Second Annual Texas Contemporary Art Fair Announces Signature Programs and Special Events

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Texas Contemporary opens in Houston October 18-21; featuring over 70 leading galleries from across the country as well as special events and breakthrough programming.

“We at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston are so looking forward to the many wonders the Texas Contemporary will bring to this city.” -- CAMH Director Bill Arning.

The second annual Texas Contemporary Art Fair opens next week (October 18 – 21) at the George R. Brown Convention Center and will feature over 70 leading galleries from across the country.

Underscoring the Fair’s commitment to the visitor experience, this year’s line-up of programs will again feature an extensive series of discussions, special events and tours, large-scale installations and the inaugural MRKTworks auction. These on- and off-site special events provide visitors with the opportunity to engage with art in an immersive and impactful way and to delver deeper into the innovation and experimentation of the contemporary market.

Texas Contemporary Art Fair celebrates the burgeoning growth of Houston’s cultural landscape with an extensive range of tours and events in some of the City’s newest venues.

The week will begin with a pre-show reception hosted by the Asia Society Houston, Julie Kinzelman and Texas Contemporary at the newly unveiled Asia Society designed by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Throughout the Fair, visitors will be invited to attend a special ribbon cutting ceremony of The Andy Monument with artist Rob Pruitt at CAMH, and Claudia Schmuckli, chief curator and director of the Blaffer Art Museum will host a private lunch as part of a behind-the-scenes tour of the newly-renovated museum.

As well, for the second year, the Opening Night Preview on October 18 will benefit the Contemporary Art Museum Houston (CAMH) and is anticipated to raise over $20,000 to support the museums free admission policy and extended hours.

Discussions & Guided Tours
Texas Contemporary will host a series of discussions throughout the duration of the Fair. Speakers include artists Rob Pruitt and Eric Beltz as well as CAMH Director Bill Arning and a panel of photo and video artists will be organized and moderated by FotoFest International.

Fair visitors are invited to tour of several of the city’s leading museums, private collections, the new Midtown Arts District, and the conservation studio, Whitten & Proctor Fine Art Conservation and Houston Collector Lester Marks, Museum of Fine Arts Curator Dena Woodhall, and Galveston Arts Center Curator and photography collector Clint Willour, will be among those giving guided tours of the fair. Curatorial Assistant Susan Sutton of the Menil Collection will also conduct a tour the critically-acclaimed exhibition, Silence, which looks at a century of art considering silence. For more information, visit:

The artists whose works will be presented at this year’s Texas Contemporary Fair include Eric Beltz, Colby Bird, Dan Douke, Gina Phillips, OKAY MOUNTAIN, Travis Somerville and many others.

Eric Beltz, Revival Wall presented by Morgan Lehman
Beltz’s site-specific 9’ x 12’ wall drawing for Texas Contemporary is derived from the sampler patterns of his Elementary Forces series. Beltz uses the cross-stitch grid-map to create eye-popping illusions in his signature grayscale palette. This installation marks the first time the artist will bring these drawings out of the frame and into this monumental scale.

Gina Phillips, A Sentimental Tree Reminisces presented by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
The installation will be constructed of textiles – the largest of which will be a custom-made tree that will envelope a structural column. Interspersed among the spaces of the branches and the spaces between the ground and the branches will be various sized “thought bubbles”, representing nostalgic scenes from the tree’s past history. The installation will include cutout forms of animals, clouds and teeth; these three components are meant to represent the tree’s past, present and future.

OKAY MOUNTAIN, Roadside Attractions presented by Mark Moore Gallery
The artist collective, OKAY MOUNTAIN, was commissioned to create Roadside Attractions, 2011 for the Cress Gallery of Art at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga as part of the Diane Marek Visiting Artist Series. The sculpture draws upon the mythology and quirkiness of different categories of roadside attractions with the purpose of delighting and confounding the expectations of the browser and would-be tourist. The brochures themselves mimic the discordant imagery and incongruous information often found in a typical visiting center brochure rack. This is a place where do-it-yourself and professional design are typically forced to cohabitate. All one hundred brochures are uniquely designed by the members of the collective. The printed works –-like the brochures upon which they are drawn--are free to take by the viewing public, giving Roadside Attractions of a performative life outside the institutional setting where it originated.

Travis Somerville, Well Division presented by Catharine Clark Gallery
Inspired by the famous photograph showing a refrigerated drinking fountain designated for WHITES sharing the same pluming with a porcelain fountain for COLOREDS, Somerville has created his own set of water fountains loosely based on the 2000 census and anticipation of changes for the 2010 census. Above each fountain is a label and inside each basin is a stereotypical image associated with that group.

Kim Beck, The Sky Is the Limit presented by Mixed Greens
This installation of light boxes of backlit prints captures a series of messages taken from advertising—Space Available, All Sales Final, Everything Must Go--as they were drawn in the sky over Pittsburgh. The phrases, both exciting and portentous, indicate fantastic sales and business closings. The available space advertised is, of course, the most potent symbol of longing in the landscape: the sky. When loosed from paper signs and billboards, the texts evoke open-ended poetic phrases that, as evanescent marks in the sky, gradually fade back into air.

Colby Bird, Cord presented by Lora Reynolds Gallery
Colby Bird’s sculptures are minimal and precarious exercises in balance. The works are comprised of commercially abundant materials, such as chair parts, fruit, and lumber. While his work may appear to be elegant and effortless, he goes to painstaking lengths to create this illusion. Bird’s work carves out a space between high art and youthful insouciance.

Herbert Mehler, WV 745 & WV 716 presented by Lausberg Contemporary
The inspiration for Mehler’s artwork comes from organic and natural matter, such as fruits and seeds. The sculptures serve as a play between light fluid shapes and the seemingly insurmountable weight of the material. Simultaneously, the rhythmic fan-like structure strongly suggests architectural and man-made forms- the rhythm of the corten-steel forms evoke the serene undulating forms of the changing tides or mountain landscapes. It is this ambivalence between the natural and the man-made that makes Mehler’s works so captivating. These sculptures are from Mehler’s KAVEX series (2003- 2009).

Agnes Denes, Pyramids of Conscience presented by Ballroom Marfa
These powerful monuments metaphorically and theoretically encapsulate our world's most precious resource, water. Pyramid I is filled with tap water from Marfa, Pyramid II is filled with polluted water from the Rio Grande River. Pyramid III is filled with recycled motor oil, which symbolically references water as a commodity. Pyramid IV is constructed of mirrors, which reflect ourselves.

Dan Douke, Kingdom Come, presented by Peter Mendenhall Gallery
At first glance, Kingdom Come appears to be two large shipping crates on top of one another. In actuality, the five-sided work is composed of sixteen separate stretched canvases and is completely hand-crafted. The labels are hand-lettered, the wood texture, scrapes and smudges are all hand-painted, highlighting the artists concern with a central topic in Douke’s work: “Is this real?”

#HCPINTERACTIVE, presented by Houston Center for Photography
This interactive digital installation, curated by Theresa Escobobedo and Libbie Masterson of HCP, and Engineered by Travis McCarra and DSGNFRDG design group. HCP members and invitees will be able to upload their images, in real time, from all over the world. These images will be displayed on a series of monitors on view in the Fair and is open to participation.

Mike Beradino, LODE RUNNER, presented by Emergency Room
This work is a virtual currency-mining rig, utilizing a computer that is dedicated to the production of a type of money called BitCoin. These BitCoins are collected, then exchanged for real gold, resulting in a sculpture that produces a growing pile of gold. Emergency Room is an emerging artist project space in the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, Rice University.

Keren Cytter, Vengeance, DiverseWorks
This works features three episodes from an as-yet unfinished multi-part series. In this new work, Cytter co-opts the strategies of the television soap opera to explore classic themes of melodrama: love, envy, betrayal, and vengeance. Vengeance is Cytter’s first work created in the United States after her recent move to New York City. These episodes reflect a much more elaborate production than most of the artist’s earlier works. Utilizing the rich settings of Staten Island and New Jersey and employing a total of 50 actors, the scenes were filed at a variety of locations including restaurants, hotels, parks, apartments and the street.

Jules Buck Jones, Vulpecula, Presented by DUTTON
This kinetic installation acts as a counterpoint to the gallery booth setting. A forest-like environment appears aware and alive as video projections and moving scrolls of intricately painted forest images slowly move behind forms that recede and advance into the forest, creating an entrancing, multi-layered optical push and pull. Jones draws on the duality of our relationship with our natural environment --we subjugate and worship nature-- surround ourselves with its imagery while distancing ourselves from it. Vulpecula evokes forces in nature, myths of forest gods, apocalyptic fantasies and fear of a vengeful natural world.

Ann Wood, Layer Cake, Presented by Art League Houston
This site-specific installation combines animal decoys with a variety of media including yarn, pom-poms, faux flora and fauna, puffy paint, rubber, resin, push pins and sequins to explore themes of beauty and decay, seduction and perversion, attraction and repulsion. The artist uses animal forms and references Spanish and Dutch Still Lifes and casts materials like plastic and foam to coat objects to make them look cake-like. The works are, in effect, taxidermy mannequins, which are simultaneously visually appealing and repulsive.

Texas Contemporary Award Program
This year marks the launch of the Texas Contemporary Award, a $10,000 cash prize that will be awarded to one of the exhibitor-nominated artists. Guest curator Franklin Sirmans, LACMAS’s Chief Curator of Contemporary Art and CAMH’s Director Bill Arning will review exhibited works submitted for the award and announce their selection at 4PM on Saturday, October 20 in the Fair’s VIP Lounge. In addition to the cash prize, the recipient will also be invited to participate in a public discussion with Arning at the CAMH.

Artadia Awards 2012 Houston
Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue supports visual artists with unrestricted awards and connections to a network of opportunities, while providing local communities with national exposure. Since its founding in 1997 by Christopher E. Vroom, Artadia has awarded over $3 million to over 250 artists in its program cities Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco. This year, Artadia's sixth awards cycle in Houston- the organization will present exceptional artists selected through their rigorous two-tiered jury process following the open call to all visual artists living and working in Houston.

MRKTworks Auction Program
In 2012, Texas Contemporary will also introduce an innovative new program called MRKTworks, a small-scale online/live auction to benefit Houston based arts non-profits. It will benefit many of the city’s leading non profits and feature experience packages and artworks and donated by participating dealers including: Art League Houston (Jessica Halonen), Aurora Picture Show (Michael Kennaugh), ArtBridge Houston (Carl Suddath), Blaffer Art Museum (Experience package), DiverseWorks Art Space (Brian Sharp) and Lawndale Art Center (Markus Linnenbrink). All proceeds (100 percent) from each piece will be donated to their corresponding charity. The auction opens October 4 and will close Sunday, October 21 at 3:30PM.

Fair Information
October 18-21 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 6:00PM to 7:30PM
Evening Preview benefiting the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 7:30PM to 9:30PM
Opening Night Party

Regular Fair Hours:
Friday, October 19, 2012 - 11:00AM to 7:00PM
Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 11:00AM to 7:00PM
Sunday, October 21, 2012 - noon to 6:00PM

For additional information, please visit:

Media contacts: Helen Allen & Meryl Cooper
Allen/Cooper, 212-260-8100, info(at)allencooperenterprises(dot)com

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