Avant-Garde Czech Erotica and More in "New Formations" From the Roy and Mary Cullen Collection

Avant-Garde Czech Erotica and More in "New Formations" From the Roy and Mary Cullen Collection
Manufactured by Johann Lötz Witwe, Vase, 1908, glass, collection of Roy and Mary Cullen.

Avant-garde Czech erotica, anyone? "New Formations," an assemblage of early 20th-century Czech work collected by Mary and Roy Cullen, presents some pretty wonderful things: everything from glassware to periodicals to the aforementioned erotica.

And like most shows of private collections, you should visit it for the objects and glimpses of the period it contains rather than to receive a comprehensive overview. Jindřich Štyrský's 1933 text and photomontage, Emile Comes to Me in a Dream, was only distributed through the mail.

One of his collages, on view in the show, illustrates why. A photo of a half-naked woman clutching a feathered fan is paired with a photo of a skeleton with its boot still on. Štyrský stuck an image of an erect penis over its pelvis. It captures the decadence bookended by the carnage of WWI and WWII.

Tamer but equally impressive offerings in the show include amazing art glass from the '20s and '30s, in which Bohemian glass blowers turned their considerable skills to dramatic modern forms. The show runs through February 5, 2012 at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 5601 Main. For information, call 713-639-7300.


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