"Exquisite Corpse" at Recspec Gallery

Dying is an art; at this gallery, they do it well

Mural by Thor

Ars longa, vita brevis, as Hippocrates' aphorism noted back in ancient Greek days. Art is long and life is short – and that's no less true in current times, except that the places in which art may be properly displayed, well, those are beginning to seem as fleeting as the life of a mayfly. Which, we'll mention for those unencumbered by knowledge of the insect world, can be as little as five minutes.

And that's what's been bugging Austin lately: so many established creative venues shuttering because of, oh, the property's been purchased by developers who are gonna turn it into condos, or the rent's increased by a Midas magnitude or two and who can tolerate that for long? March is, for instance, the last month for what's long been known as Flatbed World Headquarters: The once-anchoring Flatbed itself is already 86'd and moving to a new location, and former tenant Gallery Shoal Creek has, after decades, given up the brick-and-mortar body and rapturing its ghost into the machinery of the internet. 02 Gallery and the Austin Book Arts Center and the others, they're all kaput as far as existence in that big beautiful building on East MLK goes.

And Recspec Gallery is going, too, of course. But Recspec Gallery is also commemorating this inevitable death before its next incarnation. Recspec is staging a final show, "Exquisite Corpse," by inviting many of the artists who have shown within its intimate walls to turn those very walls into art, covering the floor-to-ceiling verticals with their powerful flourishes of pigment and pattern, making a myriad marks destined to be destroyed.

What remains of Recspec – until its closing reception on March 30 – is now one long and glorious room to walk into, tell you what, with originals by Thor Harris, Annalise Gratovich, Bayo, Tim Kerr, Vy Ngo, Gigi Grinstad, Christa Blackwood, Eric Redpath, Annie Alonzi, and others: big, gorgeous, eye-popping creations comprising the most exquisite corpse since, uh, since Liberace's funeral, we're guessing.

And – bonus – like most corpses, this final show at Recspec will change over its days of viewing. Curator Laurel Barickman has invited the artists "to continue evolving these works throughout the month," so it'll be some increment of different each time you visit. And maybe it'll be different because of you, citizen.

Note: We're not being cute here; we don't mean the exhibit would be different just because of your presence. We mean that longtime Recspec regular (and frequent co-curator) Holly Bobisuthi, the woman responsible for some of the most striking jewelry we've ever encountered, has enlarged her ornamental metalworking to a sculptural scale for this show. And the displayed Bobisuthi sculpture of bare metal is accompanied by a bottle of salt water ... which visitors are invited to spray onto the metal, thus, via time and oxidation, causing that artwork's surface to rust and degrade as the last days of this gallery draw nigh.

Would that all our ends were so lovely.

“Exquisite Corpse”

Recspec Gallery, 2832 E. MLK,
Through March 30

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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 Recspec Gallery
"Through the Dusk, a Light" at Recspec Gallery
Annalise Gratovich prints up a bright array of time and place

Wayne Alan Brenner, Feb. 28, 2020

"Demons & Devils" at Recspec Gallery
Because we could all use a little more aesthetic exorcising, couldn't we?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Nov. 8, 2019

More Arts Reviews
Arts Review:
Arts Review: "Floriculture"
The impermanence of floristry and the eternal nature of tattoos highlight Pastiche House’s fusion philosophy

Wayne Alan Brenner, June 2, 2023

Review: Penfold Theatre's <i>Vincent</i>
Review: Penfold Theatre's Vincent
Penfold Theatre proves that size matters in surprising ways when painting a portrait of Van Gogh

Bob Abelman, March 31, 2023

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
“It’s Like Airbnb for the Food Industry”
“It’s Like Airbnb for the Food Industry”
Need a kitchen for your business? Stick a Virtual Fork in it.

June 9, 2023

Koko’s Suspension, El Naranjo’s Lamb Jam Win, Sushi Bar’s Guest Chefs, Uchibā and Yamas and Carve are On the Way, Bouldin Creek Dances a Foxtrot, and More
Koko’s Suspension, El Naranjo’s Lamb Jam Win, Sushi Bar’s Guest Chefs, Uchibā and Yamas and Carve are On the Way, Bouldin Creek Dances a Foxtrot, and More
All the news that’s fit to get your taste buds quivering

June 7, 2023


Recspec Gallery, Flatbed World Headquarters, Flatbed Press, Gallery Shoal Creek, O2 Gallery, Austin Book Arts Center, Laurel Barickman, Holly Bobisuthi, Thor Harris, Tim Kerr, Annalise Gratovich, Bayo, Vy Ngo, Christa Blackwood, Gigi Grinstad, Eric Redpath, Annie Alonzi

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

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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