Issues with "Extra" - Show Spirals But Doesn't Spin

In old newsreels, newspapers would dramatically spin into the frame, their headlines announcing a dramatic event in 144-point type. This convention inspired the work in Eduardo Gil's show "Extra" at Sicardi Gallery. Mounted high along the walls in the gallery are a series of flat-mounted newspapers with headlines proclaiming war. The newspaper panels are attached to fan motors and apparently spin alternately and intermittently. It sounds like a cool effect, but they were all still when I visited the gallery -- apparently there were issues with some of the mechanisms becoming unbalanced.

Also part of the show, in the middle of a gallery is a spiraling wooden structure viewers walk into. It's papered with copies of newspapers announcing the end of United States wars from the Revolutionary War in 1782 to the Gulf War in 1992, arranged chronologically as you move through the spiral. The papers are bordered by the repeating headlines: "WAR ENDS." The material is interesting, but the execution of the piece feels a little too much like a high-school class project. The show as a whole, however, is a potent visual reminder of the ebb and flow of human conflict as well as the changing face of war. An unequivocal headline like "WAR ENDS" seems like a thing of the past.

(Through December 23, Sicardi Gallery, 2246 Richmond Avenue, 713-529-1313.)

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