There is nothing like a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston to remind designers of their roots. A stroll through the Beck building allows us to come face to face with the creations of art history legends. From the Jackson Pollock to the Egyptian tomb that guards the escalators, these Houston gems in the permanent collection are joined this season by works from international artists.
Separated by geographic region and vibrant shifts of wall color, my favorite finds are here from China. Nam June Paik‘s works have been featured at the Art Car Museum and he is also the creator of the super cool kaleidoscope in front of the Aroura Picture Show. His autobiographical piece on display features a series of televisions stacked with synchronized vintage graphic action-his signature arrangement. The stacks and rows of televisions are framed with traditional Chinese ornamental decor, pointing to his Chinese-American heritage.
Next to the Nam installation is a brilliant piece by Noh Sang Kyoon. His stunning sculpture, For the Worshipers, will flash you back to design school where we were challenged to transcend our mediums, toy with tactility and embed meaning through visual arrangement. Created by the artist after a near-death experience, the reverential Buddhist form reminds us that “we could die in vain, with no purpose, like a fish.” Thousands of rows of threaded, scale-like sequins let off a breath-taking glow that begs to be touched in it’s beautiful existential splendor. I asked pretty please for special permission but they said “no, you can’t touch this”.
After walking through the international collections, I came upon the fabulous wonders of Carlos Cruz Diez. In the Law building, his obsessions and creative studies are collected and organized in the order of his explorations. Beginning with a survey of his work from the 1950s, we can see the birth of his preoccupation with shadow and shape in his sketches from journals and paintings. The collection features interactive software applications, 3d photographs of his work space (3d glasses provided!) and sculptural environments that allow museum visitors to get inside the phenomenon of his fascinating transformations of light and color. I fancy his work from the 1960’s best. These feature multimedia paintings that pass as holographic in nature. This entire exhibit is complete, well- organized and clearly displays the progression of a lifetime of investigations with color and light.
Designers, experience these exhibits for your spirit. Color in Space and Time reminds us to explore our obsessive natures and to stop at nothing to develop our creative curiosities. The international exhibits acknowledge that we have a people, creative roots and a plethora of inspirational legends in the vast field of beautiful and precious design. Mad love to MFAH for being a reliable and consistent cornerstone for Houston’s creative community! Check their website for a list of upcomming exhibits, museum programs and showtimes for their featured films.
Noh Sang Kyoon's Sequins
Nam June Paik's Televisions
Carlos Cruz-Diez's Sculptural Environment