Monday, August 30, 2010


I love Ohio, particularly the Cleveland/Akron area. I love William Busta Gallery, Douglas Utter, Hildur Asgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Arnie Tunstall and the Akron Art Museum.

Back in New York and planning for a Saturday night out at Famous Accountants for the closing of their Tunneling Show and then out another night for the opening of Jeff Bailey's new space and Joshua Marsh's show.

In between time, I'll be out with Grant, today MOMA, tomorrow Ellis Island, and then Coney Island. Late afternoons are spent at pocket parks bike riding.

Pictured above is Bill Busta's pop-up camper, an inspiration on wheels, ready for the road.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My eyeballs are the same size as your eyeballs

"Mommy, you know what? My eyeballs are the same size as your eyeballs." That's what Grant said to me tonight, while I waited for him to fall asleep after hours at the Natural History Museum, followed by train track building, a little baking, and a late night biking riding excursion. I'm trying to squeeze in final details on my show, mostly in the evening hours, before going to Ohio on Friday.

The dog days of August hang in this household. Until September 8th and full-time on September 14th, I'm running a homeschool for a child whose eyeballs are as big as mine. Below the press release...

Drawing on the Utopic

STOREFRONT (16 Wilson Avenue, Brooklyn) is pleased to present Drawing on the Utopic: A Solo Exhibition of Drawings and Text Pieces by Austin Thomas. An opening reception for the artist will be Friday, September 17 from 6-9PM. Storefront is open weekends 1-6PM or by appointment by calling 646-361-8512.

Austin Thomas's collages, deceptively delicate studies, caught sometimes in the act of unfolding against or through the gridded skin of a graph paper background, explore enduring thoughts about the speciation of drawing and sculpture.

Thomas’s varied performative actions and artworks may be broadly described as delineating and creating “social sculpture.” In homage to Joseph Beuys’s famous formulation and the idea that social systems add up to (or can be rearranged to constitute) one great work of art, her practice has included “Perches” (hybrid sculptural/architectural objects around which events are created); an artist-run gallery in Bushwick; a traveling El Camino that provided a moving space for lectures about art; and many other public actions that have created spontaneous communities around art, discussion, and most recently a camp for kids and adults.

Thomas’s text pieces punctuate this varied practice by adding a relational narrative of overheard public conversations. In Thomas's works sense falls apart just when it begins to fall together–they're sketches of the way life is, as organisms (like us) negotiate their desires across the permeable borders of being. In one of her blog posts Thomas writes, “Next up, experiments in and with new and different, reformed, informed and all encompassing forms of selfhood (folded, presented, performed, baked, butted, and drawn crooked).” -- written with the helpful words of Douglas Max Utter and Molly Larkey

Saturday, August 14, 2010

“Perfection is the booby prize of life”

Douglas Utter's favorite giraffe image:

Reprinting here what Douglas Utter wrote about my backroom show in Ohio at William Busta Gallery, from his online magazine site giraffe trap.

The piece below is written just like he talks, slowly and emphatically. He presented the above giraffe image caught in a trap at One Minute, One Image, so I guess his online journal is appropriately titled.

Thanks Douglas for the thoughtful review!!

Concurrently on display in Busta’s narrow Print and Drawing room are a group of engaging small collage/drawing works by Austin Thomas. These deceptively delicate studies, caught sometimes in the act of unfolding against or through the gridded skin of a graph paper background, explore enduring thoughts about the speciation of drawing and sculpture. And like Tyrrell’s enamel studies, they’re all about the magic of placement, and the mutable margins stretching between actual and imaginary terrains.

Based in New York, Thomas has exhibited at White Columns and The Drawing Center among other venues. In 2005 the
Corcoran Museum in Washington, DC showed 28 examples of her ongoing collage series, combined with wooden three dimensional structures she calls “social sculpture,” in homage to Joseph Beuys’s famous formulation and the idea that social systems add up to (or can be rearranged to constitute) one great work of art. Her 2005 “Free Form Perch” is ten by nine feet in circumference and five feet high. The five concentric bench-like tiers unwind upward to a single topmost seat. Another of Beuys’s dictums was “Everyone is an artist.” Structures like Thomas’ bench or her recycled plastic “Double Lounger” (which is something like a deckchair built for two) and her extensive series of “Perch” works, give people a
chance to participate in her work, becoming artists in a way, or even (briefly), art itself. Also influential has been the “anarchitecture” of 1970’s Situationism-inspired artist Gordon Matta-Clark, whose version of detournement involved the alteration of decaying inner city buildings. By slicing away sections of wall and opening up urban vistas he transformed and extended the history of abandoned places and their residual contents.

Thomas collects rulers, which she cuts and shapes so that they can be used to make crooked lines. “Perfection is the booby prize of life,” she remarks, and her pseudo-geometric dodecahedron in “Perspective Study,” is, as one might expect,
non-Euclidean (though in this case the outlines of her figure are pretty straight). Thomas builds an approximate order on the basis of chaos, using cut fragments of paper covered with scribbles, letters, and snatches of drawings. A dialogue between
random disorder and formal simplicity (Thomas is also a fan of Ellsworth Kelly’s abstract clarity) ensues, like a song teetering at the brink of noise.

In these works sense falls apart just when it begins to fall together – they're sketches of the way life is, as organisms (like
us) negotiate their desires across the permeable borders of being. In one of her blog posts Thomas writes, “Next up, experiments in and with new and different, reformed, informed and all encompassing forms of selfhood (folded, presented, performed, baked, butted, and drawn crooked).”

-- Douglas Max Utter

Free Form Perch

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Parts & Labor

Here at AT World, we are very excited when pocket utopia-like, artist-run spaces open up! So it's with great anticipation that I share the opening of SOLOWAY with you all! Located at 348 S. 4th St. Brooklyn, NY 11211

Pocket U.

From their press release and personalized email, as well as pictured above, and for nostalgia's sake (read context), pictures of Pocket Utopia below.

Soloway presents:

With Annette Wehrhahn, Pat Palermo and Paul Branca, we've signed a lease on a small storefront in Brooklyn which we are converting into a gallery/exhibition space. The storefront space was formerly a plumbing supply store, “Soloway Plumbing and Heating” and we have shortened the name to “Soloway.” It's still mostly undeveloped, but I wanted to invite you to our first opening, this Sunday August 15th, 3-6pm. In the spirit of renovation we're calling our first show Parts & Labor, and it includes a range of artists' multiples and editions.

Barbecue in the backyard directly following the opening!

Munro Galloway

Exhibition: Parts & Labor
Artists' editions and multiples
Bryan Baker, Glen Baldridge, Jane Benson, Megan Biddle, Sari Carel, Jessica Dickinson, Rochelle Feinstein, Munro Galloway, Marc Handelman, Joshua Hart, Corin Hewitt, Jungil Hong, Fabienne Lasserre, Pam Lins, Becka McKay, Ohad Meromi, Jenny Nichols, Melissa Oresky, Pat Palermo, Dushko Petrovich, Joseph Protheroe, Halsey Rodman, Jessie Stead, Mike Stickrod, Woody Sullender,
Joshua Thorson, Jo-ey Tang, Margaret and Mary Weatherford, Annette Wehrhahn, Alex Weinstein, Ry Wharton, Mike Wodkowski

Dates: August 15 – September 18, 2010
Opening: Sunday, August 15, 3-6pm
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 12-5

Parts & Labor
“Flat hamster parts, toilet spuds, brass flanges, ball cocks, flappers, close couple kits, tank speedies, douglas valves, faucet and parts, sink speedies, waste line parts, strainers, brass fittings, johni bolts, oakum, lead, gauge glass & washers, floor flanges, sink strainers, hosecocks, gascocks, meter bars, radiator valves, boiler parts, pilot tubing...”

A list of parts, objects that require assembly, pieces of a whole—words written on the walls and shelves of a former plumbing supply store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Annette was living upstairs in a temporary sublet and saw the storefront space first. She got in touch with Munro, Pat and Paul. Inside, the walls were covered with wood veneer, the floor with linoleum and the ceiling had been dropped down and filled in with panels of particle board.

We started planning the gallery. We talked to friends and decided to have the first show in the raw storefront space before beginning renovation, a show of art in multiples. Other artists offered to help and loaned us their time and tools. Munro asked

Halsey Rodman to collaborate on the design and construction of a display cabinet for the artworks using left-over building materials we took out of the back apartment, storage area and walls. The cabinet evolved into an artwork.

Artists, musicians, designers, printers, book-makers loaned us their work for the first show, We received prints,
photographs, paintings, drawings, rubbings, sculptures, jewelry, LPs, singles, books, mixed CDs, toy kits, stickers,
surfwax, bottled tea, vases and coffee mugs. Examples of all the work will be on display in the gallery when the
gallery opens for the first time with “Parts & Labor” on August 15th, from 3-6pm. Please stop by to see the gallery
and the show, we would love to see you.

Pocket Utopia, first show shots, etc.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Brooke and Water

I posted this photo of the fountain at the Chicago Botanic Gardens a few hours ago on Facebook and painter friend Brooke Moyse commented, a coincidence, considering her canvases of painterly gestures of fountains shooting skyward. Three of her paintings posted above.

While we're on the subject of water, check out the online catalog of Martin Reyna's watercolors from the Hogar Collection. They also have a cool show up right now, reviewed on Hyperallergic.

Cool, like Lake Michigan, where I'll be tomorrow, skipping stones.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Listening in Philadelphia on Tuesday 6pm

Pictured above, my "Social Climber Perch" that lived at Basekamp for inside deck of many levels. I was reminded of this perch recently when I got an invitation from Jessica Westbrook to an upcoming Basekamp event: E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology), another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

Basekamp, a non-commercial organization of people researching and co-developing interdisciplinary, self-organized art projects. Basekamp uses their Philadelphia space, along with temporary camps in other locations, as a home base to invite domestic and international collaborative groups in a joint experiment to develop new models of relations within overlapping art communities. The goal is to continue proposing collaboration as a practical and theoretical stance, and to participate in its evolution.

They hold weekly potluck skype chats on plausible artworlds:

Tuesdays; 6.00 - 8.00 PM
Join in person, or on Skype, skypename: ‘basekamp’
If you come to the potluck in person, be sure to bring a dish :)
Sign up here for info about each week’s invited guest, and join the discussion list that accompanies these weekly chats.

This week we’ll be talking with Julie Martin, one of the founders — with artist Robert Rauschenberg and Billy Klüver, then a research scientist at Bell Laboratories — of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), a groundbreaking initiative in the late 1960s that brought artists, engineers and scientists together in an attempt to rethink and to overcome the split between the worlds of art, science and technology that had come to characterize and warp modernity.

A series of performances organized in 1966 incorporating video projection, wireless sound transmission, and Doppler sonar — now commonplace but at the time emergent technologies, still untried in art production — laid the way for the group’s founding in 1967. Until the early 1980s (and the beginning of the Reagan era), E.A.T. promoted interdisciplinary collaborations through a program pairing artists and engineers. It also encouraged research into new means of expression at the crossroads of art and such emerging technologies as computer-generated images and sounds, satellite transmission, synthetic materials and robotics.

The whole experiment, with all its utopian energy, is somehow reminiscent of a Thomas Pynchon novel: born of a union between the anything-is-plausible outlook typical of art and science at the time and the blossoming technology industries indirectly funded by the Vietnam war, E.A.T. is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and emblematic attempts ever undertaken to bridge the gap between the worlds of art and technique. As instructive in its measurable success as in its ultimate inability to correct for the ideological bias inherent to an industrial laboratory, E.A.T. continues to point to a horizon shared by many collectives today — as for instance in its 1969 call for PROJECTS OUTSIDE ART, dealing with such issues as “education, health, housing, concern for the natural environment, climate control, transportation, energy production and distribution, communication, food production and distribution, women’s environment, cooking entertainment, sports…”

August 10, 2010 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Basekamp space: 723 Chestnut St, 2nd floor, Philadelphia usa

Download from if you don’t already have it
In Skype “Add a contact”: basekamp
Send a message when you want to join the chat, by selecting us from your list and clicking ‘Start chat’

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Expanding the conversation

image from the RMA website.

The tents are down, Camp Pocket U. has ended and many of us are back in "our studios," whatever and wherever they might be. I've decided to practice a period of generous listening, take the high road or the walk the High Line, hang out at the museum around the corner and focus on broadening the conversation.

I want to see what some other artists are up to in other places and gather some data, make some new work. So for now, I'll shutter this blog and perhaps open another one in the fall or later somewhere else.

Thanks for reading and looking. Please stay in touch, I'll be listening at ats at toast dot net.