The Texas Contemporary inaugural art fair was a great success in all respects, with a reported attendance of over 10,000 during the weekend-long event, extremely positive feedback from participating galleries and attendees, and solid sales. Over 3,500 Houstonians attended the opening night festivities, making it one of the most talked about events of the art season. That evening, $20,000 was raised for the night’s beneficiary, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and additional Houston area non-profits benefitted through the lively MRKTworks auction.
Texas Contemporary co-founders Max Fishko and Jeffrey Wainhause, of Brooklyn-based artMRKT Productions, were delighted with the outcome of the fair, which featured 55 contemporary exhibitors from Houston and throughout the country and took place October 20-23 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. As the third of three art fairs presented by artMRKT Productions this year, Texas Contemporary drew considerable attention and praise from attendees and exhibitors alike, who responded to its sleek look and progressive environment. Participating dealers from the United States and abroad reported significant sales, including David Shelton Gallery who sold a suite of six Vincent Valdez drawings within the first half hour of opening night.
Notes Fishko, “I’m incredibly proud of the Texas Contemporary. The galleries, the programming and general layout of the fair all came together beautifully. We are very pleased with the response from collectors, curators and the general public alike and we are looking forward to returning next year. Houston was a tremendous success in so many ways; we were overwhelmed by the warm welcome that Texas extended to us.”
“We are truly thrilled that Houston embraced the Texas Contemporary art fair through great attendance and numerous acquisitions,” stated Kerry Inman of Inman Gallery in Houston, who was a participating gallery and served as a local advisor to the fair. “Out of town and local dealers alike enjoyed interacting with interested Houston visitors, who told us they loved the mix of art on view. I’m so grateful for friends and colleagues who worked together to present an energetic and idiosyncratic event that was worthy of our strong community. I look forward to making it even better next year.”
In addition to the fair itself, a number of VIP parties, art tours, and events took place throughout the weekend. “I received great reviews for the off-site VIP tours as well,” said Inman. “They appear to have succeeded in helping to give both Houstonians and out of town visitors and dealers a broader view of the landscape for contemporary art exhibition and production in Texas.” One such highlight of the weekend was a private reception hosted by Houston-based contemporary art collector Jereann Chaney and Kinzelman Art Consulting where guests sipped Casa Dragones Tequila while enjoying a spectacular menu.
“The Texas Contemporary art fair was a very good experience for us,” stated Randy Sommer of ACME. gallery in Los Angeles. “We placed several works by Los Angeles artists in good Houston private collections, which was part of our intent in participating in the fair. The fair was well organized and the administrators were helpful to us. Plus the people in Houston are always friendly and interested in looking at art from another city.”
“The fair was a great success,” said Andrew Freiser, owner of Fredericks & Freiser gallery in New York. “We were thrilled by the amazing support, Houston’s strong collector base and the general savviness of the art community.”
ACME (Los Angeles), Art Palace (Houston), Boltax Gallery (Shelter Island, New York), Bryan Miller Gallery (Houston), Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco), Center Street Studio (Milton), Champion (Austin), Charlie James Gallery (Los Angeles), Cosmocosa (Buenos Aires), CYNTHIA-REEVES (New York), David Shelton Gallery (San Antonio), DCKT Contemporary (New York), Dean Project (New York), Eli Ridgway Gallery (San Francisco), Exquisite Corpse Bookseller (Houston), Fred Torres Collaborations (New York), Fredericks & Freiser (New York), Fredric Snitzer (Miami), Gallery Sonja Roesch (Houston), Gering and Lopez (New York), Inman Gallery (Houston), Jack Fischer Gallery (San Francisco), James Harris Gallery (Seattle), Jenkins Johnson Gallery (New York), Kopeikin Gallery (Culver City), Lawrence Markey (San Antonio), Lawrimore Project (Seattle), Lennon Weinberg (New York City), Like the Spice Gallery (Brooklyn), M Contemporary (Annapolis), Manneken Press (Bloomington), Mindy Solomon Gallery (St. Petersburg), Misako and Rosen (Tokyo), Moody Gallery (Houston), Morgan Lehman (New York), Muriel Guepin Gallery (Brooklyn), Nancy Hoffman Gallery (New York), Paul Thiebaud Gallery (San Francisco), P.P.O.W. (New York), PX Photography (New York), Rena Bransten Gallery (San Francisco), RH Gallery (New York), Samuel Freeman (Santa Monica), Sicardi Gallery (Houston), Steve Turner Contemporary (Los Angeles), Susan Inglett Gallery (New York), Tally Beck Contemporary (Bangkok / New York), Texas Gallery (Houston), Turner Carroll Gallery (Santa Fe) and Wade Wilson Art (Houston). In addition to the national galleries listed above, select non-profit galleries and spaces from around the state of Texas exhibited their programs, showcasing their work to fair attendees and collectors. Those exhibitors included: Artpace (San Antonio), Ballroom Marfa (Marfa), Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center (San Antonio), Project Row Houses (Houston) and Rice University Gallery (Houston). Special installations, performances or lectures were presented by Art League (Houston), Blaffer Art Museum (Houston), contemporary@mfah (Houston), SKYDIVE (Houston) and Smither Park (Houston).
Contributing to establishing the art fair’s unique atmosphere, many local and regional cultural partners were onsite to present information and join in the contemporary dialogue of the fair. These partners included: Art Car Museum, Artpace, Art League Houston, Asia Society Texas Center, Ballroom Marfa, Big Medium, Blaffer Art Museum, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas, Community Artists’ Collective, contemporary@MFAH, Discovery Green, DiverseWorks, Fluent~Collaborative, FotoFest, Galveston Arts Center, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Houston Center for Photography, Houston Museum of African American Culture, Houston Museum District, The McNay, Mexic-Arte Museum, Musiqa, Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, Project Row Houses, Rice Gallery, SKYDIVE, Spacetaker, Spring Street Studios, Smither Park, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Talento Bilingüe de Houston, Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, Winter Street Studios and Women and Their Work.
artMRKT Productions would like to thank the national, statewide and local media who came on board to support the fair, including The Art Newspaper, Art in America, Arts+Culture magazine, Art Info, art ltd., American Art Collector, Artlog, artnet, Ask Art, Art Price, d’Art international magazine, The Epoch Times, Glasstire, Houston Chronicle, Houston magazine, Houston Press, Houston Public Radio stations KUHF 88.7 FM and KUHA CLASSICAL 91.7 FM, Modern Painters, NY Arts Magazine, ORIGIN. Magazine, Visual Art Source and Yelp. Also making the event possible are the following generous sponsors: Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Agana Rain Water, Belgrave Trust, Cellars at Jasper Hill, City of Houston, Debner + Company Workspace Solutions, GEM Insurance, Internum, Knoll, Kinzelman Art Consulting, Mana Contemporary, Mars Culture, Max’s Wine Dive, M.K.G. Art Management, Saint Arnold Brewing Company and The Tasting Room.
About artMRKT Productions
artMRKT Productions is a Brooklyn based organizer of contemporary and modern art fairs. Co-founded in 2010 by Max Fishko and Jeffrey Wainhause, artMRKT Productions currently presents three fairs annually throughout the United States – artMRKT San Francisco, artMRKT Hamptons and Texas Contemporary. artMRKT Productions combines a selection of internationally renowned modern and contemporary galleries, in addition to individual regional focuses, creating unique marketplaces that enable visitors access to the art world’s emerging contemporary talents and historically significant works. For more information about artMRKT Productions, visit: www.art-mrkt.com. For more information about the Texas Contemporary, visit www.txcontemporary.com.