The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Putney Swope

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 – Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020

07:00 PM – 08:35 PM

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Houston filmmaker Greg Carter introduces the February 29 screening

An unforgettable late-1960s counterculture masterpiece, Putney Swope remains a vital provocation on race, pop culture, and America. Putney Swope, the only African American exec at his ad firm, is unexpectedly elected its president and turns the industry on its ear through a series of outrageous, taboo-busting TV commercials (strewn throughout the film like comedic landmines.) As Swope becomes the generalissimo of Madison Avenue, director Robert Downey Sr. takes no prisoners and skewers the entire political spectrum.

Preceded by BLKNWS
(Directed by Khalil Joseph, USA, 2018, 10 minutes)
See selections from artist Khalil Joseph’s video installation in BLKNWS, which combines news and social media with originally produced, anchored segments to create a continuously updated broadcast presenting affirming messages about African Americans. Read more about BLKNWS.

• “The commercials ... are absolutely brilliant, and the sheer gonzo tenacity of the whole enterprise makes it all work.” —Movie Metropolis

• “Funny, sophomoric, brilliant, obscene, disjointed, marvelous, unintelligible, and relevant. If anybody tries to improve it, they should be sentenced.” —Vincent Canby, New York Times

• “[Downey’s] one of our great American directors.” —filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson

• READ Robert Downey Sr. Talks Putney Swope —Village Voice

• WATCH Robert Downey Sr. and Paul Thomas Anderson on Putney Swope

• READ & WATCH Revisiting Putney Swope with Robert Downey Sr. —Vice

About the Speaker on February 22

Houston native Greg Carter has produced more than 30 feature films, most recently Lap Dance, Lucky Girl, My B.F.F., and One Crazy Christmas. A graduate of Texas A&M, he studied film at Rice University’s School of Visual and Dramatic Arts. He was recognized along with director Richard Linklater with an institutional grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for programs at the MFAH. Carter served on the board of directors of the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) and is an alumnus of the SXSW Film Festival.

► Plan ahead for your visit with parking information.

Buy Tickets
for Putney Swope


  • 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.

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