This Month’s Must-See Exhibits in Houston: January 2023

A fiber artwork of a person reading a book in bed
"Ledger of Truth" by Patrick Quarm | Courtesy of Moody Center for the Arts

Catch our picks for the latest exhibitions and installations at art galleries and museums throughout Greater Houston in January 2023.

This month, we’ve rounded up seven of the city’s current exhibitions that represent just a slice of what Houston has to offer in the worlds of art, history and culture.

But this isn’t all you can see at museums and other institutions across the city, so go deeper and get a look at all the ongoing exhibitions when you check out our guide to installations and exhibitions in Greater Houston.

Top Exhibitions in Houston This Month: January 2023

An exhibition view of large-scale photographs on display at the Menil
“African Spirits” by Samuel Fosso closes in mid-January | Photo: Paul Hester; courtesy of Menil Collection

Samuel Fosso: African Spirits
at Menil Collection

Presented in conjunction with the FotoFest Biennial 2022, African Spirits features 14 large-scale photographs that portrays Cameroon-born artist Samuel Fosso as prominent figures of the 20th-century Black liberation movements.

Through the series, Fosso takes on the portraits of leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Angela Davis and Patrice Lumumba, raising questions about individuality, celebrity, the media and the history of representation.

A detail view of colorful fiber artwork and fabric patches
A detail of “Mismatched Napery” by Lauren Peterson | Courtesy of HCCC

CraftTexas 2022
at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Drawn from a pool of more than 250 applicants, this juried exhibition features some of the best in Texas-made contemporary craft across 40 pieces by nearly 30 finalists.

Juried by Andres Payan Estrada, a curator with the Los Angeles–based Craft Contemporary, CraftTexas invites viewers to find “more nuanced and poetic approaches to identity politics, personal histories and communal experiences.”

Through a wide variety of artwork, materials and installations—with a particularly strong showing of fiber, metal and mixed media—the exhibition offers pieces that speak to the artists’ personal stories of struggle and resilience.

An exhibition view of “La Ciudad en las Nubes” by Claudia Ruiz Gustafson | Courtesy of Houston Center for Photography

2022 HCP Fellowships & Looking Inside Out
at Houston Center for Photography

Two exhibitions close out the month of January at Houston Center for Photography in Montrose.

In the 2022 HCP Fellowship Exhibition, Chief Curator at Brooklyn-based BRIC Elizabeth Ferrer served as juror in this annual exhibition that seeks to identify two exemplary artists—one residing within a 100-mile radius of Houston and the other from anywhere in the world.

Claudia Ruiz Gustafson of Massachusetts features as an HCP Fellow, reflecting on Machu Picchu and 20th-century cultural imperialism and appropriation.

And André Ramos-Woodard of Houston explores the blunt realities of a racist America through historic images of pop culture characters and cartoons.

In Looking Inside Out, the art of Angenella Scarano and Mark Austin Ray create a dialogue that explores the ideas of the self in relation to emotional and lived-in contexts.

Scarano dives into her own growth and individuality in A Peek Into Womanhood, while Mark Austin Ray examines the traces of life left behind in run-down buildings in Spoonhouse.

An art exhibit with brass instruments and cymbals suspended in mid-air
An installation view of artwork by Steve Parker | Courtesy of Art League Houston

Steve Parker, Moe Penders, Hedwige Jacobs & Ashley Pridmore
at Art League Houston

Four exhibitions feature at Art League Houston in Montrose, closing in early February.

Fight Song by Austin-based artist Steve Parker is an installation featuring NCAA marching bands performing sonic meditations, examining themes of healing, injury and labor in football.

Salvadoran artist Moe Penders delves into dialogue around queer and trans narratives in Cuir, exploring the context of queer politics, war politics and imposed heteronormativity, drawing from regions of El Salvador, Houston and San Diego.

The Inside of Envelopes by Hedwige Jacobs invites viewers to consider the ways in which we communicate in a changing world, utilizing “security envelopes” that have been opened and modified with drawn figures, patterns and abstract forms.

And in the Sculpture Garden, All Things Being Equal; or, Eve Can’t Stop Dreaming About That Goddamn Snake by Ashley Pridmore is a site-responsive installation focusing on the creative and destructive forces present in the natural world, and the loss of home and habitat resulting from events such as floods.

A bronze collar made from woven cotton in a lace pattern
A bronze collar featured in the “Woman, the Spirit of the Universe” exhibition, opening in January | Courtesy of Holocaust Museum Houston

Woman, the Spirit of the Universe
at Holocaust Museum Houston

Inspired by 23 American heroines that tirelessly fought for equality, artist Carolyn Marks Johnson has created bronze-cast collars that each represent the storied figures in America’s fight to establish women’s rights.

Spanning from the late 1600s to today, the women highlighted in this exhibition include politicians like Governor Ann Richards and Representative Barbara Jordan, labor rights activist Delores Huerta, abolitionists and activists like Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and several more.

*Included with general admission. $22; $16 for ages 65+; free for ages 18 and under.

A large-scale outdoor installation of blue fibers weaved together
“Honey” by Orly Genger | Courtesy of Moody Center for the Arts

Narrative Threads: Fiber Art Today
at Moody Center for the Arts

On the Rice University campus, the Moody’s spring exhibition features fiber-based art from 21 international artists that are at the forefront of contemporary fiber arts.

Offering a wide range of perspectives through diverse lenses, the artwork speaks to contemporary issues of identity, race, gender, sexuality and power that are explored through an ancient, multicultural textile artform.

The resulting exhibition is one that advances communication through a broad array of materials and techniques to explore personal and political issues in ways that are autobiographical and critical of societal structures.

Side-by-side paintings of "Judith and Holofernes"
“Judith and Holofernes” by Artemisia Gentileschi (left) and Kehinde Wiley (right) | Courtesy of MFAH

Portrait of Courage: Gentileschi, Wiley & the Story of Judith
at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston unveils a three-month exhibition of the famed 17th-century painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, paired with Kehinde Wiley’s 21st-century painting, both named Judith and Holofernes.

The two paintings created 400 years apart are brought together in dialogue around the story of Judith and Holofernes, an Old Testament Book wherein a courageous local widow helps to liberate her Jewish town from the Assyrian army by beheading the general Holofernes.

Together, the two works bridge the contemporary issues faced in 17th-century Italy and 21st-century America, revolving around gender, race, violence, oppression and social power.

*Included with general admission. $19; $16 for ages 65+; $12 for ages 13 to 18; free for ages 12 and under.

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A longtime Houstonian, Justin Jerkins always keeps an eye out for what's ahead on Houston's horizon while serving as Editor-in-Chief of 365 Things to Do in Houston. When he's not passing along the latest events, destinations and hidden treasures in H-Town, he loves diving into the city's food scene, shopping local and learning about Houston's rich history.