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Arts / Museums

The Greta Garbo of the Art World

This Mysterious Texas Figure Pranks Photographers, Uses Imposters and Turns Out Brilliant Work

BY // 04.08.16

Revolutionary Road: Tough, scrappy Neo-Dadaist Mark Flood labored for decades in semi-obscurity, collected by Texas art-world insiders and considered an artist’s artist. Flood famously does a disappearing act à la Greta Garbo when it’s time to be photographed, or he sends in an imposter, like Warhol did.

All this adds to the mystique. Nonetheless, he makes some very good paintings, freely appropriating from Warhol or word-based masters like Lawrence Weiner. and even teeters on the decorative with some of his greatest hits, aka the lace paintings. Now he’s in the big-time limelight.

This month, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s retrospective/survey/happening — “Mark Flood: Gratest Hits” — bows to Houston art history, as well as this prankster painter’s brilliant sense of the absurd (April 30 – August 7). Don’t miss the opening-night frenzy Friday, April 29 (6:30 to 9 pm), followed Saturday, April 30, with a 2 pm tête-à-tête with CAMH director Bill Arning, who curated this wild ride of an exhibition …

Notes from the Underground: Pay close attention to Flood’s main Texas dealer, Pablo Cardoza. Cardoza Fine Art is the place where next-gen collectors come to play, and his newly minted downtown address (805A William) boasts a pristine space, edged with chaos.

Saturday, April 2, I Love You Baby solos in a pop-up that also encompasses GalleryHomeland and G Spot. A week later, Friday, April 8, Flood studio assistant and very capable conceptual painter Guillaume Gelot headlines (through May 1) …

Walt Whitman Rises: For an Austin-based artist, the 19th-century American master’s Leaves of Grass lent inspiration via the poem “The Body Electric.” Abstractionist Meredith Pardue has adopted Whitman’s classic for her next show at long-time dealer Laura Rathe Fine Art. Pardue’s latest work celebrates body, nature and spirit in communion (April 9 – May 21).

Double Dose: Go to papercitymag.com for the scoop on two must-dos. CounterCurrent curated by Mitchell Center director Karen Farber, April 12-17 at venues citywide (countercurrentfestival.org) and UNICEF Art Auction benefitting Middle-Eastern refugee children (at Deborah Colton Gallery, Saturday, April 30, tickets from $150; Lisa LaGrone, 832.463.2421, llagrone@unicef.org).

Mark Flood's "First Song," 2014, from his widely collected lace series. (Photo Tom Dubrock. Courtesy the artist, Peres Projects, Berlin and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London)
Mark Flood’s “First Song,” 2014, from his widely collected lace series. (Photo Tom Dubrock. Courtesy the artist, Peres Projects, Berlin and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London)

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