PaperCity Magazine

March 2017 - Houston

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(through March 18), as well as in a group show about the art of assemblage at Williams Tower (March 8 – April 14). Especially hard-hitting are Prince's political assemblages. Don't present one of these to a conservative friend. A staple of liberal-leaning exhibitions such as Lawndale's "Big Show," the messaging is conveyed via often complex, towering constructions rife with text sampled from headlines. The topics come straight from the front pages of today's media, mainstream to tabloid, WikiLeaks to Vanity Fair and National Enquirer; the take- away sends up America's military machine, notably the policies of the Bush-era, post 9-11 presidency. Beyond the political critique though, Prince's concern with food sources and non-killing of fellow creatures is among the most powerful message pres- ent in his sculpture — and a philosophy that he lives by. He also distributes tracts to those he is fond of about the benefits of dining upon fruits, vegeta- bles, and seeds. He biblically addresses each recipient as brother or sister, often citing teachings from the Dead Sea Scrolls as his gospel. Much has been made of his colorful early life as a substance abuser and peddler of illicit activities, including pimping on the once mean streets of Houston's Eastside, as well as his conversion to God and art in 1969, after hitting rock bottom and a drug- induced blackout that almost left him for dead. By 1976, Prince had been discovered by Jim Harithas, then renegade director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, where he was given a solo that year. The decades accrued, along with exhibitions at Houston galleries and nonprofits from DiverseWorks and Art Car Museum to Hooks- Epstein Galleries and Zoya Tommy Gallery, capped by a retrospective and Lifetime Texas Artist of the Year honors at Art League Houston in 2015. And 40 years later, Prince is at his most enlightened — and as feisty as ever — exhibiting yet again with Harithas and his 88 The Koran and a volume on Gandhi in a chair in the monastic bedroom. A room in Prince's modest, immaculately kept dwelling serves as a studio. The desk-sized sculpture in the niche, People Who Eat Animals Never Have Any Peace, 2014, says it all about the artist's philosophy.

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