Punking sex, religion, and society at the Guadalupe

“Bite like a kitty” might be named after a punk band, but the Contemporary Art Month Perennial exhibit, still on view at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, reflects a shrewd aesthetic strategy: If you want people to pay attention, make ’em laugh. Curator Bill Arning, executive director of Contemporary Art Museum Houston, selected five San Antonio artists who use a mash of multimedia to punk gender boundaries, the science of sex, social barriers, and love songs.

Julia Barbosa Landois risks eternal damnation in her anti-love song to Jesus, but you have to smile at the universal wisdom of her funniest line, “I didn’t learn to make tortillas, ’cause I knew my husband would make me make them all the time.” Her plaintive, poignant music video, Star-Crossed II, stars Landois singing a Mexican ballad. Projected behind her are the lyrics in Spanish, but the English subtitles soon run off the romantic rails. Religious oppression of women torques her — “Both God’s mother and his wife and she still can’t tell him what to do.” Landois’ argument with God is a digital-age extension of a distinguished literary tradition with satiric barbs as pointed as Mark Twain’s in Letters from the Earth.

Sarah Sudhoff’s photographs often have a high “ick” factor. The experimental sexual devices she uncovered at the Kinsey Institute and documented in her Wired series extend beyond Rube Goldberg into scary, mad scientist territory. The photos are sealed in black plastic sleeves, reminiscent of 1970s-era pornography; she’s selling them for a buck a pop. Wired provocatively illustrates the difficulty of separating emotionless scientific inquiry from the highly charged sexual taboos erected by religion.

The remnants of the performance piece Giving to Get by Saintlorraine, collaborators Kristy Pérez and Britt Lorraine, resemble a crime scene. Stockings and a slip arecrumpled on the floor of the gallerydivided by a curtain. At the opening, Lorraine spent hours on the floor, her body bisected by the curtain barrier, perhaps a symbol of the psychological barrier between private and public selves. Other clues include a drawing that reads as both a torso and a trapdoor and a wall piece with fading roses, suggesting a hidden identity and a private universe shielded from public view.

Joey Fauerso mixes animation, video, painting, and poetry in her installation, Nick Reading Nouns #4, which gradually devolves into mind-numbing repetition, especially the words “dispenser” and “shag.” In the split-screen video, a young man reads a series of nouns accompanied by an animated rectangle with a cartoony sound design by the artist’s father, Paul Fauerso. Nick also appears in a series ofpainted portraits reminiscent of movie stills. Fauerso’s video is amusing at first, but it’s played so loudly that it overwhelms the rest of the exhibit, eventually sounding like the drunken party guest who won’t shut up.

CAM Perennial: bite like a kitty

Noon-5 p.m. Tue-Sat
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Art Gallery
723 S. Brazos
(210) 271-3151
Through June 1