When I first moved to Houston in late 2016, I recall seeing Sarah Sudhoff at art openings, but we didn’t meet in person until February 2020 before the pandemic shut down the world. I impulsively called her one day and said, “Let’s be friends. Can you come over for coffee?” to which she immediately replied “yes” and was at my house the very next day.
She is a Houston-based artist, arts administrator, educator, and curator whose work has consistently interwoven themes of gender, science, and personal experience over the course of her career.
We connected on so many levels unknown to us until we met face to face and finally became friends. I admire her so much. She is very talented, and juggles a lot in her busy life — a single working mom with two kids under the age of 10 who simultaneously creates compelling works of art.
Enjoy our conversation.
~ Melissa Richardson Banks
FREE VIRTUAL ARTIST ROUNDTABLE on MON 3/8/2021 @ 6 PM (Central): Listen to Sarah live in conversation with other Houston-area artists discussing their diverse practices, including ways in which their works explore the body as a complex nexus of comfort, joy, hope, desire and danger. Their works are included in the exhibition “Carriers: The Body as a Site of Danger and Desire” on view at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas through March 14, 2021. Register for free on Eventbrite – note that this virtual program will also air — and be archived — on the Blaffer Art Museum’s YouTube Channel. In addition to Sarah Sudhoff, other participating artists include Francis Almendárez, j. bilhan, Violette Bule, Ryan Hawk, Robert Hodge, Matt Manalo, Gerardo Rosales, Jasmine Zelaya, Nick Vaughan, and Jake Margolin.
Sarah Sudhoff and I begin our discussion about how we first met, then quickly move to talking about her 2012 project “Supply & Demand,” which focuses on her artistic expressions tied to her personal experiences with breastfeeding. We then discuss “Point of Origin,” her evolving exhibition that I first saw at the Cindy Lisica Gallery. Because of the aviation sounds she incorporated into the installation, I felt an immediate personal connection as my father worked on helicopters early in his career. Her father served as a military pilot and she grew up on or near military bases. For her, aviation sounds represent nostalgia, as well as both hope and fear. Later, for a period of time, Sarah lived under the direct paths of military training routes and the air ambulance system in San Antonio, and when she moved back to Houston, she found herself looking skyward again, following the red helicopters of Memorial Hermann’s Life Flight crews. We then segue to these times of Covid and how and why she conceived and executed her artworks (videos and prints): “60 Pounds of Pressure” and “Will You Hug Me Forever.” Both sets of artworks are included in a group exhibition “Carriers: The Body as a Site of Danger and Desire” on view at the Blaffer Art Museum, January 27 thru March 14, 2021. We wrap up our conversation to discuss her installation “The Reading Brain,” which is on display in conjunction with the exhibition “Beautiful Minds” as part of her selection as the 2020 Artist-In-Residence at The DoSeum in San Antonio, Texas.
Throughout the course of her career, Sarah Sudhoff’s work has consistently interwoven themes of gender, science, and personal experience. She holds an M.F.A. in Photography from New York’s Parsons School of Design and a B.J. in Journalism and Photography from the University of Texas at Austin. She received in 2019 and 2017 an Individual Artist Grant from Houston Arts Alliance for her recent body of work and is the Executive Director for the Texas Photographic Society. Sarah previously served as Executive Director of Houston Center for Photography and the owner of Capsule Gallery in Houston. She has been a photo editor for Texas Monthly and Time magazines. She has exhibited internationally and across the U.S.
ABOUT THIS PODCAST
Hosted by me, Melissa Richardson Banks, the “MUSED: LA 2 HOU” podcast focuses on topics tied to life journeys connected to Los Angeles and Houston, literally and/or figuratively.
WHY THIS PODCAST
A year ago, I started thinking about doing a podcast that connected my worlds in Los Angeles and Houston. While my friends who are baseball fans might say otherwise, the two sprawling metropolitan areas are similar in so many ways — sister cities of sorts. In some ways, Houston leads the way and in other ways, Los Angeles is on top. That’s why I love these two cities so much. I get the best of both worlds. The two photographs of each city below describe how I felt at the time that I shot them: one as I was leaving L.A. (“Keep Something Alive”), which in hindsight, forecast my year in 2016; and the other shortly after I arrived in H-Town (“I Might Love You”), which mirrored how I was then beginning to feel:
Since August of 2016, until the pandemic, I have commuted monthly from Houston to Los Angeles where I had lived for over two decades. In Southern California, I am known for my work producing, promoting and navigating the art world, which includes managing the Chicano art collection of Cheech Marin, documenting the fast-changing Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles as a photographer known as @DowntownMuse, and running my consulting firm CauseConnect. In Texas, I was able to lay low for a while, enjoy art every day, and be a tourist while re-connecting with my family. My photography continues in Houston and I share images of life here online as @MUSEDla2hou (formerly @HTownMuse). Because I felt “MUSED” out and that is how I came up with the name of my podcast: “MUSED: LA 2 HOU” (if you are from New York, we pronounced HOU as YOU!).
While this is not my first podcast (I hosted and produced “A.D. Live” in 2013 and “A Muse on the Road” in 2015), this time, I had to learn and understand in-studio technology since my previous podcasts were more of an impromptu “woman on the street” format. I am learning so much, so forgive again how I am releasing this – learn with me! Between paying clients and contracted projects, I began researching what I should do, and then Covid messed up my originally planned format (hosting guests in my home, along with a live audience, salon style). Now, I also have had to learn editing and how to remotely bring guests into the mix.
- Wes Brown and Todd Piersen generously have given time and direction to me. Their Tenet podcast is amazing (subscribe!) and I am the featured guest in one of their episodes.
- Christopher Fudurich — mixer, sound engineer, producer and musician — thankfully assisted me with much-needed technical assistance when I first launched this podcast.
- David Strother (electric violinist and composer) and his musical collaborator Scot Ray (lap slide steel guitarist) graciously have allowed my use of a clip of their song “Gravity Plate” from their album “Space Yard” that has my Houston image as its cover. Buy their album on Bandcamp by clicking HERE.
- Jon Berry — award-winning designer and photographer — designed my podcast logo.