Capsule Art Reviews: "Neopopstreetfunk II", "Steve Wolfe on Paper"

"Neopopstreetfunk II" For an exhibit billing itself as "bored with convention and the mainstream," "Neopopstreetfunk" seems to be anything but. Largely rooted in a street/urban aesthetic, some of this work is as commercial and mainstream as it gets. That's not necessarily bad, though, and there's much to love here. Robert Hodge delivers a strong series of collage works incorporating screen print, text and historical imagery into deftly crafted graphic compositions. Ales Bask Hostomsky contributes the amusing painting Full Service, in which the Grim Reaper, armed with sickle, waits for customers at Death's Garage. Wendy Brown successfully recycles starving-artist paintings of still lifes and landscapes by augmenting them with images of outdated technology and appliances. And Matt Messinger's two ultracool paintings Horse and Fucker feel destined for the walls of a chic boutique hotel. Kevin Peterson supplies the most compelling series of paintings, in which little girls, grade-school age and privileged, pose in front of graffiti walls. There's something haunting about the juxtaposition, a clashing of cultures that could signal a loss of innocence, or liberation from societal rules and expectations. Through July 17. M2 Gallery, 339 W. 19th St., 713-861-6070. — TS

"Steve Wolfe on Paper" "Steve Wolfe on Paper" is an interesting counterpoint to the "MANUAL on Books" exhibit at Moody Gallery. While the Moody show is essentially photographs of books, this Menil exhibit showcases Wolfe's trompe-l'oeil objects that "trick the eye," and which are largely depictions of books. Wolfe's best-known works look like worn-out paperbacks of titles like Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea and Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, made from wood, modeling paste, oil paint and screen print. They are exact replicas, down to their distressed spines, dog-eared corners and torn covers. Also on display are Wolfe's studies on paper for the objects, incredibly detailed drawings and screen prints of book covers, poster art and photographs, sometimes on their own and other times as collage — tributes to cultural heroes like J.D. Salinger, Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett and, of course, Andy Warhol, to whom Wolfe is perhaps most indebted. Don't miss Wolfe's reproductions of vinyl records, made from oil, enamel and graphite. It's the mass-made made handmade. Through July 25. The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, 713-525-9400. — TS

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Troy Schulze
Contact: Troy Schulze