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5 Museum District Exhibits You Shouldn't Miss This Summer

From a crocheted bridge to a 66 million-year-old T. rex to activist imagery, these exhibitions will help you beat the heat while also expanding your mind.

By Carolina Larracilla June 17, 2021

Brie Ruais: Movement at the Edge of the Land

It may not officially be summer in Houston until June 20, but the Texas heat has definitely arrived in all its miserable, sweaty glory. If you’re in need of fun away from the sun, look no further than our Museum District. From a crocheted bridge to a 66 million-year-old T. rex to political photographs, these exhibits are as impactful as they are interesting.

Ernesto Neto: SunForceOceanLife

With its hundreds of hand-woven colorful crocheted feet, SunForceOceanLife looks more like a kid’s jungle gym than a museum exhibit. It’s not a play structure, however, though you are required to take off your shoes. As one of Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s largest crochet works, this year’s entry into the MFAH’s annual summer immersive art series—complete with yellow, orange, and green netting and plastic ball maze—is sure to rival any of the world’s craziest suspension bridges. 

Thru Sep 26. From $20 (includes general admission). Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St.

Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power

For Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam, photography is a political tool. Not only that, it’s a powerful tool, too, as his Asia Society show illustrates. Covering four decades of Alam’s Time magazine-recognized career, the collection of 60 photographs captures moments of hardship in Bangladesh, while also highlighting the forces of change and the people who persist amidst unimaginable circumstances. A call to action, Truth to Power pushes people to not just understand the reality of the world’s majority, but to become forces of change themselves.

Thru July 11. Free. Asia Society Texas, 1370 Southmore Blvd. 713.496.9901 

Brie Ruais: Movement at the Edge of the Land

Walls aren’t enough for this Moody Center exhibition. In addition to the mounted ceramic sculptures, rock and gravel mounds, each holding ceramic art made with a body-weight’s worth of clay, erupt from the floor. Focusing on the body was paramount to Brie Ruais’s first institutional solo exhibition; the Brooklyn artist allowed the movements of her body to guide her sculpturing process instead of guiding her body through the movements. The result is a collection that appears to have movement of its own, giving the works a living quality that brings our own relationship with the Earth into focus.

Thru Aug 28. Free. Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, MS-480.

Victoria the T. rex

The other resident T. rexes at the Houston Museum of Natural Science have nothing on Victoria. This leading lady’s currently on tour as the world’s largest and most complete T. rex skeleton, and her stop for the summer is Houston. In addition to bringing you face-to-face with her formidable form (we’re talking a Texas-worthy 12 feet tall and 40 feet long, ya’ll), Victoria’s exhibit walks you through her life, showcasing her as a fighter, a hunter, and a mother, and theorizes what caused her death.  

Thru Sep 12. From $16 (included with general admission). Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. 713-639-4629.

Cauleen Smith: We Already Have What We Need

California-based artist Cauleen Smith sees her work, an experience of activism through art, light, and emotion, as a visualization for a better future. Drawing heavily from Afrofuturism, science fiction, and structural film, We Already Have What We Need harnesses varied creative mediums to rethink traditional representation and erasure. Because of this, her many sculptures, videos (a centerpiece in this Contemporary Arts Museum Houston show), and textiles seem experimentally hodge-podge, but each individual component comes together to convey a message of care as a means of combating injustice. 

July 15–Oct 3. Free. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose Blvd. 713.284.8250

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