Term Limitations All Around
The fawning tone of Susie Kalil's latest review [Art, "What Moves Us Deeply," March 17] is hard to take seriously. Does she think she does Mr. McGee any favors with her overworked thesaurus and lack of balance? Indeed, it is more of a hindrance to the exploration and development of an emerging artist the caliber of Mr. McGee, and smacks of blatant commercialism for Texas Gallery.
It is this lack of balance that has become characteristic of her writing. Perhaps we should extend term limitations to art critics as well as City Council members.
Since I moved back to Houston three years ago, I've found that the general consensus within our art community is that, among the regularly contributing art critics, Susie Kalil is the most respected. This fact is most often attributed to the fact that her reviews contain actual criticism, whereas others seem reluctant to stray very far from describing an artist's work. Starved as Houston is for critical feedback on its efforts, Kalil has risen to prominence almost by default. After her review of David McGee's show at Texas Gallery last week ["What Moves Us Deeply"], Ms. Kalil's reputation may be due for re-evaluation.
Reading "What Moves Us Deeply," I had to pause to check my calendar, momentarily thinking it was 1983 or '84. Not since the effusive gravy ladled upon Schnabel, Salle, Fischl, Basquiat and Baselitz have we had such evidence of an art critic's intimacy with the thesaurus. What we find here is not critical analysis but interpretive self-indulgence and rampant artspeak.
Strong criticism of individual artists has often been avoided in our community due to our desire to remain supportive of our peers and colleagues. What could be more supportive than competent, constructive criticism? Ms. Kalil's, dare I say it, fawning over Mr. McGee's work does no one any good, Mr. McGee included. The "me" aspect is too much at the forefront of her musings and there is, as in too many of her articles, a disregard of art-historical context. This kind of criticism is nothing short of irresponsible.
It's Nice to be Nasty
I was seized by an overwhelming sense of relief when I read Tony Alcock's dramatically inspiring vow never, never to read the Houston Press again because it carried a cigarette advertisement [Letters, March 10]. I adhere steadfastly to a personal rule that precludes me from reading a periodical that is also read by cerebrally vacuous, self-righteously pompous assholes like Mr. Alcock. Talk about a walking justification for second-hand smoke!
And then, in the very next letter, the piece de resistance: the chirpy Laura Ashley lecture from Ms. Cato-Romero. You think "pussy" is a bad word? Well, how about a bad word used in a sentence: Go fuck yourself. I think Ms. Cato-Romero should pack up her tidy nuclear family and her priggish values and move to Missouri City, where she can commiserate with Mr. Alcock about the downfall of Western civilization. She could also subscribe to the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post, both of which are written on a reading level compatible with Ms. Cato-Romero's obvious intellectual abilities.
On behalf of all the frenzied, unredeemed hedonists having a fabulous time inside the Loop among the frayed and tattered remnants of this great nation's moral fiber, I proclaim that the Houston Press is the best periodical, free or otherwise, in town. I will continue to read the Houston Press, but only as long as it continues to print offensive advertisements and dirty words.
Keith K. Stewart
The Last Word on T&D -- Really
Brad Tyer begins his profile of Trish and Darin Murphy and their band in the March 3 issue [Music, "No Respect"] by stating that the artists in question "don't get much respect." He then goes on to demonstrate why the vast majority of music fans I know rarely, if ever, respect his opinions.
Utilizing his now-perfected technique of superficial journalism, Tyer concentrates on topics of such relevance as hair color, genetic relation, and current status of love life, while considerably less time and energy are spent examining T&D's music itself. Apparently Tyer doesn't realize that some Press readers don't care whether or not musicians' families are dysfunctional, in spite of our voting Trish and Darin as the number one pop/rock act last year. Can't we leave that other crap to A Current Affair and the Jacksons?
Slam On Slam-N-Jam
By writing "Hoops Hell" [March 17], Alex Hecht presents an insight into street agents like John Eurey. Unfortunately, he relied heavily on Yolande Lezine, executive director of Houston Slam-N-Jam, as his summer league expert.
Lezine's basketball programs have been plagued with irregularities. For instance, this is her third name change in two years: BCI (1992), Houston Boys and Girls Basketball Association (1993) and Slam-N-Jam (1993Ð94). The HBGBA program in which Tree participated failed to allow its participants to complete their SAT review course, therefore Tree is stil trying to obtain a qualifying SAT score this late in his senior year. Lezine has been involved with street agent John Eurey of the Superstar Foundation. Superstar Foundation and HBGBA combined to present the fall preview of high school basketball talent, a fiasco which jeopardized the players' eligibility since they violated UIL rules. Now Lezine is abandoning summer league programs and is having a barnstorming traveling team ripe for street agents to snake their slimy selves into. Hecht, please do more research so next time you will be able to identify a she-devil/street agent in sheep's clothing.
No Bite, All Yawns
The Press has been, to say the least, lackluster of late.
Instead of bite, we get yawns. No Post/Chronicle-bashing. No more juicy gossip from the annals of City Hall. The only constant has been the "Tyering" saga of whose name Brad misspells from week to week. From the look of things, I'd say the current editorship has taken a decidedly "Dallas" tone. If I want the plastic feel of the Metroplex, I'll fly Southwest.