Art Notes

Houston Art News for March

Catherine D. Anspon
February 25, 2011

Not Lascivious: The talk of the town swirls around Austin artist Heyd Fontenot’s “It’s a Nude, Nude, Nude, Nude, Nude, Nude World” at Inman Gallery. Heyd’s delicate, compelling portrait drawings are rendered in his own inimitable style, with oversized heads that dwarf delicate, smaller bodies and make you forget the subject is sans clothes. Known for painting his pals, this time around he takes on the Houston art world, capturing likenesses from artist Katrina Moorhead to his dealers Kerry Inman and Patrick Reynolds. You’ve got to see this show (through April 2).

Texas Time: The hotly collected Angelbert Metoyer solos at Colton & Farb Gallery, fresh from a well-received exhibition during Art Basel Miami Beach fair week in an independent project space adjoining the Margulies Collection. Word’s out Metoyer may reprise some of his recent work from this “Positivism Project” (March 12 – April 30) ... Koelsch Gallery curates a delightful convergence of Texas talents celebrating 175 years since the battle of San Jacinto. The show packs surprises, as gallerist Franny Koelsch rounds up artists from Marfa, Houston, Dallas and points in between, including Camp Bosworth’s memorable gun as mini bar, Ellen Frances Tuchman’s over-the-top collages and nuanced pencil drawings by Claire Cusack (March 3 – April 23).

A Future Top Collector: The eagle-eyed art prince, aka Lester Marks, and his physician wife Penelope welcomed new arrival Alana Valentina in early February. Marks is already jump-starting his daughter’s collection, which includes a Marlene Dumas watercolor ode to Andy Warhol and a romantic Joseph Cornell sand-tray sculpture.

The 411 on 4411: Just in. One of Houston’s signature gallery destinations, 4411 Montrose, is being saved. Patron and collector Bruce Eames just acquired the Peter Zweig–designed building and plans to preserve it as an art nexus. Eames, whose day job is as a trading tycoon, told us he purchased 4411 not as a real estate deal, but because of a personal passion for the art community. He plans to keep it as a showcase for galleries, artists’ collaborations and innovative visual projects, and is already at work tweaking the contemporary structure, including enhancing landscaping and parking. Eames has tapped Fresh Arts board member Samira Salman as consultant, and the pair recently brought in rising designer David Peck for a fashion project at 4411. Galleries Barbara Davis, Anya Tish, Wade Wilson and Peel stay on.

Art Cars and Canvases, Anniversary-Rama: Kudos to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art for its approaching 30th anniversary. Sign up now for your VIPit tickets to spring’s rollicking 24th anniversary Art Car Parade, with the festive parade-side viewing party co-chaired by stalwart OS supporter Don Mafrige Jr. and yours truly. This year, the date deviates from tradition, moving to Sunday, May 22, to welcome thousands of internationals here for the American Association of Museums (AAM) annual meeting. And devise your costume now for the raucous Art Car Ball on Friday, May 20, at the folk art monument itself. An ’80s theme is in the works (713.926.6368; ... The Rothko Chapel rings in four decades with a galactic anniversary gala chaired by the inimitable Lynn Wyatt, which honors humanitarian Bianca Jagger on Wednesday, May 18, at the Houston Country Club (tickets,

More Save The Dates: The Third Biennial Rice/Menil Lecture Series stars Kara Walker of the striking silhouettes. This important international discourses about her art on Monday, March 14, at The Menil Collection Foyer (1515 Sul Ross, free; ... Way out West, Marfa Ballroom’s innovative new program, “The Reading,” features free readings by important rising screenwriters on Saturday, March 26 — this spring honoring Maine native, currently Austin-based Andrew Lanham (

Public Art’s a-Popping: Our town now boasts a plenitude of Plensas — works by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, to be precise, one of the main attractions at Chicago’s Millennium Park. A suite of seven seated steel figures evoking Buddhas now serenely perch along the banks of Buffalo Bayou adjoining the new Harmony Bridge, which spans Memorial Drive east of Studemont towards Allen Parkway. Benefactress Mica Mosbacher and His Highness the Aga Khan were key supporters, working in conjunction with the Houston Arts Alliance. More public art is in the works — stay tuned for details about the soon-to-complete new permitting center for the City of Houston, decked out in important commissions — another HAA endeavor, this one overseen by the supreme collaborator and installation/performance artist Mary Margaret Hansen, who’s tapped an extraordinary multi-generational stable, including the late, larger-than-life Houston painter Dick Wray (;

Remembrances: Mr. Houston Painting, Dick Wray, passed away in the early days of the year. Dick, perhaps more than any the artist, characterized the bravura that began our contemporary art scene. Long before Glasstire, ArtLies, the Core Program or even the internet, Houston artists really worked on a frontier. (“Fresh Paint: The Houston School” changed that a bit.) Throughout the decades, the mythic Mr. Wray was front and center, holding court at Chaucer’s and living a life passionately devoted to art making, pure and sans pretense. There was no contradiction between this man’s painting and his swaggering persona. For nearly 50 years, his graceful abstractions, fearless (and occasionally R-rated) figuration and remarkable palette, seething with energy, made him the patriarch of Houston art ... Bright light, collector and a high-energy member of our art community Charlotte Fischer Ewart will also be greatly missed. In her honor, a memorial fund has been established by her friends at Wade Wilson Art for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (contributions to MFAH, mailed to Barry Walker, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, P.O. Box 6826, Houston, TX 77265-6826).

Image: Heyd Fontenot’s La Pieta (Darren and Beatrice), 2010, at Inman Gallery