Art Notes

Museum Mile: At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, an intriguing pair of exhibitions rewrites the art historical canon. %26#8220;Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria%26#8221; brings ancient terra-cotta and copper portrait heads (circa 9th to 15th centuries AD) from the fabled kingdom of Ife in southwestern Nigeria, the forerunner of the later Benin masterworks in metal. The MFAH is the first American venue for this international traveling exhibition, which features many works that have never before left their native land, loaned by the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments. Frances Marzio organizes the presentation in Houston (September 19 %26#8211; January 9) ... Concurrently, the MFAH%26#8217;s Helga Aurisch co-curates %26#8220;German Impressionist Landscape Painting: Liebermann%26#8212;Corinth%26#8212;Slevogt%26#8221; in tandem with G%26#246;tz Czymmek of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum %26amp; Fondation Corboud, Cologne, in a dual presentation that examines the grand triumvirate of German Impressionism via 90 paintings that elucidate the movement%26#8217;s percolation and power outside of Paris (September 12 %26#8211;%26nbsp;December 5) ... At The Menil Collection, Kristina Van Dyke curates a spiritually inspired view of %26#8220;Objects of Devotion%26#8221; that includes such treasures as a 16th-century ciborium (through October 13). Also catch recent Menil acquisitions in %26#8220;Earth Paint Paper Wood,%26#8221; such as Claes Oldenburg%26#8217;s Study for Store Window, 1961, which launched the sculptor%26#8217;s pop-inflected career (through November 28). And get ready for next month%26#8217;s Kurt Schwitter%26#8217;s exhibition, which is destined to make the late collage master even more of a cult figure (details coming in October%26#8217;s art issue) ... The newly rebranded Blaffer Art Museum also rolls out a provocative duo: the 10-year survey of Mexico City sculptor-collagist Gabriel Kuri in honor of the Mexican Bicentennial, plus the avant-garde performance/theater art of Berlin-based, Texas-born Amy Patton. The Blaffer%26#8217;s Claudia Schmuckli and Rachel Hooper, respectively, do curatorial honors (both exhibits, through November 13).

Wondrous Walls: Rice Gallery%26#8217;s season opener, 2010%26#8211;2011 Rome Prize recipient Sarah Oppenheimer%26#8217;s idiosyncratic, radical spatial intervention, features wormholes and other architectural oddities (September 16 %26#8211; December 5) ... DiverseWorks launches fall with a searing photographic take probing the impact of Katrina in %26#8220;Before (During) After%26#8221; told via the perspective of Louisiana lensmen (September 10 %26#8211;%26nbsp;October 23).

More Wows: Glassell teacher/figurative impresario Patrick Palmer presents his newest series in a pair of receptions at his Winter Street Studio (2101 Winter Street, September 24 and 25; ... The brilliant H.J. Bott continues his geometric antics with %26#8220;Paradigms in Paint and Wire%26#8221; at Anya Tish Gallery, rolling out obsessive canvases circa 2010 and (almost) never-shown wire works (September 10 %26#8211;%26nbsp;October 9) ... Another Houston talent, Joe Mancuso, serves up exquisite, nuanced floral abstractions %26#8212; sophisticated encaustic studies of nature that are literally bathed in pigment and light %26#8212; at Barbara Davis Gallery (September 10 %26#8211;%26nbsp;October 9) ... Make tracks to De Santos Gallery for the luminous images of internationally acclaimed Arizona-based photographer Ken Rosenthal in %26#8220;The Shadow Behind Your Eyes%26#8221; (opening September 11); Rosenthal%26#8217;s vapory silver-gelatin prints pose between the real and the surreal. Especially recommended are his bathing beauties, who appear to step from %26#8217;50s-style pinups ... Houston%26#8217;s Edward Lane McCartney%26#8217;s solo at Goldesberry Gallery, %26#8220;Dignity and Impudence,%26#8221; promises such crafty surprises as a size-6 frock fashioned from infant measuring tapes (September 11 %26#8211;%26nbsp;October 16) ... Also in the crafts arena, Wade Wilson Art shows Seattle-based Dante Marioni%26#8217;s lyrical glass works (September 1 %26#8211;%26nbsp;October 2). The artist, whose lyrical vessels are in the collection of the White House, is the nephew of monochromatic painter Joseph Marioni, one of the stars of the WWA stable ... Ceron Salon hosts a showing of Elizabeth Moore Arnold%26#8217;s latest abstract paintings, drawings and mixed media works on Thursday, September 16 (7 to 9 pm), with a portion of the sales benefitting Dominic Walsh Dance Theater.

Those Art Guises!: What will Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing devise next? Find out when The Art Guys%26#8217; The Statue of Four Lies is unveiled at the central campus of the University of Houston (4835 Wheeler Street, entrance 5) on Wednesday, September 22, at noon (info Minister of Culture of the Council of Aesthetics, Michael Guidry, No images are available at press time, but the work is billed as %26#8220;Texas%26#8217; most surprising statue! Bronze! Concrete! Landscaping! A Plaque!%26#8221; Who are we to disagree?

Edward Lane McCartney%26#8217;s Dress, 2010, at Goldesberry Gallery.
H.J. Bott%26#8217;s Perky Quirky Trialog, 2010, at Anya Tish Gallery.

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