PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston March 2022

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TK F ive years ago almost to the month, we reported upon a $30- million think tank and installation space that we described as "a shining addition to Texas' cultural landscape." That would be Rice University's Moody Center for the Arts. Flash forward, and as a new decade advances, we consider some of the transformative exhibitions that the Moody staged — often paired with interdisciplinary, collaborative e l e m e n t s a n d h a p p e n i n g s . Remarkably, thanks to the Moody, Rice has come full circle. The center has added vitality to the corner of the Rice campus that bears the de Menils' footprint and back in the day, was the Art Barn, teaming with avant-garde activity. (Officially the Menil-founded Institute for the Arts, it captivated audiences by presenting shows like Andy Warhol's "Raid the Icebox"; the metal-clad Art Barn was the forerunner to The Menil Collection.) The Moody, always free and open MOODY MILESTONE CELEBRATING CINCO AT RICE'S NEXUS FOR ART + IDEAS. By Catherine D. Anspon to the public as well as to its student population, mirrors some of the Menil DNA, in the activist stance of its programming. Sited at the southern edge of the university, close to a leafy neighborhood bordering Rice Village (Stockton entrance, off University Boulevard), the Silver LEED-certified 50,000-square-foot structure was designed by Los Angeles-based architect Michael Maltzan (whose known for his elegant, sensitive projects that alleviate homelessness working with the Skid Row Housing Trust in L.A.). The building appears to levitate; its second-floor brick coursers nod to the architectural past of the university, hovering over the ground level's floor-to-ceiling wall of glass. Three load-bearing stainless-steel-and-glass lanterns evoke the abstracted oak trees that are the campus' calling cards. But it's what happens inside that has made the Moody more than a work of architecture, but a place vital to Houston's art ecosystem. Two main gallery spaces along with an intimate gallery for viewing videos provide a mutable stage for presenting ambitious exhibitions — ones that vary between installation-oriented solos to group shows edged in prescience and provocation. The curatorial honors have alternated among three brilliant women with art chops: Alison Weaver, the Suzanne Deal Booth executive director; curator Frauke Josenhans; and guest curator Ylinka Barotto. Notwithstanding all of the above, the Moody, being on a university campus (yet easily accessible) is still not on every art acolyte's radar — but it deserves to be. Learn Moody milestone exhibitions at Attend the Moody's 5th Birthday Party with Sir Woman, Saturday, March 5, 8 pm, free, registration required: "Josiah McElheny: Island Universe," Spring 2018, at the Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University Nick Cave's Soundsuit, 2013 NASH BAKER COLLECTION OF LESTER AND PENELOPE MARKS/LGM PARTNERS; COURTESY THE ARTIST AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK

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