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Creative Houston: An unexpected city for art lovers

Houston’s external perception could consist of a concrete jungle and headquarters. But if that’s all you think, the artistic side of Texas’s biggest city will surprise you. One day you can visit world-famous art museums and private collections, then wander with art cars and a beer museum.

Add a myriad of small private museums, a vibrant non-profit scene and countless artist studios, and you have a city of art that’s overlooked, but an outstanding city that deserves to be added to the list of hobbyists of art in the United States. Here are our favorites. (Note that many art websites are only open at certain times.)

museum district

Do you have a long weekend in Texas? You could spend everything in Houston’s museum district, one of the few places to walk in the city.

Museum of Fine Arts

Start at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, which spans two buildings. In the Beck building you will find a remarkable collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings – think Cezanne and Degas – as well as a glimpse of European art.

The Weiss Law Building is home to world-class exhibitions and an impressive collection of 20th-century art. The works of Jackson Pollack and Franz Kline to Andy Warhol and Donald Judd are in a pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe. Look for ancient plants from Asia, Mesoamerica and Oceana and an impressive collection of art from sub-Saharan Africa.

Across the street, the area around the Lillie & Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden will be partially under construction by 2020 to expand the museum campus, but the new cloud column is already freely accessible. The 32-foot high polished steel ball is the sister sculpture of the famous Chicago bean, also by Anish Kapoor.

Houston Museum of Contemporary Art

Since the 1980s, the Houston Museum of Contemporary Art has hosted cutting-edge exhibitions by artists of our time. The museum keeps abreast of many interactive programs, including concerts, shows and family activities.

Asia Society Texas Center

A number of small institutions in the museum district focus on special interests such as contemporary crafts and Buffalo soldiers. Among them, the Asia Society of Texas deserves a visit for its contemporary architecture and infinity pool, as well as for its excellent temporary exhibitions that show modern and traditional artwork from Japan to Tibet.

Campus of the Menil Collection

No visit to Houston would be complete without a visit to the Menil Collection campus. This 30-hectare district of museums, galleries and chapels comes from the private collection of two of the city’s greatest patrons, John and Dominique de Menil.

Collection of menil

The modernist main building of the Menil Collection reopened on September 22, 2018 and has been completely redesigned to further present the eclectic collection of 17,000 pieces. Contemporary artists, postwar European coins and Byzantine icons are particularly well represented here, but you can find everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to European tapestries. Temporary exhibitions often highlight individual artists.

Several adjacent art spaces are also connected to the Menil. The Rothko Chapel is a spartan and contemplative space built around Mark Rothko’s monumental canvases. The Cy Twombly Gallery dedicates a space to the abstract paintings and three-dimensional elements of the eponymous artist. And the chapel of the Byzantine frescoes houses a number of contemporary long-term installations.

If you are an art lover, do not miss the Menil bookstore, which is full of beautiful books from floor to ceiling.

Houston Center for Photography

The Houston Center for Photography’s ever-changing exhibitions feature works by aspiring artists and some of the most famous photographers of the century. Attend one of more than 300 workshops at the Learning Center.

Buffalo Bayou

Near the Buffalo Bayou corridor in the first district, west of downtown, several eclectic art sites have expanded. The parks and the green belt of the region are pleasant stops.

House beer cans
Ripley’s Believe it or Not included more than 50,000 jagged and cut aluminum cans that adorned the Beer Can House, built in the late 1960s by John Milkovisch. An on-site video shows how it was done.

Museum of the art car

Some of the city’s best fun and funky arts can be found at the Houston Art Car Parade, a tradition of more than 30 years that takes place every year in April. If you miss the festivities, visit the Art Car Museum to see five or six former winners. The vehicles, whether they look like a Gremlin or are covered with flea markets, are all legal.

Chantiers de Sawyer

The former Sawyer Yards warehouses were once an active resort and now offer atmospheric homes for art studios, trendy restaurants and a craft brewery. More than 100 artists’ studios are open to the public in The Silos. At the monthly open house on the second Saturday, Sabine, Summer, Spring, Silver and Winter Streets open their doors as well as the evening arts and crafts market.
Be creative in southeast Houston
From the historic African-American community of the third community and beyond, the southeastern part of the city has artistic sites to explore.

Joint houses project

In the 1990s, a team of avant-garde artists and activists transformed semi-detached houses into a “model of art and social engagement”. Today, many of the Project Row Houses’ 39 buildings contain offices for community organizations, but seven of them are invited to host and create artists to create facilities that “live” in the home.

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Orange exhibition center for visionary art

Visit a tribute to the art of junk food for its favorite fruit at the Orange Show. The local mailman, Jeff McKissack, transformed his home and yard into a multitude of colorful metals and found art from 1958 to 1980. The Orange Show is also the public charity that supports most of the works eclectic of the city.

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