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SCULPTURE MONTH 2023: The Sleep of Reason

More information and program schedule available here: SCULPTURE MONTH 2023

Sculpture Month Houston and Sawyer Yards are pleased to announce Sculpture Month Houston 2023: The Sleep of Reason. Organized by local curator Volker Eisele, Sculpture Month is a yearly exhibition of sculpture and installations in the SITE Gallery, which is comprised of 34 towering concrete rice silos. The unique space offers a unique set of creative parameters for the local and regional selected artists to respond to. This year is the biennial year, which expands Sculpture Month to other participating spaces and studios around the city.


Every period has its own special image of man and the figure. The Venus of Milo and the David of Michelangelo were aesthetic ideals of the classic Greek or Renaissance period respectively. Then at the outset of Modernism, the advent of Cubism radically changed the image of the figure. “Picasso re-invented anatomy” wrote Peter Selz, an influential, mid-century curator at the MOMA.

The question can be fairly asked, is the fragmentation and de-construction of the human figure, and its subsequent re-construction the predominant symbol of twenty-first century man? And if so, why was it adopted as a near ubiquitous icon of the modern human condition?

This exhibition aims to explore the directions and trajectory of figurative art as practiced by artists in our city and state. How do these works compare and connect to the figurative concepts that percolate throughout the contemporary art world?

In 1959, a seminal exhibition titled “New Image of Man” opened at the MOMA in New York City. It was curated by the above-mentioned Peter Selz, who attributed the distortion of the figure to his generation’s anguish and lingering shock of World War II and its Cold War aftermath. He alluded to the complexities of twentieth century life as a trigger of a feeling of solitude and insecurity. He referred to it as the “disquiet man”.

If this assessment of last century’s “angst” sounds vaguely familiar, life in our century may be even more complex and anxiety producing, if you consider the effects of climate change or the recent threat of a nuclear calamity.

The title of the show The Sleep of Reason refers to the famous etching by Francisco Goya, which is part of the “Los Caprichos” series, published in 1835. Goya has been called an early Modernist, because he depicted the anguish and despair of his people, and he castigated the corrupt society he lived in. In his visionary etchings and aquatints, especially the “Disasters of the War” and “Los Caprichos”, the human figure is subject to violent deformation and humiliating mocking. He admonishes to follow the path of rationality versus superstition and terror.


Frances Bagley, Rabea Ballin, Jimmy Canales, Elizabeth Chapin, Jeff Gibbons, Suguru Hiraide, Allison Hunter, Jessica Kreutter, Yuliya Lanina, Nadin Nassar, Steve Parker, Kris Pierce, Hugo Santana, Sarah Sudhoff, Jay Sullivan, Jesse Lott, Colette Copeland.