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Artifacts

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There is a lot of performance in SA, and thankfully, not all of it entails sitting down an hour or more. Last Sunday night Justin Parr wrapped up his exhibit “Wait at the Best Destination” with a blow-out barbeque at Sala Diaz, with smoked wurst, chicken, beer, and more side dishes than I could count. The feed put the proper spin on Parr’s show, which had aspects of a potluck, too. Inside the tiny Stieren Street art space rows of homegrown onions lined the walls, looking like green and purple treble notes on oversized sheet music. The nails holding them in place were put in uncovered patch holes from previous shows, a sort of ready-made in the pattern department. Piles of salt evoking life’s essentials and rows of Parr’s wobbly glass marbles joined in a collection that included a video loop projection and some prints. I still haven’t figured out why the quirky, anomalous exhibit worked without a trace of preciousness, but suspect that grilling some of the onions helped.

More art-show-appropriate food was passed out on Saturday when the group show “Maize: En el umbral de la agonia” opened at Esperanza Peace & Justice Center. Tasty ears of corn added to the maize-themed exhibition that is traveling with the guidance of the MAMAZ (maize is our life) collective of women artists from Oaxaca, Mexico. In SA local artists joined the permanent collection about corn and tradition, making it a local/international hybrid — an artist response to the industrial seed hybrids that are supplanting hundreds of corn varieties worldwide. The show is up through August.

SA is in the export biz, too, but benevolently so, we hope. Rex Hausmann is continuing his campaign to ship SA artists out of town with a new show in Brooklyn, N.Y., “Booking it to Brooklyn.” The show opened last Friday at Central Booking art space at 111 Front Street, heart of the DUMBO art district. Good luck in the Apple, kids.

More in- and outta-town news: SA playwright and performance artist Virginia Grise, winner of the 2010 Yale Drama Series competition and the 2010 Princess Grace Award in Theater Directing is looking forward to publication of her play blu in September by Yale University Press. The play dwells on the aftermath of the death of a Mexican American family’s eldest son in Iraq. A press release from Yale says Grise is “a blazingly talented writer” and that the play “challenges us to try to imagine a time before war.”

“It’s pretty exciting, because the way the publishing world is right now, plays do not often get published,” Grise told the Current, adding, “Plays almost never get published before they are premiered,” which is the case for blu. Though still awaiting its first production, the play is already being taught in the University of California system’s drama schools. Grise’s work has been seen in town at Bihl Haus Arts; last March the multi-media production I Was Born Here. Roses are yellow and the Alamo is a blood-tree with poet Barbara Renaud Gonzalez, filmmaker Mirasol Riojas, and visual artist Deborah Kuetzpalin Vasquez was a hit during CAM. Grise hopes to work with Bihl Haus again to stage Making Myph, a site-specific performance that will take place in an SA bar next year if all goes well. Tavern owners, heads up.

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