Important announcement! The "Monthly Contest" page of our website (one of the tabs above) has been updated for September 2017's winners. There were incredible entries this month, and we're excited to share the winning pieces with you. They are:
All photos from The Station Museum of Contemporary Art website. Torture by Andres Serrano is on display through October 8th. Admission is free.
From the outside, the Station doesn’t call to you, it doesn’t welcome you—it stands there and it waits.
And when it’s done waiting, inside it’s almost just like any other gallery; light, polished wood and white walls, bouncing spotlights and the echoes of words spoken inside off of each other. But these walls move, because this space is about the art, first and foremost, and so with every new exhibit they are torn down and rebuilt to accommodate the incoming work. And so, it is also different from any gallery you’ve ever seen.
1502, on the Corner of Alabama and La Branch. This is the Station Museum of Contemporary Art.
It stands as a small warehouse in Houston’s Third Ward, where the roads are at least three different colors of repaved asphalt, and the number of wires crossing from post to post above them feels a little claustrophobic. It’s the kind of place where it feels like the sky should always be gray, because anything else just wouldn’t make sense. Just like the wire metal mosque and worn out billboard in front of it don’t really make sense, at first. But it is all there—inside and outside its walls—for a reason, and every piece of art has something to say.
Currently these walls hold Torture, a controversial photography exhibit by Andres Serrano, in which a combination of staged photographs, portraits, and still life shots displayed in massive prints reveal to us a dark and convoluted narrative of torture in the modern world. It is, by no accident, a political, active, and incendiary work.
As told in the exhibit’s introductory literature, Torture was born in the walls of The Foundry, an obscure experimental space in a commune of southwest France. To produce his staged images, Serrano hired models who allowed him to submit them to shackling, humiliation, and “degrading positions” with the help of military personnel, thus blurring the line between staging and reality, asking How much is too much?
And there is a whole other level of contextualization to this narrative—a powerful statement in the inclusion of images of real torture survivors, historical torture sites, and portraits of political figures with links to torture controversies. Indeed, like Serrano himself, the Station Museum is no stranger to controversy. It is not their goal to seek it out, but they will not run anywhere but towards their pursuit of creative and expressive freedom. Their mission is indicative of this, undoubtedly proud:
“The Station Museum upholds the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The museum is an activist institution supporting civil society issues as well as artists who engage in social, political, aesthetic, economic, and/or spiritual content and expressions.”
Serrano’s Torture arguably occupies all of these adjectives. To see his work is to feel and to think somewhere dark—to find discomfort in something beautiful, so that we walk through it and around it, and most importantly, so that we cannot ignore it.
Wandering through the exhibit on a class field trip a few weeks ago, I felt the overwhelming presence of a narrative that needed to be told, and was able to do exactly that inside of those frames and on those walls. My body and the bodies of these photographs shared the same space, and, maybe only by some long stretch of my imagination, I felt that my body and the bodies of the individual people suspended in those photographs shared the same space.We shared stories without words, and they told me something I didn’t know before.
And so I think there is something to be said for space, for how Torture’s current residence in The Station Museum is a marriage of art and place united towards a common goal. Just as much as the space means nothing without the art, the art is arguably nothing without its walls. Whether it is in this place or another a thousand miles away, the art does not, in the end, exist to its full extent without this physicality. Without a place to hold the viewer, there cannot be a viewer, and without them, does anyone ever hear what the artist is saying?
I can’t help but think back to our own art community at Rice, and about how our lack of student art spaces is nothing short of an insult. It is another voice, an administrative one that says, Your art will not exist because we do not want to hear it. But we, the students, do. And we will. Just like at the Station Museum, there are places—places hidden from view, that need us to find them—where the walls are shifting and ready to be filled. These conversations are just beginning.
For now, I find comfort in this: there are places out there that don’t sell themselves to us, but that does not mean we cannot find them. Spaces where narratives are unfolding at a million miles per hour—where art is coming into contact with the world outside, kicking and screaming. Where it comes into contact with you, to kick and scream at you until you hear what it has to say. Where art and artist and viewer share a space and say We want to feel, and talk, and think about this, whatever this is. Where we are not passive.
These spaces are close to you. Find them. Make them.
Written by Ana Paula P.
This weekend, I attended Baker College’s production of The Comedy of Errors. BakerShake, as it’s known, has been a Rice University tradition since 1970. The actors prepare a Shakespeare play for 6 weeks and present it in Baker’s elegant commons (seen below). The Comedy of Errors was the first comedy they had performed in a while, and I was excited to see it. I don’t know much about theatre, but I wrote down my rudimentary thoughts here.
The play was overall really fun for me to watch. The acting was well done, and many of the cast members had a gift for comedy. A highlight for me was the actor who played Dr. Pinch, who was hilarious. More specifically to BakerShake, I think that Baker was a really special place to perform Shakespeare. The commons set the tone perfectly for the show. The stage (or rather, section of ground with audience members on couches on both sides), had the intimate appeal of dinner theatre without the cheesiness. Furthermore, the cast members, since they didn’t have a backstage, sat around the stage, reacting to what was happening while in character. This added to the vibe of the play, which was that Shakespeare does not need to be taken seriously. We felt free to laugh loudly, react to things that happened, and interact with the cast. The characters sat on audience members’ laps, tossed us props, and even took an audience member’s ringing phone and improvised an impressive couplet about technology on the spot.
I really enjoyed my first BakerShake, and am considering participating next year. Be sure to be on the lookout for BakerShake when it returns next spring!
James Turrell Skyspace: Vespertine Awakenings, as performed by Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre with composer Kurt Stallmann
Date: Saturday, February 25
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Rice Moody Center for the Arts
Vespertine Awakenings has been choreographed specifically for the James Turrell Skyspace, and will be accompanied by original music featuring both live and recorded voices. The show will be performed at sunset. $20 for general admission, $10 for students. Get tickets at: https://buy.ticketstothecity.com/purchase.php?event_id=5142
TEDxRiceU: (Un)Common Knowledge
Date: Saturday, February 18
Time: 10:30 AM – 2 PM
Location: Duncan Hall
TEDxRiceU is hosting its 7th annual conference on uncommon, but intriguing topics. Alley Goodroad (who will be giving a talk titled “Revisiting Citizen Journalism & Agency”) and the Houston VIP National Poetry Slam Team are among the scheduled speakers. RSVP for free tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tedxriceu-uncommon-knowledge-tickets-31112637737.
Rice Art Gallery: Sol Lewitt’s “Glossy and Flat Black Squares (Wall Drawing #813)”
Date: Tuesday – Sunday
Time: 11 AM-5 PM on Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 AM-7 PM on Thursdays, 11:30 AM-5 PM on Sundays
Location: Rice Art Gallery
In 1997, Sol Lewitt, a minimalist who works with conceptual art, tailored this exhibition to Rice’s art gallery space. Now, Rice Gallery comes full circle by reinstalling “Glossy and Flat Black Squares” as its last exhibition. The installation, which opened on February 9th, will be available for viewing during normal gallery hours.
Rice Moody Center for the Arts: Grand Opening
Date: Friday, February 24 – Saturday, February 25
Time: 7:00-10:00 PM (grand opening celebration), 10:00 AM-5:00 PM (normal hours)
Location: Rice Moody Center for the Arts
The grand opening on February 24th will include exhibition viewing, live music by The Tontons, food trucks, and tours. This celebration is free and open to the public. The exhibition spaces will be open for the first full day of operations on February 25th.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH): Ron Mueck Exhibition
Date: Sunday, February 26 to Sunday, August 13
Time: Check https://www.mfah.org/visit/hours-and-admissions/ for museum hours
Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Known for his hyperrealist work, Ron Mueck once said in an interview, “I never made life-size figures because it never seemed to be interesting. We meet life-size people every day. [Altering the scale] makes you take notice in a way that you wouldn’t do with something that’s just number.” The exhibit will showcase thirteen of Mueck’s sculptures. Read more about this exhibition at https://www.mfah.org/exhibitions/ronmueck.
Written by Evelyn Syau ('20)
Yesterday was R2's annual Open Mic Night event, held in Rice's own Willy's Pub. We had an awesome turnout of both performers and spectators, so thank you to everyone who dropped in! Below you'll find some of the pictures from the night.
Open Mic Nights are one of many much-needed venues for the sharing of ideas and expressions. Whether it's through a favorite poem, a meaningful song, a few minutes of comedy, or a crazy beat, we can learn from each other and give each other a little bit more freedom and support at the same time. Personally, I got a lot out of watching each person give their performance. It can be vulnerable, when you stand on stage reading a piece you spent weeks perfecting. It can be terrifying to step on stage and spend a few minutes trying to entertain a crowd you aren't entirely sure wants to listen to you. But when you finally do, something magical happens: everyone in the audience cares, at least for a moment, at least about a bit of what it is you're doing. And maybe when you get up there and start speaking, it can inspire someone in the audience, who wasn't feeling brave at first, to jump up and give it a go.
So thanks to Open Mic Nights, for provoking the courage and creativity in us, and for bringing us together for a few hours in delicious cheese dip, laughter, and self-expression.
Photographs and blog post by Erika S. ('19)
The Rice Review presents... Rice University's 137th Annual...
OPEN MIC NIGHT!
Friday, October 17th @ Willy's Pub 8-10PM
Slam Poetry | Free Beer | Stand-Up | Flash-Fiction | Musical Guest
Queso by Torchy's | Interpretive Dance? | Food | Magic, Always
Bring your friends! Bring your roommates! Bring your whole floor! Including the linoleum!
Two very exciting announcements tonight!
R2's Open Mic Night has returned!!
When: Friday, October 17
Where: Willy's Pub
If you're an aspiring writer or poet with a written piece you'd like to showcase, or an artist with a song (or perhaps even a rap) you'd like to perform, or if you're a budding stand-up comedian with a routine you'd like to try on the crowd, then we want YOU to perform on our stage! Or, if you're just an individual who enjoys seeing their peers showcase their talents, then JOIN US for a night sure to be full of creativity and good entertainment! Of course, there will also be plenty of free food and soda, as well as alcohol for those of age.
The monthly writing contest is now LIVE!
This month, the theme is
For example, you could write an urban legend explaining why Sewall Hall is so. freaking. creepy. Because let's face it, Sewall Hall is hella weird, and we need to know why it gives everyone the creeps. So get creative and submit, submit, submit! We will be accepting submissions from now through 11:59PM on October 31st. For more details regarding submissions, please look to our Facebook event page!
And that's all for tonight! Happy Wednesday!
R2: The Rice Review
Rice University's undergraduate literary magazine. Here you can find event updates, monthly writing contest winners, and opinions by the R2 staff on what's new, interesting, or subject to discussion in the literary and arts world.