Contemporary Arts Museum Houston: Fabulous and Fun!

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain at CAMH

Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain at CAMH

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 sunny 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.

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 plus 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 plus 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

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 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.

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.

At one of her pieces, one could pick up a telephone and speak to someone about Mars. I did that and got a recording. 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. The 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.


My husband and I recently visited the Museum District. We intended to revisit the Cullen Sculpture Garden across the street from CAMH. We parked our car several blocks away and made a discovery. For the first time, we saw a palm tree sculpture behind the museum! It may have been there for years, or perhaps not.

2021 saw a horrific freeze in Houston, where most of us lost power and even water for a few days. Palm trees in our area suffered. Tree trimmers are gradually removing the fronds from the top of palms. New growth will take place, but it might take some time to look normal. When we saw this palm from a distance, we were amazed at how good it looked. Of course, when we got up close, we discovered that it is a sculpture.

Another discovery is that the Carol Chiles Ballard Fountain in front is no longer there! Time will tell if something else takes its place.


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


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.

© 2020 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 23, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

We have an abundance of art museums in the Houston area, and several of them are free with no admission charges. I am happy to feature the Contemporary Art Museum in this post. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 22, 2020:

Looks like you have a lot of art museums in Houston. This article was an informational read and the photos a delight to watch. Truly a place one would be lost in enjoying the displays. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 01, 2020:

Hi Chitrangada,

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

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 01, 2020:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2020:

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.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 26, 2020:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2020:

Hi Bill,

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2020:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

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

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 24, 2020:

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 from USA on April 24, 2020:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 23, 2020:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 23, 2020:

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?

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 23, 2020:

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.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 23, 2020:

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

Ann Carr from SW England on April 23, 2020:

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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