As the director of the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Bill Arning functions as a livewire transistor connecting that Texas city to the most pressing developments on the international art scene—a role he carries out with notable aplomb. A New York native who cut his teeth in the West Village's storied White Columns, Arning is also a gimlet eye when it comes to navigating the crush of work that floods through art fairs.
Here, the widely respected director shares five of his favorite artworks from this year's NADA Miami Beach.
CAM Houston Director Bill Arning on Why the Return of Figuration in Painting Was Inevitable
David Noonan's work reminds me of being a child in New York in the late sixties with an older sister who acted in wild, off-Broadway productions with lots of extraneous nudity and grand, dramatic queens. As a chubby little proto-gay wannabe avant-gardist, I loved that energy and visual culture.
Tree in Backyard, 1980
On a recent trip Artis organized to Tel Aviv for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's patrons group we visited Noa Eshkol's dance studio and saw dancers who had been with her during her life. Seeing her dance performed for us as a simple way of being was one of the joys of my art-viewing experience, and her wall hangings as well as theories of movement fascinate me to this day.
Red, Yellow, Blue Boxes in a Box, 2015
Derek Eller Gallery
Nancy Shaver is the quintessential artist's artist and the quiet seduction this work offers is memorable indeed.
Untitled (MMMMMMMMMM), 2014
More Heads, 2013
Fourteen 30 Contemporary
I saw Wynne Greenwood's projected rock band Tracy and the Plastics open for Le Tigre in Providence a decade ago and never forgot that untethered, deconstructive music night. Seeing her recent survey at the New Museum in New York, I was thrilled to remember those years when feminist, arty rock was a daily experience in my life as curator at MIT—and her objects are damn seductive too!