Saturday afternoon at UH

Spent a leisurely afternoon at the University of Houston main campus, with stops at the Blaffer Gallery for the Ant Farm exhibit and Hofheinz Pavilion for a Cougars men’s basketball game.

The exhibit had fewer items than I had expected to find (the Ant Farm warehouse burned in 1978, incinerating much of their work), but what it had gave a fascinating picture of how an eccentric and perceptive group of artists had fun with American society during the decade that they worked together. Of particular interest to Texans might be the materials related to Cadillac Ranch and to the re-enactment of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

(A personal note: While the group was active, I was a child living 30 miles away from them who had easy access to many examples of the kind of unconventional social analysis that Ant Farm specialized in. I was surprised by the nostalgia I felt while I viewed their work.)

After finishing the exhibit, I took a three-block walk and a 180-degree mental turn, meeting Kevin Whited, Callie, and Kevin’s boss to watch UH pound the sam hell out of a decent University of Memphis squad.

Good game, good crowd. The last UH game I attended, the pathetic loss to Prairie View, had 4000 puzzled onlookers; this game had 5000 screaming maniacs. Putting a competitive, hard-playing team on the court can make such a difference.

Two side notes:

1. I usually feel surprised when a UH team wins. Is my feeling justified? Probably not, but it is there.

2. I understand that budgets are tight, but the University of Houston should be ashamed that the plaza next the campus’ centerpiece Cullen buildings is in such awful condition. I credit the groundskeepers, though, for keeping weeds from growing through the fissures in the pavement.

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