Houston, We Have a Problem.

In Sina's Posts, Transportation, Trips on May 11, 2012 by SN

The first stop on my Texas voyage is Houston, named after the first and third President of the Texas Republic (1836-1846). When I think of Houston, the Johnson Space Center as well as the latest Hurricanes which hit the city near the Gulf Coast come to my mind.

Coming to Houston was a bit problematic. But that is entirely my fault. When I booked the flight I did not pay enough attention to the abbreviations AM and PM behind the flight times. When Tamás discovered the mistake, it was already too expensive to change this flight. Soooo, instead of flying out in the morning, I boarded the smaller plane at Heartsfield Jackson exactly 12 hours later.

What is Houston like? Imagine a Tropenhaus at your most favorite zoo with exotic birds singing and chirping wonderful melodies, huge teal black-patterned butterflies flying around you, bright pink, red, and orange flowers sitting on rich green bushes and trees amidst the glistening hot sun soaked in 60-90 percent humidity. Add to that roughly 2.1 million inhabitants from all corners of the world, lots of grey and beige concrete, and hundreds of mosquitoes et voilà – this is your Texan metropolis.

I would have never thought that Houston is such a great city for art lovers like me. Many of the museums are relatively new, which points to the city’s effort to transform the its image away from that of a center of oil and corruption scandals (Remember Enron?) to a young, creative, and innovative global hub. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I spent my first day in Houston exploring the rich art landscape touring the following sites:

Cullen Sculpture Garden.

Perspectives 178: Cineplex.

Les LeVesque showed all of Charlton Heston’s films in a stroposcope-like speed (above, left screen). Dutch artist Frederick Brodheck mapped the entire film 2001: A Space Odyssey in a circle with regard to movement and color (above, right screen). American artist Christian Marclay cut together sequences of telephone calls across American film history. My most favorite piece was an installation by German artist Gustav Mantel, who isolated very short clips of Hollywood films and looped them. The continuous loop of repetitive movements of body parts created the illusion that the actors are artificial beings. Check it out on his Tumblr. Mindblowing!

Moment of Zen with 14 Black Paintings Inside: Rothko Chapel.

Art in the Grass: The Mentil Collection.

  • Cy Twombly Gallery
  • Houston Center for Photography: The second highlight of my Houston museum pilgrimage featured three different photo exhibits that dealt in very different ways with the theme of age: portraits of elderly dogs, a very professional exhibit planned and organized by local high school kids (see below), and an exhibit that examined the interaction between nature and civilization.

Houston Center For Photography: Aging Exhibit Organized by Students.

Especially the CAMH and HCP exhibits put Houston on my art map. I liked how they brought up innovative topics and unconventional strategies of putting an exhibit together. I can see how Houston is a place where you can come and try out new things. That is probably why the city keeps growing and challenging Chicago as the third-largest city in the United States.


One Response to “Houston, We Have a Problem.”

  1. […] its great art museums, Houston also has an interesting urban landscape. On Sunday, I took a huge 7-hour walking tour all […]

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