I felt the same nagging disappointment when I went to see Olmos Famous, the Contemporary Art Month group show curated by another of SA’s made art men, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, which prominently features neon versions of “Make Tacos Not War” in the windows of Galeria Ortiz. Not that the phrase isn’t timely — tension over immigration and the so-called Minutemen’s rhetoric running as hot as the Iraq War debate — and puro S.A. We’re so accustomed to the world not taking us seriously — for a variety of reasons from economy to geography to racism — that we’re not averse to playing Nero to its Rome. Burn baby burn, and don’t try to lay that corporate-ladder-climber baggage on me.
| Olmos Famous: |
A Survey of Local Legends and New Talent
Through Aug 25
New Works 07.2
Noon-5pm Wed-Sun, noon-8pm Thu
Through Sep 9
445 N. Main
But Diaz’s work, which uses self-deprecating humor to point out the inherent contradictions in a society consecrated to equality but built on the dollar, needs context, needs more of his work, to bring out its depth so it doesn’t just seem flip, like so much contemporary art these days (there’s so much money and so little accountability, it’s bound to breed cynicism in its practitioners, and its viewers). Olmos Famous, instead of exploring a handful of established and emerging talent, crowds the gallery space with local favorites: rising stars such as Kristy Perez, Mario Perez, and Aaron Forland, and consistent faves such as Diaz, Chuck Ramirez, and Juan Ramos. There’s some fine work — a gilded slingshot by Perez; Daniel Saldaña’s high-heeled boot teetering on one of his metal-plated coral-like sculptures; Evan Guerrero’s necklaces unfurling like delicate, organic chain mail — but Mondini-Ruiz missed an opportunity to present a CAM show that argues for the greatness of a few artists rather than tipping its hat to many. CAM happens every year; we don’t have to include everyone each time.
I hear the opener for Olmos Famous was smashing, though (you’re the only person who wasn’t there, reported a Current staffer), as was the swanky reception for Mondini-Ruiz’s one-man painting show (curated by Ramirez) at SoHo Wine Bar — where the artist swished among the crowd like a fairy godmother waving a VIP wand, and chic barmaids handed out complimentary cocktails (Real vodka cocktails! Not cheap red plonk).CAM is a blast, so I found the mission statement of The Final Run Ins — a NY-based band that began as a book-contract gambit — a little puzzling: “They are comprised of three mischievous malcontents searching for that highly elusive element of fun in an increasingly un-fun art world.” Maybe art isn’t fun in NYC anymore, but in SA we’re still having such a good time that we forget we’re supposed to think about it critically. Take The Final Run Ins’ two loud shows at Artpace and Unit B mid-month. They’re fast and furious — in a really clean way — sell anti-war T-shirts, and smash their conceptual sets. So what? Their alleged targets are either not in attendance or inured to the irony of our lives. The boys are playing at being a band (right on down to the vicious feuding; is it real? Who cares?), and we’re playing at being an audience and agreeing that it’s just as good as the real thing. We’re not just inured to the irony, we’re active co-creators, and it’s going to take more than faux punk to shock us out of it.
Vicarious experience is the Achilles’ Heel of another Artpace exhibit, Houstonian Lorraine O’Grady’s contribution to this round of resident artists’ New Work: a darkened club filled with larger-than-life digital hipsters breaking it down on the dance floor, framed by upturned bar stools, and ceiling-to-floor glass windows through which you can peer but not enter. It’s a tribute to a scene that O’Grady knows through the tales of the DJs (co-producer Jay Lopez, super-competent Artpace receptionist, is known to many more San Antonians as DJ JJ Lopez, aka DJ Deepfeel) who lit up the Davenport’s dance floor until Majestic building management reportedly used a contract detail to boot the downtown cocktail lounge.
Join the Current and Unit B Gallery for an evening of classic lawn sports in honor of Artlies, the Texas journal of art, and Texas contemporary-art organization Arthouse. Bring your team of two or more and sign up to compete in whiffle ball, badminton, croquet, and horseshoes. No experience required, but matching team uniforms are welcome. Beer by Shiner, snacks by Rico's, fun by you!
5-9 p.m. Saturday, August 4, Free!
Unit B (Gallery + yard!), 500 Stieren