Sunday, September 18, 2011

First in Houston, TX

The first art fair in Houston took place from the 16th till the 18th of September at the George R. Brown Convention Center with eighty-three galleries participating.

Greeted by a giant sculpture from Dubuffet, the visitor had no difficulty finding the galleries with each booth labelled with names and numbers and plenty of space in the aisles.

Twelve galleries from Houston, eleven from Miami, ten from New York City, South America and Europe were also represented.

Each gallery brought plenty of works in the mid-range prices (most a few thousand dollars, a few above 20 000) from not so well-known artists. The exhibitors were conservative and there was no "star" stealing the show.
New Orleans was represented by the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery with a booth filled by Dan Tague's works.
The works from known artists were not of great quality like the only painting from Joan Mitchell or a few from Rauschenberg.

Warhol's works could be acquired at several galleries. Unsigned, they were authenticated by the "Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board". The Brillo fiasco would make me cautious when buying a Warhol (anyway his works are not on my virtual shopping list).
Overall, the fair was well organized, very pleasant. A catalogue with the list of the galleries made it easy to navigate. I found it somewhat dull without surprises from young artists. The Saturday crowd was well-behaved, the gallerists were wearing dark suits and black dresses and did not celebrate sales loudly with champagne like at the FIAC!

But art fairs are about business and the Houston fine art fair reports 6 millions sales and 10 500 visitors, a success for a young fair. It is also about educating the viewers and ultimately transform them into collectors.

photographs by the author

"Incarnation Incantation", James Rosenquist, 1989

"Sally with Skull", Milton Avery, 1946

"Untitled", Harold Shapinsky, 1984

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