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New public art installations open

Channing Wang/Thresher

By Morgan Gage     8/31/21 10:07pm

Since the construction of the provisional campus facilities in August 2020, the sides of the buildings have served as venues for murals as a part of Rice’s public art program, an initiative started in 2008. Three new large-scale art installations are now featured on the sides of the provisional campus facilities facing the inner loop and will be on view through May 22, 2022, according to the Moody Center for the Arts’ programming. 

The new works provided by Karin Broker, Delita Marten and Charisse Pearlina Weston are available for viewing by the public. 

“Each artist was invited to respond to the current moment and the campus environment with interventions intended to foster conversation and community in the academic year ahead,” said a Moody Center press release. 

Broker’s “Domestic Melancholia” features an enlarged vinyl print of a black-and-white drawing of a vase filled with lush flowers. Broker, who formally taught visual art for four decades at Rice University, includes a digitally rendered table and chairs meant to represent a conversation between the artist and the personification of melancholy. The empty chairs evoke a sense of separation between the artist, viewer and the world around them.

Texas-based artist Martin brings her work into three dimensions with the planned construction of a platform that will be hand-painted by the artist in collaboration with students and feature seating to invite passersby to interact with the art. Vibrantly colored, “The Gathering” evokes a sense of community and connection.

“[‘The Gathering’] prominently features the coneflower, a symbol of strength and healing in Native American and African-American cultures,” said a Moody Center press release.

Using black-and-white video projected onto the tent, Weston’s “Plunge, Cry” combines a close-up video of the artists’ feet, imagery of glass installations by the artist, field recordings and manipulated audio from a 2016 Orlando protest in response to the murder of Philando Castile and Bobby “Blue” Bland’s, an artist recorded by Duke Peacock Records that was located in Houston’s fifth ward, 1960 song “Cry, Cry, Cry.”

“Projected onto the temporary structures built on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Plunge, Cry’ serves as a ‘monument to Blackness and Black people that also acknowledges the risk and danger we face,’” said the Moody Center’s description of the installation.

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