• Edgar Arcenaux, Failed Attempt at Crystallization, 2002, glass case, sugar, crystals, wood, mirror, and textbook, 55 3/4 x 18 x 20". From “Double Consciousness.”

    Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970

    Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
    5216 Montrose Boulevard
    January 22–April 17

    Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver

    In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois described the African-American experience as one of “double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others.” A century later, his term continues to resonate, and CAM curator Valerie Cassel Oliver has appropriated its connotations of invisibility and displacement as means to reevaluate conceptual strategies taken up by African-American artists over the past three decades. This exhibition of some thirty artists—Renée Greene, Senga Nengudi, Adrian Piper, and Nari Ward among them—explores the ways Conceptualism has been recast to reflect and subvert deep-set social inequities.

  • Landscape Confection

    Wexner Center for the Arts
    The Ohio State University 1871 North High Street
    January 29–May 1

    Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
    5216 Montrose Boulevard
    July 23–September 11

    Orange County Museum of Art
    850 San Clemente Drive
    February 5–May 7

    Curated by Helen Molesworth

    The Wexner has aptly billed “Landscape Confection” as “whimsical and vividly colorful,” but with artists like Kori Newkirk, Michael Raedecker, and Lisa Sanditz in the mix, the show also promises some slightly unsettling moments. About fifty works by thirteen artists—including Pia Fries's bright, topographical abstractions and Rowena Dring's stitched-by-numbers “paintings”—relate, in varying degrees of representation, to the landscape. All evidence the allure and durability of this ancient subject. The catalogue features an essay by Helen Molesworth and entries by Wexner associate curator Claudine Isé.

    Travels to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, July 23–Sept. 11; Orange County Museum of Art, Feb. 5, 2006–May 7, 2006.

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Charles the First, 1982, acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 78 x 62 1/4". Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
    1001 Bissonnet
    November 18–February 12

    MOCA Geffen Contemporary
    152 North Central Avenue
    July 15–October 9

    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    March 11–June 5

    Curated by Fred Hoffman, Kellie Jones, Marc Mayer, Franklin Sirmans

    According to Marc Mayer, leader of this show's four-person curatorial team, Basquiat was “the last great modernist painter.” How so? Because, “if we think of him as a painter of the School of Paris, he was essentially a figurative and even narrative painter—but there's an extraordinary, breathless, endless reservoir of references in his work, as if he wanted his paintings to represent all of human history.” If this sounds a little like saying that a camel is a giraffe, but has humps—be patient. A Basquiat retrospective (of some ninety works) with a real art-historical ax to grind is something we need to see.

    Travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, July 15–Oct. 9; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nov. 18–Feb. 12, 2006.