Around Houston: Museum of Fine Arts

January 20, 2012

I recently went to the MFAH to check out the new King Tut exhibit and had a great time. My feet were arguing with me all day though because they were barking like dogs. They wanted to leave and I wanted to stay. I won, luckily.

Anyway, in my attempt to write a little more about Houston each week I think it's only fitting that an artist living in Houston, writing a blog about art, should write an entry on the flagship art museum in the city.

Other than the fact that I've been there for multiple exhibits I really just don't know too much about the place. So, I'm going to learn right now, right here, with all of you.

First of all the thing that surprised me the most was the sheer volume of artwork they have in their collection. Apparently they have well over 60,000 pieces in their permanent collection. Where do you even make room for all of that stuff? I've been there multiple times  and there's no way I saw that much stuff. Am I missing something?

I'm assuming they have way more buildings than I even know about. I'm going to have to plan a visit just to make an attempt to visit all the buildings. I know I went one time to the Ima Hogg estate, which apparently, was donated to the museum after her death. She was one of the biggest contributors to the museum and had a hand its kicking off party.

Her estate was very awesome, if you've never been there then I truly recommend checking it out. The outdoors is styled like an awesome Japanese tea garden and the indoors has some of her personal art that she had throughout her life hanging on the walls of her old mansion. I think, if memory serves correctly it was like 14 acres in the middle of Houston too. That alone is awesome.

The museum opened in 1924 with the intention of becoming a public art museum, with the land dedicated by the Houston Public School Art League (later Houston Art League) in 1917. These dates surprise me because. If you have ever looked at the population of Houston during these times its relatively minuscule. Today the city proper has over 2 million residents. Then? barely over 100,000. It just seems that back then, no matter the size, Houston was desperately trying to be as cosmopolitan as possible. Makes you wonder why, today with our massive size, we haven't adopted some of the newest trends cities are adopting today. Have we lost that progressive spirit? I hope not.

Well, I'm going to plan a trip to the museum soon and try to find all of their buildings and I'm going to record every art piece that I see until I get to 60,000. I'll keep you all informed. 60k? Wow! That's insane. I'm in for some work.



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