Arts / Galleries

Photo Experts to Open Up a New Brick-and-Mortar Gallery in 4411 Montrose — Assembly Goes From E-Commerce to In-Person

Adding a New Dimension to Houston's Robust Arts Scene — a PaperCity Exclusive

BY // 06.03.22

Two former nonprofit directors — both with a photo focus — came together during the pandemic to forge a new hybrid model for the art world. Ashlyn Davis Burns (formerly with Houston Center for Photography) and Shane Lavalette (formerly with Light Work in Syracuse, New York) launched Assembly in March of 2021 as PaperCity reported

Their endeavor innovatively combines an e-commerce platform for its stable of international photographers with an online journal/photo blog, a publishing house for niche artist books and an agency that pairs its talents with projects, commissions and assignments around the globe.

Now Assembly steps up with a brick-and-mortar component, which is set to open in mid July at the 4411 Montrose Gallery Building in the 1,000-square-foot second-floor space formerly occupied by Cindy Lisica Gallery.

Significantly, Assembly joins Foto Relevance in making 4411 Montrose an important photographic destination. It is also the home to respected Houston art dealers Barbara Davis Gallery, Anya Tish Gallery and David Shelton Galley.

Houston-based Ashlyn Davis Burns — former director of Houston Center for Photography — is a co-founder for the newly launched international photography website Assembly. (Photo by Jan Rattia)
Houston-based Ashlyn Davis Burns — former director of Houston Center for Photography — is a co-founder for the newly launched international photography website Assembly, which now has a high-profile Houston Museum District brick-and-mortar. (Photo by Jan Rattia)

“Our vision is to continue bringing cutting edge lens-based work into the broader contemporary art space,” Davis Burns tells PaperCity. “Our roster of mid-career artists are in major institutional collections globally, yet many have never had the opportunity to show their work in the U.S.

“We see our Houston gallery as a meeting place that connects our local and national community to the important work being made by our roster of artists, as well as an innovative project space that intends to blur the line between photography and other contemporary art practices.”

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Co-founding director Lavalette tells PaperCity: “Houston has long been home to leading arts organizations and museums, and we see the launch of the Assembly’s gallery as an important addition to this vibrant landscape of contemporary art.”

Shane Lavalette, an artist and former director of the nonprofit Light Work — based in Syracuse, New York — is a co-founder of Assembly.
Shane Lavalette, an artist and former director of the nonprofit Light Work — previously based in Syracuse, New York — is a co-founder of Assembly. For the brick-and-mortar arrival of Assembly, Lavalette, relocates to Houston.

Assembly will open Friday, July 15 with a VIP reception set for 6 pm to 8 pm, presenting new photographic weavings from Colombian artist Cristina Velasquez. That will be followed by a public opening on Saturday, July 16 from 1 to 4 pm. This photography exhibition will run through August 27.

Later in the fall, Assembly will participate in the FotoFest Biennial, which is set to open Friday, September 9, with the United States debut of Vasantha Yogananthan’s “A Myth of Two Souls,” a multi-year creative odyssey across India to interpret the Sanskrit epic the Ramayana. That art exhibition will run through November 11.

Assembly's FotoFest exhibition come September features works by Vasantha Yogananthan’ (shown: "The Fishermen," 2013-2020)
Assembly’s FotoFest exhibition come September 2022 features works by Vasantha Yogananthan (shown: “The Fishermen,” 2013-2020), making his American debut.

Assembly’s new brick-and-mortar gallery space is located in 4411 Montrose. Find more info here

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