Two spectacular summer shows are currently on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and you need to go check them out fast. On the upper floor of the museum is the exhibition Right Here, Right Now: San Antonio. The third iteration of the CAMH’s Right Here, Right Now series, the exhibition focuses on 19 artists and artist collectives living and working in San Antonio, Texas. Organized by Curator Dean Daderko with Exhibitions Manager and Assistant Curator Patricia Restrepo, the exhibition features a colorful collection of varied mediums and assorted generations of captivating works.
The Right Here, Right Now series provides an enlightening and captivating look into the local San Antonio arts scene as well as a regional and statewide creative discourse. The well-informed and meticulously organized show pairs brilliantly with the lower level exhibition, Cary Leibowitz: Museum Show. That exhibition was organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco and curated by Anastasia James, with the Houston element coordinated by Director Bill Arning. The career survey and solo museum exhibition of the New York-based artist drives it home with a witty, humorous and outlandish running commentary. Excavating through topics like LGBT politics, stand-up comedy, pop culture, and a rigid art market, to name a few, Leibowitz installs a hilarious and in-depth look at the world through his eyes. The exhibition has so much to offer and discover that one could traverse through it a dozen times and still find more to dissect.
The two exhibitions create a wonderful forum for discussion and set the stage perfectly for the CAMH’s ongoing summer event series. Comedy Night! was a prime example of a new and collective event put on by the institution. Hosted by local comedians Dusti Rhodes and Nick Meriwether, the evening featured the pure talents of Bob Morrissey, Jaffer Khan, and artist Emily Peacock in company with many creative counterparts. It has to be stated that it’s not everyday you are able to attend a successful stand-up comedy event at a museum packed full of attendees. Many visitors arrived thirty minutes early, only to find themselves squeezing through a crowd to find a few inches to stand in to catch the all-star lineup. It wasn’t just entertaining or time filling, it was an impressive night of comedy, perfectly highlighting the tongue-in-cheek commentary within Cary Leibowitz’s solo show. While the idea of pairing events with exhibitions is not new, the CAMH works hard to ensure that its not just good, but great. It creates a rotating door environment of inclusion and keeps the museum attendees and the community not only coming back but excited for more.
The summer season may be rounding a corner to the end, but rest assured the CAMH has more events awaiting your participation. With family, teen, member, and general public-based programming, the events are plentiful and continue to please. Upcoming this week, The CAMH presents Reading | Word, an evening of poetry and prose from Houston-based writers and poets pulling inspiration from the exhibition of Cary Leibowitz. The evening event is Aug. 2 and starts at 6:30 p.m.
On Aug. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. is Open Studio | Illustrated Folktales in conjunction with Right Here, Right Now: San Antonio artists Richard Armendariz, Lisette Chavez and Audrya Flores. The daytime, all-ages event invites participants to explore the show and create influenced works from a variety of materials. The event encourages spontaneous creativity and interactions through one’s own creations.
The CAMH is always promoting involvement, and that is what makes the institution so special. It continues to navigate the realm between establishment and the everyday viewer and constructs a stable platform for new ways of experiencing contemporary art. It’s a breath of fresh air in this often times stifling and harsh reality we find ourselves in.