Visual art news, views & reviews in Dallas, Texas, USA
4. 2005 Texas
Story + Photograph by J R Compton
Ever curious how fairly represented Texas artists are in this show, I did a quick rundown of the winners, as described in the bios (see below) on the Biennial website.
Houston, which is bigger and probably has more artists, has 8 in the show. Austin, where the show is and most of the jurors are, has 13. Dallas, second to Houston in population, has 3, 3rd in Texas population San Antonio 4, Denton 2. That accounts for 30 of the 36 artists in the show. Then there's 1 each from San Marcos, Ennis, Spring, Paige, Cedar Creek and McAllen.*
We'll assume the publicity was better in Austin. That could account for their disproportionately high number of artists in the show. But if it's truly a Texas Biennial, shouldn't the publicity have been statewide? Shouldn't the numbers be more representational of the population?
For the judging, 3,000 (!) slides were viewed by the panel, one of whom called it "Death by slides," according to The Austin Chronicle. The jurors whittled the 670 entering artists down to 100 artists with 300 pieces on the first day of judging at the Dougherty Arts Center.
The 12 votes on the judging panel comprised 15 actual people — 5 from Austin, 2 from Houston, 1 each from Lubbock, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, El Paso and Arlington (but 0 from Dallas or Fort Worth). Of these, at least 3 are artists; 12 represent galleries and 1 is also a writer.
By the end of the grueling second day of judging, the numbers were reduced to the final 36 artists and 70 pieces. 275 Austin artists entered; 14 were selected. 90 entered from Houston; 7 got in. 46 from San Antonio; 4 in — the "highest ratio."
No numbers for Dallas in the Chronicle article, although in Jeanne Clair van Ryzin's story in the Austin American-Statesman, Art biennials are the new blockbusters, she cites "more than 600 artists from 99 Texas cities" [The actual number of artists was 670.] who sent in slides and "7 of the 36 artists included are from the greater Dallas-Fort Worth region," whatever that might mean.
Houston is counted as a city. Austin is a city. But for comparison purposes in the Chronicle and among TX BI workers, Dallas and Fort Worth are a region, even though our sister city to the west, and Arlington and Irving and Bedford-Useless each have 0 artists in the show.
According to a story the Austin Chronicle (which I heard nearly verbatum from one of the founders in Austin), individual jurors were able to call the jury's attention to pieces they knew about that were not getting appropriate attention from other jurors.
If that's true, and there were 0 jurors from the city of Dallas, might that explain the comparatively low number of Dallas artists in the show?
According to that Austin Chronicle story (linked below), “[juror] Kellner's personal knowledge of the artist and the work made all the difference in the jurying of the show.”
Much as I respect Arlington juror Benito Huerta, I believe a juror from Dallas would know Dallas artists better. If this show is to be representative, it should be representative at every level.
That said and out of the way, it's a great show, wherever the artists might be from. I suspect the jury did the best it could. Any jurying process is, at best, an overlarge compromise. Next time — two years from now, when the show actually becomes a biennial (all that's just a hope now), it will be more representative, because more people will have heard about how good this show was and how well it was put together.
Several people contacted me before the slides were due, worrying whether they might be dealing with a bunch of amateurs. They may or may not have loved what they were doing, but they did a fine job, and nobody else had even tried in a decade.
2005 Texas Biennial links
The official Texas Biennial website, including: list of artists with links to artists statements and sporadic bio information; an updated list of jurors; links to photographs of opening receptions at the 5 venues; a useful, printable map indicating which artists are in which galleries; and limited contact information.
Jeanne Clair van Ryzin's story (you gotta register, enter your yearly income and promise your first-born child) Art biennials are the new blockbusters in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Robert Faire's review in The Austin Chronicle, Do It Yourself Biennial (no hassle access) March 4, 2005
Elaine Wolff's review in the San Anonio Current, Digital-induced angst and sensory overload, (no hassle access) March 10, 2005.
Michael Helsem's review in the DallasArtsRevue from 1993 (published on paper) 5 Sermunles from Food & Fiber about DARE's 1993 Texas Biennial, and
Lee Murray's story in DallasArtsRevue, Wherefore Art Thou, Tejas, The Texas Biennial Exhibition, published in 1994
Abreviated Biographies of Texas Biennial artists
This is a vast over-simplification of the information provided by the artists who got in this show. Far more comprehensible biographies are available on the Texas Biennial website.
William Betts was born and raised in New York City, lives and works in Houston and shows his work in Houston and New York.
Rosalyn Bodycomb was born in Honalulu, Hawaii, schooled in Fort Worth and shows in Dallas, Fort Worth and New York.
Elaine Bradford schooled in Austin and somewhere in California, lives in Houston.
Candace Briceno was born in Austin, schooled in Chicago and Austin, according to the bio she submitted and published on the TX BI site. What it doesn't say is that she lives in Cedar Creek.
Richie Budd uses multisylabic words and lives in San Antonio.
Serena Lin Bush schooled in Maryland and St. Louis and lives in Houston.
Jerry Chamkis lives in Austin. Susan Cheal schooled in San Antonio and teaches in Denton and shows around North Texas.
Jona Criscoe grew up in North Austin.
Patsy Donahue lived in Arizona most of her adult life then moved to San Antonio two years ago.
Peat Duggins was born in Omaha, schooled at Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Austin where he co-founded the Fresh Up Club exhibition space in Austin.
Celia Eberle was born and raised in East Texas and lives in Ennis.
Chris Ferebee, who's a skateboarder and surfer, was born in Virginia Beach, was based in New York since 1997 and Houston since last year. He's a community college drop-out and shows all over the world.
Ali Fitzgerald is a grad student at UT in Austin, and went to school in Maine.
Heyd Fontenot was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has shown in Houston, Austin, Oregon, New York and College Station. He lives in Austin.
Faith Gay was born and raised in Port Arthur, lives in Austin, went to UT and shows all over.
Christine Gray lives, works and schooled in Austin.
Matthew Guest lives in the Rio Grande Valley, published comics in Seattle, drew for Six Flags or Arlington and taught in McAllen.
Joe Ives was born in Rochester, New York, lives and works and shows in Houston.
Lance Jones attended U of North Texas and has shown in Dallas, Fort Worth, Oklahoma and Kansas City. He lives in Dallas.
Young-Min Kang is from Korea, lives and schooled in Austin.
Bama Kantor went to UT Austin and lives in Austin.
Jimmy Kuehnle schooled in San Antonio. He's shown and performed in Austin, San Antonio, Japan, where he taught English, and Kirksville, Missouri.
Janaki Lennie lives in Houston.
Jason Makepeace was born in Pearisburg, Virginia and lives in Houston.
Jonathan Marshal was born in Morgantown, was an Eagle Scout and West Virginia and lives in Austin.
Richard Martinez lived and worked in Oregon and California, now teaches at UT San Antonio.
Seth Mittag lives in Houston.
Mari Omon lives in Spring, Texas.
Nina Rizzo lives in Austin.
Matthew Rodriguez lives in Austin, has shown in Dallas and San Francisco.
Annie Simpson went to Yale and UT Austin. She lives in San Marcos.
Charlotte Smith schooled in Denton, shows around Texas, and lives in Dallas.
Debra Sugerman shows in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and once in Dallas, publishes photographs all over the place, schooled in Austin, Vermont and New York. She lives in Austin.
Daniel Tackett schooled in Oxford, Ohko and Nacogdoches, Texas, shows in Austin, Oklahoma, etc. and lives in Paige, Texas.
Tara Welch lives in Denton.
Other Texas Biennial Pages: Bi Correspondance + Feedback Venues + Artists
High + Low Tech Art at the Bi Bad Art? Review Page 1 - Dimension
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