Visual Arts

One Weekend, Two Art Fairs in Houston: Do We Really Have to Choose?

When we first heard that two of the biggest art fairs in Houston were going down on the same weekend, our first thought was, “Do we really have to choose?”

With the exception of a couple of ultra-swanky Thursday preview events, the answer is "no." Now that the Houston Art Fair has moved from NRG Center to the Silver Street Event Space, it's only a 12-minute hop, skip and a jump (traffic permitting) over to Texas Contemporary at George R. Brown Convention Center, making it easy to check out both events.

Now, here's the skinny on those Thursday, September 29 preview events.

Houston Art Fair is in good company, now under the direction of Urban Expositions after last year's acquisition of the Hamptons Expo Group (along with fellow members Art Aspen, Art Hamptons and Art Palm Springs). “Opening night; that's where we want the energy,” says Donna Davies, vice president for the organizer's art group. “We want the focus to be on FotoFest, the galleries, the fact that we're relaunching the fair as new owners. It's the first chance to see the show.” The opening night preview benefits FotoFest International. First-look tickets (6 to 10 p.m.) are $100 and VIP passes (8 to 10 p.m.) are $75; both options include return admission throughout the weekend. First-look and VIP ticket-holders also have access to VIP home tours and events during the fair.

The opening night preview for Texas Contemporary features a “physical conversation” between a creation by Houston Ballet's Oliver Halkowich and Circular Lament (a projection piece by artist Chris Doyle). “That's going to be a really fantastic performance,” says Kelly Freeman of organizer Art Market Productions about the one-time only collaboration. “The Houston Ballet performers are going to be interacting with the projection; it's a really special moment for the fair.” The opening night preview benefits longtime partner Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Select patron passes (5:30 to 10 p.m.) are $350 and patron passes (6 to 10 p.m.) are $150; both options include open bar and hors d'oeuvres. Multi-day passes (8 to 10 p.m.) are $50. All three passes include return admission throughout the weekend.

Both Houston Art Fair and Texas Contemporary continue September 30 through October 2. We recommend visiting their websites to take note of "must see" lectures and presentations, putting on some comfortable shoes, then heading out for a weekend designed for art lovers.

Houston Art Fair exhibitors include Blue Rain Gallery, Palette Contemporary Art and Craft and TAI Modern (all from New Mexico), as well as Cuba's Collage Habana and Tokyo-based Gallery Kitai. At the fair's entrance is a site-specific installation by local artist collective Alabama Song, and the event lineup includes a book signing and mezcal tasting with Cheech Marin (space is limited).

Local galleries exhibiting at Houston Art Fair include Deborah Colton Gallery (featuring works by Dorothy Hood), koelsch gallery (presenting a solo exhibit by Donna Rosenthal) and Redbud Gallery (with a focus on sculpture by James Surls through film and lecture).

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. September 30 and October 1 (open at 10 a.m. for VIP ticket-holders), 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 2. Silver Street Event Space, 2000 Edwards. For information, visit $20 to $25.

Texas Contemporary, in partnership with Inprint, is presenting Poetry Buskers, an interactive, on-demand generator of responsive poetry. The fair's Talks lineup includes restaurateur Mr. Chow (who returned to painting after a 50-year hiatus) in conversation with longtime friend Eric Shiner (former director of The Andy Warhol Museum and now senior vice president of Sotheby's fine art division).

Local galleries exhibiting at Texas Contemporary include Moody Gallery, Inman Gallery, Barbara Davis Gallery, Cindy Lisica Gallery and David Shelton Gallery. It will be the second year of the fair's "The Other Mexico," produced in partnership with the Mexican Consulate in Houston and featuring emerging spaces from Mexico City, Guadalajara, Oaxaca and Monterrey.

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. September 30 and October 1, noon to 6 p.m. October 2. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, visit $25 to $50.
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney