Andy Campbell

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

    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

    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

  • 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.


  • 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

  • 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

  • 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?

  • interviews March 12, 2014

    Igor Siddiqui

    Croatian-born architect and designer Igor Siddiqui identifies with the “not everything” approach to architecture—the notion that architects can make small, incisive contributions to larger projects rather than focusing solely on the big picture. Siddiqui speaks here about his latest innovation, the use of bioplastics in creating his architectural work, which is the focal point of his latest exhibition, “Igor Siddiqui: Protoplastic,” on view at TOPS Gallery, Memphis, from January 31 to March 29, 2014.

    I COOK MY BIOPLASTICS at home, which might seem to be a domesticated way of producing work, but

  • interviews February 24, 2014

    Yan Xing

    The Beijing- and Los Angeles–based artist Yan Xing is known for creating intricately staged installations, photographs, videos, and performances that play on registers of high camp, melodrama, and sincerity. For his recent solo exhibition at Galerie Urs Meile in Beijing, he presented new works including The Collectress, 2013, which is based on the novels and paintings of Duan Jianyu. “Yan Xing: Standard Exhibition,” his first solo show in Switzerland, runs from February 14 to April 12, 2014 at Galerie Urs Meile in Lucerne.

    THE PHYSICAL FRAMING of my work—the way it is presented to a public—is

  • picks February 14, 2014

    Juan Capistran

    I AM HOPING TO SEE THE DAY reads the text spelled out in fist-size, chalk-white rocks on the floor of Juan Capistran’s two-part exhibition “What We Want, What We Believe: Towards a Higher Fidelity” at the Visual Arts Center. Nearby, a tidy stack of offset prints of a craggily textured surface is available for viewers to take and crumple, forming an ad hoc rock. This replica, which intimates revolution but materially lacks the heft, is an apt summa of the thin line that Capistran walks with aplomb. How to suggest revolutionary potential without controlling the conversation? How to find a model

  • interviews January 30, 2014

    Lauren Berlant

    Duke University Press recently published Sex, or The Unbearable, a long-form critical dialogue between theorists Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman. Through a series of close readings addressing the work of Larry Johnson, Miranda July, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and the short story “Break It Down” by Lydia Davis, the book examines the often unbearable pressures and cleavages sex can produce—for good and for ill. Berlant and Edelman variously mitigate and amplify the theoretical, structural, and vernacular ambivalencies of intimacy, collaboration, and collective life. Berlant states in the book’s

  • picks July 03, 2013

    Alice Aycock

    Two monumental schematic drawings of hundreds of doorways, stitched together in neat adjoining rows, dominate Alice Aycock’s retrospective of drawings. In The New China Drawing: The World Above, the World Below, 1984, Aycock’s craggy forms evoke a map of Canton, China drawn by seventeenth-century Dutch explorer Johan Nieuhof following his fifteen-thousand-mile trek through China’s provinces. This journey was notably reproduced in social historian and curator Bernard Rudofsky’s seminal treatise on vernacular form, Architecture Without Architects(1964), Aycock, for her part, transforms this source

  • picks May 28, 2012

    “25 Years of Talent”

    “25 Years of Talent” attempts to show where the artists represented in David Robbins’s Talent, a sardonic 1986 grouping of hip-list artist head shots, are today in their varied art practices. Curated by artist Michelle Grabner, who was a graduate student in art history when Robbins debuted Talent, this exhibition takes a simple curatorial organizational scheme (one just as tied to popular notions of celebrity as Robbins’s initial head shots): “Where are they now?” The question presents a restrictive protocol, a kind of readymade mode of exhibition making—with each artist represented by at least

  • picks November 20, 2011

    Donald Moffett

    What Barbara Jordan wore was pink, a glorious fuschia, when she intoned her famous words at Richard Nixon’s impeachment hearing in 1972: “My faith in the constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total.” A lawyer, congresswoman, and black woman from Texas, Barbara Jordan’s pink suit, and indeed her entire countenance, remains an important contra to the pale male club of politics. Video of her speech, asynchronously looped, is thrown onto three golden-hued paintings in What Barbara Jordan Wore, 2002, one of two works regarding impeachment that anchor and bookend Donald Moffett’s current

  • interviews October 17, 2011

    Judith Halberstam

    Judith Halberstam’s latest book, The Queer Art of Failure, is published this month by Duke University Press. She is a professor of English, American studies and ethnicity, and gender studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Here Halberstam discusses her methodological interest in the “silly archive,” a phrase borrowed from literary theorist Lauren Berlant, which Halberstam uses to denote the importance of seeking knowledge in all the wrong places: cartoons for children, horror films, Spongebob Squarepants, offbeat manifestos, and other low-cultural sites.


  • interviews September 28, 2011

    Mika Tajima

    Mika Tajima is a New York–based artist whose latest project, The Architect’s Garden, is on view until December 17 at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Tajima’s site-specific installation is accompanied by a program of events, including a conversation she had with Richard Linklater, director of the 1991 film Slacker. Her latest body of work continues to excavate the social implications of contemporary built environments, and the concomitant development of particular kinds of human performers, such as the flaneur, the slacker, and the good worker.


  • picks July 21, 2011

    Catherine Opie

    Pro-immigration marches, Tea Party rallies, Barack Obama’s inauguration, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree: These seem to be subjects better suited to an “off-the-hip” photographer than the immaculate imagemaker Catherine Opie. Yet this exhibition, which serves up the artist’s recent output, makes a strong case for Opie as a documentarian of our politically divisive times. Two bodies of work are on display here: the profusion of rallies, festivals, and political events, and “Twelve Miles to the Horizon,” 2009, a series of nearly two dozen photographs