The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Brain Science and Visual Art

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 – Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

06:30 PM – 07:30 PM


Presented by Aziz Shaibani, MD, FACP, FAAN, clinical professor of medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; director, Nerve and Muscle Center of Texas; and adjunct professor of neurology, University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC)

Aziz Shaibani explains, in simple terms, the magnificent power of the brain in relation to aesthetic experiences. The discussion touches on works of art such as the 19th-century watercolor of Nasir al-Din Shah on loan for the exhibition Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands.

Looking at the creation of art from the perspective of its effect on the brain, all artists are neurologists. The function of visual art is to provoke different sorts of emotions. These emotions are manufactured by the visual and other parts of the brain, all of which contribute to the creation of the aesthetic experience.

Figurative art usually provokes built-in, genetically wired mechanisms that evolved over millions of years for survival. However, the more abstract the art, the more the aesthetic experience is derived from personal experience and memory, triggering the engagement of cerebral areas. Art that utilizes different proportions of color, form, lines, and motion engages numerous innate and acquired brain tools to convey or make meaning.

This program is free! Drop in to participate. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Art of the Islamic Worlds/Rice Humanities Research Center Initiative
This public lecture is the first in a series organized by the Art of the Islamic Worlds curatorial team at the MFAH and Rice Humanities Research Center to foster deeper understanding of the visual arts and cultural heritage.


  • Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Thursday, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Friday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
    Sunday, 12:15 pm - 7:00 pm
    Monday: Closed (Except Monday Holidays). Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • General Admission

    • MFAH Members FREE
    • Adults $15
    • Seniors (65+ with ID) $10
    • Military (with ID) $10
    • College Students (19+ with ID) $7.50
    • Youth (13–18) $7.50
    • Children (12 & younger) FREE
    • Certain special exhibitions are ticketed, with an additional charge.
    On Thursday, general admission is free for everyone.

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Make visiting a snap! Visit mfah.org/parking for complete parking info, including a map you can download.

    Two Parking Garages        

    Parking Garage Hours

    Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Parking Garage Fees

    • Parking payments may be made only with major credit cards, or with MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    • The first 30 minutes are always free. On Thursday, parking is free for visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
    • For hourly rates, go to mfah.org/parking
    Recommendation for guests with limited mobility: Use the covered drop-off lane at the Main Street entrance to the Beck Building, or use wheelchair-accessible parking in the garage at 1144 Binz Street.

Special Offers / Dining

Paolo Fronza, from Fellini Caffè, runs this sophisticated dining operation. Enjoy an array of Italian-inspired fare with a Texas flair, a European-style coffee bar, a kids menu, and much more at the MFA Café, located on the lower level of the Beck Building.

Events at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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