Clothes Make the Art

Joseph Havel redoes the MFAH

Before you take those old clothes to Goodwill, consider the decade of work by minimalist Joseph Havel. His approach to art, hugely inspired by his own laundry, is on view in "Joseph Havel: A Decade of Sculpture 1996-2006" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which also organized the show.

It's the first major museum exhibition to focus on the artist's investigation of sculptural form and meaning. The show's T-shirts, bedsheets and tablecloths are cast in bronze or gessoed stiffly into sculpture reminiscent of daily chores; according to Havel, the resulting works grant artistic integrity and dignity to all objects. The physical space required and the movement of the work -- think of a white sheet hung out to dry only to be captured mid-breeze -- are particularly important with sculptures of this scale. And speaking of scale: One of the curtain-lined upper galleries of the Caroline Wiess Law Building inspired Havel to do a site-specific installation, Fallen Reich. The work is meant to disrupt the gallery's openness. Feng shui? Maybe not, but it's definitely worth a look.
March 26-June 18

 
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