"Round 23" For the latest round of installations at Project Row Houses, Michael Golden has hung hundreds (maybe thousands) of keys inside one row house, covering an entire wall with these multicolored bits of metal. More keys dangle from other walls, placed there by visitors who have written their hopes and secrets on tags attached to them. The visual effect is appealing enough, but the accompanying literature drips more cheese than a plate of soggy nachos. In his space, artist Jimmy Kuehnle has set up 30 televisions, all stacked up and strewn about at odd angles. Tiny cameras are placed around the house, filming visitors and feeding the TVs. The trick is that the televisions are set up so you can never see yourself; every time you get within view of a monitor, you've just walked out of range of its corresponding camera. The installation is clever and does make a statement about how we're monitored all the time without knowing it, but it's pretty straightforward; there's little room for nuance in the confines of this house. Then there's Kaneem Smith's installation, which deals with the unknown in a palpable way. She has covered the floor of her house in dirt and gravel, and from the ceiling hangs what looks like a large curtain of burlap. But as you walk around the curtain, trying to see what's on the other side, you end up right back where you started; it's a closed loop, a clever trick. And it's easily the most interesting installation in this round. Through February 28. 2500 Holman, 713-526-7662.
"Visual Language" "Visual Language" at Mackey Gallery includes work by Ronald Moran. Moran coats things with sheets of fluffy-white polyester batting. He then creates life-size narrative compositions out of his quotidian objects -- there's a chair with a belt draped over it, an ironing board and iron, a school desk. The results are hazy and otherworldly, like furniture made from white clouds, a Hollywood set for heaven. At Mackey, he's built little corner backdrops for the objects that unfortunately stop the illusion short; the construction isn't seamless. He's apparently done entire rooms for other projects, and a larger space would create a more convincing environment here. Moran's photographs of his sets work best, creating contained, illusory images. But his paintings of the fuzzy objects are one too many variations on the same theme. They just aren't that well painted, and they aren't nearly as successful as the photographs or the compositions themselves. Through December 31. 5111 Center, 713-850-8527.