The dramatic and ultimately tragic life of one of the most admired and influential painters will be the focus of this course. It is conceived as an introduction to the upcoming exhibition "Vincent Van Gogh: His Life in Art" on view at the MFAH from March 10 – June 26, 2019. In this class we will examine the different stages of Van Gogh’s life from his youth in the Netherlands and Belgium, to his years in Paris, to his sojourn in the South of France, and to his final months in Auvers. We will consider the philosophical, religious, and literary influences that shaped his art as well as his influence on the artists that followed him. Finally, one class will be devoted to the question of fakes and forgeries that have been a persistent problem in regard to the oeuvre of Van Gogh.
Every country has its folk music that reveals a lot about its culture. For some it is dance music, for others it features specific instruments. Folk music has been a part of America since its earliest days. Each wave of immigrants brought their music, blending it with that of previous generations. The melodies are often simple, but the lyrics tell of love, hatred, conflict, injustice, triumphs, and tragedies. The folk music popularity of the 1960s created a rich collection of wonderful music, combining traditional melodies with the social and political concerns of the era and helping to fuel antiwar sentiment as well as the civil rights movement. In this class we will explore a broad spectrum of songs and performers of this musical genre. Join us for a nostalgic look at people and stories that had a profound effect on our history. (This class will not meet March 12.)
For centuries, the “City of Lights” has been a preoccupation and a source of inspiration for French writers and artists. In this multidisciplinary course, we will focus on works devoted to Paris in the 19th and 20th century. By studying the literary works of Hugo, Baudelaire, Balzac, and others and by analyzing artworks in the context of Parisian Museums such as architecture, painting, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, and film, we will trace the history and culture of France through the lens of Paris. Using the city as our unique text, we will walk through its streets (virtually and textually) and immerse ourselves in our shared passions for the arts of Paris.
With the late 1960s success of Pop Art it was inevitable that other, sometimes contrary, movements should appear, particularly Minimalism, with its severe geometricism. However, many new movements proliferated such as Photo-Narrative, Body Art, Performance Art, Light works, the first wave of Feminist Art, and the major movement of Earth Works. In other words, by 1970 there were many more ways of making art than had been the case a decade earlier. Among the artists discussed will be Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Richard Serra, Joseph Kosuth, Michael Heizer, and Robert Smithson. Some of these names may not be familiar but we will examine how they contributed to the new diversity of this period.
This course is intended for art enthusiasts and those who are interested in the inner workings of Houston’s extensive fine art scene. Sarah Foltz is an art historian and fine art appraiser. She is the owner of William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art—a gallery in Houston that is dedicated to the promotion of Texas art. With Sarah as a guide, this is a unique opportunity to visit the treasures our city has to offer. For the first class, we will meet at The Women’s Institute for a brief introduction to the course. The remaining four classes will be spent visiting some remarkable galleries of which you may or may not be aware. (A limited enrollment class)
Wolfgang Amadè Mozart, as he usually spelled his name, was probably the most famous child prodigy in history. He was advertised in London as the “the most amazing genius, that has appeared in any Age.” He was a virtuoso pianist, a celebrated composer, and a very entertaining letter writer. He invented the modern piano concerto and wrote some of the most poignant, insightful, and comic operas in the repertory. In this course, we will listen to his instrumental music and watch scenes from his operas. We will also hear excerpts from his correspondence with his father, Leopold, who fought bitterly against Mozart as he settled in Vienna to establish an independent career and start a family. We will deftly explore the music of the world’s most famous composer, Wolfgang Mozart, within the context of his life and career.
Musical Theatre is a true American art form—no other theatrical presentation can boast the same pedigree. Through extravagant singing and dancing, they capture our hearts and minds anew each season. The magic of the musical happens in the music—we are able to understand and empathize with the protagonists in a way that is deep, complex, and effortless. We will delve into your favorite musicals and learn how the composers and the playwrights crafted the shows that you love, why opinions differ so widely in the appreciation of this art form, and listen to some great music. The musicals we will cover in this session include: Oklahoma, Anything Goes, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, On the Town, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Chicago, and Sweeney Todd. You will be humming a tune after each class!
Participants in this class will have the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes and witness the creation of a classic ballet, "Coppélia", from studio to stage. Tuesday, April 23, 10:00 – 12:00 at The Women’s Institute A background on Houston Ballet with an introduction to "Coppélia" and its history with the company given by Director of Education and Community Jennifer Sommers. Tuesday, April 30, 10:00 – 12:00 at Houston Ballet’s Center for Dance Visit Houston Ballet’s Costume Shop and receive an in-depth look at "Coppélia" costumes with Head of Costumes Laura Lynch. (601 Preston Street) Tuesday, May 7, 6:30 – 8:00 at Houston Ballet Center for Dance Conversation with Houston Ballet Artistic Staff on the history and importance of character dancing featured in "Coppélia" and "The Merry Widow" productions, moderated by Jennifer Sommers. Participants are invited to attend a special wine and cheese reception before the conversation. (601 Preston Street) Friday, May 17, 2:00 – 4:30 at the Wortham Theater Center View a full company dress rehearsal of "Coppélia" with an intermission discussion with Jennifer Sommers. (Meeting at 601 Preston Street and walking to the Wortham via skybridge.) (A limited enrollment class)