Arts / Galleries

Hurricane Harvey Washes Away Houston’s Last Remaining Art Fair

Devastating Blow Hits Art Lovers Hard, But the Fair Will Return

BY // 09.13.17

The latest Hurricane Harvey reverberations impact Houston’s art community. The Texas Contemporary Art Fair, scheduled to take place Thursday through Sunday, October 19 through 22, at George R. Brown Convention Center, has been canceled.

Presented by Art Market Productions, based in New York, the Fair has been one of the high points of the city’s fall art (and social) season since it launched in 2011. Past galleries and headliners have ranged from Damien Hirst-owned Other Criteria and The Hole to PAs by designer darlings The Haas Brothers and restaurateur-returned-to painter Michael Chow. “The Other Mexico,” a section within the Fair organized by Texas- and Mexico City-based curator Leslie Moody Castro, had in recent years added a smart international component.

This October’s edition, which would have been number seven, was also eagerly anticipated because the Texas Contemporary brand was no longer in competition with another fair. In years past, the Houston Fine Art Fair (later renamed Houston Art Fair) had often caused confusion among curators, collectors, and the art community as a whole, as it was also held during  the fall (and memorably on the exact same weekend in 2016).

Houston Art Fair was cancelled months earlier, leaving the field wide open to the Texas Contemporary, which since its beginning has allied itself with the respected Contemporary Arts Museum Houston as its opening-night beneficiary.

Collectors such as Lester Marks — who had planned to open up his home to the Texas Contemporary VIP groups for a tour — expressed dismay at the city losing its major — and now only — art fair this fall. “I’m crushed,” he tells PaperCity.

But, wait. There’s a silver lining. Reached by phone in the Art Market Brooklyn office, Texas Contemporary director Kelly Freeman confirms the Fair will be returning to Houston in 2018. George R. Brown has already been booked, and the new dates secured: Thursday through Sunday, October 4 through 7, 2018.

“Texas Contemporary’s 2018 edition will highlight the tenacity of the Houston arts community and the city’s passion for and commitment to the arts,” Freeman says. “Working alongside our incredible Houston-based partners, we look forward to building a world-class event that will attract top-tier galleries and collectors.”

Stay tuned.

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