Tush Hog

Buster Graybill

Exhibition: Mar 18 – May 16, 2010

In Tush Hog Buster Graybill conceived a fictional narrative in which his group of Minimalist sculptures that double as wild hog feeders are endowed with animal characteristics. He imagines that his works, released into uncultivated terrain without curators and conservators to care for them, quickly evolved and developed their sturdy, diamond-plated armor and more muscular stature. Designed and assembled at Artpace, these “feral” apparatus spent weeks under 24-hour surveillance at a ranch one hour south of San Antonio near Pearsall before returning to the gallery for exhibition. The pieces are accompanied by photographs and video footage captured with motion-activated infrared cameras, commonly used among hunters tracking game. The documentation shows a variety of wildlife interacting with the corn-dispensing artworks.

The term “Tush Hog” refers not only to the artist’s body of hybridized sculptures, photos, and videos, but to an especially large, local wild boar with fierce tusks. The artist explains that these feral swine evolved from escaped domestic pigs that crossbred with the hardier, exotic Russian boar, which was introduced to the United States for sport hunting. The Tush Hog’s appearance developed out of necessity: the animal grew coarser hair and larger tusks in order to traverse the unforgiving environment of rural Texas.

Paralleling the evolution of the feral swine, Graybill’s Tush Hog works have been modified for similar reasons. His sculptures have naturally mutated to the point where they have retained some attributes of a Minimalist object, yet have taken on the rugged quality of the rural environment they have been let loose in. His fictional narrative further accounts for his use of corn in the wild hog feeders; commonly used in deer feeders throughout Texas, the grain has become prevalent and effective bait for Tush Hogs, and his artworks adapted accordingly.

As an outdoor adventurer and a contemporary artist, Graybill is negotiating the space between two distinct and often conflicting worlds. Like the artist’s identity, Tush Hog is a confluence of both country grammar and art speak. “Fluctuating between the visual vernaculars of rural objects and art objects, Tush Hog is a rare and perfect hybrid of ‘country’ and ‘contemporary’: part hog feeder, part sculpture, and 100 percent badass!”

-Alexander Freeman, Education Curator


Buster Graybill

Huntsville, Texas, USA

Texas artist Buster Graybill is drawn to how the affects of urbanization and development have altered the appearance and character of rural America. He utilizes his sculptures, videos, photography, and installations as vehicles for exploring and reconnecting with the landscape. His projects serve as metaphors that highlight the hybrid aspects of these transitional places, where he finds “poetry, beauty, ingenuity, and humor in the fringe areas that lie ‘in-between’-places where culture, nature, objects, and aesthetics collide, overlap, adapt, and sometimes co-exist.”
Graybill received his MFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. He has had solo exhibitions at the Donkey Show in Austin (2006) and Cora Stafford Gallery in Denton (2001), both in Texas. His work has been featured in many group exhibitions throughout the state, including The Big Show, Lawndale Art Center, Houston (2009); Texas Biennial, Temporary Outdoor Project, Austin (2009); Viewfinder, Houston Center for Photography and Dallas Contemporary (2008); and 20 to Watch: New Art in Austin, DiverseWorks Artspace, Houston, The Grace Museum, Abilene, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, San Antonio, and Austin Museum of Art (2008).

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Helen Molesworth

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Helen Molesworth assumed her current position at as Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 2010. Previously, she served as the Maisie K. and James R. Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art at The Harvard University Art Museums; and from 2002 to 2007 she was the Chief Curator of Exhibitons at the Wexner Center for the Arts. She has curated numerous exhibitions including Twice Untitled and Other Pictures (looking back), Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2006); Part Object Part Sculpture, Wexner Center for the Arts (2005); Work Ethic, Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland (2003-4); and Bodyspace, Baltimore Museum of Art (2001). She has written for publications such as Artforum, Art Journal, Frieze and October, and served as a co-founding editor of Documents. Molesworth has served as a senior critic at the Yale School of Art, and has held teaching positions at Bard Center for Curatorial Studies; SUNY Old Westbury; and the Cooper Union School of Art.

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