Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

Tracey Moffatt dissects racial encounters at Hudson (Show)Room 

click to enlarge Tracey Moffatt’s Pineapple Cannery 1978, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Tracey Moffatt’s Pineapple Cannery 1978, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York.

Tracey Moffatt

Free

Noon-5pm Wed-Sun

Artpace

445 N Main

(210) 212-4900

artpace.org

On view to September 11

Some artists don’t get stuck. When Tracey Moffatt hit the art scene 20 years ago, she quickly became known as a new voice from the Aboriginal communities of Australia, her knack for storytelling displayed first in still photography and later in film often depicted racial and class mashups — behavior that strayed dangerously from convention, often with dark consequences. Both still and moving images by Moffatt are now on view at Artpace in a virtuosic display of sampling that reworks found photographs and makes raids on classic film and TV stock, to sometimes-hysterical result.

Rounding the walls of the Hudson (Show)Room is “First Jobs,” 12 digital prints made in 2008 from found 1970s photographs, adapted to depict minimum-wage job sites. Moffatt has copied and reworked the originals by inserting her smiling image and has manipulated the color to the over-bright but faded hues of old postcards. The scenes feature jobs that Moffatt held while in school, or shortly after. Some of the prints, like Pineapple Cannery, point to her tropical North Australian youth. Others, such as Hair Washer or Fruit Market, only reveal their site and era in fashion and décor details. The collection of happy workers can be read as a paean to youthful optimism and the first experiences of workday camaraderie — it’s all so romantic, as cheerful as the happiest of Soviet socialist realism or Nazi art. Taken straight up or with a twist of irony, they sparkle.

In a darkened viewing room is “Handmade,” a series of video montages made between 1999 and 2010. Moffatt began her career in commercial television; here she acts as director. The videos were pieced together by her collaborator and film editor, Gary Hillberg. Clips sourced from dozens of old films and American television series are spliced together to reveal genres, making new short stories using bits that repeat like hip-hop sampling. Often clusters of similar actions — a kiss, a crying child, or a slap — spray like shotgun blasts or startled flocks of birds.

Tags:

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 28, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation