DiverseWorks was born out of urgency. Founded in 1982 by a small group of artists determined to create a place that didn’t yet exist in Houston, DiverseWorks was envisioned as a gathering space that fostered and celebrated an artistically restless, intellectually inquisitive, and socially and politically engaged arts community. The Eleventh Hour is an exhibition that seeks to trace this lineage of urgency in DiverseWorks’ programming, from the recent to the distant past.
The issues of the eighties and nineties, the period in which DiverseWorks was most socially and politically vocal, are still being discussed on the local as well as the national stage, often amidst heated debate. The Eleventh Hour shares its title with a now-destroyed 1992 painting by Rachel Hecker that was created in response to a series of censorship and abortion issues unfolding at the time; issues that are clearly still relevant as evidenced by the recent actions of the Texas state legislature and Senator Wendy Davis’ infamous 11-hour filibuster. 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 an instigator of dialogue and action. Featuring key works from notable exhibitions and video documentation of important performances, The Eleventh Hour also includes audio recordings, photographs, documents, and other ephemera.
Artists featured include Elia Arce, Eric Avery, Johannes Birringer, Mel Chin, Ben DeSoto, Karen Finley, Michael Galbreath, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, the Gorilla Girls/Houston, Deborah Hay, Sharon Hayes, Rachel Hecker, Zhang Huan, Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Rhodessa Jones, William Pope.L, Annie Sprinkle, Mary Ellen Strom, and many others.
While exploring some of the various genealogies that have shaped DiverseWorks’ evolution, The Eleventh Hour also provides an opportunity to move urgent conversations forward and ground the organization in the present moment. Central to the exhibition isa special conference table situated within the galleries that may be used by members of the community to hold public meetings during the course of the exhibition.