Houston: What to See and Do

Jody Horton
by Julia Reed - Texas - February/March 2012

Big-time destinations in the Lone Star State's metropolis

What to See & Do

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
The museum was founded in 1948
by seven locals who wanted to present new art and document its role in modern life. Early exhibitions included the work of Van Gogh and Miró, as well as the great African-American Houston artist John Biggers. In 1972, it moved into its current home, designed by Gunnar Birkets, where it has continued to stage Houston’s most avant-garde exhibitions. 
5216 Montrose Blvd.; camh.org

The Menil Collection
Dominique de Menil was an heir to the Schlumberger oil-drilling fortune, and her husband John was a Schlumberger exec. Together they amassed one of the most important private twentieth-century art collections in the world (including works by Magritte, Ernst, Picasso, and Rauschenberg), as well as collections of antiquities and Byzantine and tribal art. Housed in Renzo Piano’s first American building, the collections rotate through in ever-changing incarnations in accordance with Dominique’s belief that “habit blunts vision.” Included on “campus” are the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, and the Rothko Chapel.
1515 Sul Ross St.; menil.org

Museum of Fine Arts Houston
One of the country’s most respected museums, Houston’s largest cultural institution has a collection that is spread between two stunning buildings—one by Mies van der Rohe, the other by Rafael Moneo—as well as an Isamu Noguchi–designed sculpture garden. When beloved longtime director Peter Marzio died, in 2010, the international art world mourned. Since then, Gary Tinterow, a Houston native and Metropolitan Museum Art veteran, has taken the reins.
1001 Bissonnet St.; mfah.org