3 comments on “Open Doors: In Between – Butridge Gallery, DAC

  1. Jaime,
    I think some artists in the exhibition and their process are more apt for comparison to Christo than others. I am interested to hear more ’bout our differences that you see.

    In the Islands documentary we showed for example, Christo refuses to use the term “poster” because he considers it too cheap and opts for using “photographic image” instead. He specifically avoids cheap multiples. So, I do not think he would have fundraised with the multiples idea you suggest, although I can understand how it makes sense for artists stuck in Austin’s cheap market. Terra, Cole and I avoided multiples showing original drawings instead, while Alex and Jacob showed digital prints.

    Perhaps the issue is that Austin’s audiences want an original piece of work at a multiple’s price? Or perhaps in our marketing efforts we over-emphasized the fundraising element and ties to Christo? We had hopes that this would provide some funding for our Dallas projects, and like you and I discussed, we were searching for an artist’s business model to compete with the standardized object-collector relationship enjoyed by traditional artists.

    So yes, we are focusing on the Dallas exhibition, making work that fits more in line with traditional formats, and allying ourselves with an exhibition by our predecessor Christo. All true. But, in the end I think our goal was less fundraising and more thought-raising. This is one area where our collective’s process differs from Christo, whose projects could be described as more dominant because they seek little public input, only public acceptance and government approval. We hoped to illicit some feedback about the ideas before finalizing.

    Also, let’s not look past the discussions and planning that the 4 installations at the DAC involved and the new opportunities these opened for future artists in the space. To me, this institutional work is one of the most important goals of the exhibition. Let me share the “in between”…

    First, the white walls. It was our stipulation that we would not conduct our exhibit unless the walls were converted from the drab carpet to the now pristine white cube style walls. With Arturo Palacios’ initiative we were able to get this done giving new life to the Butridge gallery.

    Alex’s path was initially denied because of handicap access concerns, so the edges had to be appropriately ramped. But now, there is a process in place for artists at the DAC to work with the floor. Sure, not a concern at a UT Gallery, but like many things truly public, it took discussion and time. The wall blocking daylight for the appropriate display of Jacob Villanueva’s lightboxes had to be fought for. Otherwise their light would have been completely drowned out. The theatre director wanted it moved, but we didn’t budge. Instead, after two days of discussion and posturing we moved and rewired security cameras. The DAC’s walls are now free for artists to position wherever.

    Cole’s work was specially designed to fit diagonally inside the small doorways of the DAC. It fit through with about an inch to spare. This is the largest work to ever be brought into the space. My trophy-covered arch was approved until the night before the opening, when the theatre director again came down against the exhibition claiming fire regulations. He wanted it moved. I needed it in between the front doors and the theatre doors to confront the space’s theatre-going audience. Again, we fought, ultimately I raised the work up an additional 12 inches.

    I think this illustrates that the real obstacle for installation art is not the funding, but the limitations and prejudices of a space, issues that neither traditional painting/drawing/sculpture nor installation in less-conservative contemporary art spaces has to endure. We need to remember that the DAC is a public space moreso than it is a contemporary art space. But, this can always change, and these challenges must be undertaken so that the work itself seems effortless. Our triumph over these hurdles and our faith in the possibility of this exhibition liken us more to Christo than our somewhat comparable fundraising tactics.

    The truly relevant work forever changes what/how art is exhibited and permanently attaches itself to the memory of a particular place.

    So, does “not bad” mean we couldn’t even show up Scion? oh well.

    Thanks for writing about the exhibition and keep up the good coverage…
    much love,

  2. Pingback: Hunter Cross : ‘In Between’ closes Feb. 28

  3. Finally, a comment! Thanks for using this forum instead of emailing me directly. Now instead of me just talking to the wall, its become a discussion.

    First off, I don’t think your marketing overemphasized your fundraising intentions. I believe it was my understanding of our discussions and the manner in which I was relating your exhibit with Christo’s. My perceptions and my worries.

    I do stand by my longing for more work though. Multiples or not, I wanted to get a better sense of what you are thinking without having you personally describe the possibilities and various influences.

    Yes, Austin is a cheap market. One of my solutions for that is to retain quality talent. I’m working on a new “Soapbox” posting on that matter.

    Secondly, your efforts at the DAC were invisible to the audience. And except for possibly the five people that may stumble accross this, will continue to remain invisible. Since I was fortunate to have had discussions with you, I knew what it was you were doing and I tried to communicate that. But at the same time I wanted to record, on these pages, what it was that I saw and my honest reactions to it. I was pretending to be a random guest to the gallery. What would that person have experienced?

    I wholeheartedly believe what you and the collective are doing is right. And I dreamily wanted to support you financially (while greedily getting something in return). But there are those elements that you could have strenghtened.

    And last, my rating system. I am not entirely convinced that it is as accurate as I would like it to be. I definitely enjoyed your show better than the Scion, but I am unable to remain user friendly without designing a complex set of regulations for me to use. My gut feeling has the most authority on my ratings. I know it doesn’t seem fair that even though In Between was a more scholarly effort it still ranked with the publicity stunt that was Scion.

    Just today I wanted to go back and demote the Fraleigh show because I looked at my rating system criteria and decided that it should go down. But I committed that rating to it and I feel that I must uphold it on principle. My first reaction is always honest. I can sometimes persuade myself otherwise with enough yakkety-yak, but then I’ll have this uneasy feeling that I was either too nice or too mean.

    Take heart in knowing In Between was a hair width away from GOOD

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