Top Five: March 23, 2023

by Glasstire March 23, 2023

Glasstire counts down the top five art events in Texas.

For last week’s picks, please go here.

An installation image featuring sculptures and framed works in a gallery.

Installation view of “Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation”

1. Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation
Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth)
March 12 – July 9, 2023

From the Amon Carter Museum of American Art:

“On view during the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation visualizes what freedom looks like for Black Americans today and the legacy of the Civil War in 2023 and beyond. Highlighting the perspectives of contemporary Black artists, Emancipation features commissioned and recent works by Sadie Barnette, Alfred Conteh, Maya Freelon, Hugh Hayden, Letitia Huckaby, Jeffrey Meris, and Sable Elyse Smith.

The seven installations span sculpture, photography, and paper and textile fabrications. The artists responded to John Quincy Adams Ward’s bronze sculpture The Freedman (1863) from the Carter’s collection. Initially sculpted by Ward before the end of the Civil War, the figure is depicted on the cusp of liberation, having ruptured his bonds, though they are still present as a reminder of his enslavement. It is one of the first American depictions of a Black figure cast in bronze, and this specific cast from 1863 is the only copy of its kind with a key that releases a shackle from the figure’s wrist. Supplemented by loans of Civil War materials that further enhance our understanding of past representations of Blackness, Emancipation demonstrates how historical art collections can serve as a resource and inspiration for contemporary artistic practices.”

Ellsworth Ausby- Odyssey at HMAAC in Houston 2023

A work by Ellsworth Ausby

2. Ellsworth Ausby: Odyssey
Houston Museum of African American Culture
February 3 – April 7, 2023

From the Houston Museum of African American Culture:

“The Houston Museum of African American Culture presents Ellsworth Ausby: Odyssey, a posthumous exhibition of paintings by the artist Ellsworth Ausby who died in Brooklyn in 2011. The HMAAC exhibition primarily focuses on the Afrofuturist abstract painter’s work on cut canvas from the 1970s which embodies his vibrant geometric forms that reflect his achievement of liberating the canvas from rigid structures, allowing them to float freely on the walls and spaces they occupy.”

An installation image of a large abstract work by Teresa Baker.

Teresa Baker, “Missouri River,” 2022. On view in “Ecstatic Land,” at Ballroom Marfa. Courtesy of the artist and Ballroom Marfa. Photo by Heather Rasmussen.

3. Ecstatic Land
Ballroom Marfa
November 26, 2022 – May 7, 2023

From Ballroom Marfa:

Ecstatic Land is an exhibition and screening series that brings together a multigenerational group of artists whose works explore the intersecting vitalities of the land and self. The word ecstatic comes from the Greek ἔκστασις [ekstasis], meaning “to stand outside oneself.” In nature, and particularly in the vast expanses of the desert, one can experience physical contact with the earth while being emotionally and psychologically transported elsewhere. This affect, present in the artworks in Ecstatic Land, connects material and exterior sites with interior, emotional, psychic states. Land is celebrated as a living force, and the exhibiting artists’ photographs, paintings, films, videos, sculptures, and sounds harmonize the pleasures of seeing what’s around us with those of inward reflection.

Western art-historical traditions of the landscape genre largely focus on the framing of particular views of nature, often as demonstrations of power and control. And while the artists in Ecstatic Land each reference the natural world, they are not creating landscapes per se. Rather than reproducing or framing views, their works reveal new subjectivities and methods for perceiving shared environments. These artworks transport us beyond sight, reconnecting us to the world through embodied experiences. Challenging and expanding single-point perspectives, these artists offer personal views that would otherwise be invisible, intangible or overlooked. Their approaches run counter to the privatization, misuse, and over-consumption of common spaces and resources. Ecstatic Land proposes ways to live dynamically, critically, queerly, and consciously on and with the land.”

A close-up photograph of a sculpture of a snail by the Haas Brothers.

The Haas Brothers, detail of “Slimin’ Haas,” 2023, hand-carved Pele de Tigre marble, blown glass, 19 1/2 x 28 1/2 x 28 inches.

4. The Haas Brothers: Snails in Comparison
Lora Reynolds Gallery (Austin)
March 25 – May 27, 2023

“Lora Reynolds is pleased to announce Snails in Comparison, an exhibition of new sculpture by fraternal twins Niki and Simon Haas — the Haas Brothers’ third project with the gallery. This is the inaugural show at the gallery’s new location, 1126 West Sixth Street in Austin.

The Haas Brothers are unveiling a group of sculptures of big, bizarre snails: their first endeavors in combining a material new to their practice — blown glass, which constitutes the gastropod’s soft bodies — with another medium they have known longer than any other: the snails’ shells are hand-carved marble. Two major events — the arrival of Niki’s first child, Fox, in 2017, and the self-imposed isolation Niki and Simon separately endured in 2020 — led to a new understanding of what is most important in their lives. Snails in Comparison is a deeply personal reflection on that growth, and culminates in a freestanding, six-foot-tall, bronze portrait of Uncle Simon embracing his beloved nephew, Fox.”

A photograph of a rainbow-colored round sculpture by Dan Lam.

A work by Dan Lam, on view at the McNay Art Museum

5. Beyond Reality
McNay Art Museum (San Antonio)
March 22 – August 13, 2023

From the McNay Art Museum:

“San Antonio is home to a thriving arts community, from vibrant public art and murals to art galleries and museums. The McNay is committed to highlighting the talent in our community and the Texas region. Beyond Reality features artwork by four Texas-based artists, Carlos Donjuan, Angela Fox, Ernesto Ibañez, and Dan Lam, whose work features imagined realities.”

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