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Monday, September 25, 2023


Museum showcases contemporary pieces of art

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston spotlights 16 Texas artists with more than 70 works that include video, photography and abstract forms of art in the exhibition Nexus Texas. The body of work is as diverse as the artists, whose backgrounds range from time spent in Houston to Brazil, but who all, at one time or another, have called Texas home.

One enjoyable piece in the exhibition, "Bicicletas," consists of six colorful life-size bikes made from vinyl. They are placed in front of an enlarged photo of a sunset. The most interesting thing about "Bicicletas," though, is its relationship to another piece, "Hummer." The hummers, which are generally seen as powerful vehicles, are miniature.

The bikes also enjoy their placement in front of a beautiful red and orange sunset while the gas-guzzlers are simply placed on the floor, close to the entrance of the museum. According to the works’ description, El Paso artist Margarita Cabrera uses the bikes to represent the poor who have the potential to be stronger than the forces that weigh them down.

Two works of art by San Antonio artist Gary Sweeney also have deep meanings. "Life is Just High School With Money" features a large photo of what looks like a senior class having a good time about 20 or 30 years ago. The image is overlapped by the title phrase, implying that the social cliques and stigma of high school follow people throughout life, and may, in fact, be impossible to avoid.

"We’ve got Spirit (South Carolina Basketball, Islamic Jihadists)" illustrates another high school or college theme. The phrase, "We’ve Got Spirit Yes We Do, We’ve Got Spirit, How About You?" is spelled out across a washed-out photograph. The left side the photo shows people cheering and yelling for what one can assume from the title is their basketball team. The right side of the piece shows angry Muslims yelling or perhaps protesting. Sweeney illustrates a scary resemblance between mob mentality anger and high school or college sporting events. Both entail the shouting of meaningless slogans that are used to hype people up.

The stuffed sculpture, "Bush," by Austin-based artist Sterling Allen, looks more like a Sesame Street character than anything else. Perhaps Allen had a deeper meaning in mind, but the giant, crazed cookie-monster eyes of the piece made it difficult to focus on anything else about it.

On view through Oct. 18, Nexus Texas is a great way to see what artists from El Paso to Dallas have to offer. Admission to CAMH is free, but a donation is suggested. For more information, visit

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