April 13, 2010 - Contemporary Arts Museum Houston - Perspectives 170: Cruz Ortiz and Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft
April 13, 2010

Perspectives 170: Cruz Ortiz and Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft

(left) Lauren Kalman, Hard Wear (Tongue Gilding), 2006. Digital print, laminated on acrylic. 23 x 35 inches. Courtesy the artist. (right) Cruz Ortiz, Mamacitas I Miss You Already, 2009. Watercolor and gouache on paper. 52 x 42 inches. Courtesy the artist and David Shelton Gallery, San Antonio. Photo: Justin Parr.

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is pleased to announce two exhibitions opening in May: Perspectives 170: Cruz Ortiz and Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, TX 77006


Perspectives 170: Cruz Ortiz
Opening reception: May 6, 2010, 6:30-9pm
On view: May 7 through July 11, 2010

San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz believes he may have missed his calling. “I should’ve been a honky-tonk singer,” he says. But because he can’t croon like a Conjunto or Country music star, Ortiz more than compensates by deploying a broad range of media—prints, paintings, sculptures, video, installation, and performance—to speak about life, love, and the struggle for equality. Among the humorous, oftentimes rattletrap devices Ortiz uses to enable the Spaztek—his post-Chicano, post-punk antihero alter ego—to express human yearnings for companionship and communal action are “balladic broadsides, transient architecture, life-size flying contraptions, megaphones, pushcarts, rockets, maps, banners and flags, and siege machines.” In Perspectives 170: Cruz Ortiz, the artist’s first in-depth museum exhibition and catalogue, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston will present a selection of works from these categories.

On the CAMH’s front lawn, Ortiz will construct a siege tower, a mobile structure used for scaling castle walls. This tower, like many of the artist’s constructions, will be repurposed from military to peacetime uses. It will become a multifunctional platform from which the artist may distribute silkscreen posters, music, or broadcasts from a low-power radio station. Recalling the decorated, information-disseminating agitprop trains used in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution to enlighten the population with “agitation” and “propaganda,” the siege tower will be an important center for the Spaztek’s campaign to spread understanding and good will. The CAMH’s downstairs Zilkha Gallery will feature a tent city inspired by Ortiz’s students at the San Antonio high school where he teaches art, many of whom grew up in similar improvised shelters in refugee camps in Africa. It also will contain posters and other works relating to the siege tower and other projects.

Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft
Opening reception: May 14, 2010, 7-10pm
On view: May 15-July 25, 2010

Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft is a dynamic group exhibition that explores the innovative means by which artists continue to expand the traditional boundaries of art and craft. Through the integration of performance, the artists featured in this exhibition have broadened the context of craft in contemporary art. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston will present sculptural objects, environments, and site-specific installations along with photography and video documenting performances, as well as a series of live performance events. Featured artists include the collaborative group B Team, Conrad Bakker, Nick Cave, Cat Chow, Sonya Clark, Gabriel Craig, Theaster Gates, Cynthia Giachetti, Ryan Gothrup, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Lauren Kalman, Christy Matson, James Melchert, Yuka Otani, Sheila Pepe, Michael Rea, Anne Wilson, Saya Woolfalk, and Bohyun Yoon.

Several new works will be featured in Hand+Made, including a Book of the Month Club series by Conrad Bakker; Soundsuits by Nick Cave; two site-specific installations; and performances by Theaster Gates, Cynthia Giachetti, and Anne Wilson. Performance event highlights include public interventions by Pro Bono Jeweler Gabriel Craig, in various locations throughout the city; knitting nights for audiences to unravel the installation created by Sheila Pepe; a restaging of a 1972 happening by pioneering ceramic artist James Melchert; an endurance performance by Anne Wilson in collaboration with Hope Stone Dance Company; and a musical performance by Theaster Gates with a local Houston choir. The exhibition will close with a performance by Cynthia Giachetti. The Museum will use web-streaming to share these events with broader audiences.

Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft is made possible by generous support from the Union Pacific Foundation, Sara and Bill Morgan, and donors to the Museum’s Major Exhibition Fund. The Museum’s Perspectives Exhibition Series is presented in part by donations to its Perspectives Fund.

The Museum’s operations and programs are made possible through the generosity of the Museum’s trustees, patrons, members and donors. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston receives partial operating support from the Houston Endowment, Inc., the City of Houston through the Houston Museum District Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Continental Airlines is the official airline of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

With more than sixty years of progressive programming, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston exemplifies the dynamic relationship between contemporary society and contemporary art. A non-collecting institution, CAMH presents award-winning exhibitions in its iconic steel parallelogram building designed by prominent architect Gunnar Birkerts. A vigorous schedule of innovative, diverse programs invites audiences of all ages to learn more about art and the exhibitions on view and all are offered free of charge.

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is located at 5216 Montrose Boulevard, at the corner of Montrose and Bissonnet, in the heart of Houston’s Museum District. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Thursdays to 9pm, and Sundays noon to 5pm. Admission is always free. For more information, visit www.camh.org or call (713) 284-8250.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
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