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Assorted Damage: a new exhibition and walking tour from the Cracked Pavement Gallery


  • Presented By: Houston Arts Alliance
  • Dates: January 6, 2020 - April 1, 2020
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Various Locations in Montrose and River Oaks
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 11:59 PM
  • Price: Free
  • Admission: Free
  • Area of Town: Montrose
  • Free Admission: Yes
  • overview

    Assorted Damage An Exhibition and Walking Tour: Montrose to River Oaks Houston is a city that appreciates art. It is also a city built on a swamp that struggles with the afflictions of potholes and sidewalk damage. Technologies provide comforts but also disconnect us from the natural world. Even in Houston, so close to the Gulf of Mexico, we forget the power of the natural world unless severe weather interrupts our lives. But as a city, we notice damaged pavement: potholes and crumbling sidewalks. Pavements are a visible representation of the efforts people make to shape the environment and make it more habitable. Cracked pavements, damaged by weather and geological conditions, are evidence of the natural environment rejecting these infrastructures and exerting power over our controlled lives. The Cracked Pavement Gallery is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and offers online curated exhibitions of Houston’s damaged sidewalks, asking visitors to consider the aesthetics of cracked and crumbling concrete and the deeper things this signifies. It draws attention to, and finds beauty in, the structures that people use to shape environments, and way nature resists these structures. The following exhibit includes cracked pavements in an area in three neighborhoods: 1) the offbeat neighborhood of Montrose—characterized by vintage clothing stores, gay bars, and restaurants with vegan options; 2) the upscale neighborhood of River Oaks where lawn maintenance companies fill the streets daily with the buzz of leaf blowers; 3) and the neighborhood of Upper Kirby which lies between the two. Montrose is full of modest single-family houses, duplexes, and small apartment buildings where families, couples, students, and single people live on mostly un-gated lots. River Oaks has 6000 square foot mansions giving way, as you move west, to grandiose castles set behind walled properties. Upper Kirby shares elements of both neighborhoods—single story single family houses spotting new, luxurious development. Everyone suffers pavement damage, although the residents of River Oaks tend to pay for repairs, while the residents of Montrose offer safety warnings against hazards and alternative paths in the vein of wooden planks across lawns. Pavement damage illustrates economic and social differences, and also reveals similarities between all pedestrians living in a city built on a swamp.

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