Thursday, July 30, 2015

What's on Lower Westheimer at Mulberry Street? - A popular spot to pose and have picture taken

Westheimer at Mulberry
Stop here and admire the biscuitpaintwall 
The biscuitpaintwall on Lower Westheimer 
Popular photo spot in Montrose: Biscuit Paint Wall
Color photography at the Biscuit Paint Wall  
1435 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006 Biscuit Home - Store front pic 
hi-res photo of biscuitpaintwall at 1435 Westheimer Biscuit Store
High-resolution pic of biscuitpaintwall at 1435 Westheimer Biscuit Store 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Political Muralism in Houston

"No Human Being Is Illegal" (mural with a message)
Mural with a pro-immigrant message: "No Human Being Is Illegal"
located near the now-shuttered original Donerakis on Fulton.
No Justice - No peace - Mural against police brutality
No Justice Power at
Station Museum of Contemporary Art 1502 Alabama St Houston, TX 77004 
Mural on Almeda remembering Trayvon Martin
Remembering Trayvon Martin - Mural on Almeda Rd in Midtown 
Obama Mural hugging baby - Houston Midtown at Breakfast Klub
Barack Obama with small child mural in Midtown
near The Breakfast Klub 
High-res photo of Obama Mural in Midtown - Obama '08 & 2012
High-res photo of Obama Mural in Midtown - Obama '08 & 2012
Obama HOPE Mural with Texas flag in background

 Obama "HOPE" Mural from '08 Presidential Campaign  

Obama '08 Campaign mural and erstwhile presidential campaign office in Midtown (later defaced)
Obama '08 Campaign mural and erstwhile presidential campaign office in Midtown
(later defaced) 

at Fonde Rec Center near Sabine Street Bridge 

Fonde Recreation Center - Parking Lot with Bush mural on wall
President Bush Mural at Fonde Recreation Center,
 110 Sabine St, Houston, TX 77007 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Confederate Houston - What is to be done to Dick Dowling and the Spirit of the Confederacy?

A public debate is on whether to rename Dowling Street. Why stop with streets? There is more that has be done to commemorate the "victorious commander at the Second Battle of Sabine Pass in the American Civil War" who is "considered Houston, Texas's first prominent citizen and hero." (says Wikipedia about Dowling as of July 2015, though that may change in due course). 

Warrior Dowling also has a statue to his name, erected on the esplanade between Herman Park and the Medical Center. 

Richard aka Dick Dowling Statute in Herman Park 
Dick Dowling Carrara marble statute created by Frank A. Teich in 1905, "a local Civil War soldier" (Herman Park Conservancy). Standing tall on a grey granite pedestal that has the names of Confederate soldiers who participated in the Battle of Sabine Pass inscribed on all four sides.

Not to mention the tribute paid to "The Spirit of the Confederacy" by the winged bronze man on the edge of the pond at Sam Houston Park holding watch over the ducks and the homeless. Okay, the official denomination is "angel with sword and palm branch" and the spiritual reference is to "states rights", in case anyone is wondering. See City of Houston Art in the Parks Page"To All Heroes of the South who fought for the principles of States Rights" (1908). 

There is another piece evoking Houston's history near the full metal dude with the nonfunctional flying equipment, but he is facing away from it: The Enron Swamp, a wildlife habitat in the heart of the city. It is of too recent vintage to yet command historicist attention, not to mention reappraisal of the revisionist kind. But it, too, has an appropriate euphemism. Nothing quite as spiritual, but cute (and more contemporary): Wetland Garden

Perhaps the issue could be handled with updated or additional historic interpretive markers that address the problematic nature of these commemorative monuments, the reason they were erected, and their symbolism. An expanded history lesson, so to speak, rather than a tear-down or destruction of what are - after all - pieces of public art, and artifacts of history (albeit a troublesome history) in their own right. The Dowling marble piece at Hermann Park is already past its centennial. See Dick Dowling Statute - First Public Monument in Houston turns 100 Years Old on St. Patrick's Day. No need for the a modern-day equivalent of a public book-burning. Nor for an effort to compete with footage of the toppling of statutes of Stalin and Lenin, or the Berlin Wall coming down, for that matter.  
On the other hand, there is precedent for just renaming historic structures and adapting them to other purposes, like the shiny Enron Tower that's been nicely rebranded, with the rotton scoundrels sent elsewhere, dead, or reformed, and the corporate contents swapped out. Not to mention that the imposing structure is still as shiny as ever and provides a uniquely distorted reflection of the nearby Downtown skyscrapers. A nice visual bonus for visitors. A different perspective. An appealing one. At least when the sun shines and the sky is blue, even if the ambient heat is unbearable. 

But those were the doings of the private sector;-- the forces at work in the market. Still, there is no reason why the City of Houston couldn't adopt some of the same concepts. Perhaps Dowling could be reclaimed and rebranded into a symbol for Irish immigration, and honored with a green-beer-on-the-lawn party on St. Patrick's Day. Perhaps he could be re-done in green, to mark his resurrection and redemption. He might fit in better with the environs, not to mention with our more enlightened, more sensitive, not to mention more discriminating zeitgeist. 

And the allegorical winged adonis in bronze would lend himself even more readily to reinterpretation. Not to mention that this angel -- unlike the Irishman-in-marble -  isn't even all that white.  Anything but.  
Other links
City of Houston Municipal Art by ZIP Code - Dowling  

Wikipedia entry for Richard William "Dick" Dowling (1837 – September 23, 1867), "victorious commander at the Second Battle of Sabine Pass in the American Civil War, and is considered Houston, Texas's first prominent citizen and hero."). 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Vacant and Abandoned Houses as Art Objects - Walls as Canvas

Alabama Street East of intersection with Almeda Rd. (2015)
9/1/2015 UPDATE: This building, owned by HCC, was demolished in August 215 
Eyeful Art "Love you" mural on back wall of strip center on Midtown Superblock
that has since been demolished to make way for redevelopment
"Preservons la Creation" mural in Midtown (2014) 
Former Mango restaurant - East side on Taft,
corner of Westheimer (2014)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Midtown Art Center

Midtown Art Center near HCC Campus

Midtown Arts Center - South-East Corner of Building with murals on both sides
3414 La Branch St, Houston, TX 77004

Midtown Arts Center: North-East Corner of Building with murals on both sides

"Diversity through the Asrts" - Mural on North side of Midtown Arts Ctr

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fannin Street Muralism in Midtown

3821 Fannin Street - Cougar Mural 

Muralism on facade of 3825 Fannin St Building 

Breakfast Klub Murals

Breakfast Klub - I Am Jesse Owens mural
Breakfast Klub - I Am Jesse Owens mural on Alabama St. 
Restaurant address: 3711 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002

Inspired spray can art

A different take on creation - The Old Man with Spraycan 

Hi-resolution photo of mural below

Houston Inspired Mural in Downtown Houston near Market Square Park 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Promotional Murals for Houston Zoo Gorilla Exhibit Opening

Downtown Houston Gorilla Mural - Austin Street 
Gorilla Mural by Nicky Davis
Gorilla Mural by Nicky Davis 

Smith Street North of Elgin 
on East wall of former Social Security Administration Office 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Midtown Muralism - Urban Exterior Wall Art at doomed building on corner of Fannin and Elgin

Mural on wall of former Social Security Administration 
Office Building on corner of Elgin and Smith Street in Midtown
by Michael Savoie

Theme mural of Houston Zoo Gorilla Exhibit Opening 
Midtown District Emblem on Elgin .
Damian's Italian Restaurant nearby 
 Mural-covered wall of auto parts store 
on Crawford at Anita
across from Baldwin Park 
3000 Crawford St, Houston, TX 77004
West of Baldwin Park