She's known as "the nanny photographer," but that title doesn't give Vivian Maier her due. Maier worked as a nanny and starting in the 1950s, she shot street scenes in New York and Chicago. The images she captured were insightful, frank and largely unseen during her lifetime.
In 2010, Jeffrey Goldstein began to collect Maier's negatives, prints, slides and home movies, which were being sold in Chicago auction houses. (A storage facility had sold off many of Maier's belongings, including thousands of her negatives, when she defaulted on payments.)
"Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows," an exhibit of 30 of her black-and-white photographs from Goldstein's collection, is currently on display at the Catherine Couturier Gallery and is our suggestion for a visit this Friday. This is the first time her work has been exhibited in Texas. "They're quite stunning pieces," says Joseph Roberts, assistant director of the gallery. "And it's a fascinating story. [Maier] took over 100,000 pictures, and they're still being developed."
"Out of the Shadows" includes several self-portraits, which Maier frequently took. There are also beach scenes from New York's Coney Island, people on the street, and one unusual shot that Roberts says is a favorite for both him and gallery owner Catherine Couturier. "There's this picture of lightbulbs in a trash can on a Chicago street. We never would have thought it at the beginning, but it has become our favorite. It's just a lovely image."
See "Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows" 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The exhibit continues through October 13. Catherine Couturier Gallery (formerly the John Cleary Gallery), 2635 Colquitt. For information, call 713-524-5070 or visit the gallery's website.
Hear about a trio of River Oaks ladies that epitomize the wacky way some of Houston's elite run their private lives on Saturday when local author Dawn Greenfield Ireland signs and discusses her new novel Hot Chocolate. The quirky story is part cozy mystery, part wicked comedy and part tear-it-to-hell Texas romp. Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea Alcott, middle-aged heiresses to a sizable fortune, want to put their elderly father in a posh assisted-living facility near the Galleria. That means letting go of Bambi, his very blond, very beautiful nurse. Even though the sisters give Bambi a big severance package, her no-good husband Jimmy Ray isn't happy and he pushes Bambi into suing the sisters for wrongful termination, so off they all troop to court for a legal showdown. Things get complicated when Jimmy Ray goes missing.
Dawn Greenfield Ireland signs Hot Chocolate at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Barnes & Noble, River Oaks, 2030 W. Gray. For information, visit the store's website or call 713-522-8571.
Mixed-media artist Lisa Rosowsky is the child of Holocaust survivors. Like many others, she did not face the atrocities of the war but finds it is inherently a part of her existence. Visit her new exhibit, "Blood Memory: a view from the second generation", at the Holocaust Museum Houston on Sunday. The exhibit captures the horrors of the Holocaust from a slight distance. The artwork is described as Rosowsky's interpretation on what it feels like to "inherit a legacy of silence and absence," and that silence rings very loudly in this collection.
Much of these pieces are created out of fabric. In the piece The Mourner, Rosowsky has silk-screened a silk shawl, of sorts, into a thing of beauty. The images of mourning women, dressed in layers of black, are splayed across the bottom.
In Angel of Auschwitz, a large-scale plaster angel hangs from the ceiling, dominating the gallery. Her face is serene, comforting. However, her angelic wings are made of barbed wire. Despite how overwhelmingly white the figure is, there is a blackness to her. Another piece, "The Raitzyns," tells the story of a family, torn apart by Auschwitz, in a hand-made quilt. Rosowsky silk-screened the images of 11 family members into the quilt along with an embedded collection of antique gloves. The color of each glove pokes through the thin, sheer fabric. The white gloves are those that survived and the black gloves are a representation of those that did not.
"Blood Memory: a view from the second generation" is on display now through March 24. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For information, visit the museum's website or call 713-942-8000.
Abby Koenig contributed to this post.