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Cubism and Surrealism Take Shape Through the Artwork of Two Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits celebrates two mavericks of the American avant-garde: Louise Nevelson and Dorothy Hood. Born a generation apart, Nevelson and Hood came of age as artists in the 1940s. Both women frequently drew inspiration from common sources, balancing abstraction and content as they synthesized the lessons of Cubism and Surrealism into the bold new language of mid-century Modernism.

Although no documentation exists of the two artists meeting, Nevelson and Hood celebrated career milestones in Houston within a year of each other. In 1969, the MFAH mounted a major survey of Nevelson’s work, including the magisterial Mirror Image I, in the soaring space of Cullinan Hall. At that same time, Hood was on the faculty of the MFAH Museum School housed in the same building.

In both media and palette the oeuvre of the two artists are complementary. Nevelson made largely monochromatic works, painting her assemblages black, white, or gold to unify the disparate elements. Hood was an inventive colorist, often using stain techniques to unify canvas and pigment. Interestingly, when Nevelson turned to collage, she purged her compositions of recognizable imagery, whereas when Hood embraced collage, she exploited the medium’s possibilities for expressive reference. However, more profoundly, Nevelson and Hood found common ground in their dramatic layering of shallow space, in their poetic evocations of the physical and psychological landscapes of their era.

Nevelson and Hood have been paired in larger survey exhibitions, including American Artists ’76: A Celebration (McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, 1976) and The Americans: The Collage (Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 1982), but this will be the first time the two artists have been studied together in depth.

Curated by Alison de Lima Greene, Isabel Brown Wilson Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Kindred Spirits: Louise Nevelson and Dorothy Hood will draw from the Museum’s notable collection of both artists, with significant loans from the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, and works in Houston-area collections.

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Event Time/Date:
Sunday, February 3, 2019—12:15 PM

Event Venue Location:
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, Texas 77005

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