September brings the first cool stirrings of a dynamic and artful fall this year with lots of new museum and gallery debuting.
Modern and contemporary women artists especially get their own shows to shine this month. Installation exhibitions that let art-lover move and explore are also on-trend, culminating with the first of the Van Gogh immersive shows finally opening.
Let’s take a sometimes literal journey into fall art.
Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s at Menil Collection (now through January 23, 2022)
The exhibition spotlights this pivotal decade in Saint Phalle’s creative life and her two pioneering series from the time period. In the opening galleries, Menil visitors will view the Tirs, (“shooting paintings”). Saint Phalle’s painted works on canvas with hidden bags of pigment or cans of paint that she then allowed viewers to shoot at to complete the works.
The later galleries of the exhibition give room for her Nanas series. These vivid small, life-sized and mammoth sculptures play with concepts of the body and female archetypes.
“Our Saint Phalle exhibition will include work that has never before been displayed in the United States, shedding light on the artist’s experimental processes, radical vision, and key role in contemporary art,” says Menil director Rebecca Rabinow of the exhibition, the latest Menil Collection show focused on groundbreaking women artists.
“The Journey to Me” at Art League Houston (now through February 5, 2022)
Art League Houston recently named Dallas-based Artist Vicki Meek as their 2021 Texas Artist of the Year, and this show both celebrates Meek’s work while also illustrating how well the title fits.
According to ALH the show, consisting of three site-specific installations, will “serve as a visual exploration of her artistic development over the years. Comprising of an amalgamation of installation-based work, sculpture, printmaking and technology, the exhibition will cite the major influences on Meek’s singular aesthetic and artistic practice, specifically relating to the late Elizabeth Catlett (Meek’s mentor) and African cosmology and spiritual practices.”
“Carlos Cruz-Diez: "Chromointerferent Environment” at Sicardi | Ayers | Bacino (now through October 16)
Houston art lovers have become enamored by Cruz-Diez’s work featured often in exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, and even as a whole immersive experience in the Buffalo Bayou Cistern.
In this latest gallery show, the immersive chromatic projection will create a space “involving the dematerialization, transfiguration, and ambiguity of color through movement. By projecting moving chromatic interference modules on objects and people, these become transparent and virtually change condition and form.”
When visitors enter the space, they become part of the art, helping to create a “chromatic event” as they interact with color and shadow.
Kapwani Kiwanga: The Sand Recalls the Moon’s Shadow at Rice Moody Center for the Arts (September 17-December 329)
With her researched-based art practice, the acclaimed Paris-based artist explores how we give cultural meaning to natural materials.
For her first exhibition in Houston, Kiwanga will create two site-specific, immersive installations: Maya-Bantu a large-scale work in the central gallery and Dune, turning the Brown Gallery into a desert environment using sand from central Texas.
Both installations will “address linkages between trade and labor, as well as society and the environment, on local, national, and global scales.”
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience at Marq'e Entertainment Center (September 17-January 2, 2022)
After a couple of delays and reschedules, the first of the two immersive Van Gogh shows created for the Instagram age opens this month, allowing viewers to feel like they’re entering the lush colors and scenes of some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings.
“Van Gogh: Immersive,” created by international entertainment producers Exhibition Hub and Fever, boasts 360-degree digital projections and unique virtual reality experiences which takes viewers on a journey into a day in the life of Vincent Van Gogh — and see the world through his eyes.
The show also includes art activities for kids. If you’re still trying to pick the Van Gogh show that’s right for you, CultureMap’s Alex Bentley broke down some of the Goghian confusion over which show is which.
"Treasures in Gold & Jade: Masterworks from Taiwan" at Houston Museum of Natural Science (opens September 17)
Featuring the extraordinary and seemingly delicate work of two of Taiwan’s premier artists Huang Fu Shou and Wu Ching, this exhibition highlights the remarkable natural worlds created when each artist sculpts precious stone and metal.
“Treasures in Gold & Jade” houses 27carvings by Huang Fu Shou which showcase movement in the natural world as well as a range of jade’s colors: from emerald green to an almost pearlescent white.
The 17 gold artworks by Wu Ching also offer poetic glimpses in time from ants duel to butterflies spring forth from a facsimile of the artist’s head.
Lawndale’s Fall Shows (September 17-January 15, 2022)
The Museum District’s home for cutting-edge multidisciplinary work launches its fall season with three new exhibitions: “Emily Peacock: die laughing,” “Bria Lauren: Gold Was Made Fa’ Her,” and “The Sankofa Project” featuring David McGee.
Houston-based Peacock works themes of humor in the face of tragedy into her photography, video, sculpture, performance, and installation art. For Lauren’s “Gold” project, the artist Gold has created a visual poem with photograph that celebrates women of the South Side, Houston, and amplifies their voices and the voices of Black women across generations.
McGee’s paintings installed in Lawndale’s Main Street Windows are most recent contribution to the Sankofa Project, a multi-year examination of the historical events leading up to our current moment of social unrest and racial reckoning,