Blaffer Gallery Opens Exhibit on Texas Oil

Whether you call it crude, black gold or Texas tea, oil is the economic lifeblood of the Lone Star State. It also has factored heavily into the state's physical landscape.

From wells to refineries, the impact of oil on Texas' terrains is explored in the premiere exhibition "Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry," which runs Jan. 17 - March 29 at Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston. Patrons can get an early view of the exhibition during an opening reception at 6 p.m., Jan. 16

Co-presented by Blaffer Gallery and UH's Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, the exhibition showcases the work of the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a research organization dedicated to the exploration of landscape issues. For the past 15 years the CLUI has diligently chipped away at the landscape of the United States, establishing "points of interest" or "landscape information centers" at select locations. In the process, the collective has been embraced by the art world, being prominently featured in art publications and exhibitions throughout the U.S.

During a year and a half period as the Mitchell Center's artists in residence, the CLUI members collected data, video and photos from wells, fields, refineries and other sites. "Texas Oil" presents images, text and objects that capture the essence of the petroleum industry and its relationship to the state. It is the first major Texas exhibition for these veteran researchers.

Included in the exhibition are photos of oil companies' corporate headquarters, refineries, maps detailing pipeline infrastructures and a "landscan" video, an aerial shot of petroleum refineries and shipping yards that reflects the immense size of these facilities.

"The objective of the exhibition is to have people coming away with a new way of looking at these sites and thinking about the oil industry," said Matthew Coolidge, director of the CLUI. "We want to provide an overview, a carefully constructed portrait of something that most people think is too vast to summarize."

Throughout this spring, the Mitchell Center, the CLUI and Buffalo Bayou Partnership will present additional events in conjunction with "Texas Oil" including a "Junkyard Drive-In" featuring oil-related films and boat tours of Buffalo Bayou.

For more details on "Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry" and gallery hours, visit To learn more about upcoming events connected with the exhibition, visit

WHAT: “Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry”
WHEN: Jan. 17 – March 29; Opening reception at 6 p.m., Jan. 16
WHERE: Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of UH
WHO: Center for Land Use Interpretation, UH Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Blaffer Gallery