El Franco Lee II: "Visual Harassment"

The son of a Houston County Commissioner and nephew of a Black Panther, El Franco Lee II has both politics and protest in his blood. This is apparent in the University of Houston- and Yale-trained artist's small but powerful paintings, on display in "Visual Harassment," in the Project Gallery at Art League Houston. In one work, a boat full of National Guardsmen, drinking soda and having fun, cruise past the dead and dying in New Orleans's floodwater after Hurricane Katrina. In another, the rapper Tupac Shakur lies cut open on an autopsy table as police count their bribe money and fellow rappers celebrate around him. Calling his style "Urban Mannerist Pop Art," Lee makes paintings that could be mistaken for cheerful - until you get past the bright colors and see the tragedy and anger they depict. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Through August 28. 1953 Montrose. For information, call 713-523-9530 or visit www.artleaguehouston.org. Free.
Mondays-Sundays. Starts: July 17. Continues through Aug. 28, 2009
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Julia Ramey