Art Notes

Terrific 10: The season goes out with a blast. Robert Pruitt, Houston Fine Art Fair Artist of the Year, solos at Hooks-Epstein Galleries %26mdash; expect more of the Whitney Biennial talent%26rsquo;s Afro Futurism, including extraordinary drawings of those in his universe (December 7 %26ndash;%26nbsp;January 11) %26hellip; Moody Gallery introduces Ellen Tanner%26rsquo;s minutely scaled paintings, which take Aesop%26rsquo;s Fables as their point of departure (December 7 %26ndash;%26nbsp;January 11) %26hellip; More Texans on the town: G Gallery%26rsquo;s painter Felice House and sculptor Dana Younger; curator Diane Barber pairs them in a parody of the Old West titled %26ldquo;Re-Western%26rdquo; (December 7 %26ndash; 29) %26hellip; The standard-bearer of Latin American modernism, Sicardi Gallery, presents Marco Maggi and Liliana Porter, including the latter%26rsquo;s nuanced conceptual self-portraits from the early 1970s (through December 19) %26hellip; Art Palace%26rsquo;s solo for Raychael Stine has been luring collectors aplenty, including Lester Marks and Leigh and Reggie Smith, for Stine%26rsquo;s gestural painting based on abstract figuration, all inspired by her late pet dachshund (through December 21) .%26hellip; There%26rsquo;s new life at Esperson Gallery (Mellie Esperson Building), as PR maven Tammy Dowe teams with co-curator Tra Slaughter to present fresh shows; upcoming PC Acquire talent Kelley Devine mines literature as media for her striking portraits (December 6 %26ndash; January 10), while NYC-based forensic scientist/artist Jen Hannaford works with fingerprints and police-blotter paper to create images of historical figures who got booked, from Lenny Bruce to Rosa Parks (through January 10) %26hellip; Under-the-radar Houston artist Troy Stanley is a shapeshifter whose latest, %26ldquo;concrete-spring%26rdquo; at Barbara Davis Gallery, displays strange, albeit compelling, effects with surprising substances, from obsessively coiled cardboard to crocheted tablecloths (December 13 %26ndash; January 31).

Bauble Blast: At Sharon Engelstein%26rsquo;s bungalow-as-white cube, Front Gallery, %26ldquo;Trim%26rdquo; features trunk shows (Saturday, December 7, 4 to 6 pm) for some of Engelstein%26rsquo;s bauble-making pals, including Floridian Dena Bagon%26rsquo;s Victorian and Georgian-era charms tweaked for the new century (December 7 %26ndash; January 4).

Outside the Box: Join lensman Brent Bruni Comiskey and yours truly, curators, for %26ldquo;The Calavera Collection%26rdquo; a nifty show and sale by the students of HISD%26rsquo;s Wharton Academy Wednesday, December 11, 4 to 7 pm, at Radical Eats. Everyone needs a sugar skull art piece for the holidays ( %26hellip; Photog Debbie Porter takes up illustration, and we%26rsquo;re won over by her charming Phebe volume; acquire a signed edition at Nicole Longnecker Gallery Thursday, December 12, 6 to 8 pm; proceeds benefit ArtBridge %26hellip; I%26rsquo;ve been a fan of reporter Abby Koenig ever since she covered my dad%26rsquo;s show, %26ldquo;Plastic Fantastic,%26rdquo; last year. Who knew she was an artist, adroit at multimedia and storytelling? Make tracks to Koenig%26rsquo;s poignant performance and installation, %26ldquo;The Jew Who Loves Christmas,%26rdquo; organized by Fresh Arts at Winter Street (Friday, December 6, 7 pm performance; exhibition through January 3).

Window Gazing: The Main Street Window Project rolls out its latest: a holiday trilogy by McKay Otto, Sharon Kopriva and Sherry Owens. The big reveal is Thursday, December 5, followed by a lively holiday market Sunday, December 8. Look for the Continental Club and shop art; also check out The Place Upstairs, a creepy charming boite for the fabulous.

Best Gift: Tickets to the splendors of one of America%26rsquo;s mythic French painting collections. Touring to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, are 73 canvases by dazzling players %26mdash; Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet, Morisot, Pissarro, Bonnard and more, plus some underknowns %26mdash; from the age of Impressionism, culled by discerning collectors Sterling and Francine Clark. From 1910 to 1950, the couple assembled a magnificent cache that could never be duplicated, creating their own eponymous collection in a museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts. While the Clark gets an expansion by Tadao Ando, its treasures are traveling; the MFAH is the 10th and final stop of a three-year schedule, Milan to Shanghai (December 22 %26ndash; March 23).

See you in %26rsquo;14. It%26rsquo;s going to be a rocking year for art.

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