You may call me a snob by the end of this post, and you wouldn’t be the first one.
And of course, I am a snob, with a constant internal critique. So, I have decided to spend 20 minutes every Friday writing a blog post which indulges every vice of that inner critique before I cage her back in. No edit, just spilling out…this way, my bad grammar and spelling will give you something to channel your anger towards….since you know everything I am writing is the god damned truth of the art matter. And anyhow, I already lost an hour or so looking at the art, do I really have to loose more time trying to perfect my writing on it, too?
Tonight I headed to UTSA satellite show for one of those shows that people kept telling me I “had to see”. I was truly excited by the idea of seeing an “interactive performance”. Having expectations in San Antonio is always a looser game, this fifth tier town is usually….lame as the saying goes. Here is the galleries’ unremarkable and unhelpful website http://art.utsa.edu/galleries/satellite-space/
Mat Kubo‘s interactive performance piece had a simple premise which his graduate advisor clearly told him he must work out to the very ends of it’s possibility- making his show tiresome except for his cooky emceeing of the event. Here on the walls were items he bought and returned. Now here is the video where he returns it. Here are the receipts taped to the wall. Here is….. etc. The idea lacked eloquence, depth and was just simple kitch. But, the SA audience was clearly thirsty for performance work, any performance work!, – a medium I think is in it’s infant stages here. They dutifully laughed at the one line physical comedy jokes, and dutifully piled into the garden house to karaoke with him.
The Surprising Award
While the majority of the work by Joe Harjo’s show “Indians for Sale” was boring typical unthoughtful dribble, I found the works of footprints surprisingly interesting. I think maybe the graduate students at UTSA might be suffering from the same fate of the American publishing industry lack of editors who edit and push their artists. In this case, some graduate advisors
should have pushed Harjo away from his self deluded photographs which look like the work of a BFA student, not an MFA student, and told him out right that his uninspired sculptures of Indian heads were just plainly to be expected, and therefore worthless to put on the wall. Someone should have told him to make more work which had humor and depth
like the footprints. App. 16 red prints of shoes or feet were tacked on the wall, each with a worthwhile title- spanning wit, kitsch and depth- like “Indian singing tainted love on karaoke” and ” Indian Standing in this exact spot looking at Contemporary Natie American Art 2″-blank paper. And yet, even here someone needed to stop this guy when he was ahead. Please, did we really need a video to spell out how the prints were made, where they were made. Or did he just feel overly inspired by his pal Mat Kubo?
Except for “Outside the Box”, the photographs and installations by G. Zabala were just boring. Now, maybe folks in Wisconsin will find the documentary style photographs of accordion musicians pleasing for their uniqueness, but not here in SA, the home town of the International Accordian Fest, making the work mostly boring. Except this piece, “Outside with the box” , which was almost wonderful. I loved the way the shadow almost completes his head. This man needs a good critique group to push him into these more interesting directions.
The WTF has the Art World Come to Award
My BIL once proudly told me a story of selling the soap he had stolen from motels and then kept for over a decade on ebay for $5. It was one of those stories that you smile at to get through dinner, but really what does it mean? Well, one would have hoped he had sold those soaps to the artist made the shower curtain of caged perfect unused luxury soap cages called “Please Wash Away” it would have added a bit a poetry to this one idea sculpture.
Award for Best Overall Artist
This award goes to Maywa Denki, an art group which presents itself as a company- giving the poetic and intrigue work quite a bit to hang ones theory hat onto. The works engaged adult and child alike, each work seemed complete and worthy of the time I spent inspecting it.
Best Presentation Award
Got to love a bit of street protest, performance work. And I loved the vigor this guy put into his evening work., though there copywriter might need to get the creative juices flowing again.
In The End Award
In the end, I enjoyed most the long walk to and from my parking spot. In the past I have seen the parking issue of First Friday as annoying, but this time armed with more daylight and better walking heels, I found a number of interesting and lonely houses which gave me tons of ideas.