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State of the Arts
This September, Austin's arts and culture scene teems with invigorating exhibitions inviting you to engage and reflect. Ariel Wood's "Raze" at Greyduck interrogates our physical spaces, and "The Inky Photographers" at the Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking celebrates tactile beauty. Meanwhile, Veronica Ceci's "The White Paintings" at Link & Pin and the vibrant "ATX Urban Art Exhibition" at the Bee Cave Arts Foundation probe gender dynamics and the pulsating energy of the street art scene.
As you navigate these exhibitions, consider the fluidity, power dynamics, and rich tapestry of sounds and visuals that shape our identities and perceptions, ultimately seeing yourself mirrored within these creations.
Sky Avakian: “Prime" — through September 12
Los Angeles-based vocalist, songwriter, and producer Sky Avakian presents her new composition "Prime" as part of the Soundscape Project at Austin's Canopy Complex this March. The Soundscape Project consists of monthly sound works played on a loop via an outdoor stereo system in the Canopy breezeway from sundown to sunset. Curated by ICOSA from local and national submissions, each month features a new artist dedicated to the act of listening. Avakian's "Prime" is an immersive "audial portal" to our instinctual inner realm through its womb-like atmosphere, evoking light shining through deep water. Inspired by whale songs' primal sounds, the piece allows listeners to relax and drift downwards through space and time.
The Amazing Hancock Brothers: “Window Dressing XXX” — September 18-25
In the 1990s Texas artists John and Charles "Uncle Chuck" Hancock were showing at dingy Tulsa spaces, but now they're the art-hungry, feral, and booze-fueled Amazing Hancock Bros. Strongly influenced by German Expressionists, comics, horror films, and cosmic cowpunk, their edgy printmaking, painting, and performance art disregards convention. As they state, "Better to print in the wind 'n' rain on your hands and knees than not at all." Born to a southern white father and northern Japanese mother in Waxahachie, these self-proclaimed "Texanese brothers" smoke sacred roots and channel Nolde, Coltrane, and McCullers in their gritty, improvisational creative vision. The show promises to continue their lawless ethos, as if "possessed by an evil art genie."
Bee Cave Arts Foundation
J Muzacz: "ATX Urban Art Exhibition" — through September 22
Muralist and author J Muzacz assembles a who's who of Austin street artists for the highly anticipated ATX Urban Art Exhibition. Featuring over 150 artworks from 34 artists, the exhibition draws from Muzacz's expansive new book chronicling the history and evolution of urban art in Austin. Muzacz hand-selected an eclectic mix of pieces highlighting top talents like ANGRY CLOUD, Riktor, B~kay, and more. Mediums range from murals and canvases, to sculpture and installation works. The artworks pulse with the creative energy and DIY spirit of Austin's streets.
Ariel Wood: “Raze” — through October 1
In their solo exhibition "Raze," Texas-based artist and UT Austin alumnus Ariel Wood creates sculptures mimicking plumbing and infrastructure. Wood handcrafts objects resembling pipes, drains, and fixtures, which are subtly asymmetrical and imperfectly fitted. This fabrications embody the concept of "passing" in the fraught performance of gender, race, and class politics. Wood's forms initially read as familiar, before revealing their particularity on closer inspection. By razing — tearing down and rebuilding — Wood manipulates the sociopolitical pressures embedded in spaces like bathrooms. Their imperfect mimicry of plumbing highlights relationships of fluidity, intimacy, and the body.
Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking
“The Inky Photographers” — September 2 through October 14
Matthew Magruder has taught photogravure workshops at Flatbed for years, attracting diverse photographers to explore this alternative process that etches photographic images onto printing plates. For this show, Magruder has selected works that showcase the beauty of polymer photogravure combined with experimental intaglio (engraved and inked) techniques. In Magruder's words, "It’s an honor to showcase the wonderful work so many have created through our workshops. I fell in love with this process long ago and am grateful to continue sharing it." The exhibition brings together talented artists and photographers who have honed their skills in Flatbed's classes, including Leslie Warren, Elena Lipkowski, Christos Pathiakis, and 18 others.
Link & Pin
Veronica Ceci: “The White Paintings” — September 7-30
Intermedia artist Veronica Ceci's ongoing "White Paintings" series is an ironic response to the male-dominated history of abstract art. Ceci sources textural materials like towels, sheets, and mops directly from her labor as a professional cleaner. Once new, the dingy fabrics accumulate grime from their use until they are unfit for commercial settings. Ceci then repurposes them into paintings, juxtaposing the potential of cleanness with its inevitable failure over time. Expanding the series, Ceci now incorporates some works as cleaning tools themselves. Her work advocates for marginalized identities and brings attention to overlooked American histories.
Blanton Museum of Art
"If the Sky Were Orange: Art in the Time of Climate Change" — September 9 through February 11, 2024
Journalist and award-winning climate author Jeff Goodell guest curated this timely exhibition exploring the history and urgency of climate and energy issues through contemporary artworks. Goodell invited distinguished climate and energy scientists and writers, including UT Austin's Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources Webber, to respond to the artworks within their expertise. Outside the galleries, visitors can explore climate-related resources like a historical timeline and Webber's presentation on Texas' complex energy history. The exhibition continues in the Blanton's Paper Vault galleries, where Goodell selected historical and contemporary works reflecting humanity's relationship with nature, technology, energy, and power. Through interpretive texts, Goodell reveals what the diverse artworks convey about the unfolding story of climate change.
Residency at the Loren Hotel — September 12-14
Christie’s auction house is set to continue its regional residency program with a special exhibition in Austin featuring great artists like Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Gego, and more. Christie's will showcase a curated selection of post-war, contemporary, and Latin American art auction highlights at The Loren Hotel, so that anyone can see them before they are auctioned off later this year. The exhibition will only be open for a very limited time: Tuesday, September 12, from 10 am to 5 pm; Wednesday and Thursday, September 13-14, from 10 am to 5 pm, but closed from noon to 2 pm.