Arts & Culture
Who the #$&% is Thomas Hoving?
Published: January 18, 2012
Tony Feher likes plastic. In Thomas Hoving, his new exhibition at Artpace, strands of iridescent red, orange, and purple nylon string sweep from the ceiling in the middle of the Hudson (Show) Room, twisting in a dramatic arc. Another work in twine hangs nearby like an inverted rainbow. Along the far wall, cut-up pieces of red and blue tubes scrounged from construction sites are strung like over-sized Navajo necklaces of turquoise and coral. Facing them are three plastic bottles, dangling in the air. Filled with liquid in psychedelic hues of the primary colors, they slowly rotate, combining to form green, orange, and purple: a 3-D version of the color wheel.
Though made in bright colors not often found in nature, the works are delicate and hard to see. Feher has taken advantage of their elusive nature to draw attention to the volume of the room. Not just site-specific, but site-determined, the exhibition incorporates the room's architectural elements as part of the installation.
Recently, the room's original glass windows were uncovered. They had been hidden by temporary walls. Feher has called attention to their opaque surfaces by covering some of the panes with blue masking tape, forming a repeating star-shaped pattern. Other panes are covered with torn strips of the same tape to make criss-crossed grids; the sharply cut stars contrast with the rough torn edges of the grids, which in turn seem to lead the eye to the random scratches in the glass.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1956, Feher was raised in Corpus Christi from the age of 10. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and now resides in New York. His use of simple, everyday objects in an assortment of environments has attracted international attention since the 1990s; his works are in many collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in NYC, La Colección Jumex, Mexico City, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition's title, Thomas Hoving, is the name of a past director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hoving wrote Art For Dummies in 1999, and came to popular attention in 2006 when he appeared in Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? The documentary is about a purported lost Jackson Pollock painting found in a thrift shop.
Judith Cottrell has a unique drawing technique, moving her hand in repeated swooping motions across a surface to make her compositions. Her exhibition In the Window, currently at Window Works, uses a drawing machine she calls a "drawbot" to make pictures that are drawn in a similar fashion. During the installation, each large glass pane in Artpace's front window will be inscribed with an easily recognizable drawing of something one might see in a home window. The first drawing is a cat.
Cottrell received her MFA from UTSA in 2006; since then she has appeared in many exhibitions, including last year's San Antonio Draws: A Survey of Contemporary Drawing, at the McNay Art Museum, and in An Exchange with Sol Lewitt, at MASS MoCA in Massachusetts. She currently teaches in the graphic arts department of the International School of Technology and Design in San Antonio.