Houston’s offbeat side
“Quirky” is probably not the first word that springs to mind when you think of Houston, said Andrew Bender in the Los Angeles Times. But this sprawling city has plenty of “off-the-beaten-path art sites.” There’s John Milkovisch’s gleaming Beer Can House, a bungalow that Milkovisch decorated, inside and out, with 50,000 flattened beer cans over the course of decades. Across town, the Orange Show Monument is a 3,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture park, a shrine to “found objects” where you may end up “watching Shakespeare while perched on a tractor seat.” At Project Row Houses, 22 homes in a formerly crime-ridden area have been converted into “workshops and galleries for artists in residence.” And in the north of Houston, there’s the National Museum of Funeral History, where you can learn about the history of hearses and embalming. See, Houston is quirkier than you thought.

Montreal: The Chelsea of Canada
You don’t have to go to New York’s Chelsea or Berlin’s Mitte neighborhoods to see cutting-edge art, said Michael Kaminer in The Washington Post. On a recent weekend visit to Montreal, I ran out of time before running out of options. Thanks in part to generous government grants, the city’s art scene teems with invention. At the Parisian Laundry, a former cookie factory, I marveled at “a full-scale, insect-infested” ice-cream stand. At La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, I was amused by a “witty, multimedia mashup” entitled Inside the Solar Temple of the Cosmic Leather Daddy. As on every previous visit, I had “one of Montreal’s best-kept secrets,” DHC/Art Foundation for Contemporary Art, all to myself. From there, I headed to the city’s “most-talked-about new space,” Silver Flag Projects, which features “high-octane single-artist shows in four-week bursts.” Because there aren’t many art buyers in Montreal, provocation is the norm.