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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dinnerware dishes up democracy

    Anyone who has endured the meet-the-parents meal will tell you that religion, sexuality and politics are topics best left untouched at dinner, to be discarded alongside limp lettuce and the occasional overcooked casserole. The folks at Dinnerware Artspace, however, have often tended toward the unconventional in their gallery exhibitions, and the most current of these is no exception. “”Art, politics, and the soup of change”” brings the taboo to the table.

    “”Art, politics, and soup; these are basic necessities,”” said David Aguirre, director of Dinnerware Artspace.

    The show took a very brief journey from conception to opening reception. The call for artists to submit their work, whether they doodle or draw for a living, was met with an overwhelming response, and no entry was denied display.

    “”I wanted people to have a chance to get out all the things they might have wanted to over the past eight years,”” Aguirre said.

    Judging from the work now gracing the gallery’s walls, Tucson’s artists (and students, and the public in general) had been waiting for that forum. Paintings are prevalent, but the presence of protest paraphernalia and film footage remind viewers that this is not merely the angst-ridden ranting of a discouraged community. The works are instinctual responses to the very real events of our political past.

    Artist Greg Schoon’s work is particularly striking. A monochromatic recreation of the American flag hangs from the ceiling, stars and stripes in black, black, and black instead of the patriotic red, white and blue. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself standing on Schoon’s large-scale image of former president George W. Bush’s face, juxtaposed by a mirror image of Adolf Hitler in an identical graphic black and red style. Scrawled underneath the two faces are the German words “”gleiche scheisse, anderes arschloch.”” Translated, they make up the explicit expression “”same shit, different asshole.””

    Dinnerware’s gallery is comprised of several sets of rooms, and the sentiment becomes more hopeful as you make your way inside. Aguirre calls this a hint of “”new optimism,”” which has been energized by Tuesday’s inauguration. Now, there are messages of creation alongside the critical commentary. The soups being served, family or soup-kitchen style, were also concocted by artists of all varieties, culinary and otherwise. Instead of solely showcasing the scorn some have for our nation’s past leadership, this open-submission exhibit manages to also portray the possibilities of the future.

    There’s no shame in asking for a second serving of soup.


    Dinnerware Artspace
    264 E. Congress
    Show runs through January 24
    Tooley’s on Congress serving “”Soups of Change”” soups this week.

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