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"Pressing News" Brad Tucker has made a name for himself as a maker of playful, idiosyncratic art. That's pretty much what you get, too, in a new show of the Austin artist's work at Inman Gallery. "Pressing News," Tucker's fifth show at the venue, features a combination of site-specific work, video and music installation, and prints. The eye-catching installation Bagdad Bass Club is the main meat of the show. It features a full range of media — multiple record players, DVD players, speakers and a TV playing VHS videos of Tucker's friends and children playing musical instruments. Surrounding the machines are handmade items of felt, rubber, foam and painted wood that resemble the looped bands of VHS tapes and, in one case, just tape. There's a strong DIY element to these crudely constructed items, the casualness of the material and its construction another marker of the artist. The bright, youthful colors of the piece contrast with the nostalgic vibe it gives off. Along the walls of this playroom hang rarely exhibited prints by the artist. The series of abstract works are made with hand-cut rubber stamps and ink pressed into stretched canvas. Lines are the subject here — crisscrossed, squiggly, latticed, diagonal, straight lines of all colors. All these stamped lines are a bit off-kilter, as if none of the pieces were premeditated or planned out. The works are definitely the hand of Tucker, embodying his playful, laid-back style, but they just didn't do it for me. It all seemed a little too half-assed — the lack of craftsmanship in the installation, where pieces of foam were laid about not seeming to serve any purpose or representation; the unevenness of the prints; the incongruity of it all. But I did enjoy the way Tucker plays with space and perception. The low, sprawling feel of Bagdad Bass Club, with the TV, speakers and record players just lying on the floor, seems to be asking you to come down to its level. Through May 19. Inman Gallery, 3901 Main, 713-526-7800. — MD

"Prints" Every five years, Hiram Butler Gallery breaks out its all-star prints from hiding. The current iteration of that concept, simply called "Prints," reads like a Who's Who of mid-century print artists: there's Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra and Cy Twombly, to name some of the 11 artists on display. With such big names, you'd expect some powerhouse pieces, and the show certainly delivers. The selections range from old to new, mostly black-and-white works, with the rare splash of color thrown into the mix. The latter definitely helps Rauschenberg's vivid Kill Devil Hill stand out. Another standout is an untitled print by Rauschenberg contemporary Twombly. Notably, Twombly made the lithograph and then added scrawls of graphite by hand, for a moody, messy and highly emotional piece. Prints by renowned sculptor Fred Sandback also make the cut, his minimalist yellow and black lines still attempting the same sharp angles and geometric planes as his famous yarn sculptures. Agnes Martin is another artist who works in minimal lines, though hers are more orderly and borrow from a grid, going up or across, following the rules of its specific logic. Amid all those lines, the organic curves of Terry Winters's Section and Kelly's Melon Leaf, fittingly paired next to each other, are welcome. There's plenty of Serra to see in Houston right now, thanks to a current retrospective up at the Menil, though Hiram Butler adds one more piece to the mix. Weight IV is a rich, black etching that's dramatically placed right next to the glaring sunlight of the gallery's windows. Unfortunately, when framed and covered by Plexiglas, the black drawing becomes a mirror, the texture and richness of the black difficult to see past your own reflection. Through May 19. Hiram Butler Gallery, 4520 Blossom St., 713-863-7097. — MD

"reverse of volume RG" Yasuaki Onishi's latest installation at Rice Gallery is made out of just plastic and black hot glue, and yet it manages to take on multiple properties depending on your perspective. As you walk around the site-specific piece, it resembles a forest, the thin black glue like sparse dead trees on top of a mountainous terrain. Staring at it straight on, it looks like an otherworldly, alien creature, like an inverted jellyfish with long black tentacles. Venturing directly under the plastic, you're walking through a cave that's had all the color drained from it, save for hundreds of black splotches. Most of all, though, Onishi's new piece is unlike anything you can see or put a name to. There is a ghostly aura about the plastic as it stretches unevenly from one end of the gallery to the other, attached to the ceiling by strings of black hot glue. It's as if the plastic is propped over some misshapen form that you cannot see. These materials follow their own logic — the glue is splattered in a happenstance fashion, giving dimension to the cavernous plastic shape — which seems to be dictated by whatever is under it. As the title implies, the piece is playing with emptiness, filling the void above you and leaving the gallery's floor and walls untouched. One of the most remarkable things about this installation is how delicate it is. It seems like a slight cough would send the whole thing floating down on top of you. Even the gallery's air conditioning disturbs the structure ever so slightly, making it undulate ever so slightly. But, against all odds, it remains intact. It's a remarkable sight to behold at any angle. Through June 24. Rice Gallery, 6100 Main, 713-348-6069. — MD

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