November brings blockbuster touring art exhibitions to town, but also some chances to gift ourselves amazing local artworks for our own home gallery.
From Impressionistic masters to Pop Art drawings to punk art stars to a southern style art and musical convergence, this month showcases the diversity and range of art we find in Houston. Plus we’ll be crawling to some of our favorite annual art traditions for some holiday buying and collecting opportunities.
“Divine Spark: Kana Harada” at Asia Society Texas (now through January 9, 2022)
Inspired by nature, this new exhibition by the renowned Tokyo-born, Dallas-based artist sets out to bring sculptures, paintings, and installations with themes of hope into our current time of anxiety.
“Consisting largely of nature-inspired black foam sculptures with intimate moments of colorful painted details, intricate paper cuts, and bright acrylic and watercolor paintings, Kana Harada’s work expresses the extraordinary that can be found in the ordinary, and the light that can always be found in the dark,” says Jacqueline Chao, Ph.D., Senior Curator of Asian Art, Crow Museum of Asian Art.
The exhibition also invites guests to engage with Harada’s work by using the galleries as a space for contemplation and renewal.
“Calder-Picasso” at Museum of Fine Art, Houston (now through January 30, 2022)
Though contemporaries and giants on the world art stage in their time, history records Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso meeting only four times. Yet in this exhibition — first conceived by Calder’s grandson, Alexander S. C. Rower, and Picasso’s grandson Bernard Ruiz-Picasso — we find both artists peering into artistic voids of their own making.
Bringing together 80 works by Calder and Picasso the exhibition will balance and juxtapose the art to illustrate how both artists wrestled with space, non-space and the void in their work.
Ann Dumas, the Museum’s consulting curator of European Art, says those juxtapositions “tell us much about the correspondence between these two great artists, as well as what makes them distinctive, allowing us to understand their process and unique innovations in a fresh, new light.”
“Draw Like a Machine: Pop Art, 1952-1975” at Menil Drawing Institute (now through March 1, 2022)
The first of two new exhibitions opening at the MDI brings together thirty drawings from the Pop Art period when artists found inspiration from advertising and mass media, creating work that bridged fine art and industrial design.
The exhibition’s title alludes to the famous Warhol answer to the “What is Pop Art?” question with his desire to “be a machine” when creating.
The show will highlight some of those machine-like drawing techniques and works. Look for drawings from Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Idelle Weber, Tom Wesselmann, Marjorie Strider, and Ed Kienholz along with Andy Warhol’s series of six drawings of Gene Swenson completed in 1962.
“Spatial Awareness: Drawings from the Permanent Collection” at Menil Drawing Institute (now through March 13, 2022)
With art holdings so deep and diverse, we’re always astonished at the range of unique and sometimes brilliantly quirky exhibitions the Menil organizes from its own collections.
Case in point, this new show examines how mid-20th century to present day artists render space in unexpected ways, from folding and layering techniques that seem to defy dimensions, to dynamic depictions of architectural environments that draw a connection between space and human community.
The exhibition will feature works from Dorothea Rockburne, Sam Gilliam, Trisha Brown, Richard Tuttle, Liliana Porter, and Houston’s Rick Lowe.
“Molly Zuckerman-Hartung: Comic Relief” at Blaffer Art Museum (now through March 13, 2022)
From her earlier work as part of the Riot Grrrl punk art movement to her more recent work primarily as a painter, this first major museums survey of Zuckerman-Hartung’s art will spotlight over a 100 of her pieces from a 20 year period.
The Blaffer notes that exhibition is organized as a celebration of the multiple dimensions of Zuckerman-Hartung’s punk-influenced aesthetic — tracing an expansive practice that spans assemblage, paintings and sculptures, drawings and prints, photographs, writing, and performance.
With work that references feminist theories, pop culture, literature, psychoanalysis, art history, and current events, this comic relief brings a “radical” self-awareness of life and art.
Art on the Avenue at Winter Street Studios (November 4-6)
One of Houston art lovers favorite events and silent auction is back with a whole weekend of collecting and reviewing opportunities. Featuring 500 original works from more than 250 local artists, the fund raiser in support of Avenue and their mission to build affordable homes and strengthen communities.
The three days and nights of art kickoff with their preview party on Thursday, and the opportunity to buy those works that catch your eyes early. The casual food, fun and fabulous art party on Friday also gives guests the chance to sample Brews on the Avenue, a new event offering a range of craft beer samples from local breweries including Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, and Local Group Brewing Company.
Saturday brings open and free exhibition hours for a leisurely look at all the art. With the silent auction happening online throughout the weekend, those art buyers not up for in-person can peruse all the art and jewelry virtually.
“Supernova” at Grogan Gallery (November 5-December 3)
This group exhibition of abstract and surrealist artwork introduces Houston collectors to a fresh series of hypnotic, round canvases by David Hardaker as well as the lustrous mixed media abstractions of M. Clark. New figurative paintings by Carlos Gamez de Francisco and Juan Carlos Navarro are also to be featured.
“The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse” at Contemporary Art Museum (November 5-February 6, 2022)
Visual arts and music dance together in this examination of how the aesthetic traditions of the African American South have shaped visual art and musical expression over the last 100 years. The expansive show spanning the entirety of the CAM will feature 130 works of sculpture, painting, film, photography, and sound from a multi-generation of artists.
Texas and Houston artists will play a prominent role in the exhibition, with works by Earlie Hudnall, Jr., Mel Chin, and John Biggers, to contemporary works from established and mid-career artists such as Jamal Cyrus, Robert Hodge, Deborah Roberts, Robert Pruitt, El Franco Lee II, Jason Moran, and Nathaniel Donnett.
Don’t miss the massive Cabinet of Wonder containing musicians’ stage wear, instruments, and ephemera, including Bo Diddley’s guitar, outfits worn by James Brown and CeeLo Green, Ornette Coleman’s saxophone, and original DJ Screw “grey tapes.
“Incomparable Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston” at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (November 14-March 27, 2022)
Works from the MFA, Boston’s monumental Impressionism collection rarely leave Massachusetts, but for this new exhibition the museum is sending out a hundred paintings and works on paper, and the MFA, Houston will be the only U.S stop on this light and color-filled tour.
In a preview description of the Impressionistic wonders soon to arrive, the MFAH says the show will trace the evolution of this 19th-century avant-garde movement, from its roots in the novel, naturalistic landscapes of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Charles Francois Daubigny, and other painters of the Barbizon School, to the early “optical color” experimentations in plein-air landscape painting by Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro, to the frank depictions of modern urban life by Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Mary Cassatt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Artcrawl Houston in the Downtown Houston Art Warehouse District (November 20)
Every November, this not-quite 30 year tradition has sent dedicated art-lovers on a pre-Thanksgiving adventure to meet local artists in their native downtown habitat.
The studio doors swing open allowing visitors to see the artists’ latest creations and maybe get some holiday shopping done at the same time. The mission of the Artcrawl is to assist the public in understanding contemporary art by directly involving the visitors in a dialogue with local artists in the Artist Warehouse District of Downtown Houston.
This year’s participants will be Bisong Art Gallery, Hardy & Nance Studios, M Architects, NDT Seals and over course Mother Dog Studios, the surviving Artists’ warehouse in Houston.