Some Other Narratives is a selection of works from a larger exhibition organized by the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston earlier this year and curated by Dana Friis-Hansen, Senior Curator at the CAM. The exhibit at ArtPace includes sculpture by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, prints by Glenn Ligon, a cut-paper installation by Kara Walker and a large photo mural by Pat Ward Williams.
The artists in this exhibit emerged out of the intellectual climate influenced by the art and cultural studies of the 1980s and early 1990s. At the end of the 1990s, multiculturalism, feminism and queer studies have left an indelible impact on art. The politics of cultural images and representation in mass media and the roles played by race, class, gender and sexuality in shaping identity and society continue to inform the work of contemporary artists. The artists in Some Other Narratives explore these issues, working from their own experiences as well as a desire to provide revisions to the broadly accepted “official history.” The results include a diverse range of styles and narratives, indicative of the complexities surrounding the strategies and texts employed by each artist.
For Felix Gonzalez-Torres, the apparent bias in the news published by The New York Times was cause for frequent frustration; his broadside “stack” works presented at ArtPace cleverly juxtapose clippings form the newspaper in order to provoke discussion. Glenn Ligon’s prints appropriate the form of slave posters—literature and mass media forms from eras past. Kara Walker blows up the genteel form of the cut-paper silhouette to recast race relations in a large-scale installation placed directly on the gallery wall. Pat Ward Williams blasts a lineup of young African-American men to billboard scale to interrogate race representation.