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Nov
17

WACTAC to CAMHTAC

By janejackson

I’m not expecting palm trees. Not in Houston. In my mind, palm trees only exist in California, TV celebrity soaps, and Microsoft Clip Art. But there they stand, those disturbing trees, looming over my family’s rental car, 2:00am in the morning at the wrong hotel. And suddenly I know that palm trees will be to me what water is to cats; that unexplainable force that freaks and creeps me out beyond reason.

It relieves me to see no palm trees stand anywhere near the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (CAMH). There are trees, though. Trees with branches decorated by pictures of another tree’s branches decorated by pictures of another tree’s branches.

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An inception tree.

A 180 degree turn reveals the museum itself. At 4:30 post meridiem on a Thursday afternoon, seeing the CAMH feels exactly like seeing the Walker. The coincidences keep rolling. After a question and two pamphlets that could easily blend in Walker bookshelves without notice, I’m told the teen council meets downstairs. In the basement. In the Youth Education room.

CAMHTAC, as dubbed before arriving in Houston, is in the middle of planning “Light Up the CAMH”, a teen music festival featuring young art, poetry, and expression. It’s a raw food snack day, and they’re designing and discussing poster options. The CAMH’s in-house designer stops in to give a lightning lecture on typography design.

For those of you who were absent, here’s a quick recap. Fonts can be split into four categories: serif and sans for style, and display and body for size. When choosing type, consider the size of your content, the contents intent and purpose, and the font’s individual style. And you should know that Helvetica–think Jeep, Verizon, Nestle, Microsoft–is always better than Arial, Bill Gate’s money-saving solution while making his Windows operating system.

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Side of the CAMH

A blue blanket of low light and blurry vision descends upon me and the mother while we eat fettucini alfredo and chocolate brownies. We’re sitting in one of the uncountable nooks Houston seems to have, our appetites the only things between us and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (HMFA).

The HMFA is breathtaking. The entrance is a gallery space the size of a ballroom, seat-belt tapes sectioning off the area. Trees with neon-colored leaves drift to secret breezes, projected mesmerizingly on the walls. Going up stairs, I can’t take more than five steps without seeing a masterpiece. Famous names aside, the museum is saturated with history. I can’t say I’m completely amazed, though, until two things happen.

First, an Alexander Calder mobile. Alexander freaking Calder. In elementary school I read a series revolving around mysteries involving Calder’s art and I was in love. So now, standing under this monstrosity of balance, I’m not trying to decide Calder’s artistic intention, or if the white things look more like clouds or pieces of fish skeleton. I’m staring at a part of my childhood, and it feels like coming home.

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A Calder mobile

Second, I run into one of the CAMHTAC girls. We’re both heading in different directions, weaving through marble Greek statues missing significant appendages and Roman tombs carved with war scenes. And in the most genuine way I have ever heard someone say, she says, “Thank you so much for coming, it was nice to meet you!” Maybe I’m making too much of it, and she’s just being polite, or kind, or is always like this. She’s gone in two blinks. But what she says is brilliant, ringing, and I start to understand what it means to be a part of a teen art council.

The next day I visit Rice University. Besides the regular college visit, the mother and I take a peek at the nationally reported exhibit in the Rice Gallery, Yamatane. Yusuke Asai’s murals use different types of dirt to make painting shades, and this time he sourced from Texas. There’s a fantastic time-lapse of the piece below.

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Samples of paint Asai used

The mural will fade away shortly due to the corrosive properties of dirt. But preserving his art is not Asai’s concern, because its gradual disappearance reflects the impermanence of life. 

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The focal point face of Yamatane

Once I discover enough tiny doodles and creatures within the mural to make me feel like a certified explorer, we meander into a screen room. It’s small, dark. Dense foam cubes serve as chairs. A series of what seems like Japanese made or inspired short, animated films play on loop. From stop animation using collage or clay putty to traditional line-frame sequencing to giant cloud factories with raindrop beings conducting a musical cloud orchestra, the shorts constantly amuse. They’re light hearted, quirky, entertaining.

 

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A film animating creatures living inside noodles

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A cat from a paper animated short

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Opening of usawaltz, or bunnywaltz

IMG_20141016_144557A raindrop conducting a pipe orchestra in a cloud 

I want to go back. To Calder, Rice, CAMHTAC, the museum district, ocean, Texas. Coming from a Minnesotan, private, college prep school, I’m given the underhanded, conformist notion that the South is not where I should want to go. Prejudices aside, Texans are nicer, friendlier, and it’s always sunny. What I’m really saying is I want to escape the snow. But truly and honestly, everything in Houston rules.

Except for the palm trees.

IMG_20141018_153925 An exceptionally palm tree free beach in Galveston, Texas

 

 

Oct
30

The Problem with Halloween

By Mason Santos

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, Halloween is tomorrow, and for some of us (myself included) this means a quick stop to the store to create a last-minute costume for the holiday. However, as you get your costume together, keep in mind that there is a line between okay and downright offensive. Yep, I’m talking about cultural appropriation, stereotypes, and racism. Cultural appropriation is the act of taking a culture (that isn’t your own) and fixing it/changing it so it fits your life. Everyday Feminism has a fantastic article discussing it, as well as introducing the […]

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Oct
30

Music and Visual Aesthetics

By Calvin Hafermann

The accessibility of the internet has done many things to the music industry.  Obviously, it has enabled piracy of music, and it has enabled constant streaming via sites like Spotify or Pandora.  It has also given artists both big and small, nearly unlimited freedom; anyone can publish anything and it can be shaped exactly to the creators will.  I’ve noticed a few artists over the years taking advantage of this and crafting projects that are more than just music.  The artists design the visual aesthetic or merchandise for the band or create characters and worlds that transcend the music.  Here […]

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Oct
15

Museum Mixtape #5

By ingridtoppjohnson

  Museum Mixtape is back with a vengeance! For those of you who are unfamiliar, Museum Mixtape pairs a piece of art in the Walker’s collection, or one being exhibited there, with a piece of complementary music. In this edition, the art in question is the Cowles Conservatory located in the Walker’s Sculpture Garden. Since the conservatory is larger than much of the art surveyed in Museum Mixtape, it will be paired with three songs rather than one. The conservatory is a place for contemplation and escape. In the summer, the glass walls, imaginative plantings, and the giant fish sculpture […]

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Jun
20

A Visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

By Pablo Helm Hernandez

  While on vacation in L.A. with my family, My family and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also known as LACMA. It was very cool to explore a different museum with a large quantity of modern art besides the Walker. The Walker I know inside and out, but the LACMA was like exploring the Walker for the first time all over again. We found a parking spot across the street from the museum in front of a sketchy, gated apartment community that looked more like they were trying to keep the residents in rather than […]

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Jun
13

Reflecting on Make a Stranger Laugh

By Calvin Hafermann

Those of you that went to Double Take back in April certainly heard about Make A Stranger Laugh.  Maybe one of your friends participated, maybe you yourself did.  While I would definitely consider the activity a success, it kind of took on a life of its own and turned into something new that we weren’t exactly expecting. First, a little background: Make A Sranger Laugh originally started as part of our collaboration with artist Jim Hodges.  A big aspect of Jim’s work is the use of simple yet beautiful gestures that communicate very human concepts or emotions.  We wanted to […]

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Jun
3

GIVE US YOUR LAUGH

By lexiherman

Give Us Your Laugh was derived from Jim Hodges’s Give More Than You Take. We had an ongoing conversation with Jim that evolved into an exploration of universality through laughter. At our spring event, Double Take, we explored our concept both through Give Us Your Laugh and Make A Stranger Laugh. Both are exchanges between people in laughter that create a commonality. We attempted to embody Jim’s simplistic gestures with our thought provoking prompt “Give Us Your Laugh”. The materials were inspired by Jim’s A Diary of Flowers. The flowers were presented on random paper napkins using different colored inks. […]

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May
29

Separating Art from the Artist

By markarginteanu

I hold a great love for Roman Polanski’s Chinatown. It both solidifies and deconstructs and aesthetic I have long been fascinated with, film noir and the detective story. I first saw it almost four years ago when I was 14. I was mesmerized from start to finish as it was clear that the filmmaker had an absolute mastery of story and image. Another of my favorite films is Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Like Chinatown, it is at times deceptively gentle with its presentations of image, not directly telling the viewer what to think or feel, but simply letting the events play out […]

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May
15

Museum Mixtape #4

By alexismoore

Museum mixtape is back again with a piece of art paired to music. The combination this time around  is Jim hodges’ Ghost with the song Christmas Island by LAKE. Listen to it HERE. Hodges’ Ghost is a little piece of nature encased inside a glass dome.The artificial life in the dome contains carefully placed flowers, twigs,grasses and butterflies all made out of glass. Above the foliage are plants made out of glass creating a ghost-like look to the taller plants. Christmas Island by Washington state based band LAKE can be described as nostalgic lo-fi. This is also the ending credits […]

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May
8

Just Dropped: Southsiders by Atmosphere

By chloefouilloux

  Slug is at it again you guys. And this time he’s attacking it harder than ever. As a freestyle rapper, I admire him for his creative and relevant presence in the underground rap world–as a lyricist I continue to be blown away by his story-telling and immaculate flow. Titled Southsiders, us Minneapolitans can take a certain pride to understanding and relating to Slug’s tracks. Ant’s production is varied, complex, and mystic making his artistic contribution as influential and recognizable as Slug’s words. Each track has a sound for every state of mind–I would recommend taking it in doses and […]

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May
8

Apples-to-Art: Jim Hodges

By chloefouilloux

This new segment, Apples-to-Art, is a game we’ve made up to get to know the art around the galleries and share stories and some behind-the-scenes going-ons around the Walker. The rules: pull out a random Apples-to-Apples card and connect it to a work within the glorious Walker estate. Optional step two: Dress up as your favorite adventurer/conquistador to put you in the zone. This session, I pulled “Refined” re·fined [ri-fahynd] adjective 1. having or showing well-bred feeling, taste, etc.: refined people. 2. freed or free from coarseness, vulgarity, etc.: refined taste. 3. freed from impurities: refined sugar. 4. very subtle, […]

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May
5

Art or Exploitation?

By emmajohnston

Busk – verb. play music or otherwise perform for voluntary donations in the street or subways   A few weeks ago, my high school band traveled to New Orleans. On one of the days we were given to explore the French Quarter on our own, my friends and I passed a fellow band student playing his alto saxophone on a street corner. He had left his case open in front of him and, as we walked by I could see that it was filled with crumpled dollars and change. I watched as his friends walked by and noticed him.   […]

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Apr
24

3-2-1 Interview with Lexa Walsh

By Mischa Kegan

WACTAC member Owen Dennehy interviews artist Lexa Walsh. For more information on Lexa, check out her website here!

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Apr
14

Teen Takeover: Double Take is on Thursday!

By Mischa Kegan

We had such a great time at the last Teen Takeover! Check out the video and join the Facebook event. See you there?

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Mar
30

Collections: Lost and Found (A Boyhood Obsession)

By ingridtoppjohnson

This is a continuation of thematic posts about collections. Check out the other pieces here and here. My father, Trip, with the Denver Broncos bottlecap. “A new drink for athletes” Trip Johnson fancied himself a future football player. What better way to start then to collect Gatorade caps with football helmets on them? It was 1972, and Trip was in second grade. He would often accompany his mom to the store and peruse the caps of this novel new sports drink for teams he hadn’t collected yet. He was persistent, vigilant, committed: three qualities essential to a young collector’s success. […]

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Mar
27

Perspective Through Personal Practice

By Calvin Hafermann

Upon entering Jim Hodges retrospective show Give More Than You Take, two things are immediately obvious.  For one, his work takes a myriad of forms.  Additionally, he has a special talent for making the ordinary into something beautiful and unique. While all of his work is really beautiful, some of it, like Deformed was a bit inaccessible at first. It’s an interesting perspective on an everyday thing, but I will admit it was not something that immediately jumped out at me upon entering the show.  I am a screen printer, and as I considered it from a printmaking perspective, the […]

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Mar
27

Museum Mixtape #3

By alexismoore

Continuing the blog post series Museum Mixtape, we combine a piece of  artwork from the Walker Art Center’s collection and a song that best reflects the work. A musical, artistic peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you will. Today’s Pb&j sandwich is Yayoi Kusama’s sculpture Passing Winter with Crystal Castles’ song Celestica. Listen to it here.   Yayoi Kusama’s Passing Winter gives a sense of infinity.  The artwork is   a cube made of mirrors inside and out with circular openings carved in that reflect on each other. It creates an illusion of neverending rows of spherical lights. Source The combination […]

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Mar
20

January Teen Art Lounge: Life Along the Fjord

By chloefouilloux

A couple (okay, more than a couple) Thursdays ago, January 16th, the Walker Art Center hosted the January Teen Art Lounge: Life Along the Fjord, the brain child of local artist Chloe Fouilloux which was drastically amplified by the Walker Teens Art Council (WACTAC). The experience was framed by the science and cultural adventures she experienced during the Joint Science Education Program (JSEP) Greenlandic Expedition –  a two week trip to a small village in East Greenland (Note: Upperclassmen teens looking to go to Greenland (for free!) to participate in arctic research science, apply today! ). WACTAC seriously pulled out […]

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Jan
30

Artistic Ownership Through 9 Artists

By markarginteanu

A few weeks ago I went to the 9 Artists exhibit for the first time. A number of video pieces caught my attention, as a lover of film. I watched Yael Bartana’s And Europe Will Be Stunned all the way through, at which point the credits started rolling. It got me thinking that while there was a good 30 seconds worth of people who had helped make it, there was only person that it “belonged” to. I realized then that there is a difference between making a piece and being the artist behind it, so I began to wonder: What […]

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Jan
23

Creative CityMaking Reflection

By emmajohnston

  This summer, I and two other WACTACers were a part of an internship through Intermedia Arts and the city of Minneapolis called Creative CityMaking. The Creative CityMaking project connected various city planners and artists in order to reexamine how the neighborhoods in Minneapolis grow and change. The idea of the pairing was to get the community more involved in the discussion in new and creative ways. Our group was a small, but exciting part of this larger project. The focus of our group of nine teens, under artists Witt Siasoco and Mischa Kegan, was to look at historical architecture […]

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Jan
16

Collections: Chloe’s Memories

By Finn Roy-Nyline

The childhood memories of Chloe Fouilloux, as told second hand by Finnegan Roy-Nyline This interview takes place at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in downtown Saint Paul. Chloe’s collection of childhood memories, I thought, would fit nicely in the playground, with a nice little atmosphere of innocence. So if any of you know the Children’s Museum, we sat in the room with the giant ant hill, in that weird little cabin room up above. Photograph Six: Photograph number six showcases a young Chloe Fouilloux with her father, they certainly do look alike, don’t they? Chloe’s father bought a Nikon when Chloe […]

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Jan
8

Collections: Anonymous Now

By Lexi Herman

This blog post is a continuation of Collector’s Edition, our zine that displayed the collections of many different individuals. This is an attempt to grant a little more context to the collections and to explore peoples perceptions of them. The anonymous collection of buttons featured in the zine offered some intrigue. Where did these buttons come from? How did this collection begin? Why buttons? WACTAC member Lexi Herman probingly pursued an investigation into the anonymous collector’s buttons abyss and came out with a curiously conclusive conversation. Here are the highlights: Lexi: So, when did you start collecting buttons? Anonymous Collector: […]

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