houston

Rodney McMillian, Untitled, 2011, carpet, 10' 4“ x 15' 7” x 2' 5". From “Black in the Abstract, Part 2: Hard Edges/Soft Curves,” from “Outside the Lines.”

“Outside the Lines”

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Rodney McMillian, Untitled, 2011, carpet, 10' 4“ x 15' 7” x 2' 5". From “Black in the Abstract, Part 2: Hard Edges/Soft Curves,” from “Outside the Lines.”

On Halloween 1948, the association that would soon become the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opened its inaugural exhibition, “This Is Contemporary Art,” a synoptic show of art and design that sought to highlight (in the words of its catalogue) the “important contribution contemporary arts make to modern living.” Starting on Halloween 2013, CAMH marked its sixty-fifth anniversary with a mammoth six-part presentation (two consecutive exhibition trios running over five months and including nearly one hundred artists) titled “Outside the Lines.” It could just as well have been dubbed “This Is Still Contemporary Art”: The sequence of shows focused not just on abstraction but on painting, and in so doing sought equally to throw a connecting line to the institution’s origins—was there any richer moment in the history of abstract painting than 1948?—and to survey a specific

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