Best/Worst No. 3: John Alexander

WORST: While it was encouraging to see the MFAH give a big, 30-year retrospective to a sort-of Texan, it would have been nice if it were someone with a stronger body of work overall. A lot of people have a lot of affection for John Alexander, who was a charming hellion back in the day. This includes curator Jane Livingston, whose affection for Alexander was palpable during the her walkthrough. But as the show progressed to a finale of embarrassing paintings of America/Capitalism represented by a pig surrounded by a freakish menagerie of gold coin-counting monkeys, chickens, and the like, it was clear that Alexander would have been better served by a much more tightly edited show of his lovely works on paper and smaller paintings. The larger the painting, the clumsier and uglier the brushwork and the more unsubtle the theme, culminating in the aforementioned pigs, as well as a large field of broken watermelons meant to represent something about racial equality. Ugh.

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