a Houston 'Satellite'
Towering statue crafted by history-making U.S. artist looms over MFAH this fall
Houston is getting its very own version of an art piece that originally headlined an exhibit at the 59th Venice Biennale and that the Boston Globe called an example of "bold reclamation and self-determination, where chronicles of the past have been repurposed into abstracted visions for the future."
Simone Leigh's Satellite will be installed in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Nancy and Rich Kinder Building for modern and contemporary art this fall.
The 24-foot-high work is a special edition of Leigh's Sovereignty, exhibited at the storied Venice art event in 2022 in her exhibition Simone Leigh: Sovereignty.
Notably, Leigh was the first Black woman to represent the U.S. at what is considered arguably the most important art event in the world. Her sculpture was a centerpiece for the American Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale. It showcases Leigh's exploration of the Black female figure, and is done in bronze.
Here in Houston,Satellite will be sited adjacent to Cristina Iglesias’ water sculpture Inner Landscape (2020), at the entrance to the Kinder Building, according to a press release from the museum.
“When, at the opening of last year’s Venice Biennale, I inquired about the availability of Simone Leigh’s Satellite, I was thrilled to learn that the artist would have a cast made specifically for Houston," said Gary Tinterow, director and Margaret Alkek Williams Chair of the MFAH in that same release. "Now that the bronze has been released by the foundry, I am delighted to announce the installation of this powerful work, which I am certain will become an iconic presence in front of the Kinder Building. It is an honor to have Simone Leigh represented at the Sarofim Campus."
The installation will take place in October.
In addition to the installation of Satellite, a suite of three thematic exhibitions drawn from the MFAH collections of modern and contemporary art will be on view in the Kinder Building's third floor, beginning September 2. The works will exhibit social, environmental, and political themes.
"Contested Landscapes" is a selection of contemporary artworks that reexamines the traditional genre of landscape through an ecological lens, with pieces by Teresita Fernández, Richard Long, Radcliffe Bailey, Edward Burtynsky, Kent Dorn, Harry Geffert, Soledad Salamé, and others. "Hidden Histories" explores the notion of antimonuments through the work of artists from Europe, the United States, Asia, Africa, and Latin America using innovative artistic practices to memorialize aspects of the lives of ordinary citizens or places that have been ignored, sidelined, or deliberately obscured by official accounts. "Love Languages" asks us to consider how we approach and explore tenderness against debilitating social conditions.
"The installation of Satellite, and this next series of installations in the Kinder Building, will highlight for our public the strength of our modern and contemporary holdings, the fastest-growing segment of our collection," said Tinterow.