When I am back in Houston I like to visit my favorite art spots and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is always at the top of my list. The room containing post-War American art is my particular favorite. It houses seminal works by artists such as Franz Kline, Jackson Pollack, Hans Hoffman and Willem De Kooning. In my latest visit I was happily surprised to see that the museum has added more works by important female Abstract Expressionists, namely Elaine De Kooning and Joan Mitchell. Elaine De Kooning’s 1959 painting “Untitled (Standing Bull)” and Mitchell’s “Tournesols (Sunflowers)” from 1976 are some of the incredible new additions to the post-War room at the MFAH. These works are both monumental in scale and, although both completely abstract, reference nature–for De Kooning its the bulls from New Mexico and for Mitchell its dying sunflowers.
De Kooning and Mitchell weren’t the only recent female additions to the museum walls. Kara Walker’s “Slaughter of the Innocents (They Might be Guilty of Something” from 2016 was added to the main lobby of the museum. The enormous work is done in Walker’s signature silhouette cutouts and continues her narrative of racism and slavery in antebellum America.
I was very pleased to see that many of the new additions to the MFAH walls were from modern and contemporary female artists. Hopefully, as the museum opens its new space for contemporary art, more of their outstanding permanent collection of modern art and especially that of women can be put on view.