The ACTX Top Ten: October 2015

#10 – Ballet Hispanico at SPA

HOUSTON— Audiences can never get enough of Bizet’s Carmen, so there’s always room for another take on this steamy and classic story about a passionate gypsy. Society for the Performing Arts presents Ballet Hispancio in Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s CARMEN.maquia, which fuses contemporary dance with splashes of Spanish paso doble and flamenco, Oct. 24 at Jones Hall.

IMAGE ABOVE:  Ballet Hispanico in  Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s CARMEN.maquia.
Photo by Paula Lobo.
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tools#9 –ÄPPÄRÄT  at Ballroom Marfa

MARFA – ÄPPÄRÄT, a group exhibition at Ballroom Marfa curated by Tom Morton features 13 artists who have at least one thing in common; an interest in labor, specifically, the touch of the mammalian hand. The show’s concept is a bit heady but it is concerned first and foremost with man and his relationship with objects. On view through February.

Shimabuku, Oldest and Newest Tools of Human Beings, 2015. 5 stone tools, 3 iPhones, 2 iPads in vitrines. Vitrines 31 1/2 x 51 1/5 x 25 3/5 in each.  Photography by Peter White. Courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London.
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tosca#8 – Tosca and Onegin  at HGO

HOUSTON—Houston Grand Opera opens its season in truly grand style with Puccini’s Tosca, Oct. 23-Nov. 14, directed by John Caird, and staring Liudmyla Monastyrska in the title role, followed by Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Oct. 30-Nov. 13, with Scott Hendricks in the title role.

Patricia Racette in Tosca, HGO’s 2009-10 season. Photo by Felix Sanchez.
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first-new-year#7 – Du Chau at Liliana Bloch Gallery

DALLAS – Until Oct. 24, Dallasites have a special opportunity to commune with recent work by ceramicist (and jack-of-all-trades) Du Chau. Part of a Continuum, a show of recent work now on view at Liliana Bloch Gallery, is an exercise in patience and a meditation on life and belonging. The works, of which there are few, are delicate and mesmerizing; their apparent fragility belying the emotional impact each piece delivers in turn. Music wires affixed with epoxy or porcelain line the gallery walls and porcelain hands and vases adorn the floor and countertops, their impact coming in large part from their sheer number and the occasional imperfection, which reminds viewers of the human touch very much at the forefront in Chau’s work.

Du Chau, Last Rain Porcelain, music wire, epoxy resin 116” x 150” x 13” 2015. Courtesy the artist and Liliana Bloch Gallery.
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busch#6 – Charles Busch at AT&T’s Off Broadway on Flora

DALLAS—AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Off Broadway on Flora Series is back for a second year. Next up is the multi-award winning drag legend Charles Busch who brings an eclectic program mix of songs along with his searing wit, Oct. 29-30 at  Wyly Theatre.

Charles Busch. Photo courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center.
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contemporary#5 – Strange Pilgrims  at the Contemporary

AUSTIN – Curated by Heather Peasanti, Strange Pilgrims, which opened at the Contemporary Sept. 27 and runs through Jan. 24, seeks to explore the melancholy and isolation inherent to Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s book of the same name. Open-mindedness, lack of resolution, strangeness, unfamiliarity, are the themes which tie together the essentially experiential artists who comprise the exhibition. Strange Pilgrims as an exhibition itself is an adventure into the unknown, as the museum branches out to include the University of Texas Visual Arts Center as an auxiliary gallery space in addition to its Jones Center and Laguna Gloria locations for the show.

Trisha Baga and Jessie Stead, Freaky Sunday (detail), 2014. Three-channel 3-D video installation, gaming chairs, 3-D glasses, foam table sculpture, beer cans, ceramic dumbbell, and bathroom weighing scales.  Dimensions variable. Running time: 6:00, 2:30, 2:30. Installation view, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2014. Artwork © Trisha Baga.  Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Image courtesy Greene Naftali, New York. Photograph by Andy Keate.
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gettin#4 – Kyle Abraham at TITAS

DALLAS—Never miss an opportunity to see MacArthur “Genius” award winner and rising choreographer Kyle Abraham. And just in time, TITAS presents the Dallas debut of Kyle Abraham/, Oct. 29-30, at Dallas City Performance Hall.

Kyle Abraham/ in The Gettin.
Photo by Ian Douglas.
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chow-cake#3 – This Side of Paradise  at Fotofest

HOUSTON – Curated by PaperCity’s Catherine Anspon, Fotofest’s 12th annual Talent in Texas exhibition, titled This Side Of Paradise, includes artists from the state’s major cities – namely Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio though one artist from Midland (the notable Steve Goff) is represented. This Side Of Paradise blends together budding artists and more senior photographers to create a holistic portrait of Texas’s visual arts landscape.

Desiree Michelle Espada & Kasumi Chow, Cake, 2014. From the series truly, madly. Courtesy of the artists and The Public Trust, Dallas.
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age-beauty#2 – Dance at Luminaria

SAN ANTONIO—Luminaria, Oct. 23-24, offers virtual feast of dance artists this year, including A’lante Flamenco in Quintaescencia, the Texas premiere of Miguel Gutierrez’s Age & Beauty: Part 1 – Mid-Career Artist/Suicide Note or &:-/, a work commissioned for the 2014 Whitney Biennial, New-York based OUI DANSE, The San Antonio Jazz Ensemble and Seme Jatib’s Latin inspired Media Naranja/ Better Half.

Miguel Gutierrez and mickey mahar in Age & Beauty: Part 1 – Mid-Career Artist/Suicide Note or &:-/. Photo by Ian Douglas.
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easterly#1 – Erika Blumenfeld at Zhulong

DALLAS – Erika Blumenfeld’s photography and video installations, on view through Oct. 17 at Dallas’ Zhulong Gallery, are graceful, spare, and austere. Her time-based pieces are the result of travel to Antarctica for a residency with the Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation, where she studied and documented light phenomena. Blumenfeld’s images are essentially of nature, in a specific place, time, and duration and are filled with commentary about ecological and environmental issues transformed into a minimalist vocabulary.

Erika Blumenfeld, Northerly Southerly Easterly Westerly Light, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Zhulong Gallery.
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