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“Quiet Gallery in the Busy City”
Review of Cy Twombly Gallery

Cy Twombly Gallery
Ranked #125 of 298 things to do in Houston
Attraction details
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
64 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Quiet Gallery in the Busy City”
Reviewed November 9, 2013

This building is entirely dedicated to the artwork of Cy Twombly. You may love his art, or you may hate it. If you struggle to appreciate the modern art, try focusing on the calm atmosphere of the exhibition space. Sit on the benches, and look at the colors that Twombly splashes on the larger-than-life canvases.

One room holds seven canvases, the suite of “green paintings.” At first glance, you may not see anything. But as you look at the shades of green, you may begin to see familiar images: maybe trees, rivers, or mountains?

The gallery, designed by Renzo Piano, uses stationary louvers, movable louvers, and canvas in the roof structure. The result, pleasant natural light illuminates the works of art. The ever-changing light plays on Twombly’s artwork, making the pieces appear different depending on the time of day.

The Cy Twombly Gallery is one part of the larger Menil Collection. While you are in the area, also check out the Main Building, the Rothko Chapel, and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel.

To make this even better, there is no charge to see the collection!

No photography is permitted in the gallery.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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17 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
rockford il
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2013

First, let me say how amusing is to continually find that people who obviously have no understanding of abstract expressionist (or really any) art ignorantly comment on this place and others, and about how some pieces "could have been made by young children". Sadly, these people have lost a basic understanding, a freedom from oppressive logic and originality of thought that children have yet to lose--and let's hope many of them don't. IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND MODERN ART, PLEASE HOLD COMMENT ON SHRINES TO MODERN ART! You say nothing about the attraction, and everything about yourself and your own lack of understanding and foolishness. Ironically, this is something that is understood by small children, but apparently some adults have shamefully forgotten.

That said, this space is a sublime monument to a towering figure of one of the 20th century's greatest achievements: abstract expressionism. Twombly was one of the most sensitive, expansive and gifted practitioners of the form, and the light and color of his works are virtually integrated into a cohesive whole here that will lift and enlighten the spirit of anyone not mired in the dullness of thought that handcrafted "art" must bear some resemblance to photography. The space was designed by Renzo Piano, one of Italy's great modern architects, who also designed the nearby Menil--possibly a wink to Twombly's substantial time spent living in Italy during a very prolific period in his life in the late 1950s. A delight and treasure for the open-minded, educated, and for those who still hold tightly to the childlike fascination and curiosity we were all born with, undiminished by the monotony and pressure toward conformism of our modern lives. I can't wait to return.

Visited May 2013
5 Thank m m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
166 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2013

I cannot understand how this can be called art. A number of large canvases which have marks on them which could have been made by young children in first year at school. Perhaps Twombly is a talented artist but I did not see any evidence of talent in these "pictures" Fortunately we had not paid to enter the gallery

Visited April 2013
Thank rjg4321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
92 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Eye-opening, heart-changing experience.”
Reviewed November 13, 2012

In a lifetime of traveling and visiting museums I have rarely been so moved, utterly enraptured, as at the Cy Twombly gallery in Houston. I originally came to see the Rothko Chapel and was slightly underwhelmed; although I was somewhat aware and vaguely appreciated Twomblys work, I had no idea what a shock it would be to be in several rooms with gigantic canvases and complete series of the artists works. I now believe Twombly possibly was the greatest painter of the 20th century. A telling confirmation is when you visit the nearby Menil collection and the Fine Arts Museum, and almost can't bear to see the works of surrealists (no surprise, Max Ernst, Margritte, Chirico etc were great conceivers but bad painters) or even Picasso or Rauschenberg, as their work seems so shallow and schematic after having experienced the incredible freedom, power, depth and delicacy of Twomblys work.

I remember only having been moved as much by painting two or three times in my life: first is the Turner gallery at the Tate Britain in London, then the "Nymphéas" of Claude Monet at the Orangerie in Paris (and also some very late and abstract Monets at the Marmottan). There is an obvious filiation between these three artists, and behold, at the adjacent bookshop there was a huge catalog of an exhibition that united them: "Turner,Monet,Twombly". Detractors, allergics and indifferents of Twombly like the previous poster should maybe start there: begin to delve yourselves into the late paintings of Turner, then Monet, and Twombly will grow on you., travel to London and Paris (and Venice with Titian, to who's colors and strokes Twombly owes so much), before going to Houston

The gallery is organized chronologically starting on the left. I mistakenly entered at the right and thus was confronted with one of the latest and the largest work of the collection: "Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor", a gigantic painting about the size of a swimming pool. This work is so impressive and evocative, you can literally sit there for hours and follow the flow of the painting on a 2/3 empty canvas, evolving from tiny pencil scribblings to gigantic and violent color patches: is if you assisted at the creation of the Universe, or just the birth of a cell, a dream, a feeling or a sensation.

The next highlight is the series "analysis of the rose as sentimental despair", five paintings in a completely different style, heavy drippings of red covered by white: like a look inside a bleeding body, were the romantic metaphors of the rose and the heart, of love and suffering are uniquely blended. Another highlight are the chalk and blackboard drawings, as are the very unique and quirky sculptures.

Twombly followed throughout the 50 year span this museum covers a very consistent approach and style, but unrelentlessly got better as he aged. It thus might be interesting to view the gallery twice, from old to young (as I did) and then from young to old.

I have now left Houston and really regret it since I think about these paintings every day. I might change my travel plans and go back to Houston or travel to Philadelphia to see another incredible Twombly room.

Visited November 2012
3 Thank belsha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
110 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“Total waste of space”
Reviewed January 17, 2012

I now know what a waste of space looks like. This gallery has huge rooms adorned with huge canvases on which the “artist” has attached a pencil to a spider and let it roam free. He hasn’t even bothered to name these scribbling. “Lost for words” would be my description. One of the “art” exhibits is a pile of plaster. Probably left by the artist as it was way too complicated to shape into anything meaningful.
Talk about “Emperors clothes” syndrome.
Two good points. It’s free. It is close to the Menil collection so you haven’t wasted a trip.
Don’t waste your time.

Visited December 2011
Thank ourunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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