Museums to feature diverse displays
This fall should prove an exciting time for the Houston art scene. Whether one’s preference is Hollywood, rock ‘n’ roll, surrealism, or sugar skulls, you won’t have to empty your pockets to feed your cultural appetite with these delicious and (mostly) free offerings. Here’s a look at what’s in store:
On view now
Step up to see the hottest photographic innovations, courtesy of the Houston Center for Photography’s 26th Anniversary Juried Membership Exhibition. Alison Nordstrom, curator of photographs at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York, selected works of 30 photographers from 10 states, as well as work from Canadian and Japanese artists. One of two annual juried shows, the exhibition will showcase nine Texans, including Houston’s own Robert Levy and Austin’s Tami Bone, and runs through Sept. 7.
Also in the photo realm, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston will hold Sam Taylor-Wood: 1995-2007, the first major U.S. showing for the London artist. Margo A. Crutchfield, senior curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland organized the exhibition, which highlights Taylor-Wood’s use of film, video and photos to analyze the psychological elements of human experience. Among the 29 works to be shown is "Crying Men," a 2002-2004 photo series of Hollywood idols Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris, Benicio del Toro and more.
Finding hope haphazardly through the most painful of life conditions is a running theme for the Blaffer Gallery’s Damaged Romanticism: A Mirror of Modern Emotion, which colors the works of 15 internationally recognized artists. The exhibition, which includes installations as well as paintings, photos, sculptures and video, opens with a special reception Sept. 12 and will be on view through Nov. 15.
Understanding Poverty is set to kick-off DiverseWorks’ 2008-2009 season, with a photo survey of homelessness in the United States spanning 20 years, through the eyes of Ben DeSoto. DeSoto met Ben White and Judy Pruitt, two homeless Houstonians, while on assignment for The Houston Chronicle in 1988, and has since led an extensive dive into the depth of the culture of homelessness. The exhibition opens Sept. 12 and is on view through Nov. 1.
Whether a fan of classical, country, jazz or rock ‘n’ roll, music lovers should fully enjoy The Sounds I See: Photographs of Musicians, which will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Sept. 20 through Jan. 19, 2009. The museum’s Cameron Gallery will share more than 90 photos from its private collection, with most of them being shown for the first time.
Portraits as well as in-performance pieces detail this body of work, including 44 of Ralph Gibson’s photos of contemporary guitarists. Also important to the exhibition is Emil Cadoo (1926-2002), an African-American who moved to France after World War II and is responsible for 19 photos of Edith Piaf (1915-1963), regarded as one of the most popular French singers to have ever lived. The exhibition will include several other photo collections of Ella Fitzgerald, Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, Charlie Parker and more.
In one of the most anticipated events of the year, The Menil Collection presents Max Ernst: In the Garden of Nymph Ancolie, on view Oct. 31 through Feb. 15. Named for the mural "P’eacute;tales et Jardin de la Nymphe Ancolie," painted in 1934 just before the German-born artist met John and Dominique de Menil in Paris, the exhibition will center on the piece, which is in the process of being fully restored in Basel, Switzerland.
The Museum Tinguely, Basel, organized the exhibition in conjunction with the Menil’s already extensive collection. It includes 120 paintings, sculptures, collages and drawings.
Those who enjoy candy and Halloween costumes might also look to celebrate the 21st annual D’iacute;a de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibition at Lawndale Art Center. Beginning Oct. 20 and running through Nov. 8, the exhibition will showcase Texas artists’ versions of retablo, an art form in which Mexico’s sacred religious figures are painted on tin.
As part of the celebration, Lawndale invites Houston residents to join together in a sugar skull-making workshop from 4:00 – 7:00p.m. Oct. 30. Attendants will receive a sugar skull as well as a recipe.
Opening Nov. 14 and on view through Dec. 20, Thrive is set to explore the work of 15 prominent female Houston artists. The exhibition is in conjunction with UH Women’s Studies, and reflects on women’s experiences literally and spiritually, as well as their daily environments.
Just in time for the holidays, the CAMH is set to bring to life the magical work of an innovative San Francisco-based artist in Perspectives 164: Stephanie Syjuco, her first solo show. In Syjuco’s photo series The Village (Small Encampments), she manipulates images from tourist’s online photos taken in the Philippines and combines them with those taken at home in her own apartment. The exhibition will also feature selected paintings and sculptures.
So, take a break from books and the heat and celebrate the diverse history of the Houston art scene. All events are free except for The Sounds I See at the MFAH. General admission there is $7 except for Thursdays, which are free. Since the MFAH and the CAMH also stay open Thursdays until 9:00p.m., there’s plenty to see after a long day of class or work.