Trending
MOST READ
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, cheesyjanes.com. If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

sa_20140205_cover

Art is (Not) Dead: How to not starve as a San Antonio artist

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

The beleaguered French and Michigan gallery space in Beacon Hill

Photo: , License: N/A


When I first started writing about San Antonio’s art scene five years ago, there existed a narrow, but real, aspirational path of commercial galleries. A local artist’s ideal trajectory in, say, 2009, may have launched from University of Texas—San Antonio’s MFA program or the then-mighty Alamo Colleges art departments, aimed for a show at itty-bitty tastemaker Fl!ght Gallery, thence headed toward commercial grand dame Joan Grona and hopefully been picked up by tireless national market hustler David Shelton. Along the way, there would have been plenty of opportunity to build the all-important CV via artist-run spaces like Sala Diaz, Unit B or via the many important galleries in the Blue Star complex like Three Walls or Cactus Bra.

Fl!ght and Sala Diaz are still staging terrific shows, thankfully, but in 2012, with the Blue Star Complex re-development, Joan Grona retired her space there, ready to take a break after 20 continuous years. Last month, Unit B opted to "close its door indefinitely to ponder the future of the gallery and life in general," a hard-earned respite for artist/gallerist Kimberly Aubuchon.

 

See also: 22 Unforgettable Moments from Southtown Gallery Unit B

Cactus Bra, 19 years old, and Three Walls, 14, became casualties of the re-jiggering of Blue Star’s Building B in 2012. Also in 2012, David Shelton moved his brick-and-mortar gallery to Houston. As Shelton told the Current at the time of his relocation, “… being based in Houston will significantly increase exposure for the artists and their work among a diverse and highly sophisticated new audience, both within and beyond Texas.” True to his word, Shelton maintains several of San Antonio’s marquee names on his roster and prominently displays their works at high-profile venues like Texas Contemporary in Houston and Art Basel Miami. He is, in fact, raising San Antonio’s profile, which is all to the good.

But now, for emerging or mid-career local artists, the 2009 trajectory is dead. It seems the career ladder is flat on the ground rather than rising vertically, and after ascending one rung, the next local one is likely on the same plane and not necessarily above it. Even after going through all the rungs, without the inclusion in significant collections or recognition from regional and nation media that respected commercial galleries can bring, the artist may not be in any better position to grasp the brass rings of residencies, fellowships, faculty positions, grants and press needed to progress to the promised land of full-time professional artist.

Public art is one way up, though the competition is stiff and repeat commissions are generally awarded to artists with previous experience in that sector. There are some great profile-raising events in San Antonio, such as the Red Dot fundraiser at Blue Star, audience-driven Contemporary Art Month events and, arguably, Luminaria, which of late has seemed more like a committee-designed cattle call than an expertly curated arts celebration. Artpace’s Window Works installation series opens a “high art”-world resource to local mid-career artists, and pragmatically, it’s an impressive brand-name association for resume purposes.

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • SA Design Maven D’Ette Cole and the Topography of Junk D’Ette Cole has been an artist, interior designer, antiques dealer and even a pie. Simply put, she notices everything, and has built her career on... | 10/22/2014
  • Failure Is Not an Option: George Lopez returns to SA It is evident comedian George Lopez is still a little sensitive about the on-again, off-again relationship he’s had with television. Whatever the... | 10/22/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of nu | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus