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A Panel Discussion on Media Art in Houston

February 19, 2004

For Immediate Release
For Information and Visuals Contact:

Vinod Hopson
Press Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext.26; Fax (713) 223-4411

Eileen Maxson
Film and Video Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext. 31

A Panel Discussion on Media Art in Houston

FotoFest 2004 - Water
MARCH 31,2004
Houston, Texas

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 19, 2004) – FotoFest 2004 presents a special event as part of its 2004 Film and Video program. Exit the Waiting Room: Contemporary Media Art in Houston is a panel discussion with Artists, Curators, and Collectors examining the current condition of media art and installation in Houston. This important panel discussion will take place Wednesday, March 31, 2004 at DiverseWorks Art Space, 1117 East Freeway, Houston, Texas. It is free and open to the public.

Not long ago, media art in Texas was considered to be “…a medium that is not a medium but a composite practice, that has neither a clearly defined channel of distribution or exhibition, nor a market that sustains its growth and aesthetic maturing process.”, (ArtLies #25, 1999-2000). As media art (including film, video, and media installation) emerges from the fringes of art practice into greater visibility within museums, galleries, microcinemas, festivals, and alternative spaces, its maturation has in turn impacted the work of artists locally. But the medium’s growth has raised questions. Does this crisis of identity and visibility still characterize the local scene? How has the system and community of media artists changed? Where does media art/media installation live, in exhibition and collection? How is it supported? Who is the audience? Who are the makers?

Unprecedented access to technology has changed the medium’s landscape, broadening entry points into the work by artists as well as viewers and collectors. However, the expanded visibility of the medium emphasizes its elusive definition and placement as art practice, existing ambiguously between the black box of the theater and the white spaces of the gallery. With this in mind, this event confronts these questions of media art and media installation’s identity, presence, maturity, and longevity. In response to these questions a diverse panel of media artists, curators, and collectors will revisit Houston’s media arts past, survey current practices, and look at the region’s future.

Panelists include Serena Lin Bush, artist; Andrea Grover, Founder and Director – Aurora Picture Show; Duncan Ganley, artist; Brian Wesley Heiss, artist and lecturer, Rice University; Jeanne Klein, collector; Michael Galbreth, artist; Eileen Maxson, artist; Gabriela Rangel, Assistant Curator of Latin American Art, MFAH; Jeff Shore, artist. Moderated by Kimberly Davenport, Gallery Director, Rice University Gallery.

FotoFest is internationally renowned for its photographic exhibitions and has a reputation of discovering important work by less well-established artists. In that tradition, the organization is launching an unprecedentedly large Film and Video Program meant to complement and expand on the themes addressed in its photographic exhibitions. The program is an acknowledgement of the growing reputation and quality of media-arts and will feature work of several genres including Documentary, traditional Cinema and the Experimental/Avant Garde. A separate press release and calendar of events are available.

The panel is organized by Serena Lin Bush, and sponsored in part by FotoFest 2004, DiverseWorks Art Space, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) and the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County (CACHH).

SPONSORS - FOTOFEST 2004 (as of February 11, 2004)
Major institutional sponsors for FotoFest 2004 are Houston Endowment, Inc; Nan T. McEvoy Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; GoBase2-Manzanita Creative; Axiom Design, Houston; The Brown Foundation Inc., Houston; William Stamps Farish Fund; Trust for Mutual Understanding; The Houston Chronicle; City of Houston and Texas Commission for the Arts through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County; Continental Airlines; The Warwick Hotel; Texas Commission on the Arts; The Bruni Smothers Foundation; The Wortham Foundation; H-E-B Grocery; Margaret Regan and Fletcher Thorne-Thomsen, Jr., Vine Street Studios; The George and Cynthia Mitchell Foundation; Rice University.

Continental Airlines is the official airline of FotoFest and FotoFest 2004

Additional institutional support has come from KUHF88.7FM; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.; The Station – James and Ann Harithas; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC); PaperCity magazine; The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation; The Clayton Fund; Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Buffalo Bayou ArtPark; Buffalo Bayou Partnership; Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Houston; Arts Houston; The British Art Council; George Mitchell Interests; The Oshman Foundation; Joan and Stanford Alexander Foundation; The Samuels Foundation of The Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community of Houston; The Greentree Fund; Rice University Department of Visual Arts and Abrams Scott & Bickley.

Special in-kind support has come from Hines - Williams Tower Gallery; Weingarten Realty; McCord Development – One City Centre; Century Development - Reliant Energy Plaza at 1000 Main; Crescent Real Estate Equities; Trizec - One and Three Allen Center and Continental One; J.P. Morgan Chase – Heritage Gallery; The Wealth Group - Erie City Ironworks; Project Row Houses; Houston Community College, Central Art Department; Downtown Management District; New World Museum - Armando Palacios and Cinda Ward; The Menil Collection; The Rothko Chapel; Sotheby’s, Inc., New York; Mind OH!; Sicardi Gallery; Gremillion & Co. Fine Art Inc.; No. Ten by Tanqueray; aue design studio; Aurora Picture Show; Microcinema International; Rice University Media Center; Southwest Alternate Media Project; Voices Breaking Boundaries; Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Film Department; Lawndale Art Center; DiverseWorks Art Space; Angelika Film Center; KUHT-PBS Channel 8; The Artery; Alamo Draft House Cinema; Dean’s Credit Clothing.

A list of FotoFest institutional funders is available and listed on the FotoFest Web site,

For more information on FotoFest 2004 Biennial programming or visuals, please contact Mr. Vinod Hopson, Press Coordinator at 713/ 223-5522 ext 26 or

FotoFest, 1113 Vine Street, Houston, Texas 77002