The Definitive Guide to Houston

Bamboo Waves Flood The Museum of Fine Arts

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Artists Mike and Doug Starn have reconceived their internationally acclaimed Big Bambù project for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Considered an ever-evolving installation, experience thousands of bamboo poles, pathways, and waves engulfing two levels of Ludwig Mies van de Rohe-designed galleries from June until September 3rd, 2018.

Courtesy of MFAH

This Thing Called Life features a sea of bamboo waves and curling path uniquely shaped to fit inside the museum. The installation comprises nearly 3,000 poles lashed together to form unpredictable patterns, rising 30 feet from the main level of the Cullinan Hall to the balcony of the Upper Brown Pavilion above. Visitors are encouraged to cross a bridge of bamboo that travels from the balcony, through the beautiful bamboo waves, and onto a pathway leading them to the floor of Cullinan Hall. This Thing Called Life allows art-seekers to explore the ever-evolving exhibition from various angles.

Courtesy of MFAH

Big Bambù was born out of the artists’ studio in Beacon, New York. The exhibition was first featured on the roof of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010. Attracting more than 600,000 visitors, it became the Met’s ninth most-attended exhibition. Since then, it has been featured at the Venice Biennale (collateral exhibition, 2011); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2012); Naoshima Museum, Japan (2013); Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2015); and Ordrupgaard Museum Sculpture Park, Copenhagen (2018). The Starns have adapted the work to the site of each location to depict different narratives and local history. This Thing Called Life at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the exhibition’s first public staging indoors.

Brothers Mike and Doug Starn have long been celebrated as gifted interdisciplinary artists. World famous for their contributions in photography, sculpture, architecture, and more, the brothers work to combine the beauty of nature with architecture and beauty.. In the mid-1980s, they received critical acclaim for their conceptual and physical approach to photography by intentionally distressing and tearing photos. Over the years that followed, their work intertwined various mediums of art. The Starn brothers’ work has been featured worldwide including places such as Princeton University Art Museum and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The Starns also received two National Endowment for the Arts grants, the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Fine Art Photography, and a NASA artists-in-residency.

Courtesy of MFAH

The Museum of Fine Art, Houston is no stranger to curating groundbreaking installations such as This Thing Called Life. Established in 1900, the museum contains a whopping 65,000 collection of works dating from antiquity to the present. The MFAH is situated in Houston’s Arts District and among the 10 largest museums in the United States. The MFAH is considered a place of wonder and enlightenment! 

Experience this one-of-a-kind exhibit now until September 3rd. Visitors may purchase tickets for the exhibit online or at the museum. Daily admission prices are $18 for adults and $13 for seniors (65+), college students (with ID), youth (13-18), and military (with ID). The exhibition is free for children 12 and younger, and for MFAH members. Tickets also provide access to the Museum’s art collections.

Due to the nature of this exhibition, special guidelines—including height and age requirements— apply to experience it. Please visit for details before your visit.

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