French artist Bernar Venet has transformed Hermann Park from a green space into an outdoor gallery with the exhibit "The Monumental Sculpture of Bernar Venet." More than a dozen of his signature steel sculptures dot the park; the works are enormous, some standing 30 feet high and weighing 12 tons. Venet's sculptures have been called "monumental linear improvisations." The groupings of oversize beams of steel are bent into arcs and curves. Rather than forcing the steel into precise, predetermined shapes, Venet allows each beam's unique reaction to extreme heat and pressure to play a role in the final form. The works, which have simple, descriptive titles such as Straight Lines and Arcs, seem almost whimsical despite their massive physical and visual weight. (The one near the statue of Sam Houston is called 97.5° Arc x 9.) With the arrival of Venet's work, Houston has joined an elite group of international cities that have hosted similar exhibitions, including Sáo Paulo, Hong Kong and Paris. The park is open 8 a.m. to midnight. The sculptures are on view through September 30. 6001 Fannin. For information, call 713-524-5876 or visit www.hermannpark.org. Free.
Jan. 23-Sept. 25, 8-midnight, 2010