As we enter another October full of artful treats, Houston galleries and museums will present a fall harvest of innovative shows. But as the days get shorter and nights longer, we find art lurking all around us with immersive shows and fall festivals on our must-see list this month.
From Van Gogh to Georgia O’Keeffe to primeval and spooky inspired shows, there’s art for every taste this month — plus, one of our favorite art festivals is back for our art buying and collecting needs.
“Abstract Explosion: The Art of Danny Simmons and TAFA” at Houston Museum of African American Culture (now through December 17)
Curated by John Guess, Jr, HMAAC chief executive officer Emeeritus, the exhibition will showcase the Simmons’s recent work that the neo-African abstract expressionist’s created during the pandemic. TAFA’s sports and music artworks turn performances into abstract paintings.
Guess says the exhibition pairs the two artists not solely because of their African influences, “but their mutual understanding of the spirituality underpinning their use of color, of textiles, and for both of them a love of patterns.”
“Later, Longer, Fewer: The Work of Jennifer Ling Datchuk” at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (now through January 8)
In this exhibition that critiques the realities and contemporary perceptions of women’s access and liberation, the Chinese American woman artist has created blue-and-white porcelain sculptures, large-scale multimedia installations, and performance video.
According to CCC, Jennifer Ling Datchuk uses her work to tell stories of silent sisterhood and feminist perspectives while exposing systematic inequities that continue to stifle women’s progress.
“Copy Culture: Zines Made and Shared” at Center for Contemporary Craft (now through January 8)
Though we might think of zines as the underground, pre-internet publishing medium for for various fan communities, this exhibition looks at the history and creation of these booklets as an art and craft unto themselves.
For decades, zines have brought together and created space for marginalized, underrepresented, and dissident voices to share knowledge and find community. “Copy Culture” features zines and ephemera from Texas and beyond, inviting visitors to learn more by doing it themselves.
“Celebración de Vida by Mexicráneos,” at Discovery Green (October 6-November 7)
Houston welcomes 10 VIP art heads this month in this new large scale installation along the plaza at Avenida Houston. As CultureMap reported, this outdoor exhibition honoring Día de los Muertos makes its U.S debut and features an astounding collection of seven feet tall, massive and colorful skulls created by the acclaimed Mexican art collective, Mexicráneos.
“Now more than ever it’s important to come together as a community to remember those we’ve lost, to celebrate life, and enjoy the beauty of nature and art,” says Discovery Green Conservancy President Barry Mandel of this installation that corresponds with Hispanic Heritage Month, Día de los Muertos and a Downtown Houston resurgence after a year of loss.
Bayou City Art Festival Downtown (October 9-10)
Downtown welcomes art lovers back with the return of one of our favorite annual festivals. Spanning blocks along Allen Parkway and Sam Houston Park, the 2021 fall art spectacular will feature the work of 200 local, national, and international artists representing 19 different art disciplines — including paintings, prints, photography, jewelry and sculptures.
Along with a cornucopia of visual arts, look and listen for live musical performances throughout the day on two stages, food trucks, a beer and wine garden and an Active Imagination Zone for kids. This art party is for several good causes, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the festival’s nonprofit partners including Artists For Artists, Fresh Arts, Houston SPCA, Warriors In Art, Orange Show For Visionary Art, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
"Horror Art Exhibit; The Witch and The Grave Digger” at Prime Art Gallery (October 9-31)
’Tis the season for some spooky art, and new gallery Primary Paint Party merges contemporary works from local artists into horror landscapes for a monster new show.
Creating a kind of haunted art gallery immersive space, the exhibition will showcase art in thematic rooms including a witches cottage, cemetery, horror circus (featuring the most horrific images, a.k.a clowns), cult classics, and nightmares.
“Altamira: The Primal Urge to Create” at Site Gallery (October 9-December 4)
This exhibition inside the Silos at Site will open this year’s Sculpture Month Houston, the annual city-wide festival celebrating contemporary sculpture.
For 2021, this Altamira theme harks back to the to some of the first records of humanity's primal need to depict and recreate the world around them, the Altamira cave paintings in Northern Spain. For the Site show, participating artists picture themselves as cave artists, but with the entire array of modern technology at their disposal.
Beyond Site, look for Sculpture Month shows and exhibitions at 40 participating venues and galleries along with a special group show in partnership Houston First at the Greater Houston Partnership Tower.
"Immersive Van Gogh" (October 14-November 28) at Founders District
The second of the two immersive Van Gogh shows hitting Houston this fall finally arrives.
Billed as the original immersive Van Gogh event and the one introduced to many in the U.S. on the Netflix show Emily in Paris, the exhibition presents Van Gogh’s work in immersive rooms so viewers feel like they’re entering the lush colors and scenes of some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings.
For “Immersive Van Gogh” those works include Les Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), La Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les tournesols (Sunflowers, 1887), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1888). While both immersive exhibitions turn the paintings into room-sized projections “Immersive Van Gogh” is designed and conceived by Massimiliano Siccardi, with soundtrack by Luca Longobardi, who created some innovative immersive digital art experiences in France.
“Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer” at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (October 17, 2021 – January 23, 2022)
While we all know O’Keeffe as towering Modernist painter of natural and human-made architecture, her artwork also blooms in the medium of photography.
Reaching into a previously unstudied archive, MFAH associate curator of photography Lisa Volpe brings O’Keeffee’s photographic artistry to light in this exhibition organized in partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.
The exhibition will highlight 90 photographs from this archive, complemented by 17 paintings and drawings of landscapes, flowers, and still lifes from public and private collections across the country.
“Afro-Atlantic Histories” at MFAH (October 24, 2021–January 23, 2022)
Making its U.S debut in Houston before heading to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., this phenomenal exhibition from the Museu de Arte de São Paulo re-examines narratives of westward diaspora through works spanning five centuries from Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe.
The 130 artworks and documents represent evolving perspectives across time and geography through major paintings, drawings and prints, sculptures, photographs, time-based media art, and ephemera.
“Afro-Atlantic Histories recasts the traditional telling of the colonial history of the Western hemisphere within the vast web of the transatlantic slave trade over three centuries,” describes MFAH director Gary Tinterow of the thematically organized exhibition that will explore enslavements and emancipations, everyday lives, rites and rhythms and resistance and activism through the artwork.