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dolcefino VS. synchronicity-of-color

It’s a knock-down, drag-out brawl down in Huston between The Huston Arts Alliance (HAA) and Wayne Dolcefion, a local reporter for an ABC affiliate who has been infuriating artists and citizens alike with his series The Color Of Money. The Color of Money has been investigating mishandling of grants and spending by the HAA to create public art meant to attract tourists to Huston.

Many in the Huston Arts community have lashed back at the reporting calling it sensationalist and prejudice but their cries seem to be falling on deaf ears as Dolcefino released his fifth installment to the series yesterday with a quick comment at the beginning of the report egging on anyone that disagrees with him.

I’m riding the fence on this one personally. I think that Dolcefino is bring up some good questions that need to be addressed. As one commenter noted on the HAA blog

…[Dolcefino] is also demanding accountability. Are we getting the art we’re paying for? Are the works selected really the best use of the funds? Why are we putting art in places people can’t see it? Shouldn’t we be doing more to promote the bedrock of the region’s arts — our museums?

canned_poopI don’t think that it’s wrong of Dolcefino to demand more accountability from artists and art organization who don’t seem to be keeping their end of the deal. I also think Dolcefino is right to question why Huston is paying for art geared to get tourists into Huston in places inaccessible to tourists.


I do have a problem with him sensationalizing the facts to stir up the community, and Dolcefino is doing just that with his reporting as an article in the Huston Press points out. Many of Dolcefino’s reports speak of the HAA grants being funded by the tax payers through the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), which is true. What gets me is when Dolcefino keep pounding that “You’re paying for it” (a catch phrase he uses with a bit too much gusto in my opinion). If you look up what the Hotel Occupancy Tax is, the citizens of Huston are not giving a dime to the HAA (unless they decided to stay in a hotel for some reason). Bill Davenport at was quick to point this out in an article he wrote in response to Dolcefino’s attack on HAA money being spent on

Dolcefino is poking at a problem, but he’s going about it the wrong way. If Wayne Dolcefino doesn’t start putting the same level of accountability into his reporting that he is demanding of the HAA he could end up looking like the ass he’s trying to make the HAA out to be.



burning moneyWith the economy in a nose dive I can’t help but notice that the art world (or at least the NY Times) seem to bemoan the coming times in which an auction house can’t even bring in half of its night’s estimate. The end times are upon us!

I think it’s all a bunch of crap personally (as do most people, but it sure seems like they’re making a really big deal about it). I feel for those collectors who are losing money on their investments and those artists who might not receive that grant they were hoping for, but I hope this brings out a greater appreciation for art as a whole instead of looking at art as a commodity.

Yes, hard times are ahead for everyone, but I’ve always believed that adversity breeds creativity.

Just like the dotcom crash, the art bubble is bursting, but I’m looking forward to it. I think this is just the kind of catharsis Art needs.

A Chuck Close portrait in money by Mark Wagner

A Chuck Close portrait in money by Mark Wagner

Via Glasstire. This thing on the left is apparently the new logo for the Museum of Fine Arts, Huston educational department that was unveiled September 7th during the free first Sunday event.

Visitors got to vote on what to name the quasi political symbol (It’s a donkey riding on an elephant, in case you couldn’t tell) which will hopefully be revealed to the public soon.

I think they should have let the visitors vote on a new log instead of giving it a name.

A friend of mine linked me to an article about a fair in South Dakota that awarded a second place ribbon to a painting by a bear named Kobe. The piece received its award because of its “color, composition and uninhibited expression” according to the judges who had no idea that a bear had created the painting.

The article and a picture of the painting can be found here.

I’m always amused by stories like these that people use to make the claim that modern art isn’t art. I cringe every time I hear the phrase “I could do that” directed at Modern Art because it makes me wonder why you didn’t do that. In the same vein I hate it when people say “my kid could do that.” I don’t care if your three-year old child could do that because they lack a major component that every artist has (or should have) intent. While it may not look like it artists make decisions based on their experience as an artist and what they think looks good.

So, is it fair to judge Kobe’s painting with those who intended to make their work? I don’t think so and here’s why: Kobe didn’t intend to create a piece of art. At best it should be hung up on the fridge with the finger paintings your kids do.

Art251 recently acquired an Art-O-Mat vending machine according to a newswire on Glasstire.

For those of you that don’t know (I’ll admit I didn’t until I looked into it) an Art-O-Mat is a refurbished cigarette vending machine that sells original art. A cool idea that apparently got started in 1997 when artist Clark Whittington used one to sell black and white photographs from it during a solo show.

Every Art-O-Mat is unique and I had more fun looking at all the machines on the website than I did looking at some of the art vended from them. It’s cool to see an interesting new way for an artist to get discovered, but so far I haven’t been terribly impressed with the art.

You are also going to have a hard time effectively sampling an artists work from pieces the size of a match box (unless I’m mistaken about how these things work). So, is the trade off of being exposed to a variety of markets worth the loss of originality or the danger of becoming bland?

Update: It was pointed out to me that these are cigarette vending machines not match box vending machines so “pieces the size of a match box” is not correct. It should read “pieces the size of a cigarette box”. My apologies.

This Week

Dec. 12 - Dec. 19, 2008
UT Dallas (Art Gallery)
Fall Arts Festival

Opening reception Dec. 12 @ 6:30 pm

Artillary Retrospective