A Houston Timeline 1972-1985
March 20 - June 4 - 10 at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, inaugurating the ultra-modern building designed by Gunnar Birkerts & Associates of Bloomfield Hills, MI. Featuring site-specific works by John Alberty, David Deutsch, Robert Grosvenor, Newton Harrison, Paul Sharits, Vera Simons, Michael Snow, Richard Van Buren, Ellen Van Fleet, and William Wegman. Organized by CAM director Sebastian J. Adler. Museum patrons are outraged by this forward-thinking show featuring Harrison's indoor farm and Van Fleet's caged birds, cats, rodents, and cockroaches, and Adler will be forced out of his directorship within nine months.
April – The Black Arts Gallery is established in the former Deluxe Theater at 3303 Lyons Avenue in the Fifth Ward, a cooperative project of the Menil Foundation and HOPE Development, Inc. The first show features the permanent collection of Texas Southern University including works by John Biggers and Carroll Simms. Subsequent shows featured artwork by California artist Joe Overstreet and by Fifth Ward community members, and a display of African masks and objects from the collection of John and Dominique De Menil that remained on view for two years. The BAG was eventually open by appointment only, then shuttered permanently in the spring of 1976.
April 9 - Rothko Chapel for soprano, alto, chorus, viola, percussion, and celesta, composed a year earlier by Morton Feldman and commissioned by the de Menils, makes its debut in the chapel for which it was named. Performed by the Corpus Christi Symphony with the Houston Symphony Chorale.
April 21-22 – New York-based conceptual artist Allan Kaprow stages a “happening” with the participation of more than forty Rice students. Kaprow and the other participants drive to the beach in Galveston, fill suitcases with sand, then take them to the airport where they ship the parcels to their homes. Upon receipt, they then drive the suitcases back to Galveston and empty them back onto the beach. Baggage invited participants to re-examine their attachment to material belongings.
April 28 - Elton John at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
May 13 – James H. Chillman Jr., founding director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and longtime professor at Rice Institute, dies at 82.
May 15 - Creedence Clearwater Revival at Sam Houston Coliseum.
May 18 – 31 – Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in residency at the Shamrock Hilton Hotel with two shows nightly.
Summer – Houston’s historic Gold Star recording studio, purchased the previous fall by renegade music impresario Huey P. Meaux, is remodeled and rebranded as Sugar Hill Studios. In the ‘70s, Meaux will release a string of hits by the likes of Freddy Fender and Archie Bell.
June 21 - August 20 – Roy Lichtenstein at the CAM. Organized by Sebastian J. Adler.
June 25 – The Rolling Stones at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston. Their first Houston performances in six years are attended by Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegun and writers Truman Capote and Terry Southern, both on magazine feature assignments.
July 7 – The Astrodome Jazz Festival welcomes the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, B.B.King, Cannonball Adderly, Roberta Flack, Lou Rawls, Herbie Mann, Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond, Jimmy Smith, and a “Giants of Jazz” supergroup featuring Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Kai Winding, and Al McKibbon to the so-called “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Presented by George Wein and the Newport Jazz Festival.
July 22 – Grace Spaulding John, pioneering Houston artist and poet, dies at 82.
August 3 – Houston’s underground newspaper Space City! publishes its final issue, citing staff burnout and financial difficulties as the reasons for its demise.
August 12 - Cheech and Chong and Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks at Houston Music Hall.
August 17 - September 24 – Piero Manzoni at CAM's lower gallery. Organized by Sonnabend Gallery, New York.
August 24 – Hannah Stewart’s monumental cast bronze sculpture Atropos Key is installed at Hermann Park near Miller Outdoor Theater, presented to the City of Houston by Patricia S. Woodward.
August 25 - Astros general manager Spec Richardson coaxes pugnacious future Hall-of-Fame manager Leo Durocher out of retirement to try to "fire up" the failing club. The Astros eke out a winning record for 1972 and billboards around the city promise that 1973 will be "The Year of the Astros." However, distracted by clashes with the players' union and with his own ballplayers, Durocher leads the team to only a fifth place finish and he again calls it quits at the end of the season.
September 8 - November 16 - John Baldessari, Frances Barth, Richard Jackson, Barbara Munger, Gary Stephan at CAM's upper gallery. Organized by Jay Belloli.
September 30 - George Carlin at Houston Music Hall.
Fall - Fred Hong establishes Marfreless, a dimly-lit bar with a subdued atmosphere and an eclectic clientele, on Feagan Street near Shepherd Drive. In early 1976, Marfreless moves to its present-day location at 2006 Peden, where it earns a reputation as Houston's premier make-out spot.
October – A block party outside the legendary folk music club Anderson Retail Fair draws several hundred people who listen to live bands as well as speeches by local politicians endorsing George McGovern’s presidential bid.
October - Painter John Alexander makes his Houston debut with a self-titled exhibition at Meredith Long & Company, 2323 San Felipe.
October 5 - November 26 - Cornered Fluorescent Light from Dan Flavin at Rice Museum. Organized by Dan Flavin and Dominique de Menil.
October 6 - Antonio Molina and William “Billie” Ert are wed at the Harmony Wedding Chapel near the Gulf Freeway in Houston’s first same-sex marriage. The county clerk refused to formally record the marriage certificate and Attorney General Crawford Martin ruled that marriage in Texas was intended for opposite-sex couples only. By May 1973 the couple had exhausted a series of appeals.
October 28 - Montrose Gaze, Houston’s first gay community center, opens on the corner of Fairview and Whitney in the socially progressive Montrose neighborhood. The center offers a jukebox, pool table, pinball machines, and meeting rooms for study groups.
November - Community organizer George Thomas “Mickey” Leland is elected to the 88th District seat in the Texas House of Representatives. For three consecutive two-year terms, Leland fights tirelessly for healthcare rights for low-income Texans.
November 10 - 12 - Townes Van Zandt at Liberty Hall.
November 12 - David Bowie at Houston Music Hall.
November 18 - The Grateful Dead performs at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
December – Crowned with the revolving Spindletop restaurant, the ultramodern Hyatt Regency Hotel opens at 1200 Louisiana with over a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of commissioned artworks in lobbies and guest suites by Houston artists including Charles Pebworth, Lamar Briggs, David Adickes, Charles Schorre, Judy Guyton, Bob Fowler, and others.
December - Pianist Arthur Rubenstein joins the Houston Symphony for Ima Hogg's ninetieth birthday celebration at Jones Hall.
December 7 - The launch of Apollo 17, the last of six Apollo missions to the moon, is directed from the Johnson Space Center, carrying crew members Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, and Ronald Evans. They leave the moon’s surface to return home seven days later.
January - The Menil Foundation begins a yearlong sponsorship of the Houston Black Panther Party's Free Breakfast For Schoolchildren program and establishes the Committee for Upgrading Black Scholars, a program providing scholarships to high school students.
January - After his firing from the Harris County Sheriff's consumer fraud division, the flamboyant Marvin ZIndler lands at the KTRK news desk, where he begins a decades-long series of investigative reports that expose injustices suffered by Houston's elderly and working class, as well as a Friday night "Rat and Roach Report" exposing restaurant health code violations with the catch phrase, "Sliiiiiiiime in the ice machine!"
January 11 – Houstonians are amazed to find the city blanketed with two inches of snow. Two additional snowfalls of an inch and a half each follow on February 9-10 and 17-18.
January 17 - February 25 - Jim Love: In Pursuit of the Bear at CAM. Organized by Jay Belloli.
January 22 - George Foreman, proud son of Houston’s Fifth Ward, becomes World Heavyweight Champion after KO-ing Joe Frazier in less than two rounds in Kingston, Jamaica. Foreman will lose the title to Muhammed Ali a year and a half later at the infamous “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire.
February 24 - Following their concert at Sam Houston Coliseum, Neil Young and Linda Ronstadt join a late night set by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, in the midst of a run of shows at Liberty Hall.
March 12 - Frank Zappa at Houston Music Hall.
March 13 - Dedication of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston.
March 16 - 17 - French mime Marcel Marceau at Jones Hall, the first of a series of Houston appearances in the '70s and '80s. When one is broadcast on Rice Radio KTRU-FM, listeners are baffled by long stretches of silence punctuated by bursts of laughter and applause.
March 19 - Houston hip-hop artist Bernard “Bun B” Freeman is born in Port Arthur.
March 20 - Ravi Shankar at Houston Music Hall.
March 23 - 24 - Bonnie Raitt and Little Feat at Liberty Hall.
April 1 - The 13th Floor Elevators reunite for a concert at La Bastille, Market Square's basement jazz spot.
April 2 - Activist Angela Davis advocates for socialist revolution at the University of Houston World Issues conference, "Age of Revolution: Agenda for the World," sponsored by the UH Student Association and the UH Program Council..
April 6 - Country Air Festival at Lynn Eusan Memorial Park, University of Houston, featuring the Earl Scruggs Revue, Doc Watson, Willie Nelson, Greezy Wheels and Rat Creek.
April 14 - Yes at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
April 19 - May 27 - David McManaway at CAM's lower gallery. Organized by Margaret Prince.
April 22 – May 20 – Tribal Art from Africa at the Black Arts Gallery. Curated by John and Dominique de Menil.
April 23 – A symposium titled “Land Use Conflicts and Policies in Developing Houston” is the first major event presented by the newly-chartered Rice Design Alliance.
May - An exhibition of more than 500 paintings made by Huntsville State Prison inmates is on view at the Gulfgate Shopping City mall. Sponsored by Margaret Crowthers Studios.
May 16 – Led Zeppelin at Sam Houston Coliseum.
May 19 - B.B. King at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
June 1 - Schlumberger oil executive and arts patron John de Menil dies in Houston at age 69.
June 16 - Chuck Berry at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
July - Mama Ninfa Laurenzo establishes Ninfa’s, a ten-table Mexican restaurant at 2704 Navigation in the East End. Her recipe for “tacos al carbon” sets the standard for Tex Mex-style fajitas and her personality helps develop a brand that would become one of the most popular in Houston.
July 13 - 14 - The Astrodome Jazz Festival returns for a second year with performances by Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Stevie Wonder, Charles Mingus, B.B. King, Freddie Hubbard, and more.
July 15 - Jethro Tull at Houston Music Hall.
July 20 - 22 Townes Van Zandt at the Old Quarter. Recordings from this run are released on LP in 1977 as Townes Van Zandt, Live at the Old Quarter. This mainstay folk music emporium at 1402 Congress also featured regular performances by instrument builder Frank Davis and blues legend Lightnin' Hopkins.
July 26 - Houston-based rock trio ZZ Top’s album Tres Hombres is released on London Records. Their commercial breakthrough features the single “La Grange,” whose lyrics reference the notorious Chicken Ranch brothel that would later be the subject of the Broadway play and film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. They headline a concert produced by Bill Graham at University of Houston's Jeppeson Stadium with Willie Nelson, the Doobie Brothers, and others on August 12.
August 7 - Serial murderer Dean “The Candyman” Corll is shot and killed by his would-be accomplice Wayne Henley. Corll abducted, tortured, and killed at least 28 boys between 1970 and 1973 near his family’s candy store in the Heights.
August 7 - September 4 - Private Works at the CAM's lower gallery, featuring works by B.E.&J. Holding Firm, Bob Camblin, Roberta Harris, Jim Kellough, Rodney Marionneaux, Joel McGlasson, Philip Renteria, Charles Schorre, and Earl Staley. Organized by Ian Glennie.
September - Poet Lorenzo Thomas begins a yearlong writing residency at Texas Southern University. Thomas would remain in Houston to write and publish poetry and criticism, lead writing workshops at Houston’s Black Arts Center from 1974-1976, and teach English at the University of Houston’s downtown campus from 1984 until his death in 2005.
September - Michael Tracy’s solo show, organized by acting director Richard Stout, at the Blaffer Gallery at U of H.
September 4 - Yvonne Rainer Dance Group performs in the CAM's upper gallery.
September 13 - Steely Dan at Houston Music Hall.
September 16 - Little Richard at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
September 16 - October 7 - From Within: Selected Works by the Artists/Inmates of New York State Correctional Facility at Auburn at Rice Museum. Organized by Jim Harithas, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse.
September 20 - Tennis impresario Bobby Riggs faces Billie Jean King in a match at the Astrodome dubbed “the Battle of the Sexes” with not only Riggs’ claim of male superiority but also a $100,000 cash prize at stake. At the start of the match, Riggs gave King an oversized lollipop; in return, King gave Riggs a piglet. An estimated 90 million watched worldwide as King emerged victorious in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
September 21 - Celebrity psychic Uri Geller bends silverware and house keys in front of an audience at Jones Hall, sponsored by the Association for the Understanding of Man.
October 4 - King Crimson at Houston Music Hall.
October 4 - 25 - Sol Lewitt - Six Wall Drawings, Arcs with Straight Lines, Not-Straight Lines, and Broken Lines at Cusack Gallery, 5120 Bayard Lane.
October 6 - The Israeli-Arab War begins; a week later OPEC announces a five percent cut in production, followed by additional monthly cuts until Israel withdraws to its 1967 borders. The national crisis proves to be a boon for Houston over the next decade as oil money gushes into the city.
October 13 – The Houston Aeros hockey team opens their season in Los Angeles, led by all-star Gordie Howe, lured out of retirement with a million-dollar contract and the opportunity to play on the same team with his sons Mark and Marty. The Aeros went on to win the World Hockey League championship with a 48-25-5 record.
October 14 - 17 - Philip Glass is in Houston with his ensemble including Richard Landry, Jon Gibson, and Arthur Murphy for a performance at the CAM on the 14th followed by a performance in the Sewall Hall courtyard at Rice University on the 17th.
October 15 – November 8 – Bob Wade fills the University of St. Thomas Art Gallery with various types of soil trucked in from all over the state, forms the mass into the shape of Texas, and marks the locations of the major cities with objects such as tortilla chips, cattle bones, wagon wheels, taxidermied animals, and illuminated beer signs.
October 16 - Actor and activist Jane Fonda is in Houston representing the Indochina Peace Campaign, along with Bob Chenowith, a POW in North Vietnam for five years, and Jean-Pierre Debris, a French school teacher arrested in South Vietnam for distributing leaflets and jailed for 2 and a half years. They're interviewed live by Larry Yurdin, Gail Wilson (a.k.a. Slowly Grail), and Thorne Dreyer of KPFT Pacifica Radio..
October 19 - January 16 - Gray is the Color: An Exhibition of Grisaille Painting, XIIIth - XXth Centuries at Rice Museum. Organized by Dominique de Menil and Patrice Marandel.
October 27 - Ray Charles at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
October 31 - Clifton Chenier and his Zordico Band headline a Halloween Masquerade Dance at Liberty Hall.
November 1 - 4 - Little Feat at Liberty Hall, with a live radio broadcast from Sugar Hill Studios on the afternoon of the 3rd..
November 7 - 11 - Charles Mingus and band at La Bastille, Market Square’s basement jazz spot.
November 8 - Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Sexton reads poetry and leads a seminar at the University of Houston.
November 8 - 10 - The 15-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji and his Denver-based Divine Light Mission leases the Astrodome for three days and spends over a half million dollars promoting Millenium ’73, an event promoting the controversial guru and his plan for spiritual peace. Despite free admission and a full schedule of bands and dance performances, only 15,000 attend, far short of the projected 150,000, and no miracles are observed.
December 4 - Attorney J. Fred Hofheinz is elected Mayor of Houston in a runoff vote. He is inaugurated on January 2.
December 16 - January 27 - Ant Farm : 20/20 Vision, a Scan on the Future at CAM.
December - Janie C. Lee Gallery opens at 2304 Bissonnet with a group show featuring blue chip works by Claes Oldenburg, Morris Louis, Jasper Johns, Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hoffman, Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, and others.
January 13 - The city of Houston hosts SuperBowl VIII at Rice University stadium. 71,882 spectators watch the Miami Dolphins easily defeat the Minnesota Vikings 24 to 7. Halftime entertainment includes country western singer Charley Pride, the University of Texas Longhorn Band, and the Westchester Wranglettes with Miss Texas 1973, Judy Mallett, on fiddle. A month later, Rolling Stone publishes “Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl,” Hunter S. Thompson’s twisted account of the game and his eight-day stay at Houston’s Hyatt Regency. “When the going gets weird,” wrote Thompson in his report, “the weird turn pro.”
January 14 - The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston nearly doubles in size with the completion and dedication of the Brown Pavilion, a multi-level extension of Mies Van der Rohe’s proposed second-phase expansion of the existing museum building including a lobby, an auditorium, administrative offices, and second floor gallery space using the same exposed steel columns and floor-to-ceiling glass windows as van der Rohe’s 1958 Cullinan Hall expansion. The addition is funded by the Brown Foundation and is the pinnacle of the directorship of Philippe de Montebello, who soon resigns and returns to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Curator E.A. Carmen organizes the inaugural exhibition in the Upper Brown Pavilion, The Great Decade of American Abstraction: Modernist Art 1960 to 1970, featuring Walter Darby Bannard, Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Friedei Dzubas, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Mark Rothko, David Smith, Frank Stella, and Clyfford Still.
January 24 - March 10 - Brice Marden: Drawings 1963-1973 at CAM's lower gallery. Organized by Ian Glennie.
January 26 - Bob Dylan and The Band at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
January 31 - April 22 - Color: An Educational Exhibition, the first exhibition mounted by the MFAH's newly hired Curator of Primitive Art and Education Alvia Wardlaw Short, opens in the Masterson Junior Gallery. Works (including a mural by Museum School teacher Philip Renteria) were selected to illustrate various laws of color. A version of the show subsequently traveled to six branches of the Houston Public Library.
February - The Houston Area Exhibition resumes at the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston. Jurors: Pat Adams, Richard Hunt, Robert Murdock.
February 7 - Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee at Liberty Hall.
February 8 - 9 - Liberace at Jones Hall.
February 8 – April 28. Homage to Picasso at the Rice Museum, Rice University. Curated by Dominique de Menil.
February 12 - James Harithas, Director of the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, accepts an offer to become Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. He and his family arrive in Houston in June.
February 20 - March 3 - The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo welcomes The Jackson 5, Sonny & Cher, Charlie Rich, Tony Orlando & Dawn, and Elvis Presley to the Astrodome. Presley performs two shows on the final day, setting a single-day attendance record of an estimated 88,000. The entire sixteenth floor of the Shamrock Hilton was reserved for the King’s entourage and security team.
March 1 - Gloria Steinem, Rep. Barbara Jordan, and Sissy Farenthold participate in a public forum titled "1974: Year of the Woman" at Houston Music Theater.
March 7 - 10 - Bruce Springsteen performs a historic run of shows at Liberty Hall.
March 22 - Frank Zappa at Sam Houston Coliseum. Presented by KILT and Concerts West.
April 17 - Buckminster Fuller delivers a lecture titled "Humans in the Universe" at Rice University.
April 27 - University of Houston student Henry "Wild Dog" Weissborn (1955 - 2008) hosts a meeting at 4630 Clay for prospective Yippies to plan travel to regional conferences and the launch of publication titled Ultra.
March 14 - 23 - Rahsaan Roland Kirk at La Bastille.
March 22 - Pete Seeger and Reverend F. D. Kirkpatrick at the University Center, University of Houston, performing at a benefit for the Many Races Cultural Foundation.
March 31 - Joni Mitchell at Hofheinz Pavilion.
April - Sculpture, drawings, and wall hangings by Bob Fowler plus drawings, sculptures, and tapestries by David Adickes at Dubose Gallery.
April 2 – 7 – Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins in a six-night run at the Houston Music Theatre in Sharpstown.
April 9 - May 3 - Earl Staley at Texas Gallery.
April 16 - May 27 - Lazlo Moholy-Nagy at CAM's lower gallery. Organized by Ian Glennie.
April 21 – August 31 – Richard Van Buren: Outdoor Sculpture at Rice University.
April 30 – Former University of St. Thomas art history student Karl Kilian opens Brazos Bookstore at 2314 Bissonnet, offering a curated selection of fiction, poetry, and other titles from small, independent presses.
May 9 - Impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon begin following an investigation into the Watergate affair led by a special prosecutor, Houston attorney Leon Jaworski.
May 9 - 12 - Don "Sugarcane" Harris & the Pure Food and Drug Act at Liberty Hall.
May 25 - July 7 - Abstract Painting and Sculpture in Houston at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston - Andrews Gallery. Organized by E. A. Carmean, Jr. Painting and sculpture by Pat Colville, Roberta Harris, Dorothy Hood, Joel McGlasson, Philip Renteria, Earl Staley, Richard Stout, Ben Woitena, Dick Wray.
June - Artist-musician Frank Davis and art historian Helen Winkler revive the Hyde Park Miniature Museum, a display of objects collected, catalogued, and arranged for public viewing by Davis' late grandfather D.D. Smalley, presented in its original context in the attic of 1406 Welch. Exhibits include costumed fleas, porcupine eggs, dinosaur bones, Civil War cannonballs, and over a quarter of a million stamps, carefully sorted, counted, and tied into bundles of 100. The HPMM is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays, noon to six, through March 1975, then by appointment only.
June 30 - The Eagles and The Allman Brothers Band at Jeppeson Stadium, University of Houston.
July 12 - Hometown jazz hero Arnett Cobb and band perform a free evening concert in Clinton Park. In the later '70s and early '80s, this tough Texas tenorman would appear regularly with his "Mobb" at a succession of weekly gigs at clubs such as Cyrano's (3303 Louisiana), Club Laveek (1511 Blodgett), La Provence (3215 Main), and Lott's Emporium (3247 Elgin).
July 19 - 20 - The third annual edition of the Astrodome Jazz Festival features Gladys Knight & the Pips, The O'Jays, B.B. King, Kool and the Gang, Al Green, the Crusaders, Jimmy Smith, Return to Forever, Sarah Vaughan, and others. Presented by George Wein and the Newport Jazz Festival.
July 25 - Danish pianist Victor Borge, the clown prince of classical music, conducts the Houston Symphony at Jones Hall.
August 9 - President Richard Nixon announces his resignation at the behest of Republican National Committee chairman George H.W. Bush of Houston.
August 15 - 17 - Doug Sahm and the Texas Tornadoes at Liberty Hall. Live broadcast on KPFT.
August 15 - 18 - Comedian Shecky Greene and entertainer Charro at Houston Music Theater.
August 20 - 25 - Singer, dancer, actress, and political activist Shirley McLaine at Houston Music Theater.
August 23 - 31 - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers at La Bastille.
Fall – Lured away from the Philadelphia College of Art, painter, printmaker, and educator George Bunker begins his appointment as tenured professor and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department at University of Houston.
September – Ant Farm proposes a performance piece titled Easy Money to the Houston Chamber of Commerce for the 1974 edition of the Main Street Festival. Three members riding in a modified 1958 Ford Thunderbird would jump the Southwest Freeway and crash through a pyramid of burning television sets. The Chamber of Commerce takes a pass, but a modified version of the piece—retitled Media Burn—would eventually be performed on July 4, 1975 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
September 8 - Kinky Friedman at Liberty Hall.
September 14 - Hank Williams, Jr. at the Houston Music Theater, in a fundraiser for a Vietnam War memorial.
September 20 – Singer Loretta Lynn at Gilley’s, country-western musician Mickey Gilley’s honky tonk made famous in the John Travolta film Urban Cowboy. Gilley's Bayou City Beats were the house band at the venue, which offered a large dance floor, mechanical bull, and free beer on Sunday afternoons.
September 28 - November 10 - 12/Texas at CAM, the first exhibition organized by its new director, Jim Harithas. Featuring Mel Casas, John Fleming, Woody Gwyn, Dorothy Hood, Luis Jimenez, Raffaele Martini, William Petty, Sandra Stevens, James Surls, Michael Tracy, Bob Wade, and Mac Whitney.
October 4 - Kiss at the Music Hall.
October 5 - The first annual Texas Renaissance Festival opens on the grounds of an old strip mine in Todd Mission, 45 minutes north of Houston, with entertainers on three stages and a handful of vendors.
October 12 - Kicking off Main Street '74, Jim Love’s Portable Trojan Bear, a 91 x 61 x 131-inch construction of Wolmanized pine and steel is dedicated at the corner of Bissonnet and Montrose, opposite both the MFAH and the CAM. The sculpture was Love’s first public commission, supported by the Cultural Affairs Committee of the City of Houston Chamber of Commerce and Cameron Iron Works. Love resisted the idea of covering the bear with a sheet for its public unveiling; instead, a blindfold was removed from the bear to unveil the audience. Other Main Street attractions include a large street painting by students from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the premiere of Houston Ballet's original production Allen's Landing, with set design by Dorothy Hood.
October 20 - November 17 - Recent Works/Earl Staley at Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston.
October 24 - Gary Burton Quartet featuring Pat Metheny at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston, joined by Gunther Schuller and the University of Houston Symphony conducted by A. Clyde Roller on the second evening.
October 28 - Frank Sinatra at Sam Houston Coliseum.
November 1 - 5 - Bill Evans Trio at La Bastille.
November 6 - Opening reception for A group of very small colored metal plates set at various distances from the wall in the different rooms of the Barbara Cusack Gallery, 5120 Bayard Lane, Houston, Texas, by Richard Tuttle at Cusack Gallery.
November 8 - Van Morrison and Little Feat at Houston Music Hall.
November 9 - The "Astrodome Country Classic" welcomes Bobby Bare, Rita Coolidge, Billy "Crash" Craddock, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Mel Tillis, Dottie West, and Tammy Wynette.
November 13 – Lou Reed pantomimes a heroin injection during a concert at the Houston Music Hall.
November 23 - Willie Nelson at Gilley's.
November 23 - Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt at Liberty Hall.
November 24 –George Harrison and Ravi Shankar at Hofheinz Pavilion.
November 26 - January 5 - Luis Jimenez: Progress at the CAM's upper gallery, with Jim Roche: Florida Drawings in the lower gallery. Organized by Jim Harithas.
December - Master printmaker David Folkman travels to Houston to deliver an edition of lithographs made in collaboration with Jack Boynton and decides to relocate his print shop from southern Illinois. At first, Little Egypt Enterprises shares Bob Camblin's studio on Sul Ross; later, Folkman moves to 1401 West Gray. Collaborators in the '70s and '80 include Boynton, Camblin, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, Bert Long, Luis Jimenez, Lucas Johnson, Don Redman, Penny Cerling, and Al Smith.
December 1 -2 - Ray Charles at Texas Opry House.
December 2 - Yes and Mahavishnu Orchestra at the Astrodome.
December 5 - 7 - Freddie Fender at Liberty Hall.
December 7 - Herbie Hancock with his Headhunters band at Jones Hall.
December 12 - 14 - Jimmy Buffet at Liberty Hall.
December 21 – Chuck Berry at Sam Houston Coliseum.
December 21 - January - Two Works of Lawrence Weiner at Cusack Gallery.
Pennzoil Place, a pair of 36-story, 495-foot-tall post-modern trapezoidal office towers at 711 Louisiana Street designed by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee for developer Gerald D. Hines Interests, is completed. In February 1976 the New York Times’ critic Ada Louise Huxtable declares it the “building of the decade.” The downtown skyline also changes when the 58-foot-tall, illuminated corporate logo is removed from the crown of the Gulf Oil Building at the behest of the Houston Municipal Arts Commission. During the month-long dissembling, workers find the sign is pock-marked with bullet holes.
January 5 - Astros' star pitcher Don Wilson is found dead in his garage, a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 29. His five-year-old son asleep in a bedroom above the garage is also asphyxiated. The Astros retire Wilson's number 40 during the season opener in April.
January 17 - Genesis at Houston Music Hall.
January 21 - Acclaimed jazz pianist Jason Moran is born in Houston.
January 22 - Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry gives a lecture titled "Inside Science Fiction, Out of this World" in the Grand Hall of Rice Memorial Center, followed by a screening of a Star Trek blooper reel and the original, unaired pilot.
January 25 - Clifton Chenier at the Sweetheart of Texas Concert Hall, 120 Milam.
February - The Works of Gael Stack at Small Store Gallery, 2034 West Alabama. Jack Boynton: Watercolors Inspired by Words at Dubose Gallery. Robert Mangold: Recent Paintings at Cusack Gallery. And at Janie C. Lee Gallery, Sculpture in Public Places: drawings, models, and sculptures of proposed public projects by Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, Mark di Suvero, Jim Love, Beverly Pepper, and Ellsworth Kelly.
February 6 - Content is the debut exhibition at the 610 West Alabama Gallery. Featured artists are John Atlas, Malcolm Bucknall, Harry Hilson, Andrew M. Lewis, Pepper Mouser, Lynn Randolph, F.R.B. Rapho, Charles Royce, Sandra Stevens, Hannah Stewart, Lorenzo Thomas, Michael Tracy, Joanie Whitebird, Richard Wood, Chet Wyre, Sandra Wyre. Organized by Sandra Stevens and William Petty.
February 14 - March 17 - John Chamberlain: Recent Sculptures and Richard Stout at the CAM's upper and lower galleries, respectively. Organized by Jim Harithas.
February 18 - Frank Zappa at Sam Houston Coliseum.
February 22 - April 6 - De Kooning: Drawings/Sculptures at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Andrews Gallery.
February 27 - Led Zeppelin at Sam Houston Coliseum.
February 27 - March 30 - Dorothy Hood Drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Romansky Gallery (traveled from the Everson Museum, Syracuse).
March 1 - 2 - Jonathan Edwards at Liberty Hall.
March 13 - 16 - John Lee Hooker and the Coast to Coast Boogie Band with Juke Boy Bonner at Liberty Hall.
March 21 - Barry Manilow at the Houston Music Hall.
March 27 – After almost four and a half years of incarceration, small-time burglar Ray Hill is released from the Ramsey Unit prison farm in Rosharon. Within a month he is broadcasting a live radio show on progressive KPFT-FM, a platform from which he’d become known as the unofficial "mayor of Montrose" and the city’s foremost advocate for the rights of gays and prisoners.
March 29 - Classical pianist and composer Vladimir Horowitz at Jones Hall.
March 29 - April 28 - James Surls: Sculptor and John Alexander: Landscapes at the CAM's upper and lower galleries, respectively. Organized by Jim Harithas.
March 31 – “Last Dance at the Rice Hotel” celebrates the illustrious history of a shuttering city landmark with big band music, a fashion show, and an elaborate gourmet dinner while raising money for the CAM.
April 3 - 8 - Cannonball Adderly at La Bastille.
April 6 – Rolf Westphal’s bright yellow, 11-ton steel sculpture West of the Pecos is dedicated on the CAM’s southeast lawn. The 27 x 20 x 47-foot piece remains at the corner of Montrose and Bissonnet until 1982, when it is moved to Hermann Park, then eventually to the Houston Intercontinental Arirport.
April 15 - May - Recent Work by Carl Andre at Cusack Gallery.
April 17 - 23 - McCoy Tyner at La Bastille.
April 18 - June 15 - Marden, Novros, Rothko: Painting in the Age of Actuality at Rice Museum and Sewell Hall, Rice University.
April 23 - In a televised speech, President Gerald R. Ford announces withdrawal of U.S. aid and declares the end of the Vietnam War.
April 30 - Poet Erica Jong reads and lectures at the Houston Room, University of Houston.
May 2 – The Beach Boys and Chicago unite in a sold-out tour opener at Jeppeson Stadium.
May 17 - June 13 - Gulf Coast, East Coast, West Coast at CAM's upper gallery. Sculptures and drawings by George T. Green; Sculptural installation by Ed McGowan; EEG Video Telemetry Environment by Nina Sobell. Organized by Jim Harithas and museum staff.
May 22 - 25 - Dr. John, the Night Tripper at Liberty Hall.
June - Under the leadership of founding executive director Rebecca Greene Udden, Main Street Theater presents its first production--Noël Coward's Hay Fever--at Autry House, 6265 South Main.
June 4 - Elvis Presley at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
June 10 - 14 - The Bolshoi Ballet makes its Texas debut at Jones Hall.
June 18 to July 9 - Paintings by William Petty at Meredith Long and Company.
June 20 - 21 - New Riders of the Purple Sage at Liberty Hall.
June 22 - Presented by KPFT Pacifica Radio, the "Cosmic Cowboy Concert" at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston features Willie Nelson; David Bromberg; John Prine; Emmylou Harris; Doug Sahm and Freddie Fender; Kinky Friedman; and Asleep at the Wheel. Artist Jim Franklin and Sugar Hill Studios producer Huey "The Crazy Cajun" Meaux are the MCs.
August 8 - 26 - Recent Paintings: John Alexander at Meredith Long & Company.
August 19 - Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg dies at 93 while vacationing in London.
August 28 - 29 - Waylon Jennings at Liberty Hall.
September - Best Products’ retail showroom debuts a post-modern “Indeterminate Facade” of crumbling bricks at 10765 Kingspoint Road, designed by James Wines’ New York City-based SITE architecture firm in conjunction with Fort Worth’s Maples-Jones Associates and Houston’s Conceptual Building Systems.
September 13 - Moody Gallery opens in the River Oaks Shopping Center at 2015-J West Gray with Six Artists, featuring Lamar Briggs, Lucas Johnson, Stanley Lea, Charles Pebworth, Fritz Scholder, and Arthur Turner, on view through October 4. Owned and operated by Betty Moody, the gallery is one of the first in Houston to specialize in work by Texas contemporary artists.
September 22 - The ribbon is cut on the final link of the 610 loop, an interchange connecting 610 with Interstate 10 east of downtown.
September 25 - 27 - Lightnin' Hopkins and Tracy Nelson and the Mother Earth Band at Liberty Hall.
September 26 - November 2 - Dick Wray at CAM. Organized by Jim Harithas and Paul Schimmel.
September 29 - Opening reception for Richard Tuttle: Paper-Strips at Cusack Gallery.
October – Bud and John Daily open Cactus Records and Tapes in a shopping mall at the corner of West Alabama and South Shepherd. As of 2018, Cactus Music continues to operate under new management just a few blocks to the south.
October 11 - Frank Zappa at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston. Presented by KILT and Concerts West.
October 15 - November 23 - Helen Frankenthaler Paintings 1969-1974 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Upper Brown Pavilion, curated by William Agee.
October 26 - Tom Waits and Bonnie Raitt at Houston Music Hall.
October 31 – Paul Simon at Jones Hall.
October 31 - Willie Nelson's Halloween Ball at Shepherd Drive-In, 6004 North Shepherd Drive.
November 1 - Beverly Wren’s Million Dollar City Dump, a dinner theatre cabaret offering Vegas-style musical revues, opens at 300 Westheimer. Meanwhile, five miles southwest of downtown, the Summit opens at 3700 South Freeway to host not only the Houston Rockets basketball team and the Houston Aeros hockey team, but also live music performances. "Heart to Heart," an opening night extravaganza benefitting Baylor College of Medicine features Kirk Douglas, Andy Williams, Peggy Fleming, Roger Moore, Freddie Prinze, and Doc Severinson.
November 3 - 25 - The Ink Spots at the Hyatt Regency's Crystal Forest lounge.
November 7 - December 8 - Terry Allen: Juarez at CAM, with a live concert on opening night.
November 14 - Jimmy Cliff at River Oaks Theater, 2009 West Gray.
November 17 - Claes Oldenberg’s Cor-Ten steel sculpture Geometric Mouse X (1971), donated anonymously to the city, is installed on the plaza outside the recently-completed Jesse S. Jones Building of the Houston Public Library building at 500 McKinney.
November 20 - The Who's tour opener at the Summit., supported by Toots & the Maytalls.
November 23 - Cab Calloway at the Shamrock Hilton.
December 12 - January - Erotica ... A Human Experience at the Houston Museum of Modern Art features works by Honey Beeman, Kennen Brannan, Enrique Campos, Bruce Hunt, Witold-K, Yannis Manolakos, Pat Meredith, Pepper Mouser, Scotty Prescott, FRB Rapho, David Riker, Sandra Stevens, Betty Tompkins, and Bob Wade with additional works from the collection of Martin Dreyer; performances of The Beard by playwright Michael McClure and directed by Gary Chason; an "erotic fashion show" on December 23 and a "New Years' Eve Erotic Ball."
December 12 - January 31 - Hannah Stewart in the CAM's upper gallery. Organized by James Harithas.
December 13 - January 3 - Earl Staley: Minor Arts at Texas Gallery. Staley's first show of ceramics.
December - February - Monumental Sculpture features large outdoor works by Steven Antonakos, Ronald Bladen, John Henry, Luis Jimenez, Donald Judd, Lyman Kipp, Clement Meadmore, Robert Murray, James Surls, and Ben Woitena, sited on the two-acre lot adjacent to the River Oaks Bank and Trust at the Corner of Kirby and San Felipe. Organized by Mimi Webb-Miller and Kathryn Swenson. John Chamberlain fails to deliver a promised sculpture; instead, his Amarillo benefactor, the eccentric art patron Stanley Marsh, sends his own crumpled car parts reminiscent of Chamberlain's sculptures along with a box of random items including a monkey's head. "It was all very funny," Webb-Miller told the Chronicle, "except for the fact that we lost over $1600 trying to get the Chamberlain sculpture to Houston." Surls' thirty-foot wood sculpture is damaged by an arsonist in mid-February.
January 4 - Influential painting teacher Ola McNeill Davidson dies in Houston at 92.
January 10 - 11 - Bette Midler at the Houston Music Hall.
January 17 - March 7 - Picasso, Braque, Leger: Masterpieces from Swiss Collections at the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston. Organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
January 24 - 25 - The first annual World Convention of Tattoo Artists and Fans is held at a Holiday Inn in downtown Houston, organized by local tattoo artist Dave Yurkew, president of the North American Tattoo Club. It draws 135 tattoo artists from around the country and would later be seen as a pioneering step toward legitimizing the art form.
January 25 - Night of the Hurricane, a seven-hour benefit concert at the Astrodome for imprisoned boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, features Bob Dylan, Steve Wonder, Carlos Santana, Isaac Hayes, Ringo Starr, Stephen Stills, Dr. John and others. The dome was only half-full for the performance, and the Houston Chronicle’s Dale Adamson panned the concert, writing “all the good intentions and noble gestures in the world can’t make up for a tediously long and sloppy performance.”
January 30 - February 18 - Recent Paintings: Luis Jimenez at Meredith Long & Company.
January - Editors Janice Blue and Gabrielle Cosgriff introduce Breakthrough, a community newspaper focused on feminist and progressive issues, supported in part by the black weekly paper Forward Times, which prints 20,000 copies of volume 1, number 1.
January - Sol Lewitt Wall Drawings at Cusack Gallery.
January 26 - Cat Stevens at the Summit.
February - Hosted by Scott Summers, the Avant-Garde Show debuts on KPFT Pacifica Radio, providing a forum for local experimental/electronic/noise musicians for over a decade.
February - Cusack Gallery presents the first solo US show by British conceptual artist Hamish Fulton, consisting of a single photograph representing a ten-day walk through the Big Bend area of West Texas.
February 2 - 20 - Forrest Prince at the CAM's lower gallery. Organized by James Harithas.
February 13 - 14 - Bill Cosby at Houston Music Theater.
February 20 - March 7 - Julian Schnabel at CAM. Organized by James Harithas.
March 6 - 28 - Lucas Johnson, an exhibition of paintings and drawings jointly presented by Moody Gallery and Covo de Iongh Gallery.
March 12 - April 12 - Norman Bluhm at CAM's upper gallery. Honey Beeman is in the lower gallery. Organized by Jim Harithas.
March 18 - 19 - Jerry Garcia Band at Liberty Hall.
April 5 – Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes dies of kidney failure en route by private jet to his hometown of Houston; his body is interred at Glenwood Cemetery two days later.
April 9 – May 23 – Edvard Munch: An Exhibition at the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston. Organized by Peter W. Guenther.
April 11 - Paul McCartney and Wings at the Summit.
April 24 - May 28 - Double Diamond at the CAM's upper gallery, featuring works by Greg Edwards, Joe Ray, Rick Buxie, Paul Challacombe, Penelope Edwards, Linda Fullmer, Duval Lewis, Tosh Ozawa. Organized by Paul Schimmel.
April 30 - Gil Scott-Heron at the Houston Room, University of Houston.
April 30 - May 1 - Earl Scruggs Revue with St. Elmo's Fire at Texas Opry House.
May 4 - 5 - Townes Van Zandt at Texas Opry House.
May - Political scientist Nikki Van Hightower is appointed Advocate for Women’s Rights by mayor Fred Hofheinz. Van HIghtower aggressively monitors the city’s affirmative action program, exposes salary inequalities for female and minority civil servants, and declares in her first Women’s State of the City address that the 1970s were an era of "tokenism" for women. None of these activities endear her to the Houston City Council, which cuts her salary to a dollar a year in an unsuccessful attempt to provoke her resignation.
May - Mel Chin rents an empty storefront at 3511 Main Street and installs his first show of work in Houston, I Live in a Suburban Cell.
May - September - Over 700 artists from across the country submit five-inch square works that, when assembled, create a patchwork version of Hieronymous Bosch's 15th-century phantasmagoric "Garden of Delights" at the University of St. Thomas art gallery, Yoakum at Sul Ross. Organized by the UST art department, which writes in its invitation letter, "if a large number of artists could independently focus their attention upon a single mutually agreed point in time and space and art, we think that one hell of a lot of positive energy could be generated ... If you're tired of reading Clement Greenberg, let us lead you down the 'Garden' path."
May 6 - Genesis at Houston Music Hall. Presented by Pace Concerts.
May 11 - A tanker truck filled with 7500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia crashes through a West Loop guard rail and plummets to the Southwest Freeway below, releasing a cloud of gas that kills six and injures more than 150 in the worst highway accident in the city's history.
May 11 - Opening of Carl Andre: Passport at Cusack Gallery.
May 21 - June 15 - Suzanne Paul: Photographs at CAM's lower gallery. Organized by Paul Schimmel.
May 28 - June 16 - New Paintings: Richard Stout at Meredith Long & Company.
June 4 - June 15 - Video Trans Americas: Juan Downey at CAM's upper gallery. Organized by James Sturgis.
June 5 - 6 - David Tudor at CAM's upper gallery.
June 12 - Astroworld's Texas Cyclone, one of the country's largest and most popular wooden rollercoasters, opens to the public. Designed by Don Rosser and William Cobb and based on the Coney Island Cyclone, it features a 92-foot lift and a 53-degree angled drop with a top speed of 60 mph. More than 25,000 gallons of red, white and blue paint were used to cover the Douglas Fir lumber used for construction.
June 15 - A heavy thunderstorm results in a flash flood that inundates and destroys the lower level of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and parts of the Texas Medical Center. Over a million dollars' worth of artwork is lost.
June 19 - Organized by Lanny Steele, the first annual Juneteenth Blues Festival celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with a free concert at Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park.
June 23 - July 2 - The programming of the flooded CAM continues as the exhibition Eric von Schmidt: Here Fell Custer is relocated to the expansive lobby of Pennzoil Place downtown.
July – Roberta Smith’s “Twelve Days of Texas” is the cover story of the July/August issue of Art in America, bringing national attention to the work of Luis Jimenez, James Surls, Earl Staley, Philip Renteria, Michael Tracy, and Dick Wray.
July 1 to 7 - Houston Grand Opera presents a revival of "Porgy and Bess" at Houston Music Hall.
July 4 - The Band and James Taylor at the Summit.
July 12 - Texas House Representative Barbara Jordan delivers an inspiring keynote address at the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. "Many fear the future," she remarks, "Many are distrustful of their leaders, and believe that their voices are never heard. Many seek only to satisfy their private work -- wants; to satisfy their private interests. But this is the great danger America faces -- that we will cease to be one nation and become instead a collection of interest groups: city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual; each seeking to satisfy private wants. If that happens, who then will speak for America? Who then will speak for the common good?"
July 15 - 'Two Generations of Brubeck' featuring Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond at Jones Hall.
August - Prufrock's, an art bar tribute to the poet T.S. Eliot and a longstanding favorite of the Montrose counterculture, closes at 423 Westheimer.
August 1 - The Life Flight Emergency Helicopter service debuts at Memorial Hermann Hospital at the Houston Medical Center. Established by Dr. James H. "Red" Duke, Jr., it is only the second helicopter rescue program for critically ill and injured patients in the country.
August 3 - Members of the original Saturday Night Live cast--Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner--perform an evening of sketches live at Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park.
August 16 - September 10 - Arte Tejano at the Electric Tower Display Gallery. Organized by Joe B. Rodriguez, co-sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans and Houston Lighting and Power Company with the assistance of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Fifty works by twenty Tejano artists: Austin: Roberto Cardenas, Sam Coronado, Rey Gatan, Amado Pena; Brownsville: George Truan; El Paso: Sergio Gomez, Margo Orona; Houston: Margarita Rivera Cantu, Enrique Arciniega Campos, Atancio P. Davila, Able Conzales, Jose Perez, Joe Bastida Rodriguez; Kingsville: Carmen Lomas Garza; San Antonio: Caroline Flores, Santos Martinez, Jose Luis Rivera, Jesse Treviño, Rudy Treviño
September 18 - October 23 - Jim Love Sculpture at Janie C. Lee Gallery.
September 23 - October 14 - American Art Forms: Neon - Film - Video at Houston Museum of Modern Art, featuring Gloria & Emilio Aparicio, Jan Beauboeuf, Janice Broussard, David Dowe, Pat Fant, Don Foster, R.L. Henderson, Bruce Hunt, Jerry Hunt, K.C. Irick, Frank Jaubert, Daniel Jircik, Pepper Mouser, Jim Olive, Stephen Riker, Sandra Stevens, Scott Thomas, Biff Van Cleave. The HMOMA shuts its doors with the close of this show.
October 8 - November 17 - The Philadelphia-Houston Exchange at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, featuring works by Houston's John Alexander, Gary Carl, Frank Davis, Letitia Eldredge, Michael Kostiuk, Jesse Lott, William Petty, Earl Staley, Sandra Stevens, James Surls, Michael Tracy and Robin Utterback; and Philadelphia's Thomas Chimes, Charles Fahlen, Stuart Horn, Ben Kamihira, David Kettner, Patricia Moss-Vreeland, Jody Pinto, Warren Rohrer, Italo Scanga, Phillips Simkin, Perry Steindel, and Robin Younger. Cooperatively organized by the CAM's James Harithas and the ICA's Suzanne Delehanty.
October 9 – Mel Chin presents a selection of new works at Robinson Gallery. The centerpiece is a large installation titled Drive-In East/West Texas Double Feature with a Ford bench seat surrounded by drive-in speakers and projected views of Texas landscapes.
October 11 - Frank Zappa at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
October 22 – November 23 – For its first show after the devastating flood, the CAM briefly reopens for Mel Casas: Humanscapes. Organized by Santos Martinez, Jr.
October 23 - 24 - The Main Street ’76 festival places site-specific public artworks by James Surls, John Alexander, Mel Chin, Gertrude Barnstone, Jesse Lott and others at Hermann Park.
October 29 - 30 - Tom Waits at Texas Opry House.
October 31 – The Parliament Funkadelic mothership touches down at the Summit. Sly and the Family Stone and Bootsy’s Rubber Band are the opening acts. Capitol Records issues a live recording of the P-Funk set as The Mothership Connection – Live From Houston in the spring of 1986.
November - Sculptures by Donald Judd at Janie C. Lee Gallery.
November - Choreographer Ben Stevenson is named Artistic Director of the Houston Ballet, replacing its popular acting director James Clouser, who establishes the Space/Dance/Theater, an innovative nine-member modern dance company based at the University of Houston’s Clear Lake campus with an interest in reaching out to children, people in rural areas, and people of color.
November 2 - Former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter is elected president of the United States.
November 11 - Neil Young and Crazy Horse at the Summit.
November 13 - 14 - Robert Anton Wilson, author of the Illuminatus Trilogy, discusses nuclear physics, parapsychology, genetics, UFO-logy, space travel, and other contemporary concerns during a two-day seminar at the Libran Bookstore, 3700 Yoakum.
December – A photography department is established at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, with Anne Wilkes Tucker hired as consulting curator.
December 1 - February 4 - Jack Boynton / Roy Fridge at Sewell Art Gallery, Rice University.
December 7 - At the Houston Country Club, University of Houston president Philip G. Hoffman announces a yearlong program of events in celebration of U of H’s fiftieth anniversary, including a German Expressionist art exhibition, a French Contemporary Arts Festival and a series of lectures, seminars, and conferences featuring such notable figures as Richard Leakey and Buckminster Fuller.
December 17 - Houston painter, gallerist, and political activist Margaret Webb Dreyer dies of cancer in Houston at 65. Two days later, she is eulogized at the Rothko Chapel before a crowd of 200 friends, and celebrated with a performance by Houston folk singer Don Sanders. .
December 31 - Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings at the Summit.
January - After encountering a makeshift display of artwork hanging on fences in the Third Ward, Robbie Sutton opens the Black Heritage Gallery at 5003 San Jacinto to show work by Houston’s African-American artists.
January - The powerful New York City-based art dealer Max Hutchinson opens a gallery branch in Houston at 1100 West Alabama, handling works by John Alexander, James Surls, and others through 1981.
January 3 - February 7 - Drawings and Paintings by Dick Wray at Pelham-von Stoffler Gallery, 2315 San Felipe
January 8 - Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry lectures at the Houston Coliseum.
January 11 - 30 - In the MFAH's Masterson Junior Gallery, Studio recreates the art-filled workspaces of four Museum School faculty members: Roberta Harris, Philip Renteria, Ben Woitena, and Dick Wray. Organized by Alvia Wardlaw Short.
January 14 – February 28 – William de Kooning: Lithographs at the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston. Touring exhibition organized by Fourcade, Droll, Inc. with Comprehensive Exhibition Services, New York City.
January 26 - 29 – Timothy Leary lectures and leads free seminars on space migration, life extension, and evolving intelligence at University Center, University of Houston.
January 29 - Al Green at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
February 5 - Made in Houston at Louisiana Gallery, 2625 Kipling. Featuring works by Gertrude Barnstone, Chester Boterf, Otis Huband, Hannah Stewart, Trudy Sween, Dadi Wirz, Ben Woitena.
February 6 - The Harlem Globetrotters at the Summit.
February 12 - The Cousteau Society and The Citizen's Environmental Coalition sponsor "Involvement Day" at Albert Thomas Civic Center, featuring lectures by internationally prominent ecology experts including undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau himself; a series of films, panels, and exhibitions; and a closing concert headlined by James Taylor and Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
February 24 - March 19 - 'The Meeting of East and West' and Other Pictures by Earl Staley at Texas Gallery.
March – Chicanas de Tejas at the Chicano Art Gallery, Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, 3518 Polk. Featuring work by Santa Barraza, Margarita Rivera Cantu, Mariana Escalante, Maria Flores, Carmen Lomas Garza, Angela de Hoyos, Julia Ann Lopez, Josie Menoza, Sylvia Orozco, and Janice Palma. Organized by Joe B. Rodriguez.
March 4 - 11 - An auction sale for the purpose of raising funds for the benefit of the Contemporary Arts Museum’s Flood Relief Program nets over a quarter of a million dollars for the CAM's reconstruction efforts.
March 17 - Genesis at Sam Houston Coliseum. Presented by Pace Concerts.
April 2 - A party at Libran Bookstore celebrates the publication of Travois, an anthology of verse by 240 Texas poets, edited by Paul Foreman and Joanie Whitebird, and sponsored by the CAM. The eccentric percussionist and improvising songwriter George "Bongo Joe" Coleman–a recent recipient of Texas Monthly's "best street musician" award–provides the entertainment.
April 3 - Television at Houston Music Hall.
April 12 - 14 - Gary Burton Quartet featuring Pat Metheny at La Bastille.
April 12 – June 19 - Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss: Photographs from Grimes County, Texas at the Rice Museum.
April 26 - Arlo Guthrie at Texas Opry House.
May - With the financial backing of Dominique de Menil, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) is founded by Rice Media Center’s James Blue, Brian Huberman, and Edward Hugets as a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the creation and appreciation of film, video, and new media, and to provide affordable access to media production facilities.
May 1 - Chrisanthios Fetokakis opens Niko Niko's as a walk-up window in a converted filling station. It's still a Montrose favorite more than 40 years later.
May 1 - Firesign Theater at Texas Opry House.
May 6 – 8 – Jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins at La Bastille.
May 7 - Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge at the Summit.
May 8 - The body of slain veteran Joe Campos Torres is found floating in Buffalo Bayou. An investigation reveals he had been badly beaten by police after being arrested during a barroom scuffle the night before, then handcuffed and thrown off a warehouse platform into the water.
May 14 - Fleetwood Mac at the Summit.
May 14 - July 30 - Salvatore Scarpitta, Myron Stout: Paintings and Drawings, and Frank Davis: Art Ray at CAM. Organized by Jim Harithas.
May 17 - Charles Ginnever’s Cor-Ten steel sculpture Pueblo Bonito (1974-1977) is installed at Knox Triangle, Waugh at Feagan, donated to the City of Houston by the Robert W. and Pearl Knox Foundation.
May 21 - Led Zeppelin at the Summit.
June 2 - 5 - Townes Van Zandt at Liberty Hall
June 4 - 25 - Arthur Turner: Drawings at Moody Gallery.
June 5 - Ray Charles at Jones Hall, with an interview broadcast on KPFT's 'Creative Connection' program.
June 16 – Singer and gay rights opponent Anita Bryant is engaged to perform at the Texas Bar Association’s annual dinner in Houston; thousands of protesters march downtown in opposition.
June 19 - The second annual Juneteenth Blues Spectacular welcomes Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Gatemouth Brown, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, Koko Taylor, Blind Joe Davis, and Arnett Cobb to Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park.
July - The Alley Theater's ongoing "Sleaze Series" of midnight film screenings includes "The Mutations," "Private Parts," "Devil Doll," and on the 22nd, the Houston premiere of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."
July 14 - 17 - Impressionist Rich Little at the Houston Music Theater.
July 15 - The Ramones at Liberty Hall.
Summer - Sara Fitzgerald opens a music venue in a former Polish-American meeting hall at 2706 White Oak Drive in the Houston Heights. In its early years, Fitzgerald’s presents Guy Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, James Brown, and Etta James.
August - September - Jesse Lott: Relics of the Future at Robinson Gallery. Organized by William A. Robinson.
August 9 - 29 - James Surls: Recent Drawings at CAM's lower gallery. Organized by James Harithas.
August 17 - 15-year-old Lorraine Winkler survives a 35-foot-fall from the Texas Cyclone rollercoaster at Astroworld.
August 20 - October 16 - Dale Gas: An Exhibition of Contemporary Chicano Art at CAM. Featuring paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by Mel Casas, Jose Esquivel, Frank Fajardo, Carmen Lomas Garza, Luis Jimenez, Cesar Augusto Martinez, Santos G. Martinez Jr., Amado Pena, Roberto Rios, Jose Rivera, Joe B. Rodriguez, Jesse Trevino, and Goerge Truan. Organized by Santos Martinez, Jr. Musical performance by Steve Jordan on August 21.
Fall - H.298, sponsored by Democratic state congressman Lance Lalor, passes the 65th Legislation and expands the possible uses of the Houston hotel occupancy tax to provide funds for arts and historic preservation. Banker Britt Davis begins working with the Houston Chamber of Commerce to develop an arts council to allocate the money.
September - Alice Valdez establishes Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA), an outgrowth of St. Joseph Catholic Church’s Fun’n’Food Fest in the Sixth Ward. MECA provides culturally-based alternative arts activities and fosters a sense of community spirit for marginalized Latino youths and families.
September 3 - 4 - Chuck Berry at Astroworld's Coney Island Showcase Theater.
September 4 - Frank Zappa at Houston Music Hall.
September 8 - October - Brian Mains: Paintings at Covo de Iongh Gallery.
September 13 - 30 - Jana Vander Lee: Common Threads Shared at Ferndale Gallery, 2902 Ferndale. Presented by Handweavers of Houston.
September 14 - Frank Zappa at Houston Music Hall.
September 15 - October 15 - Video Environment by Frank Gillette at Robinson Gallery.
September 30 - A solo exhibition of works by Michael Tracy inaugurates the Roberto Molina Gallery at 2437 1/2 University Boulevard.
October 1 - World-renowned art critic Clement Greenberg is the unlikely judge of the Thirteenth Annual Juried Award Art Exhibition at the Houston Jewish Community Center's Duetser Gallery. Sculptor Mac Whitney takes first place and receives $500 for his piece "Falfurrias."
October 19 - Illusionist Doug Henning headlines a fundraiser for TM (transcendental meditation) Program at Houston Music Hall, supported by a band led by Beach Boy Mike Love and jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd.
October 28 - November 27 - Antoni Miralda at CAM's upper gallery with Marisol Escobar: Recent Drawings and Sculptures in the lower gallery. Organized by Jim Harithas and Paul Schimmel, respectively. An opening night performance by the Kilgore Rangerettes drill team ends in a food fight that devolves into a brawl. Link to 'Collision' excerpt in Arts+Culture Texas, June 14, 2018
November 10 - Artist/fisherman Forrest Bess dies at age 66 from skin cancer, nearly forgotten in a Bay City, Texas nursing home.
November 10 - December 8 - Dee Wolff at Covo de Iongh, 4817 Montrose.
November 12 - December 3 - Recent watercolors and paintings by Bob Camblin at Moody Gallery.
November 17 - 20 - Earl "Fatha" Hines at La Bastille.
November 18 - 21 - The National Women’s Conference is held at the Sam Houston Coliseum and at the neighboring Albert Thomas Convention and Exhibit Center. Speakers at the opening ceremony included First Ladies Roslynn Carter, Betty Ford, and Lady Bird Johnson; activists Coretta Scott King, Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, Barbara Jordan, Liz Carpenter, and Jean Stapleton; and poet Maya Angelou. A conservative counter-conference sponsored by the Pro Family Coalition was held simultaneously five miles away at the Astro Arena and led by anti-ERA activist Phyllis Schlafly. Women : Art : Houston, an exhibition presented concurrently in the Alley Theater lobby, features work by 29 Texas women including Dorothy Hood, Gael Stack, Honey Beeman, Lynn Randolph, Hannah Stewart, Charlotte Cosgrove, Toby Topek, Suzanne Manns, and Laura Russell.
November 22 - Real estate developer Jim McConn is elected mayor of Houston in a runoff vote on the strength of the support of Houston’s black and Latino communities.
November - December - Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly at Hadler Galleries.
December 9 - Houston Rockets forward Rudy Tomjanovich is punched in the face during a game by Los Angeles Lakers forward Kermit Washington, shattering his jaw and causing life-threatening head injuries.
December 9 - 11 - Stan Getz at La Bastille.
December 11 - Queen at the Summit.
December 15 - Neil Diamond at the Summit.
December 15 - January 20 - Mel Chin: New Works and Installations at Robinson Galleries. Chin creates a beach scene by flooding the gallery, piling sand, building a pier, and hanging a veiled moon from the ceiling.
December 17 - February 25 - American Narrative Story Art 1967/1977 at CAM. Organized by Paul Schimmel. Sculpture, paintings, photographs, works on paper, and artists books by Vito Acconci, Mac Adams, Terry Allen, Laurie Anderson, Eleanor Antin, David Askevold, Dotty Attie, John Baldessari, Bill Beckley, Lynda Benglis/Stanton Kay, Gary Carl, Ron Clark, Brian Connell, Robert Cumming, Vernon Fisher, Lynn Herschman, Douglas Huebler, Peter Hutchinson, Don Johnson, Les Krims, Suzanne Lacy, Stephanie Brody Lederman, Bill Leavitt, Les Levine, Ed McGowin, Duane Michals, Jack Mims, Dennis Oppenheim, Yvonne Rainer, Jim Roche, Martha Rosler, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Ilene Segalove, Alexis Smith, Lisa Steele, Irvin Tepper, Alex Traube, William Wegman, Roger Welch, and William T. Wiley.
January 8 – Houston punks travel to San Antonio for a concert by the Sex Pistols, the third of just seven dates on their only US tour. The band dodges beer cans and other debris thrown by a mostly skeptical crowd of about 1800, filling an unlikely venue, a honky-tonk roadhouse called Randy’s Rodeo. The band breaks up several days later.
January 10 - The first meeting of the Houston chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art takes place at the Montrose home of artist Pat St. John Danko.
January 12 - Terry Allen stages his musical theater piece "Ring II: The Embrace ... Advanced to Fury" with a full-scale wrestling ring at Spinoza, Inc., an industrial warehouse near Channelview. Presented in conjunction with American Narrative/Story Art at the CAM.
January 13 - March 5 - Frida Kahlo at the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
January 13 - 21 - The University of Houston and SUM Concerts co-host a ten-day American Stockhausen Festival featuring the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and his entourage, and including the American debut of his epic Sirius at U of H’s Clear Lake campus.
January 21 - The Black Heritage Society hosts Houston’s first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade.
February 2 - Laurie Anderson at Texas Opry House, presented in conjunction with American Narrative/Story Art at the CAM.
February - May – As a concession from the settlement of a student protest the previous summer, the University of Houston hires sculptor Salvatore Scarpitta as artist-in-residence for the spring semester. The exuberant Scarpitta inspires and influences U of H art students including Jim Hatchett, Scotty Prescott, and Don Redman. At the end of the residency, he leaves behind a massive 11 x 15 foot triptych, Manhole Uprising Sled, for the university’s public art collection.
February 25 - Solo show by Andy Feehan at the University of St. Thomas Art Department features drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture, as well as Hot Dog and Bernice, a pair of Chinese Hairless Dogs upon which Feehan had tattooed wings under the supervision of a veterinarian.
February 27 - March 5 - The Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show welcomes Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Mac Davis, Charley Pride, Crystal Gayle, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, the Osmonds with Donny and Marie, and Captain and Tennille to the Astrodome.
March 1 – Dan Tidwell and Jamie Mize open Treebeards restaurant at 315 Travis in the historic Baker-Travis building facing Market Square. Their cafeteria-style Louisiana Cajun and soul food specialties make Treebeards a favorite hangout for young artists; the restaurant eventually hosts small exhibitions and displays work by such artists as James Bettison, Beth Secor, and Don Redman.
March 31 - May 15 - Dale Eldred: Solar Sculpture at CAM. Organized by Jim Harithas. Kansas City-based Eldred constructs a series of mirrored pylons around the CAM to focus the suns rays on the building's treated exterior, resulting in a dazzling multi-colored light display.
April 2 - 29 - Andy Warhol: Athletes at Texas Gallery.
April 5 – Grammy Award-winning pianist Robert Glasper is born in Houston. His mother, singer Kim Yvette Glasper, takes young Robert along to club dates rather than leaving him with babysitters.
April 9 – David Bowie at the Summit. Presented by Pace Concerts.
April 23 - A Muddy Waters concert closes Houston music venue Liberty Hall, founded in March 1971 by Mike Condray, Ryan Trimble, and Lynda Herrera at 1610 Chenevert. Performers during Liberty Hall’s illustrious seven-year history include Bruce Springsteen, John Lee Hooker, ZZ Top, Cheech & Chong, Velvet Underground, Clifton Chenier, Neil Young and Linda Ronstadt, The Ramones, and countless others. Many concerts were broadcast on Houston’s Pacifica radio station KPFT.
May 5 - A riot erupts in Moody Park after police attempt to make an arrest during a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Hundreds of Chicanos chant “Viva Joe Torres” while throwing rocks, bricks, and bottles at the police. Fourteen patrol cars are overturned and local business are burned as the crowd spills out into the surrounding neighborhood.
May 14 - Archie Bell and the Drells at Million Dollar City Dump.
May 19 - 21 - Lawrence Welk at Houston Music Theater.
May 23 - At a special meeting of the CAM’s Board of Trustees at Pennzoil Place, a letter of resignation tendered by Jim Harithas eleven days earlier is accepted “with regret.”
May 24 - Elvis Costello at the Music Hall. Presented by Pace Concerts.
June - After being displayed for six weeks at the Albert Thomas Convention Center during Main Street ’78, Mel Chin's 60-foot-tall Manilla Palm: An Oasis Secret is installed on the west lawn of the CAM, on a long-term loan from Ann Williams O'Connor Robinson Harithas. During restoration efforts in 1988, a cot, desk, carpeting, and magazines dating from 1978 were discovered inside the sculpture’s pyramidal base. The Palm is still there as of 2018.
June 10 - July 30 - Peter Voulkos: A Retrospective 1948-1978 at CAM's upper gallery. organized by the Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American Craft Council, New York.
June 18 - 19 - The Juneteenth Blues Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater presents Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Arnett Cobb and the Mobb, Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin' Hopkins, Clifton Chenier, Triple Threat Revue, and others.
June 24 - Patti Smith at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston. Presented by Pace Concerts.
June 29 - Blues singer and guitarist Weldon “Juke Boy” Bonner dies in Houston of cirrhosis of the liver at age 46.
July 1 – Ray Charles and B.B. King share the bill at Jones Hall.
July 29 – Bob Marley and the Wailers at the Music Hall.
August 14 - September 24 - Gwendolyn Bennett Pappas, Rita Gardner, Lynn Randolph at the CAM's lower gallery. Organized by museum staff.
August 31 - An outsider musician named Sterling Smith self-releases an LP of anguished singing and alternately-tuned guitar playing; it is titled Ready for the House and credited to “The Units.” Operating from a Houston post office box, his label, Corwood Industries, sells only two copies in two years but does receive a cease and desist letter from a band in San Francisco with the same name. Dozens of future albums issued under the name “Jandek" inspire an intense cult following, but the musician responsible refuses to be interviewed and avoids public appearances until 2006.
Fall – Future Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren begins a tenure track position as assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center. She is named Dean of Academic Affairs in 1980 before moving on to the University of Texas School of Law in Austin in 1983.
September 9 - Comedian Steve Martin at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
September 28 – Talking Heads at the Texas Opry House.
October 1 - Vincent Price stars as Oscar Wilde in John Gay's "Diversions and Delights" at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston. Presented by U of H Program Council.
October 12 - Richard Pryor at the Summit. Presented by Pace Concerts.
October 15 - 22 - The Whirling Dervishes of Konya, Turkey perform at Rice University, the Rothko Chapel, and the University of Houston.
November - A regional office of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art is opened in the basement of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Under the direction of Sandra J. Curtis, the Texas Area Center conducts oral histories with Texas artists and arts administrators and preserved collections of professional papers and records on microfilm.
November 2 - Burt Bacharach with the Houston Symphony Orchestra at Jones Hall, released on LP the following year by A&M Records.
November 8 - Mickey Leland is elected to U.S. House of Representatives (winning the seat of the retiring Barbara Jordan) where he continues to be a tireless advocate for hunger relief and public health issues.
November 1 - January 2 - After the departure of director James Harithas, the CAM signals a fresh start with Contemporary Arts and Modern Living '48/'78, an update to the Contemporary Arts Association's debut exhibition This is Contemporary Art. After itinerant folk artist Andy Burns arrives at the CAM with a few drawings torn from a sketchbook, interim director Betsy Knight awards him a show in the lower gallery from November 15 through December 15.
November 20 – Earl Campbell, the Houston Oilers’ running back (and 1st round draft pick from the University of Texas at Austin) has 4 touchdowns and 199 yards rushing including an 81-yard run in a come-from-behind win against the Miami Dolphins broadcast coast-to-coast on Monday Night Football. Campbell led the Oilers to a second-place finish in the AFC Central Division with a 10-6 record and a wild card playoff berth and was named NFL’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Rookie of the Year.
December - Warren's Inn opens at 316 Milam.
December 1 – Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band at Texas Opry House.
December 1 - A fire touched off by lightning decimates the University of Houston’s Art and Architecture Building.
December 3 - Tom Waits and Leon Russell at Cullen Theater, University of Houston. Presented by UH Program Council and Southwest Concerts.
December 7 - January 20 - John Alexander: New Paintings at Max Hutchinson Gallery, 1100 West Alabama.
December 8 - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at The Summit. A recording of this concert is released 39 years later to raise money for MusiCares' Hurricane Harvey relief fund.
December 21 - The Grateful Dead at the Summit.
January 1 - In Dallas, the Houston Cougars lose to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 35-34 in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
January 6 - 8 - The Houston Symphony performs Tchaikovsky's "Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello" conducted by Eric Bergel and featuring cellist Yo Yo Ma at Jones Hall. Ma would return to perform with the Symphony in November 1980 and again in November 1982.
January 13 - The Alfred C. Glassell School of Art opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in a two-story, 42,000-square-foot concrete and glass block building designed by Eugene Aubry of S.I. Morris and Associates and situated on Montrose Boulevard one block north of the main museum building. A faculty exhibition guest curated by Paul Harris of the Waco Art Center inaugurates the gallery and remains on view through February 23. Classes begin January 29.
January 13 - February 5 - Paintings and drawings by Lucas Johnson at Moody Gallery.
January 16 - Experimental filmmaker Stan Vander Beek is on hand to project psychedelic abstract images on the ceiling of the Rice Media Center.
January 15 - February 15 - Eight New Works by Salvatore Scarpitta at Robinson Gallery.
January 19 - February 10 - New works by Michael Tracy at Roberto Molina Gallery.
January 19 - 31 - On the 19th, a "Modern Dance Happening" at CAM features several local groups: Theatre Dance Unlimited, Space/Dance/Theater, Beverly Cook Dance Company, New Dance Group, and the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. The focus on dance at the CAM continues with performances and workshops by Deborah Hay on the 20th and 21st and by Austin-based group Invisible, Inc. on the 26th and 27th, and a master class by Space/Dance/Theater leader James Clouser on the 31st.
February 2 - Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping is in Houston, one of just three cities on his diplomatic tour to the states. The first senior Chinese official to visit the US in thirty years, Xiaoping visits the Johnson Space Center and the annual rodeo in nearby SImonton, where he wears a ten-gallon cowboy hat given to him by one of the riders.
February 8 – March 2 – Bert L. Long Jr.’s first major solo exhibition in his native Houston is The Spirit of Art is Coming at the O’Kane Gallery, University of Houston Downtown Campus. When James Surls, Charmaine Locke, John Alexander, Jim Harithas, and Salvatore Scarpitta visit the show in mid-February, Long’s art career is launched.
February 10 - April 1 - Mark Rothko 1903-1970: A Retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Upper Brown Pavilion. Organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York City.
February 14 - Santana at Sam Houston Coliseum.
February 15 - March 10 - Mixed Media Assemblage by Jack Boynton at Moody Gallery.
February 16 - April 15 - Fire!, an exhibition featuring 100 Texas artists, at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Organized by James Surls. Featured: John Alexander, Gertrude Barnstone, Dan Barsotti, Jan Beauboeuf, John Biggers, Ed Blackburn, Gay Block, H. J. Bott, Jack Boynton, George Bunker, Bob Camblin, Gary H. Carl, Mel Casas, Nancy Chambers, Mel Chin, Rochella Cooper, Carol Crow, Frank Davis, Lee Baxter Davis, Otis Dozier, Letitia Eldredge, Andy Feehan, Vernon Fisher, David E. Folkman, Mel Fowler, Frank Freed, Roy Fridge, Carmen Lomas Garza, Linnea Glat, Xavier Gorena, George T. Green, Sam Gummelt, James Harithas, Roberta Harris, C. Kenneth Havis, James Hill, Rocky Hill, E. Michael Hollis, Fannie Holman, Dorothy Hood, Ronald A. Hoover, Luis Jiménez, Harvey L. Johnson, Lucas Johnson, Stephanie Kaldis, Jeanne Mason Koch, Michael Marion Kostiuk, Jr., George Krause, Toni La Selle, Lynn Lennon, Robert Levers, Charmaine Locke, Jesse Lott, Jim Love, James Malone, Andy Mann, Suzanne M. Manns, Cesar Martínez, Manuel M. Mauricio, Rick Maxwell, Frank McGuire, David McManaway, Ancel E. Nunn, Suzanne Paul, Charles Pebworth, Basilios Poulos, Guillermo Z. Pulido, Lynn M. Randolph, Philip Renteria, Jose L. Rivera, Dan Rizzie, Joe Rodriguez, Gary Roth, R. Anastasia Sams, Laurence Scholder, E. M. “Buck” Schiwetz, Carroll Harris Simms, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, Hannah Stewart, Juergen Strunck, James Surls, Linda Surls, Trudy Sween, Masaru Takiguchi, Linda Ridgway Taylor, James Michael Thomas, Gerry Tindall, Toby Topek, George Truan, Robin Utterback, Juan B. Vela, W. Verhelst, Robert S. Wade, Susan B. Walton, Velox Ward, Rolf Westphal, Mac Whitney, Roger Winter, Ben Woitena, and Dick Wray.
February 17 - March 10 - Fletcher Mackey and Tacey Tajan at Roberto Molina Gallery.
February 19 - Curator and critic Lucy Lippard delivers a lecture titled "Stones: A Feminist Approach to Ancient Images" at Rice Media Center, co-sponsored by the Houston Women's Caucus for Art and the Breakthrough Foundation.
February 22 - March 31 - Houston Painting Invitational at Max Hutchinson Gallery.
March 1 - 31 - James Surls at Robinson Galleries.
March 8 – The Police at Texas Opry House. Record signing at Cactus Records earlier in the day.
March 17 - 25 – Doors at the Alley Theater. Organized by Trudy Sween. 50 works made from reclaimed doors by John Alexander, Gertrude Barnstone, Jan Beauboeuf, Honey Beeman, H.J. Bott, Jack Boynton, Bob Camblin, Mel Chin, Nancy Conrad, Fermin Coronado, Carol Crow, David Folkman, Bob Fowler, David Gray, Roberta Harris, Jim Hatchett, Dorothy Hood, Steve Hoover, Lucas Johnson, Stephanie Kaldis, Candace Knapp, Ken Luce, Fletcher Mackey, Frank McGuire, MANUAL (Suzanne Bloom and Ed Hill), Herb Mears, Kermit Oliver, David Parsons, Charles Pebworth, RFB Rapho, Don Redman, Phil Renteria, Anastasia Sims, Charles Schorre, Len Seibel, Carroll Simms, Al Smith, Susan Smith, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, Ellen Stivson, Richard Stout, James Surls, Trudy Sween, Gerry Tindall, Toby Topek, Arthur Turner, Dee Dee Wells, Pat Warner, Salle Werner-Vaughan, Dee I. Wolff, Ron & Helen Vellucci.
March 22 - 25 - Alvin Ailey Dance Theater at Houston Music Hall.
March 26 - Henry Moore's Large Spindle Piece, an eleven-foot-tall bronze sculpture cast in 1974 in an edition of seven, is installed on the lawn of Eleanor Tinsley Park alongside Buffalo Bayou.
April 1 - A major outdoor “Rock Against Racism” concert is planned at the University of Houston by Henry Weissborn, a sociology student and the president of the Direct Action Committee. When the event is cancelled by the University, Weissborn moves the concert to a new rock club called “the Island.” First wave Houston punk bands Really Red, Legionaire’s Disease, and Christian Kidd of The Hates headline the show. Vast Majority and AK-47 also debut their anti-police brutality anthems. Following the concert, Weissborn launches Wild Dog Zine, Houston's first dedicated punk rock fanzine covering punk politics and local performance art events.
April 1 - May 5 - Dorothy Hood at the University of Houston at Clear Lake City's Bayou Building.
April 6 - May 1 – Superspective, an exhibition of painting, sculpture, photography and jewelry by University of Houston graduate students Bernard Brunon, Mark Diamond, Chuck Dugan, Dennis Evans, Robert Graham, David Gray, Peter McClennan, C. Moore Patterson, Mary Saslow, and Donald Woodman, inaugurates the gallery space at U of H’s new Lawndale Annex. Beginning in late winter, the former Schlumberger cable factory offers studios and workspace for sculptors and painters displaced by December’s art building fire.
April 9 - Eric Clapton and Muddy Waters at the Summit.
April 14 - Barry White with the Love Unlimited Orchestra at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston. Presented by Brass Ring / Candyman Productions.
April 27 - 28 - Stevie Ray Vaughan's first Houston gigs at Rockefeller's.
May - "Let it Go," the 1978 LP recording by Houston's High School for Performing and Visual Arts Jazz Ensemble, is named "Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band - High School Division" by Downbeat Magazine.
May 9 - After thirteen years of toil, retired postman and self-trained builder Jeff McKissack opens his visionary art environment, The Orange Show, to the public at 2402 Munger Street in the East End. McKissack’s intention is to educate about the health benefits of the orange and the possibilities of steam power with a whimsical environment built from found objects, featuring an ampitheater, museum, and intricately decorated grottoes. He also offers, for one dollar, his self-published treatise "How You Can Live 100 Years and Still Be Spry." McKissack dies less than nine months later at the age of 78.
May 9 - Diana Ross at the Summit. Presented by Pace Concerts.
May 10 - June 8 - Jana Vander Lee at Hadler/Rodriguez Galleries, 3133 Buffalo Speedway.
May 24 - The Village People at the Summit.
May 31 - July 29 - Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Upper Brown Pavilion, curated by William C. Agee and Barbara Rose.
June – Larger Canvas Two presents the work of Houston’s Dick Wray and Philip Renteria, Dallas’s George T. Green and Bob Wade; Fort Worth’s Ed Blackburn; Austin’s Bill Wiman; and San Antonio’s Brad Braune. Their commissioned 14 x 48 inch canvasses are enlarged to fit seven 14 x 48 foot billboards alongside Houston freeways, visible to hundreds of thousands of commuters through December. The project is sponsored by Houston National Bank, who concurrently displays the original works in the lobby of their building at Milam and Lamar.
June 30 - The Bee Gees perform for a sold-out crowd at the Summit. A bearded John Travolta makes a surprise guest appearance, reprising his disco footwork from Saturday Night Fever during the song “You Should Be Dancing.” Travolta, Debra Winger, Barry Corbin and others are in Houston all summer filming the movie Urban Cowboy.
June 30 - July 29 - Philip Renteria at CAM's lower gallery.
July 1 - Building upon annual marches begun in 1976 to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Houston’s GLBT Political Caucus sponsors the first Pride Parade, with an array of floats under the leadership of grand marshal Thelma “Disco Grandma” Hansel.
July - Susan and Sanford Criner establish Rockefeller’s, a music venue for jazz, blues, and rock concerts, in a historic neoclassical bank building at 3620 Washington Avenue designed by pioneering Houston architect Joseph Finger. Houston singer-songwriter Danny Everitt is the first featured act on July 11.
July 10 - Patti Smith at Houston Music Hall, following a record signing at Cactus Records.
July 12 - Van Halen at Houston Music Hall.
July 20 - Dedication of Tranquility Park between Walker and Rusk Streets near City Hall.
August – Bob Novotney opens Texas Junk Company on the corner of Taft and Welch. His crowded resale shop is a neighborhood institution until its closing in 2016 due to creeping gentrification of the Montrose.
August 4 - Blondie at Houston Music Hall.
August 27 - September 27 - Faculty Show at University of St. Thomas Art Gallery. Works by Jack Boynton, David Gray, Daniel Jircik, Laura Russell, Tom Sims, Susan Smith, Earl Staley, and Hannah Stewart.
August 31 - September 21 - Pow Wow: Contemporary Artists and Models Ball celebrates the establishment of the Lawndale Annex with a “miniature show” featuring over 500 works by artists from throughout the region and a costume party ball with belly dancers, magicians, jugglers, and a cake-decorating contest with bakers from Houston’s top hotel kitchens.
September 1 – Former Albright-Knox Art Gallery curator Linda L. Cathcart begins an eight-year term as director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
September - The University of Houston launches a masters and post-masters level creative writing program, one of the first of its kind in the country. Poets Cynthia McDonald and Stanley Plumly help to develop the program and serve as its founding co-directors. The faculty also includes novelist and short story writer Donald Barthelme, returning to his native Houston on a part-time basis for the appointment. Barthelme's syllabus of 81 must-read titles still circulates on the Internet today.
September 11 - Talking Heads and the B52s at Houston Music Hall.
September 18-19 - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s first trip to the United States includes a two-day visit to Houston with a panel discussion on the relationship between contemplation and action in the Western and Eastern worlds at the Rothko Chapel.
September 22 - October 21 - Pat Colville: Recent Works at CAM's lower gallery.
September 26 – The Cultural Arts Council of Houston initiates a contract under the 1973 Comprehensive Employment and Training Act to provide funds for a series of community-based art projects implemented by Jan Beauboeuf, Malinda Beeman, William Cole, Nicholas Cucuzzo, Frank Fajardo, George Hawkins, Mitchell Johnson, Billy McQuillen, Jana Vander Lee, and Joanie Whitebird.
September 28 – November 23 – Clyde Connell at Lawndale Annex features the sculptures and fiber art of the septugenarean Louisiana artist. Also on view is the work of Michael Dillon, David Horner, Kathy Martinson, John Stovall, Luanne Stovall, and Jerry Slack.
Fall - The Asia Society Texas is founded by future first lady Barbara Bush and oil and gas tycoon Roy M. Huffington.
October 5 – The Clash at University of Houston’s Cullen Auditorium, with opening bands Joe Ely and Legionaire’s Disease
October 14 - November 16 - Out in the Open, an exhibition of outdoor sculpture, is installed alongside Buffalo Bayou near the intersection of Allen Parkway and Montrose Boulevard. Participating artists are Frank Fajardo, Jesse Lott, Guillermo Pulido, and Jana Vander Lee.
October 18 - Harry Chapin at the Palace, 5134 Richmond.
October - Robert Mapplethorpe at Texas Gallery.
October 28 - December 30 - American Painting: The Eighties at the CAM. Featuring works by Carl Apfelschnitt, Dennis Ashbaugh, Frances Barth, Anna Bialobroda, Howard Buchwald, Louisa Chase, Elaine Lustig Cohen, William Conlon, Leonard Contino, Susan Crile, Carol Engelson, Rachelle Epstein, Robert Feero, Hermine Ford, Sam Gilliam, Nancy Graves, Pierre Haubensak, Richard Hennessy, Stewart Hitch, Bill Jensen, Meredith Johnson, Mark Lancaster, Lois Lane, Vered Lieb, Joanna Mayor, Robert Moskowitz, Elizabeth Murray, George Noel, Pete Omlor, Peter Pinchbeck, William Ridenhour, Susan Rothenberg, Mark Schlesinger, Steven Sloman, Gary Stephan, Susanna Tanger, Joan Thorne, Catherine Warren, Thornton Willis, and Edward Youkilis. Organized by Barbara Rose and Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University. Downstairs, the lower gallery is rebranded by Linda Cathcart as the "Perspectives Gallery" and hosts Dotty Attie: Drawings 1975-1979.
November - Bert L. Long, Jr. publishes the debut issue of Houston ArtScene, a grassroots tabloid newspaper dedicated to visual and performing arts in Houston. Contributing editor James Surls writes, “When Houston realizes that her artists are her most positive natural resource and then gives tangible and psychological support, then our system will elevate, and Houston will move to the head and we will be the center. It is my opinion that the time is at hand… come on support, help us shift a gear. I see tomorrow, I am smiling for it now... Hang in Houston, I love you.”
November 1 - The Police at the Palace.
November 4 - The Julia Ideson Building, designed by Ralph Cram in a Spanish Revival style and constructed in 1926, is rededicated across the plaza from the Central Public Library Building. The original Ideson Building houses the Houston Metropolitan Research Center and contains Public Works of Art murals from the mid-1930s by Emma Richardson Cherry and Ruth Pershing Uhler.
November 10 - January 12 - The Image of the Black in Western Art at Central Library, Julia Ideson Building, Houston Public Library. Organized by Dominique de Menil, Ladislas Bugner, and Karen Dalton.
November 16 - The Ramones with Legionaire's Disease at the Palace.
November 18 - SumFest: the Avant-Garde Event of the Decade with free jazz by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Cecil Taylor Unit and the Houston Free Music Orchestra; a reading by Ntozake Shange; and “flying sculpture” by Houston artists Mel Chin, Frank Davis, Robert Graham, Jesse Lott, Gary Roth, and James Surls. Organized by Lanny Steele for Sum Concerts.
December – Racists paint swastikas and the slogan ‘White Power’ on the base of Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk, a sculpture positioned outside the Rothko Chapel and dedicated by John and Dominique de Menil to the memory of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Though the work was eventually restored, Dominique suggested at the time that the offensive graffiti should remain “as a badge of honor.”
December 1 - Prince at the Palace.
December 8 - Pat Metheny Group at Rockefeller's.
December 14 - March 2 - Day and Night: Works from the Menil Foundation Collection at Rice Museum. Organized by Dominique de Menil.
December 21 - 22 - Roky Erickson, the voice of the legendary Austin psychedelic rock band 13th Floor Elevators, at the Island, his first Houston performance following an extended period of institutionalization. Seven recorded tracks from these gigs are released in 1987 on the LP Casting the Runes.
The 1980 census records 1,595,138 Houston residents (a 29.4% increase over 1970’s tally).
Jim Craine and Perry Webb form Houston's experimental noise band Culturcide and record their debut single Another Miracle/Consider Museums as Concentration Camps, which they dedicate to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
January 7 - After the Houston Oilers' second straight AFC title loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, an estimated 70,000 football fans pack into the Astrodome to hear coach Bum Phillips speak: ""One year ago, we knocked on the door," he shouted. "This year, we beat on the door. Next year, we're gonna kick the son-of-a-bitch in."
February 2 -3 - The Harlem Globetrotters at the Summit.
February 2 - March 23 - Cindy Sherman at CAM's Perspectives Gallery.
February 18 – The Alley Theater’s founding artistic director Nina Vance dies in Houston at 66. Vance established the company in 1947 and shepherded one of the country’s most significant regional resident acting ensembles through hundreds of productions.
February 20 – April 13 – Suzanne Bloom and Ed Hill (Manual): Research and Collaboration at the Romansky Galleries, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Organized by Anne Wilkes Tucker.
February 23 - March 2 - Andy Feehan's A Booger's Banquet at Texas Gallery Annex, 2015-G West Gray. Feehan's first solo show for Texas Gallery featured a dozen sculptural paintings that imitated the look of various plates of food.
February 24 - Prince shares the bill with Rick James at Sam Houston Coliseum.
March 1 - Willie Nelson at the Palace.
March 8 - June 1 - Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, Satellite Theater, Developmental Arts Building, University of Houston in Clear Lake City. Organized by the Through the Flower Corporation and MaryRoss Taylor Sponsored by the University of Houston at Clear Lake City, the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, the Texas Arts and Cultural Organization, the Cultural Arts Council of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, and Friends of the Arts, UH/CLC. Monumental art installation by Judy Chicago and hundreds of volunteers employing various media, including ceramics, china-painting, and an array of needle and fiber techniques to honor the history of women in Western civilization.
March 20 - New wave band The Judys makes their debut at the Pearland High School Cafeteria. The band wears black lipstick, and the stage is decorated with Jello molds embedded with baby doll parts. In WIld Dog Zine, singer/guitarist David Bean recalls, "It wasn’t a talent show, but a school dance. Kinda wild, we blew the circuit & fuse a couple of times. And we threw beef liver and spinach all over a bunch of girls." The Judys plays the first of countless shows at Rock Island in April.
March 20 - 30 - Under the direction of Rochella Cooper, the Main Street Festival expands, rebranded as the "Houston Festival." Artists Gertrude Barnstone, Frank Davis, Robert Duncan, Roberta Harris, Paul Hester, Terrell James, Sam Jones, Frank McGuire, Jana Vander Lee, and Mel Ziegler contribute temporary public art installations. Kermit Oliver is commissioned to provide a painting for the festival publication cover and limited edition poster. The visual arts project directors are Jan Beauboeuf, Toni Beauchamp, Meredith Jack, Ken Jewesson, Fletcher Mackey, Trudy Sween, and Clint Willour.
March 21 - April 20 - William Steen: Long Paintings at Studio One, 1511 Congress.
March 28 - April 18 - Women-in-Sight: New Art in Texas at Lawndale Annex. Curated by Marcia Tucker, Director, New Museum, New York City. Presented by Women & Their Work, Austin.
April 4 - The Ramones at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
May 16 - ZZ Top at the Summit.
May 21 - Stiv Bators and the Dead Boys at Whiskey River, 8670 S. Gessner.
May 23 - The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's influential film adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel is released, starring Houston's Shelley Duvall.
May 31 - June 1 - Ella Fitzgerald at Tower Theater.
May 31 - July 20 - Ken Price: Selections from "Happy's Curios" at CAM's Perspectives Gallery. Organized by Linda Cathcart.
June – The nine-foot-tall, five-panel mural The Healthy Family is unveiled at the East End community center Ripley House, the work of seventy-year-old Mexican-born painter and retired electrician Atanacio P. Davila.
June 5 - Houston socialite Lynn Wyatt hosts a star-studded party at Gilley’s immediately following the world premiere screening of Urban Cowboy at the Gaylinn Theater at Sharpstown Center. Andy Warhol, fashion photographer Diane von Furstenberg, model Jerry Hall, movie producer Irving Azoff, and Paramount CEO Barry Diller are in attendance.
June 7 - July 27 - 1980 Houston Area Exhibition and Recapitulation 1928 - 1960 at Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston. Houston Area Exhibition featuring Jane Allensworth, John Atlas, Viveka Barnett, Alice Cahana, Denise Chapman, Katie Coleman, Dave Darraugh, Jeff DeLude, Richard Fluhr, Gaye Hall, Lucas Johnson, Robert Kerns, Craig Lesser, Don Localio, Ken Luce, Brian Mains, Suzanne Manns, Peggy Oxford, Bonell Rashti, Philip Renteria, Jim Robertson, David J. Rodd, Gary Roth, Laura Russell, Charles Schorre, Don Shaw, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, William Steen, John Stovall, Rev. Johnnie Swearingen, Robin Utterback, Suzanne Vincent. Juried by William C. Agee, LInda L. Cathcart, and Harris Rosenstein. Recapitulation featuring MFAH purchase prize winning works by David Adickes, Margaret Brisbane Baccante, Evelyn Byers Bessell, John Biggers, Kathleen Blackshear, Jack Boynton, Gene Charlton, Lowell Collins, Bill Condon, Genevieve Filson, Jack Key Flanagan, WIlliam James Houliston, Robert Joy, Mabel Fairfax Karl, Paul Maxwell, William McVey, Herbert Mears, Robert O. Pruesser, Edward M. Sciwetz, Ruby Lee Schiwetz, Joe Schwarting, Chester Snowden, John Dolf Sparks, Christine Streetman, Ruth Pershing Uhler. Organized by William A. Robinson. Catalog features Frank Martin's installation photography and Blaffer assistant director Toni Beauchamp's chronology 'The Visual Arts in Houston: A Selected Overview, 1900 - 1980.'
June 13 - The dental office of Arthur R. Higgs, D.D.S. at 5445 Almeda hosts an exhibition of works of black artists in Houston including Tony Bryant, Kwaku Bediko, Buford Evans, Bert L. Long, Jr., Jesse Lott, Fletcher Mackey, Robert Morrison, Floyd Newsum, and Kermit Oliver.
June 20 - A police raid at Mary’s… Naturally, the notorious gay bar at the corner of Westheimer and Waugh in Montrose, jails 61 patrons and staff members including owner Jim “Fanny” Farmer at the start of Gay Pride Week.
July 4 - A chainsaw-wielding Bert L. Long Jr. constructs his first monumental ice sculpture before a crowd of curious onlookers outside the Galveston Art Center on the historic Strand shopping thoroughfare.
July 5 - The Who at the Summit.
July 6 - Devo at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
July 12 - The Blues Brothers at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston. Presented by Concerts West.
July 12 - 28 - Don Localio and Viveka Barnett at DuBose Gallery.
July 13 - Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, and Alice Cooper at Robertson Stadium, University of Houston.
July 30 – The Astros’ star pitcher J.R. Richard suffers a stroke during warm-up exercises before a game at the Astrodome, bringing his baseball career to an abrupt end at the age of 30.
August 2 - 24 - A Sound Selection: Audio Works by Artists at the CAM's Perspectives Gallery, featuring works by Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, John Baldessari, Maggie Dean, Guy de Cointet, Bruce Fier, Bob George, Jack Goldstein, Alison Knowles, Micki McGee, Jim Pomeroy, Jim Roche, Martha Rosler, Stewart Sheinan, Micheal Smith, Mimi Smith, Keith Sonnier, William Wegman, Lawrence Weiner, and Reece Williams. Organized by Artists Space, New York, in collaboration with Hartford Art School, University of Hartford.
August 10 - Queen at the Summit.
August 15 - Chuck Berry at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
August 18 - B.B. King at Agora Ballroom.
August 20 - 23 - A heat wave with temperatures topping out at 107 degrees engulfs Houston, setting a new record that will stand until August 2000.
September 5 - November 16 - Jim Love Up to Now: A Selection at Rice Museum. Organized by Heidi Renteria. In late August, Love’s monumental public sculpture Portable Trojan Bear is transported from its original site at the corner of Montrose and Bissonnet to the grounds outside the Rice Museum for the exhibition. The beloved bear would eventually move in 1984 to a grassy space near Miller Outdoor Theater, where it now greets visitors approaching the Houston Zoo.
September 6 - Suzanne Somers at Houston Music Hall.
September 6 – October 26 – American Fiber Art: A New Definition at the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston. Featuring textiles and paper works by t Stephanie Kirschen Cole, Tracy Colvill, Frank Fajardo, Barbara Magnus, Eleanor Merrill, Richard Mock, Cynthia Schira, Eileen Spikol, and Naj Wikoff. Organized by Jana Vander lee.
September 23 - October 5 - Comedian Phyllis Diller at Windmill Dinner Theatre, 390 Town and Country Boulevard.
September 25 - 27 - Houston Jazz Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater featuring the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Red Garland, Wynton Marsalis, and others. Produced by SUM Concerts.
October 1 - Curator and museum director Walter Hopps is engaged by Dominque de Menil as a consultant to provide advice on cataloguing and upgrading her collection and to help plan a museum to house it. He is named Founding Director of the Menil Collection the following January.
October 2 - The B-52s at Agora Ballroom.
October 3 - November 10 - Earl Staley: Mythologies at the CAM's Perspectives Gallery. Simultaneously, Staley's prints are on display at Little Egypt Enterprises and his watercolors at Watson/de Nagy & Company.
October 7 - 12 - In their first post-season effort, the Houston Astros lose to the Philadelphia Phillies three games to two in the 1980 National League Division Series. KILT-AM radio salesman Denver Griffith spends the series in a tent on top of the Astrodome, making regular radio reports and obtaining food and drink by lowering a bucket to the playing field from an opening in the domed roof.
October 23 - 12 on Site, an exhibition of outdoor sculpture at 4300 Montrose at Richmond. Featuring Viveka Barnett, Gertrude Barnstone, Marilyn Biles, Cecile Burns Linda Graetz, Heidi Stanfield, Vicki Stewart, Tracy Tajan, Martha Terrill, Toby Topek, Tralene Vassilopolos. Organized by Toby Topek.
October 31 - Gil Scott-Heron joins Stevie Wonder's Hotter Than July tour for a gig at the Summit.
November 1 – 20 – Four Painters at Lawndale Annex, featuring paintings and sculptures by Kelly Alison, Jeff DeLude, Judy Long, and Jim Poag.
November 2 - Henry Mancini conducts the Houston Symphony Pops at Houston Music Hall.
November 13 - The Police at Houston Music Hall.
November 20 - Iggy Pop at the Agora Ballroom.
November 22 - Talking Heads at Agora Ballroom.
November 22 - January 4 - Vernon Fisher: Story Paintings and Drawings at the CAM's Perspectives Gallery. Organized by Marti Mayo.
December 3 - Johnny Cash at the Astrodome.
December 5 - 6 - Blag Flag at the Island.
December 13 - X at the Island.
December 15 – January 9 – John Altas and Ron Hoover at Lawndale Annex.
December 26 - 27 - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble at Steamboat Springs, 4919 West Alabama.
December 31 - "Pink Flamingos" and "Female Trouble" are the New Year's Eve double feature at the historic River Oaks Theater. Other cult films showing in December include "The Wizard of Oz," "Casablanca," "The Jerk," "Animal Crackers," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "West Side Story," and "Valley of the Supervixens."
January 20 - Ronald Reagan is sworn in as the 40th President of the United States. Houston’s George Herbert Walker Bush is his vice president, and Houston’s James A. Baker III is named Chief of Staff.
February - The Alley Theater hosts three standing-room-only performances of New York-based writer Pat Carroll's one-woman show, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein.
February 9 - Sir Douglas Quintet at Agora Ballroom
February 12 - The Beach Boys at the Summit.
March - Art historian Barbara Rose is named Curator of Exhibitions and Collections by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Rose indicates that she will spend the third week of each month in Houston, with the rest of her time spent in New York and abroad.
March 7 - Black Flag at the Island.
March 8 - Dizzy Gillespie at Rockefeller's.
March 18 - 22 - Earl "Fatha" Hines at Rockefeller's.
March 20 - 29 - SumFest ‘81 at Lawndale Annex, featuring ten days’ worth of artwork, lectures, poetry, and music including appearances by Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra, Robert Ashley, Lucinda Childs, Paolo Soleri, Leslie Fiedler, and Clifton Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band.
March 26 – The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston announces the sale of 17 artworks from its collection to raise money for the purchase of Picasso’s 1910 painting The Rower and Hans Hofmann’s 1963 painting Fiat Lux. A backlash from museum donors and artists prompts a reconsideration of the museum’s deaccessioning policies.
March 27 - Pat Metheny Group at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
March 28 - April - Drawings by Willem de Kooning at Janie C. Lee Gallery.
March 29 - B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland at the Summit.
April - Earl Staley is awarded a Prix de Rome fellowship by the American Academy in Rome. In September, he begins a year's study at the Academy with a studio, living quarters, and a monthly stipend provided.
April 1 – U2 makes their Houston debut at heavy metal club Cardi’s.
April 12 - NASA’s Space Shuttle program commences with the launch of the Columbia orbiter. It returns to Earth two days later after orbiting the planet 36 times.
April 17 - May 9 - John Peters at Studio One. Early works by the painter later known as Mark Flood.
April 25 - May 2 - The Panther at Lawndale Annex. Experimental opera by Manuel Lutgenhorst and Philip Glass organized by Houston Grand Opera Studio in association with the University of Houston.
April 29 – Houston Ballet dancer Li Cunxin is detained for twenty hours at the Chinese consulate after telling officials that he had married an American woman in an apparent attempt to defect to the US. The incident makes national headlines, and with the intervention of Vice President George H.W. Bush, Li is allowed to remain in the states where he would continue to dance for the Houston Ballet for another 16 years.
May 5 - 14 - Despite posting a losing record, the Houston Rockets reach the NBA finals. They are defeated by the Boston Celtics four games to two, despite Rockets' center Moses Malone's contention that "Boston ain't that good... I could get four guys off the street in Petersburg (Virginia, Malone's hometown) and beat them."
May 6 - Dave Brubeck at Rockefeller's.
May 8 - Dexter Gordon at Rockefeller's.
May 14 - Leroy Jenkins at the Island.
May 18 - Grandmaster Flash at Numbers Nightclub.
June - Former gallerist Patricia C. Johnson signs on as the Houston Chronicle's art critic, a position she would hold until December 2007.
June 7 - Motorhead and Ozzy Osbourne at Sam Houston Coliseum.
June 20 - August 2 - Charles Schorre: Pages from Books Unpublished at CAM.
July 2 - The Grateful Dead at the Summit.
July 10 - Andy Mann videotape / Frank Martin photographs opens at Little Egypt Enterprises, 1401 West Gray.
July 11 - August 8 - Introductions '81 at DuBose Gallery featuring paintings by Jim Hatchett, ceramics by Dale Jensen, works on paper by Jack Massing, and woodblock prints by Harrison Nobles.
July 12 - The Jacksons at the Summit.
August - Texas Air Corporation begins its acquisition of Continental Airlines and consolidates its operations in Houston, resulting in dramatic expansion at Houston Intercontinental Airport.
August - Artist George Smith of Buffalo NY is hired to teach sculpture at Rice University.
August 1 - September 27 - Other Realities -- Installations for Performances at CAM. Featuring Vito Acconci, Eleanor Antin, Colette, Tina Girouard, Joan Jonas, and Robert Wilson. Free performances at the CAM by each of the participants throughout the run of the show.
August 8 - Peter Tosh at Tower Theater.
August 8 - 30 - Brian Eno: Video and Music at CAM’s Perspectives Gallery. Organized by Cheryl Brutvan.
August 28 - 29 - Stevie Ray Vaughan at Rockefeller's.
September 3 - 29 - Brian Mains: Paintings at Graham Gallery.
September 4 – Singer Beyonce Knowles is born in Houston.
September 5 – 26: Latin Spirit of the ‘80s at Lawndale Annex. Featuring artwork by Margarita Cantu, Fernando Casas, Atanacio P. Davila, Ibsen Espada, Carlos Gomez, Benito Huerta, Bert Leon Luna, Ariana Rafael, and others. Organized by Bert Leon Luna.
September 10 - Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager at Jones Hall.
September 16 - The Pretenders at Tower Theater.
September 19 - October 14 - Dick Wray: Recent Paintings and Drawings at Moody Gallery.
September 20 – 20/20: An Art Event at 1420 Peden. Outdoor display of sculptural installations by Barry Atkins, Vicki Barnett, Andrew Lawson, Bert L. Long Jr., Jesse Lott, Mik Miano, Don Redman, Heidi Stanfield, Joe Vogel, and Frank Williams; Dance by Brenda Fuller, Sarah Irwin, and Edie Scott; Films by David Boone and Daniel Jircik; and music byBonnie Brown and Sam Saddler. Sponsored by Little Egypt Enterprises and Artists in Action.
September 22 - Muddy Waters at Rockefeller's.
September 26 - 35-year-old Houston Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan holds the Los Angeles Dodgers hitless, becoming the first hurler in Major League Baseball history to record his fifth no-hit game. Ryan finishes the season with a 1.69 earned run average, a club record that still stands today.
October 10 - November 29 - Four Painters: Jones, Smith, Stack, Utterback at CAM’s Upper Gallery, featuring works by Otis Jones, Lee Smith, Gael Stack, Robin Utterback. Organized by Linda Cathcart and Marti Mayo.
October 14 - About 20 photography aficionados (including MFAH photo curator Anne Wilkes Tucker) meet at Betty and Frank Fleming’s Paradise Bar & Grill to establish the Houston Center for Photography, a member-run cooperative to support practitioners of the medium in Houston, offering exhibitions, lectures, workshops, publications, and fellowships.
October 16 - Frank Sinatra at Jones Hall.
October 19 - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader speaks on "Corporate Power in America: the Workings of Economic Governments" at the Grand Hall at Rice Memorial Center, sponsored by TexPIRG and Rice Program Council.
October 19 - Siouxie and the Banshees at Babylon.
October 23 - Ornette Coleman at Lawndale Annex. Presented by Sum Concerts.
October 28 - A fatal stabbing mars a concert by The Rolling Stones and ZZ Top at the Astrodome.
October 31 - Jack Boynton carves what is purported to be the "world's largest jack-o-lantern' in a family-friendly community event staged on the vacant lot at the corner of Montrose and Bissonnet.
October 31 - Culturcide and Really Red at 3221 Milam.
October 31 - December 13 - Derek Boshier: Paintings from 1980-1981 at CAM's Perspectives Gallery. Organized by Cheryl Brutvan.
November - The Reverend Billy Graham leads an eight-day 'Houston-Gulf Coast Crusade' at Rice Stadium. On November 9, the Moral Majority's Cal Thomas and Houston attorney David Berg debate the role of the Religious New Right at Rice Memorial Center.
November 5 - 25 - Impressions of Houston at O’Kane Gallery, University of Houston Downtown Campus. Organized by Floyd Newsum. Featuring Cynthia Morgan Batmanis, Chuck Dugan, Roberta Harris, Charles Holmes, Meredith Jack, Lucas Johnson, Candace Knapp, Bert L. Long, Jr., Jesse Lott, Tommy McAfee, Fletcher Mackey, Robert Morrison, Floyd Newsum, Kermit Oliver, William Gary Roth, Anastasia Sims, Charles Schorre, James Surls, Masaru Takiguchi, and Jana Vander Lee.
November 8 – December 4 - The Image of the House in Contemporary Art at Lawndale Annex, University of Houston. Organized by Charmaine Locke. Co-sponsored by the Houston Women’s Caucus for Art. Exhibition exploring the image of the house in contemporary American art. Artists: Alice Adams, John Alexander, Terry Allen, Siah Armajani, Richard Artschwager, Alice Aycock, Cynthia Batmanis, Valerie Bell, Tony Berlant, Suzanne Bloom, Louise Bourgeois, Allen Brady, Bernard Brunon, Bob Camblin, Vija Celmins, Nancy Chambers, William Christenberry, Julie Cohn, Clyde Connell, Roy DeForest, Donna Dennis, Mark Diamond, Diana Donaldson, Chuck Dugan, Mary Beth Edelson, Dennis Evans, Lauren Ewing, Jackie ferrara, Richard Fleischner, Barbara Frey, Roy Fridge, Kathleen Gallagher, Robert Graham, George Grant, David Gray, Bill Halverson, Ed Hill, james Hill, Nancy Holt, Ellen Lanyon, Ken Little, Charmaine Locke, Jim Love, Robert Lyons, Peter McClennan, Ed McGowin, Mary Mcintyre, David McManaway, Norma McManaway, Melissa Miller, Mary Miss, Patsy Norvell, C. Moore Patterson, Jim Poag, Dan Rizzie, Alan Saret, Mary Saslow, Larry Scholder, Rosie Shuster, Joel Shapiro, Don Shaw, Richard Shaw, Charles Simonds, Robert Stackhouse, James Surls, Robert Tannen, Toby Topek, Michael Tracy, Maria Villeja, H.C. Westermann, Donald Roller Wilson, Jackie Winsor, Donald Woodman, and William T. Wiley. Catalog: foreward by Charmaine Locke. Essay by William Simon, Professor of Sociology, University of Houston.
November 11 - Iggy Pop at Cardi's.
November 12 - Bob Dylan at the Summit.
November 13-14 - Max Roach Quartet at Lawndale Annex. Presented by Sum Concerts.
November 15 and 21-22 - Pandit Pran Nath and Steve Reich perform sacred music at the Rothko Chapel
November 17 - Kathryn J. Whitmire, Houston’s 35-year-old democratic City Controller, is elected Houston’s first woman mayor with 62% of the vote.
November 19 - Luis Jimenez installs 15’ fiberglass sculpture Vaquero in Moody Park. The work was paid for with City Council-Approved Community Development Funds and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts over the objections of a group of citizens led by councilman Frank Mann. Meanwhile, John Biggers’ mural The Quilting Party is unveiled at the Houston Civic Center Music Hall (now the Wortham Center). Commissioned by the City of Houston and donated by Susan and Maurice McAshan.
November 19 - Devo at Sam Houston Coliseum. Presented by Pace Concerts.
November 25 - The Plasmatics at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
November 27 - Black Flag at the Island.
December 2 - Dominique de Menil formally announces plans to build a permanent museum to house the de Menil collection, designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated on land owned by the Menil Foundation adjacent to the University of St. Thomas.
December 26 - ZZ Top at the Summit.
December 28 - Culturcide and MyDolls at Caribana, 2413 Rice Boulevard.
The Texas Outlaw Comics group begins performing at the Comedy Workshop in Houston; breakout members include Bill Hicks, Andy Huggins, and Sam Kinison, who dons a ketchup-stained bath towel loincloth and symbolically "crucifies" himself to a convenience store sign across the street after being suspended from the club.
January 30 - Influential blues singer and guitarist Sam John “Lightnin’” Hopkins dies in Houston at age 69. Hailing from Centerville, Hopkins took his Texas-style blues all the way to Carnegie Hall and the Village Gate in New York, while remaining visible in Houston throughout his life, singing and playing on street corners, busses, and the nightclubs of Frenchtown and the Third Ward.
February - William C. Agee resigns as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Board of Trustees names David Warren Interim Director.
February - Sculptor Allan Hacklin is hired as Director of the MFAH’s Glassell School of Art. Among his conditions for accepting the post is the freedom to develop a post-graduate residency to attract talented young artists to Houston. The first Core Fellows arrive in the fall.
February 5 – May 2 – Yves Klein 1928-1962: A Retrospective at Rice Museum, Rice University. Organized by Dominique de Menil.
February 6 – March 14 – Texas on Paper at CAM, featuring Linda Blackburn, Suzanne Hitt Bocanegra, Jean A. Dibble, Michael Doga, Vernon Fisher, Roberto Munguia, Bradley R. Petersen, Jim Poag, Albert T. Scherbarth, Charles Schorre, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, William Steen, James Surls, Danny Williams. Organized by Cheryl A. Brutvan and Linda L. Cathcart.
February 7 – In a performance piece at the CAM titled “Future of Art/Manifesto of Murder,” artist William Steen brandishes a machine gun and declares his intention to “end my involvement in the process of painting and exhibiting in the commercial context.”
February 8 - Under the direction of publisher Bert Woodall, the debut issue of the weekly alternative newspaper Public News hits the streets.
February 11 - 25 - Kermit Oliver at DuBose Gallery.
February 11 - March 9 - Gertrude Barnstone / Toby Topek: Sculpture and Drawings at Graham Gallery
February 15 - U2 at Cardi's.
February 20 - March 29. A Sense of Spirit at Lawndale Annex. Painting, sculpture, fiber art and works on paper exploring faith, mysticism, ritual, and spiritual consciousness by Clyde Connell, Dorothy Hood, Bert L. Long, Jr., Jesse Lott, Earl Staley, James Surls, Jana Vander Lee, Dee Wolff with video by Andy Mann and photography by Frank Martin. Catalog essay by John Perrault with an introduction and a salute to Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti by Jana Vander Lee. 1,500-pound ice sculpture by Bert L. Long, Jr. in the gallery on opening night.
March - Rice University professor Dr. Stephen Klineberg collects demographic data for the first annual Houston Area Survey. The study measures public responses to emerging economic, educational, and environmental challenges, and makes the findings available to civic and business leaders, to the general public, and to other researchers.
March 12 - 14 - An incredible run of shows with Roky Erickson, Houston's Really Red, and Black Flag at The Island.
March 13 - Studio One Alternative Space hosts a showcase of electronic music featuring half-hour long performances by Mary Cullather, Glenn Carman & Rick Powell (music for string ensemble, metal detector, and feedback), Joe Stalin Band, and Rafael Ero & Arnold Goldberg.
April - Still roofless after a 1969 arson fire, the Heights Theatre on 19th Street hosts a benefit for Pacifica Radio's KPFT, with a screening of the 1956 movie "Rock Around the Clock" and a lineup of live new wave bands from Houston including Doctor Rockit, the Mydolls, Really Red, and the Haskells.
April 7 & 8 – James Brown at Rockefeller’s.
April 20 - Joan Miro's sculpture Personage and Birds is dedicated on Miro’s 89th birthday at the base of the recently completed Texas Commerce Tower (later known as the J.P. Morgan Chase Tower). The sculpture was chosen by the building’s designer, I.M. Pei, to occupy the plaza and, as he put it, to “activate street life in downtown Houston. It’s getting to be too dark and serious.” At 75 stories and 1,002 feet it becomes the tallest building in Houston’s skyline and the 15th tallest building in the United States.
April 21 - June 27 - Miro in America at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Upper Brown Pavilion. Curated by Barbara Rose.
April 25 - Jaco Pastorius at Rockefeller's. Presented by SUM Arts.
May 2 - An untitled group show opens the Center for Art and Performance at 5613 Almeda, an alternative space administered by Michael Peranteau and Max Pruneda. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper by Michael J. Curtis, Terry Elkins, Terrell James, Fletcher Mackey, Kathleen Packlick, Suzanne Paul, Maximiliano Pruneda III, and Caren L'Argent Smith are on view. Performance piece by Susan Hanft at the opening.
May 2 - R.E.M. at Rock Island.
May 7 - June 8 - Viveka Barnett - Tornados & Wall Sculptures at Graham Gallery.
May 7 - June 13 - Gay Block: Portraits at the CAM's Perspectives Gallery. Organized by Marti Mayo.
May 8 – June 4 – Reunion Show ’82 at Lawndale Annex, University of Houston. Painting, sculpture, video, and works on paper by artists associated with the Houston Museum of Modern Art: Honey Beeman, Bonnie Bibo, Mel Chin, Marcia de Brock-Conner, Arthur Douet, Robert Duncan, Ginny Echley, Dick Emery, David Gray, R.I. Henderson, Cathy Hendrick, Jim Hudson, Bruce Hunt, Frank Jaubert, Daniel Jircik, Stephanie Kaldis, Bill Van Kleave, John Lee, Ben Lozano, Ken Luce, Pepper Mouser, Scotty Prescott, Forrest Prince, Ada Pullini, FRB Rapho, Rich Richie, David Riker, Joe Bastida Rodriguez, Lee Savary, Allan O. Smith and Sandra Stevens. Organized by Jim Hatchett.
May 12 - 13 - Tom Waits at Rockefeller's.
May 14 - 15 - Black Flag at the Island.
June – New York-based sculptor Charles Simonds is in Houston to create a series of miniature clay brick “Dwellings” for an imaginary race of migrating “Little People” in cracks in downtown building facades along Preston, Fannin, and Main Streets. Simonds’ residency is sponsored by the CAM, which hosts his solo exhibition Circles and Towers Growing from June 23 to August 15, organized by the CAM’s Cheryl Brutvan and John Hallmark Neff of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Simonds returns to Houston to install more “Dwellings” the following April.
June 3 - 28 - Art From Houston in Norway at the First Houston/Stavanger Festival, Stavanger, Norway. Organized by David Brauer with Marti Mayo, Robin Cronin, George Bunker, and William Camfield. Featured artists: John Atlas, Malinda Beeman, Gay Block, Suzanne Bocanegra, Jack Boynton, Peter Brown, Bob Bilyeu Camblin, Mel Chin, Alain Clement, Chuck Dugan, Don Foster, Roy Fridge, Sally Gall, Roberta Harris, Paul Hester, Dorothy Hood, Ron Hoover, Lucas Johnson, George Krause, Suzanne Manns, Manual, Paul Mazzara, Peter McClennan, Frank McGuire, Kermit Oliver, Suzanne Paul, Jim Poag, Basilios Poulos, Philip Renteria, Laura Russell, Margaret Sass, Tom Sayre, Charles Schorre, Don Shaw, Al Smith, Susan Smith, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, Bill Steen, Richard Stout, James Surls, Arthur Turner, Robin Utterback, Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin, Casey Williams, Geoffrey Winningham, Ben Woitena, Dee Wolff, and Dick Wray.
June 4 - Robin Williams at Houston Music Hall. Opening set by John Sebastian.
June 5 - The Clash at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
June 6 – Swiss mask and mime troupe Mummenchanz at Tower Theater.
June 18 - 19 - Comedian George Carlin at Arena Theater.
June 25 - 26 - Stephane Grappelli at Rockefeller's
July 10 - Performances & Audiences: Andy Mann / Frank Martin Videotape / Photographs at Little Egypt Enterprises.
July 10 - August 8 - The Houston Center for Photography’s First Members’ Exhibition is on display in a borrowed space at Bering United Methodist Church. 121 prints by 21 photographers are on view.
July 25 - Oingo Boingo at the Island.
August 1 – September 4 – Tejano Sculptors at Center for Art and Performance. Featuring Luis Jimenez, Jesus Morales, Guillermo Pulido, Joe B. Rodriguez. Presented in conjunction with the 12th International Sculpture Conference, Oakland CA.
September 5 - Ray Charles at AstroArena.
September 7 - October 15 - David Hockney from Houston Collections at Sewall Gallery, Rice University.
September 14 - Reading by Roger Angell at Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
September 17 - 19 - Kool Jazz Festival at Jones Hall featuring Sarah Vaughan, George Benson, Benny Goodman, Nancy Wilson, Earl Klugh, and Wynton Marsalis.
September 17 - October 15 - Prisoners of Conscience at Studio One. Each of twenty-one Houston-based artists takes a case study of a political prisoner as the starting point for a work of art. Presented in association with Amnesty International.
September 22 – Poetry reading by Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins at Lawndale Annex.
September 25 – The Orange Show reopens to the public after a $100,000 restoration effort.
October – Synergy ’82 at the Glassell School of Art. Multimedia works by Sharon Behrends, Mark Caughlin, Jeff DeLude, Sally Gall, Nancy Giordano Echegoyen, Bill Haverson, Charles Mary Kubricht, and Pamela Weadick. Juried by Allan Hacklin, Betty Moody, and James Surls.
October - The Feminine Within, A Celebration of the Creative Spirit, outdoor sculpture show at Craven Parkway near Hermann Park, featuring Kwaku Bediko, Joanne Brigham, Mark Coughlin, Frank Fajardo, Meredith Jack, Candace Knapp, Fletcher Mackey, Mik Miano, Jesus Moroles, Jim Poag, Scotty Prescott, Don Redman, Charlie Sartwelle, and Paul Watkins.Organized by Jana Vander Lee.
October 1 - Peter C. Marzio assumes the directorship of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. That evening, "Stella By Starlight" is the theme of the annual MFAH gala soiree, which features a series of murals painted by the first wave of Core fellows and based upon maquettes designed for the affair by the internationally-renowned artist Frank Stella.
October 1 - 23 - Little Egypt Enterprises: Selected Prints, 1974-1982 at Harris Gallery, 1100 Bissonnet. Featuring prints by Derek Boshier, Earl Staley, Richard Thompson, Donald Roller Wilson, and others.
October 2 - Dolly Parton at the Summit.
October 2 - November 14 - The CAM's architecture and design is reconsidered with Dreams and Schemes: Visions and Revisions for the Contemporary Arts Museum in the Perspectives Gallery.
October 4 - Gil Scott-Heron at Rockefeller's.
October 9 - 10 - Roy Orbison at Rockefeller's.
October 11 - 12 - Sarah Vaughan at Rockefeller's.
October 19 - 20 - Count Basie and his Orchestra at Rockefeller's.
October 22 - Tony and Phyllis Mandola open Mandola's Blue Oyster Bar on on the Gulf Freeway, launching one of Houston's finest local restaurant chains.
October 23 - January 2 - In Our Time: Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum 1948-1982. This exhibition celebrates the history of the CAM by returning to its walls significant works of art shown over three and a half decades as well as a panel discussion and a catalog featuring Cheryl Brutvan's historical essay.
October 29 - Pat Metheny Group at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
November 27 - Midtown Arts Center opens to the public with a block party “premier event” at the corner of Holman and LaBranch featuring James Clauser’s Space/Dance Theater, dancers Edie Scott and Sarah Irwin, the University of St. Thomas jazz band, a display of work by over 200 local artists, and the creation of a 5,000-pound multicolored ice sculpture by Bert Long.
November 21 - Judge Roy Hofheinz, former Mayor of Houston and the entrepreneur owner of the Houston Astros who conceived of and developed the Astrodome, dies of a heart attack at 70.
December 3 - The Who at the Astrodome.
December 3 - 24 - Viveka Barnett - Wall Sculpture and Hitch Lyman - Gouache & Watercolor at Graham Gallery.
December 6 – The Family of Man, British sculptor Barbara Hepworth’s series of nine monumental cast bronze sculptures, is dedicated on the south plaza of First City Tower, 1001 Fannin at Lamar.
December 11 - 31 - Untitled: An Exhibition of Houston Area Artists at Lawndale Annex.
December 17 - Lyle Lovett at Anderson Fair.
December 31 - Willie Nelson at the Summit.
January - Transco Tower, designed by New York-based John Burgee Architects with Philip Johnson in association with Houston-based Morris-Aubry Architects is completed. At the time of its construction, the 64-story tower was the world’s tallest skyscraper outside of a central business district.
January 8 - March 13 - Andy Feehan: Contemporary Allegories at CAM's Perspectives Gallery. Organized by Marti Mayo.
January 13 - Barry Manilow at the Summit. Neil Young at Houston Music Hall.
January 14 - 15 - Rodney Dangerfield at the Arena Theater.
January 15 - February 27 - The Works of Edward Ruscha at CAM.
January 22 - Houston philanthropist George R. Brown dies at 83.
January 28 - Benefit for filmmaker Kurt Kren at Studio One, featuring Really Red and films by Kren.
January 30 - Eric Fischl lectures at the Glassell School of Art as part of the 1983 Rockwell Fund Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
February - Construction begins on the Menil Collection. Numerous classic Montrose bungalows were carefully re-sited, not only to make way for the museum building, but also to preserve the character of the neighborhood and to provide offices and residences for administrators and artists.
February - March - Gertrude Barnstone and Toby Topek at Graham Gallery.
February 3 - Miles Davis at Cullen Performance Hall, University of Houston. Presented by SUM Concerts.
February 7 - 10 - DiverseWorks’ inaugural exhibit is presented in the 60th floor Sky Lobby of the Texas Commerce Tower while renovations continue at 214 Travis. The show features pieces by the DiverseWorks Artist Advisory Board: Ron Boling, Thelma Coles, Piero Fenci, Kathleen Packlick, and Ben Woitena.
February 11 - A reading by poet Maya Angelou at Galveston's Grand Opera House.
February 19 – March 12 – The debut exhibition by visionary sculptor and painter James Reaben at Studio One.
February 20 - Richard Artschwager lectures at the Glassell School of Art as part of the 1983 Rockwell Fund Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
February 22 - Arts patron Nina J. Cullinan, heiress to the Texaco oil fortune and benefactor of the CAA and the MFAH, dies in Houston at the age of 84.
March 4 - May 15 - Black Folk Art in America, 1930 - 1980 at Rice Institute for the Arts. Organized by the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., and curated by John Beardsley. Featuring works by Jesse Aaron, Roger Brown, David Butler, Sam Doyle, William Edmundson, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Elijah Pierce, James 'Son Ford' Thomas, Mose Tolliver, Bill Traylor, George Williams, Luster Willis, Joseph Yoakum, and others. Catalog essay by Jane Livingston. Live performance by James 'Son Ford' Thomas at the Rice Media Center on April 25.
March 4 – June 1 – Ezekiel Gibbs in the Lower Brown Corridor, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Judith McCandless curated this exhibition of works by the 94-year-old Gibbs, a retired farmer and deacon who came to art late in life through continuing education classes at Houston’s Senior Citizen’s Center and at the Glassell School.
March 2 - Kiss at Sam Houston Coliseum.
March 12 - Butthole Surfers at Lawndale Annex.
March 12 - The Art League Houston, an arts advocacy and teaching institution founded in 1948, honors midcentury watercolorist E.M. “Buck” Schiwetz as the first “Texas Artist of the Year” with a gala at the Shamrock Hilton, kicking off an annual award presentation celebrating Texas art history. Future winners would include Dorothy Hood, John Biggers, Bert L. Long, Jr., James Surls, Gael Stack, Dick Wray, Sharon Kopriva, and the Art Guys.
March 17 and 18 – Harvey Bott’s Robott Opera: A Time-Warp Newscast at Jones Hall, University of St. Thomas. Multidisciplinary artist Bott offers a performance by a collection of remote-controlled kinetic sculpture “RoBOTTS” who ostensibly have returned from the future to warn humankind to mend its ways. Sets by Jack Boynton and Ro-BOTT voices by various art community members including David Brauer, Clint Willour, Betty Moody, Sally Knudson, and Esther de Vecsey. A concurrent exhibition, Robotts in Review is on view at the Link-Lee Mansion from March 17 through April 14.
March 17 - 27 – The Houston Festival features entertainment by over 2500 performers in downtown parks and plazas. The Outdoor Bayou Show features works by artists including Gertrude Barnstone, Peter Michel, Don Redman, and Charlie Sartwelle sited along Buffalo Bayou between Taft and Sabine Streets. The Indoor Bayou Show at Jack Pierce Warehouse, 908 Wood Street, presents a multimedia performance by dancers Edie Scott and Sarah Irwin with lighting design by Tacey Tajan, music by Michael Powers and Bonnie Brown, and installations by Anne Finkelstein and Lisa Schoyer. The Festival closes with a concert featuring Milt Larkin and his All Stars and Doctor Rockit and the Sisters of Mercy.
March 23 - Warner Brothers releases ZZ Top’s Eliminator, which yields 2 top 40 singles on its way to selling more than 10 million copies.
March 25 - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble at Fitzgerald's.
April 4 - In Albuquerque, the top-ranked Houston Cougars (nicknamed "Phil Slama Jama" for the high-flying, slam dunk antics of future Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler) lose to the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Despite the Wolfpack's stunning 54 - 52 upset, Olajuwon is named series 'Most Outstanding Player.'
April 8 - April 29 - First Annual Core Fellows Exhibition at the Glassell School of Art. Featured artists are Krisanne Baker, Lisa Baldauf-Pierrepont, Monika Burczyk, Abbot Burns, Jeff Cowie, Jeffery Fallon, Anne Finklestein, DeWitt Godfrey, Sara Sortin Haynes, Cynthia Page, Julie Patton, Patrick Paul, Mark Rixon, David Sacco, Lisa Schoyer, Marc Swartzbaugh, Cindy Warner-Sinclair, Pamela Weadick.
April 12 - Poetry reading by Allen Ginsberg at Lawndale Annex. Presented by Sum Concerts.
April 22 - Luciano Pavarotti at the Summit.
April 29 - Marvin Gaye at the Summit.
Spring - A homeless alcoholic named Cleveland Turner lands in the hospital after being discovered unconscious by the roadside. During his recovery he has a vision of a whirlwind of junk rising up into the sky; for the next thirty years “The Flower Man” manifests this vision with decorated yards at a succession of homes, enlivening his Third Ward neighborhood.
May - Dr. John T. Biggers retires from the art department that he helped establish in 1949 at Texas Southern University.
May - Jim Love's Landscape with Blue Trees is installed on the plaza of University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering.
May 14 - Punk rock venue The Island closes with a concert by the Dead Kennedys.
May 20 - A spring storm brings tornadoes into the Houston area, killing eight and injuring dozens more.
June 14 - U2 at Houston Music Hall.
June 17 - Composer Leonard Bernstein attends the world premiere of his opera "A Quiet Place" at the Houston Grand Opera.
June 27 - Part of an international network founded in New York, Covenant House Houston opens a $3.5 million, 98-bed facility for homeless teens and young adults at 1111 Lovett in the Montrose..
July 3 - 4 - Jerry Lee Lewis with Joe Ely Band (featuring a 13-year-old Charlie Sexton filling in for ailing guitarist Jesse Taylor) at Gilley's.
July 16 - Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks at the Summit.
August 2 - September 4 - Southern Fictions at CAM’s Upper Gallery. Organized by Linda Cathcart and Marti Mayo. Featuring John Alexander, David Bates, Derek Boshier, William Christenberry, James Drake, William Eggelston, Vernon Fisher, Roy Fridge, Ken Little, Julian Schnabel, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, Richard Stout, James Surls, and others.
August 16 - Simon & Garfunkel at Rice Stadium.
August 18 - Hurricane Alicia cuts directly up I-45 from Galveston into Houston, dumping more than ten inches of rain on the city with wind gusts in excess of 100 miles per hour and causing more than $2.5 billion dollars in damage.
August 21 – David Bowie returns to the Summit. Presented by Pace Concerts.
August 24 - 25 - George Carlin at the Arena Theater.
September 8 - 10 - SumArts Jazz Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater featuring MyCoy Tyner, Joe Williams with Woody Herman, and saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, who lived in Houston briefly in the early-to-mid 1980s.
September 9 - Ribbon cutting for the Houston Center for Photography’s new space at 1441 West Alabama.
September 11 - The Firehouse, an alternative art space administered by the Houston Women’s Caucus for Art, is formally dedicated at 1413 Westheimer.
September 14 - October 11 - Dick Wray: Recent Paintings and Drawings at Moody Gallery.
September 16 - October 29 - George Smith: New Works at Sewall Art Gallery, Rice University.
September 22 – The Art Guys’ Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing fill Studio One with an inch of water and lower the gallery’s track lighting within an inch of the water’s surface. Visitors may only look inside from the sidewalk, from noon to midnight.
September 23 - Continental Airlines files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
September 24 - Artist Lee Benner opens the Consolidated Arts Warehouse, an alternative arts space in a renovated warehouse at 4601 Montrose, with a “Dance With Live Artists” featuring displays of artwork and live bands.
September 24 - November 6 - Michael Tracy: Requiem Para Los Olvidados at CAM’s Perpectives Gallery. Organized by Marti Mayo.
September 29 - 30 - Martha Graham Dance Company at Jones Hall.
Fall - Filmmaker Wim Wenders shoots his cult classic Paris, Texas at various locations around Texas: Terlingua, Alpine, Marathon, Forth Stockton, Port Arthur, as well as several spots in Houston including the drive-up bank teller on Congress Avenue. Houston’s new wave rock quartet Mydolls performs their original composition “A World of Her Own” in a memorable cameo role.
October 3 - Release of director Eagle Pennell's full-length feature film Last Night at the Alamo, which tells the story of a Houston dive bar on the brink of demolition.
October 3 – 28 – Seen & Unseen at DiverseWorks. Survey of works by both well-known and emerging Houston artists featuring Viveka Barnett, David Caton, Mel Chin, Donald Cowan, Marci Debrock-Conner, Carter Ernst, Lynn Howland, Benito Huerta, Jayne Kinney, Frank McGuire, Steve Murphy. Organized by Benito Huerta.
October 7 - 8 - Choreographers Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater give a lecture and demonstration at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts' Denney Theater.
October 7 - 9 - ZZ Top with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at the Summit.
October 22 - Talking Heads with Brian Eno at Sam Houston Coliseum.
October 28 - Kenny Rogers at the Summit. Ella Fitzgerald at Jones Hall.
October 28 - January 8 - Lee Krasner: A Retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Upper Brown Pavilion. Curated by Barbara Rose, co-sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
October 30 - November 27 - Dick Wray at Moody Gallery.
October 31 – French sculptor Jean Dubuffet’s thirty-three-foot tall “Monument Au Fantome” is installed on the outdoor plaza at the base of 1100 Louisiana, commissioned by real estate developer Gerald D. Hines. Seven individual fiberglass forms painted red, blue, white, and black comprise the complete sculpture, which was moved to the edge of Discovery Green opposite the George R. Brown Convention Center in 2008.
November - Mac Whitney’s fifty-foot-tall, 50,000 pound welded steel sculpture Houston is installed in Stude Park on the north bank of White Oak Bayou. The 1979 commission was awarded by the City of Houston with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the time of its unveiling, it is said to be the biggest and heaviest piece of contemporary sculpture in Texas.
November 4 – 30 – Houston Showdown presented by the Houston Coalition for the Visual Arts at the Almeda Project for the Arts, DiverseWorks, Firehouse Gallery, Square One, and Studio One. Participating artists include John Alexander, Mel Casas, Mel Chin, Joseph Havel, Charmaine Locke, Bert L. Long, Jr., Jesse Lott, Jesus Moroles, James Surls, Rev. Johnnie Swearingen, Tacey Tajan, Robin Utterback, Bob Wade. Curated by Alex Coleman, Peter Frank, Ann Harithas, April Kingsley, Geno Rodriguez.
November 5 - 30 - Survey of sculpture, paintings, and works on paper by Roberta Harris at Watson/de Nagy & Company.
November 10 - December 9 - Houston Profile: Gertrude Barnstone, George Krause, Neva Mikulica, and Dee Wolff at Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose.
November 12 – Millions of katydids swarm on Main Street, driving off shoppers and leading to business closures. Following tornados, floods, a hurricane, and an economic downturn, a New York Times headline proclaims “Houston is at Five Plagues and Counting.”
November 12 - Roscoe Mitchell Trio and Quartet at Lawndale Annex.
November 13 - Culturcide, C.O.S. (Contextual Objects for Sound), and Space/Dance/Theatre at the Orange Show. Sound and lights by Phil Davis / Shadow Productions; broadcast live on KPFT.
November 17 - The Police and UB40 at the Summit.
November 18 - Gang of Four at Numbers Nightclub.
November 23 - Terms of Endearment, a comedy-drama based on Rice University graduate Larry McMurtry’s 1975 novel and starring Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson, opens in theaters. Among the Houston filming locations for this Academy Award-winning motion picture are 3060 Locke Lane, Brennan’s Restaurant on Smith Street, and the Waldo Mansion at 201 Westmoreland.
December - The Alabama Theater closes its doors after 44 years, with a showing of the low-budget horror flick "Mortuary." After renovations, the theater re-opens the following year as a Bookstop bookstore.
December - Larry Flukinger and Clark Harrah's Kinetic Energy Field is installed in the lobby of the Lyric Centre Office Building, 440 Louisiana. The 16-foot-tall kinetic sculpture comprises 36 multicolored neon tubes that split upward into 72 sections.
December 2 - 28 - William Steen: Metal Works at DiverseWorks.
December 3 - February 5 - Earl Staley: 1973-1983 at the CAM’s Upper Gallery, co-organized by the CAM’s Linda Cathcart and Marcia Tucker of the New Museum, New York City.
December 18 - The Circle Jerks at Rocker's, Houston.
January - Bill Sadler opens the River Cafe at 3615 Montrose; the restaurant quickly becomes a popular meeting place for artists, journalists, and politicians. In 1987-88, Grady Gaines and the Upsetters are the house band on Friday and Saturday nights.
January 14 – 29 – Artists Call Benefit Exhibition unites 72 local artists in a show of works to be auctioned in support of social organizations in Central America.
January 22 - Genesis at the Summit.
January 24 - Rice University announces its participation in the 24-school "Apple University Consortium" and the purchase of $3 million in discounted Apple hardware and software over three years.
February 3 - Pat Metheny Group at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
February 16 - William Christenberry lectures at the Glassell School of Art as part of the 1984 Rockwell Fund Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
February 18 - MyDolls celebrate the release of their LP Speak Softly, Carry a Big Stick at Lawndale Annex.
February 24 - March 12 - SumFest '84 presents performances by Dr. Rockit and the Sisters of Mercy, Buckwheat Zydeco, Pauline Oliveros, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Ntozake Shange, and others at Lawndale Annex.
February 24 – March 22 - East End Show at Lawndale Annex. Juried by Lawndale director Moira Kelly, artist Frank Fajardo, and MFAH curator Judith McCandless, this open call exhibition sponsored by the East End Progress Association featured works by 54 local artists. First prize was awarded to Luis F. Garza, an East End sign painter exhibiting in his first show ever. The East End Show would develop into Lawndale’s annual Big Show, a staple of the Houston arts community for decades.
February or early March - The Art Guys lampoon Houston’s archaic blue laws by donning trenchcoats and dark glasses and offering for sale such prohibited items as bedsheets, nails, and boots on the steps of city hall in a performance piece titled “Blue Sunday.”
March 6 – 24 - 1984 Show at 2 Houston Center. Curated by Lin Swanner. Sponsored by the Houston Women’s Caucus for Art. Paintings, sculptures, photography, and works on paper by Dan Allison, Viveka Barnett, Gertrude Barnstone, Cynthia Morgan Batmanis, Malinda Beeman, Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak, Wayne Blythe, Gay Block, Derek Boshier, Joanne Brigham, Karin Broker, Peter Brown, Sandi Seltzer Bryant, Bob Camblin, Patti Candelari, Cathryn Conn, Charlotte Cosgrove, David Crossley, Jeff Delude, Bill Dennard, Chuck Dugan, Little Bobby Duncan, Ibsen Espada, Jeffery Fallon, David Folkman, Don Foster, Sally Gall, Bob Graham, Allen Hacklin, Roberta Harris, Billy Hassell, Dorothy Hood, Ron Hoover, Stephen Hoover, Benito Huerta, Terrell James, Lucas Johnson, Pam Johnson, Sharon Kopriva, Lynn Simmons Knippa, George Krause, Arturo Lindsay, Bert L. Long, Jr., Fletcher Mackey, Suzanne Manns, Jack Massing, MANUAL, Peter McClennan, Eileen Montgomery, Jesus Bautista Moroles, Helen Orman, Suzanne Paul, Jim Poag, Pam Pool, Max Pruneda, Lynn Randolph, Don Redman, Susie Rosmarin, Charlie Sartwelle, Charles Schorre, Don Shaw, Gail Siptak, George Smith, Susan Smith, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, Sharon Stewart, Richard Stout, Lin Swanner, Masaru Takigushi, Toby Topek, Jana Vander Lee, Gita Van Woerden, Josefa Vaughan, Casey Williams, Frank Williams, Geoff Winningham, Ben Woitena, Dee Wolff, Dick Wray.
March 9 – April 14 – Bob Camblin: A Houston Retrospective, 1968-1984 at Midtown Art Center. Organized by David Folkman.
March 13 - Alice Aycock lectures at the Glassell School of Art as part of the 1984 Rockwell Fund Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
March 16 - Yes at the Summit.
March 24 - April 11 - 5 in Progress at Square One Gallery, featuring Joanne Brigham, Sandi Seltzer Bryant, Dan Rumley, Charlie Sartwelle, Gail Siptak.
March 27 - Barry LeVa lectures at the Glassell School of Art as part of the 1984 Rockwell Fund Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
April – House of Hermès introduces a silk scarf with a Pawnee chief design by Houston’s Kermit Oliver, the first American artist to receive such a commission.
April - DiverseWorks presents a display of temporary public artwork in Market Square Park by Houston artists Dewitt Godfrey, Don Redman, George Smith, Joe Vogel.
April 3 - Barbara Kruger lectures at the Glassell School of Art as part of the 1984 Rockwell Fund Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
April 13 - "Weird Al" Yankovic at AstroWorld.
April 13 - 20 - Arturo Lindsay: Ancestral Ideograms at Black Heritage Gallery, with an opening night performance by poet Ntozake Shange.
April 20 – May 26 – Three Painters: Sharon Kopriva, Ron Hoover, and Charles Rutynowski at Midtown Art Center. Curated by Bill Graham.
April 20 - June 3 - Laurie Anderson: Works from 1969 to 1983 at CAM, with a live performance by Laurie Anderson at Tower Theater on May 25.
April 29 - Houston International Artists & Models Spring Ball at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Downtown; a "multi-media 13-hour extravaganza" featuring a fashion show; a concert by Dr. Rockit and the Sisters of Mercy; magicians and pychics; an immersive photo and video expo; breakdancing demonstrations; and works by more than 80 artists on three lobby levels. The benefit raises money for DiverseWorks' Art in Public Places program.
May 11 - 12 - Rush at the Summit.
May 11 - June 2 - Ibsen Espada at Square One.
May 18 - Ted Brown, Loretta Cooper, and Karen Poltarek open On Waugh Gallery at 1306 Waugh Drive. The gallery features the work of such artists as Ed Wilson, Paul Kittelson, Noah Edmondson, and Frank Martin, who moves his live-in photography studio to the building adjacent.
May 19 - Butthole Surfers at Cabaret Voltaire.
June 16 - Butthole Surfers and Scratch Acid at Consolidated Arts Warehouse.
June 23 – Fundraiser for Midtown Art Center with buffet dinner dance, “construction chic” costumery, and auction of works by Dorothy Hood, Gertrude Barnstone, James Surls, and others.
July 6 - 28 - Group exhibition of works by Lin Swanner, Toby Topek, Dan Allison, Roberta Harris, and 14 others at the Firehouse Gallery.
July 7 - September 16 - Fluxus: the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection at CAM. Organized by the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum and curated by Jon Hendricks. Gallery talks by Hendricks, Dana Friis-Hansen, Thomas McEvilley, and Dr. William Camfield during the run of the show.
July 14 - John Lee Hooker at Rockefeller's.
July 29 – Victoria Herberta’s pet pig Priscilla is alarmed by calls for help by an 11-year-old boy struggling to stay afloat in Lake Somerville northwest of Houston. After she swims to the boy and pulls him safely back to shore, Priscilla becomes a sensation on national news programs and in tabloid newspapers. Herberta begins to redecorate both the inside and outside of her Crawford Street home with images and altered road signs (such as “No Porking Zone”) paying homage to her heroic pig. Later, Priscilla’s offspring Jerome becomes the beloved mascot for Herberta’s grassroots movement to feed Houston’s homeless population.
August - Eyes of Houston - Porch People presents Earlie Hudnall's photographs of residents of various Houston neighborhoods at Black Heritage Gallery.
August 3 - After suffering a knee injury only weeks before, Houston's Mary Lou Retton earns perfect 10s on her floor exercise and on the vault to win a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She is the first woman outside of eastern Europe to win the individual all-around gold and attains celebrity status as Sports Illustrated's Sportswoman of the Year and the first spokeswoman for Wheaties.
August 8 - 12 - B.B. King at Rockefeller's.
August 11 - Tony Bennett with the Buddy Rich Orchestra at the Arena Theater.
August 17 - Richie Havens at Rockefeller's. Minutemen at Consolidated Arts Warehouse.
August 30 - Echo and the Bunnymen at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
September 15 - Heat Wave at Square One. Featuring James Bettison, Ted Brown, Michael Curtis, Bobby Duncan, Molly Farr, Kirk Farris, Susan Hanft, Bill Haven, Mary Hayslip, Wes Hicks, Mike Hollis, Benito Huerta, Willaim Keith, Jack Massing, Kathleen Packlick, Max Pruneda, Pio Pulido, Don Redman, Edie Scott, Margaret Smithers-Crump, Ed Wilson, and others.
September 19 - R.E.M. at Numbers Nightclub.
September 23 - October 4 - Collision: Independent Visions at Lawndale Annex. Exhibition of large sculptural installations conceived and executed for Lawndale by David Best, Larry Fuente, Luis Jimenez, Jesse Lott, James Metcalfe, Antoni Miralda, Alfonso Ossorio and Ana Pellicer. Opening reception music by the Neville Brothers Band with performance by the Mardi Gras Indians. Catalog essays by James Harithas and John Yau. Organized by Ann Harithas, assisted by Frank Fajardo.
September 28 – The Art Ensemble of Chicago at Lawndale Annex. Organized by SUM Arts. Elton John at the Summit. Presented by Pace Concerts.
October 5 - Novelist John Irving reads from a work-in-progress at Rice Memorial Center.
October 10 - A concert by Cyndi Lauper at the Summit is broadcast live on local radio and filmed for the music video for 'Money Changes Everything."
October 12 - 19 - The Houston Grand Opera debuts Ahknaten, a new work by composer Philip Glass, at Jones Hall.
October 13 - John Alexander's paintings provide the backdrop for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's "Bayou Boogie Gala Ball," with music by the Count Basie Orchestra.
October 17 - Eugene Chadbourne and Shockabilly at Lawndale Annex.
October 20 - November 28 - Hannah Stewart: Stillness in Motion at Hooks-Epstein Galleries.
October 26 - The Butler Gallery opens at 2318 Portsmouth with a group show featuring James Surls, Michael Tracy, Chuck Dugan, Vernon Fisher, Don Redman, Randy Twaddle, Michael Miller, and Connie Cullum. The gallery principals are Surls, Fisher, and art dealer Hiram Butler.
October 27 - University of Houston graduate and first-round draft pick Hakeem Olajuwon makes his NBA debut in a game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks.
November - Lynn Randolph: Recent Paintings at Graham Gallery.
November - December - Paintings by astronaut Alan Bean at Meredith Long & Company.
November 2 - Basilios Poulos: Recent Paintings and Works on Paper at Sewell Art Gallery, Rice University.
November 9 - 10 - The Jacksons’ “Victory Tour” comes to the Astrodome.
November 9 – December 15 – American Fiber: A New Aesthetic at DIverseWorks. National fiber art survey featuring the work of Maureen Conner, Bella Feldman, Mollie Fletcher, Francoise Grossen, Charles Hilger, Joan Livingstone, Barbara Magnus, Jana Vander Lee, and Anne Wilson. Curated by Jana Vander Lee.
November 14 - December 15 - Roy Fridge: Recent Sculpture and Narrative Pieces at Moody Gallery.
November 16- May 3 - Abstract Objectives: 20th Century Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Upper Brown Pavilion is the first exhibition organized by the MFAH's new Assistant Curator of 20th Century Art, Alison de Lima Greene.
November 17 - January 13 - Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz: Human Scale / The Art Show at CAM and the Rice Museum, respectively.
November 29 - Bruce Springsteen at the Summit.
December 1 - Townes Van Zandt at Anderson Fair.
December 8 - Michael Heizer’s 45, 90, 180 is installed on the Engineering Quadrangle at Rice University. The triptych of massive granite and concrete monoliths is the first purchase for Rice’s Public Art collection. Related models, prints, and photographs are shown in the Farish Gallery at Rice's School of Architecture through February.
December 10 - Former President Jimmy Carter addresses a crowd of about 250 at the Rothko Chapel on the anniversary of the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights. The ARMS Tour in support of Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis featuring Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, Bill Wyman, Paul Rodgers, and Ronnie Lane is at the Summit.
December 13 - Red Hot Chili Peppers at Numbers Nightclub.
December 13 - January 12 - New drawings and sculpture by James Surls at Butler Gallery.
December 31 - Willie Nelson headlines a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at the Summit, also featuring Waylon Jennings, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and others, broadcast live on WHMQ-FM. Meanwhile, Stevie Ray Vaughan performs at Astro Arena.
Organized by artists Charlie Jean Sartwelle and John Runnells, Motherdog Studios opens at 712 Walnut Street on the northeastern corner of downtown. The converted 22,000-foot warehouse contains 16 artists’ studios and exhibition space.
A group of Lawndale Annex refugees led by Wes Hicks and Deborah Moore establish the Commerce Street Art Warehouse in a 27,000-square-foot former Westinghouse motor manufacturing plant at 2315 Commerce. Other original tenants are artists Robert Campbell, Kevin Cunningham, and a new arrival from Alabama, sculptor Rick Lowe.
January 4 - February 29 - The New Nude at Midtown Art Center. Curated by Trudy Sween. Featuring Dan Allison, Martha Armstrong, Gertrude Barnstone, Honey Beeman, Jack Boynton, Harvey Bott, Bob Camblin, Fernando Casas, Dae-Duck Cha, Charlotte Cosgrove / Helen Orman, Robert Duncan, Terry Elkins, Burford Evans, Don Foster, Patricia Gonzalez, Bob Gottschall, Marci Harnden, Roberta Harris, Janet Hassinger, Ron Hoover, Lucas Johnson, Stephanie Kaldis, Candace Knapp, Sharon Kopriva, Ken Luce, Fletcher Mackey, Suzanne Manns, Herbert Mears, Bonnie Newman, Kermit Oliver, Don Redman, Philip Reteria, Runnels, Charles Pebworth, Charles Schorre, Don Shaw, Gail Siptak, Suzanne Smith, Earl Staley, Stewart, Richard Stout, Lin Swanner, Trudy Sween, Toby Topek, Robert Weimersckirch, Frank Williams, Ben Woitena, Dee Wolff, Dick Wray.
January 10 - 17 - Prince brings the Purple Rain tour to the Summit for an eight-night run, plus a benefit concert at the Texas Southern University Auditorium on the afternoon of January 16.
January 11 - February 10 - Then/Now/Then at Lawndale Annex.
January 25 - April 7 - Fresh Paint: The Houston School at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Cullinan Hall and Andrews Gallery. Curated by Barbara Rose and Susie Kalil. Paintings by John Alexander, Kelly Alison, Malinda Beeman, James Bettison, John Biggers, Derek Boshier, Jack Boynton, Joanne Brigham, Bob Camblin, Margarita Rivera Cantu, Patrick Cronin, Atanacio Davila, Jeff Delude, Chuck Dugan, Ibsen Espada, Andy Feehan, Luis F. Garza, Joe Glasco, Dorothy Hood, Ron Hoover, Perry House, Jimmy Jalapeeno, Lucas Johnson, Jimmy Kellough, Sharon Kopriva, Craig Lesser, Bert L. Long, Jr., Bert Leon Luna, Robert McCoy, Melissa Miller, Kermit Oliver, Jim Poag, Basilios Poulos, Jim Robertson, Laura Russell, Bert Samples, Charles Schorre, Gael Stack, Earl Staley, Sara Stites, Richard Stout, Richard Thompson, Robin Utterback, Dick Wray.
February 1 - 26 - Kelly Alison, Jeff DeLude, Sharon Kopriva, and Bert Samples at Graham Gallery.
February 2 - John Lee Hooker at Rockefeller's; Los Lobos at Fitzgerald's.
February 8 - James Bettison opens at Square One Gallery, 313 Travis.
February 9 - Junior Walker and the All-Stars at Fitzgerald's.
February 9 - April 21 - Chuck Close at CAM's Perspectives Gallery, with an artist's talk on opening night.
February 15 - David Grisman at Rockefeller's.
February 16 - 17 - The Shartle Symposium at the MFAH's Brown Auditorium welcomes art critics Robert Hughes, Lucy Lippard, Carter Radcliff, and Walter Hopps speaking on the topic of regionalism in conjunction with the Fresh Paint: The Houston School.
February 19 - Jonathan Richman at Fitzgerald's.
February 22 - March 16 - 6 Painters at DiverseWorks responds to the Fresh Paint exhibition with the presentation of a half dozen Houston painters not selected for the museum show: Terry Elkins, Lynn Hurst, Mary Jenewein, Rix Jennings, Fletcher Mackey, and John Sturtevant.
February 24 - Quarterback Jim Kelly leads the upstart United States Football League franchise the Houston Gamblers to a 34-33 victory over the Los Angeles Express with five touchdowns and a league record 574 yards.
February 27 - U2 at the Summit.
February 16 - March 29 - Dick Wray: Paintings 1975 - 1985 at Midtown Art Center.
March - FotoFest, an organization formed in 1984 by Fred Baldwin, Wendy Watriss, and Petra Banteler to develop new audiences for photo-related art, brings four of the world's best-known photographers--Helmut Newton (Monaco), William Klein (France), Franco Fontana (Italy), and Ikko Narahara (Japan)--to Houston to photograph the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show.
March 1 - King Sunny Ade and His African Beats at an unknown venue in Houston.
March 15 - Bill Cosby at Houston Music Hall.
March 20 - John Updike lectures at the University Hilton Hotel as part of the University of Houston's 1984-85 Writers in Society Series.
March 23 – Avant-garde composer and accordionist Pauline Oliveros returns to her native Houston for a performance at DiverseWorks co-presented by the Houston International Festival.
March 26 - Depeche Mode at Cullen Auditorium, University of Houston.
March 27 - Frank Sinatra at the Summit.
March 30 - Bo Diddley at Rockefeller's.
Spring - Moody Gallery, Hadler-Rodriguez, and Butler Galleries relocate to the so-called "Kirby Corridor" on the blocks just west of Kirby and north of Richmond. Later in the year, they are joined by Hooks-Epstein, Watson Gallery, McMurtrey Gallery, and (in the Howard Barnstore-designed Zephyr Center at 2600 Colquitt) Davis/McLean Gallery.
April 10 - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble at the Astrodome.
April 13 – Landscape artist Isamu Noguchi, Houston Mayor Kathryn J. Whitmire, and Museum trustees Antoinette and Isaac Arnold Jr. break ground for the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
April 13 - The Minutemen at the International Club, 243 Westheimer.
April 24 - 27 - DiverseWorks hosts the National Association of Artists’ Organizations Conference with panels, lectures, performances and video by artists, curators, and arts administrators from around the United States. Other participating venues include Square One Gallery, Lawndale Alternative, and Republic Bank, which hosts the keynote address by Joan Mondale.
April 26 - 27 - Austin-based Women & Their Work presents the Deborah Hay Dance Company's production of "Tasting The Blaze" featuring choreography by pioneering modern dancer Deborah Hay, music by composer Pauline Oliveros, and set design by visual artist Tina Jirouard at Lawndale Alternative.
April 27 - June 4 - Sculpture Courtyard: George Smith, Ben Woitena at Graham Gallery.
May - Sculpture by Donald Judd at Texas Gallery.
May 4 - Madonna and the Beastie Boys at Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston.
May 5 - Eddie Murphy at the Summit. Presented by Pace Concerts.
May 5 - June 23 - An edited version of Fresh Paint: The Houston School is on view at PS1 in New York City. An opening night party at the Lone Star Café on Fifth Avenue features barbecue and Lone Star beer.
May 10 - Plans for the separation of the Menil Collection from Rice University are finalized. Rice will retain the de Menil slide library and most of their art books, and Dominque de Menil agrees to continue to support the Masters in Art History Program.
May 10 - Culturcide at Lawndale Annex.
June 1 - Bill Monroe at Rockefeller's. Black Flag at the International Club.
June 6 - 7 - Herschel Berry and the Natives at Midtown Live, 5245 Buffalo Speedway.
June 7 - 29 - Viveka Barnett - Virgil Grotfeldt - Ken Luce - John Peters at DiverseWorks.
June 19 - 22 - The Juneteenth Blues Festival at Emancipation Park and Miller Outdoor Theater welcomes the James Cotton Blues Band, Sippie Wallace, Arnett Cobb, Albert Collins, Linda Hopkins, and others.
July 19 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicates the renovated McKee Street Bridge, the culmination of artist and historian Kirk Farris’ five-year, CACH-funded campaign to preserve and rehabilitate the bridges spanning Buffalo Bayou.
July 28 – A jousting match staged by the rollerskating Urban Animals makes the cover of The Houston Chronicle’s weekend magazine supplement.
August 12 - Ray Charles at Rockefeller's.
August 20 - 25 - B.B. King at Rockefeller's.
August 27 – October 20 – James Rosenquist: Paintings 1961-1985 at CAM. Organized by the Denver Art Museum.
August 30 - The Grateful Dead at AstroWorld's Southern Star Ampitheater.
September – Grand opening of the Children’s Museum of Houston at 2 Houston Center with two participatory exhibitions—Kidtechnics and Oaxaca Village—and various additional hands-on events and demonstrations.
September 9 - Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, arrives in Houston to begin training at the Johnson Space Center. The first teacher to fly as part of NASA's "Teacher in Space" program, McAuliffe and her six crew mates were killed in January 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch.
September 14 - October 20 - Mel Chin: Modus Operandi, 1974-1985 at DiverseWorks.
September 20 - Neil Young and the International Harvesters at Southern Star Ampitheatre and AstroWorld.
September 20 - 21 - Dr. John at Rockefeller's.
October 10 - Dwight Yoakum at Rockefeller's.
October 11 – 13 – Spaulding Grey presents "Swimming to Cambodia" at Lawndale Annex. Organized by SUM Arts.
October 24 – During his campaign to reclaim the Mayor’s office, Louie Welch casually remarks in front of a live mic that his plan to combat the AIDS crisis is to “shoot the queers.” Welch immediately raises $70,000 in the days following the gaffe, but the LGBT-friendly Kathy Whitmire would prevail in November.
October 26 - Kenny Rogers at the Summit.
October 27 - Randy Newman at Rockefeller's.
October 29 - Philip Glass Ensemble at Jones Hall.
November - December - Prints by Jasper Johns at Butler Gallery.
November 3 - Tina Turner at the Summit.
November 9 – The police rush to shut down a disasterous concert by the Replacements (and the opening act, Alex Chilton) at Lawndale Annex. Soon after the incident, the University begins to cut ties with its satellite art space in the East End.
November 23 - The grand opening of DiverseWorks' bookstore DiverseBooks, offering a curated selection of art books, small press publications, and artist-made jewelry.
November 29 – December 6 - The Houston Grand Opera’s production of Faust, Charles Gounod’s 1859 opera in five acts, is directed by Francesca Zambello at Jones Hall and features set and costume design by Earl Staley. Related paintings and studies by Staley on view at Watson Gallery (3510 Lake at Colquitt) in November.
November - January 2 - The Avant Old-Guard: Paintings by Dorothy Hood, Charles Schorre, and Richard Stout at Meredith Long & Company.
December: Terrell James at Graham Gallery; Gael Stack at Janie C. Lee Gallery; Lucas Johnson at Moody Gallery; Dee Wolff at Watson Gallery.
December 5 - Dead Kennedy's at Cardi's.
December 7 - Jerry Lee Lewis at Gilley's.
December 11 - Red Hot Chili Peppers at Rockefeller's.
December 15 - Wayne Shorter at Rockefeller's.
December 21 – March 16, 1986 – Robert Rauschenberg, Work from Four Series: A Sesquicentennial Exhibition. Organized by Linda L. Cathcart and Marti Mayo.
Detailed chronologies in the publications Lawndale Live: A Retrospective, DiverseWorks ArtSpace 1983-1993, Art and Activism: The Projects of John and Dominique de Menil, No Zoning: Artists Engage Houston, and Finders Keepers provided inspiration and a starting point for this timeline. Information for additional entries was sourced from various personal and institutional archives and websites as well as such publications as Texas Monthly, Houston ArtScene, the Rice Thresher, the Daily Cougar, Public News, and the Houston Post and Chronicle.
Please contact the author with additions and corrections: petegershon (at) gmail.com