Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Blogger be gone

As of January 2010, Andrea Grover's site can be found here:

Bye bye,
blogger. I hardly knew ye.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You’re A Winner: Fashionable Art Prizes

What to make of
The First Annual Rob Pruitt Art Awards which took place on October 29, 2009 at The Guggenheim Museum in association with White Columns and Calvin Klein Collection? Art prizes with designer names attached have been around since the 1990s, but this was the first “awards show” styled event that mimicked the celebrity-watching antics of the Academy Awards. Part performance art, part Guggenheim benefit, and part droll commentary on awards ceremonies, the event was produced by conceptual artist Rob Pruitt, who doubled as the evening's MC. Attendance was by invitation only (likely relative to patron size and/or art world status), and the process for selecting awardees was left largely to the imagination. As Rhonda Lieberman points out in her ArtForum diary, “it was the cool lunch table of the art world celebrating itself.” Read the rest of this post on my blog We Have The Technology, on

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where the Avant Garde Things Are

Cinema Arts Festival Houston, "the only U.S. festival devoted to films by and about artists," launches November 11-15, 2009.

When two New York real estate promoters, commonly known as “The Allen Brothers,” founded the city of Houston in 1836, their intention was to make the township a center of commerce and government. Houston’s bid to be the capital of the Republic of Texas was short-lived, but its status as a center of commerce has stuck like the very first ships that ran aground in what the Allen Brothers dubbed Houston’s first “port”– the shallow and silty intersection of Buffalo and White Oak Bayous. Houston’s forefathers in a long line of hucksters, Augustus and John Allen sold Houston to potential settlers, at $1 per acre, using advertisements that promoted this subtropical marsh as “an elevated land” replete with “waterfalls.”

Now 173 years later, Houston is concretely known as a place to do business – home to the largest petrochemical manufacturing area in the world, and an international hub for biomedical research and the aerospace industry. With no great range of topography, and a nose-to-nose race (on and off since 1999) with Los Angeles for smoggiest city, Houston is no high-ranking vacation destination.

So in 2008, when Houston Mayor Bill White (who has moved mountains so-to-speak to improve Houston’s aforementioned image) tapped his friend Franci Crane to spearhead a new film festival, there was no chance of luring travelers with ski slopes or sandy beaches– the likes of those at Sundance or Cannes. But what Houston did have on a monumental scale was art. Around 7 million visitors per year come to Houston for the Museum District alone; Houston’s Theater District is exceeded only by New York in its number of seats in one geographic area; not to mention the plethora of non-profit arts organizations, folk art environments, art galleries, art chapels, art parades, art festivals, and so on. Read the rest of this post on my blog, We Have The Technology on

Pictured: H Box, designed by Portuguese/French architect, Didier Fiúza Faustino

I am for art we do for each other as friends

This Jonas Mekas quote speaks to the reason I started Aurora Picture Show, and everything I believe about art.

"In the times of bigness, spectaculars, one hundred million dollar movie productions, I want to speak for the small, invisible acts of human spirit: so subtle, so small, that they die when brought out under the clean lights. I want to celebrate the small forms of cinema: the lyrical form, the poem, the watercolor, etude, sketch, portrait, arabesque, and bagatelle, and little 8mm songs. In the times when everybody wants to succeed and sell, I want to celebrate those who embrace social and daily failure to pursue the invisible, the personal things that bring no money and no bread and make no contemporary history, art history or any other history. I am for art which we do for each other, as friends." –From Anti-100 Years of Cinema Manifesto, Jonas Mekas, 1996

Read the full manifesto on INCITE!

Pictured: Jonas Mekas receiving a fruit basket from Andrea Grover and the 2009 Artist Award from NAMAC

Friday, October 30, 2009

Art Activism's Greatest Hits

On October 19, 2009, performance artists, The Yes Men, held a fake US Chamber of Commerce press conference at The National Press Club. A small assembly of journalists listened attentively as "Hingo Sembra," posing as a Chamber official, announced that the behemoth business federation had revised its stance on Climate Change, and would discontinue lobbying against the Kerry-Boxer bill (which calls for significant reductions in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions). Moments later the real Chamber Spokesperson, Eric Wohlschlegel, burst through the doors of the conference room, breathlessly proclaiming the speaker to be a fraud! After a few dramatic seconds of Will the Real Chamber of Commerce Official Please Stand Up Game, Mr. Wohlschlegel made a strategic error by suggesting that the press direct questions to him, not the imposter. "Is the position of The Chamber of Commerce that Climate Change does not exist?" one journalist demanded. Mr. Wohlschlegel opted to ignore the question. He realized too late that any reaction would draw even more attention to the ne'er-do-well policies being exposed, and therein lies the brilliant quandary, which has become a winning tactic of The Yes Men. Read the rest of my top ten list on

Image: The Yes Men, Chamber of Commerce Press Conference Hoax

Thursday, October 15, 2009

User’s Guide to Temporary, Itinerant, Non-Accredited Art Schools

In the September 13, 2009 edition of The New York Times
, art critic Roberta Smith lamented the “academicization of the art world” (see Artists Without Mortarboards
) and, went as far as to write that the growing interest among art schools in offering Ph.D.s in art “makes the blood run cold.” However, what warmed Smith’s cockles was the Bruce High Quality Foundation University, a newly launched insurgent, artist-run school that “is being made up as it goes along.” Read the rest of this post on my new blog, We Have The Technology on

Image: The Independent School of Art, Courtesy Jon Rubin

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Menil Movies

It turns out that I’ve been stalking The Menil Collection for so long that they’ve gotten used to me, and even invited me to host a semi-annual screening series of works from The Menil Archives. I have earned my official “media archeologist” badge, and get to work about 20’ below ground in the engine room of the museum – the archives. My underground partners are archivists Geri Aramanda (incidentally, Geri has worked with the Menils since 1968) and Lisa Barkley, who both help me unearth works on audio, video and film. The archive was begun by media studies pioneer, Gerald O’Grady in 1968. The new screening series is called “Menil Movies.”

Image: Ed Keinholz by Robert Bucknam,
© Nancy Reddin Kienholz

Friday, September 25, 2009, 7:30pm
Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, Houston TX 77006

Menil Movies: Body in Fragments

Films and videos related to the exhibition Body in Fragments. Included is work by or about Ed Kienholz, David McManaway, René Magritte, Georges Méliès, James Rosenquist, and Roy Fridge. Highlights include an outrageous 1962 made-for-television documentary on Ed Kienholz, home movies of René Magritte, and a Georges
Méliès silent film from 1898.

About Menil Movies
"Menil Movies" is a semi-annual educational screening series that highlights rarely seen film and videos from the Menil Archives. The series was created to introduce audiences to the range and abundance of the museum’s moving image holdings, including filmic art, documentaries, informational videos, avant-garde film, animation, Soviet cinema, Surrealist and DADA films, and documentary footage of artists and curators affiliated with the museum. For the series, films and videos are grouped by subject and presented to the public as one-hour curated compilations with overview and commentary. The educational component is an essential part of this series. Each movie is introduced with an explanation of its significance to contemporary art and film history, biographical information on the filmmaker or artist, and a summary of the larger film or art movement to which his or her work is attributed. Many of these movies are rarely shown, and in some cases represent one of just a few film prints of a title available anywhere. Some of the historically critical filmmakers represented in the archive include George Méliès, the Lumière brothers, Dziga Vertov (considered to be among the earliest auteur filmmakers); silent film error director F.W. Murnau (Director of the celebrated film Nosferatu); and acclaimed Surrealist filmmakers René Clair, Joseph Cornell, and Man Ray. Videotaped interviews, lectures, and exhibition installations that took place at the Menil Collection make up another rich section of the movie archive. These tapes encapsulate important information about the artists’ ideas and processes, and are valuable documents for research and scholarship. Artists in this section of the archive include 20th century masters Max Ernst, Yves Klein, John Chamberlain, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, and Larry Rivers, to name a few. This screening series makes these works accessible to a broad audience, and raise awareness about the significant resource that the Menil’s movie archive represents. Comparable movie archives do not exist in Houston.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Podcast Interview for 29 Chains to the Moon (Andrea Grover & Astria Suparak)

Listen to me! Podcast interview of Andrea Grover (curator of
29 Chains to the Moon) and Astria Suparak (director of Miller Gallery) conducted by Eric Sloss (LabA6, College of Fine Arts, Carnegie Mellon University). Find out more about the artists currently on view and their visionary schemes for the future.

Podcast Link