Walking EAST

One last chin stroke for the East Austin Studio Tour.

I don't know how to look at art. I always see people gazing, stroking chins, remarking on the "vulnerable tones" and "emotional inner landscape." That's fine and all, but thankfully it was also kind of impossible to do during the sixth East Austin Studio Tour, a sort of scavenger hunt to see as much as you possibly can in the alloted time. Yes, there's plenty of bad art (just say no to erotic bronze sculpture), but there was also plenty of "wow"-worthy stuff to peruse when I went EAST Saturday afternoon.

Pump Project Art Complex housed a dizzying collection of local artists, as did Big Medium, over in Bolm Studios. Down the street from Bolm, some very friendly polo-shirted boys listening to Ghostland Observatory invited us in to their house see their art, though it was clear they were already way in party mode. Local poster gurus/silk-screeners Obsolete Industries displayed their prints, including a Sonic Youth poster that I eyed in extremely vulnerable tones for at least 15 minutes. Dog House Studios collected the wonderful, surreal, and often zaftig paintings of Jennifer Balkan.

My personal fave, however, was over at Art Palace: Jonathan Marshall's The Book of Lenny, which "chronicles the journey of Marshall’s everyman-hero as he navigates a post-apocalyptic landscape." The installation pieces and accompanying video of a bearded man peddling a bike across the ocean, meeting a bear, and watching the stars, created an alternate universe that's often hard to do in such a small space. This was the first year I went to the tour, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many studios there actually are. It made gentrification a little easier to stomach, if only for a few hours.

Speaking of which, if you haven't checked out Michael Schliefke's Tales of the Really White Vigilante yet, the time is nigh.

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