Moody Center for the Arts and Rice Public Art: ‘Exciting fall lineup’

American artist Mickalene Thomas, a concert-theater work and a new series of site-specific public art projects will headline the fall season at Rice’s Moody Center for the Arts and Rice Public Art.

Mickalene Thomas artwork

“Racquel Reclining Wearing Purple Jumpsuit” by Mickalene Thomas.

“We’ve put together an exciting fall lineup that is an expression of the Moody’s mission to foster interdisciplinary conversation through the arts,” said Alison Weaver, the Suzanne Deal Booth Executive Director of the center. “From Mickalene Thomas’ lush paintings examining the representation of African-American women to a multimedia concert inspired by Proust’s masterpiece and a new public art series that reactivates the collection, we hope visitors will make the arts at Rice a part of their regular cultural experience.”

The Moody launches its fall season with the solo exhibition “Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star,” opening Sept. 28, and “A Proust Sonata,” a multimedia concert-theater work inspired by Proust’s early 20th-century masterpiece “In Search of Lost Time,” opening Nov. 16. Rice Public Art will launch “Platform,” a groundbreaking series of temporary, site-specific public art projects. Artist Jarrod Beck will inaugurate the series in October with “Origin, 135 degrees,” produced in response to Michael Heizer’s monolithic sculpture, “45°, 90°, 180°.

Schedule and programming:

“Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star”
Sept. 28-Jan. 13. A public opening reception will be 7-9 p.m. Sept. 28.
Brown Foundation and Central galleries, Moody Center for the Arts

Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star” will feature paintings, photographs, collages, prints and mixed-media works that explore the artist’s complex vision of female sexuality, identity and power. Thomas’ portraits, landscapes and interiors examine how African-American women are represented in art and popular culture and confront assumptions about what defines the female experience in the 21st century. Thomas’ work draws on her close study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture and landscape. Inspired by diverse sources from Romare Bearden, Édouard Manet, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Henri Matisse to contemporary film, fashion and popular culture, Thomas challenges notions of femininity from a contemporary perspective. By modeling her figures and interiors on classically modern works, she claims agency for women who have historically been subjugated.

“Dimensions Variable”
Oct. 14, noon-5 p.m.

The Moody hosts a full day of programming held in conjunction with “Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star.” “Dimensions Variable” will bring together a wide range of arts, from music and design to fashion and performance, all in conversation with the exhibition on view. Hope Stone Dance kicks off the day with the premiere of a new work, “Coolest News on Planet Earth, Chapter 1,” followed by a performance by Houston Poet Laureate Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton; a fashion show by Onyii & Co., a contemporary women’s wear brand incorporating Africa-inspired prints designed by Nigerian native Onyii Brown; music by DJ Flash Gordon Parks; and a presentation by Mike Frost, a photographer and graphic designer who has defined the image and branding of rap and hip-hop albums in Texas and beyond.

“A Proust Sonata”
Nov. 16-18, 8 p.m.
Lois Chiles Studio Theater, Moody Center for the Arts

'A Proust Sonata'A Proust Sonata” is a multimedia concert-theater work conceived and directed by Sarah Rothenberg, co-produced by the Moody and Houston’s Da Camera. Inspired by Proust’s early 20th-century masterpiece “In Search of Lost Time,” the production interweaves text, music and image into an innovative performance. Rothenberg, the artistic and general director of Da Camera and a concert pianist, is joined by a Tony Award-winning design team and a cast that includes professional actors and musicians together with students from Rice’s Shepherd School of Music. The music of Fauré, Schumann, Debussy, Chopin, Ravel, Beethoven and Reynaldo Hahn evoke the author’s themes of memory, lost childhood, fashionable Parisian salons and the final reclusive years when Proust withdrew from society to complete his magnum opus.

Jarrod Beck: “Origin, 135 degrees”
Oct. 21-May 31

Jarrod Beck

Jarrod Beck

Rice Public Art announces “Platform,” a groundbreaking series of temporary, site-specific public art projects on the Rice campus. Launching in October, the “Platform” series invites contemporary artists to respond to artworks, architectural structures and research at Rice. Brooklyn- and West Texas-based artist Jarrod Beck will inaugurate this series with “Origin, 135 degrees,” a sculpture and performance that takes Michael Heizer’s massive monolithic work, “45°, 90°, 180°” (1984), as its point of departure. Building on the Heizer sculpture’s history as a feat of engineering, Beck will work with the Rice community, hosting student workshops at the Moody and organizing collaborative performances, to build a temporary public sculpture that will remain on view through summer 2018.

BioScience Research Collaborative project: “Joseph Cohen: Looking at a flower”
Nov. 16-April 8, 2018

Following a Rice Public Art residency in the Weisman NanoEngineering laboratory of the Department of Chemistry, Houston-based artist and scientist Joseph Cohen will present his work in a solo exhibition, “Looking at a flower,” at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative. Under the guidance of Bruce Weisman, professor of chemistry and of materials science and nanoengineering, and his colleagues, Cohen will focus his research on the use of carbon nanotubes to produce paintings, photos, prints and new sound works that both address and illustrate the unique optical and physical properties of the material.

The Moody is located on the west side of Rice’s campus at Entrance 8 at Stockton Drive and University Boulevard. The Moody’s exhibition spaces and café are open to the public and free of charge Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays. Events and programs are open to the public through an advance reservation system. For a schedule, tickets, prices and more information, visit There is a dedicated parking lot adjacent to the building. Payment for the Moody Lot is by credit card only. For campus maps, visit

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.