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511 west 25th street | new york, ny | 10001

isbn-13: 978-0-9791843-8-3 isbn-10: 0-9791843-8-X

butch hancock

two thousand

butch hancock c u e ar t foundat ion o c t o be r

18– d ece mbe r 1, 2007

With a performance by Butch Hancock and Terry Allen Friday, October 19th at 6:30pm

cur at ed by

terry allen


We are honored and grateful to present this exhibition generously curated by Terry Allen. For the CUE solo exhibition series, Mr. Allen has chosen Butch Hancock, a fellow artist living and working in Terlingua, Texas. Hancock is an artist who has received much admiration from his contemporaries, not only for his unique artistic voice but also for his generosity to other artists. Allen’s appreciation of Hancock’s work demonstrates just such admiration.

We appreciate that artists often work tirelessly without thought or concern for exhibition. CUE is pleased to recognize such commitment by affording this opportunity, thus celebrating the efforts of artists such as Butch Hancock.

butch hancock [artist’s statement]

A traveling musician is blessed and cursed with miles and miles of travel between concerts. I have carried cameras and sketchbooks on every tour. The results are simply visual notes and split-second openings into the fleeting conditions that produce fleeting appearances. Photographs and drawings and writings variously effect, affect, reflect, amplify, distort, record and erase the selected and extended moments of those appearances. They mess with time and are trapped in time.

Perhaps, as their saving grace, they give us all a chance to step out of our own time and out of our own traps. Art leads you nowhere but within. P.S. Technical note: Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad, Graflex, Bic medium ball-point.

terry allen [curator’s statement]

Butch and I were sitting and talking in a pub in London. We’d been off in different directions playing music around England and both had about two weeks to go. Chernobyl had just happened and we were wondering if the “commie cloud” was coming our way. We weren’t particularly concerned because we’d both grown up in West Texas in the 50s chasing DDT trucks down alleys on our bikes. With that in our blood, and playing music in clubs, toxic was normal. While talking, Butch was also drawing in a cheap little red & black Chinese notebook with a bic ballpoint. I asked him about the book and he handed it over. That was my first look at the Butch Hancock who makes a whole lot more wonders than just great songs. When CUE asked me to invite an artist I admired to do a show, I immediately thought of Butch. He’s made his life completely about the making of amazing things. Other than music, only a small group of friends and family really know about this other work. Hopefully, this exhibition will offer a good opportunity for a new and wider audience to get at least a glimpse of that…. Photographs, film, video, outlandish architectural propositions, elaborate ballpoint drawings, handmade journals filled with writings, sketches and scrawls, etc…. and always, the songs.

In the 80s and 90s, Butch had a space he called Lubbock or Leave it. It was in a big warehouse in the downtown heart of Austin. It was his private studio and open to the public … a music venue, theater, art gallery, movie theater, recording studio, bookstore, record store, and he slept in the back. Wide open, it was a central gathering spot for all manner of artists, musicians, and writers from across the world. Many extraordinary things were made and happened in that place. Now Butch lives with Adrienne and their three kids, Helena, Katy and Rory, in an endless monumental structure he’s designing and building by hand as he goes. It is on the desert flats outside of Terlingua, TX, near the Rio Grande and on the edge of Big Bend National Park. What he’s creating there defies description. Like Butch himself … and the many profound pleasures to be had in experiencing the wide range of his works.

Rosslare Pages from Notebook... Ireland, 1990 Scanned inkjet print from original ballpoint pen on paper, 10” x 12½”

Cantilevered Structure (from 3 x 5 notebook)..., 1980 Scanned inkjet print from original ballpoint pen on paper, 7” x 11½”

Tooth House (bic #38)..., 1977 Scanned inkjet print from original ball-point pen on paper 23½” x 18”

Black Arch Tower (bic #3)..., 1969 Scanned inkjet print from original ball-point pen on paper, 16½” x 10 3/4”

Flight of Garuda (bic book #41)..., 2004 Scanned inkjet print from original ball-point pen on paper 16½” x 10 3/4”

Visitor to the Revolutionary Rainbow...Kiev, Ukraine, 1987 Silver gelatin print 22¼” x 15”

Upright Popcorn #2..., 1985 Silver gelatin print 14” x 11”

Cross and Ball...Mexico, 1989 Inkjet print 20¾” x 20¾”

Dawg at Leap... Lubbock, Texas, 1970 Inkjet print 30” x 20¼”


Born on the flatlands in Lubbock, TX, July 12, 1945, butch hancock now wonders, “What would have happened to me if I had not encountered the guitar, the camera, and the ball-point pen?” These tools have served him well (“So far,” he says) in his explorations as an artist. After an extended bout with architecture school at Texas Tech University (1963-1971), he continued his amazing ball-point pen drawings of curved and curious architecture (begun in 1969), and pursued music and songwriting…first, as a founding member of the legendary Flatlanders (with Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore), and, to the present day, as a world traveling troubadour-songwriter with a long string of recorded songs and albums. He has continued to draw and photograph for forty years and more, and has amassed an impressive body of work. In 1969 and ’70, he worked for Jeremiah O. Bragstad, architectural photographer, on the West Coast. “That was actually the last full-time employment I had,” Mr. Hancock insists. Self-employed, since, he remains an independent in many respects—he has his own record companies (Rainlight since 1976, and Two Roads since 2006)—he has shown a penchant for live recordings, and has toured mostly as a solo act, carrying cameras on all his tours and travels from Alaska to Mexico to Russia to Australia to “all over Europe” to Hong Kong and Kathmandu, to mention a few. In 1978-80, Mr. Hancock designed and remodeled a train station near Seguin, Texas, the home of

the world’s largest pecan. In 1983, with George Howard, he co-founded Artist Seven Studio in Austin, and for five years co-produced over 150 video tapings of Texas musicians (“Dixie’s Bar and Bus Stop,” cablecast in Texas 1984-86). His artwork and photography have been exhibited mostly in Texas, in museums, galleries, restaurants and honky tonks, not the least of which was the Texas State Capitol Rotunda (1978). And, in 1990, he rented and remodeled a first floor loft space in downtown Austin, named it Lubbock-or-Leave-It, and headquartered there for six years. It became a store, gallery, tape-dupe operation, photo studio and darkroom, and miscellaneous performance space that presented a wide range of Texas artists and performers and exhibitions. Also in 1990, Mr. Hancock and more than two dozen musician friends played six straight nights of live performance in Austin’s famed Cactus Café, recording 140 of his original songs with no repetitions. He released the staggering output later in the year as the No Two Alike Tape of the Month club. 1997 brought the birth of Rory, Mr. Hancock’s son, and the family moved to Terlingua, Texas, to live and, as Mr. Hancock allows,” to find better parking places.” Before leaving Austin, however, Mr. Hancock found time to entertain the Former Governor of the State of Texas, at a Christmas supper in the Governor’s Mansion. During the evening meal the Former Governor of the State of Texas commented “I must

say I certainly envy your lifestyle.” Although that particular Former Governor of the State of Texas later assumed a paid position in The White House, Mr. Hancock admits that, “With all that has transpired since that night, I have more and more trouble believing that he meant a word of that at the time. But…you know, I bet it just might be true if he said it today.” In Terlingua, for the last few years, besides hosting music/camping/rafting trips on rivers from Terlingua to Taos, and Veracruz to Arizona and Colorado, Mr. Hancock has been building, almost single-handedly, a strange, rambling, solar-powered experiment of a Chihuahuan Desert residence. From 2002 to mid-2004, he toured nationally with The Flatlanders and two new Flatlander CDs, with appearances on Don Imus and David Letterman shows. From 2004 to 2006, he worked steadily on more ball-point drawings, turning out over 95 finished pieces in a single sketchbook. Last year, Mr. Hancock wrote, recorded, produced and played most every instrument on War and Peace, his most recent CD. In late November, he will host yet another Music-on- the-River rafting trip through Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande. The CUE Art Foundation, with artist Terry Allen as curator, presents the most extensive exhibit of Mr. Hancock’s drawings since 1978, with an overview of his photography spanning four decades.

terry allen is a visual artist and songwriter

who was raised in Lubbock, TX. He has received numerous awards and honors including Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, Bessie (New York) and Isadora Duncan (San Francisco) Awards for text, music, sets, costumes for Pedal Steal (Margaret Jenkins Dance C0.) and recent induction into the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame, Lubbock, TX. His work has been shown throughout the United States and Europe, and is represented in major private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles. His numerous public commissions can be found in such places as L.A.’s Citicorp Plaza, San Francisco’s The Moscone Center, The Stuart Collection at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla, CA and Denver, Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth Intercontinental airports. He has written for and worked in both radio and theater. Some of his selected staged works include, Jurez the Embrace.…Advanced to Fury, and AntiRabbit Bleeder, which he wrote and directed; Pioneer, set design, co-written with Jo Harvey Allen & Rinde Eckert, directed by Robert Woodruff, Paul Dresher Production, performed throughout the USA; Leon and Lena (and Lenz), composer, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN; Chippy: Diaries of a West Texas Hooker, set and costume

co-written with Jo Harvey Allen, music co-written with Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, directed by Evan Yionoulis, co-produced by American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia, PA & Lincoln Center’s ‘Serious Fun!’ series, New York. Allen has recorded eleven albums of original songs, including classics Juarez (reissued, Sugar Hill Records, 2004) and Lubbock (on everything), and the most recent Americana Masters Series: Terry Allen, Sugar Hill and CD re-issue of his soundtrack for the 1986 German film, Amerasia on Sugar Hill. Allen’s songs have been recorded by such diverse artists as Bobby Bare, Little Feat, Robert Earl Keen, David Byrne, Ricky Nelson, Virgil Shaw and Lucinda Williams. He had written numerous songs for film and theater, including the music soundtrack for Jane Anderson’s recent Showtime Emmy nominated The Baby Dance and had currently completed a multi-media trilogy titled Dugout, which was shown in its entirety in Los Angeles, Feb-May 2004. He has been described by critic Dave Hickey in the Los Angeles Times as a “renaissance man…renowned for his effortless command and outrageous combination of disparate genres and media, according to the task at hand.” His visual work is available at L.A. Louver Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA and Moody Gallery, Houston, TX. Terry Allen lives and works in Santa Fe, NM, with his wife, actress and writer, Jo Harvey Allen.

CUE Art Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit forum for contemporary art and cultural exchange between artists and the public. We value the astonishing level of creativity that artists provide and the importance of their activity in the social context of the city. CUE provides artists, students, scholars and art professionals with resources at many stages of their careers and creative lives. Our programs include exhibitions, studio residencies, publications, professional development seminars, educational outreach, symposia, readings and performances. Since 2002, we have operated from our 4,500 square foot storefront gallery in the heart of New York’s Chelsea Arts District. CUE artists are chosen by their peers and a rotating group of advisors and curators from across the country. This pluralistic process ensures that CUE consistently offers diverse viewpoints from multiple disciplines of artistic practice. Simply put, we give artists their CUE to take center stage in the challenging world of art.

Board of Directors Gregory Amenoff Theodore S. Berger Patricia Caesar Thomas G. Devine Thomas K.Y. Hsu Brian D. Starer Advisory Council Gregory Amenoff Bill Berkson William Corbett Michelle Grabner Deborah Kass Kris Kuramitsu Jonathan Lethem Lari Pittman Irving Sandler Staff Executive Director Jeremy Adams Director of Development Bryan Markovitz

Cover: Can Wall - Hancock Residence…Terlingua, Texas [detail], 2006 Inkjet print from digital photograph, 15 4/5” x 10½” All artwork © Butch Hancock

Programs Director Beatrice Wolert-Weese Programs Assistant Ryan White

Catalog design by typeslowly

Development Assistant Talia Spetter

Printed by mar+x myles, inc. using 100% wind generated power on FSC certified paper

Preparator Drew Lichtenstein

isbn-13: 978-0-9791843-8-3 isbn-10: 0-9791843-8-X

Butch Hancock  
Butch Hancock  

Butch Hancock exhibition catalog