I can't think of anyone who would take exception to the statement that Houston, Texas is a huge city for the arts. Both visual and performing. Even after five years of calling Houston home, what I can't get over is the accessibility and rich abundance of art from all ages. In the past few days, I have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of my favorite specimens from art history at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and also current work from more than 60 galleries at the second annual Texas Contemporary Art Fair.
The MFAH has it all - nearly 60,000 pieces in its collection - and admission is free on Thursdays. Parking is free, to boot. All you need is the desire to experience a world-class museum, and even a tiny bit of appreciation for priceless art and artefacts.
My neighbor and I went together, and since she studied art as well, we had an awesome time checking out and discussing paintings from different periods in time. It was like being in school again, but without the pressure. By the time we were leaving there, I found myself agreeing to dig out my paints and canvases and do some painting sessions at her place.
Just a few of the highlights: Botticelli, Van Rijn, Gainsborough, Monet, Van Gogh, Courbet, Cezanne, Picasso, Rodin and of course Matisse.
Contrast these classics to the contemporary art on display at the Contemporary Art Fair, and you've moved to creative use of media, often disturbing imagery, a representation of artists who are clearly going through a lot of anguish, and a little experimentation with substances other than paint (I guess they did that back then, too).
I didn't know most of the artists' names (except Weiwei), but the art was startling and wonderful.
This is what makes Houston so interesting - having the historic context, as well as a vibrant practicing art scene. Everywhere we go, we run into at least one artist. Sometimes dozens. And we love it.
If life is indeed a canvas, let's throw a lot of paint on it - with love and purpose. And keep creating.