Moody Center for the Arts Commissions Five Temporary Public Artworks

by Jessica Fuentes September 21, 2023

Last month, the Moody Center for the Arts announced that it has commissioned five large-scale works to be installed throughout Rice University’s campus through the organization’s Tent Series, Off the Wall at Brochstein Pavilion, and Platform series, each of which are public art initiatives operated by the university.

A photograph of a video installation by Kenneth Tam.

Kenneth Tam, “We played,” 2023, HD video and vinyl, on view from sunset to sunrise. Dance, Jeevika Bhat; choreography, Juri Onuki; videography, Christian Carroll, Poem We Played (2023) by Rohan Chhetri.

Launched in 2020, the Tent Series is an initiative that invites Houston-based or connected artists to install temporary public art pieces on Rice’s Provisional Campus Facilities, which are four semi-permanent structures that were installed at the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year. Past artists commissioned for the Tent Series include Karin Broker, GONZO247, Robert Hodge, Allison Hunter, Hedwige Jacobs, Delita Martin, Royal Sumikat, Charisse Pearlina Weston, and Jasmine Zelaya.

An installation image of a temporary public art piece by Sarah Welch.

Sarah Welch, “Skeeter Control,” 2023, vinyl. Original work, ink on paper.

In a press release, Alison Weaver, the Suzanne Deal Booth Executive Director of the Moody Center, explained, “Since their debut in 2020, the tents have become a creative destination on campus, hosting both formal and informal gatherings and inspiring innovative thinking across departments. We’re proud to have commissioned twelve Houston-based artists to present their work through this public format which is notable for its visibility and accessibility.”

An installation image of a temporary public art piece by Preetika Rajgariah.

Preetika Rajgariah, “your potential self is infinite,” 2023, vinyl. Original work, acrylic and latex paint, saris on yoga mats.

Works by Preetika Rajgariah, Kenneth Tam, and Sarah Welch debuted on August 21, 2023 and will be on view through May 15, 2024. Learn more about these installations at the Moody Center for the Arts’ website.

A photograph of an abstract work by william cordova featuring checkered board-like patterns in a variety of colors.

william cordova, “2800 dowling-wasi-sangarara” (detail). Courtesy of the artist.

Later this month, the Moody Center, in partnership with the Core Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will install a temporary public art work in the café at the Brochstein Pavilion, a dining hall and gathering space at Rice. The installation is the latest in the Off the Wall program, which was launched in 2019 to commission Core alumni to create a site-specific installation for an underutilized space on the university’s campus. 

Past artists commissioned through the series include Danielle Dean, Harold Mendez, Sondra Perry, and Clarissa Tossin. The new work, 2800 dowling-wasi-sangarara by william cordova, will be installed on September 29, 2023 and will remain on view through August 23, 2024. An opening reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, September 29. Learn more about this project and artwork here.

Next month, through the Moody’s Platform series, which was launched in 2017 and invites contemporary artists to respond to art, architecture, and research at Rice, the organization will present a new work by interdisciplinary artist Devin Kenny. The installation, Ash and Spirits, features original works by eight composers with connections to the Houston area, including Anthony Almendarez, Maria Chavez, Megan Easely, Lisa E. Harris, Michael LaCour a.k.a. B L A C K I E, Anthony Obi a.k.a. Fat Tony, S Rodriguez, and Ricky Sallay Zoker f.k.a. YATTA.

The piece incorporates the visual language of labor by utilizing a scaffold which features worksite warnings. According to the press release, the piece will also include Mr. Kenny’s “reflections on the life of William Marsh Rice (1816–1900), the slave-owning merchant who bequeathed his fortune to found Rice University.”

Ash and Spirits will be on view at Rice University (near the Provisional Campus Facilities located on Loop Road across from Herring Hall) from October 12, 2023 through May 1, 2024. Learn more about the temporary public art piece here.

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