Archive for the ‘Houston’ Category
AAM Conference Expo
Everyone knows the United Arab Emirates are going through some serious development. Dubai first captured my imagination when “The World” was featured (years ago) on Vh1’s Fabulous Life Of series. Currently Abu Dhabi and Qatar (not an emirate) are going head-to-head to see who can build the most and more lavish museums. In Doha, Qatar, there is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, and the National Museum designed by Jean Nouvel. In the other corner is Abu Dhabi where a whole island of museums is being constructed. Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (now just a glorified sandbar) will get not only a Performing Arts Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, and a Foster+Partners-designed Zayed National Museum, but also a branch of the Guggenheim (designed of course by Frank Gehry), and a branch of the Louvre (also designed by Nouvel). I wrote a piece about an artists’ boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over immigrant labors rights, or lack thereof. You can read the whole story here.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
While in Houston, I scampered around town looking at as much art as I could with my favorite museum pal Margarete. This included going to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I always enjoy seeing how encyclopedic museums display their collections, Pre-Columbian collections in particular. Coming from LA, I’m now accustomed to LACMA’s Jorge-Pardo-designed galleries. The Pre-Columbian galleries at the MFAH are fairly standard, but contain hoards of gold. This is because the Spanish conquistador, Alfredo Glassello bequeathed his Aztec and Incan booty to the MFAH. Not really, but an oil man and MFAH trustee, Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., did. “As a life-long collector of Asian, Pre-Columbian, and African art, he donated his excellent and extensive collections to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. These works, primarily of precious gold, are without parallel.” This would explain the gold rooms, one of Pre-Columbian artifacts, and on the other side of the building, a hall of golden African objects. Read the rest of this entry »
I was in Houston last week for the American Association of Museum’s annual conference. It was my first time attending, and I learned a lot and networked a lot. (Thanks for the fellowship Getty Foundation!) As a Californian, my perception of Houston is a bit skewed from reality. It didn’t help that my freshman year roommate was a frat boy from H-Town, who was fond of boxed wine and drunk driving. All of my conceptions of Houston were changed during my trip. Total strangers smiled at me and made eye contact (a strange thing for me). More importantly, Houston is FULL of art institutions. I managed to squeeze a major art mecca into my trip and was blown away with the amount of things I saw. (This was easy to accomplish because of Houston’s concentrated museum district.) I got to see the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s traveling summer exhibition Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting. It was kind of dinky, and I’m glad I didn’t have to pay the extra $7 dollars to see it. What really blew my mind at the MFAH was the Carlos Cruz Diaz show (post to follow soon); I loved it so much, I saw it twice in four days.