Paul Kittelson "Wild Horses"
photos by Katy Anderson
Named AIA Houston Artist of the Year in 2001 and serving on the faculty of UH School of Art since 1992, Paul Kittelson’s surreal 2014 work, “Lawn Chairs,” was perhaps the most photographed installation in the history of this sculpture project. His True North 2023 sculpture “Wild Horses,” inspired by roadside cutouts and the great American West, is a colorful collision of contemporary kitsch. Channeling the unbridled energy of Houston, these intersecting horses represent a quilt of cultures drawn together with centrifugal force. Kittelson says, “The carousel of movement and pattern spins the mind’s eye, bucking against time and tradition. It is the energy of rush hour traffic with the skin of an art car. It is a contemporary equestrian monument set on a boulevard of Victorian homes.”
In his “itchy acres” studio in Houston, Kittelson creates works in a multitude of media and large-scale public art projects which have been exhibited in numerous national and international museums and galleries. For over 35 years, he has engaged the larger public audience through temporary site-specific works and community-based projects. He has also completed several large-scale permanent installations that have become Houston landmarks, such as “Bayou Beacons,” in collaboration with Rey de la Reza Architects—30’ tall stainless steel torches marking the edges of Buffalo Bayou as Interstate 45 crosses the waterway—and “Take-off,” in collaboration with Carter Ernst—a 30’ tall stainless steel bird’s nest at Hobby Airport. Born in Wheaton, Minnesota, Kittelson received his BFA from University of California and MFA from University of Houston. His works are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Menil Collection, Houston, New Museum, New York City, and Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont.