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Guilty Art Night Mini Tour

Eye Cup

early Meg Langhorne
eye cup in Mulcahy Modern's back office

Hadn't gone out for art in a while. Torn between birds and art, and lately, birds are winning, wings down. But I felt guilty, so we we went to three openings one night. Jacques Lamy (lah-mee) on Dragon Street in the Trinity Industrial Design District, Mulcahy Modern off Bishop in Haute Cliffe, and the Dallas Contemporary deep in the Meadows Lands.

What was opening that night. Probably we missed something. A reluctant journey, amusing in its own ways, enjoyable in the particulars, but not what we might have picked to represent art in Dallas February 2007. Just what was, there and then. We start with what they still want us to call "The Contemp," though some add a finial t, our last stop, where we blithed past a $10 non-member entry I'd dreaded, intent on photographing folks among big walls moving with art.

Coffee and Milk - photo copyright 2007 by J R Compton, All Rights Reserved.

recognizable parts - lips, cheeks, beard, goo

Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand
Coffee & Milk (diptych), 2005
DVD video, 2:45

Best in Show:  Where more people gathered at the opening. Took awhile for each new queue to figure what they were watching. Part of the process and fun. What? Lips? Are those faces pressed against submerged glass? Liquid spewing like smoke in the water and shards of something like hair floating.

Remember Close Encounter of the Third Kind's mother ship arriving at the triumphant end? In milk filmed as sky. Here milk and coffee as streaming gush with cheeks and lips and facial hair. Nearly abstracted parts of people flowing as art.



SUE.C [Sue Costabile] - Still not Still, 2003
digital video, , soundtrack by AGF (Antye Greie)
04 minutes 56 seconds

My spartan favorite:  Grayscale stills of elderly architecture (Berlin, no wonder). Overlaying with simple out- and other lines. Cartoonish and broad, smeared, abstract. The buildings still; the lines moved. What we see and what Sue C felt, super imposed in slowed motion. A looping work tracing, outpacing reality. Lines and spaces, real and drawn.

Christi Nielsen, Beauty in a Box, 2007,
mixed media, DVD video, 5 minutes

Paint by Numbers:  Self-portrait as the young artist. First the naked face, then numbers, applied as if in a mirror and lines mapping dark borders, then hues to fill the topographic spaces. A spotlight of colors and shape veneering a planar re-presentation. A deceptively simple and simplified task, a thin mask thick with projections.

Snow Man

Marc Aschenbrenner - Schneemann (Snowman), 2004
DVD video - 30 seconds

The human condition:  body hurtling down a snow-packed hill, blue vid on a tiny portable player hung on a back wall. Looping, no more than a couple minutes, if that. The guy never learned, kept tumbling down the same hill, buffeted by the same bumps and swirling the twisting territories.

High Heel Feet

Sara Ishii - A Small Shoe Collection: Breaking the Ice,
Rejecting an Image, If You Want it Clean
You're Going to Have to Do it Yourself; 2005
DVD video - 11 minutes 22 seconds

Sex stereotype stomping:  Elegant high-heeled shoes shattering ice cubes and splattering liquid on a crisp mirrored surface. Some stared and wondered about the art of it. Some just stared. Any image proceniumed, projected or hung like light on a wall in an establishment of art must be. Right? Art? More body parts for our memory collections.


Brian Edwards - Kix, 2006
DVD video, 4:3, NTSC, color, sound
60 minutes

Inane as the glass-stomper but more involving, human, warm, funny. Everybody eats. We all know KiX are for Kids, and half of us still are. Cruncha-munching KiX in a complementary-color coordinated micro context. Not exactly great art. But close enough and fun, with real KiX on the next table involving us more in emptying our blue bowls.

Real Kix - copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

KiX as Reception Refreshment

Note the difference in boxes, like the shades between KiX and kitsch. Breakfast cereal and nourishment. Art and ...

Here at the Museum - photograph copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Joan Davidow - "Here at the Museum"

Maybe my favorite moment at the opening as we were leaving:  Contemp director Joan Davidow walked around ringing the bell, gathered a straggling audience among the big screen video projections, stepped up on the table, spoke into the microphone, and thanked us all for being "here at the Museum."

Her last job, what, four years ago? director of the Arlington Museum of Art — another "building, place, or institution devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition, and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical, or artistic value." Maybe.

Definition of museum from my American Heritage Dictionary - Deluxe Edition CD.


Celia Eberle Doll

Celia Eberle - Stardust, 2000
found crochet, thread  - 9 x 10 x 5 inches
on office wall, not in show

2nd Fri Nite visit was Mulcahy Modern.

Last time I saw soloist Celia Eberle, she startled us all with oddly headless and inverted concept gonzo dolls (above). Surreally strange recursing visual notions as soft toys. Fuzzy lovable but something missing or misplaced. That was years ago. First of a long since line of those things here, at least. Absent and rearranged parts on cuddly objects. Malingering and macabre. It's turned into a game — me-too artists endlessly regenerating the same original new concept.

No idea what to expect from Celia now, and those expectations met in spades. Again trouble wrapping understanding around twisty turnish notions of where art goeth. What to make of it almost more important that what it is, looks like. Intellectual constructs in solider mediums.


Celia Eberle - Destiny 2007
alabaster, malachite, marble - 4 x 4 x 5 inches

Roiling jade tossing a tiny stone boat is nice, but TJ Mabrey did much the similar some years back, though less intense color. Everything's always differing, and The Edge, where the little boat totters, is a smudgy line in space, including and excluding the best of us going in opposite directions. Leading edges both ways. A nearby pile of flanging fingers proved the point.

Then this E dragon like the nearby broke-jawed bucktooth stone head with soft red lip, apparently borrowed from another culture. That Asia. This Mesoamerica. Another, larger squarer piece nearby may have been intended as an alter altar piece but it was so badly top-edge-lit it nearly disappeared into the velvet dark art tent around most of Celia's show.

E Dragon

Celia Eberle - iPod 2006
green alabaster and pigment
1.5 x 6 x 2.5 inches

Painting stone seems sacrilege enough. Almost looks like styrofoam, but it's massive, heavy. E for Eberle or E for something else? Enigma? Unknown quantities making physically solid contrast with all those softies before.

box a rocks

rock candy treats for visitors
to Celia Eberle's Theogony

I liked my hand inside its rocks — the feel of souvenir colored rocks soft in a squared wooden cup. A field of synesthetic stimulation. Gentle like styro pebbles. Elemental wood circle of stones. Turns out the stones were rock candy, a treat. Wish I'd known that. I wouldn't have put my hand in it, but I wasn't the only one. Shoulda been a sign — or a spoon. Another example of reality in the guise of art.

Eye Cup

early Meg Langhorne
eye cup in Mulcahy Modern's back office

All above but the doll and cup were in the gallery. At Mulcahy Contemporary I like to visit her back room office, where art lives. Unsold remnants of past shows catches me up in the mix of odds and ends not neatly lined. Cynthia warned me not to break anything, like I'd never been in such a place before.

Had seen the eye cup but but not looked into it till Anna did and then I had to photograph the experience. I'm still wondering if this image should top this page, more what our ersatz tour was about. Art in the containing of that elusive stuff. The vertebrate organ of vision in the bottom of a vessel, except that it's empty.

Looking up. Looking out.

umbrella and purse - copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Blue Umbrella and Checked Purse

Best piece in the room, opposite the contents of the belly of the whale pinned to the wall, was this light blue flowered umbrella self-wrapped, twirled and tight, nudging and ironically juxtaposing a shell of twilled black & white tweed purse informally sitting on a desktop as if it were some artifact of personal use, not really art at all. A contrast of patterns, similarly shaped and fastened.

Belly of Whale

Whale Innards

Johnathan Marshall - Belly of Whale with detail
Jonathan Marshall - Into the Mouth of Megamouth II, 2007
Ink and gouache on sewn paper - 76.25 x 48 inches
from the January/February exhibition Introduction 2007, at Mulcahy Modern

Of course we had to look inside the wide-mouth, flippered fish-thing of Biblical proportions. All kinds of stuff growing in there, apparently long abandoned. A wasted place but not a wasted space.


Cast Shadow

Geoff Hager - Cast Shadow
acrylic on canvas - 37 x 60 inches

Our first stop, next door where I work part-time, so I could have popped in anytime but have not (I redesigned Jacques Lamy's website a year ago, so conflicting interests dictate I won't say much about his walls of colorful semi-abstracts) there among a centuries melange of European art, American 20 years but with a heavy accent. I'd told Hagar I considered Jacques a friend, popped his show mention on the calendar in nanoseconds, but Jacques didn't recognize or acknowledge me, as we walked past, heading for Brie and spinach cheese, tiny chocolate eclairs and tapenade.

Twice. We came back for more refreshments but mostly to photograph Geoff Hager's tall, stark, shadow cast architecture and sky study, white on white stippled like stone standing amid an up downtown-scape, it growing in our admiration. Anna liked it, mentioned it first visit, I warmed, then treasured the vision, too, though it was lit poorly.

Special thanks to Leslie Connally at The Contemp and
Cynthia Mulcahy of Mulcahy Modern for identifications.