By Michael Pennywark
Congratulations, you made it through Oktoberfest with your liver intact and only slightly embarrassing stories to tell about you and your neighbor’s dog—what now? Sure, you can sit outside and make banal comments about how lovely the trees look as the leaves change colors, or become reacquainted with your favorite TV shows now back from their summer hiatus. But everyone knows that October really means haunted houses, bad horror movies, and the opportunity to hide your shame behind the anonymity of a giant chicken outfit for one drunken night. Of course, since you’ve grown up, the candy and pranks have been replaced by booze and slutty zombie nurses, but that’s what makes Halloween one of America’s favorite holidays no matter what age you are. So, what should you do between now and then? I’m glad you asked.
If there was one opening last year that I enjoyed the most but remembered the least, it has to be the inaugural Texas Contemporary Art Fair. From what I recall before I found the tequila at Glasstire’s Old West Cantina, the Texas Contemporary certainly lived up to its billing. And apparently that miniature white pony with a pink mane hanging out at the cantina wasn’t a hallucination after all. Opening October 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, this year’s fair promises to be bigger and better with artwork from 65 of the world’s leading galleries.
Keeping up with their On-Site Installation Series, the fair will feature a performative piece by Okay Mountain courtesy of Mark Moore Gallery, a sculptural series by Agnes Denes courtesy of Ballroom Marfa, a site-specific work by Gina Phillips presented by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, a new installation by artist Dan Douke of the Peter Mendenhall Gallery, a performative wall drawing by artist Eric Beltz courtesy of Morgan Lehman, and a video presentation by Keren Cytter presented by Diverseworks Art Space, just to name a few.
To fill me in on this year’s show and what I might have blacked out on from last year’s, I talked to Max Fishko, managing partner of artMRKT Productions—producers of the fair. He assured me that last year had been a resounding success and that they were delighted by the response from colleagues and collectors across the state. When asked how this fair differs from last month’s Fine Arts Fair, Fishko pointed out that, “Texas Contemporary focuses on emerging and mid-career contemporary art from many of the world’s leading artists.”
Inspired by the collaborative and supportive Houston art scene, the Texas Contemporary offers more than just a platform for emerging artists. This year will feature the Texas Contemporary Award showcasing national and international artists navigating new and innovative directions in art. Galleries will present their nominee’s work inside their booths and the winner will be announced Saturday, October 20th, at 4pm. If that wasn’t enough, Texas Contemporary VIP ticket holders will also be invited to a reception at CAMH on Saturday October 20th from 6pm-8pm for Rob Pruitt’s The Andy Monument– a 7-foot-tall chrome statue of Andy Warhol atop a pedestal that has been on view in Union Square in New York City, near the original site of Warhol’s “Factory.”
Bill Arning, the director of CAMH, and his team have been striving to bring the tribute to Warhol to Houston in the hope that it will become “a destination and gathering point” as it was in New York. As Fishko explained, “Throughout history, public monuments and installations have served as historic references and as a place to bring people together. In Houston, the piece will be placed in a highly trafficked area on CAMH’s front lawn, extending the exhibition area to outside the museum walls and alerting people to the fact that inside the building there is more wonderful artwork to see.”
I think I’ve just found a new idea for my Halloween costume this year.
Texas Contemporary Art Fair
George R. Brown Convention Center
Preview benefiting CAMH:
Thursday, October 18- 6pm to 7:30pm
Opening Night Party:
Thursday, October 18- 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Friday, October 19 – 11am to 7pm
Saturday, October 20 – 11am to 7pm
Sunday, October 21 – noon to 6pm