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The Marzio Years: Transforming the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1982–2010

October 25, 2020 - January 10, 2021

As director of the MFAH from 1982 to 2010, Peter C. Marzio ushered the Museum into a remarkable era of growth, with the expansion of the permanent collection from 14,000 to 62,000 works of art; the development of the Isamu Noguchi–designed Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden in 1986 and the Rafael Moneo–designed Audrey Jones Beck Building in 2000; and the land purchase for the site of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, opening in November 2020.

The Marzio Years: Transforming the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1982–2010 celebrates Marzio’s extraordinary achievements by spotlighting important acquisitions, landmark collection initiatives, and departments established during his tenure.

Before he arrived at the MFAH, Marzio served as director of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, and prior to that as curator of prints at the Smithsonian Institution. Marzio (1943–2010) was a specialist in American civilization and material culture, and as a result, he took a broader view of modern art than his predecessors. He saw opportunity and delight in unexplored domains, such as art by African Americans, self-taught artists, Texas artists, and Latino and Latin American artists. He helped found the MFAH International Center for the Arts of the Americas, an influential initiative in the study and collecting of Latin American Modernism, and he made important acquisitions of art by contemporary Asian artists, a first for Houston.

Among the many artists represented in this exhibition are John Biggers, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Imogen Cunningham, Nan Goldin, Franz Kline, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Rembrandt van Rijn, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol. Also featured are antiquities; selections from the Glassell gold collections; and works reflecting the MFAH partnership with the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation. Selections from major collections that entered the Museum during these years are highlighted as well, such as the Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio Collection of contemporary ceramics; the Manfred Heiting Collection of photographs; and the Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive art.

The Marzio Years: Transforming the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1982–2010 | October 25, 2020–January 10, 2021

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