For the safety of our visitors and staff, the MFAH continues to require face masks/coverings. Advance timed tickets are recommended.

Ruth K. Shartle Lecture Series

What Is Contemporary Art?

The Annual Ruth K. Shartle Lecture Series
April 8–December 9, 2021

These virtual lectures celebrate artists who are constantly challenging, expanding, and rewriting concepts of “What is contemporary art?” Each event features MFAH curators in conversation with artists such as Christiane Baumgartner, Guillermo Kuitca, Aaron McIntosh, Julie Mehretu, and Vik Muniz, whose work is on view in the galleries of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building.

Thursday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.
Guillermo Kuitca in conversation with Latin American art curators Mari Carmen Ramírez and Rachel Mohl.
Watch the Recording

• Thursday, May 13, 6:30 p.m.
Aaron McIntosh in conversation with decorative arts, craft & design curators Cindi Strauss and Anna Walker.
Learn More & Register

• Thursday, June 10, 6:30 p.m.
Christiane Baumgartner in conversation with prints & drawings curator Dena Woodall.
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Save the Dates
Stay tuned for details and registration information.
• Thursday, July 8, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, August 12, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, September 9, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, October 14, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, November 11, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, December 9, 6:30 p.m.

Norman Rockwell: American Freedom

The Annual Ruth K. Shartle Lecture Series
December 15, 2019–March 5, 2020

This series of lectures complemented the exhibitions Norman Rockwell: American Freedom and The Four Freedoms Reimagined.

“Art for a Civil Society: Norman Rockwell in the 1960s”
Presented by Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, deputy director and chief curator, Norman Rockwell Museum
“The Four Freedoms: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Vision of America”
Presented by Douglas Brinkley, author of “Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America”
“Freedom to Think & Freedom to Speak: A Rockwell Case Study”
Presented by Brian Allen, former chief curator, the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts
“For Freedoms: Where Do We Go from Here?”
Presented by photographers Emily Shur and Wyatt Gallery
“Rockwell’s Home Front Imaginary”
Presented by Jennifer Greenhill, associate professor of art history, University of Southern California, Los Angeles  

Degas: A New Vision

The Annual Ruth K. Shartle Symposium
October 16–December 15, 2016

In this series of lectures, renowned Degas scholars celebrate different aspects of Edgar Degas’s restless genius as revealed in the exhibition Degas: A New Vision.

“The Private Collection of Edgar Degas”
Presented by Gary Tinterow, director of the MFAH and organizing co-curator of “Degas: A New Vision”

“Degas’s Families”
Presented by George Shackelford, deputy director, Kimbell Art Museum

“Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty”
Presented by Jodi Hauptman, senior curator, department of drawings and prints, the Museum of Modern Art, New York

“Degas & the 20th Century”
Presented by independent scholar Richard Kendall

“Edgar Degas’s Sculptures: An Inside Look”
Presented by Shelley Sturman, head of object conservation & Daphne Barbour, senior object conservator, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

About the Annual Ruth K. Shartle Lecture Series
Inaugurated in 1975 by Alice Pratt Brown (Mrs. George R. Brown), a major benefactor who served 26 terms as a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this annual event was established in memory of Ruth K. Shartle, a longtime Museum benefactor. William C. Agee, director of the MFAH from 1974 to 1982, described the series as a commemoration of Ruth K. Shartle’s “unstinting friendship, intellectual curiosity, and generous spirit of sharing her enthusiasm for man’s creative accomplishment, and most of all, her unselfish, fresh spirit and unfailing joy of life.”

The Ruth K. Shartle Lecture Series is made possible by a generous grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc.