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other pages arrow See also JR's multi-page photo essay on the Ice House Culture Center.

other pages arrow and the controversial Virgin Show: Bad Art at the Ice House

 Sudden Transitions

from the warmth of Passion at the Ice House south of the Trinity, north to SMU's cold Intellectualism

Cindy Santos Bravo - Impermanence II
wood blocks, chalk - 12 x 8 x 8 inches

I recently attended a more passionate art show at The Ice House, Dallas' already established Latino Culture Center, south of the Trinity.

There I found Cindy Santos Bravo's Subsist & Persist neatly filling their big room with successful and almost successful installation art about a culture caught between languages.

The visual metaphor was a school room, with little desks, blackboards, blocks and signs, some of which was too obvious and a little smarmy — a sad eyed child superimposed on a blackboard filled with "I will not speak Spanish. I will not speak Spanish...," but the best of it was not didactic.

I especially liked the simple directness of what appeared to be charred toy blocks overwritten with chalked letter/sounds North American English doesn't have — like ñ, é and others. As if they were damaged Norteño toys recycled for immigrant use.

Except, of course, that the immigrants have been here longer than "we" have. We (Estados Unidos now and Tejas before that), in fact and in history, stole Tejas from Mexico.


While at the Ice House, I got to speak with Jesus Alvarado, an admitted "former thug," who'd done the mural out front (above) that I'd mentioned here before. He said he was eager to bring an El Paso mural style to Dallas, and I still want to learn what that is.

I felt obligated to explain that I always want Dallas public art to be about Dallas, not somebody famous from somewhere else, as much as I admired America (all two continets)'s most talented art couple. I recognize the guy on the right from Steve Cruz' long series of masked marvels, but I still don't know who's the blue man on the left.

Frankly, I was more interested in talking with Jesus than looking at the art, although there were some interesting visual puns in the school like space — including a chair propped up on a short pedestal and stuck in the corner.

Alvarado said he'd put it there, and it was not part of the show. Although there it was.

On my way north to visit the SMU faculty show's last day, a girl on KNTU Jazz pronounced a famous album title "brew joe."

I knew I was heading north into North Dallas, a part of a much bigger and very different world.


David A Dryer - Flying Leap, 2002
media - 18 x 75 x 22 inches
in the recent SMU faculty show

Flying Leap was the first object I saw, through the temporarily closed gate of the university gallery.

There was lots else to like in this serenely presented exhibition.

I knew only vaguely of David Dryer, but I liked his work instantly. Almost as immediatly, I realized how far I'd gone from the Ice House to this rosy tower.

I'd journeyed from passionate human expression -- by both the show's artist and the muralist, to the cold, almost sterile sphere of academia.

From human art about life and passion to academic art about art.

From warm blooded, gut inspired passion, to cool, intellectual expressions of mathematical concepts and errudite conceits.

Quite a ride with a bumpy highway transition, jazz and all.


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