Since the early 1990s, Rebecca Morris (b. 1969, Honolulu) has explored the vast visual language of abstract painting. Inventing an extensive array of original forms, compositional rules, and improvisational associations, Morris creates highly considered images that simultaneously construct and disassemble themselves. Varying widely in scale and density, her works are both unpredictable and precise, often featuring an ebullient cacophony of hues, patterns, layers, and gestures. This publication accompanies the major 2019 exhibition at Blaffer, which is Morris’s first United States solo museum presentation since 2005. It features an original essay by exhibition curator Tyler Blackwell and plates of all works in the exhibition.
Chicago sculptor Richard Rezac (b. 1952, Lincoln, Nebraska) makes his wood and metal sculptures by hand, combining meticulous geometry with a deep feeling for color and form. Richard Rezac: Address brings together 20 mostly recent works made of materials such as cherry wood, cast bronze, and aluminum. Inviting multiple readings, these simultaneously strange and familiar objects demonstrate the artist’s ongoing engagement with mathematical ordering systems and the elusive mechanisms of memory and interpretation. This publication accompanies the exhibition organized by the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. It continues this kind of address, extending it to a greater audience of readers through a generous selection of images, a conversation between the artist and curator Solveig Øvstebø, and new texts by Jennifer R. Gross, James Rondeau, and Matthew Goulish.
The Future Is Certain; It’s the Past Which Is Unpredictable is an exhibition about the perception of time and history, about how the past can reassert itself in the present and the future. The old Soviet joke serving as its title is an entry point, an ironic comment on the general state of mind in the USSR during a time when the country attempted to reshape nearly all aspects of life. This exhibition was organized by Lithuanian independent curator Monika Lipšic and first commissioned as part of a series of events marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution at the Calvert22 Foundation in London in 2017. It includes work by the artists and collectives Tacita Dean, Felix Kalmenson, Maria Loboda, Jonas Mekas (with Johnston Sheard and Justė Kostikovaitė), Deimantas Narkevičius, Robertas Narkus, Emily Newman, Goda Palekaitė and Monika Lipšic, Jura Shust, Emilija Škarnulytė, Slavs and Tatars, and Juan Pablo Villegas.
The Propeller Group–an artist team made up of Phunam, Matt Lucero and Tuan Andrew Nguyen, and based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam–blurs the boundaries between fine art and media production, in much the same way that this publication blurs the boundaries between a traditional exhibition catalogue and an artist’s book. The publication features essays by curators Naomi Beckwith and Cesar Garcia, as well as contributions by each of the members of The Propeller Group: Nguyen pens an obituary for the group that pays homage to Vietnamese funereal celebrations, Phunam shares an astrological reading and Lucero creates a travelogue that records the group’s recent exploration of Papua New Guinea.
Whether casting paints and ink into sculpture, or using marble, concrete, porcelain or photographs for painterly purposes, Los Angeles–based artist Analia Saban (born 1980) has stretched the limits of material and media in often unexpected ways. Her concern is for the component materials from which art, particularly painting, is made, and her explorations have teased out the hidden ideological and political repercussions of those materials and the forms they take.
Saban’s first book is published on the occasion of a major museum retrospective that showcases ten years of her deep investigations into the possibilities of both the process and the mediums of art making.
Published by Sequence Press, Blaffer Art Museum, and Sternberg Press May 2017 Designed by Geoff Kaplan Edited by Katherine Pickard and Tim Saltarelli Softcover w/ flaps 8.5 in. x 11 in., 205 pp., 1161 color images Blake Rayne’s paintings stem from the generative duplicity of words like Script, Folder, Application, Dissolve and Screen. These operative terms situate the work between forms of linguistic description and the history of reflexive material practices in art. He begins from an orientation that considers the terms “painter” and “painting” as fictions. They have no stable material definition, but rather are shaped by evolving social, institutional and physical relations. Rayne’s mode of abstract painting is irrevocably marked by Conceptual art. Here, context is constitutive. Conceived as a work, this monograph covers the last ten years of the artist’s output and culminates in his first survey exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas.
The handcrafted and vibrantly colorful works of Brooklyn-based sculptor Matthew Ronay (born 1976) evoke biological processes and organic forms as much as they draw on spiritual and mythological narratives. Influences ranging from science fiction, chemistry, Surrealism and mycology emerge in his psychedelic reliefs and installations.
This book documents the artist’s first major museum presentations in the United States, with an eponymous exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, as well as a newly commissioned project, When Two Are in One, at the Pérez Art Museum, Miami. Collected here are Ronay’s most significant sculptures and installations from the last four years alongside major new texts that elucidate the artist’s singular vision.
This publication accompanies the first solo museum exhibition for British-Nigerian artist Zina Saro-Wiwa. It features essays by writer Taiye Selasi, Niger Delta historian Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa, environmental cultural studies scholar Stephanie LeMenager, exhibition curator Amy L. Powell, an interview with the artist by Princeton art historian Chika Okeke-Agulu. The book also features recipes created by Saro-Wiwa.
This publication brings together the writing of preeminent scholars and commentators using the genre of medieval advice literature as a starting point to discuss fate and fortune versus governance, advice for female nobility, and an Indian television drama as a form of translation of statecraft. The illustrated essays are accompanied by an interview with Slavs and Tatars.
Time / Image is organized around the work of 11 international artists and filmmakers–-Siemon Allen, Matthew Buckingham, Allan deSouza, Andrea Geyer, Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ruth Robbins, and Gary Simmons–-who understand time expansively rather than quantitatively. Along with illuminating the works in the exhibition, the publication surveys critical temporal interventions in film and video by John Akomfrah, Black Audio Film Collective, Robert Bresson, Cecilia Dougherty, Andrea Geyer, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Chris Marker, The Otolith Group, Raoul Peck, Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), Hito Steyerl, Clarissa Tossin, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
In Sound Speed Marker, the Texas towns and landscapes of Paris, Sierra Blanca and Ryan—each cinematically defined by their fleeting experiences as actual or ostensible film locations—take center stage as Hubbard / Birchler and their crew pay close attention to these places and the people who live there. The site, subject and mystique of Texas and its associated cinematic imagery serve as a platform for reflection on filmmaking itself.
Janet Biggs: Echo of the Unknown is a multidimensional exhibition combining video, sound, and objects that explore the role of memory in the construction of identity. Drawing from her personal memories of the effects of Alzheimer’s on family members, heroic stories of public figures coping with the disease, and research conducted with neurologists and geoscientists, Biggs raises fundamental questions about how we become–and how we lose our sense of–who we are.
In Walking the Sea, Anton Ginzburg (born 1974) charts a 26,000-square-mile area between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan known as the Aral Sea. Looking to American Land art of the late 1960s and early 70s, and using film, photographs and sculptures, Ginzburg approaches the waterless sea as a readymade earthwork to make visible a territory and history that remains largely inaccessible.
Andy Coolquitt is the first comprehensive monograph on the artist’s work. Published in conjunction with a solo museum exhibition at Blaffer Art Museum, this volume displays the full range of Coolquitt’s work over the past twenty-five years, including images of site-specific installations that no longer exist. Accompanying the color plates are an introduction and chronology of the artist’s work by exhibition curator Rachel Hooper, an essay tracing Coolquitt’s connections to other contemporary artists and designers by Frieze magazine senior editor Dan Fox, an in-depth exploration of Coolquitt’s concepts and process by art writer Jan Tumlir, an interview with Coolquitt by director and chief curator of White Columns Matthew Higgs, and Coolquitt’s biography and bibliography.
Published in conjunction with a major retrospective exhibition organized by the Blaffer Art Museum, this is the first publication to explore work from throughout the artist’s significant and influential career. This comprehensive book reproduces his many sculptures, site-specific installations and two-dimensional works and includes major new texts on Feher’s practice from Blaffer Director Claudia Schmuckli and curator and writer Russell Ferguson. Superbly realized by renowned New York design studio Matsumoto Incorporated, this publication is the definitive book on the work of a vanguard American artist.
The publication is a production of Blaffer Art Museum, S.M.A.K. (Museum of Contemporary Art Ghent), and The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, with additional support from ARTIST ROOMS, Tate, National Galleries of Scotland, Beeldende Kunst Strombeek/Mechelen, Faculty of Fine Arts, University College of Ghent, kamel mennour Gallery, and Sean Kelly Gallery |$30.00
Over the past decade, Gabriel Kuri (born 1970) has been ransacking the paradoxes of material consumption, extracting both visual and linguistic value from the tracking systems and trivial marketing mechanisms that fill our daily lives. Kuri’s sculptures and collages are often fashioned from the residue of monetary exchanges and consumed goods that the artist collects on a daily basis, but their richness lies in their unusual calibration of manual and conceptual properties: his works reward eye and mind equally. “Model for a Victory Parade,” for example, consists of a conveyor belt with a crumpled energy-drink can trapped and perpetually tumbling at one end. The visual appeal of this work quickly opens out into speculations on the ironies of humankind’s energy consumption. Nobody Needs to Know the Price of Your Saab is presented in conjunction with Kuri’s survey at Blaffer Art Museum.
Canadian artist Jon Pylypchuk (born 1972) has a unique talent for marrying the abject and the sublime. In his work, desperation and exhilaration, ugliness and beauty, tragedy and comedy are joined in images and words that declare that that life is a messy affair and we are the ones making it so. Like many before him who playfully expose the darker side of existence, Pylypchuk delves into the world of children’s books and characters, where inanimate objects come to life or animals live the lives of people. Endowed with human attributes, the creatures populating his paintings, drawings and sculpture speak powerfully of the pathetic banality and stubborn optimism that define our path through life as a tragicomedy of epic proportion. Copublished with the Austellungskunsthalle zeitgenossiche Kunst Munster on the occasion of a ten-year survey of Pylypchuk’s work, this book provides a comprehensive look at an artist who movingly summons the frailty of human existence.
In her photography, videos and installations, Josephine Meckseper (born 1964) sets images of political activism-photographs of demonstrations, newspaper cuttings-against twinkling consumer goods and advertising motifs. This publication concentrates on a new series of works, such as the installation “Ten High” (2007) in which silver mannequins bear anti-war slogans.
“The sizzling, scintillating juice that flows between viewers and the works in this show may seem to be magic because none of them has to be plugged in,” writes Los Angeles Times critic David Pagel, extolling the media featured in Electric Mud, which is published concurrently with an exhibition that Pagel organized at Houston’s Blaffer Gallery. Pagel’s “juice” and the “electric mud” of this volume’s title refer to paint and clay, which are examined here for their physical similarities and fluid boundaries. Six full-color illustrations are given to each artist included: Brian Calvin, Anna Sew Hoy, Ron Nagle, Michael Reafsnyder, James Richards and Patrick Wilson–all of whom collapse the fictitious distinctions between art and craft, painting and ceramics, form and function, leisure and labor, still life and real life, confounding the boundaries between each. The edition includes essays by Pagel and Sara Cochran, Phoenix Art Museum curator.
Since 1994, The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI)–a research organization based in Culver City, California–has studied the U.S. landscape, using multidisciplinary research, information processing and interpretive tools to stimulate thought and discussion around contemporary land-use issues. During a residency at the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, the CLUI established a field station on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou, revealing aspects of the relationship between oil and the landscape in Houston that are often overlooked–even by the city’s residents. The CLUI’s findings are presented in this volume and a concurrent exhibition at the Blaffer Gallery, titled Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry. The book documents the CLUI’s methodology in a series of interviews and includes a photographic essay on land use in Houston featuring a panoramic, foldout section and a comprehensive chronology of the CLUI’s projects and publications over the past 14 years.
Damaged Romanticism features 15 internationally recognized contemporary artists whose work is linked by visual representations of a refusal to be resigned to daily adversity. Terrie Sultan, Director and Chief Curator of Blaffer Gallery; David Pagel, Assistant Professor of art theory and history at Claremont Graduate University, Los Angeles, CA and Adjunct Curator, Blaffer Gallery; Colin Gardner, Associate Professor in critical theory and interdisciplinary media at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Nick Flynn, Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston and author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City; Claudia Schmuckli, Adjunct Curator, Blaffer Gallery.
The 2008 Houston Area Exhibition marks the tenth installment of what has become an important tradition at Blaffer Gallery. Held every four years, this survey exhibition provides a critical overview of artistic activity in Houston and thus reflects changing issues and concerns in the cultural community. Featuring the work of Seth Alverson, William Betts, Sasha Dela, Jonathan Durham, Hana Hillerova, Hedwige Jacobs, Andres Janacua, Nicholas Kersulis, Mindy Kober, Jonathan Leach, Lynne McCabe, Ariane Roesch, Julie Spielman, Gabriela Trzebinski, Jeff Williams, and Audry Worster.
Since 1968, Brussels-born, Paris-based Chantal Akerman has produced over 50 film and video works, in the genres of documentary and French New Wave-inspired fictional narrative. She is one of the foremost auteur-directors working today, yet she has never had a solo museum exhibition in the United States, nor has there been significant scholarly inquiry into her body of work. Her early experiments with Structuralist, Marxist and Feminist filmmaking have expanded what is possible in film today. Asserting Akerman’s contribution to the genre, this volume introduces her work to those who have not had a chance to see it firsthand. With interpretive and anecdotal commentary on Akerman’s oeuvre, the documentary films covered here have not been explored elsewhere.
Katrina Moorhead’s first solo museum exhibition presents a body of work created in response to her month-long residency in Reykjavik, Iceland. Her drawings, objects, and installations conflate references to nature and culture, each work embodying a single instance of their collision, taking inspiration from the artist’s personal experience, cultural memory, or historical events. Employing a broad range of conceptual and material strategies with an emphasis on meticulous craftsmanship and poetic titling, Moorhead ponders and probes notions of authenticity, truth, and beauty in our experience of the world.
Working in the gap between representation and abstraction, Amy Sillman’s canvases openly and proudly invoke myriad forms of painting, ranging from historic to contemporary, western to eastern, and high to low art, only to freely and confidently blend them into a painterly language that is decidedly contemporary and personal. With a deep regard for, and intellectual engagement with, the very act applying paint to canvas, Sillman’s work combines a seductive use of color with an almost palpable physicality.
During a two-week period in May 2006, the peripatetic Swiss artist Urs Fischer worked on-site in Houston to create a site-specific installation for Blaffer Gallery. The artist again redefined the white cube, transforming space and offering viewer’s a vastness sparsely inhabited by sculptures abstract, whimsical, concrete, and abject, but ultimately revolving around the body and, by extension, the human condition. Fischer reminds us that any notion of reality is relative and that the extraordinary – the surreal as well as the uncanny – is all around us.
Taking the premise that Pop Art is not what it used to be, the artists featured in POPulence demonstrate that contemporary Pop is no stranger to refinement, sumptuousness, or elegance, and that subtlety, delicacy, and sophistication are now as much a part of its vocabulary as brashness, immediacy, and vulgarity. Featuring works by Chiho Aoshima, Polly Apfelbaum, Philip Argent, L.C. Armstrong, Tony Berlant, Sharon Ellis, Gajin Jujita, Christian Garnett, Rachel Hecker, Mary Heilmann, Jeff Koons, Beatriz Milhazes, Takashi Murakami, Jorge Pardo, Lari Pittman, Marcelo Pombo, Davis Reed, Kim Squaglia, and Fred Tomaselli.
Alain Bublex’s explorations of contemporary urban reality are inspired by late 20th century visionary utopian architecture. Plug-In City, conceived in 1964 by the iconoclastic British architect and urban planner Peter Cook and the avant-garde group Archigram, was as provocative as it was unbuildable. However, Bublex sees the now ever-present mini-cities of prefab bungalows used on construction sites as an extension of the original Plug-In City, and from this he imagines his own evolution of urban utopian possibilities. With Plug-In City/Houston, Bublex explored remarkable design and function challenges of the United States’ fourth largest city.
Through her use of color and assemblage, Jessica Stockholder challenges familiar generic boundaries between painting and sculpture, while de-familiarizing the experience of the exhibition space–not to mention giving the impression of a K-Mart store that’s been bulldozed by a group of feminist abstract expressionists. In 1988, Stockholder created the self-contained assemblage Kissing the Wall No. 2 an old-fashion projector screen wrapped in newspaper and plaster that stands like a bad child facing a florescent lamp secured to the wall. This seminal work, from which this exhibition and catalogue take their name, uses the gallery wall as a screen kissed by various objects in what the artist calls “an emotionally charged event.” This work, in which found objects become actors in the drama of space and color, is exemplary of the many objects gathered together for this retrospective look at Stockholder’s self-contained assemblages since 1988. Includes an interview with the artist, scholarly essays, an annotated chronology, and a detailed exhibition and publication history.
First edition, first printing. Hardcover. Photographically illustrated laminated paper-covered boards, with vellum-like translucent dust jacket. Photographs by Nancy Burson. Edited by Christopher French. Foreword and interview with Nancy Burson by Lynn Gumpert and Terrie Sultan. Essay by Michael L. Sand. Includes an exhibition history and bibliography. 112 pp. with 95 four-color plates, and 7 additional color and black and white reference illustrations, beautifully printed on heavy fine matt paper by Trifolio S.R.L., Verona, Italy, from separations by Robert J. Hennessey. 12 1/4 X 9 1/4 inches. This first edition was limited to 2000 hardbound copies. CONDITION: New in publisher’s shrink-wrap. Published on the occasion of the 2002 exhibition Seeing and Believing: The Art of Nancy Burson, organized by the Grey Art Gallery, New York, and the Blaffer Gallery, Houston. From the essay by Michael L. Sand: “Burson’s catalogued work can be divided into three distinct phases. Between 1979 and 1991 she created computer-generated images of fantastical faces: composites, aged portraits, and digitally manipulated facial anomalies. From 1991 to 1995 she made photographic portraits of what she calls “special faces,” children and adults whose appearances have been altered by disease, nature, or circumstance. From 1996 to the present, she has been engaged in a range of projects that interlace her natural penchant for the fantastical, her paradoxical relationship with science, and an awareness of the spiritual connections between all living things. In each of these bodies of work, Burson has gone against the grain of technological change. Her early work with computers preceded her later “straight” photography, whereas many photographers have in recent years integrated the computer into their image-making process. Her current production combines these two strategies, with a twist.”