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"Reconstruction" The Art Car Museum's group exhibition model sounds like a recipe for disaster — put out an open call for works, and take the first 125 that you get. Oh, and give them a one-word theme. But that's the case with "Reconstruction," the annual open call show running now at the Heights space. Yes, the art is a mixed bag. Many of the 100-plus pieces are forgettable, largely too arts-and-craftsy for any serious consideration (a lawn ornament-type piece of a fence sculpture with the word "love" written on each board, and an artist's framed tribute to her dad, complete with beer bottle caps, come to mind). There's plenty of quirk and pop culture references — a glass replica of Roy Lichtenstein's M-Maybe, a Che-esque Chihuahua — though not a lot of substance. There are a few standouts, to be sure, as you maneuver between the art cars. Baby Oh Baby by Sam VanBibber is a little piece of ingenuity — wood and watch parts coming together to form some demented, antique-looking contraption. Shannon Duckworth's The Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, which features neon red, blue and yellow brains sprouting from a tree-like toxic cauliflower, is intriguing. Tusk by Hazel Ganze — a horn made of wire — is beautiful in its shiny simplicity. The experimental Development by Jeremy Lovelace, a messy, splattered piece with sketches of ghostly women, makes me want to see more by the artist. Karen Pawson-Smith's Corporate Calf: Read the Fine Print, a papier-mâchéd golden calf wearing sunglasses and a bowtie, is sure to be a favorite of all the camera-toting visitors. And, of course, there's the featured artist, Sherry Sullivan, whose recognition here is well-deserved. Her lush nature paintings are transportive, containing worlds within her careful, orange-outlined water imagery. Finally, among the more topical works, there are a few "Occupy Wall Street" references, most prominently in Allen Rice III's spirited Reconstructing Liberty, that are a good fit here. The egalitarian spirit of this show is an appropriate call for the 99 percent. Through March 2. 140 Heights Blvd., 713-861-5526. — MD

"Sherrie Levine: Selected Works" Sherrie Levine is having a bit of a resurgence lately, thanks to "Mayhem," a survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and a forthcoming catalog this spring of the same name. But you don't have to go all the way across the country to see the modern art fixture's work. Here in Houston, Hiram Butler Gallery is hosting a small, but still lovely, show of the artist's work. The serene grounds, clean, sparse, white walls, and pointed roof of the gallery give the space an almost religious feel, as if you're worshiping the artist. And worship Levine, Butler does — the gallery owner has been a fan of the artist since the early 1980s, right around when she blew up with her After Walker Evans series, in which Levine claimed photos by the Depression Era photographer by rephotographing them herself — and giving critics and theorists much to ponder about authenticity and originality in art in the process. The collection of paintings and drawings here, which span 1986 to 2000, is by no means meant to be exhaustive — there aren't any sculptures, for one — but the survey has some noteworthy series by the artist. Of note is her Barcham Green Portfolio — five etchings that borrow from cultural icons, including one of Evans's photographs (or is it Levine's?), as well as prior works by Levine — a delicate image of bark and gold leaves that nods to her work with plywood. Mondrian and Degas are also sources of inspiration, admiration and, ultimately, material. The 1995 series After Degas is particularly marvelous, featuring a suite of five lithographs that are replications of archival prints of Degas's work, his signature comically visible in some, but shrunken and erased of his subtle color. This method of brazen replication that Levine has become synonymous with is made even more relevant — though rarely questioned — in the Internet age. Levine's show almost got lost in the holiday shuffle, but thanks in part to the Whitney exhibition, the gallery is extending its run, so you have time to go worship at her altar. 4520 Blossom St., 713-863-7097. — MD

"Since I've Been Away" David Lozano's paintings lie to you. In his solo show at PG Contemporary's new space, there's image after image of psychedelic patterns of blues, magentas and greens. These ribboned, weaving or spastic splashes of color stretch out, like pours of paint, over fuzzed-out, blown-up photos of rooms, street scenes or entirely unrecognizable grounds. But in fact, it's all meticulously, painstakingly planned. The seemingly random "pours of paint," à la Jackson Pollock? Created with a brush and sign painter's enamel. Those fuzzed-out "photographs" that, combined with the enamel, seem to evoke another dimension? Airbrushed (not the Photoshop kind, but the painting kind). It's a neat trick at first when you realize those intense, bold colors are not the work of some elaborate pouring process, but the hand of the artist, who's clearly studied paint movement. But with painting after painting of the same thing, this trick quickly loses its charm. While the pieces are fun, even "fabulous," as the artist says — there's even one yellow, orange and blue concoction aptly called "Joy Pop" — beyond that initial illusion that attracts your eye, there's not much substance. It's all contrived chaos, with the paintings lacking the carefree, spontaneous nature that they seem to be trying to convey. There was one piece that managed to stand out from the dozen other loud works — the teal, orangey-pink "Crush of Glimmer." This one stood apart, thanks to some detailed, even sensual, patterns that abandoned the effect of poured paint, and a stretch of pink and blue sequins. Yes, sequins. It's a pretty campy number as a result of this "bling bling," to use the words of a gallery-goer. But it's one that can really call itself fabulous. Through February 11. 3227 Milam, 713-523-7424. — MD

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