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6. The 2005 Texas Biennial —
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I received the following E-mail from Jeanne Claire, art critic for the Austin American-Statesman:

I am the art critic of the Austin American-Statesman and I'm writing feature story on the Texas Biennial which opens here next week. I understand some people around the state are not really pleased about how the biennial title has been co-opted by the Austin organizers of the show. I know some chat rooms have been buzzing and the biennial organizers said that folks connected with your publication weren't thrilled either. I'd to hear all views. Would you care to share yours with me?


Jeanne Claire


I wrote back that I would. I thought about it half a day, then responded:


Jeanne Claire,

I was not upset because anyone usurped the title. Someone in Texas should do a Biennial, Triennial or something. Austin is not an illogical choice. Neither would be Houston, Dallas, or even San Antonio.

But people in Austin did it, and nobody else tried.

When artists asked, I wrote that there seemed to be an an awful lot of jurors — .4 per accepted artist is absurd. I was also upset that no Dallas or Fort Worth jurors were selected, with too many from Austin.

Those choices could indicate either poor planning or careful politics. Even if the exhibition were not completely professional, however, I recommended artists enter.

I was involved in the DARE Biennial in 1993 at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas (See links below.), and I know it was a little slipshod, also. Perhaps no one in full command of their faculties would take on such a task.

I plan to visit the show to make up my own mind, photograph the more interesting pieces and the venues and write about it for DallasArtsRevue.

Going to Austin to see an art show is as good an excuse as any.

Thank you,

J R Compton

See DARts stories about the 1993 Biennial: and

The 2005 Texas Biennial web site


DallasArtsRevue welcomes feedback about this potentially important Texas show from any DallasArtsRevue reader. Send E-mails to the editor. Letters will be displayed in chronological order.

March 1, 2004


Hi JR,
We LOVED your writeup about the Texas Biennial!! We would love to run your piece beefed up a bit, possibly a combo of your statistics/writeup/works you didn't like). Are you nterested? Do you know about Glasstire?

We're all fired up here. Let us know what you think.

Rainey Knudson
Founder & Executive Director
GLASSTIRE: Texas visual art online

Getting paid to write something I'd already written was too good an opportunity to pass up, so of course, I did it. It will be up soon, they say. - JRC



Thank you for coming down to Austin to view the exhibit. You are the first to actually write about the actual artwork and we appreciate that.

The founders of the Texas Biennial 2005 are:
Shea Little, Joseph Phillips and Jana Swec Bolm Studios - Austin
Michael Sieben and Allison Sands Camp Fig - Austin
Arturo Palacios Dougherty Arts Center - Austin
Jon Lawrence Eastside Artist Coop - Austin
Rachel Koper Gallery Lombardi - Austin

Arturo P


No pictures

"Over 600 submissions from 99 Texas cities were received, and the final 36 artists, representing 12 Texas cities, were chosen by a 15 member panel for 5 venues and no visual clues anywhere."

That's the Aesthetic Crisis Center talking about the Texas Biennial web site, which has no pictures. Zero. It also doesn't have any indication of where each artist is from, unless you track down their bios. Anybody from The Valley? West Texas? How many from each area?

new The TB site now has pictures. We're so excited. Photographs of unidentified people standing in front of unidentified works of art. Are they all those jurors we keep hearing about? -JRC

Check out our amazing Aesthetic Crisis Center page for nearly 300 fascinating links to visual, interactive, annimated, aesthetic and political pages and sites all over the web. It's DallasArtsRevue's only page not devoted to local art.


A dynamic collaboration

Hi JR,

I'm Rachel Koper at Gallery Lombardi, I'm glad to read that you are coming to the Texas Biennial show. I was just sent your link with the quote: "Perhaps no one in full command of their faculties would take on such a task." ha.

It has been a dynamic collaboration, with a good group of folks. The jury is loaded with Austin arts professionals, in an attempt to share the workload with people we trust to work hard, not in any contrived attempt to sway the form of the show.

I thought we focused well on the artwork we received, were rational and well balanced. To me, this show doesn't feel like my usual Gallery Lombardi group shows. It's more spacious and really of a great quality, it's better.

I have found that at least certain Austin artists, felt overly confident that they would get in this show, because they had shown at one (or more) of the 5 galleries. Perhaps not giving enough credit to the high quality artists who entered from the Dallas Ft.Worth area.

I hope we get a chance to meet when you come to austin.

Rachel Koper


Curious situations

I agree with everything you said. The name doesn't phase me at all except that previous biennials and trienials were all one time events that never lived up to the "ongoing aspects" of the name. So maybe this one can break that jinx and resume again in two years.

The mass jury & multi venue exhibition had me wondering about the method of selecting works and solving who's work went where. My past experiences with just 3 jurors created some curious situations and this show has 15 names on the list.

The Glasstire message bored has a thread dedicated to the Biennial.


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