“Whatever Lola” to close “Gently Fried” exhibit

On Thursday, artist Katelena Hernandez Cowles will reprise the performance aspect of “Whatever Lola” at the closing reception for “Gently Fried,” the fresh group exhibit curated by the collective Los Outsiders and presented at the Mexican-American Cultural Center.

Just as “Gently Fried” skewers issues surrounding gentrification, so does “Whatever Lola” poke at cultural stereotypes in spirited and very entertaining manner.

Katelena Hernandez Cowles in "Whatever Lola"
Katelena Hernandez Cowles in “Whatever Lola”

Cowles’ 12-foot  moving sculpture — the Lola Cage — serves as both set and costume as the artist and three other performers take turns singing the sultry torch songs made famous by mid-century Latina stars such as Rita Hayworth, Carmen Miranda, Lupe Velez and Dolores del Rio.

Cowles and the performers — all of whom vary in age, body type and gender — wear identical replicas of Rita Hayworth’s costume in the film Gilda, which attaches directly to fabric elements of the Lola Cage.

The name of Cowles’ piece is a reference to the song “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets”  from 1958 musical Damn Yankees, in which a non-Latina character mimicks a Latina stereotype for comic effect.

Cowles’ steel “Lola Cage” has a 22-foot wingspan, with six moving petals that run on two winches and a system of pulleys. Lit by a crystal chandelier, it weighs approximately 3500 pounds.

“Gently Fried” recently netted the 2014-2015 Austin Critics Table Award for Outstanding Group Exhibition.

“Gently Fried” closing reception and “Whatever Lola” performance
When: Reception 7 to 8:30 p.m. with performances beginning at 8:30 p.m., June 11
Where: Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.

Lola 2015-04-19 back magic


Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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