PaperCity Magazine

February 2020- Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 87 of 103

ART BANQUET: VISCERAL CANVASES Houston audiences have not seen a local exhibition of works by Francis Bacon (1909-1992) since a CAMH survey in 1964. Cue "Francis Bacon: Late Paintings," which arrives from Centre Pompidou in Paris, its organizing museum, to land like a thunderclap upon the Texas art world — the fi rst- ever museum exhibition to examine the artist's fi nal decades. There's a paucity of Bacon works in Texas public collections; in fact, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, owns not a single work by the seminal post-war British painter. So, kudos to the MFAH for showing this powerful chapter in the Bacon anthology. It's no accident that Houston is the sole U.S. venue: Director Gary Tinterow is a Bacon scholar and curated the artist's 2009 retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during his curatorial tenure there, the last major show in America. Tinterow told PaperCity, "Somehow, Bacon causes eye of top collector Dennis Freedman, the Parsons-educated former creative director for W magazine and later Barneys New York. A phalanx of new disciples of design confi dently strode through the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. Their stance was smart, independent, guerrilla, and anti-materialism as they experimented with — and enthusiastically embraced — new materials. There were so many designers, architects, and collectives percolating through Florence, Milan, Turin, Naples, and Padua, that a movement christened Radical Italian design was birthed. And Freedman was obsessed. Over two decades, he assembled one of the most prized troves of Radical Italian design in the U.S. Thanks to a 2015 Manhattan dinner party where MFAH design curator Cindi Strauss met Freedman, this exhibition came to be — and now this collector's Radical holdings have landed in Houston as a museum gift/purchase. The first American museum exhibition to focus upon this movement since MoMA's landmark 1972 show, the MFAH's presentation taps Brooklyn architects Almost Studio for a dramatic installation in Cullinan Hall that promises to be as engaging as the inventive works it showcases. There are 67 pieces of furniture, lighting, and objects by 42 designers and collectives, few of which are widely known except Ettore Sottsass and Gaetano Pesce. Strauss told PaperCity, "So many of the designs are fascinating because of their materials; their forms inspired by Pop Art, Arte Povera, and Minimalism; and their ability to communicate messages. The fact that so many are prototypes or were made in small numbers adds to their rare status as artifacts of the movement." Law Building, February 14 – April 26. us to refl ect on the human condition, prompting questions, rather than answers, and that remains engaging." Viewers should be prepared for unflinching imagery. Among the canvases are twisted and distorted portraits, including his own self-portrait from 1971, which foreshadow today's unsettling facial fi lters on Instagram. There's a poignant pair of triptychs of his late partner, George Dyer, whose 1971 suicide came two days before Bacon's big honor: his Grand Palais retrospective in Paris. The painter's fi nal canvas, only exhibited once before, is present: the starkly minimal Study of a Bull, 1991, which incorporates dust from his studio — a meditation on "ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Beck Building, February 23 – May 25. RADICAL: ITALIAN DESIGN 1965-1985 On Valentine's Day, the MFAH mounts a jewel box of a show seen from the FRANCIS BACON+ RADICAL DESIGN AT MFAH TOP: COLLECTION CENTRE POMPIDOU, PARIS. © THE ESTATE OF FRANCIS BACON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / DACS, LONDON / ARS, NY 2019. BELOW RIGHT; COLLECTION MFAH, PHOTO KENT PELL. Above: Francis Bacon's Self-Portrait, 1971. Right: Urano Palma's Armchair, circa 1970-1974. BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - February 2020- Houston