Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots
This one is obvious. Seriously, though, there have been too few exhibitions of this caliber, both in curation and in work on display. Each of these pieces warrants a bout of serious looking. Particularly with some of the later works in this exhibition, the paint pulls you in, shakes you up and pushes you back out. This is only the third exhibition ever dedicated to these black and white paintings, and it's the only time this many will share a space. This is a can't-miss show for art lovers young, old, new and experienced. And lucky for us, it stays on display through March 20, 2016. More at dma.org.
Lucia Simek: Occiput at Reading Room
There was a quiet, beautiful show at the Reading Room, in which artist Lucia Simek explored ideas of self-exile, the tension between nature's beauty and the persistent threat of disaster or devastation. She paired images with text for a series of prints, and a dual stream of 10-second videos forming new relational context between the things she saw on a trip to Wyoming with her three children. Read an interview with the artist here.
Jupiter Island at Circuit 12 Contemporary
Another show that dealt with isolation and anticipation in interesting ways was a group show at Circuit 12, curated by Chicago-based Lauren Fulton. She pulled together a series of artists, several with local connections, whose work explore ideas including mass media and the manipulation of memory; militaristic strategy and violence; and questions of blind faith and afterlife. The show was at times dark or moody, transforming the gallery into a space for contemplating fear. Since opening in its new space on Levee Street, Circuit 12 Contemporary has proven to be a thoughtful, exciting space for heady exhibitions.
Jules Buck Jones at Conduit Gallery
Austin-based artist Jules Buck Jones brought the natural world into the gallery with his show, Portraits of an Invisible Predator. Through a series of pantings, sculptures and sound installations, the abstract became dangerous, and, in a collision of color and evolutionary science, the viewer's imagination became a map for adventure. Plus, for the closing reception, the gallery brought in animals from the zoo, bringing the creatures into the 3-dimensional world.
Where You End and I Begin at Cydonia Gallery
Cydonia Gallery is one of the few spaces in town guaranteed to both engage and challenge the viewer. In no show was this more true this year than in the pairing of Dallas-based artist Frances Bagley and Portland-based artist Ryan Burghard. In some instances their work seemed an easy match, in others the way in which they explore humanistic concerns was more individual, but the relationships built in the viewer's mind linger long past original viewing. Read a review here.
The House of Alba at Meadows Museum
This year, the Meadows Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary with a number of good shows, the crown jewel of which is Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting, a stunning show of the pieces collected by the aristocratic Spanish family, much of which has never been seen outside of Spain. There are works by Renoir, Rubens, Sorolla, Van Gogh, Goya, and on and on. It's an incredible show. Through January 3, 2016.