When: Thu., Aug. 6, 6-10 p.m., Fri., Aug. 7, 6-10 p.m. and Aug. 8-22 2015
Together with Central Library’s “Art About Art” (which closed July 31), Texas A&M’s “The Southwestern Clichés” (on view through September 27) and the Guadalupe’s “Getting the Big Picture” (on view through October 24), FL!GHT Gallery’s new exhibition “Sex & Cinema with Mel Casas” rounds out a citywide tribute to late artist Mel Casas (1929-2014). An El Paso native, Casas played a key role in San Antonio-based Chicano art group Con Safo in the ’60s and ’70s, landed in the 1975 Whitney Biennial and taught “a generation of artists” during his 29 years at San Antonio College. Originally sparked by a glimpse of a drive-in movie screen (on which a close-up image of a woman appeared to be “munching” trees amid the landscape), Casas’ epic Humanscapes series (1965-1989) serves as a common thread between all four exhibitions. Curated by art historian/educator/author Ruben C. Cordova and encompassing nearly half of the 150 large-scale paintings that make up Humanscapes, the quartet of shows touches on myriad themes — from Chicano identity and Nixon-era politics to pop art and censorship. Rooted in Casas’ view of cinema as a “fantasy machine” and the drive-in as “a place for sexual experience,” FL!GHT’s “Sex & Cinema” comprises 10 paintings, including some of the oldest works in the Humanscapes series.