New Museums We'd Like to See in Houston: Fashion, Texas Art, Sports, Criminal Justice and Politics

Categories: Museums

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We keep hearing that Houston has several world class museums (mostly from the directors of those museums). We don't disagree, but we do think we could use a few more museums; there are a couple of subjects not completely covered by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and such.

First on our list of new museums we'd like to see is The Fashion Museum of Houston. No, we don't have quite the fashion shows that New York has, and no, we don't have a glut of designers. (We do have Chloe Dao!) We do, however, have generations of rich socialites who make it a habit to wear a haute couture gown once and only once before they move on to the next dress.

We envision a star-shaped building with one wing dedicated to gowns and fancy dresses, another to shoes, one to jewelry, one to lingerie and one to western wear (this is Texas, after all, and a lot of those socialites wore their designer duds to the Livestock Show and Rodeo fundraisers). The center of the building would be a large gallery-slash-ballroom for traveling exhibits and parties (okay, mostly parties).

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Also on our list of new museums Houston needs is The Museum of Texas Art. You would think we've got art covered what with the MFAH's ever growing campus, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Pearl Fincher Art Museum and the rest, not to mention the hundreds of galleries in the area, but on any given day, you'd be hard-pressed to find an exhibit that included anything that could be called Texas art.

We don't mean just works by Texas artists or works created here in Texas. It takes a little bit more than that to qualify a painting or sculpture as Texas art. It takes an only-in-Texas vision and direct connection to other local painters and sculptors who either influenced or were influenced by the artist. The Texas Art Museum would have a collection of works by artists such as unique Lone Star state talents as Emma Richardson Cherry, considered one of the most forward thinking artists of her time. (By the way, the next time you visit the MFAH, thank Cherry - she was one of the driving forces behind the organization that eventually became the museum.)

We've even got a suggestion for the Museum's director spot - local art scholar Randy Tibbits. With a little persuading, Tibbits might be convinced to lend some of his personal collection to the museum (his living room walls are covered with paintings that would make a curator cry from envy).

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One thing Texas is known for around the world is our enchantment with the death penalty and criminal activity. Surely, there's more than enough material to fill The Texas Criminal Justice Museum. Just in the last 60 years, we've had Angel Maturino Reséndiz, aka The Railroad Killer, the Poe Elementary School bombing, Andrea Yates, Dean Corll and Elmer Wayne Henley, trucker Tyrone Williams who had a hand in the death of 19 immigrants who cooked to death while trapped in his tractor trailer and the Texas Killing Fields (an area between Houston and Galveston where several, perhaps dozens of females have disappeared). It wouldn't be all Houston area criminals, of course; remember Waco's Michael Daniel, the guy who reportedly went berserk and ate the family dog? Raw.

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" but on any given day, you'd be hard-pressed to find an exhibit that included anything that could be called Texas art." This is generally true of museums in Houston, but not true of galleries and non-profit art spaces. Right now, there are a minumum of 22 exhibits that are solely Texas artists or that include Texas artists up. I don't know if they would all fit in your definition, but they are all here--some born here, some educated here, etc.

That said, I would like to see our collecting museums--the MFAH and the Menil--take more of an interest in displaying this art. Or have a new museum for that purpose. Exhibiting the work is good--having it in a permanent collection is better.

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