best july art
10 vivid and eye-catching July art events no Houstonian should miss
From the ancient Andean ceramics to pandemic-response new sculptures, July brings some intriguing visiting exhibitions to town alongside the freshest creations from local artists.
As the summer heats up, we’ve got some of the coolest art to savor this month from our favorite museums to the most innovative galleries. No need to pack a bag to get set for the ultimate art-cation in Houston.
“Martine Gutierrez: Radiant Cut” at Blaffer Art Museum (now through October 24)
This “micro survey” of the one of the hottest millennial multidisciplinary artists focuses on Gutierrez’s artwork that probes themes of image, identity, and social construct. The exhibition begins with Gutierrez’s early series using mannequins and sex dolls to explore ideas on idealized partners and “plastic intimacy.”
The show culminates with her latest project, the 128-page glossy magazine, Indigenous Woman. Reflecting on the work, Gutierrez explains, “My authenticity has never been to exist singularly, whether in regard to my gender, my ethnicity, or sexual orientation. My truth thrives in the gray area.”
“Moving Forward” at Gray Contemporary (now through July 17)
The original 2020 thesis exhibition of graduating artists from the University of Houston School of Art masters program was cancelled along with many other arts celebrations last year.
One year later, this exhibition will now showcase a range of work these artists made during the three years at the university, as well as many works created during the past year as these artists and designers have emerged into Houston’s vibrant culture scene.
“From Houston With Love” at GreenStreet 2 (now through August 15)
This collaborative exhibition features 20 renowned Houston artists with local, national, and international reputations.
This diverse group of artists — including multidisciplinary artists Cary Fagan, painter and designer Donkeeboy, photographer Deun Ivory, muralist Shelbi Nicole, and live photographer Greg Noire — work in a multitude of mediums and genres.
For this show, they’ve created works inspired by Houston that exemplify their own perceptions on Houston culture.
“Jagdeep Raina: Bonds” at Blaffer Art Museum (now through October 24)
The award-winning Canadian artist’s first solo museum presentation in the United States features work created over the last six years that illustrate and reimagine stories and scenes from across the Kashmiri and Punjabi diasporas.
Through drawings, writings, paintings, weavings, and videos, Raina examines diverse histories of transnational migration and mobility and their effects on contemporary life. The show will also include Raina’s recent tapestries and stop-motion animated films, which explore material histories in the context of the Phulkari shawl — a traditional garment woven from hand-spun cotton that is naturally dyed and embroidered with Kashmiri silk.
Sawyer Yard Second Saturday Open Studios (July 10)
Several new shows opened in the last several weeks at the various exhibitions spaces in the studios and warehouses at Sawyer Yards, so the monthly Second Saturday event makes for a great day to see them all.
Join the conversation between art and viewer about spatial definitions, approaches, and relationships with the group show “Regarding Space” at Spring Street Studios. SITE Gallery has given the beehive silo spaces to UH sculpture artists to transform in response to the challenges of last year for the exhibition “Annex Energy.”
An all-female artist exhibition puts a new spin on our ideas of POTUS in "Hail to the Chief." And Silver Street Studios latest studio artists group show highlights “The Sum of Us.”
“Cauleen Smith: We Already Have What We Need” at Contemporary Arts Museum (July 15-October 3)
This site-specific new exhibition of acclaimed Los Angeles artist, Cauleen Smith, features film, video, sculpture, textiles, installation, and drawings that, according to the CAMH, emphasizes acts of caring as antidotes to the injustices and inequities that shape our past and present.
The exhibition includes video projected pieces and sculpted still-life, while also highlighting Smith’s recent work in neon. Inspired by science fiction, Third World Cinema, and Structural film, Smith takes viewers on a journey into an alternate world and “rendering visible both the people and the systems often kept invisible, or recasting what we know in a new — and colorful — light.”
“Midsummer Dream” at Laura Rathe Fine Art (July 15-August 13)
This group exhibition featuring new works by Audra Weaser, Kevin Gillentine, and Cookie Ashton will explore the artists’ environments and the nature world through varying degrees of abstraction.
Though the artists create from different vision, the exhibition’s “pervading organic compositions are created through unique layering processes that are as complex as they are minimal, serving as metaphors to describe the natural world that binds people together even when they are apart.”
“Olga de Amaral: To Weave a Rock” at Museum of Fine Arts (July 25-September 19)
This major touring retrospective spotlights the acclaimed Colombian artist’s 60-year career. Organized into four thematic sections “Radical Materialism,” “The Rebel Warp,” “Alchemy,” and “The Line,” the exhibition will showcase some 50 works that trace Amaral’s architectural investigations of the woven form.
The MFAH notes that “Her radical experimentation with color, form, material, composition, and space transforms weaving from a flat design element into an architectural component that defies the confines of any genre or medium.”
“Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes” at Menil Collection (July 30-November 14)
Presenting ancient and modern works from showcase works from the Menil’s own collection and loans from the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this new exhibition brings viewers a fascinating survey of Andean art from ancient to the 21st century.
Look for polychrome ceramic vessels of the Nazca culture (circa 100 BCE–800 CE), important textiles from the Wari (circa 600–1000 CE) and Chimú (circa 1150–1450) civilizations and 20th–21st century examples of elaborately embroidered esclavinas (short capes) and monteras (hats) worn during religious festivals in Peru.
“Enchanted” will give Menil visitors insights into both continuity and change in Andean visual cultures, as well as an artful glimpse into the civilizations and empires that rose and flourished along the Andean Mountains for 3,000 years.
The exhibition will complement these art and cultural objects with selections of gelatin silver photographic prints of religious festivals in the Andes taken between 1939 and 1945 by Pierre Verger, also known as Fátúmbí (1902–1996). John and Dominique de Menil gave Verger financial support for some of those travels in 1940.