Art Notes

Houston Art News for December 2013

Catherine D. Anspon  |  Photos by James Tissot’s "Chrysanthemums," circa 1874–76, at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Photo Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA., Felice House’s "Krimmie Wayne," 2013 and (sculpture) Dana Younger’s "The Bison," 2013, at G Gallery
January 21, 2014

Terrific 10: The season goes out with a blast. Robert Pruitt, Houston Fine Art Fair Artist of the Year, solos at Hooks-Epstein Galleries — expect more of the Whitney Biennial talent’s Afro Futurism, including extraordinary drawings of those in his universe (December 7 – January 11) … Moody Gallery introduces Ellen Tanner’s minutely scaled paintings, which take Aesop’s Fables as their point of departure (December 7 – January 11) … More Texans on the town: G Gallery’s painter Felice House and sculptor Dana Younger; curator Diane Barber pairs them in a parody of the Old West titled “Re-Western” (December 7 – 29) … The standard-bearer of Latin American modernism, Sicardi Gallery, presents Marco Maggi and Liliana Porter, including the latter’s nuanced conceptual self-portraits from the early 1970s (through December 19) … Art Palace’s solo for Raychael Stine has been luring collectors aplenty, including Lester Marks and Leigh and Reggie Smith, for Stine’s gestural painting based on abstract figuration, all inspired by her late pet dachshund (through December 21) .… There’s new life at Esperson Gallery (Mellie Esperson Building), as PR maven Tammy Dowe teams with co-curator Tra Slaughter to present fresh shows; upcoming PC Acquire talent Kelley Devine mines literature as media for her striking portraits (December 6 – January 10), while NYC-based forensic scientist/artist Jen Hannaford works with fingerprints and police-blotter paper to create images of historical figures who got booked, from Lenny Bruce to Rosa Parks (through January 10) … Under-the-radar Houston artist Troy Stanley is a shapeshifter whose latest, “concrete-spring” at Barbara Davis Gallery, displays strange, albeit compelling, effects with surprising substances, from obsessively coiled cardboard to crocheted tablecloths (December 13 – January 31).

Bauble Blast: At Sharon Engelstein’s bungalow-as-white cube, Front Gallery, “Trim” features trunk shows (Saturday, December 7, 4 to 6 pm) for some of Engelstein’s bauble-making pals, including Floridian Dena Bagon’s Victorian and Georgian-era charms tweaked for the new century (December 7 – January 4).

Outside the Box: Join lensman Brent Bruni Comiskey and yours truly, curators, for “The Calavera Collection” a nifty show and sale by the students of HISD’s Wharton Academy Wednesday, December 11, 4 to 7 pm, at Radical Eats. Everyone needs a sugar skull art piece for the holidays ( … Photog Debbie Porter takes up illustration, and we’re won over by her charming Phebe volume; acquire a signed edition at Nicole Longnecker Gallery Thursday, December 12, 6 to 8 pm; proceeds benefit ArtBridge … I’ve been a fan of reporter Abby Koenig ever since she covered my dad’s show, “Plastic Fantastic,” last year. Who knew she was an artist, adroit at multimedia and storytelling? Make tracks to Koenig’s poignant performance and installation, “The Jew Who Loves Christmas,” organized by Fresh Arts at Winter Street (Friday, December 6, 7 pm performance; exhibition through January 3).

Window Gazing: The Main Street Window Project rolls out its latest: a holiday trilogy by McKay Otto, Sharon Kopriva and Sherry Owens. The big reveal is Thursday, December 5, followed by a lively holiday market Sunday, December 8. Look for the Continental Club and shop art; also check out The Place Upstairs, a creepy charming boite for the fabulous.

Best Gift: Tickets to the splendors of one of America’s mythic French painting collections. Touring to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, are 73 canvases by dazzling players — Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet, Morisot, Pissarro, Bonnard and more, plus some underknowns — from the age of Impressionism, culled by discerning collectors Sterling and Francine Clark. From 1910 to 1950, the couple assembled a magnificent cache that could never be duplicated, creating their own eponymous collection in a museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts. While the Clark gets an expansion by Tadao Ando, its treasures are traveling; the MFAH is the 10th and final stop of a three-year schedule, Milan to Shanghai (December 22 – March 23).

See you in ’14. It’s going to be a rocking year for art.