Local angle

Fort Worth Modern Art Museum chief curator Michael Auping says that after one final conference call this week, he'll wrap up his decision as one of the six curators for New York's prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art 2000 Biennial. Selected artists won't be announced until December for the March show, but, Auping says, "Texas is well-represented for the first time in a long time." Since last March, Auping has been scouting art in Texas and the Southwest for "the show that everyone loves to hate." The Whitney's new director, Maxwell L. Anderson, steered the competitive exhibition toward a "national perspective" for 2000, choosing curators outside the museum's own staff for the first time. Dallas artists Bill Komodore, Tom Orr, and Helen Altman and Fort Worth's Bill Haveron got a studio visit from Auping and may still be in the running. The Whitney Biennial tends to favor younger or emerging artists, and some of the really interesting work Auping discovered won't make it into the show. Still, "I'm feeling very good about it," he says, despite the 20 pounds and chronic backache he says he's gained from flying all over the country.

Critical mistake

Kissing up to the critics may have backfired for UT-Dallas faculty responsible for the campus art gallery's exhibition calendar. It seems John Pomara and Greg Metz got the bright idea to ask local art writers to select their favorite artist of 1999 for a group show, PIX, opening October 29. Only none of the critics followed their rules or met a single exhibition-required deadline. "It's been a fairly big headache, but it's worth it," Pomara says, still smooching. UT-D wanted art critics to choose an emerging, or at least fairly unknown or unrepresented, local artist for the group show, but more than one art writer -- and they know who they are -- selected well-known, commercially represented, often-shown artists. Hardly a "discovery" in the bunch. And now, Pomara says he's worried that ethics will keep the critics from covering the show, since it could look like shameless self-promotion. Blink could brazenly call "PIX" a real must-see of the fall visual-arts season, but what would people think? Artists and their respective critic-fans, ethically alphabetized, are Scott Barber -- Mike Daniel; Sonjia Gladbach -- Benito Huerta; John Hartley -- Janet Tyson; Bill Haveron -- Dee Mitchell; Mike Henderson -- Joel Weinstein; Steven Hopwood-Lewis -- Annabelle Massey Helber; Martin Iles -- Christina Rees; Jody Lee -- Janet Kutner; Cynthia Lin -- Michael Odom; John Holt Smith -- Suzanne Akhtar. Word to Pomara: Never send a critic to do a curator's job.

Annabelle Massey Helber

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