Best Art Museum - 2012
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Like the New York Yankees, the only word to really describe the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is "powerhouse." True, it has the kind of deep-pocketed endowment that attracts top-dollar traveling exhibits like the recent "Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs," but it concurrently showed its annual collection of Third Ward photography taken by Jack Yates High School students. Besides the two architectural marvels of the Caroline Wiess Law and Audrey Jones Beck buildings, the other buildings scattered around the MFAH campus are themselves models of styles ranging from neoclassical to Southern antebellum to postmodern contemporary. Their contents are equally spectacular, with permanent collections of art and artifacts from every continent except Antarctica and rotating exhibits that could include war photography, Dutch masters or Scandinavian design. MFAH also conducts a renowned art-education program through the Glassell School, contains one of the area's few true art-house movie theaters and includes works by Rodin and Matisse in the sculpture garden out back. It's a lot to take in.