As the sixth largest city in the United States, Houston has an abundance of world-class art venues for the discerning connoisseur. The Museum of Fine Arts (or MFAH) located in the aptly named Museum District is an internationally renowned museum located in a complex that includes the prestigious Glassell School of Art, Bayou Bend, Rienzi decorative arts museum and Cullen sculpture garden. The MFAH offers a collection housed with all of the biggest names in the history of art as well as a diverse range of exceptional non-Western artworks. The year of the dragon is starting off auspiciously with the recently appointed former director of the Met, Gary Tinterow, taking the helm as director. The general collection is free on Thursdays and there are discounts available for students and seniors the rest of the week. On the first floor, visitors can attend art house films in the cinema and lectures by noted scholars on any given day.
Other notable museums and collections include the Menil Collection, the CAMH and the Rothko Chapel (a non-denominational space designed and painted by the late artist, Mark Rothko). The latter is the best place to zen-out and retreat from the Houston heat. The CAMH offers an ever-changing array of contemporary art by some of the hottest local, national and international talents. The late esteemed collectors, John and Dominique de Menil, founded the Menil Collection which boasts some of the most important Modern European and American art from the 20th century as well as the African and Pacific Islander art that inspired much of it. Nearby is the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum.
Houston also contains more than 60 art galleries within a fifteen-minute drive of each other. Don’t miss “First Thursdays,” where galleries open their doors for an evening of opening receptions and complimentary wine. (Elle Miller-Cavatore)