Aether Galvanizes the Austin Gallery Scene con Gusto
Venues moving, shows shifting, public works coming like a gang of glory
By Wayne Alan Brenner, 3:34PM, Fri. Mar. 1, 2013
"Here," says Wally Workman kindly, "you should really use a blanket."
So I do, I use the ultrasoft blanket that the gallery owner provides, snugging it around my volleyball-toned shoulders in the gathering gloom.
Tell you what: Nothing quite as enjoyable as eating roasted pork loin and savory veggies at a fancy public table with a loquacious cadre of visual-arts movers & shakers on a hill in the center of Austin, with rush-hour cars flooding by on nearby Cesar Chavez and over the Lamar Bridge, with the clouds of another Texas sunset illuminated all pink and orange over the shining waters of Lady Bird Lake.
Especially with a blanket over one's shoulders to ward off the increasing chill.
There's no increasing chill on the local arts horizon, though, it seems.
The good people of online Aether Magazine – Rachel Stephens of Wally Workman Gallery, Amanda Gorence of REP! Curation + Production, and Judith Taylor of Gallery Shoal Creek – staged this al fresco fête for the aforementioned movers-and-shakers (gallery owners, arts facilitators, lucky journos), to celebrate the goodness of the community and to let us know what's up and what's ahead in the coming months and years.
You probably already know about the Sonya Berg reception at Tiny Park tonight? And the Tracey Harris exhibition opening at Wally Workman Gallery tomorrow? And the way the West Austin Studio Tour and the Texas Biennial approacheth in the near distance? And all the other smaller-scale things covered in your Chronicle's weekly listings?
Please also know these three things:
1. Gallery Shoal Creek, longtime tenant over there in the tony retail edifice that also houses that fine eatery called Fino, will be picking up shop and moving in a month. Which sounds like a potential for disappointment all around, right? But, see, the venue's moving into a new big space at Flatbed World Headquarters on East MLK. Especially considering the number of shows in which GSC's featured stunning handprinting techniques in recent years, this seems like a match made in heaven. (It's not precisely heaven, no, because Elizabeth St. Cafe remains over there in Bouldin Creek – but that's another story.) (OK, it's not even "another story," it's just my personal culinary obsession, but, well, there ya go.)
2. Austin's Art In Public Places has some righteous things in store for Downtown that'll make you shake your head in wonder as they near completion over the next year and more. An entire sculptural wall around a Seaholm substation? A total, artist-fueled reworking of a section of Second Street? Amazing plans with the new main library going up in the same area? So much awesome shit that I really should've taken notes instead of stuffing another stalk of braised asparagus into my ravening maw? Yes, for real. The taxes that we and the various Big Fat Corporations pay in this town, at least a small portion of those funds are going toward making your ATX even more liveable and brag-worthy than parts of it already are. Infrastructure, yes: Infrastructure with style.
3. That long table we were eating at, with its glazed aluminum surface looking like a tablecloth hanging lacily over the sides? That potential dining platform at Sand Beach Park, with the multi-lamped lightposts surrounding it for illumination when darkness falls? That's an AIPP project, too, a functional sculpture built by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt in 2010. And, listen: Its use requires no reservations, it's a first-come first-served deal, and you should really go and enjoy it for yourself sometime.
[Note: Feel free to invite me, friend. If it's still cold out, I swear I'll bring my own blanket.]