Trailer Treasure

Art aficionados know what to expect from a gallery show: white walls, intense air conditioning, expensive lighting and, on opening night, free cheese. But it's harder to know what to expect from an art-and-culture show in a trailer home down the road from Gilley's in Deer Park.

"This isn't meant to be a kitsch show," says the organizer of the "Trailer Park" exhibition, who goes by the name Derry Air. "Gallerygoers might think of the trailer as a kitsch environment because it's out of their daily experience." But for Air, Deer Park and the trailer are familiar. "My parents used to go to Gilley's," he says, "but if I wear a Gilley's shirt now, people think I'm being ironic."

The pieces selected for "Trailer Park" put their setting to good use. Artist Charlie Delgado has been mailing standard business envelopes and picture postcards to the trailer, to be displayed as a stack of unopened mail on the kitchen counter -- a familiar domestic scene that will make viewers wonder whether the mail is part of the show or part of the daily life of the trailer. Artist Josh Foley chose Pasadena's pervasive petroleum industry as his context. In a real egg-to-chicken-to-egg conceptual loop, he has sculpted dinosaurs, whose bodies are popularly thought to be the source of our fossil fuels, from recycled petroleum products. And several video artists will be projecting their work against the trailer's aluminum skin.

The works are serious, but that doesn't mean the event has to be. "We're inviting people to think about where oil industry money comes from," says Derry Air, "and how it's funneled away to cultural institutions far from the refineries themselves. But it's not just politics. I want to have a fun time, too." Nobody said you couldn't puzzle out your relationship to Houston, Pasadena, the oil industry and manufactured mobile housing while guzzling free beer.

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Lisa Simon