The new year brings beautiful artistic visions for Houston art lovers, with major museum and gallery exhibitions opening this month. While we can look forward to a January filled with stunning traditional works of paintings and sculptures, innovative contemporary film and video art seem to be the medium trend for the new year.
From pressing social commentary to Harvey analysis to contemporary African artists to Halston finishing a hat, January brings some thought-provoking and beautiful art for all tastes.
Check out these art highlights for January.
Vicki Meek: 3 Decades of Social Commentary at Houston Museum of African-American Culture (now through February 16)
Showcasing some of Meek’s works from the 1980s to the present (most done in series format), including a video that explores many of her signature site-specific installations dating back to the 1990s, the exhibition contextualizes the broad spectrum of Meek’s work within the vernacular of black radical thought.
Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (now through March 23)
The exhibition features new and recent single and multi-channel films and videos from the New Orleans-based artist and filmmaker. Inspired by real stories of her subjects, Bradley’s films focus on themes of race, class, familial relationships, social justice, and southern culture.
Hats Off: Halston Hats from the Masterson Collection at MFAH’s Rienzi Collection
January 11–July 31, 2020
Discover the fashion and art of millinery with this exhibition of hats and hair accessories designed by influential American fashion icon Halston (1932–1990) for the New York department store Bergdorf Goodman. Carroll Sterling Masterson, one of Rienzi’s founders, ordered these 13 pieces from the store’s custom salon.
Mariam Ghani: What We Left Unfinished at Blaffer Art Museum (January 21-March 14)
For this exhibition that is at once a research and book project and film, the Afghan-American artist, archivist, activist, writer, lecturer, and filmmaker explores the legacy of five unfinished Afghan feature films shot, but never completed, between 1978 and 1991. The documentary follows a portion of Afghan film history through the lens of the country’s complicated political history.
Escaping Earth: The Kinetic Work of Casey Curran at the Center for Contemporary Craft (January 25-March 29)
Art moves in this exhibition of kinetic sculptures, asteroid paintings, and installations that depict complexities found within nature, art, and architecture. Look for work that focuses on humanity’s aspirations on the finite system of resources found in the terrestrial environment, as well as on the new frontier of outer space.
Radical Revisionists: Contemporary African Artists Confronting Past and Present at Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University (January 24-May 16)
Featuring works of photography, mixed media, virtual reality, sculpture, and a site-specific installation by artists from Africa, the exhibition addresses the erasure of marginalized histories and the ways in which artists reinterpret familiar themes through contemporary, Afrocentric lenses.
Barbara Hines: Spotlight on Joseph at Congregation Beth Israel’s The Margolis Gallery (now through February)
New works from Houston-based artist Barbara Hines explore the complicated, yet timeless life of Book of Genesis’ Joseph. “Spotlight on Joseph” is comprised of more than 25 mixed media works on paper and several works on canvas.
Árpád Forgó: Colliding Parallels at Anya Tish Gallery (now through February 15)
In the tradition of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde, Forgó shapes canvas to create visually alluring, subtle kinetic works while embracing the heritage of European abstraction and developing it further through his own geometric methods, such as reflection, shifting, and rotation.
Three at Art League Houston (January 17-February 29)
The installation Piñatasthetic from Justin Favela, Josué Ramírez, and Giovanni Valderas examines the use of the piñata technique and process as a symbol and cultural staple of Latinx identity. For "Teenage Cream," artists Alex Guillen and Dana Suleymanova combine crude textures and playful objects to create personal narratives that unpack presentations of femininity and its commercialization in an increasingly digital age. Finally, in the installation, "Gone," Carmen Flores creates delicate drawings of flowers on white handkerchiefs reference the temporal nature of life that is a shared human experience.
Two at Lawndale Art Center (January 18-March 29)
Two new exhibitions from Gulf Coasts artist open this month. Louisiana artist Shawne Major’s Folie à Deux invites viewers to engage in a shared psychosis composed of linear-shaped objects in tandem with organic line drawings to create mixed-media collages. Houston native Virginia Lee Montgomery’s multi-disciplinary film project SKY LOOP presents a metaphysical analysis of Hurricane Harvey as told through a formal yet subconscious language of Houston-specific symbols.
Call for artists (ends January 26)
News for artists and good news for art lovers with a view for art public spaces: Houston Downtown Management District has partnered with UP Art Studio to bring a Mini Murals program to downtown Main Street. They have issued a call for artists to apply to create works that will be featured on traffic signal control cabinets along the METRORail line between Franklin Street in the Historic District and St. Joseph Parkway in Southern Downtown. Up Art Studio encourages visual artists from all disciplines, including photographers and graphic designers to submit their qualifications.