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Exhibitionism: Eye Candy for the Soul

Exhibitionism: Eye Candy for the Soul
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by Megan McIlwain with Harbeer Sandhu

With the Houston Cinema Arts Festival going on, it’s a big weekend for the moving image, but here are some of our pics for art events you might want to check out. (And a few more Cinema Arts plugs, too.)


Thursday — Film and Theater

Shunya Theater’s “Bhopal”

First up, this Thursday through Sunday the 23rd, South-Asian-centric Shunya Theater presents Bhopal, a play written by Rahul Verma and directed by diane webb, about the tragic events of December 2-3, 1984 in Bhopal, India. If you want a little background on the criminal negligence that led to this horrible industrial disaster, read this FPH article about UH’s new stadium.


Through a Lens Darkly at the El Dorado Ballroom

Also on Thursday, the Cinema Arts Festival is teaming up with Project Row Houses to show  “Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.” This documentary about representations of African Americans (by other and by themselves) sold out every screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York earlier this year. It’s at the historic El Dorado Ballroom tonight, and after the screening, Digital Diaspora Family Reunion will be showing photographs from local photographers and attendees are encourage to bring their own family photos. (Look forward to a write-up on this event from one of our new contributors, too.)



Friday — Art League Houston, Isabella Court and East End Studio Gallery


Art League Houston

Head out to Art League Houston’s Sculpture Garden to see Jason Villegas’ Mineral Spirit, a spirit-like character breaking through the brick patio, surfacing from the ground with the artists’ inspiration of string theory and spiritual vibrations. The opening reception is from 6-9pm and will feature an artist talk at 7:30 explaining how science and spirituality can coincide and develop together.

AFRIKA GALAKTIKA by Rajni Perera features a large-scale mural exhibition at Art League Houston. The visual language of Indian miniaturist art, Blaxploitation, and the images produced by the Hubble Deep Field Telescope influences the series of paintings. The opening reception is from 6-9 and you definitely want to hear the artist speak in depth about the mural at 7pm.

Robert Hodge and Phillip Pyle the Second: The Back Guys will perform an experiment-based exhibition at Art League Houston. Inspired by the Art Guys — Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing (the two who walked the longest street in Houston) — the artists will recreate five of their performances: Try to Cry!, Dish it Out!, Stop N Go!, Huh?!, and The Art Guys agree on a Painting. They will also feature five original performances. The opening reception is from 6-9pm with an artist talk at 6:30.


Isabella Court

There’s openings at two of the four Isabella Court galleries this Friday. Devin Borden Gallery will be showing Dallas-based Darryl Lauster’s drawings and sculpture spawned by the relationship of his personal life’s story to broader historical references — the way our individual lives unfold agains the backdrop of history and even geological time. Lauster’s work is found in public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

An oil rig in a bottle, by Darryl Lauster.

An oil rig in a bottle, by Darryl Lauster.


A couple doors down, David Shelton Gallery is hosting an opening reception for Michael Velliquette‘s Serpent Worship, a series dimensional cut paper constructions. “His distinctive works are densely layered, detailed arrangements of cut out shapes from hand-painted and ink-blotted papers,” says the press release, but if you ask me, this looks like a beautiful series that might best be described as your grandma’s doilies on steroids and crack…no, wait, they’re too delicate and pretty for that, let’s say grandma’s doilies on acid. Holy moly!


East End Studio Gallery

The Steampunk opening at East End Studio Gallery is sure to offer you a night of a grungy, antique look at the American Wild West meshed with the British Victorian setting from the 1800s. In this group exhibit, artists will interpret this sub-genre echoing the use of materials such as brass, copper, and steam. Guest participation is greatly encouraged, so bust out your high leather boots, straight coats, corsets, and goggles; let’s party like it’s 1899. A two-night event, this Friday and next from 6-9pm.


Friday Morning Lecture

Placemaking is both a process and a philosophy; it inspires people to create and improve their public space while strengthening the connection between people and the places they share. Join this significant conversation between Jonathon Glus, President and CEO of Houston Arts Alliance and Jamie Bennett, Executive Director of ArtPlace America for What it Really Takes for Art to Drive Placemaking at University of Houston Center Theater to explore the nature of placemaking and how art and culture work together to transform a public place.

If you’re feeling like a masochist and don’t have a job, drag your unemployed behind out of bed early Friday morning and brave the cold for what’s sure to be another dumb and superficial waste of hotel tax receipts by Houston Arts Alliance. [Ed note: This last sentence is Herb’s opinion and not necessarily that of Megan McIlwain, who is probably too nice to be so blunt.]


Saturday — Parades, Promenades, and Films at the Sundance

If hotrods and low riders are your thing or you just love parades and/or the East End, check out the parade being organized by Houston Arts Alliance as part of their ongoing Transported + Renewed series. It starts at 11 am and will be going down York & Sampson Streets (aka Scott St) between Preston and Navigation.

Houston Film Commission’s Texas Filmmaker’s Showcase puts together a collection of short films made in Texas as part of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival. The screening of six short films will be at Sundance Cinemas Houston. Check out the lineup - short and sweet.

Another film at the Sundance, also part of the Cinema Arts Festival, this one in conjunction with UH’s Blaffer Gallery, is Ken Jacobs’s experimental film shot during Occupy Wall Street called Blankets for Indians. “Jacobs asks us to forge a relationship between the aesthetic and the sociopolitical, to knock down the police barriers in our minds,” says the promotional material. Sounds good to me.

The 18th Annual Art on the Avenue features the work of 250 local artists who donate a portion of silent auction proceeds to Avenue CDC, an organization dedicated to revitalizing Houston’s Northside community and improving the lives of low and moderate income families. Join the auction and party at Winter Street Studios from 6-10pm.

Stay warm!