"No Skeleton Armies, Please"

A DIY gallery opens in Montrose

Rod shows me the Joanna Gallery "project space," a stifling one-car garage that contains the hot water heater, washer and dryer, cat box and a haphazard collaborative installation involving most of the artists in the show. Michael Bise did some drawings on the walls, somebody else wrote "Boner" on another wall and another person added some helium-filled condoms, now sadly flaccid. A seven-minute video shows "the making of" Ledvina's backyard sculpture, which, from what I saw, involved Ledvina standing in the grass making halfhearted attempts with a posthole digger. (This boy has never worked construction.) On a 96-degree July day in an un-air-conditioned garage, it was too hot to see the whole seven minutes, so I can't report what else happens. Rod tells me that at some point in the construction process, Ledvina became convinced he'd severed some fiber optic cable, but fortunately it was just a root and Montrose phone service was unaffected.

This work by Brian Rod and Cody Ledvina is one of the show's funniest.
Courtesy of The Joanna Gallery
This work by Brian Rod and Cody Ledvina is one of the show's funniest.


Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 21, and Saturday, July 28, or by appointment.
The Joanna Gallery, 4014 Graustark, 713-478-8874 or 713-825-1976.

Rod is hanging out this summer before he applies to graduate school. It's a lot harder for artists to just hang out in Houston these days, and I ask him if he got a good deal on the rent for the house. He explains it's owned by the Menil, so the rent is about 300 bucks less a month than it would be elsewhere. (The Menil subsidizes the Houston art scene in myriad ways.) While "No Skeleton Armies, Please" isn't the most spectacular "hey, let's put on a show" event I've ever seen in Houston, it's refreshing to see it is still possible to pull this kind of thing together in a city in which artists are increasingly priced out of the market.

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