Art Lies, Volume 3, October-November 1994 Page: 22

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by Chris Ballou
Attempts to discern vital signs at this season's round of shows on Gallery Row read like the EKG of a corpus delecti. The only
thing awe-inspiring was the marutude of boredom: tropical tourism at Lynn Goode. tired. modernist geometry at Davis/McClain.
competent doctor's office paintings at Hooks-Epstein. and clever one-liners at New Galler'. Any potential Terry Allens tangle of
west Texas paraphernalia offered at Moody Gallery was diluted by the sterility of its clean. white venue. Unfortunately. this sleep-
walk follows on the heels of the most forgettable "Introductions" in recent memory.
Frankly. it's embarrassing. Imagine a friend or colleague from out of town looking to get an idea of Houston's artistic energies. As
the densest concentration of commercial galleries in the city, Gallery Row is their most likely destination. Could we in good con-
science recommend a trip to Colquitt? Are we comfortable with the impressions they will have based on these exhibitions? What
of our own expectations? Do we go to Colquitt to shop for nice. decorative objects or do we go in hopes of being challenged con-
fronted. pushed or surprised? If it's the former. then you're in luck. If it's latter. don't bother.
If it is a matter of business. if this is what sells and the bills have to be paid. then the collectors share in the responsibility for this
sad state of affairs: if decoration is their idea of art then they've missed the point. The cultural health of a city depends in large
part upon the support of those patrons and collectors who educate themselves instead of selecting paintings as they would uphol-
stemr. A gallery should function as a cultural attache for visitors unfamiliar with Houston's artistic terrain while providing stimuli
for its constituency and thus participate in the creative dialogue.
A local or regional agenda must include efforts to broaden this discourse beyond the city limits. If we limit ourselves the ambitious
among us will continue to leave and Houston will remain no more than a stepping stone towards bigger and better things. Many
have recognized the potential that this city is capable of If we maintain our short-sighted expectations we will have no one to
blame but ourselves when our regional reputation follows us into the twenty-first century.
PIETER LAURENS MOL at CAM-What we did and didn't get
by Marlene Matalon
The Contemporary Arts Museum has given us an intelligent. handsome. impeccably installed show of works done by a handsome.
articulate. accessible artist. However, this assemblage of artworks-while cerebral philosophical. cool and well mannered-is devoid
of emotional impact.
Pieter Laurns Mol handles his materials. including photography, knowledgably. His work includes allusions to Magritte. Mondrian
and Beuvs. paying tribute to them without capturing their passion. Mol believes that art can be alchemy-the power or process of
transforming ordinary materials into something precious.
In several pieces. Mol softens the hard edge of minimal art. Using calculated, grid-based composition. he deftl manioulates histori-

cat references and lyncal fragments. Two branches cast delicate shadows on the weathered wood rectangles behind them. A piece of
train rail creates a new hybrid shape. In "Principles of Propulsion." Mol hangs a large panel of blue cotton with a grid pattern of
keys and suspends a birdcage in the lower right quadrant. Mol provides lengthy philosophic explanations next to each work One
wonders if visual art should need such elaborate verbal explanation?
This cool. second-generation conceptual art is particluarly popular in Europe. It is now such a familiar genre that it is seized upon
by curators-it alienates neither their board nor the viewing public. They cannot be accused of fomenting disagreement or presenting
censorable material. However. these stylish works fail to pass that final test-they are emotionless and unsatisfying.

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Huerta, Benito; Ballou, Chris & Loftus, Kelley. Art Lies, Volume 3, October-November 1994, periodical, October 1994; Houston, Texas. ( accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .