Water Bottle Art
Renowned artist pulls a trick on Houston: See it for yourself
With a mid-career retrospective on view at the Blaffer Art Museum and a well-received show at Hiram Butler last fall, everything's coming up Tony Feher these days . . . and thanks to a new installation at Diverseworks, the Texas-raised/New York-based sculptor has one final trick up his sleeve for Houston audiences.
"Artists can very particular about how their work is presented — myself included, of course — but I wanted to try something different with this piece," Feher told CultureMap during a preview tour of Free Fall, a performance-centered project which opens Friday.
"We'll have musicians, dancers and performance artists using the space throughout the run of the show."
Stepping into Diverseworks' freshly-annointed Midtown space, it's hard not to want to touch the 100-odd bottles of kid-sized Ozarka water bottles hanging from the rafters at different heights.
The labels have been removed from the bottles and various amount of water have been drained or consumed. There's nary a drop of color in the gallery aside from the occasional pieces of blue painters tape used to attach white grocery store bags to the front windows. While the piece may seem rather sparse, Feher emphasized that the setup is really only the beginnings of a larger experiment.
"The idea is to have performers add the action and color," he explained. "We'll have musicians, dancers and performance artists using the space throughout the run of the show."
Working with the Diverseworks staff, Feher pulled together a roster of Houston artists interested in creating work that will play off the Ozaka installation. No instructions have or will be given to the performers.
"We want to give the artists as much freedom as possible and, for the most part, I have no idea what to expect," he laughed.
"However, I do know that one of our performers — an avant-garde musician named Damon Smith— is going to 'read' the bottles as musical notes on his double bass. That should be really great."
Free Fall opens Friday at Diverseworks with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. The installation will be on view through March 16 with a regular performances scheduled for Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Tony Feher: A 25-year Retrospective runs through the end of March at the Blaffer. The artist will offer a public talk at the museum on March 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.