Top: exhibit program cover
Center: "Dumpster Bouquet" by Mister Danny Geisler
Bottom: "Infinito Botannica: St. Louis, The Lavender Hour"
by Franco Mondini-Ruiz
UTSA, Current host 'This I Believe, This I Create' exhibit
By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs
(July 20, 2006)--UTSA and the San Antonio Current 20th Anniversary present the exhibit, "This I Believe, This I Create," from July 22 to Aug. 1 at the UTSA Downtown Campus gallery, Durango Building Room 1.122, 501 West Durango Blvd.
The exhibit will feature works by San Antonio artists Franco Mondini-Ruiz in a show titled "Gift with Purchase" and Mister Danny Geisler, whose show is titled "It's Not Easy Being Gringo." The event is the first in a series curated by UTSA art specialist Arturo Almeida.
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An opening reception hosted by UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Dr. Harriett Romo is 5-7 p.m., Saturday, July 22 at the gallery. An espresso reception follows from 8 to 10 p.m. at Ruta Maya Riverwalk Coffeehouse, 107 E. Martin St.
"This I Believe, This I Create" is an ongoing UTSA project that will present art reflecting the core beliefs that guide artists' creativity. The name comes from the 1950s radio program, "This I Believe," created and hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow. The program concept recently was revived by National Public Radio.
At the opening reception, Mondini-Ruiz' work will be introduced by artist Rolando Briseno and Geisler's work will be introduced by artist Daniel Guerrero. "Having artists talk about other artists' work is a key part of this series," said Almeida. "You don't often hear artists discuss the work of their peers, so that is an important part of this series."
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, contact Arturo Almeida at (210) 458-4983.
About the artists
According to San Antonio Current, the world of Mister Danny Geisler is "a wondrously surreal place... lined with heel-worn Astroturf and populated by jolly characters out of '50s grade school primers gone conspicuously awry... (He) revels in a self-induced state of functional lunacy, combining... graphic eloquence with a seriously kooky sense of humor."
"This exhibit features three full-sized dumpsters," said Geisler. "One has regular garbage, the second has a surprise and the third contains items you wouldn't ordinarily throw away on purpose. The idea behind this exhibit is that everything is garbage or debris. We have all of our possessions and the things we value, but eventually it's all thrown away." At the opening reception, he'll be giving out an audio CD with material related to the show.
Originally a graphic designer, Geisler has created art in San Antonio for more than 20 years. He is known for his annual "Peep Show," an installation featuring almost everything from his disorganized apartment moved into the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center's main gallery, including finished and unfinished paintings, moldy dishes, candy wrappers, dirty socks and dog hair, among other surprising items.
San Antonio native Franco Mondini-Ruiz lives and works in New York. He earned a law degree from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, but gave up his successful legal practice in 1995 to focus on art.
According to San Antonio writer Sandra Cisneros, Mondini-Ruiz "creates intricate vignettes composed of a vast array of found objects and knickknacks such as costume jewelry, plastic cakes and treats, used ice-cream cups, miniature ceramic figurines, cigarette butts and much more... but the real insight of his work is the ability to expose sober meaning through laughter."
In the artist's words, the exhibit will feature "a dazzling display of Mexican pastry sculpture... Mexican bakery meets Tiffany boutique." The artist will sell his book for $20 and include a small sculpture with each purchase. "I think it's important to make art accessible to everyone at reasonable prices, while also considering the artist's need to make a living," said Mondini-Ruiz. "This is an opportunity for new collectors to begin buying art. It's my gift to my favorite city, San Antonio."
He is best known for Infinito Botanica, a traditional Mexican herb, folk-healing and gift shop in San Antonio that he purchased and transformed into a piece of installation art. Since moving to New York, Mondini-Ruiz re-created the botanica in gallery spaces and museums, exploring the intersection of art, commerce and globalization in his installations and performance-based projects.
His work was featured at the 2000 Whitney Biennial, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and El Museo del Barrio in New York. He staged shows in Charlotte, N.C., San Antonio, St. Louis, Rome and Florence and received funding from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, ArtPace, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation.