As Labor Day approaches, so does the last days of the intricately criss-crossed bamboo jungle that has filled the MFAH‘s Cullinan Hall throughout the summer.
The wave of bamboo has been a popular crowd-pleasing, Instagram-worthy summer installation, sprouting the ends of nearly 3,000 poles splaying in all directions. The chaotic display forges a trail that stretches up to the second floor balcony, inviting visitors to take a walk on This Thing Called Life.
The exhibition by American brothers Mike and Doug Starn brings their massive and immersive work Big Bambú into an interior space for the first time. Accompanied by gargantuan photographs that drape from the wall, Big Bambú: This Thing Called Life fills the museum gallery and towers some 30 feet into the air.
A mass of tightly-bound bamboo poles splinter from the top of the structure, extending a ramp to the second floor balcony of Mies van der Rohe’s landmark building. Crossing this bridge places visitors into the heart of the structure along a narrow path flanked by thousands of lashed-together branches in a chaotic but structurally sound construction.
Creating Big Bambú
The assembly of Big Bambú: This Thing Called Life was a spectacle for visitors at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, back in May, when the artists’ studio team of professionally trained rock climbers began scaling across the structure, piecing together bamboo bundles one pole at a time.
Random Interdependence: Changing & Evolving
Big Bambú is a project that aims to manifest “the invisible structures in life” through a construction that weaves and interlaces bamboo poles together in a process that the artists call “random interdependence.”
The resulting structure reflects the ways that different cultures assemble a world for us to move through, one foothold after the other.
Big Bambú has had five previous iterations, beginning with a 2010 rooftop installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as well as in Rome, Japan, Jerusalem, and Copenhagen. Each structure is created for the unique, site-specific circumstances and serves as a reflection of the local history.
This summer’s installation at the MFAH is only its second appearance in the United States.
About Mike & Doug Starn
Prior to building these walkable structures, the Starn brothers rose to prominence in the mid-1980s with their conceptual and physical approach to photography.
Starting by tearing, ripping, and distressing their photographs, the duo would eventually incorporate other mediums of art, including architecture.
Visiting Big Bambú & Using the Walkway
Big Bambú: This Thing Called Life is on view through Labor Day at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Guests planning to use the walkway should visit MFAH’s exhibition description to learn more about the special guidelines that apply—including height, age and types of footwear. Click here to see guidelines and restrictions.
All visitors who access the upper-level pathway are required to sign a waiver. You can save time by downloading the waiver to print, sign, and bring with you.
Big Bambú: This Thing Called Life at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
- Dates: Through Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 2018
- Location: 1001 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX 77005
- Parking: Garage parking available at 5101 Montrose Boulevard, and 1144 Binz Street. Click here for detailed parking instructions.
- Admission: $18 for adults; $13 for ages 65 and up, students, military, and ages 13 to 18; free for ages 12 and under. Click here to buy tickets and for more information.
This story was sponsored by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Per our sponsorship policy, we only accept sponsored content from businesses that meet our editorial standards and truly present a valuable activity, resource, or destination for residents and visitors across the greater Houston area. Click here to learn about promoting your event or business.