Free for All: Art Without a Price Tag

On Friday, we're stopping by Camargo Valentino's new exhibit "Personalities and Provocateurs." Valentino's eye-catching style is something akin to Sir Francis Bacon meets Stan Lee. The exhibit's named after superheroes and cartoon characters, often the subject of Valentino's work. Don't let the subject matter fool you, though; he might be painting Batman, but he's doing it with classical technique. "He mixes together Darth Vader with a Velazquez pose," says Angel Quesada of Talento Bilingüe de Houston. "He'll take Frances Bacon, stick in Mickey Mouse ears and a 'Hello, My Name is Frances' name badge. He's not coming at it from a highbrow prospective, he's coming at it with, 'This is what I like and I'm putting it in there.' It's really quite charming."

Charming, yes, but there's also a bit of an edge. In Pope Not So Innocent X, Valentino shows the pope in a a classical pose, one that would be typical of a Velazquez painting. In a pop culture reference, Valentino has added a Guy Fawkes mask, like the one seen in the film V for Vendetta, which hints at a subversive rather than benevolent character.

See "Personalities and Provocateurs" 10 a.m. to to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Through March 10. Talento Bilingüe de Houston, 333 South Jensen. For information, visit or call 713-222-1213.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez