Arts / Galleries

Groundbreaking Houston Art Gallery Makes a Big Move Into 4411 Montrose — a PaperCity Exclusive

Foto Relevance Evolves Into a Museum District Force

BY // 01.10.20

The new year brings news about the move and expansion of a Houston gallery set to become a prime player in the Texas photographic world — Foto Relevance.

Founded in 2016 as a virtual art gallery, PaperCity first covered the art space’s brick-and-mortar digs in its May 2018 print issue. Our feature singled out co-founders Bryn Larsen and Geoffrey Koslov as one of that spring’s bold arrivals on the Houston art scene.

Their new gallery debuted during FotoFest that year in a space tucked into in a Mayfield and Ragni Studio architecture-designed restoration of a mid-century building owned by Davis Commercial.

Less that 24 months later, Foto Relevance’s photography program has outgrown its original 550 square-foot footprint within it original 616 Hawthorne location.

As you read these sentences, it’s now opening in a Museum District haute art spot: 4411 Montrose Gallery Building, a plum piece of contemporary neo-Brutalist architecture crafted out of a patented, bullet-proof building material called Monocrete.

4411 Montrose Gallery Building gets a new artspace opening Friday, January 10, 2020, as Foto Relevance relocates.
4411 Montrose Gallery Building gets a new art space opening Friday night, January 10, 2020, as Foto Relevance relocates.

University of Houston professor Peter Zweig is the architect of the sculptural structure — known by everyone in the art world simply as 4411 — which serves as one of Houston’s destination zones for a cluster of prime gallerists.

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Now Foto Relevance will be among them.

With newly expanded Tuesday-through-Saturday hours, the well-connected dealers — both are board members of Houston Center for Photography and have served on the Photography Subcommittee for the MFAH — are set to occupy a high-profile, ground-floor address within the 16-year old kunsthalle complex.

Their new space was last home to Mexico City-arrival Guerrero-Projects and needed no major layout or design changes.

“It is a very exciting opportunity to get started so quickly and to be able to time our events with FotoFest,” Koslov tells PaperCity.

In an official statement, Larsen notes, “To have a dedicated gallery space will allow us to see the work of our contemporary, photo-based artists in a new, sophisticated setting, and will afford lots of opportunities to host events, gallery talks and collector and patrons groups.”

Lou Peralta's "Disassemble #23," 2018. The Mexico City artist was a Foto Relevance discovery, who recently made her American debut last year at the gallery.
Lou Peralta’s “Disassemble #23,” 2018. The Mexico City artist was a Foto Relevance discovery who recently made her American debut last year at the gallery.

Future Headliners + In Good Company

Across the concrete breezeway from David Shelton Gallery, Foto Relevance joins Shelton on the first floor. On the second level are other respected 4411 dealers, Barbara Davis and Anya Tish.

Most significantly, ramping up its visibility, and space by five-fold (to 2,500 square feet), Larsen and Koslov’s arrival signals a significant commitment to exhibit works that focus upon the photographic medium, as well as those that expand its definition.

Foto Relevance’s soft opening is set for today (Friday, January 10) from 6 to 8 pm — a group showcase of talents in its stable.

Then Saturday, February 8 serves at the gallery’s grand opening.

For the occasion, Los Angeles-based Jane Szabo debuts a new series for Texas audiences. The LACMA-collected talent presents “Somewhere Else,” poignant staged photographs depicting dollhouse-sized homes precariously placed in the landscape or within domestic environments.

Jane Szabo’s “November 10, Sunshine Skyway,” 2019, highlights the power of nature over man. Szabo, who’s in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is the grand opening solo act for Foto Relevance, set for Saturday, February 8, at the gallery’s new space, on the ground floor of 4411 Montrose.
Jane Szabo’s “November 10, Sunshine Skyway,” 2019, highlights the power of nature over man. Szabo, who’s in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is the grand opening solo act for Foto Relevance, set for Saturday, February 8, at the gallery’s new space, on the ground floor of 4411 Montrose.

Following Szabo, Fort Worth artist Letitia Huckaby will be in the limelight with elegiac mediations on place, race and the African diaspora, specifically migrations from the South into dust bowl states Kansas and Oklahoma.

Letitia Huckaby’s “Beautiful Blackness,” 2019, is the work, which gives title to the artist’s FotoFest show opening Friday, March 6, at Foto Relevance, now in the 4411 Montrose Gallery Building.
Letitia Huckaby’s “Beautiful Blackness,” 2019, is the work that gives title to the artist’s FotoFest show at Foto Relevance, now in the 4411 Montrose Gallery Building.

The exhibition also explores the legacy of Freedmen’s Towns via historic fabrics imprinted with archival photographic imagery.

Titled “Beautiful Blackness” and mounted in conjunction with FotoFest, Huckaby’s one-person show will unveil Friday, March 6.

Scroll through the photo slideshow below this story to see images from Foto Relevance.

Foto Relevance, 4411 Montrose, 713.505.1499; more info here.  

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