P ses to HOUSTON BY HOLLY WALRATH
Dear Houston, You and I have had a bumpy year so far. Are you sad that I’ve settled down in Clear Lake, one of those mysterious suburbs that isn’t quite true Houston but still counts for the taxes and my street address? Did you flood my car out so I could finally feel like a true Houstonian? Do you miss the times I’ve stepped foot in the hallowed halls of your museums and theaters? Let’s face it, our history’s a bit tumultuous. You know, when I lived in Austin, we used to joke about you. Houston? Who would want to live there? Isn’t it mostly swamp? But our relationship can only be closer if I’m willing to grow. Look, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a typical suburbanite sometimes. I get rain-shy now, I’m afraid to leave the house unless I’m certain it will be a good time. But I’m willing to work it out, for you Houston. So here are some promises for the fall I’m making to you to make up for all those times I made fun of you. I hope this soothes the bayou beast in your heart. Houston, this fall I promise to take in more life drawing classes at the Art League. Did you know that I used to draw? Sure, my figures look more like anime characters than da Vinci models, but it’s worth it to turn my brain off and relax a little among artists. I can spare some time in my Saturday for three hours of quiet drawing bliss. In fact, I promise to check out more of the art classes you, fine city, have to offer. I may pop over to the MFAH’s sketch class in the gardens of Bayou Bend and feel like a butterfly among the woodlands. (Although if I must be hon-
est, I’ll probably wait till it cools off a little.) The CAMH’s Open Studio sessions this fall include assemblage inspired by their upcoming exhibit, Nari Ward’s “We the People.” I’d love to check out Second Thursdays at Texas Art Asylum and maybe try my hand at crocheting again. Do Houston girls crochet? I think so. I also promise to take more advantage of your worldclass museums. It’s a bit of a joy that while the rest of the nation is largely unaware of how much of an art scene Houston boasts, I have the option to spend every weekend taking in a new exhibit. This fall, I promise to get out to “Miss Ima Hogg & Modernism” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (July 27-November 3). This collection of the famous First Lady of Texas is just another example of Houston’s secret undercurrent of strong, influential women who’ve shaped the art culture we all enjoy today. Ima Hogg donated her home—the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens—and her collection of early American decorative arts and paintings to the MFAH in 1957. It’s a chance to see more than 100 prints and drawings by artists including George Bellows, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, José Clemente Orozco, and Pablo Picasso. Speaking of influential women, the Menil will be hosting the works of American artist and author Dorothea Tanning through October 13th. This collection of over 100 graphic works includes prints and illustrated books featuring Tanning’s dreamlike lithography, delicate figures, and haiku-paired etchings.