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Interview with Karl Kilian, conducted by Sarah C. Reynolds.


I grew up in Houston. I wasn’t born here, but we moved here when I was two or three. My mother’s family had been here for a while. My connection with the de Menils came rather flukishly. George (de Menil) and I were in a carpool together when we were probably in the sixth grade. I laid out of school for a semester in college and came back to Houston, and my sister and her roommate who was in the art history program [at University of St. Thomas], said that there was a class in Netherlandish painting, so I signed up. Then everyone said, “Hey, don’t you be taking that course. You should be taking the survey that’s being taught by Jermayne MacAgy.” So I did both. That was the second semester of my sophomore year. Jerry died at the end of the first semester of my junior year. But in the meantime it was a small group of people and the de Menils took sort of exceptional interest in some of us—we just began to be friends. And then I worked for Dominique, I guess, on a couple of shows. Well, I stayed at St. Thomas and graduated from there because of the art history program. Then I went to New York to go to the Institute of Fine Arts, but I continued to work for Mrs. de Menil on several of her exhibitions, so we stayed in touch there as well. Some of [the help I gave her]was with writing. For a person who wrote very well, she was a little insecure about her English. She always wrote in pencil. You could see where she’d been because there was always a little pile of eraser dust on the table where she was working.

I worked with her on an exhibition called Made of Iron for some time in Houston, and it annoyed her that sometimes she would walk into a gallery and confuse bronze with iron. She would ask about a piece and she didn’t want the person in the gallery to have to say, “Well, that’s not really iron.” So she gave me a pair of tiny pocket magnets, and we’d walk into the gallery and she would nod at me, then disappear with the gallery owner while I would go and see if the magnets stuck. If they did, then the conversation would begin about that piece. To her, this was something she was serious about that was very funny, too. Nothing was conventional.

When I moved back to Houston to begin school at the University of St. Thomas, Helen Winkler (who had become a friend by then) and some others took me to an art gallery to see the work of an artist they liked a lot. It was Kathryn Swenson’s gallery, and it was Jim Love’s second, or maybe third show there. And that kind of really threw me in to all of this.

Dominique de Menil with Karl Kilian. Courtesy of the Menil Collection.

Seeing and doing

Jerry MacAgy was involved in so much of what was going on at that time, and was also sort of a conduit because I was not only aware of what she was doing right then, but would [also] learn about what she had done earlier. In addition—and this would be a little bit later—Rick Barthelme was a close friend, and his older brother Donald Barthelme was the director for a year of the Contemporary Arts Association. So kind of depending on who you were or how much you wanted to do for it, there was a lot here to see and to do. St. Thomas at the moment I was there was really kind of the nexus for all of this. I mean, if you look at the openings of one of Jerry’s shows, or later—well, really more Jerry’s than Dominique’s—everybody went because it was probably the only thing going on that night in the arts. But it also meant that you were right in the middle of things.

Questions & Answers

anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Houston reflections: art in the city, 1950s, 60s and 70s. OpenStax CNX. May 06, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10526/1.2
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