The Menil displays and protects the lifetime acquisitions of French expatriates and storied philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil. The de Menils hoped that opening their personal collection to the public would engender respect and love for all art and the human capacity to create and express itself. Under the ultra-modernist roof of the Menil, statues, masks, paintings, pottery, and an endless list of treasures stretching from ancient Greece through medieval Africa and even the Pacific Northwest mingle together and stand ready for admiration. In addition to its permanent pieces, the Menil hosts a variety of traveling and special exhibits, including an upcoming showcase of nouveau realist performance art and a whole section dedicated to pop-art innovator Steve Wolfe.
The 14-acre Bayou Bend estate, the former abode of philanthropist and informal First Lady of Texas Ima Hogg, was finished in 1928 and donated to Houston's Museum of Fine Arts by 1957. Hogg then transformed her mansion into a de facto museum, accumulating one of the largest collections of American decorative art in the world. The nearly 5,000 masterly pieces range from furniture to ceramics, and in age from Colonial America all the way to the end the Civil War.
Designed by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's stainless steel building safeguards a multitude of work designed to intellectual engage viewers and invoke complex reactions. The museum's two galleries, the Brown Foundation Gallery and the Zilkha Gallery, collectively host 8–10 free exhibitions every year.
The Brown Foundation spotlights work by internationally renowned artists and pieces organized around themes; past exhibits include a Kiki Smith survey and a showcase of performance art by black artists. The Zilkha, meanwhile, hosts the museum's Perspective Series, which gathers the work of emerging artists. The museum's Teen Council curates a biyearly edition of Perspectives, unveiling work by young, Houston-area artists that mine for deeper feelings than the normal teenage angst toward parents, teachers, and singing animatronic bears. The Teen Council also contributes to the museum's numerous programs, which include lectures and discussions for each show, as well as Musiqa concerts based on each Brown Foundation Gallery exhibition.
Today’s Groupon offers an upgrade from your biography audio books. For $20, you’ll experience legendary lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s candid confessions at The Society for the Performing Arts on Sunday, October 25, a $42 value. New York Times columnist and former chief drama critic Frank Rich will prompt the esteemed composer to reflect on his career, collaborations, and creative process during the 7:30 p.m. performance at Jones Hall. Gypsies: “Boy, I was pretty sure I was going to get sued for this one. To make the lawyers happy, I added a scene where giant robots fight each other and changed that song to ‘Everything’s Coming Up Robots’.” A Different West Side Story: “You can’t copyright a part of town! The story is basically the same as the regular West Side Story, but some of the characters in mine are giant robots who have forbidden love.” Sweeney Ted: “I didn’t change much in this case because the original seems to also be about robots. A huge hit!”
Blooming from a family-run arts-and-crafts business more than a quarter century ago, Woodland Art & Frame now focuses on accentuating masterpieces with complementary borders. Aside from performing traditional services, such as dry-mounting posters and retouching oil paintings, certified framers enlist a virtual framer program to help patrons visualize their artwork in different mattes, frames, and ’80s hairstyles before finalizing selections. Framers also transform flat-screen TVs into functional artwork by crafting screen-hugging frames, and sometimes visit homes or offices to assess aesthetic needs.
In Houston, September beats out July and August for the hottest month of the year—it has nothing to do with the weather, however. The culprit behind the elevated heat level is the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. This annual event brings together exhibitors from across the country to sell and hand out samples of their signature hot sauces, salsas, jams, dips, and other spicy foods. Luckily, vendors also supply plenty of cool beverages, thus eliminating the need for bite-size fire extinguishers.
Live entertainment complements the spicy goods. Blues artists, jazz bands, and other musician play throughout the festival, and each day brings special events, such as salsa eating competitions or fire eating performances.