MFAH and the Menil Are Depriving Us of Local Art

Houston museums should display some Houston art.

It would be even better if they followed the DMA model, bringing Houston art out of storage and putting it in the context of a larger art history. But that might be asking too much — at least for now.

But really, once you've stopped laughing at that suggestion, consider petitioning the museums to help us learn more about the art heritage of our own area by showing it to us alongside the works they're showing us from every other place in the world. That would be "world class." After all, Houston's in the world, too.

Want to see some great Houston art? Here you go: "Houston Art You Won't See at the MFAH or Menil."

Think you know your Houston art? Take this quiz.

Here's a little Houston art history quiz for those of you who like a challenge. Fair warning: This is likely to be tougher than the New York Times crossword puzzle. (Answers are below.)

1. Which Houston artist shared a name with a Greek god?

2. Which Houston artist was the first woman known to have painted at Giverny, in 1888? (Additional clues: She also painted with Marsden Hartley; joined Hartley, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray as a member of the avant-garde Société Anonyme; and painted what are likely the first cubist works by a Texas artist.)

3. Which Houston artist, born in Mexico, set the visual tone of the city in the Jazz Age as artistic director of The Houston Gargoyle, our answer to Vanity Fair?

4. What is the name of the Houston artist and museum administrator who burned her own paintings in her backyard?

5. Which Young Turk among Houston artists — by the time he was 18! — was painting works more radical than his near contemporary, Jackson Pollock, would get to for years to come?

6. This Houston-raised artist was showing with Mark Rothko, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey in the 1950s in New York, and shared studio space with Cy Twombly in the early 1960s in Rome, where the art press talked about them in the same sentences. What is his name? (Additional clue: One of his watercolors was the only original art by another artist that Forrest Bess had on the walls of his new Bay City studio/bait shack in 1948.)

7. Which Houston artist sold shares in his future work to finance his art study trips to foreign lands? (Actually there were two, so either one, or both, will do.)

8. Which Houston artist won the Houston Annual Exhibition top prize in 1950 and helped bring about a major change in museum policy?

9. Which artist with Houston roots made a sculpture of Winston Churchill for the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.?


1. "Professor" Carl Christian Zeus (1830-1915)

2. Emma Richardson Cherry (1859-1954)

3. Crescenciano Garza Rivera (1895-1958)

4. Ruth Pershing Uhler (1895-1967)

5. Robert Preusser (1919-1992)

6. Gene Charlton (1909-1979)

7. Gene Charlton in the 1940s; David Adickes in the 1950s

8. John Biggers (1924-2001)

9. William McVey (1905-1995)

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Kyle King
Kyle King

Houston art can be found ALL over the city. Houston is in many respects an art museum itself. Why two museum/art spaces are somehow at fault for not hanging more local art in them escapes me. You don't like the paucity of local art at MFAH or Menil? Try any number of bars, banks, coffee houses, parks, notable buildings, DOWNTOWN...I mean seriously, this was a topic deemed worthy of an article? Just because you have a pet peeve, doesn't mean anyone else shares it...OR that it deserves space in any publication. Times change, tastes change, cities change. In the words of Sgt. Hulka, "Lighten up, Francis".