Asia Society Texas Center

Joss: Works by Joseph Havel

Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020 – Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020

‘Joss,’ 2019, Bronze with patina, Courtesy of the artist

Artist Joseph Havel, practicing in Houston and San Francisco, has created a series of new works in response to the ancient bronze vessels currently featured in Asia Society Texas Center's Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes. These early bronzes were originally made for use in ancestor ceremonies bearing offerings of food and wine for the dead. In the contemporary era, joss paper (also known as spirit money) offerings are a medium for ancestor veneration, and the paper's unique function and physicality are the focus of these sculptures by Havel.

Joss paper and other paper items made in the forms of daily necessities such as food, household goods, and personal objects are burned as offerings in ancestor rituals with the understanding that the smoke carries their value to the spirit world. The ephemerality of joss paper contrasts sharply with the more durable nature of bronze. Havel constructs these sculptures by first using the paper forms of household goods and clothing to determine the compositions, then casting them in bronze. The joss is burnt out in the casting process, transformed from the delicate paper into a more lasting construction that still visually references the original source. Viewers are invited to consider the effect of time on physical materials, and our experience of time's inexorable passing and transformative power.


  • Tuesday - Friday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Saturday & Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Closed Mondays and major holidays
  • Free Hours: Admission to the building and Grand Hall exhibition is free. Admission to the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery is free for Asia Society members; $8 for nonmembers.

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Parking in Asia Society Texas Center's lot is $5 for 1-24 hours. Entrances on Caroline and Austin. Limited free and paid street parking also available.

Special Offers / Dining

An India-Inspired Café
Enjoy breakfast and lunch at Pondi! Pondicheri's museum café is open for extended lunch hours Tuesday through Sunday with a vibrant and innovative menu featuring everything from butter chicken to saffron shrimp salad and roti wraps.
Tuesday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday – Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm


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