03/22/17 4:30pm

Crane at under-construction Capitol Tower, Capitol St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Another shot of that crane that took to the air this weekend by the economy-stalled stub of Skanska’s Capitol Tower comes from a reader peering over the site’s parking structure from Rusk St. yesterday. (That’s the neighboring Chase Tower looming over the scene in the background.) Bank of America was outed as being in talks with Skanska about leasing space in the tower (which might add the bank’s current home in Bank of America Center to the list of recent abandonments of Downtown office towers by their namesake tenants). The other sign of life on the site this year was the addition of a street-level mural to the parking garage’s corner, which was dry in time for the Super Bowl last month:

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Sprouting Downtown
02/07/17 10:00am

Owl Sculptures by Dan Mabry, Kelvin St. at University Blvd., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

Rice Village, Houston, 77005The sculpted birds above are now staring intently in various directions from just south of the entrance ramp for the Rice Village’s rooftop parking lot between University Blvd. and Amherst St. The new bird-studded cage hangs around the upper half of the Kelvin St. access staircase for the lot, previously shielded from prying eyes by a since-removed blinder of brick (as pictured second above at the start of the work last year, before much of the paint-up or knock-out action had taken place on the eastern side of the structure). The birds are the work of Californian metalworker and periodic perched bird sculptor Nathan Mabry. Changes to the building roughly align with the older renderings of the remodel, though the space was previously depicted with an extra new window (along with some ghostly stand-in art): 

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Kelvin St. Bird Cage
12/27/16 3:30pm

Painting by Ken Mazzu

Artist Ken Mazzu’s been back at the easel and back on the Houston demolition beat lately, finishing up some new works to be featured in next month’s building-themed art show at the William Reaves / Sarah Foltz Fine Art Gallery at 2143 Westheimer Rd.. The show will feature some of Mazzu’s paintings of ’round-town teardowns, along with works of 2 other Houston-focused artists (late photographer Jim Culberson and living painter Richard Stout). The gallery will even host Houston archi-historian Dr. Stephen Fox for a talk about The Changing City on the 14th.

Mazzu’s had a lot of subjects to choose from since a set of his demo-themed canvases went on display back in 2013; he sends over some previews of new pieces, including the scene above commemorating the disassembly of the former Downtown headquarters of the Houston Chronicle. Other recent works feature newly-parking-lotified 509 Louisiana St., the dissolution of the octagonal Solvay mid-rise, a pile of post-blow-up downtown Foley’s debris, and more:

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New Works Retrospective
11/02/16 11:00am

2iPM009 rendered in Buffalo Bayou Cistern

The Cistern, Buffalo Bayou Park near Sabine St. at Memorial Dr., Houston, 77007The rendering up top shows the sort of scene that visitors can expect if they wander into the 1920’s leaking-water-reservoir-turned-public-art-space buried alongside Buffalo Bayou after December 10th (and before next June): Venezuelan artist Magdalena Fernández’s 2iPM009 projection, adapted from flat-walled origins to fill the 2-acre space (and going by the name Rain). As for what they’ll hear — that’d be an accompanying soundtrack of snaps, claps, and other meteorologically-inspired noisemaking from Slovenian choir Pertuum Jazzile. The original piece is part of the Museum of Fine Arts’s permanent collection; the adaptation will be the first temporary art installation in the column-studded space, which opened for tours in May.

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Only Light Flooding Expected
10/26/16 4:30pm

'Sharp' by Havel Ruck Projects, 6822 Rowan Ln., Sharpstown, Houston, 77074

'Sharp' by Havel Ruck Projects, 6822 Rowan Ln., Sharpstown, Houston, 77074

The now-glimmering interior of the former house at 6822 Rowan Ln. in Sharpstown is open to the public as of this weekend, and will be for the next 2 months — up until the scheduled demolition of the heavily fire-damaged 3-bedroom structure. Demolition artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck (who these days sign their work as Havel Ruck Projects) recently converted the condemned building into another tunnel-through-the-living-room-style temporary art piece, though with much sharper lines than their previous Inversion House. Last Saturday’s opening reception for the new place (which is actually called Sharp) is part of the October-November-straddling Sculpture Month Houston campaign (which is setting up promotional events for other art installations around town through November 19, if you’re interested).

The pentagonal hole in the front of the structure matches the outline of the knocked-out front windows, as seen in these pre-conversion-but-post-fire listing photos of the demo-bound house:

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Condemned Open House
10/10/16 1:00pm

DEEP: SeaspaceDEEP: Seaspace

To cap off a series of Houston-landmark-linked performances carried out over the past few years, Karen Stoke’s dance company will put on bayou-and-space-themed DEEP: Seaspace at Hobby Center the weekend after next (that’s October 20th through 22nd). Stokes, whose previous work includes that well-timed dance about flooding in Discovery Green right after Memorial Day last year, tells Swamplot she has been mulling over appropriately grand Ship Channel choreographies since at least 2003, when she cut a related section from her piece Hometown with plans to tackle the topic later in greater depth.

On the list of historical places given a nod in the choreography (or in the short film to be shown during the live performance): Ship-Channel-side spots like the site of Santa Anna’s capture near the San Jacinto battlegrounds (the historical marker for which is located along Federal Rd. where the Washburn Tunnel crosses under the waterway); Allen’s Landing in Downtown; and the area around the former Willow St. Pump Station (just north of where White Oak Bayou meets Buffalo, by the Harris County Jail) — that spot is shown below, with dancers placed for atmosphere:

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Industrial Art
09/29/16 11:00am

Dalia Rihani Heights Homes Illustrations

Recognize any of the images above? They’re each depictions of actual houses in the Heights area (yes, even that really skinny one in the top right corner) as drawn by local designer Dalia Rihani, who tells Swamplot she’s long been fascinated by her neighborhood’s architectural landscape. Rihani started out planning to draw 1 home per week as an outside-of-the-9-to-5 creative outlet — but says she’s found herself doing it much more frequently than that, and has since been taking commissions to illustrate specific houses as requests started to pour in. She’s also been turning the graphics into post cards that she’s sent to some of the home’s owners, as a reader showed Swamplot:

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Sketchy Activities
07/29/16 12:30pm

THE ART GUYS SAY BYE, BUY, FOR NOW art-guys-byeRecently dissolved arboreal polygamist duo The Art Guys is holding what it’s labeling a Final Sale through August 15 on its website, which currently declares that The Art Guys are not artists. Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, whose antics under the name have included navigating Houston in various configurations, encouraging visitors to explore a Garden Oaks median strip, and conducting the sounds of the Ship Channel, spoke with Molly Glenzter — who writes this week that the pair still has other plans and ideas, but won’t be executing them under the Art Guys guise.  The pair mention the possibility of creating a virtual drawing of Houston by sending people walking around town with a special path-tracing smart-phone app: “It’s so poetic,” Galbreth tells Glenzter, but the company that makes the app hasn’t shown interest in sponsoring the project. And their imagined sculpture of a randomly-chosen Houstonian hasn’t gotten funding yet, either — “Our culture is just at low tide right now,” Galbreth says. [Houston Chronicle, The Art Guys; previously on Swamplot] Image: theartguys.com