Otis Houston Jr. (AKA Black Cherokee)
The artist, Otis Houston Jr aka Black Cherokee, will present work at the Socrates Sculpture Park August 29 and 30th of 2009. In line with the artist’s ongoing creative practice, the work will consist of three supporting elements: text, sculpture, and performance. Text will be present on some sort of signage, either painted on a billboard, written on fabric, or inscribed on a chalkboard. The text will provide literal content and context to support the rest of the work. The sculptural element will consist of an arrangement of found objects or light fabrication assembled on site. The artist would like to see the site, studio facilities and available materials in order to assess what kind of construction would be feasible. The artist will also perform for a period of time in a series of encoded acts consisting of stillness, gesture and physical interaction with objects. Examples from the artist’s performance lexicon include holding and eating fruit, presenting flowers, reading and wearing books, weightlifting, riding an exercise bicycle, holding a broom or some combination of the above. The artist may also offer spoken poetry. The theme and content of the project will be family-friendly and timely. In his practice the artist generally responds to some current event or issue. For this reason the specific content will be improvised within the specified parameters. As the artist says, “I’ve got to be free.” The communication will be a positive affirmation promoting some form of physical, financial, spiritual and environmental well-being. One iteration which interests the artist in particular is the installation of a painted wooden sculpture built around a tree. The sculpture would consist of four blocks of wood supporting the tree painted red, yellow black and white. In this instance signage might read “Trees and people need each other” or “Nature knows no color lines.” The possibility of this particular installation will depend on what materials are available at the sculpture garden studios.