Whether in person, outside at a distance, or virtually at home, August becomes another month when we can definitely use some beauty and art in our lives. From wild photography to colors in a window to the masks as canvas, Houston has literally stacked the deck with great art this month.
So, check out just some of our favorite exhibitions and installations about town, and if you’re feeling safe to go museum exploring again, don’t forget to say goodbye to some visiting Museum of Fine Arts' blockbuster exhibitions about to hit the road.
"Wildlife Photographer of the Year 55" at the Museum of Natural Science (now through October 11)
The annual photography show captures the intricacies of life and light around the natural world from earth, sky, sea, and city. This year’s competition attracted over 48,000 entries from professionals and amateurs across 100 countries. If you’ve been feeling a bit of stay close to home claustrophobia lately, this exhibition might be a safe, socially distant way to feed your wanderlust.
Summer Window Series: "Light Shift" at Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts (now through September 12)
For the second piece in this special series of window works, Austin-based artist Erin Curtis plays with the light transparent of the Moody architecture. "I created a work for the Moody windows that reflects some of the experience of being outside, under a tree canopy during a Texas summer day. Light Shift embraces a painterly approach to the project. With a palette focused around transparent shades of green, the work will be reminiscent of dappled summer light,” Curtis says of her work. We’d add that the piece looks spectacular at night, too. Don't miss a special dance performance in reaction to the work from Houston's own Open Dance Project broadcast on the Moody Center's Youtube channel September 4.
Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston reopens (August 15)
The UH art staple celebrates their reopening to the public with the exhibition "Rodney McMillian: Historically Hostile." The exhibition showcases six video works made by the renowned contemporary artist between 2005 and 2017 across the entire museum. According to the Tyler Blackwell, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow, the videos taken together explore “the ramifications of slavery, the civil rights movement, white supremacy, and modern U.S. government policy” embedded within our contemporary daily life.
Sawyer Yards resident exhibitions (now through September)
There’s always something new hanging on the walls of the studio warehouses of the Yards thanks to the plethora of mini exhibitions and resident shows coming and going. This month we’ve got our eyes on "We Are Awakened," an exhibition highlighting the artwork of The Silos residents and "Behind the Mask" showcasing artists use of our now constant accessory, the face mask, as a canvas to convey the beautiful and provocative. Proceeds of masks bought from this exhibition will be donated to the Pablove Foundation, dedicated to addressing childhood cancer through art + science.
"House of Cards" at Discovery Green (August 28-October 11)
Created by Israeli design studio OGE Group, and consisting of 126 five feet tall light box playing cards stacked to a height of 18 feet this is one card house that won’t fall any time soon. Each unique card tells its own visual story and twenty Houston artists were selected to have their designs included to represent the city as the installation continues to tour the world. The installation can be viewed in the day or night, but since Discovery Green anticipates crowds for the stunner of a light show when the sun goes down, they’ll require reservations on Friday and the weekends. The preview fundraiser “House of Cards CAR-nival” revves up August 27.
Call for Hero submissions
Local multidisciplinary artist Robert Hodge want Houstonians to submit the names of their personal heroes to be included in a commissioned large scale window mural at GreenStreet downtown at 1201 Main St. Titled #StickTogetherHOU, the art installation will be comprised of thousands of brightly colored Post-it notes arranged into a kind of paper mosaic images and text. Hodge wants each individual note to include the name of a local hero or loved one. The public is encouraged to submit names to the project.
Last chance to see
"Francis Bacon: Late Paintings" at the Museum of Fine Arts (through August 16)
The MFAH was the only U.S museum to present this monumental exhibition from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, showcasing 40 paintings from the great modern artists, including several of his most revered triptychs. We got to hold on to it for several more months because of the pandemic, but leaves soon.
"Radical: Italian Design 1965–1985, The Dennis Freedman Collection" at the MFAH (through September 7)
Featuring nearly 70 pieces of furniture, lighting design, architectural models, paintings, and objects, the MFAH organized exhibition is the first in 50 years to focus on this iconic 20th century design movement. We wouldn’t mind staying home for a few more months if we could nest among these 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.
"Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power" at the MFAH (through August 30)
One of the most timely exhibitions on view now, the international touring show chronicles the work of 60 Black artists from the ’60s through the early ’80s. Though organized thematically around aligned groups in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, for the Houston stop MFAH curator Kanitra Fletcher has added a Houston section highlighting the work of sculptor Carroll Harris Simms and John Biggers who founded the art program at what is now Texas Southern University.