A Thanksgiving Weekend Guide to Art Galleries
Think there's nothing to do but eat, shop or go to the movies during Thanksgiving weekend. Not true. Houston's art galleries, while not usually thought of as part of the Black Friday retail rush, are open. So are the museums. Here are a few suggestions for your weekend. Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze, called Wols, was a hugely influential, if mostly commercially unsuccessful, painter and photographer during the first half of the 20th century. Wols's signature style is called tachisme, a term derived from a French word meaning ''stain,'' an appropriate description of his style. Wols's so-called stains contain recognizable shapes, ranging from kittens to breasts to nuclear explosions, all springing directly from his psyche to the canvas without premeditation. ''Wols,'' a retrospective currently on display at The Menil Collection, explores that spontaneity.
Photo by Paul Hester Untitled (also known as It's All Over the City)
''The paintings are beautiful and mysterious, ranging from very raw and hermetic to luminous and otherworldly,'' Menil Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Toby Kamps says. ''Wols's early photographs from the 1930s were wildly inventive; the delicate dance between figuration and abstraction in all his drawings is fascinating. It's impossible to single out any one work; each one is a universe within itself.'' The exhibition features 20 paintings and 50 drawings, watercolors and photographs Wols left behind prior to his early death at age 38 from food poisoning.
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Through January 12. 1515 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-525-9400 or visit the Menil Collection's website. Free.
Satisfy the foodie and art lover in you at the same time at "See Food: Contemporary Photography and the Ways We Eat," currently on exhibit at the Houston Center for Photography. Three years ago, Natalie Zelt, then curatorial assistant for photography for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, noticed an increase of food-related images in the portfolios she was viewing. "A lot of photographers and visual artists were engaging in food issues in a visual realm," Zelt tells us. "There's been a lot of buzz about the slow-food movement...and it was interesting to see the different ways that it had begun to be explored visually. I realized that not only was this happening among visual artists, but it was becoming part of our culture, people documenting their food [via social media]."
Courtesy of Mark Menjivar Midwife by Mark Menjivar
Fast-forward to today and Zelt, now in graduate school, has curated "See Food: Contemporary Photography and the Ways We Eat," for the Houston Center for Photography. Local artist Emily Peacock contributes images from her Whiskey Tango series. "'Whiskey tango' are the military [alphabet] for 'w' and 't,' which Peacock uses for 'white trash.' She's starting to be more careful about the food she eats and she's realized that the food she ate as a child was so plasticized and almost toylike," Zelt says. "Her images reflect her looking back at the food she ate as a kid; she's essentially creating these vibrant, toylike images.
Those contrast with the work seen in Mark Menjivar's You Are What You Eat series. He traveled around the country making portraits of people by documenting the interiors of their refrigerators, basically posing the question 'What happens when the body, the person, is replaced by the food that they eat?'"
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through January 12. 1441 West Alabama. For information, call 713-529-4755 or visit the center's website. Free.
Watercolors can be sparkling little jewels or giants exploding with panache and energy; they can be subtle or bold or blunt; and as a medium, watercolor is demanding and unforgiving -- one false stroke and all is lost. But watercolors often "don't get no respect," as even avid art lovers rush by them to get to the oils. William Reaves Fine Art does its bit to change that perception with its latest show, "The Texas Watercolor Tradition." These works by Texas watercolorists Erik Sprohge, Hunter George, E.M. (Buck) Schiwetz and Harold Phoenix are stunners that will likely stop you in your tracks.
Courtesy of William Reaves Fine Art Victoria, 1981 by Harold Phoenix
There's a gallery talk from 2 to 4 p.m. on December 14. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Through December 21. 2313 Brun. For information, call 713-521-7500 or visit the gallery's website. Free.