Jasmine Zelaya, Detroit Red, 2020. Photo by Nash Baker.
Allison Hunter, Hive at Rice, 2020. Photo by Nash Baker.
Color Factory, Rice Color Walk, 2020. Photo by Nash Baker.
Rice Architecture, Student Design Charrette, Twelve Feet Apart, 2020. Photo by Nash Baker.
We Make Carpets. Photo by Nash Baker

Creative Interventions: Rice University Outdoor Structures

September 29, 2020 - May 21, 2021
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Four new Provisional Campus Facilities (PCFs) and five open-air structures provide safe, welcoming, in-person learning environments for Rice University faculty and staff, and opportunities for site-specific, artistic interventions. Acting as blank canvases, these tent-like facilities will present works by Rice faculty and students while also inviting collaborations with innovative thinkers from the local, national and international communities.

The first group of installations, opening on September 29, 2020, will include a video projection by multi-media artist Allison Hunter, a vinyl painting by Houston-based artist Jasmine Zelaya, playful seesaws designed and built by Rice architecture students, and a sidewalk intervention by Color Factory.

Later this season, a community-made work led by the Dutch collective We Make Carpets will be created on October 17, and a mural by Houston street artist GONZO247 will be created together with Rice students and alumni the week of October 26, 2020. All of the projects will be on view through the end of the academic year, May 2021.

ALLISON HUNTER, HIVE AT RICE
Reflecting her artistic practice of highlighting the overlooked in society, including insects and often unseen environmental activities, Allison Hunter (b. 1967, Summit, New Jersey) has created a video work titled the Hive at Rice (2020), depicting the movements of bees. Filmed at a private hive in Houston, the artist digitally edited the footage, reducing the speed of the bees’ movements and heightening the dark-light contrast, so the viewer can closely observe these fascinating creatures who pollinate one-third of the global food supply. Projecting the film in an endless loop onto the side of the tensioned, fabric structure, Hunter compares the resilience and interconnectivity of the insect community to that of human society.

Hunter is currently an Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Rice University where she teaches courses on digital photography, experimental video, and video installation. 

This installation is made possible by Rice University’s Arts Initiatives Fund.

JASMINE ZELAYA, DETROIT RED
In response to discussions with student leaders at Rice University, Houston-based visual artist Jasmine Zelaya has created a work reflecting the diversity of the Rice campus and the value of community during the current pandemic.

As the daughter of Honduran immigrants, Zelaya’s work often explores themes of race, gender, identity and commonality across difference. In this painting, which has been digitally transferred to vinyl, two figures stand arm in arm in a gesture of friendship and connectivity at a moment when COVID-19 has necessarily limited human contact. Petals adorn the hair and faces of the figures, and pink blossoms populate the background. This motif is both universal, a symbol of growth and renewal, and personal, since all the women in Zelaya’s family are named after flowers. Acting as visual metaphors for matriarchal figures, these organic forms indicate the centrality of familial narratives to our lives.

The title Detroit Red refers to the nickname given to Malcom X as a young man, inspired by the red tint of his hair. It alludes to each young person’s potential, regardless of their circumstances, to positively impact history. 

Jasmine Zelaya (b. 1983, Houston, TX) received her BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2006. In 2008, she was awarded a residency through the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Urban Culture Project, in Kansas City, Missouri where she also created and facilitated art programming for young people. Based in Houston, Zelaya’s work has been featured in numerous public exhibitions, including Houston’s HUE Mural Festival, Project Row Houses, and Discovery Green’s House of Cards installation.

This installation is made possible by the Leslie and Brad Bucher Artist Residency Endowment, in support of artists who create site-specific works for Rice University.

COLOR FACTORY, RICE COLOR WALK
Color Factory is a collaboratively produced, immersive experience designed to awaken audiences to the everyday yet brilliant presence of color in our lives. Rice Color Walk pays special homage to the colors that make Rice and Houston unique. The palette was created through a collaboration between the Color Factory’s creative team and members of the Rice community. Each color in the striped walkway corresponds to a special place at Rice or in the city of Houston, such as the red of Rice’s signature tile roofs and the brown of Buffalo Bayou. The collection of colors creates a unique portrait of Rice and Houston that contributes to a sense of community and shared experience during this critical time.

RICE ARCHITECTURE, STUDENT DESIGN CHARRETTE, TWELVE FEET APART
Rice Architecture students Alec Burran, Lauren Ma and Juhi Parikh organized a design charrette this fall, inviting proposals for a temporary installation that would encourage socially distanced gatherings while conforming with CDC and Rice University COVID-19 guidelines. Six student teams submitted proposals that were evaluated by an interdisciplinary jury of faculty and staff drawn from architecture, engineering and the arts. Two proposals were then submitted for a student vote. The winning team, students Peyton Chiang, Spencer Hotelling, Joseph Hsu and Jeff Xia, will realize their design on the lawn adjacent to the temporary structures.

Titled Twelve Feet Apart the installation consists of a series of colorful see-saws, reimagined as socially distant yet playful and physically engaging structures. The project responds to the site by creating a landscape of colorful forms, visible from Campus Loop Road, inviting all who pass by to participate in an active social experiment by simultaneously coming together and staying more than six feet apart. The scalability of the project allows for a democratization of the design process, and the team hopes to eventually incorporate designs contributed by the student body.

GONZO 247, RICE COMMUNITY MURAL
On the occasion of Owl Together the first combined celebration of Homecoming & Reunion and Families Weekend, Rice will invite alumni, students, families and friends to collaborate with Houston street artist GONZO247 to create and install an outdoor mural adjacent to the temporary structures. From September 21 to 25, the Rice community will have the opportunity to contribute ideas for the imagery of the mural via @RiceAlumni social channels. From October 26 through November 1, Rice community members can volunteer to help the artist paint the 40’ mural, while following COVID-19 safety protocols. The mural will be revealed on November 1, complimented by a virtual talk by GONZO247. Bringing the Rice community together around an artist-led endeavor, this project demonstrates the endurance of the creative spirit, despite the pandemic.

Artist GONZO247, born Mario E. Figueroa, Jr. in 1973 in Houston, is a self-taught mural artist and founder of Aerosol Warfare Studios, the HUE (Houston Urban Experience) Mural Festival and the Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas. Inspired by Hip Hop culture and his local community, Houston’s East End, he has participated in more than 300 exhibitions and projects worldwide, including major murals for Houston’s NRG Stadium (2014), George R. Brown Convention Center (2016), and Saint Arnold’s Brewery (2018). This is his first mural for Rice University.

This project is made possible by Rice University’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations division.

PLATFORM: WE MAKE CARPETS, A COLLABORATIVE INTERVENTION
As part of Rice Public Art’s Platform series, inviting contemporary artists to respond to art, architecture, and research at Rice University through temporary, site-specific installations, the Dutch collective We Make Carpets will intervene in an open-air temporary structure adjacent to Baker Hall.

Based on the 19th century American tradition of a barn raising, a collective action in which the community comes together to build a barn for one of its members. The artists, from their studio in the Netherlands, will provide a set of instructions for an installation to be realized by Houston-based volunteers. Given travel restrictions due to COVID-19, this innovative collaboration transcends international borders, bringing people together around a shared creative cause.

Marcia Nolte, Stijn van der Vleuten, and Bob Waardenburg, the artists of We Make Carpets, first exhibited in the U.S. in 2018 when invited by the Moody Center for the Arts to create a site-specific installation titled Crêpe Paper Carpet. According to the artists, “We are delighted to continue our collaboration with Rice University, and are inspired by the open-ended, collaborative nature of the Rice and Houston communities.”

This installation is made possible by the Creative Industries Fund, NL and the Moody Center for the Arts.

SOLAR STUDIOS: ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE JUSTIN ROYKOVICH
In collaboration with the Center for Environmental Studies (CES) photographer Justin Roykovich will be in residence this fall, occupying the repurposed shipping containers powered by solar energy, known as the Solar Studios. These three structures are co-located with the Provisional Campus Facilities (PCFs).

Roykovich is a research-based artist working between New York, Washington D.C., Minneapolis and Houston. He received his MFA in Visual Art from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2014 where he was awarded the Ray Stark Film Prize and the Brovero Photography Prize. He received his BFA in Art and Visual Technology with departmental honors from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in 2011.

His practice explores relationships between specific physical locations and the psychic histories that reside there. Through lens-based research, Roykovich explores spatial exchanges between sites, geo-spectral networks and system-based transferences. Roykovich’s research often results in immersive installations using photographs, drawings, performances, video and found objects.

Roykovich is a visiting photography lecturer in Rice University’s Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts where he teaches black and white photography through the exploration of light-sensitive materials, film and digital cameras.