Let There Be Light: Five Shows That Will Glow in 2011

Carlos Cruz Diez_thescienceofdesign_560.jpg
Carlos Cruz-Diez, The Science of Design
​While many visual art spaces will still be pulling together their 2011 schedules well into the year, some of the most interesting shows so far look pretty luminous.

5. Patricia Hernandez at DiverseWorks
What discussion of light is complete without a nod to "Painter of Light" and DUI recipient, Thomas Kinkade? "Patricia Hernandez: Parody of Light" at Diverseworks will feature just what the title says. (And PG Contemporary will feature "Patricia Hernandez: Parody of Light-Original Works" opening January 15, 2011.)

"Patricia Hernandez: Parody of Light," January 14-February 26, 2011

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Adela Andea's Lawndale installation
4. Adela Andea at Anya Tish Gallery
In a past review for the Press I described Romanian artist Adela Andea's Lawndale Art Center installation, filled with glowing rods of cold cathode fluorescent light, as "reminiscent of an Eastern European disco -- in a good way." There's more over-the-top light-fueled work in her upcoming show at Anya Tish Gallery - this time she's creating "futuristic eco-systems."

"Adela Andea: Bioluminescence" January 7 - February 5, 2011

One of Chul-Hyun Ahn's mirrored light boxes
3. Chul-Hyun Ahn at Sonja Roesch
Even in photos, the work of Chul-Hyun Ahn looks gorgeously hallucinatory and I'm thinking it can only be better person. The Korean artist makes light "boxes" using mirrors and colored lights, creating illusions of infinite space. Gallery Sonja Roesch is showing him this fall and it should be great.

"Chul-Hyun Ahn" September 3 through October 29, 2011

2. "Upside Down Arctic Realities" at the Menil Collection
The light up close to the Arctic circle is pretty amazing (when there is light, that is) and the Menil is presenting some incredible artifacts from the region in "Upside Down Arctic Realities." The exhibition features works from 1000 BC to 1400 AD from major sites including Ekven in Russia, Ipiutak in Alaska. I don't know much about the history and cultures of the arctic (and as a good Houstonian, I can't fathom why anyone would willingly live anyplace that freakin' cold) but the show looks fascinating. Too top it off, artist Doug Wheeler, who pioneered the Southern California "Light and Space" movement along with the likes of James Turrell and Robert Irwin, will manipulate the exhibition's "atmospheric qualities" through light. Cool.

"Upside Down Arctic Realities,"April 15 - July 17, 2011

1. Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Octogenarian Carlos Cruz-Diez is getting his first large-scale retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in "Carlos Cruz-Diez: Color in Space and Time." American audiences were introduced to the "Franco-Venezuelan" artist's optically stunning work in the MFAH's groundbreaking 2004 show "Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America." If you missed that show and his standout 1968 light installation Cromosaturación (Chromosaturation) now is your chance to see it again. (Sicardi Gallery will also show the artist April 29 - May 28 2011)

"Carlos Cruz-Diez: Color in Space and Time," February 6 - July 4, 2011

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