The must-see shows Jesse Lott: "The Urban Frontier" and Javier de Villota: "DeHumanization Echo" close this Sunday at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art. Lott and de Villota, both based in Houston, share not so much a style as a purpose -- to express a belief in humanism.
Lott's "Urban Frontier," all graceful wires and found wood shaped into animals, women and Christ figures, is a jarring juxtaposition to de Villota's "DeHumanization Echo," chaotic, graphic depictions of violence. The stand-out piece is de Villota's El Mercado de la Muerte, a reaction to the 1994 massacre in Sarajevo. de Villota originally exhibited the piece in Madrid ten days after the killing, not in a museum but on the streets of the city in what Houston Press art critic Kelly Klaasmeyer called "an in-your-face gesture of concern and outrage."
The recreated tableau is gruesome, mutilated dead bodies and body parts are strewn on the floor and blood is shown dripping off the walls. This isn't "pretty" art, but it's worth the trip across Main Street to see it before it closes. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Station Museum of Contemporary Art, 1502 Alabama. For information, call 713-529-6900 or visit www.stationmuseum.com.
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Also closing this Sunday is "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. A rare opportunity to see 4,500 years of Afghani art, "Hidden Treasures" includes items from 2,000-year-old cache of priceless art and artifacts that was discovered in 1978. The treasure was kept hidden for 25 years by Afghans who risked their lives trying to protect the items from Soviet soldiers and Taliban extremists. On display are bronze and stone sculptures, Persian jewelry, gold vases and plaster reliefs. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org.