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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston unveils dazzling details for historic opening

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston unveils details for historic new opening

Kusama: At the End of the Universe
Yayoi Kusama's Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009 will be one of the large-scale immersive works on view as the Kinder Building opens.  MFAH Courtesy Photo
Nancy and Rich Kinder Building atrium
The atruim of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building.  Photo by Peter Molick
MFAH Kinder Building
The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building from above. Photo by Peter Molick, Thomas Kirk III
News-Dr. Peter Marzio
Before the Kinder Building opens, the MFAH will present an exhibition celebrating the art legacy of MFAH director from 1982-2010, Peter Marzio.  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Kusama: At the End of the Universe
Nancy and Rich Kinder Building atrium
MFAH Kinder Building
News-Dr. Peter Marzio

After becoming one of the first major art institutions in the U.S to reopen to the public in the spring, eyes will turn once again to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this fall as it welcomes the city and the world into the new Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, which opens to the public on November 21.

What began in 2012 with a campaign for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston with a goal of $450 million to redevelop the Sarofim Campus and off-site art-storage facilities, became, with some 650,000 square feet of new construction, the new home for the Glassell School of Art and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation.

Now, eight years later — with the campaign raising more than $470 million to date — this largest cultural project in North America culminates with the opening of the Kinder Building. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the Kinder Building will present works from the Museum’s vast collections of international modern and contemporary art.

“In the dynamic spaces that Steven Holl Architects has designed for the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, our distinctive holdings of modern and contemporary art will soon have the showcase they deserve,” described MFAH director Gary Tinterow in a statement on the historic opening.

“This area of our collection continues to grow rapidly, thanks to the exceptional endowment for acquisitions provided by our donors, with the late Caroline Wiess Law at the forefront. We are thrilled that we can now present recent purchases and our historic acquisitions in depth and breadth, bringing our audiences a wealth of recognized masterpieces as well as discoveries by lesser-known artists,” stated Tinterow.

Now with an entire building to explore the MFAH’s modern and contemporary collection, visitors will likely discover something new within every gallery exploration, while members, patrons and old MFAH friends will probably spot familiar beauty they had seen only once before in previous special, limited exhibitions.

First-floor wonders
The first floor will showcase large scale immersive artworks, with contemporary wonders by Yayoi Kusama, James Turrell, and Gyula Kosice installed for the building’s opening. The second floor will offer some of the bests of the collection, including history of photography, decorative arts, prints and drawings, European and American 20th-century painting, and sculpture and Latin American Modernism.

The MFAH has designated the third floor for changing thematic exhibitions. The first five will present art from the 1960s to present, focused on and titled "Collectivity," "Color Into Light," "Border, Mapping, Witness," the humor-themed "LOL," and "Line Into Space."

But before the MFAH opens the doors to its Kinder Building future, it will take a trip into its past with a new exhibition that tells a very personal story, with "The Marzio Years: Transforming the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1982–2010." This new exhibition gives a glimpse into the art legacy of MFAH director Peter Marzio and his 28 year tenure as the museum’s collection grew from 14,000 to 62,000 works of art, the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden opened in 1986 and the Audrey Jones Beck Building opened in 2000.

The exhibition will tell the tale of this remarkable transformation by highlighting some important acquisitions, landmark collection initiatives, and departments established during his years as director. “The Marzio Years: Transforming the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,” 1982–2010 will be on view October 25, 2020–January 10, 2021.


In celebration of the opening, the Museum will offer free general admission to all three of its Sarofim Campus gallery buildings for opening weekend, and to the Kinder Building through Wednesday, November 25.