Friday, May 12, 2017

Best Activism through Art in Houston

Houston is a beautiful city for rich cowboy culture, that famous Texas pride, and more history than you could experience in a single visit. But this city isn’t stuck in the past, and if you’re looking to see the new marks on history, politics, and more of that bigger-is-better Texas charm, then make a visit to Station Museum of Contemporary Art’s new exhibition: “Corpocracy.”


From funny, to interpretive, to wild; all the art presented at this new unveiling is designed with activism at heart, telling a message while playing with the mind. Here are a few of the best activism through art pieces you can expect to find in Houston:

1. Judi Werthein

The first must-see piece of art activism is Judi Werthein’s “Brinco (Jump),” which is a display set against stark blue walls with screens explaining the design and purpose of the centerpiece: which, of course, are the rows and rows of Brinco tennis shoes. Designed with “more than meets the eye” in mind, the shoes are decorated with an Aztec eagle that stretches the length of the sole to become an American eagle — with a hidden surprise. Money, a compass, and a flashlight are concealed in the sole, along with a map showing wearers illegal routes from Tijuana to San Diego. Specially designed for illegal Mexican immigrants, Judi Werthein’s intention with the art is to get people talking about the issue of immigration.

2. Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung

Make sure to keep your sense of humor intact when you glimpse Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung’s piece: a beautifully rendered but particularly busy digital painting. It shows Former President Obama in ethnic costume riding a Pegasus with Hillary Clinton’s head, surrounded by a variety of symbols depicting Israel, Uncle Sam, the White House representing that “Big Brother is watching,” and more that could be considered controversial. In any case, it’s big, it’s colorful, and it makes you stop and think.


3. Eugenio Merino

Eugenio Merino’s piece requires you to get up close and personal to admire the details, and then sit back and think about the intricate meanings. Entering a room, you’ll be surrounded by rows and rows of famous political figures rendered in expert detail; all of which seem to be cryogenically frozen in Coca Cola vending machines. The figures include several presidents and dictators around the world, the positions and expression of which will have you scratching your head. In full uniform with excellently detailed faces, this piece has the aim of symbolizing how much consumerism has affected our world.

4. Steve Lambert

Some of the most impactful are is often the simplest, and this is the impression gained from Steve Lambert’s crisp and telling display. Stepping into an unassuming room, you’ll be met with a giant billboard in old-time light blaring back at you. In massive letters read “Capitalism Works for Me!” with smaller signs on either side reading “True” or “False.” Beneath each is a “score keeping” number. As a viewer, you can press a button to vote whether capitalism does or doesn’t work for you, just as all the viewers behind you can as well. At the end of the day, it only tells a powerful message at first glance, but serves as a valuable social point. Some days “true” wins out, and other days “false” does.


5. Michael D’Antuono

Michael D’Antuono’s effort to express activism through art is perhaps the most extensive piece in the exhibition’s collection, where every inch of the room is used to tell his story. His piece is a “boardroom” that you can walk through, displaying a beautiful table and corporate chairs. Behind these chairs are stunning oil paintings with extremely opinionated subjects. One in particular is “Profit and Loss (Military Industrial Complex),” where it replicates the iconic image of “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.” Except the flags represent corporations, being raised over the dead bodies of soldiers.



It’s impossible to deny that these displays of activism through art — only to name a few — pack a punch. So if you’re there to view art that mirrors your beliefs or simply want a taste of Houston’s culture, stop into the Station Museum of Contemporary Art’s new exhibition: “Corpocracy” for a taste of something you won’t find anywhere else in the country. If you’re looking to bring some of that artistic flare home, then check out 6 Designer Accessories That Cost Less Than You’d Think to give your home the same punch as an art exhibit.

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