Parodying self-help gurus, religious cults and creepy corporate "team building," the Austin artist collective Okay Mountain has brought its incisive, yet engagingly goofball, work to the Blaffer Art Museum with "First Take: Okay Mountain."
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In a projected video, a woman in grey-ish clothing speaks to you in hypnotically soothing tones, giving detailed instructions on everything from relaxation to communal cooking to furniture assembly. It could just as easily be the DVD for a cult handbook as a Fortune 500 employee orientation video.
Meanwhile, Trust Staircase is a wheeled wooden staircase leading to nowhere. Its treads are covered with glowing "coals." At the front of each step, illuminated sentences present assertive statements, like "Your mind is calm" and "You can choose your own fate." Behind the staircase is a mattress with a rough target painted on it. It's a smart, perceptive and funny installation.
Okay Mountain could easily take a page from L. Ron Hubbard and start its own freakin' religion.
Through April 2. Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building, 713-743-9521.