May promises a blockbuster of art with lots of big exhibitions from Houston museums and galleries. We’ll explore strange new artistic world, go on a journey with the Impressionists, and then dig in to some of artful Jewish deli offerings (read on).
Here's a roundup of eye-catching openings and shows this month.
“Majority Rules” at Sanman Studios (now through May 21)
In this exhibition, curated by Erika Mei Chua Holum, featuring Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) artists, the works mediate between myth-making, storytelling and survival strategies drawn from South and Southeast Asian communities in Houston and connect to practices across the Global South.
Showcasing artists Leticia Bajuyo, Brandon Tho Harris, Kill Joy, Matt Manalo, Ruhee Maknojia, Anthony Pabillano, Jagdeep Raina, and Sajeela Siddiq, the exhibition taken as whole invoke community-building through various mediums to preserve and elevate artistic practices within and along cultural, political, and geographic peripheries.
“Bert Long Jr. Gallery Spring Survey Exhibition” at Houston Museum of African American Culture (now through June 17)
Curated by HMAAC’s Chief Curator, Christopher Blay, this exhibition features collage, Installation, painting, sculpture, and video from eight artists; Kaima Marie Akarue, Saran Alderson, Crystal Coulter, Mark Francis, Preston Gaines, Lamonte French, Catherine Martinez, and David Stunts.
Though all Houston-based, the the artists come from a diversity of traditions and artistic perspectives, ranging from Alderson, who is currently pursuing an MFA in Studio art at the University of Houston, and worked for several years in New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles as a fashion designer, to Gaines, who has a degree in Architecture, and is also a visual artist and industrial designer.
“I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Jewish Deli” at Holocaust Museum Houston (now through August 13)
While not an art exhibition in the traditional sense, we’re ordering up one ticket to this celebration of the art of the sandwich. Using neon signs, menus, advertisements, fixtures, historical footage, film and television clips and other deli artifacts, the exhibition explores how American Jews imported traditions, adapted culture and built community through the experience of food.
Telling both sweeping historical and individual stories, the exhibition illustrates how delicatessens evolved from specialty stores catering to immigrant populations into the beloved national institutions they are today.
“Robert Hodge x Tim Kerr: No Kings But Us” at Blaffer Art Museum (May 20-June 4)
This latest collaboration between collaboration between Houston-based artist and impresario Robert Hodge and Austin-based musician and artist Tim Kerr.
The show brings together Hodge’s musically inspired collage work using screenprinting, stencils, stitching and record covers to survey the jazz landscape and southern hip-hop culture. Kerr’s translation of his own musical influences–punk, blues, free jazz and Irish folk–into portraits, political messaging, and vibrant colors will also be on display.
Musical voices are thereby lavishly layered in historical context, creating a visible synergy far beyond the sum of its parts.
“Christopher Myers: Of all creatures that can feel and think” at Blaffer Art Museum (May 20-September 4)
The interdisciplinary artist translates global histories into contemporary forms culminating in epic appliqué tapestries with stained glass lightboxes, as well as video and performance pieces.
The artist will also visit UH for special programming during the exhibitions run to discuss his recent television and theatre work. The Blaffer describes the programming as a “gathering a multitude of voices and techniques to colorfully navigate the porous terrain between records and those who live them.”
“Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Pearlman Collection” at Museum of Fine Arts (May 21-September 17)
What would summer be without a blockbuster exhibition from the MFAH, and what’s a blockbuster without big stars, in this case Cézanne, Manet, Degas, Gauguin, van Gogh, Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Soutine and Lipchitz.
This touring exhibition of the renowned Henry & Rose Pearlman Foundation Collection, on loan to the Princeton University Art Museum since the mid-1970s, will feature 38 paintings and sculptures from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist period with a theme of transience and travel.
The exhibition will also explore the friendships the artists developed in Paris, as well as the many varied locations and sites that shaped their work.
“Henry Pearlman’s highly personal approach to collecting sought to capture the momentum of art and thought at the dawn of the modern era,” explains MFAH director Gary Tinterow of the very unique context of the show. “For this presentation, we will be juxtaposing Pearlman pictures with works from the MFAH collection in order to broaden the representation of the artists, as well as to highlight Henry Pearlman’s distinctive point of view.”
“JooYoung Choi: Love and Wondervision” at Rice Moody Center for the Arts (May 25-August 26)
The Houston-based multimedia artist immerses viewers into strange new worlds in this new exhibition featuring Choi’s video, sculpture, paintings as well as a site-specific installation engaging the building’s architecture.
Drawing from an imaginary universe of characters and narratives inspired by Choi’s childhood memories and personal experiences, her work explores themes of identity, belonging, trauma, and resilience.
Through playful forms and colorful images, the artist taps into the power of storytelling and world-building to convey her powerful themes of kindness and healing in the face of racism and social division.
“Ming Smith: Feeling the Future” at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (May 26-October 1)
This first solo exhibition at a major institution to survey the acclaimed photographer's work from the early 1970s through the present.
“Feeling the Future” will encompasses a multitude of artistic expressions to represent Smith’s vibrant and multi-layered practice, which is grounded in portraiture, and amplifies the heartbeat of Black life in the United States.
Drawn from the full complexity of Smith’s oeuvre, the exhibition overs a conversation between work from Smith’s different creative periods, as well as the cultural movements she witnessed and participated in.
Exploring themes such as Afrofuturism, Black cultural expression, representation and social examination, the exhibition offers a guided tour into unperceived moments of life as captured by one of the most profoundly gifted artists of her generation.