A group of 10 artists are courting visitors to Discovery Green's Sarofim Picnic Lawn for an entirely art-driven miniature golf course. Sponsored by human resources outfit Insperity, the athletic exhibition/putt-putt course is being curated by Galveston Arts Center founder and arts patron Clint Willour.
While the golf motif looms large, each artist will imbue the respective entries with a specific conceptual and putting rigor. Former oil rig equipment fabricator turned metal art sculptor, designer and Art Car Museum director Noah Edmundson will present a streamlined "Snake Hole" made of plywood, Astroturf and steel. Drawing a page from 20th-century art history, Bill Davenport has built a mini replica of the park's Jean Dubuffet sculpture, "Monument Au Fantome." The facsimile will prod putters to navigate through Debuffet's imagined metropolis.
Art world comrades Jason Makepeace and Seth Mittag are collaborating on "Fishin Hole," which places a — you guessed it — fishing hole metaphor in place of the typical golf ball hole.
"We both have an ironic love of miniatures, so it's fitting that we're working together on a miniature golf project," says Mittag, who met Makepeace in graduate school. He continues,
Our other common interest is fishing and our real love for the Gulf Coast. Jason makes these beautiful kayaks out of carved wood, and my work is derived from stop motion animation. So Jason and I made portraits with kayaks and us fishing. There will also be details around the hole that reflect things that we've noticed and like about the Gulf Coast. We're both fathers, and so we knew that we wanted to have a hole that kids would really like."
Mini golfers will also get an eyeful from Aerosol Warfare's graffiti-infused entry and Anthony Thompson Shumate's mega-scaled pinball machine, entitled "The Galactic Forfeit Cowboy Lounge."
"It's going to be wrapped in car vinyl, so it'll have that slick graphic retro style," Thompson Shumate says. "I'm using a space theme to subversively comment on the end of the space race, the last shuttle landing and the creeping away of that industry from Houston. Of course, it's also lighthearted and about making the electronic experience into a mechanical, gravity-driven artwork."
"We have been really hoping to do something like this for awhile," Discovery Green's Susanne Theis tells CultureMap. "Insperity sponsored the helium balloon that the park featured in 2009. That was damaged in Chicago and not able to return, but we wanted to continue to collaborate with the company. They then came to us with the idea for the artist-made mini golf course.
"The Discovery Green art advisory committee then sought out artists that are interested in engaging with the public as opposed to artists working through dense art theory. We also chose curator Clint Willour, who has previously curated a show of golf-based art, so he knew which artists to look for."
It's a hole-in-one for the artists, Insperity and mini golf masters. We'll see you on the green in September.
The mini golf course/art exhibition will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 27. Admission is $5.