Art car on display.

Art Car Museum

Field review by the editors.

Houston, Texas

Art Cars are, plainly enough, cars turned into works of art. The movement began in the mid-1980s -- then spread to every state -- but its greatest devotees seem to cluster in Houston, where old cars never die (Houston is the site of the annual and popular Art Car Weekend, attracting artistically-augmented, freak cars from across the US). Some artists get so carried away gluing baubles and bric-a-brac all over their old Fords and Cadillacs that the suspension and tires can no longer carry the weight, and the driver can no longer see to drive. But, hey, it's art.

Arty view of an art car art detail.

The museum has been in a warehouse district here since the late 1990s. Its scrap metal and chrome exterior -- a building that rips off car design -- is meant to thumb its nose at skyscrapers that rip off car design. The distinctive chrome dome has given the place its nickname, "The Garage Mahal."

Is it possible that Art car people take themselves a little too seriously for a medium that involves turning cars into giant shoes and bugs? According to its literature, "The museum celebrates the spirit of this post-modern age of car-culture, in which individuals have remolded the factory-model sameness of their automobiles to the specifications of their own idiosyncratic images and visions." Yeah, yeah -- show us the bunny car!

For all of its pretense, this is a small museum with space to exhibit only a few cars at a time. It is made even smaller because it exhibits other kinds of art installations and photographs as well. This is one museum that perhaps needs to be two.

Art Car Museum

Address:
140 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX
Directions:
Northwest side of downtown, in a warehouse district. The Museum is just south of the I-10 exit at Heights Blvd. On the northbound side, just before the railroad tracks and Washington Ave.
Hours:
W-Su 11 am - 6 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
713-861-5526
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Giant Giant "We Heart Houston" Sign, Houston, TX - < 1 mi.
Howard Hughes Grave SiteHoward Hughes Grave Site, Houston, TX - < 1 mi.
Temple-Like Half-Underground ReservoirTemple-Like Half-Underground Reservoir, Houston, TX - 1 mi.
In the region:
Space Center Houston: Piggyback Space Shuttle, Houston, TX - 24 mi.

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August 18, 2017

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