The Blaffer is the art museum of the University of Houston, and has one of the city’s premier contemporary art collections. It has exhibited the work of Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Julian Schnabel and architect Richard Neutra. Since it opened in 1973, it has been an important part of the city’s art scene, showing works by the Texas artist Michael Tracy, French royal jewels from the Smithsonian, and the work of Ansel Adams in the exhibition “American Icons”.
Although it collects work from all countries, it has recently reinvigorated its focus on Texas artists. In the 2000s, the gallery showed works by Tierney Malone, Margo Sawyer and James Surls. In the same decade, it established a permanent partnership with the university’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, helping to boost studies across the disciplines of art, music, theatre and creative writing.
The gallery features a variety of regular programs, including the art-making workshop Studio Saturday, lunchtime gallery tours, and talks and discussions with visiting artists. The popular Contemporary Salons are modeled after 19th century European salons where participants and scholars in different creative fields gathered to discuss their crafts.
Blaffer Gallery Information
- Public Transportation: Great (Metro bus lines 77 and 80 at the Calhoun Rd. and UH University Dr stop are both a 2-minute walk)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Closed on Sundays, Mondays, University of Houston holidays, and during exhibition installation
- Admission: Free
- Tour: Free with the price of admission. Docent-led tours are available for school groups, college classes, or any other group of 10 or more adults or kids. Tours are also available in several languages
- Audio Tour: Free cell phone tours are available for selected exhibitions
- Membership: Individual membership starts at $50; Family membership is $100; Artists, students, and educators receive discounted memberships of $25. All membership levels receive a 10% discount on museum catalogues and purchases, advance notice to all exhibition previews, lectures, and events, invitations to select museum programs and a subscription to Blaffer’s printed newsletter
- Other Benefits: At the Visionary level ($1,000), members receive recognition on the museum’s entry wall and a special cocktail reception with the director.