last month tod and i went to houston. i suppose i didn't paint a very good picture of our experience that day, for whatever reason we just weren't digging it. you'd think after living in huntsville for six months we would be frothing at the mouth for some culture and anything would suffice! perhaps we've both been spoiled by the beauty and culture that other cities we've lived in/visited have offered and houston seemed to pale that day. well, yesterday i went back. i went alone (tod wasn't even interested to bother). i almost turned around the last 15 miles of my 67 mi journey. started feeling a little panicky and thinking too much, but hell with it, i hadda give it one more try.
after making a quick stop at a local farmers market, i headed straight for the Menil Musuem in the cultural district. i'm really not big into going to musuems or galleries but it felt like the thing to do. as you can see below, the Musuem is large and hosts an impressive collection. all told, the Menil's had collected something like 16,000 pieces of art before they died. when i walked in the first thing i saw was a john chamberlain. it was completely unexpected and the only art in the foyer, i felt the impact immediately and actually got teared up as i felt invisible power wafting at me. after i recovered from that, i went through a walkway into the center of the museum. it's divided into east and west sides with 2-3 large exhibit rooms on each side.
the first exhibition consisted of african arts. yes we've all seen this before, but i was particularly struck by the sculptures from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. we are talking 19th and 20th century and the masks were made from wood, pigment, resin, feathers, glass, raffia cloth and stuffing. not sure i've seen anything quite like these. i really liked the works from: Yaka, Lega, and Mboyo. some had nails and earth all stuffed into the bodies of strange beings. i saw some unusual pieces that used metal and copper in ways i've not seen before. it was inspiring to say the least.
i wrote down some of the artists that i saw there: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Bruce Newman, Robert Morris, Max Ernst, Wolfgang Paalen, Piet Mondrain, Joseph Cornell, Alexander Calder, Jean Tinguely, Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Brice Marden. of these works i admit i wasn't too enthralled. you know i'm not big on painting and i dont get a chill looking at 'the masters'. i saw a picasso and thought so what. thats just me. what popped out at me most was an unexpected Rauschenberg, 'Niagara Summer Glut, 1987'. you can see it if you scroll down on this page. i loved the largeness and lightness of it. i studied it for quite awhile and loved how it was fashioned ~ a small hole at the top of the piece with a screw sticking out of the wall (you can also see some good interior shots of the menil musuem on that page, they dont allow you to bring a camera inside).
i also stopped by the koelsch gallery just north of downtown. my landlord told me about this gallery, suggested i stop in and submit my work to them. a little word of mouth. who knows. they seemed like a possible fit and i'll know in a month or so either way. its a step. a start. i'm fairly certain i can find a few places in houston to carry some of my work, be it wall art, tables or clocks. its a huge city with much diversity in art and people. i'm glad i went, feels like i'll be going back soon as i've barely made a dent in seeing all the art that is there.
and houston?.... i owe you and apology. you aint so bad after all.