Breaking Down Monstrous Coupling, a Big, Wild, Springsteen-y Exhibit at UT Dallas

Categories: Visual Art

Todora Cochran.jpg
Boss Shop by Kristen Cochran and Kevin Todora
Shifting from strange to familiar, then endearing to wacky, the UT-Dallas exhibition "Monstrous Coupling" finds both comedy and sobriety among oddball artistic pairings. Curator Andy Amato contextualizes each piece through a list-of-works stacked by each entrance, and it's a fun read, using a quote from The Tempest to set the mood and dialogue between the artists and himself to describe the art.

Let's break it down two by two:

The pairing of Kristen Cochran and Kevin Todora resulted in "Boss Shop," pictured above, a crazy plant land with Bruce Springsteen and mulch. It's a walk-in space with a red-carpet walkway and creatively placed pictures of the Boss, who is laughing at you, not with you. Here is an excerpt from Amato's context:

KC Andy help me rotate sculpture

KT Can I add cheeseburger?

KC I'm too far away to stop you;)

Ha! Artists are weirdos! (Though not all weirdos are artists.)


Jenny Vogel and Brian Fridge.jpg
Jenny Vogel and Brian Fridge
"Untitled," by Jenny Vogel and Brian Fridge, pairs a 33-second color video with a handmade record and turntable. The record player was built to function (it doesn't), but the visual suggestion of sound tricked me into believing there was indeed an audio track somewhere, and I got ridiculously close to each of the pieces, listening for sound that wasn't there.


Rebecca Carter and Michael Blair.jpg
Rebecca Carter and Michael Blair
Children's drawings are the hub of "Eyeball Monster Chronicles from The Monster a Day Journal," a collaboration between Rebecca Carter and Michael Blair, who created separate but related works. Carter's animated video uses drawings by Blair's son, and has an aquatic quality that renders the little boy's monsters simultaneously whimsical and terrifying.

Blair's painting has the same color scheme as Carter's video and looks like graffiti in detail -- and then you discover the context. The text in Blair's painting comes from a card written by Carter's grandmother, who was in the early stages of dementia. It's a lovely, heartbreaking circle.


Michael A. Morris and Nick Barbee.jpg
Michael A. Morris and Nick Barbee
A tiny, cave-like space inside the exhibition houses the twisty pleasures of a Michael A. Morris/Nick Barbee collaboration. Based on the mid-19th century Dallas commune La Reunion (not to be confused with our modern-day arts organization of the same name), the installation includes an unsettling 8mm film of graves accompanied by Beethoven's "Sonata Pathétique." Cyanotypes of different measuring techniques run along the wall, and a freaky plastic tub filled with floating cut lemons sits on the floor. It's a freaky and fascinating assembly of carefully gauged elements that left me feeling teased and bewildered. I did not understand it, but I was intrigued.

Next: Fucking with Facebook, and more.

Location Info


University of Texas at Dallas Galleries

2601 N. Floyd Road, Richardson, TX

Category: General

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Thanks Betsy, this is great! Thanks for unpacking each of these. 


Mike Morris

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