It’s been a turbulent month in HOUSTON so far, but there’s a lot of redemption and peace to be found in the arts. In between film screenings, programs, and events for the 2021 Houston Cinema Arts Festival, here’s a roundup of exhibitions to visit before November comes to a close.
2021 Fellowship: Aaron Turner and Yue Nakayama
The Houston Center for Photography presents work by their 2021-2022 fellows: Arkansas-based photographer Aaron Turner and Yue Nakayama, a Houston-based artist and filmmaker. Turner will exhibit his series Black Alchemy, where he manipulates archival images of figures in history, from Frederick Douglass to Martin Luther King Jr., and brings to life Fred Moten’s theories on the metaphysics of Blackness. Using documentary film and video techniques, Nakayama’s work critiques issues of capitalism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism, and her recent video Recycled Air (2020) will be on view.
Jesse Lott: Sense of Spirit and Bert L. Long Jr.: The Strength is from Within
Two exhibitions spotlight the work of Houston artists and longtime friends Jesse Lott and Bert L. Long Jr. Each presentation features a sweep of paintings, sculptures and drawings. Born in Houston’s 5th Ward, Lott has spent the past 50 years using urban materials, like metal, and paper and wood, to make art that blends the mythic with the everyday. Similarly, Long's 33-year practice has centered his work’s ability to speak truth to power and advocate for change in America’s social climate. Both exhibitions display the breadth of each artist’s robust career and legacy.
Altamira: The Primal Urge to Create
Last month, the Sculpture Month Houston Festival launched its fifth annual sculpture and installation presentation entitled Altamira: The Primal Urge to Create. The exhibition is inspired by a cave in Northern Spain where the origin of art traces back to prehistoric paintings. The 16 featured artists were prompted to create from the perspective of a cave artist exploring their curiosity about human existence and the human experience.
A major conversation across time and place is happening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Calder-Picasso, a presentation of work by American artist, Alexander Calder (1898-1976), and Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). The exhibition was conceived by both Calder’s and Picasso’s grandsons and highlights the aesthetic and historical parallels between two of the 20th Century’s most prominent artists.