The downstairs gallery houses the artist’s País tiempo (2007-2012), which is made up of a series of prints of the front pages of El País and El Tiempo newspapers. Houston Press art reviewer Kelly Klaasmeyer described País tiempo this way: “Thick sheets of paper sized and folded like a daily newspaper are ‘printed’ with the front page of the publications. But instead of using ink, the artist burned the images onto the paper. As you turn the pages, the burn marks become fainter. The initially blurry front-page image and text become still less readable with each turn, the same way the searing news of the day fades in our collective memories. While our short attention spans move quickly on to the next big news, for those directly affected by the newspapers’ horror of the day, the marks do not fade.”
In the upstairs gallery, Muñoz has the video Editor Solitario (2011), which explores a similar theme. A looped 20-minute video is projected down onto rectangles of paper on a table. It shows a hand laying out pictures. Some are family photos, others are mugshots. Shots of dead people are intermingled with autographed pictures of smiling celebrities. There’s even the Christ-like image from the Shroud of Turin. Viewers see the anonymous hand constantly changing the photos, one on top of another, over and over. With each change, a loud clank is heard (a death knell, perhaps). As with País tiempo, we haven’t fully understood one image before we move on to another. And that is, perhaps, the message Muñoz wants to get across. We consume, but don’t necessarily understand media.
See “Oscar Muñoz” before the exhibit closes in late August. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Through August 25. 1506 West Alabama.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Starts: June 7. Continues through Aug. 25, 2012