PRINT January 2003

Michael Wilson

THE TROUBLE WITH OUTER SPACE IS THAT EVERYBODY wants a piece. The recent Hollywood remake of Solaris provided further evidence of the subject’s enduring pancultural appeal but also an alarming reminder of the heavy traffic plying that terrain. It’s a brave artist indeed who’s willing to go where so many have gone before, but having been raised in the shadow of NASA’s Houston base, Rafael Vargas-Suarez (aka Vargas-Suarez Universal) isn’t held back by such earthbound concerns. Space Station Dystopia: 1939/1964/2001, a mural made for the Queens Museum of Art’s “Crossing the Line” in 2001, saw him rework building plans from the World’s Fairs held on the same site in 1939 and 1964 into a retrofuturistic trip that reanimated the extraterrestrial milieu.

This past September, Universal mounted his first solo show in New York, at Thomas Erben Gallery. Stardust was another intricate wraparound wall

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