The Austin Chronicle

Arts Review

Reviewed by Benné Rockett, June 24, 2005, Arts

Mike Krone

RT Gallery, through July 15

Mike Krone, a seasoned illustrator for the Texas Observer, the Austin Business Journal, and Harcourt publishers, is exhibiting his sketchbooks along with works by Rama Tiru, Jan Roset, and Bryant Faubion at the newly opened RT Gallery. Krone seems able to efficiently focus on new possibilities even when things go very wrong. With the unexpected suicide of his partner or the loss of a financially critical contract with a publisher, Krone, always the alchemist, finds new arrangements. The process of drawing, the political context within, and his many personal relationships contribute heavily to his works. Inside his sketchbooks are ledgers measuring life by the I Ching, depictions of same-sex eroticism, and bizarre collaborations between a skeleton and a geek boy. Often taking the form of lists, collections, and snapshots, the bite-sized Prismacolor works address personal history and identity. Krone uses a stadium box filled with people protruding from a male ass to question the position of the individual in relation to the political. While erotically charged images raise questions related to personal choices they also create a path to understand why personal choice is questioned at all. Attempting to define queer art seems to be as difficult as the 1970s attempt to classify feminist art. Google search "queer art," and you will find 30-plus pages devoted to synopses from conferences, book reviews, and art galleries all investigating the same question: If all these artists are queer-identified but with radically different priorities, then what defines queerness in art? Queer art doesn't have a tidy theory or set criteria. Neither does Krone, except for the individual elements of his visual vocabulary; he cannot understand his art without understanding the society that influences it.

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