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Announcement
October 7, 2021

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Caroline Mesquita, and Maryam Jafri

Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston

[1] Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Comic Relief, 2016. Gloved appendages, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 65 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, and Rachel Uffner Gallery. [2] Caroline Mesquita, detail of Roger, 2021. Courtesy of the artist. [3] Maryam Jafri, detail of (Dis)appearance Online, 2021. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Noora Lehtovuori.

The Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston is pleased to announce its fall exhibition program.

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung: Comic Relief
October 31, 2021—March 13, 2022

Comic Relief is the first museum survey devoted to the iconoclastic American artist, writer, and educator Molly Zuckerman-Hartung. Featuring over 100 artworks made across the past 20 years, this exhibition celebrates multiple dimensions of Zuckerman-Hartung’s punk-influenced aesthetic—tracing an expansive practice that spans assemblage, paintings and sculptures, drawings and prints, photographs, writing, and performance.

In her formative years, Zuckerman-Hartung participated in Riot Grrrl—the 1990s underground punk scene that originated in the Pacific Northwest and exhorted radical female empowerment through collaborative community-building and the rejection of male-dominated power structures. This involvement had a lasting effect on the artist, instilling within her a permanent inclination toward inquiry and critique, as well as a deep-rooted sense of creative resistance to societal boundaries, cultural norms, and conventional aesthetics.

Since the mid-2000s, Zuckerman-Hartung has primarily identified as a painter—often rethinking, performing, or activating aspects of the medium's long history, various visual languages, and critical strategies as a starting place for her own socially conscious practice. The artist's densely-cobbled, largely abstract objects vary in scale and evocatively draw on references to feminist and queer theories, pop culture, literature, psychoanalysis, art history, current events, comedy, and her life. With a slapstick sensibility and radical self-awareness, Zuckerman-Hartung's work creates a unique lexicon for illuminating the motley dimensions of our daily systems and psychosocial landscapes.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue co-published by Inventory Press, featuring essays by exhibition curator Tyler Blackwell, art historian Kate Nesin, archivist Lisa Darms, and artist Annie Bielski.

Caroline Mesquita: Noctambules
November 13, 2021—March 13, 2022

Caroline Mesquita is one of the most intriguing and innovative young sculptors to emerge out of France, and the Blaffer Art Museum is excited to present her first solo museum exhibition in the United States. A jubilant disquiet presides over her sculptural work, which navigates the increasing intimacy between man and machine as our forms, materials, and desires frolic. Her combinatory practice marries the physicality of altered, oxidized, and painted copper and brass sheets with theatrical playfulness and socio-cultural reference. Mesquita’s ensuing experiments in metallurgy and materiality result in life-size figures interacting with one another in carnivalesque vignettes that slide between Hellenistic sculpture, baroque ballet, and melancholic parade. Even as she has more recently experimented with different chemical treatments to create a wider spectrum of color, as well as the medium of cut paper to interject lightness and fancy, she retains a distinctive boldness in her approach to space and the object—orchestrating immersive environments that pull us in, wittingly or not, to the questions being posed.

Maryam Jafri: A Broad and Narrow Point
November 13, 2021—January 9, 2022

Artist Maryam Jafri is known for her wry explorations of the alternative economies that circulate within the branding of products and people. Her exhibition at the Blaffer will address pointed cultural questions around the relationship between identity, authenticity, and commerce. Her newest series, Everyday Model, illuminates the chameleon- esque fluidity of commercial actors and how the spokesmodel mutates according to campaign and context. In combination with two previous artworks, Home Office and Hi Maryam, the exhibition will also delve into how therapy has become imbued with both convenience and celebrity aesthetics. The added presentation of work from Jafri’s Disappearance Online and Getty vs Ghana series will navigate the politics of visibility within an archival context.

About Blaffer Art Museum
Founded in 1973, Blaffer Art Museum is the contemporary art museum at the University of Houston. Its exhibitions and programs are always free and open to the public, striving to create community through dialogue, engagement, and participation. The Blaffer is a catalyst for creative innovation, experimentation, and scholarship, fostering collaborative opportunities across disciplines. For more information, please e-mail infoblaffer [​at​] uh.edu or visit blafferartmuseum.org.

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