Thursday, August 23, 2007

DEBRIS: Dan Freeman is still a Spook

Kirsten Hassenfeld, Installation in progress, 2007

The fall season is big time this year, and it kicked off early with the blockbuster navel-gazer Red Hot: Asian Art Today at the Museum of Fine Arts. With the Chronicle giving collector Robert Chaney (no relation to Dick) blowjobs in print, attendance has been up; I hope the same is true for sales at the eight or so galleries the museum encouraged to dive into contemporary Chinese and Japanese art. Unfortunately lacking the collusion of the MFAH show, Nexus Texas at the Contemporary Arts Museum puts Texans at the fore- hopefully they’ll sell some work down the road because of the show. The buzz is hot around El Franco Lee II, a University of Houston graduate who paints scenes from Houston rap and basketball folklore with a flat, naïve style and an almost religious reverence; both T.I. sucker-punched by Lil’ Flip and Big Moe sippin’ on some syrup in his Escalade are deified by this rising star artist.

Another emerging talent is having her first solo show this fall, as Lisa Marie Godfrey moves into the limelight with an opening September 14th from 6-9 pm at Domy Books. Godfrey draws copious amounts of ghosts, piles of intestines and landscapes all in her endearing, lilting lines and soft pastel watercolors. Stop by the bookstore on the corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy to find out about their upcoming movie nights too!

On September 8th from 6-9pm the new exhibit at the Blaffer Gallery of University of Houston arrives, look for French artist Jean Luc Mylayne and his gigantic photographs as he focuses on Fort Davis, Texas in a new series- his first American solo exhibition. Also on display, Amy Sillman’s oil on canvas works attempt to make a case for ‘painterly’ paintings by channeling Cezanne and German Expressionism.

Over at Rice University, the gallery continues to stay a step ahead of the rest of the city with innovative installation artists. September 27th their latest exhibit opens; a stunning collection of translucent paper sculptures by Kirsten Hassenfeld. Referencing giant droplets of water or the onion domes of Russian and Arabic religious architecture, Hassenfeld brings her experience seducing collectors and curators at the Armory and NADA art fairs to Houston in her largest installation to date.

Lessons From Below, a take on the Menil Collection’s large holdings of art, focuses on juxtaposing ephemera from the civil rights movement with African tribal art, Native American Hopi masks and figures and one of Warhol’s Mao silkscreens. Art collective Otabenga Jones has scoured the treasure troves of the museum in search of divisive racial politics “to mess wit whitey.” Weekly classroom sessions will focus on politics, poetry, racial identity and hip hop. Opens Thursday September 13th, classroom events will continue through October and November.