Failing Masterfully

The big F: not freedom nor France nor finance nor whatever else is going through those sordid Dallas brains. They're talkin' failure, and maybe a comment or two on freedom.

The University of Texas at Dallas presents an innovative exhibit we're willing to bet the good ole deans aren't entirely supportive of. After ballsy past exhibits--like the one that brought national graffiti artists in to tag the entire gallery--UTD (and more specifically exhibit curator Brandon Kennedy and senior lecturer Greg Metz) earns some points for matchmaking a blind date between the school and envelope-pushing art yet again.

capital f is a collection of work from artists such as Metz, sage in the world of face-slapping sculpture and installation; debase comedian Neil Hamburger and painter-cum-accidental photographer Ed Blackburn. The exhibit addresses failure in relation to the role it plays in creative and critical methods in art.

Works in capital f take on failed diplomacy, failure in connecting with a live audience, the inability to fail when it is a goal to do so and even failure when one discovers that another artist has beat him to the artistic punch. Metz says the show as a whole looks at the way "failure acts as the mother of invention." His own work, "Sleeping Dogs Lie," targets failed diplomacy in terms of homeland security and the current focus on fuel. Using duct tape and plastic, Metz constructed an American flag and positioned it between a leak he manufactured in the ceiling and a dog painting made of axle-bearing grease on the floor. There's no telling when the flag will break, or what besides the oily dog might be underneath.

With works ranging from a revolutionary essay to original audio remix to mixed media, capital f might just be required reading, listening and viewing. And everyone knows what kind of grade you get when you don't do your homework.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin

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