Visual Arts

May Art Shows: Public Art, Empty Bowls and Dancing Through Space at MFAH

Get ready for this summer's big exhibit kicking off May 24 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Shown: William Forsythe, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 3, 2015, plumb bobs, string, compressed air cylinders, and computer software.
Get ready for this summer's big exhibit kicking off May 24 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Shown: William Forsythe, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 3, 2015, plumb bobs, string, compressed air cylinders, and computer software. Photo by Dominik Mentzos, © William Forsythe, courtesy of the artist
The news is out and we can all stop holding our collective breath. No, we're not talking about the Mueller report, it's the big summer exhibit coming to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects" is immersive — which we've come to expect at this point — and will ask viewers to move, dance and sway through three of the artist's installations. City of Abstracts takes our body movements and turns us into surreal figures projected onto a giant video screen, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time challenges visitors to navigate swinging pendulums through a labyrinth that's constantly changing, and man is pitted against a feather duster in Towards the Diagnostic Gaze.

Your commute just got a little more interesting, too, with local artists creating eye-popping designs for outdoor billboards and freeway underpasses. Fariba Abedin, whom we named one of our top ten painters in 2014, has designed a bright, geometric billboard titled "Houston Is Incredible" that references her love for architecture and the rich colors of Persian tiles. Large-scale muralist David Maldonado designed a billboard titled "Colores de Houston" that pays tribute to the richness of Hispanic culture through florals; he's the guy who designed those famous Adidas for Carlos Correa. It's the second year for "Sky Art," an initiative between Houston First Corporation and Outfront Media, where the work of local artists is showcased on unsold billboards.

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University of Houston students and graffiti artist GONZO247 are transforming the Cullen/I-45 underpass.
Photo and mock-up by Annette Wong
Commuters driving under the I-45 underpass near Cullen can check out a new collab between Mario Enrique Figueroa Jr. (GONZO247) and the graphic design students at the University of Houston. They avoided using typography — no need to take your eyes off the road too long — and instead designed bold graphics for the pillars to illustrate the surrounding community: Third Ward (blue circular shapes), Eastwood (green rectangles), EaDo (intersecting orange lines) and UH (red hexagons).

In fact, let's hear it for the kids. As the school year draws to a close we've got portfolio shows and art exhibits for next-gen artists of all ages from HCC, UH, HISD, Newspring, and the Center for School Behavioral Health; read the deets below for the who, what and where. Be sure to stroll and shop at this weekend's Sawyer Yards Spring Biannual Art Show and Sale, with tours of the private artist studios and select purchases supporting student scholarships at the Glassell School of Art.

It's also a big month for art world heavyhitters. The Printing Museum is hosting a retrospective that spans more than 50 years of work by Charles Criner, as well as the legends who influenced his career: Lenard Brown, Russ Karbach and Dr. John T. Biggers. And it's totally worth a road trip to San Antonio to check out the massive exhibit at the Witte Museum; "The Art of Texas: 250 Years" includes objects from Jesús Moroles, Theodore Gentilz, Julian Onderdonk, Georgia O’Keeffe, and a mural by Biggers.

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Installation view of Body Count in Houston Times Eight by Prince Varughese Thomas, one of the artists in Asia Society Texas Center's group show, "Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas."
Photo by Michael Stravato, courtesy of the Station Museum of Contemporary Art
Closer to home, we've got a few surprises on the horizon. For years the aboriginal women have been stealing the spotlight at Booker-Lowe Gallery but, for its upcoming spring show, the gallery also is featuring paintings by Walpiri men. Over at Asia Society Texas Center, regional artists are making their ASTC debut in "Site Lines," including Prince Varughese Thomas who has channeled a lifetime facing racial prejudice into art-making that deconstructs complex issues and humanizes its subjects.

After President Donald Trump was elected to the highest office, a marble fragment from the Trump Tower showed up for sale on eBay. Artist Amie Siegel snapped it up and jumped at the chance to elevate that now historic relic into fine art. Known for her research-based film and video, we'll see further cultural investigations through video at Blaffer Art Museum in "Medium Cool."

Not all art needs to be serious or make a political statement, and for some lighthearted (but infinitely cool) art don't miss Dandee Warhol's popular Star Wars-inspired May the 4th Art Festival, Jumper Maybach's spring show, and the "Noir Art" mash-up with Battle Royale Tattoo over at Insomnia Gallery.

In addition to new listings featured here, please view our related stories about ongoing exhibits that opened in March and April.

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Drum Dancer Flame by José Chardiet is on view in "Nuestra Realidad - Our Reality" at Hooks-Epstein Galleries.
Photo by Mark Hatch
Through May 11, José Chardiet, Desira Garcia, Marcos Hernandez, Stephanie Mercado, Lorena Morales, Lauren Salazar, "Nuestra Realidad - Our Reality," Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Inc., 2631 Colquitt

Through May 15, Houston First Corporation and OUTFRONT Media, "Sky Art," featuring the work of Fariba Abedin's “Houston Is Incredible” and David Maldonado’s “Colores de Houston,” with billboards along West Loop 610 (near San Felipe), at I-45 North (near the North Belt), and on I-45 South (near Edgebrook).

Through June 23, Sandy Walker, "Nuances," Art Museum of Southeast Texas, 500 Main, Beaumont

Through August 18, Ambreen Butt, Abhidnya Ghuge, Beili Liu, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Prince Varughese Thomas, "Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas," Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Boulevard (artist talk June 15, 2 p.m.)

April 25, Anne-Joëlle Galley, "Printed Artworks: a collaboration between Art, Printing, Design, and Fashion," The Printing Museum, 1324 West Clay

April 27, Sawyer Yards Spring Biannual Art Show and Sale; Sabine Street Studios, 1907 Sabine; Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards; Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring; The Silos at Sawyer Yards, 1502 Sawyer; and Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter (5-9 p.m. Saturday)

April 27, May 1, May 3, Holy Family Artists' Collective, "Intersection: A Contemporary Art Exhibit," A 2nd Cup, 1111 East 11th (opens 7 p.m. Saturday, artists' talk 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, closes 6 p.m. Friday)

April 27-June 1, Houston Community College Digital Communication Department, "Collective Alchemy," The Printing Museum, 1324 West Clay

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View photos by National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow, paired with bites from Le Colonial's Nicole Routhier in Asia Society Texas Center's "Vietnam Travelogue: A Journey through Food and Photography."
Photo by Catherine Karnow
April 30, National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow, "Vietnam Travelogue: A Journey through Food and Photography," Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore

May 1, Public Art Tour at the University of Houston-Downtown, O'Kane Gallery, 201 Girard

May 1, Pat Colville, Terrell James and Rabéa Ballin, Work, Identity and Gender Disparity in the Arts, MATCH, 3400 Main

May 2, University of Houston, "FLUX Graphic Design Senior Exhibition," Ecclesia, 1100 Elder (7-10 p.m. Thursday)

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Work by William Cannings is on view at Anya Tish Gallery.
Photo by William Cannings
May 3-June 1, William Cannings, "Moments and Monuments," Anya Tish Gallery, 4411 Montrose (artist reception May 3, 6-8:30 p.m.)

May 3-5, War'Hous presents the 8th Annual May the 4th Art Festival, 215 Grove (6-10 p.m. Friday, noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)

May 3, "Lisa Frank Art Show," Insomnia Gallery, 708 Telephone (7-11 p.m. Friday)

May 3-5, 8th Anniversary Weekend with Art, Gaming and Music, Insomnia Gallery, 708 Telephone

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Hidden Figures by Cookie Wells is on view in "Double Vision" at Archway Gallery.
Photo by Rick Wells
May 4-30, Cookie Wells (mixed media), Tom Wells (wood furniture), "Double Vision," Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy (opening reception May 4, 5-8 p.m., artist talk 6:30 p.m.)

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Fire Country Dreaming by Theo (Faye) Nangala Hudson, Warlukurlangu Jukurrpa, at Booker-Lowe Gallery.
Photo by Warlukurlangu Arts
May 4-11, Paintings of traditional dreamings from Warlpiri country and beyond, "Whose Business Is It?," Booker-Lowe Gallery, 4623 Feagan (opening reception May 4, 2-5 p.m.; May 8-11, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.)

May 4, "Houston I.S.D. Fine Arts Extravaganza," Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive (8 p.m. Saturday)

May 4-July 31, "In Full Bloom," Jumper Maybach Fine Art Gallery, 238 West 19th (opening reception May 4, 2-6 p.m.)

May 4-June 15, Grayson Chandler, "Cocoon," Deborah Colton Gallery, 2445 North Boulevard (opening reception May 4, 6-8 p.m.)

May 4, Conception Art Show, Spindletap Brewery, 10622 Hirsch (6-9 p.m. Saturday)

May 4-June 1, Ted Cowart, "Art Exotica," Arden's Fine Art Gallery, 239 Westheimer

May 4, Heartmade Art Market, Main Street Square, 1000 Main (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday)

May 4, First Saturday Arts Market, 530 West 19th (11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday)

May 4, "The Empty Box: Celebrating 11 Years of Box 13," Box 13 ArtSpace, 6700 Harrisburg Boulevard (7-10 p.m. Saturday)

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Empty Bowls Houston includes events at Archway Gallery (May 4-25) and at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (May 17-18).
Photo by Jill Lefforge
May 4-25, Empty Bowls Invitational Exhibition and Silent Auction, Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy (silent auction May 10, 5-8 p.m.)

May 4-26, Joshua Kight, "Origin of the Great Plains," G Spot Contemporary Art Space, 310 East 9th

Opens May 4, "The Art of Texas: 250 Years," Witte Museum, Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway, San Antonio

May 8, Houston Community College Interior Design Portfolio Show, Decorative Center Houston, 5120 Woodway (11 a.m. Wednesday portfolios on exhibit, 6-8 p.m. reception)

May 9, 2nd Annual Youth Mental Health Art Showcase, "What My Feelings Look Like," Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter (Saturday reception 5-6:30 p.m., 6:30-7 p.m. awards)

May 10, Newspring Student Art Auction, A.D. Players at the George Theater, 5420 Westheimer (6-8 p.m. Friday)

May 11, Live Art Charity Auction, Comicpalooza, George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall C, 1001 Avenida de las Americas (7-11 p.m. Saturday)

May 11, "Art on Wheels," bicycle tour of public art at Buffalo Bayou Park, The Water Works, 105 Sabine (9-10:30 a.m. Saturday)

May 11, The Market at Sawyer Yards, 1502 Sawyer (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday)

May 11-12, "Noir Art Show" curated by Battle Royale Tattoo, Insomnia Gallery, 708 Telephone (6 p.m.-midnight Saturday, noon to midnight Sunday)

May 15 and ongoing, University of Houston students and GONZO247, "Perspectives," Cullen/45 underpass collaboration mural

May 15, "Doodle Dojo Art Show," Honey Art Cafe, 3516 South Shepherd (7-10 p.m. Wednesday)

May 16, The Complex Relationship of Light, Color and the Brain, with neurologist Dr. Aziz Shaibani, Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive

May 17-October 12, "Amie Siegel: Medium Cool," Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building

May 17-December 21, Charles Criner, Lenard Brown, Russ Karbach, Dr. John T. Biggers, "Where I Come From: The Works and Influences of Charles Criner," The Printing Museum, 1324 West Clay

May 17, Indigo Art Fest V, Hobby Event Center, 9906 Gulf Freeway (6 p.m.-midnight Friday)

May 17, Empty Bowls Preview Party, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main (6-8 p.m. Friday)

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Citta Samtana diptych 233 by James Verbicky, from the exhibit "Forgetting the Real," is on view at Laura Rathe Fine Art.
Photo by James Verbicky Studios
May 18-June 22, James Verbicky, Udo Nöger, "Forgetting the Real," Laura Rathe Fine Art, 2707 Colquitt (opening reception 6-9 p.m. May 18)

May 18, 15th Annual Empty Bowls, Houston Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main (11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday)

May 18, "Mayday! A Charity Art Show," Hardy & Nance Studios, 902 Hardy (5-9 p.m. Saturday)

May 24-September 15, "William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects," Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney