'Tis the season for art fairs, and we've got a bumper crop of them with Texas Contemporary, stARTup Art Fair, Bayou City Art Festival, and more. We've also got LEGO® bricks as fine art, a wildly imaginative architect at the Menil Drawing Institute, new public art at UH, and an immersive sound installation at Blaffer. Keep reading because many of these events are free.
The most exciting news comes from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston with its acquisition of a newly rediscovered masterwork by Eugène Delacroix. Titled Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, the art world lost track of the painting after its 1850 sale and it only resurfaced last year when a Paris collector sought authentication for the object. It's the first version of a themed series for the 19th-century French painter, who traveled to North Africa after it was invaded by France; a later iteration titled Femmes d’Alger is on view at the Louvre. What's in your attic?
Don't miss stories from the last few months for information about exhibitions that are still up, then keep reading for the scoop about new openings and receptions in the weeks ahead.
Openings In and Around Houston
Through October 19, Benjamin Edmiston, "Naturally," David Shelton Gallery, 4411 Montrose Boulevard. View intimately scaled paintings and a grid of 50 ink drawings that were created using the endsheets of vintage paperbacks.
September 27-October 27, "BLOCK XIX," The Glassell School of Art, 5101 Montrose Boulevard. Artists in the BLOCK program work in shared studios and receive weekly critiques by Glassell School faculty and regional artists, curators and critics; on view are pieces they created last semester.
September 29-November 14, The 2019 Golden 50th Annual Members Exhibit, Watercolor Art Society-Houston, 1601 West Alabama. This year's juror and presenter is Brienne M. Brown; the annual event showcases works from WAS-H's dedicated members.
October 1, Twilight Tour led by Margo Sawyer, Discovery Green, Lindsey Waterside Landing, 1500 McKinney (7-8 p.m. Tuesday). Meet the artist who created Synchronicity of Color — the selfie-friendly and colorful art box installation at Discovery Green — as she leads visitors on a tour of Michael Craig-Martin's whimsical "The Shape of Things" sculptures.
October 3-February 23, "A History of Photography: Selections from the Museum’s Collection," Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Audrey Jones Beck Building, 5601 Main. Every six months the museum rotates in new images and this installation showcases photographs by artists including Berenice Abbott, Charles Aubry, Walker Evans, Heinrich Kühn, László Moholy-Nagy, Patrick Nagatani, Kiki Smith, Carleton E. Watkins, and Ishimoto Yasuhiro.
October 4-February 28, "The Art of the Brick," The Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive (Members First Weekend is October 4-6; opens to the public October 7). Artist Nathan Sawaya has transformed LEGO® bricks into original sculptures as well as imagined versions of Van Gogh's Starry Night, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and other masterpieces.
October 4-January 5, "Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect, Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France," Menil Drawing Institute, 1412 West Main (public opening 7-9 p.m. October 3). Get lost in the details of these wildly imaginative architectural drawings for projects that were never intended to be constructed, either due to political turmoil from the French Revolution or because they would have been impossible to build.
October 5-November 6, Kesha Bruce, "Songs for Survival," Nicole Longnecker Gallery, 3233 West 11th (artist reception 5-8 p.m. October 5). This inaugural exhibit in the gallery's new space at Alara Garage showcases Bruce's spirit-based works that call on guardians, African-American folklore and abstracted figures and symbols as reminders for change.
October 5, "Bringing It All Back Home: Toby Kamps Photographs," G Spot Contemporary Art Gallery, 310 East 9th (reception 6-8 p.m. Saturday). Toby Kamps, formerly of the Menil Collection, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Blaffer Museum — who hopped the pond for White Cube in London — is returning home after embracing digital photography and capturing the mysterious flow and accidental surrealism of contemporary life.
October 5-6, Pearland Art & Crafts on the Pavilion, Pearland Town Center, 11200 Broadway, Pearland (10 a.m-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). The Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau presents this free juried art show, with local artists selling abstract art, handcrafted jewelry, pottery and more.
October 5-31, Becky Soria, "Seeding, Blooming, Renewal," Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy (opening reception 5-8 p.m. October 5 with an artist talk at 6:30 p.m.). Mother Nature is at the center of these new works by Becky Soria, who in the past researched the relationship between plants and the organic dimension of the human body. Her background in nursing and medical sciences also is apparent in these feminine, biological paintings.
October 5, Book talk and signing for The Art of Texas: 250 Years with editor Ron Tyler, Foltz Fine Art, 2143 Westheimer (2-5 p.m. Saturday). With 450 pages, this joint project of the Center for Texas Studies at TCU and TCU Press is a visual feast for the eyes with images of bluebonnets, cacti and cowboys — natch — but also more surprising finds including "Vanishing Edge" by Jesús Moroles, “Queen of the Sea” by Pompeo Coppini, and an exploration of early cave paintings in the Seminole Canyon.
October 5-29, Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak, "You Don't Say!," Redbud Gallery, 303 East 11th (opening reception 6-9 p.m. October 5). On the political battlefield, it's sometimes a mystery how the left and right can view the same incident and come to such opposite conclusions. Bodnar-Balahutrak has examined the nature of print media, and how its narratives can be manipulated, disguised and hidden, and transforms those ideas into collages that blend both imagery and disparate words. She was forever changed by what she saw during a 1996 visit to the Chernobyl site in Ukraine and, in previous exhibits, wasn't afraid to poke the bear.
October 5, Moonlight at the Moody, Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, 6100 Main (7-9 p.m. Saturday). For those who missed the opening of "Moon Shot," this inspired evening showcases those iconic objects that were inspired by man's exploration of the moon, along with film screenings, star gazing with telescopes, talks by experts, games and music. Bring cash for the bar and noshables from Moon Rooster and Dippin' Dots food trucks.
October 8, Line and Frame photography workshop, Discovery Green, Morgan Reading Room, 1500 McKinney (6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday). The pros at Houston Center for Photography lead this class on innovative ways to frame a photograph, and in response to formal elements found in Michael Craig-Martin’s "The Shape of Things."
October 10-13, Texas Contemporary, George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas (ticketed preview night is 6-10 p.m. Thursday, ticketed public fair hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday). Art Market Productions returns with 70 exhibiting galleries from around the country as well as Edinburgh, Estonia, Seoul, Paris, Venezuela, Buenos Aires, Italy, Moscow and London. Local faves setting up here include 14 Pews, Anya Tish, Arcadia Contemporary, Archway, Carol Piper Rugs, Foltz Fine Art, Gallery Homeland, Jack Rabbit, Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art, and shop.
October 11 and beyond, "Mobius Houston," University of Houston Arts District, Wilhelmina's Grove, adjacent to Moore's School of Music, 333 Cullen Boulevard (reservations requested for the public art studio 1-4 p.m. October 12). The UH System is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Public Art of the University of Houston System this year, and they're putting the finishing touches on the inaugural temporary installation. "Mobius Houston" is a much larger version of artist Marta Chilindrón's smaller 2013 "Mobius" series and the bi-color, acrylic sculpture will resemble stained glass as the sun and clouds reflect its colors.
October 11, Carya String Quartet, Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy (7 p.m. Friday). Enjoy string music against the backdrop of Becky Soria's "Seeding, Blooming, Renewal" exhibition.
October 11-13, stARTup Art Fair Houston, Hotel ICON, 220 Main (6-10 p.m. Friday, noon-9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday). It's an interesting concept for stARTup, an art company that produces hotel art fairs in San Francisco, Los Angeles and now Houston. More than 40 emerging artists will transform hotel rooms into individual exhibition spaces, giving curators a first look at these up-and-coming talents.
October 12-February 16, "Round 50: Race, Health and Motherhood," Project Row Houses, 2521 Holman (opening reception 3-7 p.m. October 12, with artists' talks at 3 p.m.). The latest round explores how artists, healthcare professionals, practitioners and philanthropy are responding to the mortality rate of black women before or during childbirth, as well as how the issue affects the Third Ward and other area neighborhoods.
October 12-13, Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, 901 Bagby (10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). This year's featured artist is Clifton Henri, an award-winning photographer and visual artist from Chicago who has been influenced by the Civil Rights Movement and the Harlem Renaissance eras. His Wings photograph is dedicated to courageous women and fearless girls — with hopes they will shine like they were meant to — and the title was inspired by the classic Michael Jordan poster. Presented by the nonprofit Art Colony Association, Inc., the organization provides financial support to eight local nonprofits.
October 12, Saleri Studio Saturday, Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building (1-4 p.m. Saturday). Enjoy guided tours in the last week of "Amie Siegel: Medium Cool" and then try your hand at art making in an exploration of the memories contained in materials and objects. Don't be afraid to get a little paint on your clothes.
October 12-December 21, Dorothy Hood, "Illuminated Earth," McClain Gallery, 2242 Richmond Avenue (opening reception 2-4 p.m. October 12). View the late artist's physical and metaphorical landscapes in this solo exhibition that showcases her use of color, geometric forms and spatial depth. With paintings from her time in Mexico and her return to Texas, as well as early abstractions from the 1940s and 1950s, McClain Gallery has rounded out the exhibition with personal correspondence, photos and writings.
October 16-December 6, Viviana Tagar, "Jerusalem: Art and Mystery," Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 South Braeswood. Photographer and architectural journalist Viviana Tagar artistically depicts daily life in the capital for the people of the three monotheistic religions.
October 17-November 10, Día de los Muertos Exhibit of Personal Altars/Ofrendas, Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery, 241 West 19th (Día de los Muertos procession and exhibit reception, 5-8 p.m. October 26). Proprietors Macario and Chrissie Ramirez have been hosting classes about how to build personal altars, and will have others on display. Come write the name of your deceased loved one on a sheet of paper and add their name to the community altar.
October 18-January 5, "Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement," Holocaust Museum Houston, Lester and Sue Smith Campus, 5401 Caroline. Lyon documented the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 and 1964 and took photographs that were oftentimes brutal but that sometimes captured prayerful moments. The Brooklyn native went on to become a giant of post-War documentary photography and film.
October 19-March 14, "Paul Mpagi Sepuya," Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building (opening reception 5-8 p.m. October 19 with remarks at 6 p.m.). Discard everything you thought you knew about portraiture with Sepuya's first major museum survey — made over the past 13 years with deconstructed photographs of himself, friends, artists and collaborators — all from the perspective of the black, queer gaze.
October 19-January 4, "Jacqueline Nova: Creación de la Tierra (Creation of the Earth)," Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building (opening reception 5-8 p.m. October 19 with remarks at 6:30 p.m.). Rarely seen, or rather heard, this 1972 altered sound recording will be presented as an immersive sound installation. Nova (1935-1975) was a pioneering figure of electroacoustic music in Colombia and this recording transformed creation story chants by the indigenous U’wa peoples and blurred the lines between noise and the human voice.
October 19, New Art/New Music, Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, 6100 Main (3-5 p.m. Saturday). In response to the gallery exhibition "Moon Shot," composers from the Shepherd School of Music will premiere new works.
October 19-November 27, Dornith Doherty, "Atlas of the Invisible," Moody Gallery, 2815 Colquitt (artist reception 5-7 p.m. October 19 with artist talk at 5 p.m.). Dornith Doherty, a 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, borrows from the natural world with her lenticular prints that examine seedlings and corn husks at a microscopic level. She pairs those colorful prints with ethereal monochromatic botanicals, sometimes framed as a kaleidoscopic image, and in other instances repeated as patterns.
October 19-February 29, El Franco Lee II, "Lee's Congo Barre," Mystic Lyon, 5017 Lyons Avenue (opening reception 6-9 p.m. October 19). Legendary painter El Franco Lee II is mixing in a few classics along with newly created works in this rotating window exhibition that references the Fifth Ward, his late father (Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee), and his grandmother's business, from where the show's title gets its name.
October 19-November 29, Michael Schultheis and Nicola Parente, "Untangling the Chaos," Laura Rathe Fine Art, 2707 Colquitt (gallery reception and artists' talk 6-9 p.m. October 19). LRFA has paired well in this joint exhibition that explores Parente's interplay between fluid and static elements in an urban-inspired gestural fluidity, while Seattle-based Schultheis uses mathematical mark making to create mindscapes that transport the eye in what he calls "analytical expressionism."
October 20, Joy and Art, Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy (6 p.m. Sunday). Enjoy chamber music by La Speranza, sweet and savory treats, and a silent auction against the backdrop of Becky Soria's "Seeding, Blooming, Renewal" exhibition in this ticketed fundraiser for La Speranza.
October 20-January 12, "Monet to Picasso: A Very Private Collection," Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Audrey Jones Beck Building, 5601 Main (tickets required for opening day lecture from 3-4 p.m. October 20). The MFAH offers a rare opportunity to view works from this collection that have never been presented publicly in their entirety. It includes pieces by pivotal artists from the late 19th through the mid 20th centuries, including Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Members and Patron-Plus Members events are scheduled on October 18 and 19.
October 20-January 12, "Berthe Morisot: Impressionist Original," Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Audrey Jones Beck Building, 5601 Main (gallery tours are scheduled on November 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27). This exhibition offers a rare look at the life of French women in the late 19th century, including domestic work, fashion and the intimacy of contemporary bourgeois living and leisure activities. While this is a traveling exhibition, the Houston stop includes the addition of four works in Houston collections that won't be seen elsewhere. Members and Patron-Plus Members events are scheduled on October 18 and 19.
October 25-27, Art @ Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney (6-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday). More than 70 artists sell their work at this juried art festival that spreads out along Avenida de las Americas and Maconda's Grove in Discovery Green. Friday night's preview is held in conjunction with Scream on the Green®, a Houston holiday tradition with a costume contest, living statues, fortune tellers, candy, prizes and interactive games.
October 25, "Día de los Muertos" group art show, Talento Bilingüe de Houston, 333 South Jensen (6-9 p.m. Friday). East End Studio Gallery presents this one night show that draws from the best of Latin culture, presented as part of Talento Bilingüe de Houston's three day Día de los Muertos Fall Festival.
October 25-November 8, "Retablos32," Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts, 1900 Kane (exhibition opening and blessing of the altars on October 25). Artists create original retablos that celebrate the tradition of devotional painting, organized in collaboration with Lawndale Art Center; the exhibit closes with a silent auction on November 8. Theresa Escobedo is the curator.
October 25-November 30, Johan Barrios, "Monólogo," Anya Tish Gallery, 4411 Montrose Boulevard (artist reception 6-8:30 p.m. October 25). For this second solo exhibition with Anya Tish Gallery, the Houston-based Colombian artist — who often uses himself as a model — explores identity and the paradoxical dimensions of self. The resulting paintings are both surreal and cinematic as well as haunting and unsettling, sometimes bordering on trompe l’oeil illusion.
October 25-January 10, Mie Olise Kjærgaard, "Ambiguous Aggregations," Barbara Davis Gallery, 4411 Montrose Boulevard. The artist opens her sixth solo exhibition with the gallery this month, presenting large scale paintings, sculptural objects and installations that explore dystopic settings through manmade architectural constructions.
October 25, "Solos and Encounters" by Shih-Hui Chen and Kurt Stallmann, James Turrell's "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace at the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, Rice University, 6100 Main (7:30 p.m. Friday). Chinese sheng virtuoso Wu Wei and contrabassist Shawn Conley will perform "Solos and Encounters" at the Skyspace.
October 27-January 20, "Beatriz González: A Retrospective," Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet (gallery tours are scheduled from 2-2:45 p.m. on December 5-7, 12-14, 19-21 and 26-28). Even if you were unfamiliar with Colombian artist Beatriz González's work before, that will all change after viewing more than 100 works created over six decades. From two-dimensional paintings, drawings, silkscreen prints and curtains, to three-dimensional objects (recycled furniture and everybody objects), the show draws from her personal collection as well as public and private collections in Colombia, Europe and the U.S. Members and Patron-Plus Members events are scheduled on November 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.
October 26, Annual Art Fair, Watercolor Art Society-Houston, 1601 West Alabama (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday). Members of WAS-H display and sell their work during this outdoor event with food vendors and demonstrations.
Out of Town
October 3-December 22, "Fascinating Rhythm: Art Quilts by Katie Pasquini Masopust," Texas Quilt Museum, 140 West Colorado, La Grange (lecture and gallery walk at 3 p.m. October 5). This major retrospective features 32 quilts that reflect the artist's love of nature and florals.
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October 3-December 22, "Mama's Got the Blues," Texas Quilt Museum Texas Quilt Museum, 140 West Colorado, La Grange. View 22 blue and white quilts, originally collected by Merry Silber (mother of noted antique quilt collector and dealer Julie Silber). The exhibit was guest curated by Vicki Mangum, the museum's registrar and exhibit designer.
October 12-January 5, Gerardo Rosales, "Undercover," Galveston Arts Center, 2127 Strand, Galveston (opening reception 6-9 p.m. October 12 with an artist talk at 6:30 p.m.). Rosales looks at the immigration crisis, identifying how these families who fled Latin America in hopes of a better life in the United States instead have found more of the same. Through a blending of folk art and geometric abstraction, he mixes conflict with playfulness and exaggerates reality with irony.
October 19-March 22, "Origins: Fossils From the Cradle of Humankind," Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 North Field Street, Dallas. The Perot Museum, in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the National Geographic Society, have announced that fossils of two recently discovered ancient human relatives (Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi) will come to the U.S. from South Africa for the first time. Interactive exhibits will allow visitors the opportunity to explore our shared human history.
October 19-20, 22nd Annual ARToberFEST, Postoffice Street, between 20th and 23rd Streets, Galveston. Presented by The Grand 1894 Opera House, this year's event celebrates the life of the late artist Jeff Hamachek. A longtime participant in ARToberFEST, his oil paintings captured his love for Galveston Island, including the beach, people history and spirit.