Get a Rare Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Houston’s Arts Changing Moody Center — a PaperCity Video Exclusive
Taking a Closer Look at a Radical ShowBY Catherine D. Anspon
Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University's epic exhibition, "Radical Revisionists" (Photo by Nash Baker)
Omar Victor Diop's "Jean-Baptiste Belley," 2014, from the "Diaspora Series," is one of the signature images in the Moody Center for the Arts exhibition "Radical Revisionists." (Copyright the artist, courtesy Galerie Magnin-A, Paris)
The Moody Center's contemporary African exhibition spills outside to engage campus visitors in the power of "Radical Revisionists." Shown, a banner based upon Njideka Akunyili Crosby's "In the Lavender Room," 2019. (Photo by Nash Baker)
Adama Delphine Fawundu's "Passageways #3, Secrets, Traditions, Spoken and Unspoken Truths or Not," 2017, introduces the artist to Texas audiences in the Moody Center's "Radical Revisionists," co-curated by the Moody's executive director Alison Weaver. (Courtesy the artist)
Architect Carlos Jiménez devised the immersive, dramatic installation for the Moody Center's "Radical Revisionists." (Photo by Nash Baker)
Within Houston’s art world, one of the most positive additions of the last decade has been the arrival of the Moody Center for the Arts.
In an exclusive for PaperCity, founding Suzanne Deal Booth executive director Alison Weaver — who curated this spring’s “Radical Revisionists” along with independent curator Rachel Kabukala — gives us a behind-the-scenes video tour of the Moody Center’s sweeping contemporary African exhibition. (Watch the full video above this story.)
Think Tank Meets Art Space
First a little background: Since opening in the spring of 2017, the Moody Center has been a beacon of thoughtful energy, aligning activism, art, and scientific components in an organic, unfolding dialogue that translates into some of the smartest shows in Texas.
The immersive think tank/art space on the Rice University campus — footsteps away from where Dominique and John de Menil once organized exhibitions at Rice Gallery — features a buoyant building designed by Los Angeles architect Michael Maltzan.
But what goes on inside the architecture is the Moody’s true calling card.
Nowhere is that more evident than its last offering: a compelling group show aligned with FotoFest’s biennial focus on Africa — one that thankfully opened weeks before the coronavirus lockdown.
Let’s Get Radical at The Moody
“Radical Revisionists: Contemporary African Artists Confronting Past and Present” rounds up riveting photographic images (mostly portraits), sculpture, mixed media, a site-specific installation, and even virtual reality. The installation is dramatic, boldly pigmented, and risk-taking, with the Moody Center commissioning Houston architect Carlos Jiménez to reimagine the gallery space for this flagship show.
Of the 10 artists featured, culled from Africa and the African Diaspora, only one is familiar: British-Nigerian art star Yinka Shonibare CBE, whose sculpture conflates Dutch wax-printed fabric, a staple of West African fashion, with European post-colonialism. The other talents on view, although not big names on the auction house/art fair circuit (yet), are able to stand on their own next to Shonibare.
Most remarkable, as you’ll see in this video, are the photographers who recast the African historical narrative with a series of portraits that are as powerful as they are unforgettable.
Stay tuned for details as to the timing of the Moody Center’s eventual reopening here.