Conspicuous Production: The First Two Years of the UTD/South Side Artist Residency Usually when artists come to a blasted-out blighted neighborhood they do so to for reasons of cheap rent, large studio space and cool architecture. The trajectory goes something like this: In typical bohemian fashion, artists stake out marginal urban territory that is both unfashionable and dangerous, inhabit it, make it fashionable, safe, increasingly valuable and an unwitting invitation for investment by clans of the upwardly mobile and wannabe chic. Extract the dangerous-squatter part of this cycle of gentrification and you have the Artist Residency at South Side on Lamar. The vintage Sears Catalog and Distribution facility was rehabbed in 1997, replete with 10 live-work units for artists. Now showing at the MAC is two years' worth of work from artists who have participated in the program housed at the building just south of downtown. Kaneem Smith's resin-covered canvas bags sitting in the middle of the room make poetry out of deflated everyday detritus. Misty Keasler's bizarre series of large color photographs of a Japanese S&M parlor reveal a penchant for the delightfully libertine and sexually perverse. Ryan Fitzer's "Heady" and "doth protest too much," two odorous drawings of wine and coffee on Lenox paper, transform the act of seeing into a synesthetic experience involving smell and touch. Marjorie Schwarz's expressionist portraits titled "Figure 1, 2, 3" offer creepy intrigue in miniature scale. The exhibition, however, has its problems: The Atari consoles and three televisions of Paul Slocum's "Color Sequencer" make the piece inscrutable--either that, or it just wasn't working properly. And with his deadpan sentence on 8-by-11 paper, "This requires extremely dramatic lighting and an imagination," Ludwig Schwarz continues to get away with regurgitating Conceptualism circa 1969. The Artist Residency Program at South Side on Lamar is a much-needed and welcomed cultural entity, but the show at the MAC is a mixed bag. Through August 1 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave., 214-953-1MAC. (Charissa N. Terranova)
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Material Support: Northern Exposure of the South Side Lab In conjunction with the show at the MAC, Material Support is a "behind the scenes look" at the creative processes of artists participating in the Artist Residency Program at South Side on Lamar. The show collects the work of 10 artists from the program under an intellectual rubric ostensibly borrowed from the French thinker Michel Foucault. Some 35 years ago he queried, "What is an author?" Is she the purposive voice we hear in the primary body of a text? Or is she the hypothetical grumbles located in the scribbles made along the margins?" Material Support treats text as object, showing those procedural mumblings translated into a variety of blobby materials and mixed-up media. While you might have expected, in turn, a marginal show, Material Support exhibits some of the best work of artists in the program. Saskia Jorda's sculptural "Cordon Umbilical" is the full-body complement to her drawings showing at the MAC. Several tan-colored twisted vines of resin-covered paper emerge from the wall. At the end of one lies a baby enveloped in a womb-like crinkly pod. This piece, in all of its bodily connotations and Eva Hesse-esque use of space, is the missing half of the finely detailed anatomical drawings of babies in birth canals at the MAC. The best of Dallas' Artist Residency Program has been saved for Richardson. Through August 12 at the University of Texas at Dallas Visual Arts Building, Main Gallery, 2601 N. Floyd Road, Richardson, 972-UTD-ARTS. (C.T.)