Many critics believe that Trenton Doyle Hancock, the Houston artist, is among the most important Texas fine artists of this century. For one thing, his vision is original: he invented an entire world out of his “Mounds” mythology, a drama on canvas and paper that pits cartoonlike characters called mounds, the “half-human, half-plant” good guys, against vegans, the bad guys. The effect of his work is also wide-reaching: his creations have appeared in New York at two of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s biennial exhibits, and Jerry and Gene Jones’s art collection at AT&T Stadium in Arlington includes one of his pieces. Lastly, his prolificacy is impressive: there are around two hundred works in his new exhibition, “Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing,” which is impressive given that he’s largely made a name for himself in painting, sculpture and even ballet. Hancock estimated that 40 percent of the show’s pieces are from his personal collection and have never before been seen by the public. The exhibit opens Saturday and is divided into five categories, including the mounds, self-portraits, a cartoon he drew for his college newspaper, a new animation project, and, finally, studies in Torpedo Boy, a superhero version of himself. Museumgoers can see the first drawing of Torpedo Boy, done when the artist was ten years old, as well as the most recent, done in the past year. “In the beginning, he was more like a superhero archetype—infallible—and now he’s a trash bag for the ego,” Hancock said, adding that it says less about him and more about the state of the world and the state of heroes.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, April 26-Aug. 3, camh.org
The list of festivals in Austin just grows longer and longer. Among the many offerings are South by Southwest, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, Pecan Street Festival, Austin Ice Cream Festival, Texas Book Festival, and, new this year, Austin Derby Fest, celebrating the Kentucky Derby. Long before any of those events became mainstays, there was Eeyore’s Birthday Party, where revelers can channel their free spiritedness in homage to the pessimistic donkey in Winnie the Pooh. The party will have a Woodstock-like atmosphere, with opportunities to wear something fantastical, sit for a face painting, and partake in the enormous drum circles near the “Eeyore of Liberty” statue. Entering its fifty-first year, Eeyore’s is arguably Austin’s longest-running festival next to the Zilker Kite Festival. And in a city currently in a battle between old and new, it is a sweet way to make peace.
Pease Park, April 26, 11 a.m., eeyores.org
While some choose to throw their corrugated cardboard into the recycling bin, others choose to reuse it creatively. Saturday’s twenty-fifth annual Cardboard Boat Regatta challenges children and adults alike to build a waterborne cardboard vessel and navigate it in the wild and woolly wave pool at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. There is a slight catch: contestants have to build their boats onsite in two hours, using just three pieces of cardboard, two rolls of duct tape, two sheets of plastic, a box cutter, a pencil, and a yard stick. A refreshing swim is at the ready, whether you are a competitor or an onlooker, which pairs well with a forecast of temperatures in the high eighties.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, April 26, 9 a.m., riverlegacy.org
The zombie trend will reach its pinnacle in Dallas on Thursday night, when George A. Romero, the horror movie director, screens his 1978 zombie-apocalypse exemplar, Dawn of the Dead, the sequel to his 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, which started the genre. It is a great opportunity for the legion of The Walking Dead fans to learn a little history. The screening is the preamble to Texas Frightmare Weekend, beginning the next day, with appearances by Linda Blair of The Exorcist and cast reunions from Hellraiser, Children of the Corn, and Creature From the Black Lagoon.
Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, May 1, 7:45 and 8:15 p.m., drafthouse.com
Perhaps inspired by shooting behind the scenes on the set of Apocalypse Now, Mary Ellen Mark, the decorated photographer, later traveled to India and Mexico to document circuses and further pry into what she calls “the anthropomorphic quality of animals and the animalistic quality of man,” which she will elaborate on for her exhibition, “Man and Beast,” on Sunday.
The Wittliff Collections, April 27, 2 p.m., thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu
If you are looking for whom to blame for certain professional athletes’ enormous egos, the answer may lie in the closing weekend of the exhibition, “Andy Warhol: The Athletes,” a series of portraits from the seventies that catapulted sportsmen to celebrity status, among them Muhammad Ali, Pelé, and O.J. Simpson.
San Antonio Museum of Art, April 25-27, samuseum.org