Arthouse: America's Got Talent!

Curator Anne Ellegood explains her picks for this year's New American Talent exhibit at Arthouse

Local juried shows such as Austin Museum of Art's triennial "New Art in Austin," the nonprofit Texas Biennial, and Arthouse's annual "New American Talent" exhibition all aim to promote emerging artists. Juried exhibitions serve the important function of opening new doors to cooperation, community awareness, new audiences, and business networks. One significant difference that distinguishes "New American Talent" from the others is that a solitary juror picks all the works. This gives focus; this show carries the personality and specific interests of the curator. This year that person is Anne Ellegood, curator for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and next Thursday, July 26, Arthouse is open late, so you can see "New American Talent: the Twenty-Second Exhibition" and, after cultivating your own reactions, hear Ellegood offer her insights into the show.

On the Arthouse website, Ellegood has already described her selection of works this way: "Every one of these artists has something to put forward about the world – their observations, experiences, criticisms, and passions – and yet each one does so in his or her own way." Vagueness is understandable here considering the topic of the show – new American talent – is overly broad. Most jurors just seem to concentrate on the "talent" aspect, which means works that get them personally excited. You might get a better sense of where Ellegood's coming from by knowing that while she worked for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, she organized exhibits with titles like "Superficial: The Surfaces of Architecture in a Digital Age"; "Out of Site: Fictional Architectural Spaces"; and "Candice Breitz: Babel Series." This distinct interest in how architecture acts culturally – as fantasy, as prototype, as urban reality – is conveyed in this show. For example, former Austinite/current Houstonian Mark Schatz presents a wavy cardboard chair sculpture called Moving Gehry.

And speaking of homegrown artists, it's worth noting that the Texan talent pool makes its mark on this show. Of the 45 artists chosen for "New American Talent" by Ellegood, nine are from California, eight are from New York, and 15 are from Texas, leaving 13 from all the other states. Part of this may be just regional awareness, but selection is based on the images only. The art available in our state is of a certain caliber, and experts from other states agree! Texans have talent!

"New American Talent: The 22nd Exhibition" is on view through Aug. 19 at Arthouse at the Jones Center, 700 Congress. Talking Art With Anne Ellegood will take place Thursday, July 26, 7pm, at Arthouse. For more information, visit

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More New American Talent
Amy Grappell's 'Quadrangle'
Amy Grappell's 'Quadrangle'
Four in Legion

Wayne Alan Brenner, Aug. 7, 2009

From Stuff, Art
From Stuff, Art
The 21st 'New American Talent' exhibit features a whopping 72 works of art, many of them created from everyday objects

Amanda Douberley, July 14, 2006

More by Rachel Koper
Top 9 (Plus Three) Memories & Best Happenings in 2009
Top 9 (Plus Three) Memories & Best Happenings in 2009
2009 was a good year for artists, young and old, getting their props

Jan. 1, 2010

Arts Review
'Jana Swec and Jared Theis'
This two-person exhibition at D Berman Gallery is a brilliant yet subtle pairing

Aug. 21, 2009


New American Talent, emerging artists, Arthouse, Anne Ellegood, Mark Schatz

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle