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Sea of Common Catastrophe 

Inspired by a Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story, Jeff Becker has fashioned a hybrid installation that builds on his own personal and professional history. 'The sea of common catastrophe" is the great Columbian novelist's reverse euphemism for the human condition, the trials and tribulations we all share. This humanistic perspective synchronizes neatly with Becker's background in performance and set design, as his figures appear immersed in their own personal dramas, perched on ladders under antique, Jules Verne-style balloons and vintage luggage dangling on ropes, and here the metaphor is movement. Even the ladders have rockers like rocking chairs, as his figures appear poised for flight, a fantasy of escape that may ultimately elude them. 'I am motivated by issues that impact the human condition," Becker says. 'I strive to create poetic metaphors that address these issues." — D. Eric Bookhardt

Through Jan. 6

Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800; www.cacno.org

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