. We were impressed with all the candidates and know that while all couldn’t be awarded this time around, there will be opportunity in the future,” Dennis said. Garza also expressed his excitement about the Finalists: “Sarah Welch, Catherine Colangelo, and Gabriel Martinez each demonstrated incredible skill and exceptional promise. Each artist is deserving of further recognition and they represent the incredible caliber and disciplinary diversity of contemporary practice in Houston.”
Dennis said of the Awardees: “Regina Agu and Kaneem Smith represent two dynamic women working in different mediums, but both are very focused and articulated the vision of their work with grace and passion. Regina, an artist that has a collaborative spirit, is informed by deep research and presents text-based work along with collage and photography, and is weaving narratives together in a refreshing way. Kaneem, who moves between sculpture and fiber works, pushes the viewer to think about African American history and the Diaspora poetically and powerfully. I could not be more thrilled to award these two artists and look forward to seeing what they accomplish with this support.”
Garza stated: “Regina Agu and Kaneem Smith are incredibly deserving of the Houston Artadia Awards. Each artist is spectacularly focused in her respective practice, demonstrating skill, exceptional critical rigor and thought, and whose works are pioneering and impressive in subject and presentation. Artadia is fortunate to be able to provide these artists with the recognition and support they so deserve.” He also elaborated on the jurying process: “I’m grateful to Artadia for the opportunity to meet and award some of Houston’s most talented artists. As a new member of Houston’s curatorial community, Artadia made it possible for me to get to know these artists and their exciting work.”
Artadia is now holding Awards cycles in each one of its program cities every year, allowing the organization to provide more consistent support to distinct arts communities across the United States. The 2018 Houston application will be open from April 15 – May 15.
The 2017 Houston Artadia Awards are generously supported by The Brown Foundation, the Houston Endowment, Artadia’s Board of Directors, and Council members.
Image, from left to right: Regina Agu, Sea Change (installation view at Project Row Houses), 2016, vinyl print, 80 x 6 feet; Kaneem Smith, (left to right) Reap and Sow, 2014, linen, encaustic wax, cotton bolls 4 x 5 x 3 inches; Wring Out, 2014, green cotton, burlap, encaustic wax.
Announcing the 2017 Houston Artadia Awards Finalists
Artadia is pleased to announce the five Finalists for the 2017 Houston Awards: Regina Agu, Catherine Colangelo, Gabriel Martinez, Kaneem Smith, and Sarah Welch. The Finalists will receive studio visits with second round jurors, who will ultimately select two artists as Awardees to receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds.
The Finalists were selected by jurors Ryan N. Dennis, Public Art Director and Curator, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX; Claire Gilman, Senior Curator, The Drawing Center, New York, NY; and Ryan Trecartin, artist, Los Angeles, CA.
Local juror Dennis spoke to the strength of the submissions: “It was a treat to be on this review panel with my colleagues in the field and represent Houston with pride. All the artists that applied are producing good work and add to the contemporary landscape so it was a hard decision to narrow it down to five but we did, and I feel great with our selections.”
The review piqued Gilman’s interest in the Houston arts community: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to get to know the work of so many talented artists through the Artadia review process. It was inspiring to be introduced to the vibrant Houston artistic community, and it was equally rewarding to share thoughts and opinions with my fellow jurors both of whom brought unique perspectives and insights to the conversation. I look forward to seeing how the work of the Houston applicants develops and am encouraged to take a trip to Houston in the future to see for myself.”
This is Artadia’s eighth Award cycle in Houston. The application was open to all visual artists living in Houston for over two years, working in any media, and at any stage of their career. Finalists and Artadia Award recipients are selected through Artadia’s rigorous, two-tier jury review process. In the first round of review, jurors evaluated the merit of all submissions and collaboratively determined the five Finalists.
The 2017 Houston Artadia Awards are generously supported by The Brown Foundation, the Houston Endowment, Artadia Houston Council members, and Artadia’s Board of Directors.
Image, clockwise from top left: Gabriel Martinez, Regina Agu, Kaneem Smith, Catherine Colangelo, Sarah Welch
Art & Dialogue: Houston Summary by Catherine Morris
This report is intended to offer a brief summary of impressions and thoughts from my visit to Houston as a Visiting Curator as part of the Artadia Art & Dialogue program, October 5 – 7, 2016.
My itinerary included eight studios visits, a public evening talk on my practice at the Museum of Fine Arts, a dinner reception and collection visit hosted by Artadia Trustee Marc Melcher, and some independent time to visit the Menil Collection. The trip was an extraordinary opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with a wide variety of artists living and working in Houston. I am grateful for this chance to build on my knowledge of Houston and its art communities. On previous trips I largely spent my time visiting the city’s vibrant and vital museums. Talking to artists and spending time in their studios offered me unique access to learning about specific personal experiences working in the city as well as significant insight into the larger arts community, which seems to be flourishing in Houston.
The following summary is organized following the chronology of my visit. Within these notes I reflect on some of the topics suggested as subject to address within the guidelines provided by Artadia, including common or particularly interesting techniques employed by the artists I visited, observations on themes seen in the studios, stand out projects, the relationship of projects to the city of Houston, significant locations or cultural happenings that seem noteworthy. My closing observations reflect my thoughts on possible dialogues or links with other cities or other ideas generated by my visit.
After checking in at my hotel late in the afternoon on Wednesday, October 6, I started my itinerary with an evening visit to Zach Moser’s home/studio. This was a standout visit as Moser’s work takes the city of Houston – particularly examples of its histories of labor and local economies – as a starting point. The work is challenging and timely, speaking directly about the city of Houston and Moser’s engagement with it. Our conversation set up several talking points I continued to pursue in the following days. In what is effectively a post-studio practice, Moser described the fascinating and distinctive ways he aligns and presents his interests in the history and current state of a highly specialized local labor economy (shrimping), making art out of participating in, presenting, and documenting the lived experience of a group of unique and interlocked small business owners. For Moser, the city of Houston offers artists an urban working context that is relatively unencumbered by significant historical markers and as such opens up in exceptional ways for artists interested in having their work function in multiple contexts, particularly as locally based practices which can be discussed in global and international terms.
Thursday morning I met new Core Fellow, Shana Hoehn, who acted as my guide for the rest of my trip. Shana offered an perceptive introduction to the Core Program, sharing insight into the services and opportunities it offers. As a young artist who has worked for several years in the art world, Hoehn understood the unique situation she was newly engaged in, giving me an overview of the program and a tour of the Core building on San Jacinto Street, where I had my first studios that day.
Jill Conrad, an artist who has lived and worked in Houston as a teacher and practitioner for a significant period of time, was very interested in the opportunity to present her work to a curator from outside the scene with which she is so closely aligned. As an artist who is able to maintain an active studio practice and national exhibition history while also teaching, Conrad exemplified the benefits of working and living in a city like Houston. Her work reflected a long term commitment and close reading of several formal interests, particularly new ways of utilizing and engaging photography as a sculptural medium.
Working in a small studio in the Core building, Jamal Cyrus is producing work that feels very exciting and current. His engagement with multiple histories of African American experience in Texas and the south were effectively tied to the formal means he used to produce his work – integrating an interest in quilting techniques and the history of modern painterly abstraction, for instance. This was a stand out visit for me as I felt I had been introduced to an artist whose work I now intend to follow into the future.
I was grateful my visit afforded me the chance to get to the Menil to see the Smithers Collection installation curated by colleague and friend Michelle White. One of my curatorial interests is exploring new ways to engage with the obsolete art historical category of outsider art, so I was pleased to have the chance to talk to Michelle about her project, simultaneously gaining insight into a local collection being donated to an important Houston institution.
Visiting Delilah Montoya at her home studio, learning about her career and seeing several bodies of work was a worthwhile experience. Curatorial and educational teams at the Brooklyn Museum have had recent discussions about the politics of acquiring works from the historical genre known as Casata Paintings, so it was a useful and fascinating coincidence to discuss this type of work and see its inspiration in Montoya’s recent practice and within her personal history.
The opportunity to give a talk at the Museum of Fine Arts on my own work was truly rewarding. The audience seemed responsive and engaged, offering interesting follow up questions and comments. Seeing friends from the local community was a great bonus. The reception and dinner which followed at the home of Marc Melcher was generous and welcoming. It is always a pleasure and adds a very personal note to be able to see the homes of local collectors and to meet community members in a causal social environment.
Friday began with a visit to Soody Sharifi, and it was a pleasure to discuss her experience as an artist of the Iranian diaspora living and working and Houston for a significant amount of time. Seeing the formal and thematic interests of her life experience as an Iranian American launched an interesting conversation. It was also instructive to see the studio building Sharifi worked in at 1824 Spring Street, which seemed like another positive opportunity for artists within the local community.
Visiting the studio of Trenton Doyle Hancock added significantly to my thinking on several of the themes begun in my earlier conversations with artists in Houston. Hancock’s deep investment in the local community, his interest in outsider, or as he prefers to call it – visionary – art, and his engagement with the social and political experience of African American communities were some of the subjects we touched upon, and which I very much enjoyed discussing. Visiting an established artist with a complex studio practice that fully reflects a multifaceted career of interwoven interests and pursuits was very rewarding.
My next visit was to Nestor Topchy, another artist with a highly unique practice deeply rooted in his long engagement in local arts communities in Houston. Encompassing ambitious and idiosyncratic intellectual investments with architecture, environmental consciousness, social practice, collective experimentation, portraiture and Pysanky, a Ukranian egg painting tradition, visiting Topchy’s compound was a dynamic and at times heading-spinning experience.
My final visit was to the studio of Rachel Hecker, an artist whose studio practice was in many ways the most traditional, and whose thematic interests and formal skills reflect a thoughtful and humorous engagement with human foibles and lived experience. With a discussing ranging from feminism, to the impact of a commitment to pedagogy on an artist’s career, to aging parents, to the gallery system, and, finally, to Houston humidity, our meeting was informative, inspiring and comfortable.
Some general observations on issues and themes artists seem interested in:
– The heat and humidity and Houstonians’ apparently universal commitment to air conditioning as an extreme sport was a recurring conversation throughout my trip, even though I was there after the close of the summer season. In addition to the artists, Uber drivers were very game to participate in this conversation.
– Houston, as southern city that somehow avoids a lot of the deep historical baggage of the south, was a theme that came up several times and was interesting in relationship to the different communities the artists I visited represented – from African American, to Latina, to Iranian.
– Further to that, the majority of the artists I visited were not born or raised in the city – though many of them have lived there for decades – and that was an interesting point of comparative discussion as well.
– The resources of the city were very important to the artists – the museums of course, but also Artadia and the Core programs in particular. The commitment of both of these organizations to contemporary artists in the city was a very significant thing for all of them.
– Artists seemed very intent on focusing on how to align notions of local and global within their practices and they felt that Houston was a good city in which to do this. As this is a theme I see artists all over the world increasingly invested in, it would suggest to me that Houston’s artists very much see themselves functioning within the international art world.
– The interest in and support for an outside curator visiting studios without an agenda beyond simply meeting the artists and seeing their work was palpable. It was also a welcome relief for me as visiting for the sake of visiting felt like a rare gift.
Thank you for this opportunity to get to know a new city in a unique and rewarding way.
Image: Trenton Doyle Hancock, I Want to Be at the Meeting After the Separation, 2014, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 90 x 108 x 3 1/4 inches
Art & Dialogue: Houston Public Program with Catherine Morris
Catherine Morris is the Sackler Family Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum where, since 2009, she has curated numerous exhibitions including Agitprop! (co-curated with Saisha Grayson, Stephanie Weissberg, and Jess Wilcox) Judith Scott-Bound and Unbound (co-curated with Matthew Higgs, and currently on view at the Aspen Art Museum) Chicago in L.A: Judy Chicago’s Early Work, 1963-1974 (with Saisha Grayson) and Materializing Six Years: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art (with Vincent Bonin). She has worked on exhibitions and curatorial projects with Marilyn Minter, Zanele Muholi, Suzanne Lacy, Matthew Buckingham, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith and Rachel Kneebone and produced historical exhibitions such as Twice Militant: Lorraine Hansberry’s Letter to The Ladder, Newspaper Fiction: The New York Journalism of Djuna Barnes, 1913-1919, and Healing the Wounds of War: The Brooklyn Sanity Fair of 1864. Previously an independent curator, Morris organized, among other projects, Decoys, Complexes and Triggers: Women and Land Art in the 1970s at SculptureCenter, Long Island City, New York; 9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre and Engineering, 1966 for the List Visual Arts Center, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and two exhibitions, Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art of the 1970s and Food at White Columns, New York.
She recently co-curated the exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-1985, with Rujeko Hockley, which opened at the Brooklyn Museum in March 2017 and recently travelled to the California African American Museum.
The Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston awards residencies to exceptional, highly motivated visual artists and critical writers who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training and are working to develop a sustainable practice. Established in 1982, the Core artist residencies encourage intensive and innovative studio practice. The Core critical studies residencies, added in 1998, broaden the scope of the critical dialogue that is central to the practices of all Core residents and provide an opportunity for writers to pursue independent curatorial and writing projects. Residents participate in a yearlong seminar and engage with a wide range of leading artists, critics, curators, and art historians who are invited to meet individually with the residents, lead group seminars, and deliver public lectures. The residency term lasts nine months, from September to May; residents receive a stipend and studio or office space. Each spring the program mounts an exhibition of work produced during the current residency term, which is accompanied by a publication whose purpose is to document the work of all the residents.
Art & Dialogue and Artadia’s programs in Houston are made possible thanks to the generosity of The Brown Foundation, Houston Arts Alliance, The Houston Endowment, Artadia’s Board of Directors and Council members, and many individuals throughout the country.
Announcing the 2015 Houston Artadia Awardees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 23, 2015
Artadia Announces Awardees for Seventh Houston Artadia Awards
Houston, TX – Artadia is pleased to announce the 2015 Houston Artadia Awardees. Lily Cox-Richard and Autumn Knight will each receive $12,000 in unrestricted funds, and JooYoung Choi (Houston Council Award), El Franco Lee II, and Charisse Weston will each be awarded $5,000 in unrestricted funds. Each artist will receive the lifetime benefits of the Artadia Award program including access to the Artadia Art & Dialogue program, Awardee exhibitions, connections with curators and participation in Artadia projects at art fairs across the country.
Applications for the Houston Artadia Awards were open to visual artists living in Harris County, TX for over two years and working in all media and at any stage of their career. In the first round of jury review, David Altmejd, artist, Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, and Claudia Schmuckli, Director and Chief Curator at Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, selected ten finalists following a panel review of 225 applicants in late October.
Schmuckli was joined in Houston by second round juror Lanka Tattersall, Assistant Curator, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, to conduct studio visits with the ten finalists from November 18 – 20. Tattersall said of the Awardees: “I was deeply impressed by the work of the five Awardees and am thrilled that Artadia’s substantial, unrestricted funds will support these fantastic artists. While the work of each of the Awardees is remarkably different from the next, these artists all combine formal experimentation and an open sense of curiosity with a keen awareness of the role of art in contemporary culture.”
This is Artadia’s seventh award cycle in Houston. Schmuckli spoke to the organization’s commitment to Houston’s arts community: “Every few years Artadia throws its spotlight on Houston and I cannot think of a more gratifying task than to serve as a juror to bring heightened national attention and significant financial support to the artists working in my community. Artadia’s commitment to supporting individual artists is unparalleled. It allows artists to grow and thrive locally and yet be part of a national network of finalists and Awardees that expands their professional opportunities.”
Annise D. Parker, Mayor, City of Houston, said of the Awards: “For over a decade, the Artadia Awards have promoted engagement among the Houston arts community, strengthened the local creative economy, and offered vital financial resources to one of our city’s most valuable cultural assets — its artists. Artadia’s mission and work embody the commitment to a rich local culture that we seek to nurture through the Houston Arts and Cultural Plan. We are thankful to Artadia for their work to celebrate and fortify the city’s arts community, and for continuing to highlight Houston as a dynamic incubator of culture on a national stage.”
Since 1999, Artadia has recognized artistic excellence in cities across the United States with unrestricted, merit-based Awards and connections to a network of opportunities. In addition to Houston, Artadia funds Awards on a rotating cycle in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
The Houston Artadia Awards and Artadia’s programs in Houston are made possible thanks to the generosity of The Brown Foundation, Houston Arts Alliance, The Houston Endowment, Artadia’s Board of Directors and Council members, and many individuals throughout the country.
Announcing the 2015 Houston Artadia Awards Finalists
Artadia is pleased to announce the ten finalists for the 2015 Houston Artadia Awards. The finalists were selected by first round jurors Claudia Schmuckli, Director and Chief Curator at Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, and artist David Altmejd, following a panel review of 225 applicants in late October.
The ten finalists for the 2015 Houston Artadia Awards are:
Of the finalists, Claudia Schmuckli said, “I am thrilled that the final selection offers an exciting crosssection of artistic practice across gender, race, age, and access to education that is truly representative of the diversity that makes Houston such a unique and special place to live and work in.”
This is Artadia’s seventh year providing unrestricted Awards to artists in Houston. Applications for the 2015 Houston Artadia Awards were open to visual artists living in Harris County, TX for over two years and working in all media and at any stage of their career. The first round of finalist selection asks two curators — one from the Award city, another from New York — and an artist to engage in discussion about the quality of the submissions received. Of the process, David Altmejd commented that, “it was a great opportunity to see so much art I don’t get to see here in New York. There were a few applications that were really visionary. ”
“As the ‘local’ juror,” Schmuckli remarked, “I was excited to see if I would make new discoveries in the process of reviewing the applications. I am happy to say that I did, and even if not all of those artists made it onto our list of finalists, I look forward to seeking them out later on.”
Schmuckli will be joined by Lanka Tattersall, Assistant Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to conduct studio visits with the finalists in late November. The 2015 Houston Artadia Awardees will receive up to $20,000 in unrestricted funds as well as access to the lifetime benefits of the Artadia Award program.
The Houston Artadia Awards and Artadia’s programs in Houston are made possible thanks to the generosity of The Brown Foundation, Houston Arts Alliance, The Houston Endowment, Artadia’s Board of Directors and Council members, and many individuals throughout the country.
2015 Houston Artadia Award Application Now Open
7/16/15Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue is now accepting applications for the 2015 Houston Artadia Awards from all visual artists who have lived and worked throughout Harris County, TX for two years or more. Individual artists and collaboratives working in all visual media and at any stage in their career are strongly encouraged to apply. Artadia Awardees are selected through a two-tiered jury process that combines local expertise with outside perspective from leading curators and artists. A preliminary panel will evaluate all online submissions and select 10 finalists in late October. A second panel of curators will visit Houston in late November to conduct studio visits with each finalist and select Awardees to receive unrestricted Artadia Awards between $5,000 and $20,000. The 2015 Houston Awardees will be announced at the end of November 2015.The Houston Artadia Awards are:– Open to anyone living in Harris County– Free of application fees and project outline requirements– Merit-based– UnrestrictedApply If You:– Have lived in Houston (Harris County, TX) for 2 years or more– Are not currently enrolled in an art-related degree program– Would like to have your work seen by a panel of prominent curatorsAPPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY: OCTOBER 15, 2015, 6 PM ESTOnline Application:
Artadia Houston member event
Houston Museum of African American Culture was the site of Artadia’s May 30 event, featuring artist presentations by Artadia awardees Nathaniel Donnett (2010) and Serena Lin Bush (2006). Executive Director Carolyn Ramo and 25 guests were in attendance at the event, which was hosted by Artadia Board Member John Guess, Jr. Said Mr. Donnett about the organization, “Artadia gave me the freedom to make work for community, not commercial.”
Awardees for the Artadia Awards 2012 Houston Announced!
We are ecstatic to announce the Awardees for the Artadia Awards 2012 Houston: Jillian Conrad and Carl Suddath at the $15,000 level. Francesca Fuchs, Seth Mittag, and Jang soon Im at the $5,000 level. The awardees were selected by a fantastic jury: Michelle White, Curator, The Menil Collection, Houston; Patrick Charpenel, Director, Jumex Foundation/Collection, Mexico City, MX; and Naima Keith, Assistant Curator, The Studio Museum Harlem, New York.