A hopeful new year brings an intriguing selection of new art to explore. The Rothko Chapel turns 50 this year, but one of Houston’s younger art institutions leads the celebration.
Several local galleries ring in 2021 with sweeping new shows. But perhaps the biggest news is the reopening of the much-missed Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Similar to other museums in the district when reopening last year, the CAMH announced they will maintain comprehensive COVID-19 safeguards to ensure the health of our staff and the public.
So, if you’re ready to get back into the galleries and museums, January brings a cool (for Houston) wonderland of art.
"Artists on Site" at Asia Society Texas (now through January 24)
As a way to support artists in this most challenging time, the Asia Society invited four artists, Ahra Cho, Laura Drey, Brandon Tho Harris, and Royal Sumikat, to use their public galleries as open studio spaces. Now visitors will have the chance to gain a deeper understanding of the creative process by viewing these paintings, photography, video, sculpture, performance, and installation projects as they unfold.
"Weave Houston: Celebrating 71 Years of the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston" at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (January 9-March 6)
Founded 71 years ago, the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston (CHH) promotes the education of and interest in handweaving and fiber-related crafts. This anniversary show will give visitors a fascinating look into the variety of fiber arts possible, from traditional wall hangings to unconventional sculpture, while highlighting the skill and creativity of local weavers.
"Wild Life: Elizabeth Murray & Jessi Reaves" at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (January 21-May 16)
Though a generation apart and usually working in different mediums, this survey and a two-person exhibition will showcase what the CAMH calls a “lyrical, playful, and rigorous engagement with the decorative, domestic, and bodily” commonality of Reaves and Murray’s work.
Renowned for her large-scale and shaped canvases depicting cartoonish, domestic scenes and still lifes, Murray’s work is found in major museums across the U.S, yet this will be the first exhibition in Texas since the historic 1987 traveling exhibition “Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Drawings” at the Dallas Museum of Art. Working with furniture, Reaves’s turns couches and chairs into surreal sculptures that lay waste to the “modernist ideal of form following function.” Together these artists make us question feminine and domestic concepts.
"Artists and the Rothko Chapel: 50 Years of Inspiration" at Rice Moody Center for the Arts (January 22-May 15)
The Rothko Chapel turns 50 this year, but the celebration ripples across the city with the Moody Center inviting us to its own very special art party. With an emphasis on the seminal exhibition mounted at Rice University in 1975, “Marden, Novros, Rothko: Painting in the Age of Actuality,” the exhibit will strive to map the Rothko Chapel’s influence on artists around the world and the city of Houston itself.
The show will span the Moody and spill outside under the Pitman Oculus. Divided into two sections that intertwine past and present, the first part will recreate the “Age of Actuality” exhibition by bringing together once more the works of American artists David Novros and Brice Marden, while the second half will feature works of Sam Gilliam, Sheila Hicks, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Byron Kim so to highlight recent works by contemporary artists of different ages, nationalities, and backgrounds who have been influenced and inspired by the Rothko Chapel.
Galleries and markets
All Access Art Market at Finn Hall (January 8)
The downtown food hall gets its art on one special night, featuring more than 25 local creatives showcasing and selling their unique pieces of art. Visitors can shop for high-quality work while also enjoying diverse food options and a cocktail lounge at the European-inspired, art deco food hall.
"Duo Identity" at Archway Gallery (January 9-February 4)
This joint exhibition of recent figurative works by Jiashan Lang and Anthony Pabillano explore the artists’ individual perspectives on similar themes of duality and contrast and identity and culture. Lang’s three dimensional dough figurines based on scenes and events from Chinese history depict traditional people, folklore, and scenes from ancient times, while Pabillano’s layered two dimensional paper images portray contemporary Houstonians.
"Stallman Studio and Christy Lee Rogers: Tide Pools" at Laura Rathe Fine Art
Water becomes the theme of this two-artist show. Drawing inspiration from the patterns and gradients of the natural world, Stallman Studio’s canvas-on-edge technique mimics the subtle movements of the ocean. Meanwhile, the underwater photography of Rogers explores human movement in a weightless environment, casting an undeniable otherworldly quality to her work.
Texas Sculpture Group Exhibition’s "On The Bayou" at Redbud Gallery (January 16-February 23)
With works from 80 Texas artists centered around ideas of bayou, this show represents a vast repertoire of styles, mediums, and form for the viewer to contemplate, experience, or simply enjoy. There will be indoor pieces at the east gallery and west gallery, and outdoor pieces at the newly created sculpture garden.
While many Houston galleries have reopened to the public, some require an appointment to enter, so call ahead.