As the weather starts to heat up and school nears summer break, more and more Houstonians will be looking for good ways to entertain themselves indoors. With a large museum district full of different types of exhibitions, there will be something for the whole family to enjoy in the air conditioning. There are new exhibits and special events bringing different cultures and history to Houston for a short time. You won’t want to miss out on any of them. Have you ever wanted to learn about our country’s history, interact with new art installations or see some treasures from another country? The upcoming months in Houston’s museums will let you experience all these things and more.
China’s Lost Civilization: The Mystery Of Sanxingdui
Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 639-4629
www.hmns.org

Date: Through September 7, 2015

Unearthed in 1986, these treasures on loan from the country of China show a glimpse into what life in ancient China was like for its citizens. See many beautiful and amazing artifacts dated to around 1800 BC in the Sichuan Province in China, nearly 1200 kilometers away from where scholars believed the Chinese civilization resided at the time. These jades, bone carvings, pottery and elephant tusks tell the tale of the lost Sanxingdui culture, who left no written record and have puzzled scholars for years. The exhibition will present the discoveries from the initial dig in 1986, discovered on accident by construction workers, and a second discovery in 2001 and hypothesize what happened to this amazing 3500 year old culture.

Shadow Monsters
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
1001 Bissonnet
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 639-7300
www.mfah.org

Date: through September 20, 2015

This interactive installation, held in the Law Building Mezzanine of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, will help you get involved with the artistic process. Created by New York-based British artist Philip Worthington, this exhibit takes the shadow puppets created by museum attendees and recasts them into fantastic versions of their initial silhouettes. The exhibit turns a traditional shadow puppet theater and twists it into a more fantastic experience through digital technology and vision-recognition software that adds sharp teeth, fins, tongues, eyes and more onto people’s shadows. Museum attendees are invited to photograph their experiences and post on social media using the hashtag #shadowmonsters.

Takis: The Fourth Dimension
The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 525-9400
www.menil.org

Date: through July 26, 2015

This collection of artwork by Takis is the first museum survey of the artist’s entire career in the United States. Born Panagiotis Vassilakis in Athens in 1925, the artist is known worldwide for his explorations of how art and science connect. Much of his work is in three dimensions and involves the incorporation of “invisible energies” to create extra depth. He is especially interested in electromagnetism, and many of his sculptures and paintings incorporate magnets to create unexpected and beautiful artwork. This unique exhibition is a must see for anyone interested in the intersection of art and science.

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Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 284-8250
www.camh.org

Date: through August 2, 2015

Marilyn Minter’s work has asked people to question how society views the female body and cultural expectations of beauty for more than 30 years. These works now find a place in a new exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Houstonians can view more than 25 paintings produced between 1976 and 2013 as well as numerous photographs and videos. The contrast between the beautiful and the dirty cause viewers to think critically of how we view women and cultural expectations today. This exhibition is for those 18 and older.

The Art Of Gaman
Holocaust Museum Houston
5401 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004
(713) 942-8000
www.hmh.org

Date: through September 20, 2015

In 1942, the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt led to the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans for the duration of World War II. Entire families were affected and taken to internment camps on the west coast. These people were placed there until the war ended with only what they could carry with them to the camp. Businesses and homes were vandalized and property stolen. Many of those held in the camps sought peace in creating artwork. This exhibition showcases more than 120 pieces of artwork created by Japanese Americans in the internment camps including woodcarvings, paintings, toys, furniture, decorative objects and more. All of these works are in the style of the art of “gaman,” which is the Japanese concept of “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.”

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Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.