OK Contemporary highlights Guadalajara’s Open House art

OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Oklahoma Center for Contemporary Arts is scheduled to launch its new permanent residence on Automobile Alley’s breathtaking, purpose-built campus in March 2020 with great enthusiasm for a thousand people.

Needless to say, the quarantines and quarantines that swept the state and country at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 made this celebration impossible.

Although it is a museum and art center made they finally opened their doors and enjoyed a booming level of success and community respect, making no move to recapture the magic the planned grand opening had to offer.

But this weekend, they’ll finally open the doors and lay the rug as they host the welcoming festivities they’ve always hoped for, with the Open House weekend on September 23 and 24.

“We are a share Communications Director Lori Brooks said of the many successful and intense events Contemporary has hosted since 2020: “We haven’t done anything of this magnitude.”

“The house we invented”

At the center of the Open House festivities is “La casa que nos inventamos,” or “The House We Invented,” on display throughout the museum. One of the artists pushing the boundaries from Guadalajara, Mexico.

“Guadalajara is one of the most dynamic creative communities on this continent and beyond,” said Kate Green, Director of Curatorial Affairs. “For us here we ask ourselves ‘how did this happen? How does a city create community and support artists the way Guadalajara is for contemporary art?’”

“La casa que nos inventamos” or “The House We Invented” is a large collection of work across media, all from Guadalajara, Mexico, including painting, sculpture, interactive performance, video and more. At the Oklahoma Center for Contemporary Arts (B.DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

With nineteen artists from multiple generations on display and many present in OKC for the Open House celebrations, there may be no better chance than this to ask these questions and consider how our own city can better foster such blooming creativity. culture.

“Some of the answers are things we’re starting to think about here,” Green told me, “things like spaces or institutions for artists or schools for artists, all of which are really there to build community.”

Reclaimed Ruin

At the heart of “La casa que nos inventamos” is a clear theme of reclamation and the search for meaning in both the rapid expansion and degradation of the industrialized world. Multiple pieces in the exhibit are made from industrial steel or include reclaimed concrete, rebar, wood and ceramics.

Undoubtedly the most striking piece, and arguably the first piece visitors will encounter, will be Gonzalo Lebrija’s massive, outdoor “Breve historia del tiempo” or “A Brief History of Time,” featuring a sleek black classic Plymouth Duster suspended vertically above. solid black reflecting pool. (See feature photo.) There is arguably no more iconic or direct image of 20th-century industrialization than the American automobile, and here it is, either trapped in an endlessly slow moment of slump and decline, or perhaps paralyzed by its own reflection in a sharp expression of capitalist narcissism.

Oklahoma Contemporary
Outside the Oklahoma Center for Contemporary Arts: Gonzalo Lebrija’s massive exterior “Breve historia del tiempo” or “A Brief History of Time” (B. Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

Elsewhere in the museum, similar explorations of the conflict between culture and industry can be seen in works such as Renata Petersen’s “Limpieza karmática express” or “Karmic Cleansing Express.” discarded water bottles and crumbled brick. Guadalajara’s rich history and tradition of ceramics has literally become a kind of urban industrial waste that plagues every dangerously growing city.

Visitors entering the center’s second-floor main gallery are greeted for much of the exhibition, which showcases live painting, video installation and groundbreaking conceptual sculpture works such as “No pertenecemos a la misma Tierra” or “We Don” by Cynthia Gutiérrez. We Don’t Belong to the Same World.” Using gorgeous, traditional ceramic water pots on the floor to hold plain, empty, formless blocks, Gutiérrez comments on the banal, artless modernity built on the creativity of the past.

Oklahoma Contemporary
“We Don’t Belong in the Same World” by Cynthia Gutierrez, Oklahoma Center for Contemporary Arts, 1st floor. (B.DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

These examples only scratch the surface of the extraordinary works on display throughout the exhibition, each offering its own perspective on Guadalajara, urbanisation, endangered nature and the 21st century itself.

The Long Time Is Coming

Live artist talks, hands-on art making, food trucks, local beer, live music, a DJ, a full-scale car show, and even a talk from Mayor Holt (a speech he originally planned to hold over two years ago,) Open House weekend will be an opening event like never before.

“We’ve never really been able to open the doors and say, ‘Everybody come right away,'” Brooks said. “We were open and operating, and a lot of people came to many things, but we didn’t hold a single event like now.”

While this weekend in many ways fuels the desire to finally make a grand entrance to the entire facility and campus, its events and attractions are largely designed around the trajectory of “La casa que nos inventamos” and its Mexican roots. Came’s Tacos y Mas food truck will be ready, live music will be provided by a traditional-style Mariachi band, and the car show will attract the attention of Mexican tuned low riders.

Oklahoma Contemporary
The fact of constantly returning to the same point or situation, 2021. Jose Dávila. (B. DICKERSON/Okla. City Free Press)

This, of course, raises the question of whether future installations and exhibitions at Contemporary can be treated as the same kind of large-scale events in their own openings.

If this is a boss-packed party expected to be the first Open House weekend, then how can they resist?

Oklahoma Center for Contemporary Arts’ first Open House weekend is at Automobile Alley on September 23 and 24.

The official opening celebration of “La casa que nos inventamos” is Friday, September 23 between 17:45 – 21:00. The 21 and over event will feature food, music, live art performance and commentary by Mayor David Holt. Reservations for the event are currently full, but walks will be allowed as space permits.

For full schedules of weekend events and more information, visit oklahomacontemporary.org.


Last Update September 22, 2022, 20:55 Brett Dickerson – Editor

  • “Brett Fieldcamp has covered the arts, entertainment, news and culture in Oklahoma for nearly 15 years and writes for a variety of local and state publications. He is also a musician and songwriter and is certified Spirits Specialist from The Society of Wine Educators.”

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