CAM Perennial Show: “bite like a kitty”
CAM Perennial: bite like a kitty
March 15 – June 1, 2013
Curator: Bill Arning, Excecutive Director of Contemporary Art Museum Houston
bite like a kitty was a post-punk rock band I loved long ago, and the phrase that served as the band’s oddball moniker returned to my consciousness while visiting eighteen artists’ studios in San Antonio over two days in early January 2013. There was a notable pervasive sensibility that was biting but sweet, a place between anger and humor, sorrow and joy. I would be foolish to try to construct an overarching San Antonio zeitgeist from my small sample, but the four artists I have invited to present their work at the Guadalupe Arts Center as my section of the Perennial exhibitions all seem dedicated to amusing us as they simultaneously give us some nettlesome material to chew on.
Joey Fauerso constructs magical tableaux in paintings and animated videos in which men are encouraged to display themselves in ways that are both hyper-sexualized and innocent, just as in classic coquetry. The result is a wacky blending of gender roles that creates new categories of sexuality that make binary distinctions like gay/straight or male/female seem hopelessly retardataire.
Julia Barbosa Landois reframes the hyper-romantic language of an anti-love song of betrayal to transform it into an indictment of religiously supported sexism, describing, what the artist terms her “break up from Jesus.” The melody creates one irresistible reality as her textual revisions refuse the romantic readings.
Sarah Sudhoff will be showing her series “Wired,” color photographs of devices still in use at the legendary Kinsey Institute to study sexual behavior and human sexual response. These devices, looking oddly handmade, are shown with their names as titles, such ad “Mercury-in-rubber penile strain gauge,” or “Vaginal Photoplethysmograph I” the words clinical distance unable to hide the fact that as a culture our ability to discuss sexuality in clear language is still severely handicapped.
Saintlorriane, an ongoing collaboration between visual artist Kristy Perez and choreographer Britt Lorraine whose work often occurs at the place where bodies and objects collide will use theatrical curtains to bisect the space with the performer similarly bisected. This quixotic piece conjures the impossibility ever fully knowing any artwork, and by extension any other human being. The reality that we construct an illusion of wholeness in our minds based on an incomplete inventory of fragments = is vividly instantiated when dance and sculpture are brought together.
bite like a kitty is far from a coherently thematic exhibition, and more tight connections may only make themselves apparent when the works are installed. Its bubbling provocations share nothing but an overarching sensibility that seems appropriate for our times, and promises to deliver some troubling fun as well.