Jorge Pardo

(Cuban-American, b. 1963)

Folly, 2021

On view December 2021 – August 2022

Jorge Pardo’s Folly is his most recent architectural installation as well as the third commission in the University of Houston System’s temporary public art program. It is a site-specific response to Wilhelmina’s Grove, one of the last original wooded areas remaining at the University of Houston.

The celebrated Cuban-American artist began his career in the 1980s at a time when the art world—New York in particular—was immersed in the last throes of an “art for art’s sake” mentality. Rather than embracing art that had little engagement with the everyday, the artist was inspired to think beyond the exhibition space and to see his artworks as objects “that are more open and function like the world functions.” In this sense, Folly debunks traditional views on follies as ornamental structures that lack utility, instead heightening their capacity to “structure to our looking.”

Conceptually Folly continues Pardo’s long commitment to folding in everyday forms and materials as well as to extending his work into real space. The work blurs the lines between painting, architecture, and design; between artwork and living environment; between functional and ornamental space. The result is an indivisible, beautiful, whole. Pardo describes it as: as “… a group of paintings…a little building…amongst some trees…next to a parking lot…a folly…”


University of Houston

Wilhelmina’s Grove

(April 2021) Jorge Pardo’s masterful works exploring the intersection of functionality, art, technology and craftsmanship have appeared in the world’s top museums, homes, and hotel lobbies