Cai Guo-Qiang MFAH commission

Ubiquitous Chinese gunpowder artist Cai Guo-Qiang will expode a 10-by-162-foot drawing that will line the walls of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s new Chinese art gallery. Cai and his crew will lay 42 panels on the floor and apply gunpowder to them before igniting the drawing with a fuse and manipulating the resulting burn to create the work in a Houston warehouse during a two-day public event on Oct. 5-6. The museum will then install the panels in the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Arts of China Gallery before it opens on October 17. MFAH Director Peter Marzio, who called the video he had seen of Cai’s working process "a hoot," said he and Cai "did the deal in about five minutes" after Marzio suggested the commission during a dinner for museum donors the artist attended in the new gallery’s raw space. Tickets to watch the fun are free; online reservations begin September 20 on the MFAH’s website.

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