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Volume 68, Issue 99, Wednesday, February 19, 2003 

Arts & Entertainment

Skewed art sculptures on exhibit at the CAM

By Uruj Perwaiz
The Daily Cougar

The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston will present the first American retrospective honoring an artist who died in August 2001 with its exhibit Juan Munoz

A highly regarded contemporary artist, Munoz produced work that reinvigorated figurative sculpture in the late i80s. The exhibit will offer a full retrospective of the artistis diverse and original work, which includes 60 sculptures, installations and drawings.

Juan Munozis sculpture piece, titled Five Seated Figures, 1996, is on display at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston through March 30. The CAMis exhibit features 60 of Munozis sculptures, installations and drawings.

Photo courtesy of The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston

Munoz welded metal sculptures that are replicas of staircases, watchtowers, balconies and banisters. The sculptures will challenge your perception by skewing the shape, scale and conventional placement.

Also featured in the exhibit are Munozis "raincoat" drawings of the i80s and i90s. These are domestic interiors in chalk on pliable raincoat fabric and un-stretched canvas that are rendered as intangible dreamscapes.

There are groups of Chinese men who appear to laugh, robed figures teetering on orb-like bodies, dwarves and ventriloquistis dummies among the frighteningly animated, three-quarter life-size figures being showed. The pale beings are enhanced by kinetics and sound. They inhabit stage-set ledges, streets, meeting halls, mirrored seating areas and rooms with sharply patterned floors.

Munoz was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1953; he studied at the Central School of Art and Design and then at the Croydon College of Design and Technology, both in London, in the late i70s. He attended the Pratt Institute School of Art and Design in New York in 1982 and soon began exhibiting his work as a sculptor.

His sculptures were viewed in over 50 solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States. The exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Houston is accompanied by a 208-page full-color catalogue. In support of Munozis exhibit, several public programs are available.

At 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28, the senior curator for the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston will have a "Steel Lounge Talk." From noon to 4 p.m. March 2 there will be family tours and hands-on art activities, offered by the Houston Chronicle Family Day. At 6:30 p.m. March 13, Rice University Professor Steven Crowell will have an artists/scholars talk.

Juan Munoz will be on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston through March 30. Admission is free.

Juan Munoz

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose Blvd.

The verdict: These are awesome, psychedelic sculptures that are just plain fun to see.

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