best October art
We’re harvesting a diverse and colorful crop of visual art this month. From blockbuster museum exhibitions only seen in Houston to cool outdoor, public installations, from the spooky to the cerebral, the meaningless to revolutionary, art for everyone is everywhere this October.
“Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0” at Discovery Green (now through November 14)
If you feel at home downtown, this new interactive art installation will house great memories this fall. Houstonians can sit, swing, relax and interact as a family and community in these sixteen glowing house-like play structures. When creating “Mi Casa,” Mexican designers, Esrawe + Cadenathe were inspired by the mercados of Latin America, lively street markets where human connections are made every day. Now Discovery Green hopes the installation will help Houstonians and out-of-town visitors make new friends, try new activities, dance to music, and enjoy the city’s diverse cultural and art experiences through nightly programming held throughout the duration of the exhibit.
“Synaptic” at Sawyer Yards’ Site Gallery (now through December 3)
Presented by Sculpture Month Houston, this new exhibition installed within the silo spaces at Site asked its participating artists to look at the individual silo space as a cranial cavity where the brain is housed and performs its amazing feats. The show’s call to create asked artists to take inspiration from the brain’s anatomy and creative power.Look for brainy works from Christie Blizard Laurie Frick Jeff Gibbons Dave Greber Stephan Hillerbrand/ Mary Magsamen Hillary Holsonback Meredith Jack Sharon Kopriva Dameon Lester Beili Liu Virginia L. Montgomery Chris Sauter Matthew Steinke Brad Tucker Meredith Tucker.
"Yōkai: Scenes of the Supernatural in Japanese Woodblock Prints" at Asia Society (now through December 11)
Just in time for the eeriest of seasons, this exhibition travels into the mystical realms found in Japanese myths and legends. Yōkai — meaning “mysterious apparitions” —take the form of demons, monsters, shape-shifting animals, and trickster spirits, and have been found in folklore, historical texts, paintings, and theatre for centuries. This exhibition, on loan from Scripps College, presents 80 works featuring Edo period woodblock prints and e-hon (picture books) spanning over 250 years.
“CraftTexas 2022” at Center for Contemporary Craft (now through January 28, 2023)
The 11th in this Texas crafting excellence series includes 40 pieces by nearly 30 artists, highlighting works that speak to personal stories of struggle and resilience, while challenging expectations of contemporary craft. Juror Andres Payan Estrada, says of this year’s selected artists, “What coalesced from spending time with all the entries and methodically pulling selections is a somber exhibition that addresses a history and lineage in craft thought, while at the same time challenging some of the preconceived definitions, histories, and cannons that have commonly been upheld through craft.”
“Big Art. Bigger Change” murals in Downtown Houston (unveiled October 15)
Downtown just got even more artful with this series of large-scale murals (read our full story here) amid an over mile-long stretch of downtown between the Hilton Americas Houston Hotel to the Historic District. Coproduced by Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District), corporate partner TotalEnergies and Street Art for Mankind (SAM), this new art walk will include nine major works by ten internationally recognized street artists, including three Houstonians, with themes that address sustainable development goals ranging from green energy, climate change, and innovation to human rights, social equity, and education for all.
“Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power” at the Museum of Fine Arts (October 16-January 16)
One of the greats of 20th century American photography intersects with a giant of the American Civil Right Movement in this new exhibition. Before he directed the Learning Tree and Shaft, Parks’ award winning photography was seen in museums and by millions in the pages of Life Magazine. On assignment for Life to cover rising civil rights leader, Stokely Carmichael, Parks took more than 700 photos, but only five made it into the issue. This new exhibition organized by the MFAH from the collection of the Gordon Parks Foundation, will present some of those never-before-seen photos while giving viewers a new perspective on the life of Stokely Carmichael.
“Folly” at University of Houston’s Wilhelmina’s Grove (October 19-2023)
The latest temporary installation from Public Art of the University of Houston System, Mexico-based Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo builds an artful environment for all. Pardo was inspired by a garden follies, decorative outdoor structure meant more for fun and whimsy than function. This folly deceives with its clean but simple exterior design hiding a world of kaleidoscopic colors within. Pardo’s piece features laser-cut, hand-painted wall panels, which are complemented by the artist’s signature sculptural chandeliers. Folly is meant to be appreciated slowly, over time, as its overall experience changes with the shifting sun and lighting conditions.
“Philip Guston Now” at the Museum of Fine Arts (October 23-January 16, 2023)
This first retrospective in 20 years of the influential abstract artist will present 86 paintings, and 33 drawings and prints. Exhibition highlights include some Guston’s 1930s foundational paintings that have never been presented for public view: a cycle of major abstract paintings of the 1950s; a multi-part array of small panel paintings from the late 1960s as Guston developed a new vocabulary grounded in ordinary objects. Also look for a reunion of the controversial paintings from Guston’s groundbreaking Marlborough Gallery show in 1970 and a powerful selection of large, often apocalyptic paintings of the late 1970s that form Guston’s final artistic statement.
MFAH director, Gary Tinterow, notes that contemporary viewers find Guston’s work as “compelling” and “mysterious,” describing “Guston’s extraordinary turn away from the gorgeous abstract paintings with which he made his reputation in order to make inscrutable figurative paintings filled with doubt and anxiety align him with his hero, Francisco de Goya. Like Goya, Guston felt compelled at the end of his career to comment on society and the human condition in ways that break convention and require the viewer’s commitment. It is almost impossible to be indifferent to Guston’s art.”
“Diane Severin Nguyen: If Revolution is a Sickness” at Contemporary Arts Museum (October 28, 2022-February 26, 2023)
This first first solo museum exhibition for New York and Los Angeles-based artist will go beyond the walls of the CAMH to include not only a recent video installation and photographs, but in January a site-specific architectural intervention, and the artist’s first public art commission in the form of a billboard located in Houston’s Midtown neighborhood. The exhibition is built around Nguyen’s video of the same title, is set in Poland and follows the character of an orphaned Vietnamese child who is taken in by a South Korean pop-inspired dance group. The CAMH explains that “Revolution”reckons with the process of finding shared symbols and naming oneself from within another’s regime
“Walter De Maria: Boxes for Meaningless Work” at Menil Collection (October 29, 2022-April 23, 2023)
For this first museum exhibition survey of the more than 50-year-long career of the American sculptor and multi-disciplinary artist, the Menil will present De Maria’s monumental sculptures, as well as paints, conceptual drawings and photography. The show spotlights the artist’s remarkable exploration of space, time, and spirituality through works from the museum’s permanent collection, most of which have been recently acquired and never before publicly displayed. One of the major works included in the show is the interactive sculpture “Ball Drop,”a tall plywood box with two square opening. First displayed at a New York City gallery in 1963, visitors could release a ball through the top hole, creating a startling ‘crack’ when it hit the bottom surface. Also on view, “The Arch,” presents a row of tall wood columns that create an archway directly relating to the scale of a human figure. The exhibition will also present De Maria’s stainless steel sculptures, such as Channel Series: Triangle, Circle, Square.