Wes Anderson's Houston: Muggy, mosquitos and the Menil

Wes Anderson's Houston: Muggy, mosquitos and the Menil

Film director and native Houstonian Wes Anderson is known for his quirky films like Bottle Rocket, Rushmore (my favorite), The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. More recently he's branched out into animated fare with Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was nominated for an Academy Award today. But the indie cult hero, who is as unconventional as ever, credits his hometown for molding him. In a couple of  interviews published in Interview magazine (from both sides of the table), Anderson has poked fun at and embraced Houston.

When he was interviewed by French director Arnaud Desplechin, Anderson compared Houston to India, citing the mugginess and mosquitos. Despite the weather, he admitted he missed Texas.

But the big nod came when he interviewed Jarvis Cocker for the mag, and said this about our beloved Menil:

"Anderson: I always feel like there are specific things about Houston. There’s one museum in particular in Houston. So many of the things that I’m interested in now I can sort of trace back to that museum, which introduced me to them.

: What museum is that?

Anderson: It’s called The Menil Collection. There was this woman, Dominique de Menil—I think she was French, but she had one of the great Texas oil fortunes—and her art collection was vast. She collected lots of surrealist works—Salvador Dalí and René Magritte and Max Ernst and those Joseph Cornell boxes. She also collected abstract expressionist and pop art. So there were those John Chamberlain sculptures made from smashed-up cars and Dan Flavin fluorescent tubes and pieces by Donald Judd and Cy Twombly. There’s a building they call the Rothko Chapel that’s just these [Mark] Rothko pieces. I’d never heard of any of this before I walked through those doors. But there’s no place where I feel quite as much at home as I do in Houston. Even if Houston is not the place that I find the most exciting necessarily, it’s very peaceful for me to go there, I think, because I’m from there."

We say come back anytime.

News_Wes Anderson_Jan 10
Director Wes Anderson still holds a special fondness for Houston.
Places-A&E-The Menil Collection
Anderson credits The Menil Collection for broadening his world. Courtesy photo