best march art
9 vivid and eye-catching March art events no Houstonian should miss
March in Houston brings art offerings for every taste. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston rolls out three major spring exhibitions, two that will make us question art reality. The Menil introduces us to a surrealist giant, and the CAMH shows some Rockets pride.
Plus, spring means it time for art in the park for Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park. Here are your best bets.
“Dawoud Bey: An American Project” at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (now through May 30)
The preeminent photographer has spent his career chronicling underrepresented communities and seldom depicted histories. This major retrospective featuring 85 works from the 1970s to the present is organized around Bey’s evolving vision and focus throughout his career.
The galleries are arranged around three main themes and major series including his photo chronicles of street scenes, portraits taken in his studio and his more recent projects exploring African-American history.
“The exhibition and its evocative title introduce Bey’s deeply humanistic photographs into a long-running conversation about what it means to represent America with a camera,” says MFAH director Gary Tinterow in a statement about the cultural power of the exhibition, which is being co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” at Holocaust Museum Houston (March 11-July 31)
Not quite a visual art exhibition, but we must highlight this different kind of retrospective, and examination of the life and influence of Supreme Court justice, cultural and legal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Read a full story here.)
The exhibition creates 3D environments bringing to life important moments in Justice Ginsburg’s life, including her childhood home in Brooklyn and the Supreme Court bench. Look also for multiple listening stations where visitors can hear RBG’s delivery of oral arguments, her robe and jabot, the desk in her chambers and official portraits of RBG and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.
“Blue Norther” at Site Gallery (March 12 and every Saturday in March)
Housed in the old silo grain storage building at Sawyer Yards Site Gallery’s circular honeycomb-like spaces, this space would definitely place in a contest for strangest and wondrous art space in the city. (We’d say it’s still in a runoff with the Buffalo Bayou Cistern.)
We certainly can’t pass up this invitational multimedia show consisting of living artists from Texas and Louisiana, as the jurors gave the 25 participating artists “little lead time to prepare.” Catch the show on Saturdays to see what forms art created in haste and named after a wind driven Texas cold front can take.
“Virtual Realities: The Art of M.C. Escher from the Michael S. Sachs Collection” at MFAH (March 13-September 5)
With art that bends time, space and minds, this world premiere Escher exhibition might just become the art blockbuster of the season.
Organized by the MFAH from from the collection of Michael S. Sachs, “Virtual Realities” will be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of works by M.C. Escher ever held, and will include more than 400 prints, drawings, watercolors, printed fabrics, constructed objects, wood and linoleum blocks, lithographic stones, sketchbooks, and the artist’s working tools.
Escher fans and novices will get an unparalleled look into the physics-defying visions of the pioneering Dutch artist.
“Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities” at MFAH (March 15- June 5)
Acclaimed for her art merging South and Central Asia manuscript painting traditions with contemporary art processes and practice, Sikander is one of the most signifiant artists working today. The exhibition will feature over 60 paintings, drawings and video animations, including pieces she created while in Houston as part of the MFAH Glassell School of Art Core Program.
“Her vibrant synthesis of illustrated manuscript painting with contemporary art practice has played a critical role in recognizing a wider range of perspectives, including those of women, people of color, Muslims, and artists working outside the US and Europe,” notes Gary Tinterow, explaining why the MFAH is so pleased to once again present Sikander’s art to Houston.
“Sawed, Soldered, Constructed: The Work of the Houston Metal Arts Guild” at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (March 19-May 7)
Craft gets metal-head industrial for this juried exhibition of the Houston-based guild comprised of jewelry and metal artists. The exhibition celebrates the wide range of design, processes, and techniques used in contemporary jewelry and metalwork.
Featuring works by 36 artists, the show features pure sculptures but functional pieces and wearable pieces like boxes, necklaces, and lockets.
“Houston Rockets x CAMH” at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (March 23-April 17)
Here’s one for the sports art lovers. This year is the 75th anniversary of the NBA and the CAMH decided to set up an art slam dunk by partnering with the Houston Rockets to commission 11 limited-edition posters for the team’s Remix Night games during their 2021–2022 season.
Each game honored a different Rockets legend and local basketball-loving artists — Rabéa Ballin, Tay Butler, Gregory Michael Carter, Ann Johnson, Matt Manalo, Jack Massing, Robert Pruitt, Alexis Pye, Phillip Pyle, II, Sarah Welch, Stephen Wilson — were invited to create a celebratory artwork for each night.
Now, Rockets and art fans can see all 11 posters together at the CAMH, signed by both Rockets legends and the artists.
Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park (March 25-27)
Though it doesn’t look a day over 25, one of Houston’s favorite art festivals, Bayou City Art Festival, celebrates its 50th anniversary this spring as it once again showcases art in Memorial Park.
Featuring 300 artists from around the country representing 19 different disciplines, the festival will also benefit six local nonprofit partners: ArtReach, A Cause to Give Us Paws, Fresh Arts, Orange Show For Visionary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts and The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency.
Head to the park for original artwork, including paintings, prints, jewelry, sculptures, and functional art. Since this is a true festival, stay for the day and take in two entertainments stages, an active imagination zone for kids, a craft beer and wine garden for adults, and the food truck park for everyone.
“Meret Oppenheim: My Exhibition” at Menil Collection (March 25-September 18)
Though less known in the United States, the Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim took a central place in the Surrealist movement internationally throughout her 50-year career. This new retrospective, having its U.S debut at the Menil before traveling to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, will offer an overview of the breadth of her creations from paintings, jewelry, sculpture, and even poetry.
The exhibition will also trace her diverse themes from the natural world to mythology, gender, and selfhood. Organized chronologically, “My Exhibition” will highlight major chapters in her creative evolution from her artistic formative years in 1930s Paris to her reengagement with Surrealist ideas and her later work alongside the Nouveau Réalisme and Pop movements.
“As a museum with a strong collection of Surrealist art, the Menil is proud to host the American debut of this important retrospective of Oppenheim’s wide-ranging and expansive career,” says Menil director Rebecca Rabinow.