With the first hint of chill — and pumpkin spice — in the air, thoughts turn to coordinating sweaters and boots, but also seeking out new art and exhibit experiences for the season. There are new spaces to explore and exciting delights on view, including a Dalí, vibrant Denise Prince digital photo prints, quirky quilts, a Kahlo, and a courageous show of 15 combat artists. Embrace the brisk air and bountiful opportunities this October in Austin.
The Blanton Museum of Art
“Pop Crítico/Political Pop: Expressive Figuration in the Americas, 1960s-1980s.” October 31 through January 16, 2022.
In the 1960s, pop art in the Americas took a turn to the dark side. Artists working in both the United States and Latin America increasingly manipulated pop’s colorful and flashy representation of the familiar into a tool for social and political critique. Juxtaposing works by American and Latin American artists from the ’60s to the ’80s, this exhibition explores how artists adopted pop artistic language to voice a political conscience, often veiling messages within their art. This gathering of work is unified by shared artistic strategies between north and south, such as the use of bright colors, the depiction of everyday objects, the play with irony and satire, and most significantly, the reliance on expressive figuration.
Kelly Framel Studio Gallery
The Austin-born artist has returned to her hometown after living in New York City and Los Angeles (and hosting an extended residency in Mexico) to open a studio gallery in East Austin. Kelly Framel debuts with a permanent exhibit of her own oeuvre but plans to showcase other artists in the new year. Her body of work encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, film, poetry, and textiles “evoking the ideals of a reanimated world rich with magic and metaphor where the divine feminine is venerated, the subconscious is celebrated, and the inner child is given free rein to play.” Framel’s work encourages the viewer to play, to believe in their own wild dreams, and to return to the freedom, naivety, and swirling whimsy of a childlike mind.
West Chelsea Contemporary
“The Austin International Art Fair.” Now through October 24.
“The Austin International Art Fair” is a large-scale immersive exhibition featuring rare works by an impressive roster of 32 international art-world masters from more than 15 countries. Included in the show is work from the father of surrealism, Salvador Dalí, with an exceptional selection from the Argillet Collection. Additional featured artists include neo-surrealist Australian artist Gil Bruvel, Gary James McQueen, contemporary Chinese artists Zhang Xiao Gang, Yue Min Jun, and Zao Wu Ki, as well as neo-pop Japanese artists Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara.
Harry Ransom Center
“Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo.” Currently on view.
The oil-on-canvas painting from 1940 is one of 55 self-portraits painted by Frida Kahlo during her lifetime, and its format, featuring a head-and-shoulders view, is typical of her style of portraiture during this period. The painting’s sophisticated composition and color selection, as well as its delicate brushwork, fine details, and skillful shading, mark it as a principal example of Kahlo’s mature-style portraiture. In recent years, the portrait has been the prominent feature of exhibitions exploring Kahlo’s place within 20th century modernist movements, her intellectual circle, her interest in the natural world, and her practice of collecting Mexican folk art.
“The Conceptual Still Life. New work by Denise Prince.” Now through October 23.
Denise Prince is an Austin-based artist concentrating on photography and film. Prince is known for using the visual syntax of fashion and style photography to explore experience in relation to desire (“the memory of the missing thing”). This playful exhibit includes photography and paintings that examine the way food and flowers have been used as signifiers throughout history, marrying the sensibilities of vintage cookbooks with the visual language of advertising, and with a nod toward indulgence, symbolism, and the Platonic ideal.
Yard Dog at Canopy
“Kurt Herrmann: Backwoods Bebop – New Color Bombs.” October 1 through November 7.
Kurt Herrmann is a colorist at heart whose rural Pennsylvania roots continue to influence his work. “I’m very aware of the fact that even if a painting was initially inspired by something exotic, or an extremely personal event on the other side of the planet, all my work is filtered through my studio in the hills of Appalachia. … The colors, silence, space, seasons, landscape, even the rednecks impact everything I make. It’s inescapable.”
Texas Quilt Museum
“Storylines: Jane Burch Cochran, Wendy Huhn and Joan Schulze.” Now through December 19.
“Storylines” consists of 14 works by three talented quilters who create narrative threads in their work connecting characters and events, often with surprise twists that can complicate the main narrative. Jane Burch Cochran’s quilts will catch your attention with her ornamental embellishment of beads, buttons, and paint. Wendy Huhn’s signature technique of image transfer and screenprinting vividly enables her to present her tales, juxtaposing imaginary characters with mundane objects to pique your curiosity. And Joan Schulze, who is also a poet, gathers her photographs, fragments of text, and other materials into surfaces that make her stories sing with themes of loss, personal connections, and individuality.
Visual Arts Center
“Joey Fauerso: Wait for It.” Now through December 3.
Working across a range of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, and video, San Antonio-based artist Joey Fauerso engages with notions of domesticity, the body, gender, and identity. Her oeuvre consists of large-scale figurative paintings, as well as complex and layered installations, akin to theatrical sets, that the artist outfits with painted canvases, props, and sculptural elements. Her paintings, by contrast, are produced in her studio through a subtractive process in which layers of paint are built up and scraped away, resulting in works that are textured and fluid. Fauerso’s work encourages questions of identity, gender, and representation.
National Museum of the Pacific War
“Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art, 1975-2018.” Now through January 2, 2022.
Sponsored by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, this up close and personal traveling art exhibition includes 36 works by 15 combat artists portraying Marine Corps service from the mid-1970s through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The show is divided among three themes: “Every Clime and Place,” which illustrates the nation’s global force in readiness; “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy,” which portrays Marines capable of fighting the enemy but also delivering aid to those in need; and “The Price,” which provides a glimpse of the sacrifices Marines and their families make and paints a picture on the variety of responsibilities and risks incurred.