Texas Contemporary — the slightly younger, slightly more affordable of Houston's two fall art fairs — will open its doors Thursday night with a opening party expected by many to rival its 2011 bash . . . which, for the record, featured a miniature horse.
As was the case last year, proceeds from the Thursday opener, which starts at 6 p.m., go directly to Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Tickets to the event cost $100, but include entry to the next three days of the fair.
From Friday to Sunday, one-day fair tickets run $20 and three-day passes are $35.
Boasting 65 galleries from across the nation, the 2012 Texas Contemporary show will play host to a number of prominent local art outfits like Sicardi, Art Palace, Moody, Inman, Wade Wilson and Texas Gallery.
Dana Frankfort, LIKE, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 72 by 96 inches; Courtesy of Inman Gallery, Houston.
Responding to positive feedback from the 2011 inaugural show, fair directors Max Fishko and Jeffrey Wainhause have noted an increase in art installations, making full use of the George R. Brown space with nine large-scale pieces.
Agnes Denes, Pyramids of Conscience, 2005, crude oil, polluted water from the Rio Grande, clear water, The Mirror, in which you see yourself make decisions about Water for Humanity, 51 by 51 by 56 inches; Courtesy of Ballroom Marfa, Marfa.
Organizers of this year's fair promise a visitor-centric experience with a long list of public programming and events — including artist talks and curator-led tours of the show floor.
Price points will range from Rice Gallery's booth of low-cost art from Jane Miller (all work under $100) to pieces breaching the $10,000 mark and above, like Ai Weiwei's Hanging Man in Porcelain to the right.
"This will be our first time in Houston," said Chery Haines, whose Haines Gallery represents Ai in the San Fransisco area. "We've been courted by [fair director] Max Fishko for a few years now and felt that this would be a great opportunity to explore Texas."
Ai Weiwei, Hanging Man in Porcelain, 2009, porcelain in Huang Huali wood frame, 19 by 17 by 1 inches; Courtesy of Haines Gallery, San Francisco.
Compared to the Houston Fine Art Fair in September, which offered museum-worthy pieces from Wifredo Lam and Frida Kahlo, Texas Contemporary primarily concentrates on living artists still relatively new to the art market.
For example, Brooklyn-based artist Baker Overstreet, whose work has been featured at the Saatchi Gallery, is very much at the start of his career with numerous pieces currently available.
To highlight innovators in contemporary art, fair officials will present the first Texas Contemporary Award — a $10,000 cash prize that will be selected by CAMH director Bill Arning and LACMA curator Franklin Sirmans (formerly of The Menil Collection).
The renowned Artadia Award for Houston will be presented at the fair on Friday at noon. This year's batch of Bayou City finalists features Michael Bise, Jillian Conrad, Bill Davenport, Francesca Fuchs, Jang Soon Im, Rosine Kouamen, Seth Mittag, Linda Post, Kaneem Smith and Carl Suddath.
The Artadia Fund for Art and Dialogue will offer three $5,000 awards and two $15,000 prizes.
Andrew Masullo, 5007, 2008, oil paint on canvas, 16 by 20 inches; Courtesy of Feature Inc., New York.
The photographic process has become a key component of contemporary art-making.
Clint Willour, a curator at the Galveston Arts Center and longtime photo collector, will share his insight into contemporary photography during a Friday afternoon tour of the fair starting at 2 p.m.
On Saturday at 12:30, FotoFest International will host art critic Laura Wellen and artists Chris Akin, Emily Peacock and Ben Ruggiero for a panel discussion on Texas lens-based art. Later, at 2:30 p.m., curators from the Houston Center for Photography will discuss the organization's digital installation titled, #hcpinteractive.
Ori Gersht, Time After Time: Untitled 23, 2006, C-print mounted on dibond, 15 by 11 inches, edition of six (+2 APs); Courtesy of Angles Gallery, Los Angeles.
VIP members who purchase the $100 four-day tickets will enjoy a Saturday tour of works on paper at the fair. Led by prints curator Dena Woodhall from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the tour will engage gallery directors throughout the show to offer fresh perspectives on print collecting.
James Drake, Red Chandelier, 2012, red pastel, tape and printed text on paper, 53 7/8 by 36 1/8 inches; Courtesy of Moody Gallery, Houston.
Texas Contemporary opens Thursday evening with a benefit preview event from 6 to 7:30. An opening night party continues on from there until 9:30.
The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the show will open from noon to 6 p.m.
Click here for art fair details and be sure to scroll through the rest of the photo essay for more available works at the show.
Maysey Craddock, Sliding into the Dream, 2009, gouache and thread on found paper, 23 by 31 inches; Courtesy of David Lusk Gallery, Memphis.
Bo Bartlett, Radio Flyer, 2012, oil on canvas, 48 by 66 inches; Courtesy of PPOW, New York.
Daniel Douke, Kingdom Come (installation), 2012, acrylic on 16 stretched canvases, 58 by 38 by 25 inches; Courtesy of Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles.
Gina Phillips, Tree #1 (installation), 2010, fabric, thread, ink and paint, 77 by 84 inches; Courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans.
Tomory Dodge, Generator Party, 2011, oil on canvas, 16 by 14 inches; Courtesy of ACME, Los Angeles.