Friday, June 26, 2009

Texas State University

Damn - it is HOT down here. I drove out to Texas State University in San Marcos this morning with photographers and photo professors, Barry Stone and Ben Ruggerio, to give a talk about my work to a group of photo classes and to participate in a critique for Barry's summer intensive course.

As someone who is trying to shoot work in Texas, it was interesting for me to get an idea of what kinds of things Texans are photographing in their own region. At one point, we looked a work by a young woman who is shooting drag queens alongside work by a young man who is shooting Mormon missionaries. Both are hoping to portray their subjects in a sympathetic light. We also looked at interiors of a Baptist church, southern landscapes reminiscent of Walker Evans and William Eggleston, and a series of male nudes in lingerie quite unlike anything my green eyes have seen before.

Took an afternoon siesta in the A/C ... now I'm going swimming.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Matt Olson

A humble homage to one of my favorite photographers, Andrew Bush, and one of my favorite bloggers, Matt Olson. Matt is the brain and passion behind ROLU, a fantastic blog about art, architecture and design that has gained an international audience.

Matt and I are old pals from the four and a half years that I lived in Minneapolis. His background is in music, and I collaborated with his minimalist ensemble, Smattering, on two multi-media events at the Cowles Conservatory of the Walker Art Center.

I finally got to see Matt for the first time in fours years after corresponding through emails and keeping up with one another's blogs. It has been extraordinary to see his landscape and design company, rosenlof/lucas, grow and thrive along with his writing and documentation of art and design on his blog. Matt's enthusiasm for artists and designers is expansive and infectious, and I find myself discovering and appreciating all kinds of things that might never otherwise land on my radar.

Today is my last day in Minneapolis, and tonight, I fly back to Austin. I've had a great time catching up with friends here like Matt. And thanks to heavy doses of Caladryl, Benadryl, Hydrocortisone Cream, and Prednisone - I am almost human again - hoping I can survive the next few weeks back down there in the woods and water.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The latest from TX ...

I might have the swine flu. Or malaria. I definitely have poison ivy. I'm covered with itchy bug bites. I'm running high fevers and coughing and sniffling. My muscles are killing me. I stayed in bed for nearly two days.

I am flying to Minneapolis tomorrow - yay!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Thirty-six hours after my flight was originally scheduled to leave LGA, I finally touched down in Austin last night with lighting bolts in the summer sky and one hundred degree heat and humidity.

My brother drove us to Snows's BBQ in Lexington to kick things off Texas-style bright and early this morning. Snow's is only open on Saturdays, and ever since the Texas Monthly and then The New Yorker exposed this little shack as the best BBQ in Texas, the brisket disappears by 10am.

Hershey above cooked the meat, and we put away several pounds of beef brisket, pork ribs and chicken. Afterwards, I watched my nephew snuggle with a baby calf in Snow's backyard, and I just might stick to smoothies for the rest of the month.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

culturehall news

Smile When You Say Texas, (Clyde)
Austin, TX
copyright Barry Stone

Turkey, Dyer Automotive, Highway 71
Austin, TX
copyright Barry Stone

Draper, VA
copyright Mark Burnette

Forrest City, AR
copyright Mark Burnette

culturehall has recently added two new photographers to its community of artists, Barry Stone and Mark Burnette. Barry Stone is a former colleague of mine at the ICP who now lives in Austin and teaches at Texas State University in San Marcos, where I will be giving a short talk and participating in a critique for one of his classes at the end of June.

Barry's work is currently being shown at Privateer Gallery in Brooklyn in a group exhibition, Haunts, on view thru July 12th. I made it over to the gallery to see his prints during Bushwick Open Studios this past weekend, and I also look forward to seeing more of Barry's work in a two-person exhibition with Jonathon Faber called Broken Gold in the Courtyard Galley at the University of Texas at Austin on view thru August 28th. Barry Stone's portfolio can be found here: Barry Stone

I am very excited that Mark Burnette has also created a portfolio of his images for culturehall. I mentioned Mark's first trip to New York City in a previous blog post, and he has included one of his images shot in Brooklyn in his portfolio. We are happy to discover an artist living far outside of the urban art spheres who brings a compelling vision to culturehall's community. I first became intrigued with Mark's photographs and writing through his blog, Condition's Uncertain, and the relationship we have established is a testament to me of the internet as a platform for exchanging ideas and forming bonds in the arts.

culturehall has also added some new links to art sites we like in the Artists Resources section of our homepage. One of my favorite places to discover photographers and read excellent writing about their work is American Suburb X - the brainchild of a photographer based in California, Doug Rickard. His site includes interviews as well as evocative essays about photographers accompanying selections of their work. We are looking forward to including some of Doug's own photography when he contributes a portfolio to culturehall sometime in the near future.

We have listed blogs authored by two highly energetic art collectors based in New York City, Ruben Natal-San Miguel of ARTMostfierce and Mike of Modern Art Obsession. Ruben is everywhere and knows everyone and shares some of that art world love with us almost every day - his deepest passion for those emerging. I have especially appreciated Ruben's fantastic series of interviews with figures in the arts, The Current State of the Art Market, in which he raises insightful questions about how we are faring the economic crisis. Mike, who is similarly "obsessed," works on Wall Street by day and writes blunt and irreverent commentary about the art world from the insider's perspective of an avid collector.

Additionally, we are happy to list some other eclectic blogs about the arts: Baltimore Interview from Baltimore; ArtsPreserve from Nebraska; Eva Lake from Portland; Roman Blog from Philadelphia; Art Observed from New York; Art for Humans, TRYHARDER and Triple Canopy from Los Angeles; Lee Grant from Australia; GaliBlog from Norway; eyeCONTACT from New Zealand; and Alan the Gallant and Pop Pervert from Spain.

I am headed to Austin this week to focus on personal projects for the next month. David Andrew Frey and I will resume adding artists and artist resources to culturehall later in July. We appreciate the efforts made by all of those involved these past few months in making culturehall a new presence on the internet for promoting artists.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Motor City

Douglass Projects
Detroit, MI
copyright Will Steacy

I grew up less than three hours away from Detroit, and the only reason I ever went to Detroit was for the Detroit Tigers. My dad and I were baseball fans, and the sounds of Tiger's games hung over our backyard in the summertime, mingling with the fire flies and crickets and humidity. I collected baseball cards and spent hours in my bedroom carefully organizing pictures of grown up men in plastic sleeves and Trapper Keepers. I was especially proud of my collection of Tigers - Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson - sly and slick and rough-around-the-edges, in that order. My neighbor, a sports memorabilia collector, was endeared by my tomboyish adulation and took me into his dark, wood-paneled, shrine-like basement to give me an autographed baseball signed by every Tiger along with Alan Trammell's sweat-stained cap from when Detroit won the 1984 World Series.

Believe me, in later years, I wished I still had some of those baseball cards and souvenirs. I could have paid some rents with those rookie-turned-superstars and Motor City heroes. But I blew it in the summer of 1992 when I advertised my collection in the classifieds of the Kalamazoo Gazette and sold my cards for a mere $200 to a collector who played dumb - like he had no clue how great these cards were - he was just buying them for his son. I knew he was ripping me off but I needed that cold hard cash to get on a train with my cover boyfriend from high school and ride across the country to visit my girlfriends from college.

Except for the Tigers, Detroit was a wasteland. It was like Gary, Indiana - where you rolled up the windows and locked the doors and wondered how people lived there and breathed the air and how so many blocks of houses and storefronts could be vacant and boarded-up. It was apocalyptic, sad, scary. Some of the drug trade and gang activity that passed between Chicago and Detroit stuck around in Kalamazoo as well. Sure, it was a quaint college town, but we had our share of drugs and poverty and shootings now and then. One of my pastimes in high school was driving the family car through the saddest neighborhoods in town and up a curvy road that I called The Crazy Street near the abandoned insane asylum even before I fancied myself a photographer.

Photographer, Will Steacy, has been making some trips to The Real Midwest this year to walk the streets of Detroit. And not just Detroit, but Philly and Atlantic City and Los Angeles as well. Like the tough and tender-hearted private investigator in the books my dad read when he needed a break from Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, Will is taking a hard look at American cities, and it's not a pretty picture.

See for yourself in Will's exhibition opening tomorrow night, Down These Mean Streets, at Gulf & Western Gallery.

And congratulations to my recently retired dad who will be honored the same evening for his three and a half decades of devotion to teaching at Kalamazoo College - yes, my parents read my blog from time to time!

And last but not least, Daniel Cooney is hosting an exhibition of emerging photographers, Some Place Like Home, with a reception on Thursday. Participating photographers include Jun Ahn, Jordan Colbert, Eva Fazzari, Jessica Hendrix, Lali Khalid, Sang-Min Kwak, Rachel Langosch, Sean Park, and Alice Rodriguez.

Will Steacy

Gulf & Western Gallery
New York University
721 Broadway

opening reception Thursday June 4th, 6-8pm

Some Place Like Home
Exhibition of Photography

Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery
511 West 25th Street, Suite 506

opening reception Thursday June 4th, 6-9pm