Tag: contemporary arts museum

Donald Moffett, The Extravagant Vein – Houston – Texas

Donald Moffett, "Lot 092107 (X150)," 2007. Oil, cotton, aluminum, rabbit skin glue, and polyvinyl acetate on linen. 24 x 20 in. Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York.


From October1, 2011 to January 8, 2012 – Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Organized by CAMH Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein is the first survey exhibition of this American artist’s prolific practice. The exhibition will present work created over the last two decades, surveying nine important bodies of work that interrogate and blur the definition of painting by incorporating non-traditional materials such as video and photography. The exhibition will also address Moffett’s political engagement.

The first comprehensive survey of Moffett’s investigations into art history, paint, and form, Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein will provide viewers with insight into the breadth and range of the artist’s practice over the past twenty years. As a painter, Moffett extends the traditional two-dimensional frame, converting the ordinariness of the flat plane into highly textured relief works with his signature oil paintings or into intricate illuminations by incorporating video projections onto the canvas. The subject matter of his paintings—from landscape and nature to politics and history—are poetic, provocative, and even at times humorous. An astute and thoughtful painter, Moffett knows the power of the artist to critique the world at large, and his love of the Spanish romantic painter Goya (1746-1828) and Italian painter Morandi (1890-1964), are manifested in his ability to blend the subtle with the outlandish, the image with social critique. As a founding member of Gran Fury, the artistic arm of the activist group ACT UP, Moffett has remained engaged with issues surrounding the presence of gays in historical and contemporary culture. And he is fearless in addressing issues that still resonate today, such as the rights of openly gay men and women to serve in the military (Gays in the Military, 1990-91) and the aesthetics of gay subcultures (Fleisch, 2007). Moffett is also interested in the ecstatic and its manifestation in the secular world in which we inhabit. Moffett incorporates sound and light in his work, sometimes as stand alone projects and at other times in conjunction with his paintings, creating an ambiance more reminiscent of the art and culture of the Renaissance era than of our current technological world. While this exhibition provides contemporary views on several important topics of our contemporary lives, it is, too, a meditation on the larger, timeless universal issues of love, loss, alienation, and death.

Museum Hours


The Spectacular of Vernacular – Houston – Texas

Lari Pittman, A Decorated Chronology of Insistence and Resignation 330, 1994. Acrylic, enamel, and glitter on two wood panels. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles


From July 30 to September 18, 2011 – Contemporary Arts Museum Houston – Walker Art Center

In an era of virtual neighborhoods and fast-paced internet communication, The Spectacular of Vernacular addresses the role of vernacular forms in the work of 2o artists who utilize craft, incorporate folklore, and revel in roadside kitsch to explore the role of culturally specific iconography in the increasingly global world of art. Originally employed as a linguistic term, vernacular is now broadly applied to categories of culture, standing in for regional, folkloric, or homemade—concepts that contemporary artists have investigated since the late 1950s as part of a deeper consideration of the relationship between art and everyday life.
For those included in the exhibition, aspects of the vernacular—and often specifically American vernacular—provide a platform for narratives of home life, social ritual, and sense of place. Drawing inspiration from such diverse sources as local architecture, amateur photographers, and state fair banners, their work runs the aesthetic spectrum from sleek to homespun, underscoring the diverse manifestations of the vernacular within our lived environment and its impact on artists working today.

Museum Hours


Perspectives 173: Clifford Owens – Houston – Texas



January 7 to April 3, 2011 – Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Perspectives 173: Clifford Owens marks the first museum solo exhibition for this New York-based photographer and performance artist. Often incorporating the camera in his performance works, Owens blurs the boundaries between the documentation of his performance events and the creation of photographic artwork born out of action. Additionally, Owens’ performances break through the separation between artist and viewer by allowing audiences to participate in events. He also restages historical work by other artists, creating open-ended situations that challenge the convention of art-making. Inherent in his work, however, is the proclivity for performance as complex and process-oriented work. Owens’ works often contain multiple components and layers based upon his interactions with the public or other artists. These interactions serve to create a context for the work that involves physically demanding actions within a controlled set of conditions. Working within these self-imposed conditions, Owens brings a new perspective to the history of performance art through the incorporation of the camera and audience as well as through the restaging of historical performance works. Particularly in his restaging, Owens brings a newfound understanding of the canon through the recognition of black artists who have been historically lost within this dialogue. Organized by CAMH Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver.

Museum Hours


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