Saturday, August 04, 2012


Vernacular 9 Hub Caps, Spray Paint, Latex House Paint Individual: Vary, 13, 14, 15, 16 inches Installation: Approx. 6 x 6 feet r mateo diago

A re-post of my article at in July.

Issue based art is often difficult to make and many times subtle as a chainsaw, but Robert Mateo Diago in collaboration with Willie Baronet, Cristella Medrano, and the community at large take on this heavy topic of homelessness with the angle of accessibility. This ongoing show at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary will launch a second opening this Wednesday, June 20 in this exhibition space of installations, photographs, and collages.

I was first drawn to Robert Mateo Diago’s houses. These sculptures come in green and yellow with a variety of sizes and limited supply. The work can be picked up and examined by gallery goers,where on the bottom, they will discover a one word message. The yellow houses are new for Dallas and he uses local culture and design periodicals, then he paints over the wood blocks covered in the various layers. Then the hubcaps caught my eye, where each wheel is brightly colored with a word referencing money painted in a lighter tone. These discarded parts of cars act as a commodity for homeless to turn in for cash. And of course cans are a part of this story. Mateo Diago created a piece out of cans. that total value was $3. Some of which he collected himself from public trash cans.

Like the houses Mateo Diago offers people to participate in his projects. One powerful piece was his simple question on a postcard asking people what they thought of the homeless. The answers ranged from poetic to crude. But in democratic style, he displayed them all in a video installation inside an overturned dumpster.

Though the crowd contributed, artists Willie Baronet and Cristella Medrano completed the show with their pieces. Baronet’s purchased signs from the homeless community bring in the work of the people with first hand witness accounts summed up in each of their signs. The fact that these works are hanging suspended in the air helps you imagine a person behind each one. Medrano’s photos are of quiet, empty urban spaces acting as refuge for the homeless. The images only show evidence of people living there.

“home•less•bound” is the type of show that helps you engage with the issue of homelessness without being overly preachy. These artists are just asking everyone to step outside their comfort zone and talk a little about it, maybe engage someone, or even get involved in helping, Just don’t ignore the problem. The show goes until July 7th. for more images.

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