Brandon Zech, Christopher Blay and Christina Rees bring you Glasstire’s top picks for the first big shows of 2021.
“The theme of most of these picks is ‘turning back to local artists,’ and institutions bringing local artists into their galleries.”
1. Fort Worth Pioneer Tower Public Art Project
Opens last weekend of February, 2021
Pioneer Tower (Fort Worth)
From the Fort Worth Public Art Commission:
“The premiere of the works by Refik Anadol and Quayola will be the centerpiece for a free community event currently scheduled for the last weekend in February 2021.
“The new video artwork produced for the Fort Worth Pioneer Tower commission will be a continuation of Quayola’s ongoing research on the tradition of landscape painting, and more broadly a reflection on man’s tradition of representing nature. This new artwork will be divided into three main chapters, Tree Laser Scanning, Computational Landscape Paintings, and Computational Animal Paintings.
“Honoring the cultural significance and legacy of Fort Worth, Anadol’s piece aims to celebrate the people, places, histories, and dreams of the city that have been woven together over the years.
“In order to create a piece that tells this story, archival data is gathered from key libraries and museums, as well as city institutions and the community. Acknowledging that place and memory are directly linked, it is important to also take into careful consideration the physical environment and key buildings which physicalize the sentiment of home for many.”
2. Carriers: The Body as a Site of Danger and Desire
January 27 – March 14, 20201
Blaffer Art Museum (Houston)
A group exhibition in Houston. From the Blaffer:
“In the strangely unnerving and isolating circumstances of a global pandemic, as well as a renewed reckoning over race relations in the U.S., many of us covet the human contact — physically, socially, culturally — that we often take for granted. And yet with the viral, and sometimes violent conditions brought to bear in every corner of the globe, we know that humans are also the primary carriers of a life-threatening disease. At this intersection of anxiety, joy, desire, and resilience, this exhibition simultaneously examines and celebrates the body as a site of comfort, hope, and danger.
“Through the work of fifteen local artists working across a spectrum of media and techniques, Carriers highlights personal narratives and intimate stories—bridging biography with broader themes of representation, health, labor, sexuality, and gender.”
3. After Carolee: Tender and Fierce
January 7 – April 25
Artpace San Antonio
“Artpace San Antonio is pleased to announce our first exhibition of 2021: After Carolee: Tender and Fierce, guest-curated by Annette DiMeo Carlozzi. On view in the Hudson Showroom, After Carolee: Tender and Fierce was conceived for Artpace’s 25th anniversary year to give tribute to one of its most iconic former residents, Carolee Schneemann, and to welcome to Artpace for the first time more than a dozen women artists with Texas ties. In striking and dynamic ways, these artists’ works can be seen in dialog with Schneemann’s intellectual, performative, and erotic artistic legacies.
“Featured artists are Amber Bemak & Nadia Granados, Kristen Cochran, Liss LaFleur, Yuliya Lanina, Beili Liu, Paloma Mayorga, Virginia Lee Montgomery, Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud, Lovie Olivia, SAINTLORRAINE (Britt Lorraine & Kristy Perez), Megan Solis, and Julia Claire Wallace.”
4. Nasher Public: Vicki Meek: Stony the Road We Trod
January 7 – February 14, 2020
Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas)
From the Nasher Sculpture Center:
“Taking its title from a lyric of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the Black national anthem, Vicki Meek’s Nasher Public installation Stony the Road We Trod offers a contemporary shrine dedicated to the Black community. Drawing upon the culture of Yoruba belief, Adinkra symbols of Ghana, and other metaphorical elements, Meek has transformed the Nasher Store Gallery into an uplifting space of healing and encouragement.
“Meek’s shrine brings together colors, objects and emblems with long histories in her work and deep roots in traditional African cultures as well as American history. On the walls, panels are painted blue, a protection color in African art; photographs of resistance and resilience offer testimony to the ‘stony road’ trod by Black Americans, given physical form in the marble chips below. Peat moss, a substance used for healing wounds in natural medicine, offers a symbolic balm for these trials. White turtles emblematize continuity from past to present, while twelve white roosters stand for the ancestors, eleven of which are labeled with the name of one of the tribes of West Africa that were the main African groups to be enslaved. In addition to these, Meek includes a twelfth — African Americans, because, as she points out, ‘we [Black Americans] became a whole different tribe, based upon the way we were thrown together.’ Adinkra symbols stand for the values of resilience, unity, love, and Sankofa, or the ability to connect to the past. The presence of a Mende helmet mask provides a beneficent connection to what Meek describes as ‘Mother Africa.'”
Update From the Moody Center: “Due to current Rice COVID protocols and precautions, we are pushing the opening of our spring exhibition to February 16. At this time, we will not have an opening reception.”
January 22 – May 15
Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University (Houston)
From the Moody Center for the Arts:
“In the spring of 2021, the Moody Center for the Arts will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rothko Chapel by presenting a unique group exhibition.
“Artists and the Rothko Chapel: 50 Years of Inspiration will highlight the extraordinary impact the Rothko Chapel has had on both artists and the public since opening in 1971. Organized in two sections, the first part will restage the 1975 exhibition Marden, Novros, Rothko: Painting in the Age of Actuality organized at Rice University by Harris Rosenstein and supported by Dominique de Menil. This presentation will be the first time the works by Brice Marden and David Novros will be reunited since 1975, recreating the immersive experience that viewers had upon first seeing them installed at Rice. The second section looks to the future, highlighting works by contemporary artists of diverse ages, nationalities and backgrounds – Sam Gilliam, Sheila Hicks, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Byron Kim- as a means of exploring the wide-reaching influence of the non-denominational Chapel, and how its legacy has manifested through various media and aesthetics.”
6. Deborah Roberts: I’m
January 23 – August 15, 2021
The Contemporary Austin
From the Contemporary Austin:
“The first solo Texas museum exhibition by Austin-based artist Deborah Roberts, featuring all new works.
“Deborah Roberts (American, born 1962 in Austin, Texas) critiques notions of beauty, the body, race, and identity in contemporary society through the lens of Black children. Her first solo museum presentation in Texas, I’m, is part of The Contemporary Austin’s participation in the Feminist Art Coalition, a nationwide initiative of art institutions to generate awareness of feminist thought, experience, and action through exhibitions and events.
“Roberts’s mixed media works on paper and on canvas combine found images, sourced from the Internet, with hand-painted details in striking figural compositions that invite viewers to look closely, to see through the layers. She focuses her gaze on Black children — historically, and still today, among the most vulnerable members of our population — investigating how societal pressures, projected images of beauty or masculinity, and the violence of American racism conditions their experiences growing up in this country as well as how others perceive them. Simultaneously heroic and insecure, playful and serious, powerful and vulnerable, the figures Roberts depicts are complex, occasionally based on actual living or historical persons.”