Houston arts pioneer shoots straight on gallery growth, a happy marriage and closeted gay Republicans
When Hiram Butler opened his gallery in 1984, there was no Menil Collection, there were only three curators at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (today there are a dozen), no one dreamed that the MFAH endowment would reach $1 billion, and only a handful of galleries existed (now there are more than 50). The Houston art scene has exploded in those three decades and he could not be prouder of the city.
During that time, Butler has mounted more than 500 exhibitions, featuring the works of acclaimed artists such as James Turrell, whom he represents plus Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra and John Cage. His far-reaching connections with major, national talent have meant that his gallery is continually the source for nationally important artworks.
The Eagle Pass native, a fifth generation Texan, is a staple on the city's art scene, exercising his influence largely behind the scenes but with tentacles reaching to the art department at Rice University, the MFAH's Glassell School and the Live Oak Friends Meeting of which he is a trustee. He is also a board member of Williams College in Massachusetts.
Butler is married to Andrew Spindler-Roesle an antiques dealer in Essex, Mass., and divides his time between homes in Houston and in Massachusetts.