Enveloped in a stainless steel exterior, the design of the Contemporary Art Museum Houston exudes the ultra modern artistry to which its space is dedicated. Designed by famous architect Gunnar Birkerts, the building’s silver, rippled panels glint beneath the Houston sunlight and beckon attention amidst the more traditional architecture found in this corner of the Museum District – a site to see in and of itself. For the museum lover – and of course the contemporary art museum lover in particular – the space is sure to please.
Focusing on individual, as well as thematic exhibitions, the museum has an impressive record of presenting popular national and international artists in addition to introducing lesser-known artists who have gone on to claim wider recognition. Free from the limitations set forth by galleries dedicated to a particular medium, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston features works by photographers, sculptors, painters and much more.
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is a non-collecting institution dedicated to presenting the best and most exciting international, national and regional art of the last 40 years.
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston was founded in 1948 by a group of seven Houston citizens to present new art and to document its role in modern life through exhibitions, lectures and other activities. The Museum’s first exhibitions were presented at various sites throughout the city, such as The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and included This is Contemporary Art and L. Maholy-Nagy: Memorial Exhibition.
The success of these first efforts led in 1950 to the building of a small, professionally equipped facility where ambitious exhibitions of the work of Vincent Van Gogh, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst, and John Biggers and his students from the then-fledgling Texas Negro College (now Texas Southern University), reflected Houston’s receptiveness to new ideas.
By the close of the 1960s, the Museum’s programs and audiences had outgrown the 1950 facility, and the trustees secured capital funds and a prominent site on the corner of Montrose and Bissonnet where the new building, designed by Gunnar Birkerts, was built. In 1972, the present facility opened with the controversial exhibition Ten, which featured several artists working in non-traditional media.
In the 1990s, the Museum sharpened its focus, concentrating on art made within the past 40 years and extending its reach internationally. The new millennium was celebrated by the Museum with a look back at some of the most arresting and important installations of the previous decade in the exhibition Outbound: Passages from the Nineties. Other thematic exhibitions of the new century have included Afterimage: Drawing Through Process; Subject Plural; and The Inward Eye. One-person shows have focused on groundbreaking figures in all media and have included Uta Barth; When One is Two: The Art of Alighiero e Boetti; William Kentridge and Juan Muñoz.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Blvd., Houston TX, 77006