PaperCity Magazine

December 2019- Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 91 of 147

82 A ll art-world eyes will be on Texas, come fall 2020. The big news arrived from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, that its much- anticipated new Nancy and Rich Kinder Building will open in Fall 2020 (exact date to be determined). The stats and the architecture are equally impressive. When it unveils, the Kinder Building will come in at 183,528 square feet; 100,000 of that devoted to exhibitions, thus amping up the MFAH's overall exhibit space by a game-changing 75 percent. Architect Steven Holl — who also designed the MFAH's Brutalist- leaning Glassell School of Art, which opened May 2018 — aims to make his signature sculptural statement with this building, which when observed from the air resembles an abstract jigsaw puzzle. Holl softens the aggressive stance of the new Kinder by the BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON DESTINATION 2020: A STARCHITECT, AI WEIWEI + FRIENDS INSIDE THE MFAH'S GRAND-SLAM KINDER BUILDING and drawings, including the Peter Blum archive spanning 1980-1994; and design, craft, and decorative art tilting to the contemporary. The Super Seven Beyond the building and its under- known permanent-collection riches, the calling cards of the new Kinder and the Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus — the finale of a grand master plan that has reimagined 14 acres in the heart of the Houston Museum District — will be seven site-specific commissions by artists who reflect the MFAH's international vision, with a focus on globalism and diversity. One of the museum's greatest hits is its James Turrell tunnel linking the Law and the Beck Buildings. When the Kinder Building opens, it will possess not one, but two subterranean tunnels bearing artworks, both light based. Venezuelan- born Carlos Cruz-Diez will take over one with an immersive environment of colored light that we predict will become the defining moment of the reborn Sarofim Campus; it's one of the international chromatic artist's final works. The Cruz-Diez tunnel will connect the Kinder with the Law Building. The second tunnel, joining the building to the Glassell School, has been assigned to international Scandinavian talent Olafur Eliasson, whose work will challenge viewers' perceptions. Eliasson's art piece features 19 yellow light fixtures contrasting with purple-filtered natural light to establish a unique optical dialogue. The biggest name among these commissions is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Museum-goers will encounter his bamboo, aluminum, silk, and mirrored dragon on the ceiling of the Glassell, adjoining the Kinder's Eliasson tunnel. Ai Weiwei's addition of fluted glass pillars that wrap its concrete façade and envelop the edifice in a luminescent glow at night. The completion-date announcement underscored the fact that the MFAH's $450 million capital campaign has been surpassed, making the Kinder Building the final grand jewel in a campus that's the largest cultural project ongoing at the moment in North America. Latin American and More But the Kinder is more than a work of architecture: It's a testament to the MFAH's commitment to retelling art history, spun from a viewpoint of the Southern Hemisphere. Within this new structure, Latin American art will be unequivocally front and center. Other core strengths of the collection to be showcased are the MFAH's trove of photography (among the top 10 collections in the world; postwar American painting; prints Above: Steven Holl Architects' design for the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building atrium features his signature use of sculptural forms and dramatic plays of light. Bottom right: Diffused light glows from the glass tubing on the east façade of the MFAH Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, contrasting with the structure's robust muscular stance. RICHARD BARNES STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - December 2019- Houston