Donna Huanca's "Rua Minx Pop Up Shop" Brings the Noise

Last night, artist Donna Huanca opened her "Rua Minx Pop Up Shop" at PG Contemporary Gallery in Midtown. The show features collage, photography, sculpture and wearable art, and the opening included a sound performance by Huanca and avant-turntablist Maria Chavez.

The tiny storefront PG space feels perfect for the trendy pop-up craze, and Huanca's work, in display, theme, execution, materials and price, fits the concept.

But we could have done without the noise.

When Art Attack heard that Huanca's Rua Minx, a three-piece electro act (and also a general production banner for Huanca's art), would perhaps be performing at the opening, it got us excited. (The performance was actually billed as Quechua Couture.) Rua Minx is known for its cheeky and difficult, yet danceable, electropop. But at eight o'clock, Chavez took a seat behind a turntable, chose a scratchy record from her collection, placed it on the turntable and began creating an ungodly racket.

Art Attack is familiar with avant-garde music and sound art, but this was particularly difficult to "enjoy." With a shaky right hand, Chavez scratched the needle over the vinyl, picking it up and down over a specific track, which was vaguely classical, vocal, operatic. The most interesting moments came when Chavez applied rhythm to the enterprise. Mostly, though, it came off as unrehearsed and hollow--unspectacular in its minimal theatrics and bludgeoningly loud with stereotypical avant-posture.

Huanca joined Chavez at the table, opened her laptop and the two contributed another noisy salvo, this time as more of a sound collage that included a woman's voice speaking random numbers along with other effects and general abrasiveness.

Headache achieved, we split after that one.

Huanca is a talented visual artist with a firm reputation, and her pop-up shop offers some very cool items. We were just looking for a little more "pop."

The pop-up shop will be open through April 16 at PG Contemporary, 3227 1/2 Main Street. For information, call 713-523-7424.

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Troy Schulze
Contact: Troy Schulze