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).