Art Notes

East Meets West
At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, two exhibitions showcase geographic, aesthetic and cultural diversity. %26#8220;Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam%26#8221; plunges the viewer into a voyage into the art, furniture and objects created by this historic branch of Islam. The exhibition features intriguing, even mystical fare from the 9th century to today, including mosque lighting, wine and beggar%26#8217;s bowls, contemporary canvases that shimmer with light and, of course, illuminated manuscripts. The Brooklyn Museum organizes this traveling exhibition, which is coordinated here by MFAH assistant curator of the Arts of the Islamic World, Francesca Leoni, who adds the contemporary spin (through August 8) ... Then the MFAH metaphorically heads way out West with %26#8220;The Masterworks of Charles M. Russell: A Retrospective of Painting and Sculpture.%26#8221; This is the first major survey for this inimitable American artist (1864%26#8211;1926), who defined cowboy culture while depicting some of the marginalized figures of the mythic West. Emily Neff organizes the Houston stop of this traveling tour, a collaboration between the Denver Art Museum and Tulsa%26#8217;s Gilcrease Museum (June 6 %26#8211; August 29).

Get Crafty/We Love Photography
At the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Valerie Cassel Oliver curates a topical exploration of the collision of craft and performance in %26#8220;Hand+Made,%26#8221; including the sexy Marilyn Minter and 2010 Whitney Biennial%26#8211;exhibited Theaster Gates (through July 25) ... At Holocaust Museum Houston, German artist in Houston Hans Molzberger employs crafts in a searing examination of Nazi atrocities. His photography on raku ceramic plates, arranged in a portal tunnel, document a forced labor concentration camp for women in %26#8220;Never Let It Rest!%26#8221; (through October 3) ... One of Texas%26#8217; best, Will Michels, is literally in the lens at Houston Center for Photography in %26#8220;Made by Will: Selections from Four Portfolios,%26#8221; paired with the debut of an extraordinary series by another Houston photographer, Scott Dalton. The latter%26#8217;s %26#8220;Macondo: Journeys in Garcia Marquez%26#8221; stars images that capture the cadence of Marquez%26#8217;s great novels of magic realism, created during the decade when Dalton lived in Colombia. Also highlighted at HCP are Matt Eich%26#8217;s %26#8220;Carry Me Ohio%26#8221; about the lost American dream in the Buckeye State and 20 self-portraits by area teens that often rise to the extraordinary. (All HCP exhibitions through June 27.)

Gallery Action
Speaking of photography, Texas artist Beau Comeaux mines the night in a showcase at Darke Gallery (June 11 %26#8211; July 2), which has now doubled its digs in the West End after an expansion that converts owner artist Linda Darke%26#8217;s gleaming tin house into a second gallery building ... Over on Colquitt, McMurtrey Gallery pitches a doubleheader, pairing Houston artists Cheyanne Ramos%26#8217; nimble paintings (her %26#8220;Beer and Skittles%26#8221; is the best title of the season) with Michael de la Cerda%26#8217;s airy abstract sculptures (both June 5 %26#8211;%26nbsp;July 2) ... At Moody Gallery, hometown talent Claire Ankenman solos with a new series that poetically melds feminism with organic minimalism (June 5 %26#8211; July 3) ... At theIsabella Courts complex, Inman Gallery's show for Darren Waterston is creating big buzz, with collectors such as Michael Landrum acquiring the West Coast artist's nuanced watercolors executed on 18th- or 19th-century prints (through June 19) ... Neighboring Art Palace rolls out a dual bill with Emilie Halpern and Eric Zimmerman, two image makers whose multilayered installation challenges the viewer to decipher its message (through June 19) ... Over Heights way, the daughter of Whitney Biennial talent Al Souza is featured at Na%26#252;-haus Gallery. Owner/director/fellow artist Dan Allison is spot on with his showing of Alyson Souza, a well-regarded national talent residing in both New York and L.A., whose idiosyncratic oil and wood reliefs suggest the strange energy of Coney Island signage (June 5 %26#8211;%26nbsp;27) ... "The White Album" at Wade Wilson Art offers a summery slew of canvases inspired by both the color and the Beatles' classic album of the same name ... And kudos to Laura Rathe, who celebrates a decade as a dealer with a swell f%26#234;te on Saturday, June 5, at her eponymous gallery.

Chi Town/Big Moulah
Houston art types took on Art Chicago last month to great success. Exhibitors included Gallery Sonja Roesch and John Palmer Art; the featured speakers, collectors Lester Marks and Reggie Smith, wowed the crowd with the latest dish about the Texas scene during a panel discussion at the reinvigorated international art fair ... And the winner of the $50,000 Hunting Art Prize is %26#8230; Houston artist Lane Hagood, an emerging visualist with a freshly minted UH degree who has shown at living-room-as-art-space The Joanna; catch his current solo, "Old Book Smell," at Gallery 1724 (through June 19).

Images: Above, Cheyanne Ramos%26#8217; Hang on to Your Change, 2009, at McMurtrey Gallery. Below: Beau Comeaux%26#8217;s New Construction, 2009, at Darke Gallery.

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