About the Stella Project in the Moores Opera House
The painting and 1997 installation of the 5000-square-foot Stella Project inside the theater of the Moores Opera House was a city-wide collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum, The Menil Collection, The Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County, the Blaffer Gallery, and the Moores School of Music Society.
Theater at the Moores Opera House,
with a view of the Stella Project
|Ceiling of the Moores
Opera House lobby
Stella has won fame for his innovative paintings, sculptures, and prints, and in the 1990s became increasingly interested in public art and what he terms "pictorial
architecture." He has created a number of large-scale, public projects, among them a mural for the Gas Company Tower in Los Angeles (1991), a series of works (including a 10,000-square-foot mural) for the Prince of Wales Theater in Toronto (1992–93), and the aluminum bandshell in downtown Miami (1999).
Stella's work has particular significance for Houston audiences. He credits the beginning of his interest in public art projects to the 1982 installation of the "Stella by Starlight" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is represented in the city by significant works in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Menil Collection, and the collections of a number of private individuals. In 1989, Houston's Contemporary Arts Museum hosted a major retrospective of his work, organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The Stella Project for the Moores School of Music focuses on the centerpiece of the music building: the 800-seat, classically designed theater and lobby for the Moores Opera House. In the theater space, Stella created a work for the dome of the hall, an oval applied to the catwalk and lighting baffle and suspended over the audience. Intrigued also by the architectural form of the lobby, he created a work there that covers the entire length of the sixteen-foot vaulted ceiling and flows onto the waIl wall of the mezzanine, creating a kind of Sistine Chapel for the 21st century. The work is unlike any performance space, not only in Houston but in the world, and is an important addition to public art on both the University campus and in the city of Houston.