whitehot | October 2012: Texas Contemporary
by Paul Laster
Texas Contemporary returns to Houston with a great group of galleries, terrific special events, and plenty of informative discussions.
Sixty-five top-notch galleries, including New York’s Fredericks & Freiser and P.P.O.W, Los Angeles’ Acme and Mark Moore Gallery, Seattle’s Greg Kucera, San Francisco’s Rena Bransten Gallery, Miami’s Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Dallas’ William Campbell Contemporary Art, and Houston’s Inman Gallery and Texas Gallery share the aisles with emerging venues, such as Allegra LaViola Gallery from New York, Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art from Miami, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery from New Orleans, Misako and Rosen from Tokyo, Mulherin from Toronto, and Ballroom Marfa.
Offering a lively selection of artworks in a variety of media by emerging artists, contemporary giants, and modern masters, the second edition of Texas Contemporary promises an expanded list of exciting events. The opening night bash benefits the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and CAMH continues the benefit with a ribbing cutting and dedication ceremony for Rob Pruitt’s acclaimed public artwork, The Andy Monument, during the weekend festivities.
The fair hosts 13 on-site installations, including projects by Agnes Denes, Travis Somerville, Colby Bird, and Gina Phillips, as well as Keren Cytter’s video installation Vengeance; and it has arranged private off-site visits to Tony Feher’s survey show at the Blaffer Art Museum, the Silence exhibition at the Menil Collection, and Rice University’s Public Art installations, which includes a striking James Turrell Skyspace.
There’s an excellent line-up of talks. Eric Firestone presents an archive of Tseng Kwong Chi’s life in New York’s downtown art scene in the 1980s. Travis Somerville shares his thoughts on his race-related fountain installation. Bill Arning holds a conversation with Rob Pruitt to get the backstory on The Andy Monument. Meanwhile, celebrated Houston collector Lester Mark leads a walk-though to find great new works and Galveston Art Center curator Clint Willour takes us on a tour of the best photography on view.
But that’s not all. There’s money in Texas, and a chunk of it will be shared with emerging artists. Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s curator Franklin Sirmans and CAMH director Bill Arning present the first Texas Contemporary Award, a $10,000 cash prize, to the most innovative artist on view and Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue will select five local Artadia Awardees for two awards of $15,000 and three awards of $5,000 at a ceremony during the fair.
Still intimate, but growing in clout and admiration, Texas Contemporary is proving to be a destination fair, where the possibilities for discovering new art are endless.
Texas Contemporary takes place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston from Thursday, October 18th to Sunday, October 21st.
Scroll through a selection of images of work on view below. WM
Noah Becker: Editor-in-Chief