When Lwaxana Troi visits DS9, she’s not the only diplomat causing problems for the crew. But when Odo turns to putty in her hands, it becomes a moment of truth for the both of them. Are "social charisma" and "work charisma" different things? Does “picnic” mean grabbing something other than a basket? What is a Yamato Truther? It’s the episode NOT sponsored by a garbage can company!
Ex-presidents are fascinating creatures. Between them and say, astronauts, one can imagine that anything they do in retirement is incredibly underwhelming. Where other presidents have taken to writing books or speaking on favorite issues, George W. Bush took on painting, and in this short time he’s already on his second major solo exhibition.
Following his museum debut four years ago in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Center with The Art of Leadership: A President’s Diplomacy, an exhibition of paintings of world leaders, he’s now brought veterans to the forefront with Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, which opened on January 20 at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland. The exhibition in his childhood hometown features a vast collection of his oil portraits and paintings accompanied by an app that offers an audio tour with Bush discussing the his subjects. The app is geotagged so that you can only listen to it while in proximity to the art. The collection also includes paintings by his three art teachers — Gail Norfleet, Sedrick Huckaby and Jim Woodson. Norfleet will also lead a three-day oil painting workshop in February using the same or similar lessons she employed with Bush.
The Museum of the Southwest is also the first of four venues to host the exhibition outside of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, where it opened in March 2017.
The layout is straightforward, and in its way, minimal. There’s a sense of repetition as the viewer is introduced to extreme closeups of men and women (mostly men) in oil on canvas. In respect to the original exhibition, the museum’s collections manager and acting curator Jenni Opalinski says she kept the display as similar as possible to the Center’s. Each portrait is labeled, per the Bush Institute’s requirements, with the veteran’s rank, name, branch and years served.
“They wanted the focus to be on the veteran and not who painted it,” Opalinski says.
While the title wall clearly defines the entrance to the show, the paintings aren’t labeled with dates. Without the chronology, viewers are unable to trace Bush’s progression as a painter — or if there is any at all. Whether his style or finesse as an artist has shifted over these few years is hard to tell.
And of course, here’s the key question for many viewers: “Is a he a good painter?” That’s surprisingly subjective when it comes to this work, but if anything, Bush is consistent. His strokes are thick with paint and his use of color is fearless. For a relatively new painter, he doesn’t shrink away from using flesh tones that aren’t typical but still accessible. His artist story often includes his influential visit to a Lucian Freud exhibition in Fort Worth. The parallels between the two artists’ portrait style is evident.
At times, Bush’s perspective evokes an amateurism — facial perspectives are sometimes amiss here, and his one portrait of a baby is an accidentally frightening depiction.
The sheer number of portraits borders on obsessive, which gives one pause: Bush was the commander in chief who sent many people to war. And many of them came back with life-changing injuries and trauma, if they came back at all. Was Bush’s work on these portraits cathartic for him? Is the show a tribute, or therapy? Perhaps both. With these straight-on faces, Bush seems to be begging us to not forget these soldiers. So the viewer is left with a somewhat simple and straightforward collection of portraits. Some subjects with an ocular prosthesis are of note, and Bush does often capture a weariness or pain in the subjects’ eyes that invite a prolonged look. Just not always.
The exhibition begins with more scenic shots: Men on the golf course; Bush dancing with a wounded veteran; a father interacting with his child. These, along with three paintings by each of his instructors, lead viewers into the show. These works are more striking and sentimental. The subjects are missing limbs and living a daily existence with prosthetics. Bush wants to depict these appendages in these paintings, and they’re endearing to the viewer. Instead of pathos, they evoke more of a triumph that a “normal” life — whatever that may be — is possible.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is an impressive mural of soldier’s faces, with commanders in the front. The diversity of the faces is notable, and a striking point in the show.
Portraits of Courage presents an odd viewer experience. Bush sets out to honor these men and women, and he does. Each painting feels like a love letter to their service. And he captures distinct moments in some of their faces. But at the same time, it’s difficult to come away from the show with a deeper sense of who any of them are.
Through March 25 at the Museum of the Southwest, Midland
13002 Trail Hollow Dr. Unit A [HAR] … Read More
The lights are off and the gas station signs have come down from the 2,770-sq.-ft. building formerly home to Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill on the corner of Westheimer and Graustark St. The nighttime photo above shows the auto-themed Montrose restaurant before it closed down at the end of last year. Underneath the restaurant’s sign on Westheimer, the rusted flatbed truck has also hit the road from its long-term parking spot: Doc’s took over Wendy’s spot at 1303 Westheimer when it arrived from Austin in 2014. Two other locations still exist back in the chain’s hometown. A view looking west along Westheimer shows the restaurant’s 100-seat patio empty in front of the Tremont Tower: A Doc’s rep told the HBJ’s Cara Smith last month that the venue was hoping to partner up with chef Bruce Molzan of Ruggles Black — or possibly some esteemed barbecuer. Update: Montrose honky-tonk adds executive chef; changes may be in store for icehouse [HBJ] Previously on Swamplot: Delayed Austin Bar & Grill Reworking Former Westheimer Wendy’s Promises August Opening, Houston Decor; Austin Bar Doc’s To Remedy Montrose Wendy’s Wreckage Photos: MontroseResident (former Doc’s); Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill (pickup truck) … Read More
16643 Bahama Wy. [HAR] … Read More
Harris County’s Institute of Forensic Sciences has now officially determined that the bones found in a holdout house on Allston St. now wrapped by an apartment complex whose developer came knocking but was unable to acquire the property belong to the homeowner who protested the development. Mary Cerruti spent time documenting construction on the Alexan Yale St. apartments starting in 2013 as they went up behind and around her bungalow at 610 Allston. Squinting behind red drugstore eyeglasses at a planning commission meeting on Valentines Day that year, the 61-year-old testified that “Literally, this project is going to be in my backyard. I’m surrounded.” Two years later, she disappeared. Cerruti’s former home has been available for sale since March of last year. (“Amazing opportunity in the Houston Heights. New construction all around and the house is surrounded by the new Alexan Heights Luxury Apartments,” reads the listing.) Last November, the asking price for the 2-bedroom, 1-bath property was jacked up to $475,000. The only other property on the block left out of the apartment development is the vacant lot next door. The county medical examiner’s new findings confirm what investigators had long suspected but had previously been unable to prove. Last June, an autopsy on the skeleton (which had been significantly chewed-up by rodents while it lay undiscovered inside the bungalow) showed that one of its legs was healing from a break — perhaps caused when its owner fell through a hole in the attic floorboards, into the spot high in the bungalow’s walls where her remains were later found. Crime experts walked back their speculations 2 weeks ago, however, after DNA comparisons between one of the skeleton’s teeth and samples submitted by Cerruti’s relatives showed no exact match. But examiners were able to make their identification after comparing the skull’s jawbones to a photo of Cerruti and the video of her appearance before the planning commission, reports the Chronicle‘s Emily Foxhall. Trammell Crow started work on the 5-story Alexan complex in 2013 behind and around Cerruti’s then-yellow bungalow: Frustrated by changes coming to the neighborhood she’d lived in for 12 years — and the construction noise she said started every day at 6:30 a.m. — Cerruti began taking photos of the apartment complex, developing them at Walgreens, and annotating them, Foxhall reports. Neighbors reported her missing in early 2015. In March, a letter from Deutsche Bank arrived; Cerruti had stopped making mortgage payments and the lender planned to foreclose on the property. The receipt for that document has a signature that’s illegible, notes Foxhall. The house sold at auction in November of that year. Two years later — following renovations including a new paint job — new tenants moving boxes into the attic nudged a floorboard, revealing a hole. Inside were the remains — along with an old rag and a pair of cheap red eyeglasses. Remains found in wall of Heights home identified as those of Mary Cerruti, missing homeowner [Houston Chronicle] 610 Allston St. [HAR] The final link in Houston Heights bones case: images of Mary Cerruti’s jaw and chin [Houston Chronicle] Previously on Swamplot: A Twist in the Mystery of Who Owns Those Heights Holdout House Bones; Bones Found in Holdout Heights House Attic Tell No Tales; Alexan Heights Holdout House Where the Skeleton Was Found Last Weekend Now Up for Sale; Human Skeleton Discovered in That Heights House That Wouldn’t Sell to Trammell Crow; Trammell Crow’s 5-Story Apartment Complex Surrounding Holdout Heights House; Allston or Nothing: Side Street Now at Center of Alexan Yale Apartment Dispute; A Photo Tour: The 2 Yale St. Lots Where Those 2 Alexan Apartment Complexes Want To Be; A Second Midrise Alexan Planned Right Beside the First One on Yale; Stealing a Glance at Proposed Alexan Heights on Yale; Heights Lot Prepared for Midrise Apartments Photos: HAR (610 Allston St. after renovation); Swamplot inbox (610 Allston St. and vacant lot during construction); Christopher Andrews (610 Allston St. during construction) … Read More
3263 Avalon Pl. [HAR] … Read More
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“I feel like this was a really bad episode of The Bachelor.” [Mr.Clean19, commenting on Amazon Will Not Be Delivering HQ2 to Houston] Photo of former KBR Building 3: Swamplot inbox … Read More
What Teens Want to Know About
Love Dating and Sex
This Christian-oriented teen book spends page after page on the “don’t have sex” message. I am okay with a no sex message, but the slut shaming is awful. If you are a girl, your life will be ruined if you have sex. In addition, you will probably die alone or commit tons of adultery. By the way, it is also implied that girls have to be the moral one in this scenario since boys evidently can’t control themselves.
There is very little substance other than pages and pages of disasters about losing your virginity. Mr. Eager (don’t you love that name!) says you can prevent rape as well. Just ask the rapist to take you home when he starts getting handsy and don’t hang out with “wild boys.”
Fun fact: Boys like girls that are punctual and neat. Do you suppose wild boys like punctuality and neatness too? Wild boys, please comment!
How Not to Kill Your Husband
Ladies, your husband is a busy man and can’t be responsible to make good health decisions. Your inattention to his health could LITERALLY KILL HIM! Fortunately, this book will save you. This is a book for wives on how to properly monitor and care for your husband’s health through diet, exercise and stress reduction.
Written in the voice of the oh-so-knowledgeable doctor talking about those silly men that we ladies must take care of since they are just a bunch of giant babies. These delicate men need their wives to reduce the stress, cook healthy meals and evidently prevent him from doing stupid things that might hurt him. I guess it is time to add “babysit a grown man” to your list of chores. I am sure all the men out there will love the wife hounding them on everything they do. Naturally, if he chooses to ignore our awesome help and he dies, it will be our fault.
Where is the book for husbands on how not to be a burden and a selfish ingrate for your wife?
When characters from imagination and fantasy start arriving without a ship, it ruins bedtime for Deep Space Nine. But when llamas turn into bangers, the crew’s dreams turn into nightmares. Does Writer Salad make a filling meal? What’s Jake going to do with that baseball bat? Will Adam ever learn how to pronounce ‘denouement?’ It’s the drunken episode that nobody asked for (and the episode that will probably get us kicked off Maximum Fun).