A Valentine for Bert

Texas art patriarch Bert Long Jr. gets his day %26mdash;%26nbsp;or more accurately his month: This February, the Houston scene is given over to a tribute to Long, with a film screening at The Menil Collection plus a university opening. One of the state%26rsquo;s few Prix de Rome winners, Long is also a past Texas Artist of the Year and numbers among the most exhibited of our grand masters, with a history extending back to the original Lawndale Art Center, as well as works in high and mighty permanent collections ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to our own Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Long%26rsquo;s longevity is matched by his fascinating transformation from a chef presiding over the buffet stations of the booming %26rsquo;70s-era Hyatt Regency downtown to the most august walls of the international art world. This month%26rsquo;s tribute begins on Valentine%26rsquo;s Day, when The Menil Collection and the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) come together to screen a biopic produced and directed by patron John Guess Jr. Entitled Bert, the feature-length film interweaves interviews with seminal art world figures such as Project Row House founder Rick Lowe and is narrated by the late MFAH director Peter Marzio and fellow artist John Alexander. The 7 pm screening at the Menil is followed by a reception in Long%26rsquo;s honor. Then, on Thursday, February 28, Houston Baptist University curator Jim Edwards brings together some rarely shown Long masterworks in %26ldquo;Bert Long,%26rdquo; an astute homage to our Fifth Ward%26rsquo;s native son in the university%26rsquo;s Contemporary Art Gallery (through April 18). All events gratis; seating limited at The Menil Collection.

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