Let’s forget about gas prices and plan a road trip — even better, an art-show road trip. Your team of roaming art lovers has selected some of the best shows across Texas for your viewing pleasure. Pick up the digital camera, a few extra dollars for admission, snacks for the drive, your gas card, and hit the trail. These shows won’t be up all summer, so plan accordingly.
How Artists Draw
There are still two weeks left to travel to Houston and catch How Artists Draw at The Menil Collection, featuring work from the museum’s century-plus collection of modernist drawings. The exhibit also marks the debut of The Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center.
In the hallway outside of the galleries is a floor-to-ceiling drawing created by Sol LeWitt, “Wall Drawing 1255: Scribble Drawing 11, 2005/2007.” The giant columns were drawn on the walls in January by a team of artists per LeWitt’s specifications. Catching a glimpse of this upon entering, and then turning to begin with Picasso and Seurat, I expected a tour of drawings in the most literal terms. Black-and-white; pens, pencils and crayons on papers and walls; lines for days! I was terribly excited and totally wrong, but not in the least bit disappointed. The show consists of simple sketches, collages, complete compositions in many flat media, as well as 3-D models, sculptures — just about everything but video. The LeWitt drawing is clearly meant to be viewed as you exit after passing through the space defined by Richard Serra’s “Wedge, 2008.” These very contemporary and giant installation drawings make a perfect circle for the media and timeline.
The works by Rothko looked just like his paintings to me, and the small room of Jasper John’s works are the highlight. There are examples of drawings in all stages of his creative process. It is a reflection of the entire show in a singular idiom, totally making up for the excessive Cy Twomblys.
You just can’t appreciate Twombly’s work in confined spaces, but you can cross the street and see his work as you should while you are at The
While in town, you can also check out another exploration of drawing as both medium and practice in the new exhibition opening at Lawndale Art Center (where I worked until recently) on May 9, Drawing In Space, curated by J Hill.
Through May 18, The Menil Collection,
1515 Sul Ross, Houston, (713) 525-9400,
— Mat Wolff
Works by Martin Puryear
From one Modern to another — the Martin Puryear exhibition running through May 18 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth came straight from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where I was lucky enough to see it before Christmas. (Later this year, it travels to Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.) The trip from SA to FW is quite a hike, but it’s justified for a look at a body of work that, more than most others, demands to be seen all in one place.
A sculptor whose hard-to-classify pieces draw on traditions of craftsmanship from around the world, Puryear is a D.C. native whose unusual childhood obsessions made him highly conscious of the way things were put together: “If I became interested in archery,” he says, “I made the bows and arrows.” In the ’60s, he taught for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, where he was able to observe ancient weaving, carving, and dyeing techniques firsthand.
While some of the sculptures Puryear went on to create would not look too out of place in a show of modern Western sculpture — “Timber’s Turn,” for instance, with its skewed collision of clean geometric forms — most feel more connected to utilitarian or ritualistic objects — baskets, traps, plows, vessels for storage of mysterious substances — that have grown in size and strangeness.
Puryear’s works can be jaw-droppingly impressive in their construction, like the turn-of-the-millennium “Brunhilde,” a delicate undulation of cedar strips; deceptively crude, like the tar-covered wire mesh of “Dowager”; or hauntingly symbolic, like “Ladder for Booker T. Washington,” a crooked structure that recedes three- dozen feet into the air, shrinking as it goes so it appears infinite.
“Ladder,” which is owned by the Fort Worth Modern, is more sublime there than it was at MoMA. See it now, while its brothers and sisters are around to help make sense of it.
Through May 18, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth,
3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth, (817) 738-9215,
The Language of Prints
As a first-time visitor to the Blanton I was thoroughly impressed with The Language of Prints exhibition, a vital collection of works for “seasoned connoisseurs” and amateur art enthusiasts. It follows the process of prints — principles, techniques, and media — and delves into each process with examples of preparation, impression, screen printing, and more. It is an easy-to-understand journey into the method behind each piece. Whether you’re an art major or a viewer interested in the language of prints, you’ll gain insight through the works displayed.
There were far too many samples to pick personal favorites, so I focused my gaze on quintessential print examples. Rufino Tamayo’s “Ombre y Mujer,” a model of masterful technique, is a woodcut that uses negative space to its advantage, unlike the other pieces displayed in this category. Tamayo’s style is typical of Mexican art, but demonstrates an aspect that patrons may not be accustomed to in its Native American feel.
Andy Warhol (of course) is featured (“Onion Soup”) in the screen-printing area along with a cubist composition by Albert Gleizes. His “Madonna and Child” is a gorgeous work that vaguely resembles a traditional depiction with heavy peach tones, and
sporadic bold dashes of color.
The Language of Prints is culled from the Blanton’s own collection and features 100 works from the 15th century to present day. Also worth noting are the number of reputable works featured in the museum’s collection — I recommend strolling upstairs to check out Cildo Meireles’s “Missão/Missões `How to Build Cathedrals`,” which is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Through August 17, Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, 200 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
Austin, (512) 471-7324, blantonmuseum.org
— Jennifer Herrera
On the road again
Got more time to spare? Check out some of these smaller Texas art galleries to feed your art hunger for the weekend.
Step Right Up
Unlike Austin Powers we’re not afraid of circus folk; in fact, we’re pretty excited about Webb Gallery’s vintage carnival banners exhibition.
Through June 1
209-211 W. Franklin
Frank X. Tolbert2
Meditations on Mortality
Texan artist Frank X. Tolbert bases his art on the “absurdities of life on Earth.” His exhibition features 16 life-size
portraits of family and friends, including one self-portrait.
Through July 13
Art Museum of Southeast Texas
500 Main Street
The Chicano Collection/
La Coleccion Chicana
Cheech Marin ditches his stash of grass as he presents this exhibition of 26 limited-edition reproductions of works by Chicano artists, including Artemio Rodriguez and others.
Through July 27
El Paso Museum of Art
One Arts Festival Plaza