The real-life horror movie crime that is becoming numbingly routine in Mexico is now mirrored in the country's vibrant street art. Now local photographer Shannon O'Hara and global art entrepreneur LuQman Kaka are bringing those urban murals to Houston.
BeHuman Gallery is a new addition to CityCentre that will house a variety of featured artists in one primary second-floor gallery space next to Eddie V's as well as a labyrinth of local artists’ work to be shown in smaller, public vignettes around CityCentre.
"I think your average American believes that art in Mexico begins and ends with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera," O'Hara says. "There is so much more."
The first featured artist, Arturo Negrete, fills drug-war-torn Mexican streets with typographical innovation and psychedelic promotional posters. His perspective dating back 30 years will be featured at the gallery and reflect his personal development as an artist, as well as the evolution of Mexican street art.
“It rises above the typical commercial poster art that we are accustomed to seeing here in the U.S. and elevates it through ingenious design and exquisite execution by the hands of a master screen printer,” O’Hara says.
Negrete injects an element of abstract fun and pop art whimsy into posters for local musical acts. Although commercial in function, they also serve to reflect Mexico’s evolving art scene.
"I think your average American believes that art in Mexico begins and ends with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera," O'Hara says. "There is so much more to that and this is a great example of just how diverse, sophisticated and imaginative it really is."
Part of O’Hara and Kaka’s mission is to create an interactive experience in the form of lectures and workshops, similar to The Jung Center but still centered around exhibits. O’Hara says that Negrete may teach his screen printing technique “either through a lecture, demo, or a more hands-on class where students may participate and make their own prints.”
They are also putting out a call to local artists to fill small exhibition spaces throughout the 15,000-square-foot perimeter of CityCentre. "We are actively searching out emerging artists who can offer bold, high-impact work," O'Hara says.
To submit entries, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the pieces that best represent your portfolio.
The BeHuman Gallery main space will celebrate its grand opening on July 28. Negrete’s untitled exhibition will be slowly assembled over the next few months, and until then BeHuman is displaying still life photography by O’Hara.