New art comes into Houston at a fast and fantastic pace. For fall, that means a cityscape of colors flow into the galleries, museums, and public venues, if not usually the trees. September in particular becomes a month of change as our visual art institutions cart up the sometimes whimsical summer art exhibits and installations and prepare for an autumnal art mood. We have a few fav exhibitions to wave goodbye to while welcoming some international sensations, so check our guide for the best of September art.
“Marc Horowitz, If it’s not mine, it’s mine” at Jonathan Hopson (now through October 13)
The assemblage and five individual works on view — motifs within the artist’s expanding but as-of-yet inconclusive forensic system — develop research that took Horowitz from the Roman ruins in Milreu, Portugal to the Dia Foundation in New York. Horowitz questions the value of time, labor, and sincere sincerity in an age when the digital image has become the quintessential found object.
“Breaking Point” at Rudolph Blume Fine Art / ArtScan Gallery (September 14-October 26)
Through her sculptures created from recycled plexiglas, paint, and found materials, Margaret Smithers-Crump investigates a holistic approach to the health of our planet and the human impact, both negative and positive, on the vulnerability and interconnectedness of diverse life forms and ecosystems.
“Australian Aboriginal Art: Beyond Time” at Booker-Lowe Gallery (opening September 14)
Booker-Lowe partners with Australia’s oldest indigenous art gallery, Cooee Gallery, to showcase more than 30 paintings by old masters and leading artists, including well-known painters who helped launch the Australian Aboriginal art movement in the 1970s.
Exhibition and installations openings
“Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale” at the Menil Collection, September 13-February 2, 2020.
This rare exhibition of contemporary (created after the 1950s) Australian Aboriginal art showcases more than 100 contemporary paintings, shields, hollow log coffins (larrakitj or lorrkkon), and engraved mother of pearl (lonka lonka or riji). The artwork comes the Fondation Opale in Lens, Switzerland, one of the most significant collections of Aboriginal art in the world. The show includes work by acclaimed artists such as Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gulumbu Yunupingu, John Mawurndjul, and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri.
“Tsuruya Kōkei: Modern Kabuki Prints Revised & Revisited” at the Asia Society, September 14-January 19, 2020
Asia Society Texas Center becomes the final museum in the U.S to host this exhibition featuring 77 prints by Kōkei, including all his kabuki actor portraits from 1984 to 1993, plus a collection of his meticulously rendered self-portrait. “Kabuki actor prints have been a beloved genre in Japanese woodblock printmaking for centuries,” said Bridget Bray, ASTC’s Nancy C. Allen, curator and director of exhibitions, in a statement about the show. “We are delighted to present such a comprehensive view into the ways that Kōkei both reveres and reinterprets these portraits.”
“Moon Shot” at the Rice Moody Center for the Arts (September 20-December 21)
While other Apollo 11 celebrations might have ended a month ago, Rice Moody Center is just getting started with this exhibition of artists creating half a century of artwork in response one of humanity’s greatest endeavors. Featured works include Robert Rauschenberg’s Stoned Moon series of 34 lithographs (shown together as a group for the first time since their creation in 1969-1970), Andy Warhol’s Moonwalk (1987) and Laurie Anderson’s virtual reality work, To the Moon (2018), co-created with Hsin-Chien Huang.
“Off the Wall: Harold Mendez” at Rice University’s Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion (September 21-August 24, 2020)
A new initiative from Rice Public Art will commission a site-specific installation by a recent alumnus or alumna of the Core Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art that will be on view for a year on the south wall of the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion, which houses the campus cafe. First up Harold Mendez whose work often integrates photography and sculpture to explore notions of identity and place.
“Objects Redux: How 50 Years Made Craft Contemporary” at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (September 28-January 5, 2020)
The exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian National Collection of Fine Arts exhibition Objects: USA. The original exhibition that influenced the way we view crafts today acknowledged the pioneers of the American Studio Craft movement in enamel, ceramics, glass, metal, jewelry, plastic, mosaic, wood, and fiber. This new show highlights the evolution of craft making from functional works of art to the diversity of meaning and technological methods of the current crop of craft artists.
Last chance to see
“This too, shall pass” at University of Houston Downtown’s O’Kane Gallery (closes October 1)
This exhibition of both new and early work by Japanese artist and University of Houston’s School of Art MFA graduate Mayuko Ono Gray, features 20 works of calligraphy and graphite drawings depicting images of the everyday, household objects, pets, friends, and family, connected by intertwining tubes that are really the proverbs spelled out in Japanese.
“Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography” at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (closes September 22)
The hippest and sometimes hip hop-est exhibition of the summer gave Houston a new understanding of how fashion photography became its own art form. This is one art history lesson fashionistas shouldn’t miss.
“Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors”at the MFAH (closes September 22)
Our pick for one of the best art installations and films of the summer. The Visitors plays on nine large screens, simultaneously capturing a group of musicians and bystanders each in a different room of a historic Hudson Valley house.
Though separated by walls, these musicians, characters all, play one, long song together. A meditation on isolation, creativity, and the connective power of music, this video installation feels both intimate and cosmic at the same time. Staying for the full hour the film runs takes some mediative stamina but the MFAH welcomes you to take a seat on a bench or, better yet, the floor and let the music flow around you.