Andy Campbell

  • Betty Tompkins, Erotic, 2015, oil and acrylic on canvas, 5 x 4".
    picks August 16, 2016

    Betty Tompkins

    Two thick brown, purple, and green globs of oil paint are dolloped onto the top half of a small white canvas—the word “erotic” is outlined in red below. Next to it are similarly sized paintings emblazoned with the words “seiki” (“genitals” in Japanese), “weich” (“soft” in German) and “fanny flange” (British slang for “clitoris”), each painted with a different treatment. One riffs on the iconic, masculine-identified Jackson Pollock drip, while another suggests a labyrinthine pocket of vulvic space. These are just a few of the one thousand paintings that make up Betty Tompkins’s series “Women

  • Edgar Leciejewski, Rough Form #09, 2014 (Everyday struggles in the downstairs department), 2014, collaged C-prints, 44 x 56".
    picks March 04, 2016

    Edgar Leciejewski

    Made while Edgar Leciejewski was in residence at Fogo Island Arts in Newfoundland, Canada, the work on display in his exhibition “distant past / distant future” is cerebral in approaching sublimity. Of course, landscape is the overdetermined genre through which discussions of the sublime are usually circulated, but Leciejewski offers some novel escape hatches that don’t sacrifice topography’s potential for abstraction.

    Most of the pieces here are from a single series called “Rough Form,” 2014, in which black-and-white, matte photographs are concentrically collaged on top of glossy color photographs.

  • Left: Cover of Jennifer Tyburczy’s Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display (University of Chicago Press, 2016). Right: A view of the Leather Archives and Museum, Chicago.
    interviews January 22, 2016

    Jennifer Tyburczy

    Jennifer Tyburczy’s book Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display (University of Chicago Press, January 2016) proposes that all museums have the potential to be sex museums—if a visitor approaches them right. An assistant professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Tyburczy was also the curator of “Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship,” which was on view last year at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Here, she discusses the genesis of her research and some of the unexpected surprises that come with doing work in sex museums.

    ONE OF

  • Jennie C. Jones, Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014, acrylic paint, collage, and pen on paper, 20 x 16".
    picks January 11, 2016

    Jennie C. Jones

    Amplification, absorption, reverberation, tone, displacement, diffusion—any encounter with the work of Jennie C. Jones demands that a viewer repeatedly wrestle with transmutation, the vocabulary from the science of sound doing double duty in the service of ekphrasis. And the rabbit hole goes deeper, as those keywords also describe the dynamics of social change and race. Indeed, Jones encourages such readings with her punning titles, Solo, Vertical, into Crescendo (Light), 2013, or Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014. Such is the sparkling noise of the artist’s first mid-career survey, as

  • Left: Cover of Mario Gooden’s Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity (2015). Right: A view of Azurest South, St. Ettrick, Virginia.
    interviews December 29, 2015

    Mario Gooden

    “How does it feel to be a problem?” So begins a chapter titled “The Problem with African American Museums” in Mario Gooden’s new collection of essays, Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity. By repeating the question with which W. E. B. Du Bois launched The Souls of Black Folk, Gooden locates himself in an illustrious lineage while highlighting the stasis that lets the query resonate as profoundly now as it did over a century ago. What follows is a subtle reading of a number of African American cultural institutions, a consideration of the politics they spatialize (sometimes

  • Harold Mendez and Ronny Quevedo, Specter Field, 2015, linoleum tiles, gold and silver leaf, fiberglass mesh, spray enamel, oxidized copper, water, peanut oil, graphite, charcoal, black silicone carbide, marking chalk, wire hangers, snakeskin, mica, stones, cotton candy, cassette tape film, balloons, cement, granite, cochineal insects, burned cardboard box, soot, toner, plaster, and carnations, dimensions variable.
    picks September 22, 2015

    Harold Mendez and Ronny Quevedo

    A small copper reproduction of a pre-Columbian death mask rests inside a burned cardboard box. This tableau is the opening salvo of Harold Mendez and Ronny Quevedo’s collaborative installation, Spector Field (all works 2015). That the copper mask sits dumbly at the bottom of its fragile container, unlike the handsome case that holds the gold original at the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, Columbia—is a wry comment on the impulse to preserve precious objects even as the cultures who produced them are systemically smudged out.

    Mendez and Quevedo’s installation continues in this vein, turning the cavernous

  • Elizabeth Jaeger, Black Leather Bench and Pink Bean Bag, 2015, leather, metal, dried peas, 25 × 74 × 40".

    Elizabeth Jaeger

    Characterized by an economy of form and material, the spare sculptural tableaux of Elizabeth Jaeger’s first solo exhibition in Texas are a meditation on physical and emotional supports. The slumped pinkish leather shape in the deadpanned Black Leather Bench and Pink Bean Bag (all works 2015), for example, is buttressed by a handmade modernist-style leather bench, from which the form casually cascades. This sack-like form, filled with dried peas, operates as both punching bag and body pillow. Denigrated and beloved, the bag is a fair approximation of what it’s like to be human most days.

    An equally

  • Angel Oloshove, The Feminine Mystique, 2015, clay, glaze, 10 1/2 × 7 × 4".

    Angel Oloshove

    On her blog, Angel Oloshove describes her ceramic vessels and sculptures as “babes” and “cuties” (as in “new cuties,” and “I just got these babes fresh out of the kiln”)—and these terms of endearment couldn’t be more apt. Indeed, guilelessness suffuses the eight humble works that were on display in Oloshove’s first solo presentation at Art Palace. Striated with multicolored glazes that blend and bleed in an ombre pattern rather than define and delineate, sculptures such as Soft Fuzz, 2014, and Arc of Jah, 2015, are pillowy and fetchingly awkward. A curvaceous warmth renders these diminutive

  • GALA Committee, In the Name of the Place, 1995–97, video, color, sound, 18 minutes 50 seconds.
    picks March 12, 2015

    Mel Chin

    An aspect of Mel Chin’s work and personality crystallized for me as I watched him give a lecture at the Houston opening of his survey exhibition “Rematch”—the guy has a knack for dad jokes. Groaners, but nonetheless endearing, such as when Chin casually says “art hysterical” instead of “art historical” or suddenly stops his lecture to play guitar and sing. This ethos suffuses his work, as in the nightstick-cum-microphone Night Rap, 1994, displayed at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), which cunningly plays on the two popular definitions of rap: to speak in syncopation or to hit.


  • View of “Melvin Edwards: Five Decades,” 2015. Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. Photo: Kevin Todora
    interviews March 09, 2015

    Melvin Edwards

    Over fifty years’s worth of work by sculptor Melvin Edwards is now on view at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Well-known works from his ongoing “Lynch Fragments” series, 1963–, hang next to surprises—a roiling, hanging tumble of metal titled Cotton Hangup, 1966, for example, which was used as a prop in “Crazier than Cotton,” an episode of the anthology TV program Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater. “Melvin Edwards: Five Decades” runs through May 10, 2015.

    BETWEEN THE AGES OF SEVEN AND TWELVE I lived in Dayton, Ohio, home of the Wright Brothers. In those years the headquarters of the

  • Ana Maria Tavares, A Tropical Symphony for Loos II, 2014, montage and digital print mounted on Dibond, 31.5 x 31.5”.
    picks November 29, 2014

    Ana Maria Tavares

    One doesn’t walk through Ana Maria Tavares’s new solo exhibition so much as one wades through it. Twenty-seven metal and Plexiglas plinths are placed about the gallery, each containing gold, green, purple, or sometimes black woven sculptures that riff on the form of a Victoria Regia water lily. The story of this gargantuan plant is a synecdoche of a colonial encounter—plucked from Brazil’s Amazon river basin, it inspired both the US and Britain toward a rival pursuit of its cultivation in a nineteenth-century gardening equivalent of the space race. The Victoria Regia spawned ardent admirers

  • George Herms in Irvine, California, 2011. Photo: Sue Henger.
    interviews September 30, 2014

    George Herms

    LOVE is not just the word with which George Herms signs his work but an expression of a particular ethos. Well known in Beat generation poetry, art, and 1960s-era California Assemblage circles, he was also involved with Wallace Berman’s influential publication Semina. Herms speaks here about a series of recent collage works exhibited in “LOVE George Herms” at testsite in Austin, Texas, which are on view from September 7 to October 19, 2014, as well as the recent acquisition of his archives by the Getty Research Center.

    IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE STORYBOARD—isn’t that how the Bible starts out?