Perambulating the Bounds

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nashville Visual Arts Events May 2009

Sam Dunson had a show last year at the Vanderbilt Divinity School with work that put a focus to the wilder style he’s taken on lately. I hope some of those pieces will be in this show (I’d like to see them again), and anything more recent will take us that much further. I saw a straight up Guernica quote poking its head into the frame of a piece in the press release.

Everyone in town should know Patrick DeGuira as one of the city’s most significant sculptors, and many know that he’s been a mainstay of the exhibits staff at Cheekwood. He’s recently been laid from there and has started a framing and art prep/installation/packing business. So if you want to have someone who knows what they’re doing handle some art for you, Patrick’s got his shingle out at

Also, Beth Gilmore’s rescheduled exhibit at Belmont Mansion happens May 10.

As always, if you have an email list of your own, feel free to forward this.

If someone wants to get added directly to my list for the email, send me an email at To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

May 1

Cummins Station art student show To coincide with graduations at the local colleges, Jodi Hays (no doubt with help from others) has organized a show of work by MTSU, TSU, Sewanee, and Watkins students. The reception runs 4-7.

May 2

Mir, Christian Dye. The title of this show is Bleak: Searching for Beauty in an Otherwise Tragic World and the press release say the work uses materials that “are susceptible to time and the effects of pollution.” That could describe any number of things, so we’ll see what it is when we see it.

Twist, Beep Beep Gallery artists. Twist is exchanging artists with the like-minded Atlanta gallery Beep Beep. That Atlanta artists are Ann-Marie Manker and Jason Butcher. And in Twist 58, there will be work by Duncan McDaniel, John Whitten, and Erin Plew. Erin’s senior show paintings at Watkins are terrific.

Estel, Mr. Hooper and Samuel Dunson. See the intro re: Sam. His work is paired with Mr. Hooper.

Cumberland, Johan Hagaman and Dan Gualdoni. Hagaman deos sculptures of whimsical, surreal figures. Gualdoni paints natural scenes in ephemeral states dominated by fog, mist, and clouds.

Rymer, Janis Pozzi-Johnson. Simple abstract paintings built up from dense layers of paint.

The Arts Company, David Benson and David Swanagin. Narrative paintings by Benson and landscapes by Swanagin, both with Southern themes and scenes.

Sera Davis: Graffiti artists and urban designers. To celebrate the first anniversary of her space in the Arcade, Sera worked with Quincy Crutchfield to put together a show by Nashville graffiti artists and clothing designers. It’s great that Sera’s getting these folks in front of everyone at the Arcade.

Terrazzo, Zeitgeist artists. This monthly event keeps expanding, now including units on the 11th and 5th floor, with a whole bunch of Zeitgeist’s artists like John Donovan, Caroline Allison and Richard Feaster.

Tinney Contemporary, Greg Decker and Eduardo Terranova. A series of paintings from Decker called the Golden Paintings. Terranova is an architect and an artist, originally from Colombia, who is doing abstract pieces concerned with the experience of people disappearing due to the violence in that country. The gallery will also host a performance by singer-songwriter Denitia Odigie during the crawl.

May 4

Mercy Lounge, Forest Bride. We’re playing as part of 8 off 8th.

May 7

Frist Center, Manzil Ezell lecture. Part of a series co-sponsored by Zeitgeist and the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects meant to look at art and architecture through the frame of other disciplines.

May 9

Gallery F., Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Carlin Wing. This is the second part of the collaboration by these artists about the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson, and his household. The first installment concerned Lyncoya, a Creek boy the Jacksons adopted. The artists conveyed a sense of memory and history as traces across the land, put across through a combination of documentary material and outright beautiful and poetic video and graphic material.

Studio East Nashville, Myles Maillie. An illustrator, designer, and painter showing new work. 1520 Woodland Street. Also on view Sunday afternoon, May10.

May 10

Belmont Mansion, Beth Gilmore. After a few delays, Beth is ready to go with her show at the Belmont Mansion. Beth works at the museum, giving tours and occasionally channeling Adelicia Acklen, and has talked them into letting her install art in an unrestored room of the mansion. Beth uses images from the historical collections of the house in her art all the time, and now she brings the images back home. Her whole approach is based on appropriating and absorbing images, and looking for a remix that allows a sense of historical presence/present to express itself. This show will let a couple of ways of telling history reside together. The show will be run from 5-9 on the 10th.

May 14

Vanderbilt University Club, Olga Alexeeva. The idea for this exhibit is to start with black and white paintings and progress into full color from one end of the exhibit to the other. Reception from 5-8

3rd and Lindsley, Dave Perkins CD release. This music listing is one of my exceptions for friends things. Dave is releasing an album of new material—he’s probably best known as a producer for groups like Over the Rhine, but not surprisingly he’s an expert musician with real fluency and sweetness of sound.

May 29

Frist Center, Museums in the 21st Century. Drawings, models, plans and photos of 26 museum projects in development since 2000. No, they were not all designed by Frank Gehry. But it looks like the monstrosity proposed for the Corcoran Museum makes an appearance.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two People I’ve Learned From Get Recognized

Last week the American Academy of Arts & Sciences announced their latest class of members. The Academy’s been around since 1780, and one of its core purposes is to recognize people by naming them as fellows of the Academy. There are about 4,000 now, plus 600 something foreign members. One thing this does is provide a pretty good measure of whether a university is in the top tier of institutions, and provides some basis for sorting within that top tier. The number of Nobel Prize winners doesn’t work as well because there are fewer given, and not in all disciplines. The Academy makes 200 or so new members each year and covers most disciplines, so you can see patterns emerging. Most colleges and universities don't have any members, which reflects the extremely hierarchical nature of American academe. Each discipline decides whom it thinks are the best people in the field, and the best/most powerful institutions go out and get them. Of course a lot of this prestige stuff is self-reinforcing—if you get appointed dean to a school at Harvard, you’ve probably upped your chances of getting recognized here.

The fellows are mostly academics, but the Academy also picks up working artists and musicians, politicians, business leaders, and so forth.

This year one of those non-academic inductees is Emmylou Harris. I don’t know if they’ve ever chosen an Americana artist or a Nashville performer. There are precious few “popular musicians” on the list—B.B. King, Keith Jarrett, Wynton Marsalis, and Stephen Sondheim were the only ones I saw who remotely fit. I didn’t even see Bill Ivey on there. It makes sense that if they are trying to branch out, they would pick Emmylou Harris. I have always felt I was learning a lot from her albums about how to listen to songs. She chooses old songs you might not know, seems tuned into current songwriters, and shows the connections between the past and present of whatever you want to call this range of songwriting, singing and performing.

Maybe at the other end of the spectrum, my master’s thesis advisor at Chicago, Bob von Hallberg, was inducted this year. I studied Olson with Bob. It’s always hard to say what you learned from one teacher, but I will try. Bob has a way of reading a poem that involves simultaneously taking in the meaning and the music, and I can’t get close to doing it. He’s also very interested in the social and historical context of poems, thinking about questions like who is reading the stuff and why. He also has a distinctive discursive tone—he doesn’t toss around critical theory buzzwords, but formulates his theses and works his way through the material seriously. Here’s an article in the Boston Review that will give you a good idea of what he does. It’s a piece on several contemporary poets and how they have reflected on the condition of civic life during our wartime, life as a citizen of this empire. There’s a topicality to it, but what he takes this opportunity to show the particular ways poetry serves as discourse, the insights it is capable of bringing out through the tools that define the medium. Last year Bob also put out a book on lyric poetry that I need to get my hands on.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cecil Taylor and Charles Olson

Stumbled across this interview with Cecil Taylor done in 1994, focusing on his poems and his engagement with poetry (and other art forms). It’s on the SUNY Buffalo Electronic Poetry Center website. As a student of Charles Olson and someone increasingly fixated on Cecil Taylor, I was so happy to find the following passage. Chris Funkhauser did the interview.

Taylor: I would say that it is difficult. Do you know Creeley's book The Island? Well, I read that. The thing-- Olson, Charles Olson might be easier to talk about, or Bob Kaufman, but the thing that allows me to enter into what they do is the feeling that I get. It's the way they use words. It's the phraseology that they use, much the way the defining characteristic of men like Charlie Parker or Johnny Hodges is the phraseology. And in the phraseology would be the horizontal as well as the vertical. In other words, the harmony and the melodic. Well, I also see that in word structures. One of the things I've found maybe odd about Quincy Troupe was that--and you used the phrase before, the tensions were always the same, the ideation was always bracketed in a particular kind of language with no abatement. Always the same kind of thing. And I find that true in a lot of rap that I hear. But then again I don't even want to talk about that kind of necessarily--I mean that's something else.

I'm very moved by the Kabuki theatre, and the usage of the voice there, and the movement there. And, of course, the Butoh dancing comes, is the modern development perhaps of the Kabuki.

Yeah, Olson, and particularly Duncan and Creeley--their syntactical structure was the thing that got, that I really liked. And I hear--Roi at a certain point had that too, had that. His of course was different. Ishmael [Reed] had it at a certain point but I wasn't too interested in it with him. In other words, what I'm talking about is the music, the music, the language. Like Genet has a language that is fascinating because it is so multi-faceted. It's real but it's not unreal, and what is unreal to us is real to him, and what is real to us is unreal to him. And yet when you really follow what Edmund White [Genet's biographer] is talking about, he's like making this man come alive by in a way not denuding of his magic, but making his magic more accesible to others. It's a dense book. It's also history of Cocteau, and of course that Sartre, and [Simone] de Beauvoir. And there was an Algerian poet who wrote a very small book about Genet, about a hundred pages, and that book was fascinating. When I asked Allen [Ginsberg] about this Genet book, he said, "Well, yes, I looked at it." He said, "Burroughs read it." He said he looked in it to see if his name was mentioned. Indeed. [Laughs] No, he would not be mentioned. As a matter of fact, Genet was asked by this Algerian, what did he think of Tennessee Williams? And he said, "I never think of Tennessee Williams."

Funkhouser: There was one place where Baraka wrote about your music as having "an emphasis on total it means to evolve, to move as an intelligently shaped musical concept" which is an idea seemingly relates to Olson's concept of...

Taylor: Projective Verse? Hmm...

Funkhouser: A movement towards form via activity--or activity via form--whichever way it works, though it's probably form through activity...

Taylor: Form through activity, or, the function determines the form, or is it the form that determines the function? I think it's the function that determines the form. So, yeah, through activity, yes.

Funkhouser: And total area. Olson used the page, and there's more to that connection when I think of your writing. The way that historical concepts, those "distant valleys," and mythology, your present--present moment, past moment and future projected. It seems like since you know Duncan and Olson that maybe...

Taylor: Oh, certainly they had an influence on me, sure. Also Mike McClure.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Kate Csillagi at Little Hamilton

I got the following press release today for an event at Little Hamilton, and finally got myspace and website URLs which I would have found on my own a long time ago if I wasn't lazy.

CONTACT: Jenny Luckett (615)428-2472

Fried Rice Fight: Art by Kate Csillagi
Friday April 17, 2009
6:00 – 9:00 PM

Little Hamilton Collective
1318 Little Hamilton Ave
Nashville, TN 37203

Former Nashville resident Kate Csillagi will be having a retrospective
art sale at Little Hamilton Collective on Friday April 17th. A mixed
media artist
inspired by caves, waves, "total trash", and the absurd,
Csillagi creates the heroes and monsters of a perverse imaginary
. Most recently, she has shown work in Oakland (Diving Swallow)
and San Francisco (18 Reasons Gallery). She was featured in Thurston
Moore's curated event "Art and Noise" and participated in an artist
at Skylab in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, Kate Csillagi lives
in Themiddleofnowhere, TX researching dilapidated youth and
astrological prophecies.

Little Hamilton is a warehouse space in South Nashville that houses
community projects, hosts live music, lectures, films, art shows, and
the occasional party. Little Hamilton is collectively owned and
operated, and is a not-for-profit space.