"Portraits" and "Purse Portraits" Do you mind if people look in your medicine cabinet? How about if they peer at the contents of your purse? Well, two photographers are doing just that, presenting intimate -- but anonymous -- portraits of people through the stuff in their bathrooms and purses. Coke Wisdom O'Neal's "Portraits" and Chuck Ramirez's "Purse Portraits" at Finesilver Gallery are full of nosy and intriguing images. O'Neal lives in New York and has a day job photographing architecture for a real estate company, a gig that gives him unfettered access to the homes of complete strangers. An inveterate medicine-cabinet peeper, he's channeled it into his art, photographically documenting the objects of his snooping. He prints the images life-size, mounts them on the back of Plexiglas and hangs them away from the wall, just like the real thing. He has duplicated the experience of voyeurism just for us. Looking at the images, you naturally try to picture the person behind each cabinet. So, um, who has five huge jars of Vaseline? An obsessive hoarder? Ramirez also explores intimate territory. He photographs purses in lush color against a white background and prints them up to five feet high. High Times (Rudy) (2005) actually depicts a "murse," or man-purse. It's a gorgeous leather briefcase containing a copy of High Times magazine, the arts section of The New York Times and a copy of The Economist. There's a rolled-up tie, a Continental OnePass Elite membership card and a tin of "Embarassmints" with the top of Bush's head barely revealed. The contents create the portrait of an affluent, well-traveled, left-wing guy who likes to smoke weed. Through May 13. 3913 Main, 713-524-3733.
"Take One" There is a lot of work to sort through in this exhibition, but your best bets are the uniformly crackpot DVDs. Singing, bubonic plague-carrying ground squirrels, anyone? Get 'em while they last. CORE program critical studies fellow Domenick Ammirati asked visual artists (as well as writers, graphic designers, musicians...) to produce a work in multiple for the show, to be distributed to each and every visitor. Visually, the result isn't exactly overwhelming, and the financial constraints of producing hundreds of copies of something are obvious. While there are a couple of stacks of DVDs and one of CDs, the majority of participants went in big for Xeroxed pages tacked to the wall with piles of extra copies on the floor. Among the stapled sheaves of paper are short stories and political information, including an advance chapter from an upcoming book by T. Christian Miller about the Iraq war and private contractors. This contribution is locally relevant, as it focuses on truck drivers for KBR and the risks they endure -- 11 killed as of August 2004. On the lighter side, Laura Lark contributed a board game for visitors to play. Roll the dice and advance to a colored space, then draw a corresponding card bearing an aphorism collected by the artist: "Pretty Is as Pretty Does" or "God Doesn't Make Junk." The show is worth exploring, but even though it fits into the Glassell's tiny Upstairs Project Space, it requires quite a time commitment. If you wind up with way too many Xeroxes, Jonathan Horowitz's piece functions as a paper recycling station. Through May 7. Glassell School of Art, 5101 Montrose, 713-639-7500.