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04-26-2010, 03:04 AM

Buster Graybill’s “Tush Hog,” at Artpace, offers visitors a visual and aural experience. COURTESY ARTPACE

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New Works 10.1

What: In addition to work by Texas artist Buster Graybill, the current International Artist-in-Residence exhibition features new work conceived and created at Artpace during winter residencies by Berlin artist Klara Liden and New York artist Ulrike Müller. Following exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Biennale in 2009, Liden's "Corps de Ballet" installation comprises video featuring the artist in subtle and dramatic movement pieces, as well as cubic sculptural objects made from inexpensive material such as roofing tar paper suspended from the ceiling like boxing body bags. Austria-born Müller, who has long used text and performance in her work to address feminist and gender/queer issues, has created a series of graphic, symbolic paintings in enamel on steel for her installation "Fever 103." Inspired by Sylvia Plath's 1962 poem, each of the 18 plates represents a stanza from the poem, which deals with the bodily experience of a severe fever.
When: Through May 16.
Where: Artpace, 445 N. Main Ave. Call (210) 212-4900 or visit www.artpace.org for more information.

Growing up in Conroe, where the Coastal Plains meet the Piney Woods north of Houston, Buster Graybill recalls that "the freezers were full of venison, wild hog, catfish, and crappie — and if we were real lucky, speckled trout, red fish and flounder."

A fifth-generation Texan, Graybill learned to hunt and fish with his grandfather and father, and he maintains an active outdoor life, "hunting, fishing and eating what we harvest."

"I guess you could say we were ‘organic' before organic was cool," Graybill says.

In his art, such as the "Tush Hog" installation at Artpace through May 16, Graybill works through issues of working-class culture with a minimalist aesthetic, "using sculpture, installation, video and photography as an all-terrain vehicle to traverse the rural landscape and reconnect with often-overlooked places."

Graybill, who admires the work of Ed Kienholz, Nancy Rubins, Joseph Beuys and Daniel Bozhkov, and who says that both Donald Judd and John Chamberlin "have clearly influenced the formal attributes of my sculpture," trolls the shallows between high-art sophistication and gun-rack propriety, focusing our attention on the never-ending tug of war between man and nature, urban sprawl and the erosion of habitat. He forces us to consider our place in the food chain, our capacities to displace and adapt.

With the 2006 work "Corn Fed," for example, Graybill designed and fabricated a minimalist deer feeder that shot 50 pounds of corn around the gallery every hour, pelting visitors and gradually accumulating on the floor. "As they moved through the thousand pounds of corn to negotiate the gallery, they in turn etched pathways through it, mimicking game trails left by wildlife in nature. It was not your everyday passive object in a gallery space," says Graybill, who earned his master of fine arts degree in 2007 from the University of Texas at Austin, where "Corn Fed" was exhibited.

"Tush Hog," designed and built during Graybill's winter Artpace residency, evolved from that work. Alarmed, like many farmers, ranchers, hunters and environmentalists, at the proliferation of feral hogs in the natural landscape — and their intrusion on our urban borders — Graybill constructed a family of what he calls "hog balls," beautifully rugged geometric sculptural objects of different sizes (there seems to be a papa hog ball, a mama and babies) out of Diamond-plate aluminum.

"It's most commonly used for truck toolboxes and is extremely strong but also very light," Graybill says. "This combination of strength and lightweight allows the hogs to push these feeders around — even with 80 pounds of corn in them."

Yep, Graybill drilled holes in the structures, filled them with deer corn, deposited them in fields on a ranch near Pearsall under the watchful eye of 24-hour surveillance cameras and waited for the hogs to come.

In the Artpace gallery, the sculptures are scuffed and muddy from feral hogs pushing them around to get the corn to fall out of the holes, while video of the action plays on a flat-screen and video stills line the walls. Visitors can hear the clanking and thudding of the hogs maneuvering the balls around, while navigating a corn-strewn floor.

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04-26-2010, 08:00 AM
LIke the idea but what do they cost

04-26-2010, 12:14 PM
I guess it would be cheaper to make it out of plywood or something other then diamond plated aluminum. I also like the design, funny thing is I showed the article to my mother and she says she works with a client who has one on his ranch and has been using for a while, just like the one in the photo, that was the first time I have ever seen one!!!

04-27-2010, 10:37 AM
We have done similar things except we used 55gallon plastic drums drilled holes in them then anchored them to the ground with a cable or light chain. We filled the drum with corn sealed it then the hogs would come and just push it in circles and feed. It was alot cheaper than using Diamond plate I bet.


04-27-2010, 03:42 PM
Same basic principal as a hog pipe just more high tech and probally a hell of a lot more money