A forest grows indoors as a small museum-sized collection of sculptures finds an outdoor home. Indeed, art blooms everywhere this month in Houston.
From a new gallery at the MFAH to the 10-year anniversary of one of our favorite art walks, to a showcase of national and international art stars to a historical eye on a famed curator, we have the must-sees for spring art break and beyond.
Art of the Islamic Worlds at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (permanent)
Do look now, Houston: another new gallery just dropped at the MFAH. Once again the opening of the Kinder Building in 2020 continues to make art ripples throughout the rest of the museum’s campus, freeing up space to put more of the vast collection on permanent view.
This latest gallery opening in the Law Building, will showcase Iranian Art on extended loan from the Afshar Collection as well as selections from the MFAH’s holdings that reflect the breadth and depth of art from historic Islamic lands.
With nearly 6,000 square feet of space, which includes the eventual use of an adjoining garden, the new presentation will highlight a trove of major, and in many cases rare, objects never before displayed in such depth, including paintings, manuscripts, ceramics, carpets, and metalwork spanning more than 1,000 years.
"2023 Core Exhibition" at the Glassell School of Art (now through April 14)
One of the not-so-hidden gems of Houston’s art life is the prestigious residency program at the MFAH’s Glassell School for postgraduate art critics and visual artists.
And every year with the Core Exhibition, we get a sneak peek at the latest work of these up and coming national and international artists in one show. Most have already made their art mark on the national and world art stage, so to see their work together makes for an art rarity we never miss.
This 2023 Core Exhibition features work by the 2022–2023 artists-in-residence: Bryan Castro, Saúl Hernández-Vargas, Erin Holland, Yifan Jiang, Jagdeep Raina, and Fred Schmidt-Arenales.
“Someone in My Car” at Art League Houston (now through April 22)
This new exhibition by Houston-based, Venezuelan-Lebanese conceptual artist, Violette Bule, invites the viewer to consider the duality of the usually anonymous interactions of ride-sharing from the perspectives of both passenger and driver.
The installation of work captures Bule’s year-long performance as a ride-share driver, transforming her lived experience into works of art for an exhibition that includes photographic portraits of her passengers, videos of the city, and audio clips of conversations she overheard while driving.
“A Good Cry” at Art League Houston (now through April 22)
Multidisciplinary artist and activist, Sallie Scheufler, the act and perhaps art of crying. The show muses on and makes a muse out of tears using numerous mediums, including a series of performative videos where Scheufler induces crying to regain a sense of control over her body, using onions, menthol, a high-powered fan.
She also forces herself to fake tears to a work consisting of crystals grown from her own tears on used tissues make a disposable object precious and serve as a record of her cries.
“Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest” and “Worry Will Vanish” at Museum of Fine Arts (now through September 4)
Summer comes a little early at the MFAH this year. We usually expect the museum to ring in their tradition of offering one or multiple immersive or interactive large-scale art installations in Cullinan Hall around May, but we’re certainly ready to take a spring break walk in this particular forest now.
This special exhibition brings together two of Pipilotti Rist’s experiential works from the MFAH collection: Pixel Forest (2016), an installation of thousands of hanging LED lights, and Worry Will Vanish (2014), a two- channel video projection that takes viewers on a dream-like journey through the natural landscape, the human body and the heavens above.
A major contemporary art innovator since the mid-1980s, Rist’s work has pushed the boundaries between video and the built environment, exploiting new technologies to create installations that fuse the natural world with the electronic sublime.
“True North: A Heights Boulevard Sculpture Project” (now through December)
Heights Boulevard once again turns into an open-air gallery, as one of the city’s best art walk returns with a special 10th anniversary celebration of its decade long mission to bring art by prominent and emerging Texas artists outdoors to the community.
In honor of that 10th anniversary, the annual sculpture exhibition looks back and to the future, joining forces with some of its early artists to showcase their latest works.
This year, True North has collaborated with acclaimed artists Joe Barrington, Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw, Dan Havel, Paul Kittelson, Sharon Kopriva, Patrick Medrano, Dean Ruck and Ed Wilson, all of whom have been a part of True North's dynamic journey since its inception.
“Efflorescence” at Ion Plaza (March 22 through Spring)
The latest public art addition to the Ion innovation hub blooms with this interactive installation fabricated by the Austin-based artist team of Ilya Pieper and Whiptail Designs (Nathan Kandus).
Affixed to the Ion Plaza’s trellis, “Efflorescence” consists of a snaking vine structure with pigmented mica painted leaves. The installation also incorporates a number of flowers that are made from dichroic film, a material that appears to change color as viewers changes position.
"Bayou City Art Festival" in Memorial Park (March 24-26)
Houston's favorite and always massive outdoor art festival hits the park again. As one of the largest juried fine art festivals in the United States.
The three-day festival features the works of 300 national and international artists, a food truck park, two entertainment stages, a craft beer and wine garden, an Art Bar, an Active Imagination Zone for kids of all ages, a VIP hospitality lounge, and more, and now all within a quick walk from the Memorial Park Land Bridge trails.
“The Curatorial Imagination of Walter Hopps” at Menil Collection (March 24-August 13)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents "Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanish" closing day
When we walk into an exhibition or even a whole museum we might think we’re looking at art from our own unique perspective, but someone beside the original artist can influence how we see the art, the curator. The Menil puts the spotlight on the discerning eye of curator with this new show.
Featuring 130 artworks by seventy artists, the exhibition will explore the influential curatorial vision of the Menil Collection’s Founding Director Walter Hopps (1932–2005) and his appreciation for art from the 1930s to the early 2000s.
In a statement about the exhibition, current Menil director, Rebecca Rabinow, notes the importance of Hopps’s influence. “While Director of the Menil, Hopps worked with Dominique de Menil to curate landmark exhibitions of artists Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, Edward Kienholz, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol. She deeply valued his ‘infallible eye’ and ‘understanding of current trends.’ Two years after the museum opened, Hopps relinquished his directorial role so that he could return to his true love: working with artists and curating exhibitions.”