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Reading by Santos & Gallery Talk by Avila

Tues., Jan. 20, 6:30 pm

@ Bihl Haus Arts, 2803 Fredericksburg Rd.


SAN ANTONIO, TX, . —- Bihl Haus Arts presents a collaborative performance of new work by two long-term friends—-artist Norman René Avila and author John Phillip Santos—on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 6:30 pm.  Santos will read an excerpt from his new book The Farthest Home is in an Empire of Fire, a Tejano Elegy (forthcoming from Viking/Penguin) selected specifically to complement the exhibition of Avila’s New Work on Paper and Canvas by a Mutt Cubist, which continues at Bihl Haus Arts through Feb. 7th. 


John Phillip Santos recently returned to his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, after 21 years in New York. He was (and remains) a freelance filmmaker, producer, journalist, and writer whose work focuses on issues of media, culture, and ethnic identity. His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, among numerous other publications. He has also produced over 40 documentaries for CBS and PBS, 2 of them nominated for Emmy Awards. In 1997, Santos joined the Ford Foundation as an officer in the Media, Arts, and Culture Program, where he handled the Media Projects Fund and worked with new media technologies, especially as they pertain to developing countries.


Santos was the first Mexican-American Rhodes scholar to study at Oxford. He holds degrees in English Literature and Language from Oxford University and in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Notre Dame. He is a recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize at Notre Dame and the Oxford Prize for fiction. Santos is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Santos’ 1999 family memoir, Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation (Viking / Penguin), was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2006 it was selected for the "One Book, One City" reading program in San Antonio. Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation is a beautifully crafted work–a haunting prose poem to a city, a region, and a people, interwoven with Mexican mythology, Chicano folk tales, family stories, and dreams.


The reading and collaborative performance complements perfectly Avila’s new mixed-media drawings on common manila envelopes that dominate the exhibit. The warm orangey tones of this manila ground, which vary from envelope to envelope depending upon the brand, illumine the drawings from within. Repeating elements—swirls, eyes, bits of landscape, bull’s tails–remain fresh from drawing to drawing due to Avila’s brilliant maneuvering of multiple marking tools. Each tool produces different kinds of marks, and Avila exploits this to the fullest.


Bihl Haus Arts (, located at 2803 Fredericksburg Rd. on the campus of Primrose at Monticello Park Senior Apartments, is the only non-profit contemporary art gallery on the premises of senior affordable housing in the U.S.  The gallery is made possible with the generous support of The Potashnik Family Foundation and Primrose.  This program is funded in part by the San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs. For more information, (210) 383-9723, or [email protected]