For his debut at Blaffer Art Museum, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, Coolquitt will recombine 60 discrete sculptures and tableaux made between 2006 and 2011 into a site-specific installation which, in its singularity and temporariness, reflects on the condition of the gallery space as a codified place of encounter for people and works of art. The exhibition will also include pieces that occupy a hybrid position between autonomous artworks by Coolquitt and what the artist calls somebody-mades and in-betweens. Somebody-mades are assemblages of objects that are presented just as the artist found them in the streets, while in-betweens combine such found assemblages with interventions of his own. Presented alongside and interspersed with his own work, these elements serve to further complicate the relationship between the contexts of creation and reception, artist and audience, and blur the boundaries between art and life.
Since 1988, Andy Coolquitt has been interested in the collection, study, and reuse of objects found in the vicinity of his home or studio to create works that facilitate conversation about the social dynamics and energies that define and shape temporary encounters and transient existences in the public sphere. Coolquitt scavenges the streets for remnants of human activity and transforms debris such as metal tubing, plastic lighters, empty bottles, drinking straws, and paper bags into sculptures and installations that are humble monuments to lives led in the streets. While his materials are drawn from the world outside and allude to conditions of homelessness, Coolquitt often employs them to create situations of interiority. He recomposes them into individual works or groupings that imply a sense of domesticity–be it through association as in ce n’est pas une vitrine (this is not a vitrine), 2011, or DWR picture, 2010, where various elements are combined into displays that could easily be thought of as decorative elements for a hallway or lobby or as fulfilling an actual function as in JSUT, 2007, and tableaux, 2009, where the pieces provide light, warmth, or other physical comfort.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated monograph co-published by Blaffer Art Museum and University of Texas Press with contributions by Rachel Hooper, Dan Fox, Matthew Higgs, and Jan Tumlir.
Andy Coolquitt was born in 1964 in Mesquite, Texas. He has a BFA in art history from The University of Texas at Austin and currently lives and works in Austin, Texas and New York City.
andy coolquitt: attainable excellence is made possible in part by the Cecil Amelia Blaffer von Furstenberg Endowment for Exhibitions and Programs, Houston Endowment Inc. and Nayla Hadchiti. Support for the catalog is provided by Lisa Cooley. Additional support is provided by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Jo and Jim Furr Exhibition Endowment at Blaffer Art Museum, The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation. KUHF-FM and Saint Arnold Brewing Company provide in-kind support. Educational outreach programs are made possible by Dorothy C. Sumner, the Kristin Saleri Art Foundation, Quantum Reservoir Impact, and the Kinder Morgan Foundation.