The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Mike + Doug Starn: Big Bambú

Sunday, Jun. 10, 2018 – Monday, Sep. 3, 2018


Mike + Doug Starn: Big Bambú
This Thing Called Life

Información en español sobre la exposición

► Check out the experience of the summer! Before you buy your tickets, read the guidelines carefully.

Mike and Doug Starn have reconceived their ongoing Big Bambú project for Houston, filling the Museum’s austerely graceful Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–designed galleries with a monumental wave of bamboo. An installation of some 3,000 poles lashed together, This Thing Called Life rises 30 feet from the floor of Cullinan Hall, cresting onto the balcony of Upper Brown Pavilion. Visitors are invited to cross a bridge of bamboo that winds from the balcony into the wave’s curl, then deep into the Big Bambú sea. The path extends to the floor, where you can explore the bamboo eddies and currents at ground level.

The sea has long been a part of the Starns’ lexicon: an emblem of great age, yet continually new and changing. Taking inspiration from the architecture of nature, the Starn brothers began to use bamboo in their studio in 2008. Their first public installation—on the roof of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010—was experienced by more than 600,000 visitors, making it the ninth most-attended exhibition in that museum’s history. They have since created other iterations of Big Bambú around the world, but This Thing Called Life is the first public staging indoors, in active dialogue with an existing structure.

The artists have been widely recognized for more than three decades for their conceptual photographic work, and this installation features three gigantic photographs of previous Big Bambú incarnations. Folding and draping off the wall and ceiling, these huge prints attest to the ongoing nature of Big Bambú, a process that never comes to rest, akin to life itself.

 Get Ready to Experience “Mike + Doug Starn: Big Bambú”
Before purchasing your tickets, read the below visitor guidelines carefully.
Tennis shoes okNo flip flops No heels

  • All Big Bambú ticket holders may experience the exhibition at ground level.
  • Please note these requirements for accessing the upper-level pathway. Guests need to:
    • Sign a waiver. Save time by downloading the waiver now to print, sign, and bring with you
    • Wear flat, rubber-soled shoes / no bare feet, heels, wedges, flip-flops, or backless shoes such as mules
    • Confirm they are able to walk without assistance
    • Be at least 3.5 feet tall (42 inches)
    • Confirm they are age 6 or older
    • Have one adult for every two minors between the ages of 6 & 12 in the group
    • Access the pathway without babies in carriers or strollers
    • Exercise sensible judgment at all times when on the pathway, especially if using cameras, smartphones, etc.
      Still have questions? Call 713.639.7300 during business hours, or go to Hours & Admissions to learn more about visiting the Museum. 

► Rock Out to the Big Bambú Spotify Playlist
During the construction of Mike + Doug Starn: Big Bambú, the artists and collaborators created daily playlists for the ever-evolving project. Then they compiled a soundtrack to share, with tunes from Prince and Johnny Cash to the Rolling Stones, OutKast, and beyond. Listen in!

► Sneak a Peek
You won’t believe it till you see it in person, but this livestream of Big Bambú gives you a glimpse of what’s in store. Look to the upper-left side for a peek at crossing the bamboo bridge! To watch: Use a non-Internet Explorer browser, such as Chrome or Safari.

► Exhibition Admission
Tickets, available online and on-site, include access to the Museum’s art collections.
Please be sure to read these visitor guidelines carefully before you purchase your tickets.

MFAH Member (Join now!)  Free
Adult (19+)  $18
Senior (65+ with ID), Military (with ID),
College Student (19+ with ID), Youth (13–18)
Child (12 & younger)  Free


Make It a Combo! Save when you combine your tickets to Mike + Doug Starn: Big Bambú with tickets to Peacock in the Desert. A two-exhibition combo pack is only $25—general admission included!
• Learn more about purchasing Combo Packs



  • 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 Adult-$15 ($14 Online); Senior (65+) $10 ($9 Online); Youth (13-18) $7.50 ($6.50 Online); Child (12 & younger) FREE; Military (ID Required) $10; Student (ID Required) $7.50 Ticketed exhibitions require an additional admission charge. Free Hours: FREE THURSDAY 10 am - 9 pm

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Make visiting a snap! Enlarge the map to see main-campus parking options, or download the PDF

    Parking update: A new underground parking garage, located on Montrose Boulevard, is now open!

    • The outdoor parking lot on Bissonnet, across from the Law Building, is closed permanently.
    • Parking is available in two garages: an above-ground garage at 1144 Binz Street, and a new underground garage at 5101 Montrose Blvd.
    • Guests with limited mobility: We recommend that you 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.

    Parking Garage Locations

    • 1144 Binz Street
    • 5101 Montrose Boulevard

    Parking Fees*

    Parking payments may be made only with a major credit card. Also accepted: MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    MFAH Members Visitors
    0–30 minutes FREE FREE
    31 minutes–4 hours $6 $10
    4–12 hours $10 $18
    12–24 hours $35 $35
    *Parking is free for MFAH visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursdays. General admission to the Museum is free on Thursdays, courtesy of Shell.


    Both parking garages are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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.

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