At the Museum

Ma Wetzel has a new Prius. Gets close to 50 mpg when I’m driving, but I tend to use the cruise control, keep it on course. We did get a chance to go to the Museo Alameda in San Antonio – part of being a perpetual tourist.

In that town, San Antonio, there are at least two public “art installations” that involve colored lights that shift through cycles. In one example, the Houston Street Overpass, I’ll never be able to record the image in digital format. A panoply of color, perhaps it’s neon, but I suspect otherwise, as the soft pastels and bright colors rotate through the spectrum, underneath the high overpass, the various shades and hues echoing, even vibrating, off the tops of the pillars as trucks thunder past, overhead.

The art installation, locally famous, it’s like Xmas lights year-round. In San Antonio, the residents of Bexar County, are inured to the fantastical, whimsical display dancing and bouncing beneath the highway’s superstructure.

Too early or too late, but I don’t see any midnight expeditions to set up a camera and time-lapse, video, none of that.

There is a similar, albeit not as extensive, light installation on a hotel opposite a cathedral, at the other end of downtown.

Further south, from that cathedral, due south on South Flores, I wandered into a art studio, coffee shop. One painting, and it launched a long discussion with the gallery’s keeper about the artist, that one image was an underpass. Singular and familiar, yet the name, the message from the painting was about the lost and the forgotten, as it turns out that artist was homeless for some time before finding a degree of success.

Images of underpasses, from the lights, to the painting?

At the Museo Alemeda, through the end of the year, there’s a retrospective of one artist’s career, local hero, Jesse Trevino. He lost part of his painting arm in Viet-Nam. He’s an acclaimed muralist, painter, artist. Never let little obstacles get in the way of a calling.

One of the pictures that spoke to me so eloquently? A large mural of an underpass. San Antonio and all, the Alamo City sits at the center of a five-point star, defined by Interstate Highways, 35, 37, and the mother road, 10.

There’s more depth and added material, in a recorded presentation narrated by Martin Sheen, the artist says he didn’t believe he was accomplished until he saw his art in a real museum.

Besides the underpass mural, there was the evocative and – to me – accurate capture of the sentiment of a moment and a street corner. The bright hues and delicate shading of the sky, starkness against a feeling of lifelessness and timeless.

I’ve long maintained that San Antonio is every bit as strange as Austin, only, no one cares. The muralist catches some of what I see. In one sketch, there’s a simple “Malt House” sign. I’ve eaten there. In the last year. Still there, still good. Pisces and Sagittarius friends like the place.

To me, strictly my opinion, but to me, I’m a tourist and I’m an outsider so I see the cultural flavor, the hint of a world that is older, tinged around the edges of the scenery. Likewise, that sentiment is reflected in Trevino’s works. Bright colors, in some places, a familiar bakery, universal scenes that are so common to anyone who has lived in South Texas, New Mexico, Arizona (I’ve lived in all three).

Does that material translate? I’m not sure, but I do know it speak well to me.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sarah Dec 6, 2009 @ 9:39

    It speaks to you, and you are eloquent in your exposition.

    The umbilical between us? The 10.

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