pito#3 001000/g, t . O way across the gallery. Sandblasted, it has a dull, rich patina-like silvered Teflon. It is a handsome piece which works well in the space, however its unfortunate description as a “cantilevered work” led to some disgruntlement among the pure aestheticians as regards its suspension from the ceiling. Its contact with the wall was totally illusory. But is is not a strong representation of Grosvenor’s work, Richard Van Buren’s poured Polyester Resin piece preserves each frozen gesture layer by layer. His work comes out of Abstract Expressionism and is an extension and re-definition of the Abstract Expressionist statement. This work, in layers of poured reds, yellows and blues in gestural thrusts, consists of a series of four 12-food-high portions hung spaced across approximately forty running feet. John Alberty’s environmental work, like several others, uses film. The piece incorporates Magritte-ian objects such as real overcoats, stuffed birds, bowler hats and a bicycle. It is accompanied by a film of people riding a bicycle. Alberty contrasts the static and the non-static, the real and the non-real. Unfortunately installation problems kept the film from being visually sharp and some what destroyed the cohesion of the piece. The two most difficult pieces in the exhibition were by Newton Harrison and Ellen Van Fleet. Harrison’s work, which is certainly the most spectacular and noticeable work in the show, is comprised of hundreds of plants. Tomatos, peas, beans, potatoes, etc. grow quietly in rich moist soil in handsomely crafted redwood containers, in rows on the museum’s floor, or in tall vertical constructions where the vines grow and curl slowly up taut vertical strings. Still other portions of this ecological and environmental work are small blooming trees, fed by soft growth lights pouring from overhead fixtures. The crops, which are intended to be harvested, will be eaten at feast tables which are part of the piece. Arguments will continue to rage about whether or not this is an exceedingly handsome garden or a work of art. It matters not. It is the very blurring of those traditional lines which makes it a viable concept. If Harrison’s work is strong and thought-provoking, Ellen Van Fleet’s is not. Her piece is the only seriously weak one in the show. Meant to represent the scavenger situation of animals in a symbiotic urban relationship, it is instead only poorly-constructed layers of cages containing cockroaches, mice, kittens and pigeons. The work is self-conscious and immature. Had it been self-consuming \(and represented a complete circle of concept. As it is it makes little sense. What may ultimately be a very exciting piece, by Houston’s Vera Simons, was not yet in operation when I was there. In theory a huge wave is to roll down a 50-foot trench cut in the lawn across from the museum, crash on the rocks and roll back. In actuality it didn’t. Careless installation by volunteer help tore the plastic liner and impeded the progress. At midnight on opening night, Dr. John Freeman from Houston’s important Institute for Storm Research at the University of St. Thomas, was crouched over the controls attempting to get it functioning. Not actually part of the exhibition, but ubiquitous nevertheless was a white-coated group called ANTFARM which, during the entire opening and days before, recorded events in and around it in “real time.” Their video tapes of dignitaries and over-dressed guests, plus “real images” of Supermarkets, freeways and laundromats, the “real life” of Houston during opening week, will be edited, compiled and sealed in a refrigerated container. The container at last report was to be suspended from the museum’s ceiling not to be opened until 1984! Ultimate critical judgement will also have to be suspended until then, but the concept knocks me out. I NIIIIIIININ III IIIIINII111NIIIIINNIIIININNIMNININNNINIINNINNNIIIIININININIIINIIIIN1 elect T. J. “Pat” state rep. Travis County place 3 LNOMMuNisinswiesumnetesememestmosomuessuommomeniustmomemotsmea The exhibition is without question tough, new and difficult. It will not be understood, comprehended or liked by all. The important considerations are that it is a pioneer effort for the state and that the museum will provide a laboratory for experimentation for new art. I think there is no question that it will positively leave its mark not only on Houston, but will lend strength and prestige to the state of Texas as well. April 28, 1972 23 Bound Volumes of the Observer Bound volumes of the 1971 issues of the Texas Observer are now ready. In maroon washable binding the same as in recent years the price is $12. Also available at $12 each year are volumes for the years 1963 through 1970. A very limited supply of bound volumes of the Observer for the years 1958 through 1962 formerly out of stock have been compiled and are offered at $50 per year. These are the years when the Observer was weekly and in a tabloid format. Texas residents please add the 5% sales tax to your remittance. Volumes will be sent postpaid. The cumulative index of all issues of the Observer since the first issue in 1954 will be available in a month or two. The price will be $10 plus sales tax. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W 7 AUSTIN 78701 E
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