Soaring over Houston: Jorge Marin’s Wings of the City exhibit


One reason I was eager to visit Houston last weekend was to see Mexican sculptor Jorge Marín‘s “Wings of the City” exhibit, which after months on display downtown at Discovery Green Park was ending on March 3rd. Nine of Marín’s bronzes — mainly life-sized male figures, many of them winged, atop rectangular pedestals or orbs — were placed prominently throughout the park, making for a pleasant, artful stroll despite the chilly, gray day.

Equilibrista 90 Monumental

The figures are wonderfully detailed and realistic but also mysterious: bird-like masks obscure some of their faces.

Detail of the man’s hair and the mask’s string on Equilibrista 90 Monumental.

Abrazo Monumental

When faces are revealed, they are filled with emotion, as with these embracing figures.

Abrazo Monumental contained the only female figure in the exhibit.

Angel Perselidas Monumental

This angel figure, masked like a bird, crouches in a relaxed but watchful pose atop an orb, looking down at you as you pass. His right forefinger, rubbed by passersby, gleams gold.

The ruined figure of El Tiempo, or Time, was elevated above the park on a central knoll.

With his head cracked open to the sky, his eyes come alive with a blank gaze — the sky as seen through his mask of a face.

Split Monumental is one of three gymnast figures, as opposed to the winged angels that made up the rest of the exhibit.

Hombre Universal Monumental

The third gymnast is a masked nude in a sphere of moving rings, reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Ironically, I’d heard about the exhibit due to a controversy about this piece reported by a Houston news station, in which a few locals complained about the artistic nudity in a park frequented by children. I can’t really imagine there was much controversy about this — I mean, have people not ever seen images of Michelangelo’s David? — especially in a city as large and multicultural as Houston, but you never know.

Bernardo Oriental Monumental

At any rate, we thought the exhibit was marvelous and were glad to have caught it.

The only non-figure piece in the exhibit was Alas de Mexico: simply a pair of framed wings atop a stair-stepped pedestal, clearly inviting you to become part of the exhibit yourself. The interaction between this piece and the public was delightful to observe, and of course we took turns posing too. My daughter makes a lovely angel or superhero or whatever one wishes to imagine of these symbols of power and grace.

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21 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This is one of the things that living in/near a big city makes day trips so fun. Beautiful sculptures. Nothing obscene that I observe here.

  2. Kris P says:

    These are wonderful! I hope the figures make their way to LA once day.

  3. peter schaar says:

    She makes a beautiful winged victory in repose.

  4. deb says:

    So beautiful!

  5. commonweeder says:

    What a great exhibit. I’m going to be visiting my daughter in the Houston environs at the end of April so I will miss this, alas, but you are right. Lots of great art in Houston. And a very special EAgle Scout.

  6. sandy lawrence says:

    Awe-inspiring. How fortunate for us who can’t make it to Houston that you did! Gorgeous photos. Re dissenters, I recall a TX mayor some years ago who ordered an art exhibit removed from a bank lobby because it included a study or two of nudes. His famous quote was reported in “Texas Monthly”: “I don’t know art, but I know nekkid.” That declaration became an ongoing family joke. We are a strange lot, Texans.

  7. One of the most obscene things in the world is ignorance. Thank you so much for showing us the detail and beauty of the exhibit. I’m sorry I missed it.

  8. Jean says:

    Love this. And cute pic of your daughter. Wish I’d heard about it when I was there last weekend!

  9. Katina says:

    I remember there was a children’s cartoon episode where the grown up decided to take the kids to the Sistene Chapel to show them real art and then spends most of her time running around putting censored bars over all the nudes.

    nude artwork in a park – I bet more kids took issue with the fact that the statue was allowed to be naked, but they weren’t.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Ha! I bet so too, Katina.

      One of the things I find kind of obnoxious about the treatment of nudity in our society is that women’s bodies are routinely shown in fine art (not to mention exploited in films, ads, and porn), but male nudity is widely considered taboo. It’s a weird double standard. —Pam

  10. Lucy says:

    What a pretty picture of your daughter! The sculptures are amazing

  11. TexasDeb says:

    Amazing sculptures and I’ll count myself among the many who wouldn’t have seen them were it not for your post.

    We were at a senior student art show yesterday running at the Visual Art Center at UT. If anyone is interested in seeing the future of art as represented by this soon-to-graduate class, the show runs here in Austin through April 6th (UP + UP 2015 Senior Student Exhibition).