DiverseWorks was born out of urgency, founded in 1982 by a group of artists who sought a gathering space for presenting experimental contemporary work that had no other outlet in Houston. Consistently on the forefront of multidisciplinary practice, DiverseWorks soon became the primary place in Houston to see and experience challenging and provocative art in all its forms, much of it engaged with pressing political, social, and cultural issues. It was against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic and Culture Wars that DiverseWorks took root, and events like the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the Los Angeles Riots, the Gulf War, and the 1992 Republican National Convention loom large in its history. The 80s and 90s were urgent times that incited global action, and DiverseWorks spearheaded local efforts by organizing and presenting issues-based exhibitions, performances, and events.
The Eleventh Hour highlights a history of urgency and activism at DiverseWorks, while also revisiting issues that remain critical today. The exhibition shares its title with a painting (now destroyed) by Rachel Hecker created in 1992 in response to censorship and abortion issues, issues that are clearly still relevant as evidenced by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’ recent infamous 11-hour filibuster. The times and context may have changed, but these issues have yet to be resolved and urgent action is required. Whether defending freedom of expression and reproductive rights, confronting violence and poverty, exposing inequities within political and corporate power structures, or championing racial, gender, and sexual equality, DiverseWorks has been, and remains, an instigator of dialogue and action. To that end, The Eleventh Hour features a specially-designed conference table which may be reserved and used by community groups to hold public meetings. Here, activism is put into motion in the past, present, and future.
Anti-Trust, Eric Avery, Jaime Bailleres, Johannes Birringer, Olin Calk, Julián Cardona, Ann Carlson, Mel Chin, Ben DeSoto, Gonzo247, Gorilla Girls/Houston, Sharon Hayes, Rachel Hecker, Paul Hester, Zhang Huan, John Jasperse Company, LAPD/Los Angeles Poverty Department, Richard Lewis, Rick Lowe, Robbie McCauley, Jaime Murrieta, Jill L. Newmark with Enrique Arciniega Campos, Suzan-Lori Parks and Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Travis Pfeiffer, Pomo Afro Homos, William Pope.L, Robert Rosenberg, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, James Luna, and Roberto Sifuentes, Annie Sprinkle, Mary Ellen Strom