Jun 20, 2008

The Station Museum - Defending Democracy!

Connor and I got a chance to visit The Station Museum of Contemporary Art again. I have to say that this museum and the Menil are my two favorite places to view art at the moment. The Menil is fantastic with so many pieces of classic art, antiquities, and an incredible Surrealist collection. The Station Museum is a different kind of museum. The installations I have seen so far are based on a theme that ties all of the work together. Although it is a smaller exhibition space, each of the exhibits I have viewed there was staged for maximum visual impact, and they have all been incredibly provocative.

The exhibit currently showing is Defending Democracy and it features Emory Douglas: The Black Panther Party, Otabenga Jones & Associates, and ASAR (Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca). As the curator said, "This is revolutionary art for the people." Notice the markers on the floor, put there for patrons to be able to contribute their own revolutionary declarations. Connor wrote, "McCain is OLD!" I'm not sure how revolutionary that statement is, but it made him feel good to put his two cents on the walls of a museum.

As I walked through the museum, it occurred to me that many of the works I was viewing were painted directly on the walls of the museum. I know The Station Museum well at this point, so I realized that the works would be destroyed when the exhibit ends, because they were not on canvas or paper that could be rolled up and sent off. The ASAR logo is a gun with a finger on the trigger. I had to be told this by the curator, because I thought it was a watch and a cell phone (I know, how revolutionary is watch and a cell phone?).

I told the curator on duty that it was a shame that the murals would no longer exist in a matter of weeks. I also said that I have always wanted to take pictures in a museum, and I was shocked when he responded by telling me to take all the pictures I wanted. I didn't believe him at first and asked a couple of times if he was sure- as you can see by the pictures here, he was serious.
This is a woodblock print about two by two and a half feet. There are many of these works on display in the exhibit, including one that is about 6 times the size of this one. I never saw woodblock prints that were this large before. There is a lot of the exhibit that I left out, because my pictures did not turn out very good. I did take some video of the back room of the exhibit, which has been turned into the basketball court for El Shabazz H.S., with a net, a score board and bleachers for watching the documentary that is playing. It was a visionary concept to create a theater out of a basketball court and for the presentation of this film.

I have to credit the curator, James Harithas, for his vision and for consistently and imaginatively presenting a unique variety of contemporary art at the Station.

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