News and notes from the San Antonio art scene

Painter, sculptor, curator, and native son Alejandro Diaz returns to the Alamo City to present his first solo effort in San Antonio in seven years. Diaz left town in 1997, two years after dubbing his humble Southtown living room "Sala Diaz" - today an internationally recognized incubator for cutting edge artistic practice. During his time abroad, Diaz earned an MA in Curatorial Studies at Bard College, and has remained active as an artist and a curator. Much of his work deals with highly personalized manifestations of cultural hybridity; specifically, the conscious push-and-pull between a fertile Chicano heritage and the formal semiotics of so-called high art. Diaz' exhibit at Sala Diaz (517 Stieren, 695-5132) opens on Friday, December 5 with a reception from 7 to 11 p.m.

REM Gallery (816 Camaron, Finesilver Building, 224-1227) features "FLUX," new work by San Antonio-based painter Peter Cuong Nguyen. Nguyen explores the oft-neglected, gentle underbelly of postmodernism, producing conceptually sophisticated work in a muted palette of black, white, and gray. Nguyen's work will be featured in the upcoming 2003 edition of New American Painting. "FLUX" runs through December 20.

If you are one of the many Americans who believe that small, private universities foster a greater respect and understanding of the arts than public institutions, think again. An installation by visiting artist Jessica Halonen was recently removed from Coates Library on Trinity University campus after being vandalized the previous weekend. To add insult to injury, the Trinitonian reports that after physically destroying a portion of the installation and dumping trash over the entire area, the culprit(s) left behind a sign reading "This is not art" - an asinine attempt to characterize a childish and malicious act as some sort of valid critique. This incident is the latest in a string of thefts and vandalism on Trinity's campus directed at students and guest artists alike. Halonen's exhibit was scheduled to run through mid-December. •

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