Spring might not have arrived yet, but art certainly blooms this February in Houston. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston sets the pace with three new giant exhibitions in the coming weeks, while local galleries get ready for new work from some of Houston’s most inventive multidisciplinary artists.
From art antiquities 4000 years old, to the freshest innovative contemporary art, get ready for some radical beauty this month.
"Radical: Italian Design 1965–1985, The Dennis Freedman Collection" at the Museum of Fine Arts (February 14-April 26)
The MFAH begins a month of big openings with this valentine to lovers of design as art. Featuring nearly 70 pieces of furniture, lighting design, architectural models, paintings, and objects, the exhibition was organized by the MFAH and is the first museum in 50 years to focus on this iconic 20th century design movement. Half of the object are gifts of Dennis Freedman and half are acquisitions from his collection. Look for prototypes, one-of-a-kind, and limited edition works by vanguards of the movement including Archizoom Associati, Lapo Binazzi, Ugo La Pietra, Alessandro Mendini, Gianni Pettena, Ettore Sottsass, Studio Alchimia, and Superstudio.
"Francis Bacon: Late Paintings" at the MFAH February 23-May 25)
The only U.S museum to present this monumental exhibition from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the MFAH will showcase 40 paintings from the great modern artists, including several of his most revered triptychs. Maybe get that guest room ready because the exhibition has already made several must-see lists from national art reviews and will likely bring in serious modern art connoisseur to town.
"Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes" at Asia Society Texas Center (February 29-August 9)
The exhibition explores the ritual significance of ancient Chinese bronzes, giving an new perspective on innovations of form and ornamentation, and the advanced techniques of casting of these ancient objects dating from the Shang to the Han Dynasties (1600 BCE to 220 CE). Bronze designs influenced other art forms in China, and later examples in jade, blue and white ceramics, and cloisonné will also be featured.
"Glory of Spain: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library" at the MFAH (March 1-May 25)
And the art hits just keep coming at the MFAH, as it presents this exhibition from the collections of the New York–based Hispanic Society Museum & Library focused on the art and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines, from antiquity up until the early 20th century. Look for 200 objects, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, maps, textiles, porcelains and ceramics, and metalwork and jewelry and masterpieces from El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya.
Gallery openings and public installations
"Intersections" at University of Houston-Downtown’s O’Kane Gallery (now through April 2)
With a little help from fungi, artist/Scientist Seri Robinson uses spalted wood (wood affected by fungi which alters its pigmentation, creating patterns and colors) to create stunning woodturned sculptures. The exhibition showcases 19 objects by Robinson, each exploring the intersection between the internal and external.
"perhaps, there is no sequel," the third iteration of Rice Public Art’s Platform Series (February 18-September 1)
Created by Brooklyn-based artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed, this “poetic gesture” will be installed across four large banners situated at the center of campus. The Platform Series invites contemporary artists to respond to artworks, architectural structures, and research at Rice University. Inspired by the late composer Benjamin Patterson, renowned for his instrumental role in the groundbreaking 1960s Fluxus movement, Rasheed’s installation grapples with concepts of futurity, certainty, and underscores critical issues of exclusion and vulnerability through lyrical yet unequivocal words.
"2020: Discovering Repeating Patterns" at Sawyer Yards (February 20-April 11)
Faced with what might be a volatile year, the artists of Sawyer Yards’ Spring Street Studios get artfully philosophical with a campus-wide tenant exhibition billed as an exploration of a sense of unity, coherence, and continuity in the rhythm and harmony of their art.
"Devices: Then and Now" at Heidi Vaughan Fine Art (February 22-March 29)
This collection of photographs and sculptures by the art duo Hillerbrand+Magsamen harks back to their "147 Devices for Integrated Principles," the live lecture-performance from 2018. This exhibition from local artists (and the first CineSpace Film Fest winners) presents the collaborative family team’s inventions and new functions for ordinary objects made from old toys, tin foil, insulation foam, packing blankets, recycled plastics, pins, and rhinestones.
"Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin: 50 States: Louisiana" presented by DiverseWorks at the MATCH Gallery
Part of their 50 states project, the married artists marry research, video, performance art, and sculpture to create multidisciplinary projects that illuminate not-quite-completely-lost LGBTQ history. For the DiverseWorks commissioned exhibition on Louisiana, they find connections between the 1700s Louisiana indigo trade and 1970s Mardi Gras gay ball culture. Through video, sculpture, and sound, the artists will envelop audiences in a 300-year span of queer life along the Mississippi.