Sunday, February 1, 2015

Mel Chin Stick out your Tongue for all the World to See

Mel Chin Artist
"Rematch" retrospective
exhibits in Houston
traveling from NOLA/New Orleans

60 artworks
40 years
4 museums
1 city

4 venues (noted in media)
plus 1 more bonus / last minute venue

1) Contemporary Arts Museum Houston - CAMH - 19 works, animation, documentary
2) Blaffer Art Museum on Univ of H campus - 31 works
3) The Station Museum of Contemporary Art - Degrees of Paradise/State of Heaven
4) Asia Society Texas Center - KNOWMAD installation - 6 works

+ Bonus: The Art League (tho not listed there is a room of his drawings mostly)

Rematch Houston link...

note: artist was born in Houston, TX - now lives in NC

But First Coffee...
Blacksmith Coffee - new Aurora espresso cortado
and other fuel--Ham 'n Brie Sammie (not shown as devoured)

Blacksmith Coffee links - facebook, twitter, urbanspoon, yelp...

1) Contemporary Art Museum Houston - CAMH

parked at Fine Arts Museum Houston - FAMH lot
walked thru Glassell's outdoor sculputure gardens
thru the back black cubed gate
pass 3 interesting crape myrtle trees
from the trunks down to the roots in the ground
as it's the time of year where folks insist on wacking off all the top branches

Glassell School of Art is under MFAH...

Contemporary Art Museum of Houston - CAMH
Mel Chin - poster on the far right
inside the exhibit is downstairs

self portrait was the only piece I found of interest
did not take a photo in the museum
looked up later to zoom in & look at closer
it's a bison nose to nose with a rabbit...

Self Portrait (Bison and Hare)

Mel Chin - webpage - self portrait link...

described as:
 hard-ground etching and aquatint on Rives BFK paper, printed by Vinalhaven Press
 11 x 22 inches
 edition of 25

 A face-off between two aspects of the artist."

this piece on the cover of this publication
was in the CAMH museum
the ax head is made of a waxed book
and I like the story about the lecture it was made for as much as the illusion of the book as axe blade

note: from Mel Chin's webpage - under 3D - Sculpture...

        "Lecture Ax
         altered book, wax, pigment, wood in glass and wood case
        14 1/2 x 41 1/2 x 4 7/8 inches
         prop made for a performance/lecture, New School of Social Research, New York City"

         "A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." -- Franz Kafka

in the fountain - The Ballard Fountain - outside the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston - CAMH
stack of books - my guess was: acrylic & metal
"Endless Column" 2013 - is actually of: fiber, resin, bronze
(note: cast from auction catalogs & other books)

Art on the Lawn: Joseph Havel...

after parking at the Fine Arts Museum lot, walking thru the sculpture park, wandering the basement of the Contemporary Arts Museum... I walked back thru the sculpture park, only went out a different gate - this one passing by the electric boxes to the building, where I found Street Art (aka Grafitti #slaps #stickers - which I enjoy finding by surprise the best & have gone on hunts just to find it... this one looked lonely or new & as other such outdoor art could be gone the next time I 'round that corner?!)

2) The Art League Houston

"Paper Trail & Unauthorized Collaborations" - Mel Chin
an"unauthorized collaboartion" described as "physical alterations of oil paintings"

these 4 below being my favorites of the rooms walls...

18. White Ground Study for the Bat and Dove 2012
       Ink, pencil, paper on board
       18 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 2 inches (artist-made frame)

note: I found many of the wooden frames as interesting as the drawing they were in
like this next one of the mushroom...

20. Bilateral Mycological Entity 2014
      Graphite and colored pencil on paper
      16 x 19 1/2 inches (in artist-made frame)

note: mycology - study of fungi, like mushrooms

27. Enhanced Version of Fig. 10.8 - p.164 from: A Brief History of Time 1988, 2013
Graphite, colored pencil, pigment, paper, adhesive, mounted on rag paper;
note: all papers have been distressed 23.5 x 34.5 inches (framed)

my note: this just plain cracked me up, first it's the insides of a weiner dog & 2nd just off the square that he's drawn in there is that whole bone flying off, like it has entered through the mouth, gone thru the digestive system & exited out the rear... obviously the artist has a great sense of humor to draw such a piece... I would of loved to have seen this one plastered all over the media rather than the "shape of a lie" tongue, tho I can see the humor in that piece as well...

22. Category 5: Disaster and Diaspora 2008
      Ink and graphite on vellum
      15.5 x 15 inches (framed)

note: what I can see is the state of Florida & in each circle a pelican
the state bird of Florida - I grew up there, I know Florida & Pelicans & Cat 5 Hurricanes
so I spotted this right away, even before I read the title on the handout - there were no labels beside each drawing, only a tiny pin with a large white head with a number on it, corresponding to a title/description on the handouts left at the door/entrance pocket

then in the back gallery wandered thru the other artists exhibit
Ed Wilson - a Survey 1992 - 2014
indeed a craftsman of metal fabrication
born in Louisiana - lives/works in Houston, TX

note: I liked this top row of three duplicate yet different houses in three long panels
this one with the all seeing eye, like a dollar bill maybe, at the rooftop in particular caught my eye

Cast Houses 1997 - 2000 Cast Iron

and before the next GPS adventure to the next museum
there is coffee at the Inversion Coffeehouse, right next door, how can I not

Inversion Coffeehouse (next door to The Art League)

Inversion House

Inversion : Created by Dan Havel and Dean Ruck

note: the original Inversion house, I saw it first this way, but didn't stop to walk thru back then
now on moving back to Houston too many years later it's the Art League galleries & Inversion Coffeehouse
with the wood I think either made into a new sculpture or in the same narrow strip wood look as the orginal standing among the trees in the center island of the street out front of The Art League now...
looking oddly like a long tailed cornucopia maybe...

or here I found they call it a funnel & the reclaimed wood is from an old cotton gin - artist: Patrick Renner


view of the funnel from the front end

view of the funner from the long tail end

(*note: gone : ( taken down, moved to NOLA I've read elsewhere... sigh... at least have another chance someday to see it there... all that's left now is the front wire outline of the funnel & a sign that reads something like Missing Funnel Tunnel... could also be a Hashtag... try it: #MissingFunnel Tunnel )

an Inversion Coffeehouse cortado w/latte art that lasts, oddly, to the last drop?!
and what's funny too is that I missed the scrimshaw espresso at Blacksmith day before
but here it still is at Inversion the next day, so I didn't miss the chance to try it afterall

and again outside, looking up, looking down, looking all around...
(these parking poles tho you can't miss if you're parking for the Art League)
there is Street Art - Grafitti - #slaps #stickers
this one reminded me of the Pink Panther, underneath I can read the word Pride
like a lion pride I'm guessing, but the other numbers or letters don't have a guess - yet
other stickers on the poles I could make out as ones that I've seen before in H-town
may have even taken a photo of the Obey sticker I saw during some personal Coffee Break Tour I blogged about earlier - but thinking back he may have been a lonely sticker & now lots of company

3) The Station Contemporary Art Museum
"Degrees of Separation" gallery exhibition - Mel Chin & others...

"Degree of Paradise" - Mel Chin

on the way to the Station Contemporary Art Museum
at a street corner, at a red light
there is street art on the electric box
the pasteup on top of the back of a girl with I thought at first Wow, but looked closer & think Sow
below the yellow symbol with an in beside it - do not know who/what, but will see it oddly later on the sign/light/crossing post outside of the Station at the corner

not Mel Chin
no artist on label
I was attracted first to the triangle shapes of the 3 part canvas
and I like the number three and then there was the tiny flying bee in the corner
now, only now, on reading the label I find the use of "human cremated remains"
and that not so oddly gives me the creeps, I have never ever seen that as an art medium before

again no artist on the label
only it was hung in a separate installation that looks like a detention facility
and reminds me of X-rays of people or when you set down objects onto sun paper
where after exposed for some time to the sun it's image will be left outlined on the paper

another single one I didn't find the label for
these canvases on the floor remind of cots
and detainees laying on them
this one in particular also had a film playing over it
from above the projector
all around the sounds of a detention facility
again rather creeped me out
at first I couldn't step right thru the metal gate that was open to the room

and other figures were outlined in foil or solar blankets
this one holding rosary beads

then Mel Chin's 2 rooms with the real & man made sky carpets
a wall outside of them & another room with his animated film playing
outside of that some drawings in a case from the making of the animation

Do Not Ask Me
a publication/catalog that was available at The Station of the exhibit

note: somewhere online I was told was the stapled pages flyer they gave me to walk around with in the museum as a guide

this oil company logo is also found outside on what may have been a real old gas station brand sign
which I didn't know until coming inside to see this poster of Mel Chin's

one of the drawings for the animated film, playing in the next room
I didn't see this part - I posted that she was flying, but of course she could be falling as well
another time I will try & watch the entire animated film (perhaps it's online somewheres)

note: from his webpage - under Other - Films...

hand-drawn animated film
written and directed by Mel Chin
24 minutes"

running toward the twin towers falling I'm guessing in NYC

the animated movies official webpage "9-II / 9.11" ...

my note: watching the trailer I see it's title is:  "9-II / 9.11"
perhaps like 9-11 the date & 9.11 the emergency number
it's not 9:11 like the time & the first "eleven" looking like 2 straight up & down lines, as the twin towers
or I'm just making a lot out of some odd numbers 'n symbols combinations

then I read the story on the movie webpage... it's 9-11-1973 Chile & 9-11-2001New York

more trailers here & also some still frame descriptions...

in 2006 there was a preview/work in progress in Houston, TX at the FAMH
and then as part of the world premier in 2007

on IndiepixFilms webpage the DVD is for sale at $7.95...

note: that's Backordered, but you can also get it OnDemand $1.99 or Download $7.99

or on YouTube the entire 24 min's - English Subtitles...

outside the Station Museum of Contemporary Art
which I would guess it's name comes from it being an old gas station
and so is why I guessed that this may have been their old brand sign
that now has been made into Mel Chin's oil company logo that's on the poster inside

and on the corner from the Station
is what looks like another station--that will some day soon be a Coffeehouse
but it's the street art grafitti #slaps #stickers that drew my attention over there at first
I see a #Wiley sticker - who I now know as @WileyArt on Instagram
above him the White Ninja, this is my first spotting for that one & the one below
and until I was looking back at the photos I had not noticed the painted yellow symbol
that was on the earlier power electric box with the paste up of the girl's back with  again what I thought said Wow but looking closer may be the word Sow above it (a feminine statement I'm not sure just yet)

4) Blaffer Museum - Univ of Houston
"Rematch" - Mel Chin

after a horrid round about GPS TomTom & Navigation Cell Phone ride
making it to parking lot
finding maybe 6 whole spaces for the museum taken
parking then in an unmarked empty space
only to be told that's not visitor parking, there should be a number & you pay
so back out to move the car, no ticket, find a numbered space, pay the $3.00
for the free museum
this street art grafitti #slaps #sticker said it all for me at that moment in time "screwit"
I was so ready to just get in the car & drive the hour 'n half or two hour drive back home
without even seeing the museum or the exhibit
I forced myself to go back inside, I'd come this far damn it was going to see something
and I stubbornly had it in my head I am yet going to see all the venues that Mel Chin is in
before like April when it's all gone again

Shape of a Lie, 2005
Bronze, Iron, catlinite (pipestone)
Courtesy of the artist

note: this is the piece that is all over the media
it is blown up to a large size also in all the media
I almost missed it, as it's the size of perhaps a real persons tongue
it may even be the artist's tongue
I also did not know until reading later that the other side of this free standing wall
is a sculpture of a gut that relates to this tongue, this perhaps hacking up from the gut behind
you can only see the reflection of it barely in the plastic tag cover for the Shape of a Lie, 2005

I had to look up pipestone/catlinite - or pipeclay, as I'd never heard of that material before
and I would guess this is what the brown/red tongue is made of & the outside circle is bronze/iron

The Funk and Wag from A to Z - 2012
"surrealist arrangement of collages culled from..."
pages of The Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia

note: tho there are titles above each section
I could still not figure out what word or topic the photos may have been culled/cut from
even after watching the video where he's explaining some of them
do love the black & white immersion of the entire room

MEL CHIN @ STATION MUSEUM part 1 - YouTube - 24:55...

MEL CHIN @ STATION MUSEUM part 2 - YouTube - 1:48...

and back outside the Blaffer Art Museum the yard sign to spot the exhbit of Mel Chin's "Rematch"
his piece "story of the lie" blown up/zoomed in tongue, almost looking 3D

and back to the paid spot in the parking lot
missed on the way past the front of the sign
on the back... street art grafitti #slaps #stickers
again "screwit" with a collection of others...
"dual... stencil inc" "yos" "eyesore" "toonzday" "loot... raez"

Note: 6) Asian Texas Center - left To Do*

(*am out of town a weekend & may be next week before make it to this last venue for Mel Chin's "Rematch" exhibit that's all over town - 4 museums, plus a bonus...)

But in the meantime--Tuesday I get to return to the Blaffer Art Museum at UofH to collect my Free T-shirt (I Won) with Mel Chin's "Shape of a Lie" on the front of it, just like this one in the photo below... YeeHah! I actually won something & another excuse to go see art & stop for coffee on the way into H-town, Oh the adventures to come...


rest of my "winning" story, so far... I was trying to go see all the venues where Mel Chin was on exhibit, over like two days last week (while it was sunny 'n warm in H-town) & had a really Really hard time making it to finally step into the Blaffer museum, but still after calmed down managed a few cell phone photos & posts on Instagram/ Twitter with some hashtags - at the very least #Blaffer & #MelChin - when I get a Tweet back later that evening about winning a t-shirt, to just Tweet back to them: What size?! And felt like a bit of Cool Karma had flowed my way... Only that was either Fri or Sat & can't come pass by until Tuesday to pick it up, so have to wait a bit longer... I usually pass on all my won t-shirts, um hum yes plural t-shirts won hah, to my youngest son who has a serious t-shirt collection by now over the years--but this one with the art tongue on the front--No, I'm not sending to him... am keeping it for myself...tho Where Oh Where to Wear it?! While I'm volunteering at the theaters back in Lafayette, LA of course?! Mwah hah hah...


Art Notes - Paper City - newspaper/magazine - January, Page 6, 2015...

"Year of the Chin:  Ring it all in with an ambitious, unprecedented 40-year retrospective devoted to Houston native son Mel Chin, shared by 4 museums: Blaffer Art Museum... Asia Society Texas Center, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and Station Museum of Contemporary Art... you'll see works such as Chin's encycolopedia room culled from cutout Funk & Wagnalls... ...
Art League Houston also gets into the action, mounting Chin's drawings (January 16 - February 21.)"

' "Mel Chin: Rematch" For the next few months, Houston-born and raised Mel Chin will be taking up practically the whole art atmosphere of the city with his 40-year retrospective. It's a progressive art feast so big that it takes four museums to hold it all. And as a special treat for hometown folks, there's even an added bonus of Chin drawings not included in previous stops in New Orleans and Saint Louis. Due at least in part to this retrospective, Artnet named Chin as one of only two Houston artists on its list of "The 50 Most Exciting Artists of 2014." Pick a nice day to see the show because you'll be driving all over town... Chin has been called a "provocateur, environmentalist, activist, political subversive, community organizer, showoff and occasionally an artist; news maker, civic problem solver and a dreamer." ... But is Chin's work art or something else? Or does it really matter what we call it? As long as it helps us see things we might not otherwise see, goads us to think outside our usual box, motivates us to move in (positive) directions we might not take on our own? It is what it is... and you should take this opportunity to see it... "Mel Chin: Rematch," Blaffer Art Museum, The University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road, 713-743-2255, ; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose, 713-284-8250, ; Asia Society Texas Center,1370 Southmore, 713-496-9901, ; Station Museum of Contemporary Art, 1502 Alabama 713-529-6900, ; and "Paper Trail and Unauthorized Collaborations", Art League Houston", 1953 Montrose, 713-523-9530, . Check each venue for exact dates and times. — RT '

note: finally media mentions the 5th/bonus exhibit venue of the Art League Houston, which at first I saw on nothing printed nor online, but was thankfully told while at the Contemporary Art Museum that there was more there! I did not know though that these drawings of his there were 'not' included in previous stops in NOLA or St. Louis... and I think of all that exhibits at the museums I like them the best, lol



February 19, 7 p.m.
Join Mel Chin in conversation with journalist Tyler Green for a live-audience taping of an episode of The Modern Art Notes Podcast, America’s most popular audio program on art. It is published each Thursday at 2 p.m. CST at and is available wherever podcasts are downloaded. Reserve free tickets here.
Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Sebastian Smee has called The Modern Art Notes Podcast “one of the great archives of the art of our time.” Guests have included artists Richard Serra, Robert Irwin, Robert Gober, Jackie Winsor, Jack Whitten, Ross Bleckner, Julie Mehretu, Shirin Neshat, Fred Wilson, Barbara Kruger, Carrie Mae Weems, Mark Bradford and Chris Burden.

Blaffer Art Museum

Tyler Green - Man Podcast

MAN (Modern Art Notes) Podcast - #173 Mel Chin

MIT CoLab - Mel King Community Fellows - Mel Chin

Class of 2014

Mel Chin
Artist, Operation Pay Dirt
"Recognized as an important artist of our time, Chin’s work evades easy classification. It is analytical and poetic; conjoining cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. Found in unlikely places, such as destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and prime-time television, his investigations explore our natural and social ecologies and how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. Unconventional and politically engaged, his collaborative projects challenge the idea of the solitary artist as the exclusive creative force.
In 1993, for Eco-Tec International, he organized a multi-disciplinary team to assess an abandoned asbestos mine and former factory in Corsica, France. He continues to develop long-term works such as Revival Field (1989-ongoing), a project that has been a pioneer in the field of "green remediation." A 10th anniversary implementation in Stuttgart, Germany featured dramatic advancements in the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. These projects are consistent with a conceptual philosophy, which emphasizes the practice of art to include sculpting and bridging the natural and social ecology. Through his current project, Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project, Chin involves scientists, health experts, planners, educators and millions of students nationwide, creatively building support for an end to childhood lead poisoning.
Chin’s work was documented in the popular PBS program, Art of the 21st Century. Chin has received numerous awards and grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Art Matters, Creative Capital, and the Penny McCall, Pollock/Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Rockefeller and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundations, among others."

"THE FUNDRED DOLLAR BILL PROJECT is Operation Paydirt’s nationwide campaign connecting children and adults to the issue of lead and gathering their voices in support of solutions. Fundreds – hand drawn representations of hundred dollar bills – are original works of art donated by individuals that represent awareness, hope, and a collective voice calling for the health of children to be valued. Operation Paydirt will deliver millions of Fundreds to Washington D.C. to request an even exchange for real resources to deliver us all from the invisible threat of lead."
We invite you to create your Fundred Dollar Bill to join the growing national collection and travel to Washington DC. Nearly 450,000 individuals have contributed Fundreds to date.
Go to to find the Fundred template and resources for participation."

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