Contemporary Arts Museum Houston: Fabulous and Fun!

Updated on April 25, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain at CAMH
Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain at CAMH | Source

The Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston is certainly a distinctive building from the exterior. Architect Gunnar Birkerts designed a stainless-steel-clad parallelogram space that is quite eye-catching. Shafts of sunlight can bounce off of this reflective surface on sunlit days. Even in cloudy weather, this building invites attention from passersby.

There is a gift shop on that lower level at the museum, as well as restrooms. The building is ADA accessible. A ramp goes up to the entrance, and there is an elevator to get between the two floors.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
CAMH Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain at CAMHExterior view of the CAMHEntrance door to CAMHCAMH
CAMH | Source
Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain at CAMH
Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain at CAMH | Source
Exterior view of the CAMH
Exterior view of the CAMH | Source
Entrance door to CAMH
Entrance door to CAMH | Source
CAMH | Source

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

1972 was the opening date of this museum location. It is situated just kitty-corner across from the Houston Fine Arts Museum and directly across from the Cullen Sculpture Garden.

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston also displays contemporary art as well as going back to ancient times and everything in between. But this museum is solely dedicated to the modern.

Through the years, I have visited our Contemporary Arts Museum Houston on occasion, accompanied by friends and family members. It is fun seeing the various types of modern art. Sometimes we have walked out quizzically scratching our heads at what was on display. At all times, whether someone understands the intent of the artists or not, it gives a person something to ponder and enjoy.

New and emerging artists have occasionally had their careers jump-started by getting to display their work in this venue. Others who are already well known have also had their art shown here. A couple of examples of some better-known artists would be Alexander Calder and Vincent Van Gogh.

No Admission Charge!

One terrific thing for people in Houston as well as visitors to our beautiful city is that there is no fee to enter the CAMH. There is solely a donation box.

Closed on Mondays and a few other holidays during the year, it is open Tuesday through Sunday. To check hours of operation plus keep up to date with exhibitions, click on the source link at the bottom of this page.

The strangeness will wear off and I think we will discover the deeper meanings in modern art.

— Jackson Pollock
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CAMH inside photo of Mark Flood art on displayPeople liked this at CAMH Interior picture at the Contemporary Arts Museum HoustonInterior photo at the CAMH
CAMH inside photo of Mark Flood art on display
CAMH inside photo of Mark Flood art on display | Source
People liked this at CAMH
People liked this at CAMH | Source
Interior picture at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Interior picture at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston | Source
Interior photo at the CAMH
Interior photo at the CAMH | Source

Artist Mark Flood

Mark Flood is a local Houston artist that is currently gaining much international fame. He graduated from Rice University with a Bachelor of Arts degree back in 1981. According to a Wikipedia article, some of his pieces of art sell for more than $200,000. That must be very gratifying for him in more ways than one.

Mark Flood's Gratest (sic) Hits on display from April 30th to August 7th, 2016, was in the Brown Foundation Gallery. That is on the second floor, where one enters the Contemporary Arts Museum.

Part of what Mark Flood did to make visiting his art more fun was the following. There were massive stacks of boards with the letters LIKE on them on the floor. Visitors to the museum could take them and place them in front of the Mark Flood artwork that they liked. My husband and I saw the humor in a few of them placed near a chair. It would have been entertaining at the show's end to see which pieces had the most LIKE boards in front of them.

This artist also founded a band that plays punk rock music, among other things. He goes by the name of Perry Webb in the group called Culturcide.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Interview: Red, Red Future by artist MPA at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.Overhead by artist MPA. Photos of possible UFOs on the floor at CAMH.
The Interview: Red, Red Future by artist MPA at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
The Interview: Red, Red Future by artist MPA at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. | Source
Overhead by artist MPA. Photos of possible UFOs on the floor at CAMH.
Overhead by artist MPA. Photos of possible UFOs on the floor at CAMH. | Source

Artist MPA

The artist, by the name of MPA, had her work on display downstairs in the Zilkha Gallery. The Interview: Red, Red Future started on February 27th and ended on June 5th, 2016. It had to do with our exploration and possible colonization of the planet Mars in the future. It is also her work at the top of this page.

At one of her art pieces, one could pick up a telephone and speak to someone about Mars. I did that and got a recording that if I wished to leave my number, someone would get back to me. I am sure that everyone received that same recording.

MPA lives and works near 29 Palms, California. There is a large military training facility nearby. Supposedly many unexplained things happen in the skies above this area. On the floor are photographs taken by MPA of possible UFOs. Suspended lights above were off. But at times, they illuminated the pictures with colors according to a guard lady at the museum.

The Long Line created by MPA had many items placed upon a zig-zagging red line on the floor of the Zitkha Gallery. She had picked up discarded items while walking through the desert near 29 Palms. Such things as broken toothbrushes, bits of what appeared to be bone, bits of plastic, and more were interspersed along that line. Her idea was that this was a birds-eye view of the ground when soaring over it from above.

The video below captures a past exhibit at CAMH.


I hope that you enjoyed this peek into some of what has been on display at the museum. My photos and these videos are just a sampling of what you will find there. One can stay abreast of current modern art trends by visiting art museums such as this.

Located in the Houston Museum Arts District, it is just one of the numerous museums worth exploring. The address is 5216 Montrose Blvd., Houston, Texas 77006.

The truly modern artist is aware of abstraction in an emotion of beauty.

— Piet Mondrian

Do you like modern art?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods


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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Chitrangada,

        Thanks for your comment. We have had much fun through the years visiting this museum with all of the many innovative exhibits.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        4 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

        The art museum sounds interesting and the information, which you have shared in the article is interesting.

        Like all your other articles, this one is also well illustrated. Thanks for the virtual tour.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Heidi,

        What is particularly lovely, other than the fact of this art museum is free to the public, is that there is a continual changing of shows. So it is a fun way to keep up with what is going on in the field of contemporary art.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        4 weeks ago from Chicago Area

        You had me at "contemporary art museum." Fave art type! And this one's free? I'd be so there.

        Thanks for pointing out another cool place in your area!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        The modern exterior of our Contemporary Arts Museum does fit the interior spaces beautifully.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        I think that contemporary art can be interpreted by each individual viewing it. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong interpretation. Perhaps it matches the artist's intent, and maybe not. Ha!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        My husband and I have spent the majority of our lives in Houston and have yet to see it all.

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        5 weeks ago from Massachusetts

        What an interesting museum to visit. Sometimes modern art appeals to me and I totally agree with your sentiment about scratching ones head sometimes. But, this is the beauty of modern art and it does give visitors something to ponder, enjoy, and debate. The simplicity of the stainless steel exterior actually appeals to me, I like it.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        5 weeks ago from USA

        I’d have to attend with my daughter who could translate the artist’s likely intent. She really gets modern art and I just go blank.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        It is modern on its exterior, so I can understand why you could have thought this museum was built more recently. It is an excellent addition to our city.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ann,

        Sometimes modern art is hard to interpret. I'll admit laughing at some of it. But that also is fun. Perhaps the artists have that intent?

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        5 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        I really like the building design from the outside. The art is also very nice. My favorite art is from the impressionist, but I enjoy seeing all types of art when I can. This is another interesting article about another great place to visit in Houston. I am amazed with the great places to visit in this city.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 weeks ago from UK

        What a great space for art. Had you not given the date I would have put the building as more recent.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        5 weeks ago from SW England

        I like most modern art I see but some pieces I find a bit pretentious - bit like the Emperor's new clothes! Modern, abstract sculpture is a favourite of mine. However, my favourite art is the Impressionist period.

        You've shown us all sorts of interest here, Peggy. Just like your other tours round areas of Houston, it makes us want to visit and experience it all.



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