best december art
12 best December art events and markets no Houston art fan should miss
While we await some big blockbuster exhibitions coming from Houston museums in the new year, December becomes a great month for art lovers to catch some beautiful work we might have missed along the way.
We’re also highlighting some seasonal exhibitions here for a short time, and some of the best holiday art markets for gifting those one of a kind creations.
"Jennifer Steinkamp: The Seasons" at Museum of Fine Arts (now through January 8, 2023)
Just in time for the end of one year and the beginning of the next, the MFAH has brought back one of our favorite video installations to bloom and fall once more in Cullinan Hall once more. This light installation of trees take viewers through the cycle of of life as just another part of the seasons as these light trees transform from bare to tender green to vivid autumnal colors and back to winter bare.
At the same time, the branches seem to move through wind, storm and seasonal weather all part of of life’s dance. Set within an empty and darkened Cullinan Hall in the Law Building, Steinkamp’s tree-scaled video work gifts us a contemplative space to reflect back and dream of new year’s potential.
"_____ as Myth” at Rice Moody Center for the Arts (now through January 14, 2023)
This latest installation in the Moody Project Wall series began as a project led by Houston poet, playwright and educator Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton in a series of community workshops to write new myths based on their own experiences. The resulting community-centered exhibition explores mythology as a catalyst for self-discovery and social commentary.
Taking inspiration from Mouton’s memoir Black Chameleon, the artwork on view is a result of students and local artists investigating how modern-day mythology can explain the nuances of our everyday experiences.
"Lain Singh Bangdel: Moon Over Kathmandu" at Asia Society (now through April 30, 2023)
Born to a family of migrant workers on a tea plantation in Darjeeling, the "father of modern art" in Nepal was also an acclaimed novelist, art historian, preservationist, academician, and painter who played a pivotal role in shaping the history of art in South Asia. This exhibition brings together approximately 20 of Bangdel’s paintings to chronicle the artist’s pioneering pursuit of abstraction that would help define a modern Nepal.
Seen together, the work explores a sense of home, longing, and loss. Informed by the architecture of South Asian cities like Kolkata and Kathmandu, as well as the exalted peaks of the ever-present Himalayas, Bangdel’s abstract paintings like Moon over Kathmandu (1962) and Abstract II (1969) advanced his belief in the sublime and rugged majesty of the world’s tallest mountain range.
“Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity” at Museum of Fine Arts (ongoing)
The hottest immersive art ticket across the globe is frequently the latest Yayoi Kusama, exhibition, especially if it includes one or more of her Infinity Rooms. Thankfully, Houstonians don’t have to wait in line for hours to get their time inside one of Kusama’s most magnificent immersive works.
We’re admittedly a bit bias in this assessment since this “Eternity” is part of the MFAH’s permanent collection. But stepping inside this bigger on the inside room does feel like wandering into a universe of light. The installation was originally supposed to go on permanent display with the opening of the Kinder Building, but the pandemic delayed those plans. Now back (for the first time) where it belongs, visitors can experience infinity with a general admission ticket.
“Fight Song” at Art League Houston (December 16-February 11, 2023)
This exhibition by Austin-based artist Steve Parker examines themes of healing, injury, and labor in football, drawing from legacies of sonic therapy, including Hildegard von Bingen’s liturgical songs, Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening practice, Anthony Braxton’s radical marching bands, and Guadalupe Maravilla’s Disease Thrower sculptures.
This “Song” takes two forms, a sculptural installation and a halftime-style performance. The installation works like an immersive musical composition featuring an ecosystem of automated sonic sculptures made from salvaged marching band instruments. Parallel with the installation, the project includes a series of video works featuring an NCAA marching band performing sonic healing meditations in public spaces.
“Cuir” at Art League Houston (December 16-February 11, 2023)
This exhibition of photography artist Moe Penders’ work creates a dialogue around queer and trans narratives in the context of queer politics, war politics, and imposed heteronormativity. The photographs of life-sized prints created from large format film cameras, explore Pender’s relationship with the in-between by connecting facets of war and displacement in El Salvador, transness, and experiences of existing in different spaces that border these liminal zones. It looks at situations through lenses of categorization of social class, race and colorism, gender, and religion.
“The Inside of Envelopes” at Art League Houston (December 16-February 11, 2023)
Houston-based, Singapore-born Dutch artist, Hedwige Jacobs’ new site-specific installation features collected envelopes densely covering the walls of the gallery. Jacobs uses these envelopes as her primary material, modifying each envelope with drawn figures, patterns, and abstract forms. Put together the installation explores how we live and interact as a society, capturing the collective experiences of isolation, inertia, and desperation that are especially prevalent in this contemporary moment marked by the Covid pandemic.
Holiday and seasonal art markets
Studio School Student Art Sale at MFAH’s Glassell School of Art (December 9-11)
Take home a work from an up and coming local artist in one of the best art buying opportunities of the year. Browse a huge selection of jewelry, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs, and more.
Holiday Open Studios and The Market at Sawyer Yards (December 10)
The monthly Second Saturday art events at Sawyer Yards level up for the holidays and all your gift-giving needs (especially for yourself). Indoors spend the day wandering through Sawyer Yards' seven studio buildings and discover an extensive selection of painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, clothing, mixed media and more. Meet some of the 350+ artists, learn about their work and add a new piece to your collection. Then step outside in the communal area between the buildings for the curated market hosting a mix of artist mediums with a focus on folk art, artisan crafts and packaged specialty foods.
Holiday VIBE Market from Texas Artisan Markets at POST Houston (December 10-11)
Get your holiday vibes on with this artisan market billed as like the Nutcracker Market but with all local artisans, makers & creatives. Located on the X-Atrium (2nd floor) at POST HTX in downtown, the art shopping event will feature over 150 local artists, creatives, and makers. There will be sounds provided by DJ Lifted, complimentary cocktails by Desert Door, Deep Eddy and Dripping Springs Distilling, and 10 different concept restaurants.
Islamic Arts Festival at Masjid Al-Salam (December 10-11)
Asia Society Texas presents Lain Singh Bangdel: "Moon Over Kathmandu"
This largest and oldest festival of Islamic arts in the U.S. will showcase Islamic Art from both local and non-local artists. Festival goers will have the opportunity to take part in interactive art sessions, learn about Islamic art and culture, as well as enjoy ethnic cuisine from food trucks. In addition, there will be live demonstrations on calligraphy, henna tattoo, Ebru, painting, Arabesque pattern coloring and lots of children’s art activities.
Flea by Night at Discovery Green (December 10 and 17)
The monthly open-air market in the park expanded to weekly this month and there’s still two more opportunities to support local artisans and small business owners. Shop for vintage, handmade, recycled and repurposed local goods while picking up snacks from the food trucks and dancing along to great live music from Houston bands.