Twinning: Public Art in Houston with a Global Twin

Fantome sculpture

Have you ever been to a city and felt like you were seeing double? Well, in Houston, that could be because our public artworks seem to have twins overseas. If you’re ever in Houston, be sure to check out these amazing works of art!

Houston’s public art pieces with “twins” in famous places

Houston is an incredibly artistic city, blessed with many incredible public art pieces. One particularly noteworthy part of Houston’s art scene are the “twins” – pieces that Houstonians can find in their own city, accompanied by a twin piece from another global city. Houston has become a hub for creative couplets of beloved sculptures that add unique depth and texture. They make Houston an even cooler place to explore.

Chronophage clocks in the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Cambridge University

At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, feast your eyes on an unforgettable and creative steampunk grasshopper clock known as Chronophage. This incredible time-devouring creature can be found on the ground floor of HMNS – it was originally designed for Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University by John Taylor and unveiled to the public in a ceremony hosted by Nobel laureate and physicist Stephen Hawking.

In 2008, Time Magazine bestowed the prestigious honor of one of its ‘Best Inventions’ upon The Clock. This timekeeper is truly a marvel as only four Chronophages exist in the world; one original located in Cambridge and two other variations, namely Dragon Chronophage situated in Shanghai that swallows an oyster pearl hourly and Midsummer Chronophage travelling within United Kingdom.

Personnage and Birds Miro sculpture at 600 Travis Street

Since 1979, the iconic Personnage and Birds sculpture by Spanish artist Joan Miró has stood guard in front of Williams Towers at 600 Travis Street, attracting visitors for over four decades. This twenty-two foot high abstract artwork was specially commissioned to be placed here; it is even said that Miró himself visited its home prior to his death in 1983. Passersby have delightedly captured countless photos as a reminder of this beloved fixture’s presence in downtown Houston throughout these years.

Barcelona is incredibly fortunate to feature the remarkable 72-foot Woman and Bird sculpture by Miró in Parc Joan Miró. This piece, created just three years after its twin in Houston, makes Barcelona one of only two cities that can flaunt such grand public works art from this renowned artist.

Jean Dubuffet sculptures at Discovery Green in Houston and Garden des Tuileries in Paris

Two monumental sculptures, Monument au Fantome and Le Bel Costume, are connected by history and art. Artist Jean Dubuffet created both statues, which can be seen at Discovery Green in Houston (Monument au Fantome) and Garden des Tuileries in Paris (Le Bel Costume).

Monument au Fantome is the larger of these art twins, standing 15 feet tall and comprising several individual sculptures with small openings to pass through them. You’re likely to see kids crawling through and around the Fantome grouping. It has an intricate web of abstract lines crossing over each other, making it look like a living organism.

Le Bel Costume stands at a smaller 9 feet tall, with its own distinct character. Its robust architecture and shades of grey convey the timeless artistry of painting in all its curves and strokes. Both works by Jean Dubuffet embody his philosophy that art should exude spontaneity and vivacity – no matter where it be seen! Houston or Paris, these pieces will capture your attention instantly.

Visit Houston’s art scene

As a bonus, the famous "Houston is Inspired" mural is two blocks from the downtown Miro sculpture at 600 Travis Street.
As a bonus, the famous “Houston is Inspired” mural is two blocks from the downtown Miro sculpture at 600 Travis Street.

Houston stands out as a hot-spot for unique art, giving life to its diverse culture and creative spirit. Every corner of Houston has something special waiting to be discovered – so don’t forget to keep an eye open on your next visit! For more ideas, check out our blog post on hidden art stops in Houston and the murals of Midtown.

Learn more about exploring art in Houston:

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