Artist Jessica Garcia denies ever spending the night at the Fox Motel. But for the last four years, she has been curating the annual erotic art show “Seven Minutes in Heaven” at the infamous motel located at 302 Newell Avenue. On March 7 between 6-10 pm Garcia, along with nine participating artists, will take over the motel as part of this years Contemporary Art Month.
“I really wanted to take the idea of erotic art a little bit further, which is why I put in it a motel,” Garcia said. “Erotic art is always something that has existed. A lot of times it was commissioned privately. A lot of times artists maybe didn’t put their name on it, or maybe they were doing a picture of someone’s mistress. And that’s been going on forever.”
Originally, the show was intended to take place at various venues throughout the city. After the first year, she tried to secure an abandoned pornography shop but it proved to be too much trouble–there was no electricity. She continued to show at the Fox where, at least for now, the annual event has found a home. “I don’t know–I kind of have this connection with the Fox,” Garcia said. “I kind of feel at home at the Fox now.”
The Fox Motel, which stands just feet from the River Walk’s Museum Reach, and in the shadow of the Pearl, is an odd remnant from the past when guests could rent rooms by the hour for cheap thrills. Every year, someone from the surrounding community will inevitably call the police (sometimes twice) to complain about the gathering crowds seen during “Seven Minutes.” Garcia says she has gotten used to it. “Since we are never doing anything illegal, they just kind of check out the place and leave.”
Garcia, who has no qualms talking about sex, says she doesn’t believe in censorship and wants the artists in the show to really push themselves creatively. She adds that she is surprised by how well the show has been received within the local art community and that she is grateful for the continued support every year. “I’ve been really lucky. The first year I had Vincent Valdez (exhibiting) and for the third year I had Alex Rubio. I’ve always had well respected artists, so from the beginning, I’ve always felt the show has been taken seriously, even though it’s a lighter, fun event. I think the artists really make an effort to preserve the quality of the show and make legitimate erotic art.”
According to Garcia, all of this year’s artists are expected to experiment with the space in each room, rather than simply display art as you would in a traditional gallery. “I don’t have anybody that is just hanging up art,” she said. “Everybody is either doing some sort of installation with the room or a performance. I think everybody is really getting into the idea of the location as being part of the work.”
The full list of artists participating in this years “Seven Minutes” includes Jenelle Esparza, Nate Cassie, Louie Chaves, Mat Kubo, Miniature Curiosa, Ed Saavedra, Ethel Shipton, yesmissolga, and Sixto-Juan Zavala. Pink Leche performs at 8pm.
As the show evolves each year, Garcia has one rule–no repeats. “Every year, it’s a fresh line up,” she said. “Everybody is new. I think that’s something that keeps it fresh.”