Five-Minute Tours: Karen Navarro’s “América Utópica”

by Glasstire June 3, 2022

“Shine America 2043” by Karen Navarro, 2021. Archival inkjet print, wood, neon, paint, and resin (45” high × 85” wide × 5” deep)

Note: the following is part of Glasstire’s series of short videos, Five-Minute Tours, for which commercial galleries, museums, nonprofits and artist-run spaces across the state of Texas send us video walk-throughs of their current exhibitions. This will continue while the coronavirus situation hinders public access to exhibitions. Let’s get your show in front of an audience.

See other Five-Minute Tours here.

Karen Navarro: América Utópica: Houston. Dates: May 14 – June 26, 2022

Via CauseConnect: Art That Matters:

“Artist Karen Navarro uses images of crowdsourced skin tones and data to create mixed-media demographic portraits that are central to her national art project entitled América Utópica. The public is invited to participate in this ongoing project by submitting digital photographs of their skin (arm, hand, or face) here. Anyone can submit regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, geographic location, gender identity, disability, economic status, and/or any other diverse background.

Navarro’s Houston edition of her América Utópica project is on view May 14, 2022 through June 26, 2022. To visit the exhibition in person before it closes in Houston, request an appointment by emailing [email protected].

A focal point of the exhibition is an installation designed to depict the diversity of Houston entitled Hechos del Mismo Barro (We are Made of the Same Clay), a photographic mural composed of color squares ranging in hues from light tans to warm browns, blush pinks to dark browns. Hundreds of skin-tone images submitted by participants were rendered by the artist into four-inch square tiles and arranged in order of how they were received to avoid hierarchy. By reducing skin tones to colored squares, the artist sought to convey the similarities and erase the differences as people. Navarro intends to replicate this work in different cities as her project expands nationwide.

Also on view is her neon abstract large-scale work Shine America 2043 and a LED-lit three-dimensional mixed-media artwork made using obsidian stone called Somos Millones (We are Millions). To tie in her own life experience and connect with her Indigenous identity, the artist used language and specific materials from Latin America, too.

América Utópica: Houston is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.”

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