Those who attended the bustling opening night party for the Houston Fine Art Fair won't be surprised to hear that the second annual art show broke last year's attendance numbers, starting with a whopping 3,000 on opening night.
In its new digs at the Reliant Center, the HFAF for its duration squeezed in more than 12,000 art aficionados — an increase of roughly 2,000 attendees as compared to the fair's 2011 debut at the George R. Brown. This year's move to a slightly larger venue saw higher booth walls and wider interior avenues, easily absorbing the extra guests and improving the overall flow. A recent HFAF press release estimates that sales at Reliant reached well into the millions.
"One of our major efforts in Houston is to try to expand the art market and I think that definitely happened this year at Reliant," noted fair organizer Rick Friedman.
"We've received a lot of positive feedback about the new space," fair organizer Rick Friedman told CultureMap.
"One of our major efforts in Houston is to try to expand the art market and I think that definitely happened this year at Reliant. There were about 25,000 people in the building last weekend for the Metropolitan Cooking Show and the Home and Garden Show. It was a great chance to have people walk by and discover some new art."
Numberwise, the fair boasted 80 galleries from 12 countries and 34 cities. On display were more than 2,000 pieces of art from 500 nationally and internationally-recognized artists. A few phone calls around the Houston gallery world revealed rave reviews as far as sales were concerned.
"The show ended up being a great opportunity for us to build our base of local collectors," said Zoya Tommy, who owns PG Contemporary in Midtown. "We're still a rather new gallery, so we were able to get a smaller 12-by-12 booth as part of the fair's Fahrenheit program for young galleries."
"The show ended up being a great opportunity for us to build our base of local collectors," sai d Zoya Tommy, who owns PG Contemporary in Midtown.
"This was our first time showing at the fair and we had a fantastic few days," said David Hardaker of the Avis Frank Gallery, which hosted a booth dedicated to the work of Houston artist Joseph Cohen. "I think every major collector and museum person in Houston came by our booth. We're still getting sales from the show, in fact."
To coincide with the fair, Hardaker's gallery also mounted a successful show of work by Benito Heurta, the renowned Texas artist whose work was on display in Cheech Marin's HFAH booth of contemporary Latin American art.
"This is one of the few shows in the country that shows a balance of art from all across the Americas . . . north and south," said Friedman. "Houston is emerging as a premier market for Latin American art and it's only getting stronger."