Open Studio: Every Person is a Special Kind of Artist, with Baggage (2013)

Project by Meadows Division of Art students and Dallas artists to be presented in Marfa and San Antonio, Texas, as part of a special commission by Texas Biennial 2013

Open Studio: Every Person is a Special Kind of Artist, with Baggage will be on view beginning September 5 (Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio) and September 14 (Ballroom Marfa) through November 9, 2013

In late 2012, Meadows Art Professor Michael Corris was commissioned by curator-at-large Virginia Rutledge to create a work for the 2013 Texas Biennial, to be exhibited simultaneously at Ballroom Marfa, a contemporary arts and culture gallery in Marfa, Texas, and the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio.

Rather than complete the commission as an individual artist, Corris reconfigured the commission and adapted it for the B.F.A. art curriculum so that students could participate in the experience of working collectively on a potentially highly visible art project.

The project was undertaken in one of the Division of Art’s innovative first-year core courses, ASAG 1312 Systems.

“Systems in art may be a set of rules or constraints that function as a ‘machine’ for making art,” said Corris. “In this course, students explored a wide range of systematic art practices, from the serial works of Impressionism to art that incorporates models taken from communication theory and the study of language. They also explored the concept of systems in art using resources drawn from the realm of social and political theory, where the work of the artist may be done in collaboration with others, in order to critically reflect on the social relations that define and channel ‘creativity.’ ”

During the spring 2013 semester, Corris and the students worked together as part of a group to realize a complex, systems-based work of art. The group was dubbed “The Dallas Collective“ and included Corris, M.F.A. students William Binnie (SMU ’14), Travis LaMothe (SMU ’13) and Melissa Tran (SMU ’14), Dallas artists Kelly Kroener and Mike Morris, and undergraduate students Soraya Abtahi, Braeden Bailey, Jenna Barrois, Nina Davis, Michael Deleon, Elainy Lopez, Alexandra Monroe, Rhyanna Odom, Ellen Smith, Hannah Tyler and Dylan Wignall.

The completed commission – Open Studio: Every Person is a Special Kind of Artist, with Baggage – consists of a limited edition of 50 vinyl carry bags and an 8-minute video featuring student interviews and candid scenes of the creation of the work. Half the edition will be on view at Ballroom Marfa and half will be on view at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum.

The net proceeds from the sale of the bags will be donated to art programs for schoolchildren in Marfa and San Antonio.

The commission will be on view at Ballroom Marfa from September 14 through November 9, 2013, and Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, from September 5 through November 9.

On September 14th at 6 p.m., Michael Corris will deliver a public talk on the project at the Highland Annex, near Ballroom Marfa.

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 The artists would like to acknowledge the support of the Doolin Fund (Division of Art, SMU),, Virginia Rutledge, and an anonymous donor.

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 Ballroom Marfa is located at 108 E. San Antonio St./Highway 90 West, Marfa, Texas, 74893. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; however, a $5 donation is suggested to help fund Ballroom programs.

Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum is at 116 Blue Star, San Antonio, Texas, 78204. Hours are 12-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12-8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $5. For more information visit

Texas Biennial 2013

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Links: [Video]