“What Shall We Do Next?” is not only a jumping-off point for DiverseWorks’ newest exhibit, but could also be a statement about a significant change recently made by the midsize contemporary arts vehicle.
The exhibit, curated by DiverseWorks’ associate curator Rachel Cook, is the first at the organization’s new home at The MATCH, a cohesive collection of beautifully portioned pods of visual and performing arts at 3400 Main. DiverseWorks, the 34-year-old arts production and presenting institution, recently moved to the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston from its most recent home at 4102 Fannin, and hopes to expand its programming in the cooperative-like arts hub.
Cook’s exhibit, which opened Thursday and continues through March 19, “examines how technology and advertising have shifted our relationships to our physical bodies, our shaping of subjectivity, and notions of the real,” according to the exhibit statement. The group show features worldwide artists – including Versace Versace Versace, the Miami-stationed collective formerly known as Guccivuitton – working in across-the-board mediums, and showcases traditional two-dimensional wall pieces, video animations, and down the line, live performances.
“I had been thinking a lot about how connected and unconnected I feel through these handheld devices we use to communicate through,” says Cook about the exhibit, whose title is borrowed from a piece by participating artist Julien Prévieux. “Also, there have been multiple articles written about how these technological advancements are transforming not only our reception of art, but also how art is distributed and produced.”
For the exhibit, Kristin Sue Lucas, an Austin- and New York-based multimedia artist, created seven standalone, double-sided pieces of paper. Gallery-goers are allowed and encouraged to create their own zine from the pages that document her attempts to change her name from Kristin Sue Lucas to Kristin Sue Lucas (yes, readers, she tried to “change” her name to her existing name) before the Superior Court of California in Alameda County. “It was a rare chance to refresh her name and clean her cache,” Cook said during the exhibit’s opening reception.
Another piece worth lingering over is Prévieux’s title work, a 3:54-minute-long animation that’s displayed with the aid of an overhead projector. The French artist created a series of hand gestures that have been patented by global tech companies.
“Prévieux’s work speaks to a series of paradoxes in our over-technologized and copyrighted world,” says Cook. “The artist asks a number of fundamental questions: Why do we move the way we do? Who owns our gestures? How will we move our bodies in one, ten or 100 years?”
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Along with artist talks and film/video screenings, the two-month-long show will feature a live performance piece by Prévieux at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12, and 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 13 at The MATCH.
“I am always interested in artworks that manage to occupy a hybrid state of questioning while still being able to create an aesthetic and intellectual experience, as well as artworks that are able to create a visual and performative frame to describe some of my questions about this lived experience,” adds Cook. “This project brings together a number of artists and projects that manage to do exactly this.”
DiverseWorks’ gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, and noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, go to www.diverseworks.org.