Art shows and exhibits remain diverse
By Shweta Rao
Daily Cougar Staff
Art museums may evoke different kinds of reactions among people from
various walks of life. There are the art lovers who could gaze at and enjoy
any piece of art without even batting an eyelid, and there are the visitors
who just waltz into an art museum to pass some of their time, even though
they may not know what to expect.
Whatever the case and whoever the person, an art museum always has something
in store for everyone — something to catch the attention of the viewers
Take the example of the Menil Collection, located at 1515 Sul Ross St.
in Houston. The impressive building houses a vast and unique collection
of contemporary art and pieces from antiquity.
John and Dominique de Menil established this stunning museum in 1987
to exhibit their expansive and eclectic collection of fine art. The Menil
compound also includes the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Rothko Chapel, the Menil
Collection Bookstore (where you can buy just about any art book, posters
of past exhibits, funky-cool postcards and toys galore) and the Byzantine
The museum features a handful of special exhibits each year. Recent
exhibits include a vibrating living room that you can rearrange yourself,
a blinding display of neon art and an extensive exploration of the friendship
and working relationship between Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell, which
includes such minutiae as 50-year-old Christmas cards.
The paintings of Vik Muniz will be on display at the Menil from Feb.
22 to June 2.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, located at 5100 Montrose Blvd., has
a rich collection from world cultures, past and present. This building
holds works by countless artists and artisans, famous and local.
One can spend hours in these hallowed halls, enjoying cherished impressionist
paintings by masters such as Paul Signac and Claude Monet, African and
20th-century sculpture, textiles and costumes, ancient arts and the decorative
Among this unique collection is an Ettore Sottsass room divider, all
angles and splashy colors, that is not only a startling piece of eye candy
but also tickles the imagination. In addition to this panoply of artistic
riches, the MFAH offers several intriguing film series each year, with
special emphasis on films from cultures that are ignored by the Hollywood
A reflective exploration of the MFAH's 25-year love affair with collecting
photographs, one exhibit showcases 75 pictures, one for each year, from
artists such as Ansel Adams and László Moholy-Nagy. Other
than Adams and Moholy-Nagy, Hannah Höch, André Kertesz and
Paul Strand are also represented.
The MFAH showcases a vibrant collection of black-and-white photographs
of Houston's Third Ward by some of its youngest visionaries. For several
years, Jack Yates High School photography students have spent their school
years creating a collective portfolio of their community.
The MFAH then reviews the submissions to select photos for the "Eye
on Third Ward" exhibition, touring local and state public venues. It introduces
students to the museums and encourages them to capture life in their neighborhood
Another engrossing museum is the Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose
Blvd. There's no telling what waits around each corner at this exciting
and eclectic museum.
Inward Eye: Transcendence in Contemporary Art is on display until
Feb. 17. It features thought-provoking and impressive paintings and drawings.
On campus is UH's very own Blaffer Gallery. The gallery's focus is on
student shows, but it supplements its season (the UH school year) with
a few major exhibits each year.
The gallery offers three types of guided tours, led by UH and Texas
Southern University art students. One tour features the exhibition on view
and encourages discussions and interpretations of the artwork.
A public art/sculpture tour is a walking tour of the UH's sculpture
collection, which is scattered across the campus. A third tour allows participants
to take time sketching or writing in the gallery.
Currently on display are the works of Puerto Rican artists.