5 Art Exhibits and Performances in Houston to See This Weekend

The good news is that there’s a lot of art in Houston right now. The bad news is that it won’t last forever. Most stimulating works created by Texas-based or visiting artists have an expiration date. All the more reason to get outside and get inspired while you can – and the weather is nice.

Here are five current exhibitions and performances that should be at the top of your must-see list. Some are free, others require a plane ticket, and they are all worth a long visit.

‘Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Houston

“Borderwalk / This Thin Edge of Barbed Wire,” left, and “Was the Beautiful Woman in the Mirror of the Water You or Me?” on the right, artwork by Troy Montes Michie. They are part of the early career exhibition titled “Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye”, on display at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.

Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle/Team Photographer

Troy Montes Michie is originally from El Paso, an artist and a bit of a standard bearer. Specifically, he likes a zoot suit. His first solo exhibition, “Rock of Eye”, at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, is a tribute to sculpture, collage, painting and drawing.

The notion of how clothing can mark a body inspired the work of Montes Michie, who got her start at the Californian African-American Museum in collaboration with the Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, before coming to CAMH. Her fascination with fashion considers how society perceives certain groups by what they wear. And how, for queer men or men of color, a zoot suit can mean the difference between invisibility and hyper-visibility.

In “Rock of Eye”, the lines perform two functions. Architecturally, they bend to create structure and wearable art. Chandeliers throughout the exhibit and Vogue sewing patterns under visitors’ feet illustrate boundaries and boundaries – you have to cross them to get the full picture.

5216 Montrose; camh.org, 713-284-8250

‘Urban Impressions: Discovering the Contemporary Global Metropolis’ at Rice University Moody Center for the Arts

“Metaphysical Reclamation: The Metropolis Project, 2022” by artist Mary Flanagan is part of the exhibition “Urban Impressions: Experiencing the Global Contemporary Metropolis” at Rice University in Houston. The exhibition addresses the complexities of urban life.

Yi-Chin Lee / Staff Photographer

What does it mean to live in a city today? That’s the question Frauke V. Josenhans, curator of the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, challenged 15 artists to answer with “Urban Impressions: Experiencing the Global Contemporary Metropolis,” an exhibition to see until mid-December.

New media artist Mary Flanagan has looked beyond the here and now to reflect on what the next 50, 100, or 200 years will be like. “Metaphysical Reclamations: The Metropolis Project” (2022) is a time-based media installation that uses two video projectors, two screens and oil on canvas to illustrate an AI-generated future.

“Maybe AI is a better imaginer,” Flanagan said. “I wanted to use AI to imagine a future city and imagine a sustainable future.”

She has rendered over 100,000 images using Google Mesh. They flash in rapid succession next to a student’s response to their installation; at one point, a SpongeBob SquarePants sequence appears next to Shanghai covered in vines. “I’m skeptical of utopia, but I’m not a dystopian thinker,” Flanagan said.

6100 main; moody.rice.edu

‘Samuel Fosso: African Spirits’ at Menil Collection


The “Martin Luther King Jr.” photograph of the exhibition “Samuel Fosso: African Spirits” is presented at the Menil Collection. In the series, Fosso reinvented themselves as prominent figures in the 20th century black liberation movements.

Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

An exhibition inside the Ménil by Cameroonian photographer Samuel Fosso elevates the selfie to the rank of art. In “African Spirits”, the artist reinvents themselves as prominent leaders of black liberation movements during the 20th century.

The series of 14 gelatin silver prints are on display at the museum until January 15, 2023 in conjunction with FotoFest 2022. Fosso’s self-portraits capture more than the person, however significant that person may be. They mark the time of a certain transcendence.

There are 13 topics in total — Martin Luther King Jr. appears twice. Others include Muhammad Ali, Angela Davis, Miles Davis, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Tommie Smith, Aimé Césaire, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Haile Selassie and Leopold Sedar Senghor. Collectively, the images connect the struggle for social justice and civil rights in America and Africa.

“These were life-transforming moments when (the subjects) became what we know them now,” says Paul R. Davis, curator of Menil’s collections.

1533 Sul Ross; menil.org

‘Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson’ on Stages

The life of former Houston Ballet principal dancer Lauren Anderson is explored in Deborah Mouton's

The life of former Houston Ballet principal dancer Lauren Anderson is explored in Deborah Mouton’s “Plumshuga.”

Marie D. De Jesús/Staff Photographer

Stages’ new work, “Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson” written by Deborah DEEP Mouton and co-directed by Mouton and Eboni Bell Darcy, tells a pivotal story in Houston’s art landscape — and the world, for that matter. . It debuted on October 7 and will run until November 13.

“Plumshuga” is Anderson’s life beautifully told with spoken word, music and drama, spanning her childhood at Third Ward School through her rise as Principal Dancer of Houston Ballet. It is choreographed by Stanton Welch of Houston Ballet and Harrison Guy of Urban Souls Dance Company.

The production, which Mouton calls a “choreopoem”, is not watered down. Instead, it delves into Anderson’s tumultuous relationships, substance abuse, and self-esteem issues. It’s an uncomfortable story for those who dream of ballerina perfection.

Anderson’s story is about the humanity in all of us.

“I’m really grateful for the help that’s been given to me, and I’ve just started to realize a lot about myself. I know my story can help someone,” Anderson said.

800 Rosina; 713-527-0123; stageshouston.com

‘Angels Listening: An Interactive Cathartic Performance’ at the 2022 Venice Biennale (picture above)

The last time Alison de Lima Greene, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, remembers a Texas artist participating in the Biennale was in 1964. “Robert Rauschenberg, he absolutely stunned the world,” says Greene.

Before this year, women were much less present than men. The theme of the Biennale’s 59th International Art Exhibition is “The Milk of Dreams”, based on a book of the same name by surrealist author and painter Leonara Carrington, and curated by Cecilia Alemani. And two women received the Golden Lion in April: Sonia Boyce, Great Britain, for ‘Best National Entry’ and Simone Leigh, USA, for ‘Best International Show Entry’.

“Angels Listening” by Rachel Lee Hovnanian is a performative installation that is both meditative and immersive. Inside, guests walk among the seven large-scale angels whose mouths have been covered. Their marked silence encourages the viewer to contemplate their innermost thoughts without fear of judgment. Next, visitors approach from either side of a central confessional, take a ribbon, and are asked to write down something they think they can’t or can’t say. Anonymous messages are dropped into a box and then tied to exposed blankets in the adjacent lawn. The final stages involve ringing a wake-up bell and venturing out into the garden to reflect, where thousands of unspoken thoughts cover dozens of “listening blankets”.

“People should be able to say… anything,” Hovnanian says. “Art should evoke emotion, good and bad.”

Collateral event of the 2022 Art Biennale; angelslistening.net

William E. Bennett