• Andrea Zittel

    Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
    5216 Montrose Boulevard
    October 1, 2005–January 1, 2006

    Curated by Paola Morsiani and Trevor Smith

    Andrea Zittel has carved out—or knitted, drilled, and glue-gunned—a niche in critiquing the über-efficient but impersonal domestic lifestyle. Since the early ’90s, she has turned on its head every cultural signpost of utopian freedom, from homemade clothes to the RV. At the CAMH (which co-organized the exhibition with New York’s New Museum), Zittel’s gouache drawings, dehydrated food, and living units will settle in one place for the first time on native soil. It should be the most avant-garde RV park in Houston’s history.

    Travels to the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Jan. 26, 2005–Apr. 29, 2006; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, Oct. 6, 2006– Jan. 7, 2007; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Mar. 4–May 21, 2007; and other venues.

  • Robert Gober

    The Menil Collection
    1533 Sul Ross Street
    October 28, 2005–January 22, 2006

    Curated by Matthew Drutt

    “The Meat Wagon,” the creepy title of the Menil Collection’s Robert Gober exhibition, is perhaps more immediately evocative of an artist like Paul McCarthy, but then there’s no shortage of “meat” in Gober’s oeuvre—like a man’s hairy leg protruding from a hairless vagina. Organized by Menil curator Matthew Drutt in collaboration with the artist, the exhibition includes twenty familiar and seldom-seen works by Gober from the past two decades. These will be installed with about fifty items from the museum’s collections—Surrealist, Spanish Colonial, and black Americana, for example—in the interest of fostering a “dialogue” between the historical artifacts and Gober’s works. And since the artist has proven himself a genius at installation, the results should be compelling.

  • The Surreal Calder

    The Menil Collection
    1533 Sul Ross Street
    September 30, 2005–January 8, 2006

    Curated by Mark Rosenthal

    “Surrealism,” like “Romanticism,” encompasses a bewildering variety of artists as different as Magritte and Miró. Now Calder will be initiated into this strange fraternity. Often pigeonholed simply as the inventor of the mobile, Calder in fact participated in many of the vital artistic movements of his time, but it was Surrealism that rooted his art in a biomorphic universe. Calder’s flying, crawling creatures, celestial visions, and fantastic constructions from unexpected fragments—dating from 1927 to 1947—will find themselves at home in the company of works by his European friends and contemporaries, from Tanguy to Ernst.

    Travels to SF MoMA, Mar. 3–May 21, 2006; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, June 11–Sept. 10, 2006.

  • Thornton Dial Sr.

    The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
    1001 Bissonnet
    September 25, 2005–January 8, 2006

    Curated by Jane Livingston and Alvia J. Wardlaw

    Thornton Dial was one of the first contemporary outsider artists to gain an international reputation. Born in 1928 in rural Alabama, Dial spent about forty years as a carpenter, welder, and bricklayer, all the while burying his paintings in the yard so no one could see them. Since his retirement in 1983, he has devoted his time and skills to artmaking. The seventy-three paintings in this show are encrusted with barbed wire, carpeting, paper, and steel; the twenty-two large sculptures are made from steel piping and found objects. The exhibition, Dial’s largest to date, also includes twenty-three watercolors and charcoal drawings. But what will stand out above all is that there is nothing remotely marginal about Dial’s work.