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Indepth Arts News:

"Barry McGee: Things Are Getting Better "
1999-09-16 until 1999-10-24
Rice University Art Gallery
Houston, TX, USA United States of America

Things Are Getting Better a new installation by San Francisco based artist Barry McGee, will be on view at Rice Gallery from September 16 through October 24, 1999. Movement, gesture, and a wry sense of humor characterize the environment McGee has constructed: gallery walls painted an intense simmering red are saturated with an astonishing array of images. McGee, whose alter ego is the street painter Twist, juxtaposes the attitude and gesture of graffiti with finely-detailed images of urban life. A festive and offbeat reception will mark the opening of the installation on September 16 from 5:30 until 7:30 PM. Barry McGee will make brief remarks about this work at 6:00 p.m., followed by two numbers by urban dance troupe Fly in the gallery lobby at 6:30 p.m. Complimentary wine and hand-crafted ales courtesy of the Bank Draft Brewing Company will be served.

Entering the gallery, viewers will be struck by a flood of images that incorporate an array of styles ranging from action-based street tags, or signatures, to large cartoon-like figures and intricately detailed framed drawings rendered on sheet music, brown bags and scraps of paper. Even empty bottles become surfaces for McGee's repertoire of portraits including barrel-headed sad-sacks, the kid in the baseball cap, and the onion-face. McGee's eye for the overlooked gives him the power to transform these cast-off materials into objects that demand close-examination. The aim, says McGee, is to record a slice of what's going on at a given moment * happy, sad, and all the other stuff in just getting through life. Drawn in first by the visual wallop of McGee's work, it is the artist's evident concern for this reality that invites us to reexamine our own regard for the energy and concerns of the street.

About the Artist

Barry McGee was born in 1966 in San Francisco into a multi-racial family where everyone drew. In the mid-1980s he took his drawings into the streets using the tag, Twist. He received a B.F.A. in painting and printmaking in 1991 from the San Francisco Art Institute. McGee has exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Museo Lesar Segall, San Paulo; the Drawing Center, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is his first exhibition in the Southwest.

Education Information

Things Are Getting Better will be accompanied by an illustrated exhibition catalogue with an essay by Susie Kalil, noted Houston-based arts writer and Glassell School of Art Core Fellow in Writing.

Gallery Information

Access the Rice University Art Gallery on line at www.rice.edu/ruag. Located in Houston's Museum District on the Rice University campus, the Rice Art Gallery presents site specific installations by artists of national and international reputation.

To reach the gallery, enter the university through Campus Entrance 1 at the corner of Main Street and Sunset Boulevard. Proceed two hundred yards, turn left at the grassy common area and proceed into Visitor Parking. The gallery is on the ground floor of the building located to the right, Sewall Hall.

Hours Rice Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Thursday until 8:00 PM, and Sunday noon to 5:00 PM. The Gallery is closed Mondays and university holidays.

Admission is free. For additional gallery information please call (713) 527-6069. Accessible to Disabled. Wheelchair access on south side of Sewall Hall.

Exhibition Support

The Rice University Art Gallery is supported in part by Rice Gallery Patrons, Rice Gallery Members, the Brown Foundation Inc., the Kilgore Endowment, and by a grant from the City of Houston and Texas Commission on the Arts through the Cultural Arts Council.

Continental Airlines is the official airline of the Rice University Art Gallery.

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