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ART NOTES CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: PHOTO JAY CLARK. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND ANYA TISH GALLERY. PRIVATE COLLECTION, SWITZERLAND; COURTESY GEORGES-PHILIPPE & NATHALIE VALLOIS GALLERY, PARIS. © NIKI CHARITABLE ART FOUNDATION / ADAGP, PARIS, 2021. PHOTO ANDRÉ MORIN. From above: Gao Hang's Plans, 2019 – 2021, at Winter Street Gallery Niki de Saint Phalle's Madame ou Nana verte au sac noir, 1968, at The Menil Collection B laffer's Best: At the University of Houston, Blaffer Art Museum has mounted remarkable exhibitions for a half- century. Among the most powerful is the now-on-view retrospective for Houston artist Jamal Cyrus, "The End of My Beginning," curated by Blaffer director/chief curator Steven Matijcio. A pendant exhibition organized by Dr. Alvia Wardlaw at University Museum at Texas Southern University (where Cyrus is an art professor) pairs the historical with today: "Levels & Layers: An Artist's Reflections On Third Ward" (both exhibitions through September 19). One of the most haunting and nuanced mediations upon American history in regards to the Black experience, the Blaffer exhibit employs visceral to minimal materials — from human hair, a toy house, and miniature figurines to pages from vintage archives of Jet magazine to sheets of redacted papyrus. Don't miss the iconic Texas Fried Tenor (2012), which will be employed in an upcoming performance (details, Immigration Policy: A Houston Arts Alliance grant propelled Chinese-born, Houston-based Gao Hang to present "Almost Extraordinary," a provocative, real-life look at the artist's visa struggles as an MFA student at the University of Houston. Known for his next-gen, saucy Pop canvases, Gao departs from that body of work to present images with a deep personal resonance. Aishan Zhang with Museum 2050, NYC and Atlanta-based Isabella Ko, a former Mellon Fellow. co-curate the project at Winter Street Gallery in Sawyer Yards (September 4 – October 2). Pop Surrealism Meet Feminism: The Menil Collection presents a captivating show for an icon of European Pop art, a sculptor of riotous joie de vivre, and an idiosyncratic iconoclast — Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002) — in a fresh take on the artist during the radical, world-changing 1960s. A decade before Chris Burden enacted Shoot with a .22 caliber rifle, Saint Phalle was gunning up her paintings, also with a .22, inviting participants to implode concealed bags of pigment upon pristine white-plaster surfaces. Or, as the artist described: "To make the painting bleed." After Houston, the Saint Phalle show travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; the Menil and MCASD co-organize this overdue reexamination of the only female member of the European avant- garde Nouveaux Réalistes, as well as collaborator with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg (September 10 – January 23). Power to the People: At the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, L.A. artist Cauleen Smith's redemptively titled "We Already Have What We Need" combines film, video, sculpture, craft, textiles, installations, drawing, wordsmithing, and even neon signage. Organized by MASS MoCA and installed at the CAMH by curator Rebecca Matalon, the immersive exhibition transports the viewer many places while making us question the proscribed narrative of American history in relation to the African Diaspora (through October 3). Catherine D. Anspon Peter Augustus Owen at PAO Projects. Jamal Cyrus in "The End of My Beginning" at Blaffer Art Museum 100

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