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It’s always a risky proposition to recommend shows before they open, but what the hell…

New Art in Austin
Austin Museum of Art
February 15 – May 11, 2008
If AMOA keeps doing its triennial of emerging Austin artists, at some point (soon) we’re going to have to stop gasping in astonishment and become believers. The first show in this series was curated in-house by Dana Friis-Hansen in ’02, and it was stronger than the second, group-curated show (in ’05). Whether this indicates curatorial group-think or a too-small-for-a-triennial pool of talent in Austin will be illuminated by this, the third (!) exhibit. This time, AMOA’s Eva Buttacavoli returns to duty, joined by Diane Barber (DiverseWorks), Bill FitzGibbons, (Blue Star), and Dennis Kois (Grace Museum). The artist list looks OK, overall. We’re cautiously hopeful, and including it in the Spring Preview because it really has launched some great artists in its past two incarnations. You might have to cherry pick, though. – Rainey Knudson

Mads Lynnerup
Lora Reynolds Gallery
January 26 – March 1, 2008

Mads Lynnerup drives a “tank”...through San Francisco

If the work on his website is any indication, Mads Lynnerup’s show at Lora Reynolds should be fantastic. Lynnerup is a Danish goofball with an absurd sense of humor and a knack for witty conceptual work. There’s a great (subtitled) video on his website of Lynnerup’s mom showing his site to her friend and explaining her son’s art. They’re both laughing so hard they’ve got tears in their eyes. – Kelly Klaasmeyer

Canyon, Texas
A Kiowa’s Odyssey: A Sketchbook from Fort Marion
Panhandle-Plains Museum, Canyon
March 29 – May 26, 2008
Really, no need to illuminate beyond the Panhandle-Plains’ description: “This 32-page sketchbook of drawings by the Kiowa warrior Etahdleuh Doanmoe chronicle [sic] the experience of seventy-two Comanche, Kiowa, Arapaho, and Caddo who were captured at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, in 1875 during uprisings associated with the Plains Wars. To stem further uprisings, the Indian prisoners were exiled to Ft. Marion, Florida. Under the direction of Lt. Richard Henry Pratt, they were made to adopt Western values, appearance, behavior, language, and beliefs. Etahdleuh’s drawings illustrate the capture of the Indians, their passage to Florida, and their time at Fort Marion.”

This work is AWESOME. This will be a huge treat for Texas audiences — we know, we know, Canyon isn’t exactly next door for most people, but it’s closer than the Beinecke Library at Yale, which is where the exhibit goes from here. – RK

J. M. W. Turner
Dallas Museum of Art
February 10 – May 18, 2008

Turner’s “Sunrise with Sea Monsters”...circa 1845

Yeah, we all sat through slides of his work in art history class, but this is a rare opportunity to see 140 of Turner’s works in person at the DMA. Billed as “the largest and most comprehensive retrospective ever presented in the United States of the career of J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851),” this should be an epic show. Turner is the landscape painter who highlighted the brutality of the slave trade and sought to help the abolitionist cause in his 1840 work Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying — Typhon Coming On. He’s also the guy whose work paved the way for the Impressionists. Turner’s paintings, with their focus on light and atmospheric phenomena look surprisingly modern. – KK

Texas Bauhaus: Experimental Photography
Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery
January 5 – February 9, 2008
There was a Texas Bauhaus? Who knew? Anyway, this could be an interesting show with some Laszlo Moholy-Nagy-esque mid-century photographs by Carlotta Corpron, Ida Lansky and Barbara Maples. Not just for photo geeks… – KK

Fort Worth
The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888–1978: From the Collection of Robert E. Jackson
Amon Carter Museum
February 16 – April 27, 2008

Anonymous snapshot...from the Robert E. Jackson collection

Robert E. Jackson started collecting other people’s snapshots about 10 years ago. He avoids the silly stuff with thumbs over the lens and cropped heads; instead, Jackson finds great photographs made by everyday people. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, the show’s 200 images offer a fascinating view of life in America from the late 19th to 20th century. – KK

Martin Puryear
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
February 24 – May 18, 2008
Roberta Smith of The New York Times raved about this MOMA-organized retrospective of Martin Puryear‘s work. The only complaints we’ve read about it center on MOMA’s installation of the works. Hopefully those concerns will be sorted out in its incarnation at the Modern. Included in the show is the Modern’s own Puryear sculpture, Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996), a stunning 36-foot high snaking ladder of wood that exemplifies Puryear’s sensitive but minimalist approach to organic materials. – KK

FOCUS: Kehinde Wiley

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
April 20 – May 25, 2008

Kehinde Wiley...“Prince Tommaso Francesco of Savoy-Carignano”

It’s another cool show for the Modern. Kehinde Wiley’s campy and extravagant paintings riff on pretentious historical portraiture. Wiley photographs anonymous young black men on the street and then paints them into his work. The resulting paintings juxtapose hip-hop style with historical excess. One of his most famous works was a take-off on Jacques-Louis David’s grandiose painting of Napoleon on horseback. Too much is not enough for Wiley, who wittily surrounds his paintings with ornate gold frames. – KK

Chantal Akerman: Moving through Time and Space
Blaffer Gallery
January 19 – March 29, 2008
Chantal Akerman has turned her moody documentary lens on subjects as diverse as post-communist Russia, illegal immigrants crossing the Arizona border and Jasper, Texas, the site of James Byrd’s horrific death. Despite her politically charged subjects, Akerman doesn’t engage in polemics. Her camera is an objective observer that also seeks out the beauty that surrounds her subjects. This will be Akerman’s first major museum show in the United States, and the artist will also debut Women from Antwerp in November, a new 2-channel project created specifically for the exhibition. This promises to be an amazing show. – KK

The Old Weird America
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
May 3 – July 20, 2008
This is one of those exhibits where you can’t believe the idea hasn’t been done already, it seems so obvious. And yet the CAMH claims The Old, Weird America will be the first museum exhibition “to explore the widespread resurgence of folk imagery… in American contemporary art.” This is Toby Kamps’ first big show as a curator at the CAMH, and it’ll feature a bunch of artists, including Texan Dario Robleto. It will also have a big fancy catalog. I admit to being somewhat less excited by the painters in the group (Barnaby Furnas, Brad Kahlhamer, Aaron Morse) and more so by some of the others (Charlie White, Sam Durant, Allison Smith). But if the show holds up to its promise, it should be good. It’s a little scary to get excited about a big upstairs show at the CAM after the mess that was this year’s Nexus Texas, but hope springs eternal, and the premise of Old Weird America isn’t tortured to death – it’s brilliantly simple. – RK

Flicker Fusion
January 11 – February 23, 2008
Animation fans get ready — according to DiverseWorks, Flicker Fusion will transform the main gallery into “a virtual multiplex” screening work by a host of international artists. The animation will range from high tech to hand drawn. It sounds like a great idea but there’s no word on the artists involved, so proceed with caution. – KK

Craft in America — Expanding Traditions

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
February 23 – May 4, 2008
What can we say? Craft is frigging hot. Still! We’d have thought this whole craft phenom would have dribbled out by now, but it seems the late 20th century American thirst for the handmade is going to plow steadily into the 21st. This show is a juggernaut that features all the key people in clay, wood, metal, glass and fiber. You’ll see stuff you don’t like and you’ll see stuff you covet. It digs back into the origins of some of the great American schools of craft (Cranbrook, Pilchuck, Timberline Lodge), and goes all the way to the present. I hope the installation will let the objects do their thing unfettered and won’t get too science museum-y with a lot of explication. Judging from the show website (not produced by HCCC), it shouldn’t. (Not that HCCC’s shows are generally heavy on the explanatory text; just the subject, with its PBS ties, invites it.) FYI, the “Wood” section looks particularly good. – RK

San Antonio
Duncan Anderson
Unit B Gallery
January 18 – March 7, 2008
Chicago-based Anderson’s drawings look good — really good. We delved into his website with some suspicion, as his work has that whiff of young hipster drawing that’s been boring us for years, and his objects look a tad cute. That said, on second viewing it seems pretty interesting. He’s paired with San Antonio’s Kelly O’Connor for this show, whose riffs-on-Disney drawings and collages frankly don’t blow us away. – RK

Terry Karson
Sala Diaz
February 8 – March 16, 2008
Karson’s a true Westerner. He and his wife Sara Mast did a massive project in the late 90s in Montana called Indian Flats, which looks kind of interesting, though you can’t find a great image of it online. It gets honorable mention because it’s different from the usual Sala fare (which is admittedly good), but only honorable mention because it could very well suck. – RK

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