Bamboozled at The MFAH: Big Bambú
To step foot into Big Bambú at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is to step foot into another world: one built upon joy and bamboo poles. Big Bambú provides a place of serenity and reflection, a place to pause and take a break from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.
First, visitors will take the stairs to the second floor to cross the bamboo bridge, which ultimately leads to the floor where you enter the exhibit.
Big Bambú, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s latest interactive exhibit, is composed of approximately 3,000 bamboo poles lashed together with colorful cording and extends 30 feet from the ground. Created by artists Mike and Doug Starn, the bottom level of the exhibit allows you to walk through a forest of crisscrossed bamboo poles, the supporting base of the exhibit. By walking up museum stairs to the second level of the hall, you can access a walkway formed entirely of bamboo that bridges the gap between the floor and the towering second level of the exhibit.
Buzz interns Abby Cohan and Kelly Thomas ventured to The Museum of Fine Arts to explore the bamboo forest. These are their thoughts.
My initial impression was one of pure awe. The exhibit was far more massive than I had imagined. From the pictures I looked at online, I expected a relatively small and rickety structure. However, all my doubts about the structure’s integrity vanished when I saw how purposefully constructed it was. Walking through the bottom level of the exhibit felt like walking through an enchanted forest. Lightbulbs dangling from poles scattered throughout added touches of character to the environment. Upon entering the second level of the exhibit, I felt a sense of childlike joy. Crossing the bamboo bridge into the elevated walkway felt like walking into a secret tree fort. As I continued to walk on the path, which spiraled around the center of the structure, I realized how intrinsically fun the exhibit was. I think one of the exhibit’s winning aspects is its universality. Anyone, young or old, can explore the exhibit and feel a connection to its playfulness and interactivity.
The monumental wave of bamboo absolutely bamboozled me. Surrounded by such a spontaneous environment, my perspective of art really changed. I felt nostalgic from my childhood days of climbing through what felt like a children’s playground. Personally, I am not one to spend free time at a museum, but I genuinely enjoyed and appreciated this exhibit and would recommend it to all ages and anyone who wants to be amazed.
Here are some other Buzz residents’ thoughts on the exhibit.
Local residents Freddy Castillo and Wendy Pena were first-timers to the Big Bambú exhibit. Castillo said, “I love how interactive the exhibit is and how you can see and touch everything whereas, in the museum, you can’t touch any of the artworks.” Pena said, “It is an exhibit both kids and adults can enjoy.”
Anne Wilson, who lives in Memorial, and her friend Joyce Walker, who was visiting from New Jersey, came with no expectations and said they are “just wowed.” Wilson was impressed with the intricate steps. She described them as “the steps of wonder” as she wondered what was coming next.
Emma Danziger, a rising sophomore at The George Washington University and a graduate of The Emery/Weiner School, visited the exhibit with her brother Josh. She said, “The Big Bambú exhibit was as massive and impressive as it sounds. The bamboo bridge made the whole experience worthwhile as it was amazing to be able to walk across something made of just bamboo and rope.”
The exhibit is open through Sept. 3, 2018, at The Museum of Fine Arts. Admission is $18 for adults and $13 for seniors (65+), college students (with ID), youth (13-18), and military (with ID). The exhibition is free for both children 12 and younger and for MFAH members. Visitors are required to wear rubber-soled shoes and comfortable clothing. Tickets also supply entry to the Museum’s art collections. If you are under 18, be sure to have your parent sign a waiver in advance.
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