The ongoing unpredictability of the pandemic notwithstanding, this year we are all out and about again over the holidays.
Looking beyond Sightlines’ Austin homebase, we picked museum exhibitions around the Lone Star State.
From Marfa to Fort Worth, Waco to Beaumont, here’s a dozen shows to see at Texas art museums large and small.
“Kate Breakey: Journey”
The Grace Museum, through Feb. 19, thegracemuseum.org
Kate Breakey’s hand-colored altered photographic images reveal a reverence for the beauty, wonder, and diversity of the natural world. An overview of Breakey’s oeuvre, this show is curated to be a circular visual poem with each image leading to the next and a corresponding text explaining the time and place of the trajectory of artist’s creative process.
“Bruce Lee Webb: Hootenanny”
Old Jail Art Center, Tthrough Jan. 29, theojac.org
Often drawing on book pages, bed linens, tarps, and musical scores, Bruce Lee Webb presents a new series of work inspired by Albany and the mysteries of West Texas.
“Francesca Fuchs: Serious and Slightly Funny Things”
Art Museum of Southeast Texas, amset.org
Houston-based artist Francesca Fuchs creates paintings and sculptures about artifacts from our daily lives: coffee mugs, thrift-store paintings, objects made by children or collected from her parents’ home. In paintings marked by subtle color and shadow, Fuchs dissolves the distinction between high and low, between personal and public, between what we feel and what we know.
“Carol Bove: Collage Sculptures”
Nasher Sculpture Center, through Jan. 9, nashersculpturecenter.org
By welding and bolting together different forms of steel, Carol Bove creates new possibilities with her collage sculptures. Riffing on the midcentury sculpture by male artists often found in plazas and other public spaces, Bove’s sculptures are marked by a subversive use of color, which often draws upon outdated print technologies, digital distortions, and the palettes of other artists.
“Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler: Flora”
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, through Jan. 9, themodern.org
Austin-based artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler premiered “Flora” in the Swiss Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. The double-sided film installation is based on Hubbard/Birchler’s discoveries about the unknown American artist Flora Mayo, with whom the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti had a love affair in Paris in the 1920s. While Giacometti is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, Mayo’s oeuvre has been destroyed and her biography relegated to a footnote. With “Flora” Hubbard/Birchler combine reconstruction, reenactment, and documentary into a hybrid form of storytelling, and bring Mayo’s compelling biography to life, reframing it through a feminist perspective.
“Turner’s Modern World”
Kimbell Art Museum, kimbellart.org
Organized by Tate Britain, this much-heralded exhibition positions Turner (1775-1851) as a passionate and engaged painter of life transformed by the Industrial Revolution. His vivid and dramatic compositions, give the impression of being wild and uncontrolled, but are masterly paintings of controlled brushwork. The show features more than 100 artworks culled from world collections.
“Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s”
Menil Collection, through Jan, 23, menil.org
The experimental and prolific work of French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002) is celebrated in this exhibition. Saint Phalle defied artistic conventions, creating artworks that were exuberantly feminist, performative, collaborative, and monumental. This show features two of Saint Phalle’s series: The “Tirs,” or “shooting paintings” — made by firing a rifle at paint-filled balloons — and the powerful “Nanas,” lively sculptures of the female form.
“The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse”
Contemporary Art Museum Houston, through Feb. 16, camh.org/event/dirty-south/
This expansive and critically-acclaimed show lands in Houston. Some 130 artworks from multi-generational group of artists working across a wide range of media — including sculpture, painting, film, photography, and sound — reveals how the aesthetic traditions of the African American South have shaped visual art and musical expression over the last 100 years.
“Georgie O’Keeffe: Photographer”
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, through Jan. 16, mfah.org
The first exhibition devoted to O’Keeffe’s work as a photographer features nearly 100 photographs from a newly examined archive and reveals O’Keeffe’s Modernist approach to the medium.
“Donna Huanca: Espejo Quemada”
Ballroom Marfa, through Jan. 2, ballroommarfa.org
Donna Huanca’s first visit to Marfa in 2005 inspired the work in the exhibition. The artworks draw on visual, cultural, and mythological cues informed by feminism, decolonialism and the artist’s personal and familial histories, while simultaneously engaging with the biodiversity, geology, and dark skies of Far West Texas.
“Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings”
McNay Art Museum, through Jan. 16, mcnayart.org
Marking the artist’s 100th birthday, this show — the largest survey of Thiebaud’s work in the last two decades — celebrates the Pop Art innovator and figurative artist known for his elevation of everyday objects and food, especially desserts.
“Kermit Oliver: New Narratives, New Beginnings”
Art Center Waco, through Jan. 22, artcenterwaco.org
An enigmatic figure of the Texas art world, Kermit Oliver had some promising artistic achievement in early 1970s in Houston. However he left it behind by the mid-1980s opting for quieter life in Waco and a job with the U.S. Postal Service. The 78-year-old artist has never stopped painting, though, and his meticulous landscapes and portraits portray a spiritual quest that plumbs the depths of the human condition: life, death and regeneration. Oliver creates his own allegorical system centered on the Black figure, filled with lifelike detail, and arranged in deliberate tableau. His work was the subject of a lifetime retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in 2005, and he holds the distinction of being the only American artist to create scarf designs for the French fashion house of Hermès. The 40 paintings and works on paper on view span from 1970 to 2021.