On January 23, 2010, the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts (TFAA) will unveil a nine-month exhibition of sculptures by the internationally renowned French artist, Bernar Venet. Houston will join the ranks of over 20 other international cities including Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, New York, and Chicago to host a Bernar Venet exhibition. 15 monumental sculptures have been sited by the artist and McClain Gallery, Houston, in eight locations throughout scenic Hermann Park. The sculptures are made of cor-ten steel, stand up to 30 feet high, and weigh up to 25,000 lbs (12 tons). The exhibition officially opens to the public on January 23, 2010 with a series of special events in the preceding days.
"Such a monumental grouping of artistic creativity in Houston will be exciting to see," said outgoing Houston Mayor Bill White. "And the international cultural partnerships that are making it happen is a testament to the beauty of the Houston spirit." Not only is a public art exhibition of this scope and scale simply unprecedented in Houston, the exhibition is an unparalleled opportunity to involve the City of Houston in viewing and experiencing art, supporting public art programs, art education, and bolstering civic pride.
“The TFAA fosters exciting and innovative cultural exchanges between Texas and France with the objective that these great communities will be enriched by the process,” said Mickey Henry, President of TFAA. “We are thrilled to spearhead the Bernar Venet exhibition which will draw more attention to Houston as a world class venue for creative and distinctive artwork.”
The TFAA will be hosting a number of educational outreach programs throughout the year that will generate continued interest in the Venet exhibition, from working with French, History, Math and Art classes in Houston’s public school program to on-going university lectures, public art tours and speakers.
"Hermann Park Conservancy is thrilled and gratified to host the Venet sculptures. Since its inception in 1914, Hermann Park has been a green sanctuary for Houstonians,” said Doreen Stoller, Executive Director of the Hermann Park Conservancy. “These monumental sculptures will make our spaces even more beautiful and will make our visitors' trips to the Park even more fun."
About Bernar Venet:
French artist, Bernar Venet, whose long and distinguished career dates back to the 60s, first began producing monumental linear improvisations in steel in the early 1980s. His sculptures, soon to be on view in Houston (titled “Arcs”, “Straight Lines” and "Indeterminate Lines", to name a few) are considered by many to be his trademark work. His sculptures have been exhibited in major cities in the United States, Asia, Europe and South America, including Paris, Luxembourg, Geneva, Basel, Cologne, Brussels, New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Denver. As one of the world’s most important and talked about artists today, Venet’s sculptures have been acquired by museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The National Gallery of Art, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Switzerland, National Museum of Jakarta, Sonje Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, The Milwaukee Art Museum and The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Simply stated, Venet’s sculptures study variations of lines – specifically of arcs and curves. However, it is the scope of the work in its mass, concept and execution that makes Venet one of the most prominent living sculptors today. Each series expresses different notions of Venet’s interest in the mathematics of order versus chaos. Using a technique that has been described as “Action Sculpture in slow motion” Venet carefully balances his vision for the material with the steel's natural responses to the warping effects of pressure and heat.
About the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts:
The Texan French Alliance for the Arts (also known as TFAA) is a 501c(3) non-profit cultural organization. It was funded in 2005 by former Consul General of France, Denis Simmoneau and the Levant Foundation, and supported by a group of enthusiastic Francophile foundations, corporations and individuals. With the aim of fostering enrichment through cultural exchange between Texas and France, the TFAA has already facilitated over 20 Texan-French events and programs. To continue invoking this mutual expansion of knowledge and appreciation, the Bernar Venet exhibition partners and sponsors will host numerous public events throughout the exhibition’s duration focusing on bringing the community together. This exchange of ideas and concepts will have the perfect medium to flourish in Hermann Park’s open land expanses which are ideal for long vista views of artwork.
Under the aegis of the TFAA and the continuous support of the Consulate General of France in Houston, these varied artistic partnerships serve to promote new artists and expose audiences of today and tomorrow, to the appreciation of different art forms, thus strengthening cultural awareness between Texas and France. For more information on the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts: www.texanfrenchalliance.org
About Hermann Park:
Hermann Park, presented to the City of Houston by George Hermann in 1914, is one of Houston's most popular and historically significant public green spaces. Located in the heart of Houston, the 445-acre park has been an important resource for Houstonians for generations, and is celebrated as a place that has always welcomed diversity and fostered a strong sense of community among its patrons. Over the years, the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Garden Center, and Hermann Park Golf Course have all added to the Park's significance as an unparalleled recreational destination. Thanks to its proximity to downtown, the Texas Medical Center, Rice University, the Museum District, and diverse residential neighborhoods, the Park is an unparalleled public resource, serving over six million visitors each year. For more information visit www.hermannpark.org