Joseph Havel’s sculptural practice is rooted in an exploration of the quotidian. Domestic objects such as shirts, books, bedsheets, and curtains are cast in bronze and polyurethane resin, taking on neoclassical forms that suggest the human body and social histories of use without dictating any particular reading to the viewer. Rather, the works evoke open-ended visual poetry: their significance comes from their form, materiality, and presence. His series of shirt-label paintings interrogates the boundary between objecthood and the illusionist space of the picture plane, approaching minimalism and geometric abstraction with a post-modernist’s critical stance. Unifying Havel’s various bodies of work is his distinctive post-minimal aesthetic, marked by a sense of quiet gravity and open-ended investigation of critical questions.
Joseph Havel (b. 1954, Minneapolis) earned his BFA from the University of Minnesota in 1975, and his M.F.A. from Pennsylvania State University in 1979. Havel is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2013 Texas Visual Artist as recognized by The Texas Commission for the Arts and Texas State Legislature; the 2010 Texas Artist of the Year as recognized by Art League Houston; the 2008 Dallas Contemporary Legends Award; the 2004 Artadia Fellowship; the 1999 Cultural Arts Council of Houston Artist’s Award; the 1998 American Institute of Architects, Houston, Artist’s Award; the 1995 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award; and the 1987 National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship. Havel’s sculptures and drawings are included in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis; The Menil Collection, Houston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Honolulu; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Musée Arte, Roubaix, France; S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artist lives and works in Houston, Texas, and currently serves as the Director of the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
On-site and Individual Works
Talley Dunn Gallery
January 16 – February 20, 2016
“Museum of Fine Arts’ Joe Havel is retiring after 30 years as Glassell School of Art director”
by Amber Elliot
May 16, 2022
“Texas’s Newest Master Sculptor Is a Parrot Named Hannah”
by Molly Glentzer
April 8, 2022
“Full Circle: Joseph Havel Returns to Talley Dunn Gallery with Spill”
by Shelby Gorday
January 6, 2016