The Rapidian

All The Good Hours: Opening Night at Art Prize

"You Can't Fall Off The Floor" by Lora Fosberg, artist, UICA

"You Can't Fall Off The Floor" by Lora Fosberg, artist, UICA /Austin Bunn

Underwriting support from:


Paul Storm's "Greeting Card to the World", at The Bob

Paul Storm's "Greeting Card to the World", at The Bob /Austin Bunn

Beili Liu's "Lure/Forest"

Beili Liu's "Lure/Forest" /Austin Bunn

I just spent three hours downtown, on an initial recon. Some early thoughts: They lucked out with the weather: it was a perfect night to jaywalk and loiter, warm enough for a single layer. Everybody you knew was out, and you had something to talk about: the steampig, the largest and lamest greeting card in the world ("Live and Love Large!"), the thieved wood globe, and just what the f an artist means when they talk about "phenomenological".

My route wound through the UICA to the BOB, across the pedestrian bridge where "Wind Dancer 2" made me groan with phenomenological despair in 2009, zipped past the Public Museum (and the driftwood, acid-y freak-folk of "A Matter of Time", one of the top 25 contenders after just 6 hours!) and then back across the river through the JW Marriot. A short walkabout, but in that route, I covered the majority of the 2009 top-10 winners' locations. That was my plan.

Allen Ginsberg said, "Notice what you notice." I'll leave the conversation about what is good and bad art to the folks that believe we can be persuaded from one side to the other. But I'll say that what I most respect, what I find myself studying and ultimately appreciating the most, are the works that take time. At the UICA, Lora Fosberg's massive array of tweaked aphorisms, Jenny Holzer with a sense of humor,  rewarded close inspection. One tiny strip read, "This is the paper that was going to be a wedding annoucement." What you might say about the depth of the piece, it was elegant and gently provocative and entirely handwritten. I mean, the hours...

The Austin, TX-based artist Beili Liu, whose piece "Lure/Forest" has pole position in terms of location (dangling inside the new UICA building), was standing curbside at Division and Fulton talking to folks with her partner Blue. Liu spent six months stitching the discs of red thread. There are some 3,000 of them hanging in a great undulation in the raw interior space, a truly smart mix of scale and delicacy. They had spent five days hanging the piece and were leaving tonight. When I asked Blue how she managed to overcome the tedium of stitching the thousands of discs, he said, "Red wine." 

Chris Jordan's "Gyre" (back at the UICA) reminded me of "Open Water No. 24" in that your understanding of the image -- and level of appreciation -- depends entirely on how close you are to the dang thing. From a distance, it looks like a Japanese wave painting. Upclose, you see he's composited the image from thousands of pieces of plastic and junk. Nearby Jordan has another gigantic print of plastic bottles. (Hey, how come Jordan gets to have three pieces in Art Prize?) Regardless, the photos are almost crystalline in their precision.

Of course, the irony of all this is that you're blasting past most of the art, distracted by the flow of the crowd, the glimpse of someone attractive in your periphery, and the increasing sense that a beer is nigh. For all the hours the artists spend, you notice, mostly, for seconds. 

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I saw the headline but no author name on my FB news feed. I clicked because of the headline: whoever wrote that headline would be incapable of writing an uninteresting piece.  Austin Bunn.  How sweet it is.  Thanks for taking us with you last night.

E, thanks for reading! The office of the mutual fan club is open for business.

I was going to do something about the ugly pieces and then thought, Why waste anybody's time with THAT? And yeah, I'm kinda of a title dork. The first draft was "Pretty + Time" but then my senses returned to me.

I love your critiquing style, Austin. This is entertaining without being too shallow. Right up my alley. I'll be a Rapidian reader from now on...

Man, high praise, from the content king of this place! Thanks. I try to keep it light. in the loafers.

And sorry I didn't get a chance to intro myself at the Rapidian 1st b-day party. Glad to see you out and about.

the ones that take time wow me the most. thanks for perusing UICA last night. and even though you have already seen it, i hope "en la profundidad" ranks on the time spectrum. great review!