Sarah C. Reynolds’s Houston Reflections: Art in the City, 1950s, 60s and 70s

How did Houston go from a cow town to a metropolitan arts center? Sarah C. Reynolds has at least part of the answer. In 1992, author and curator Reynolds started interviewing local artists about their recollections of Houston and its art scene during the period from just before the 1958 inauguration of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to the opening of the Rothko Chapel and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston in the 1970s. It was the first of close to 40 such interviews with artists, patrons and curators, which eventually became Houston Reflections: Art in the City, 1950s, 60s and 70s, published by Rice University Press.

“It’s a nice oral history project,” says Reynolds. “I wanted to capture the memories of Houston artists remembering Houston.” All the memories aren’t happy, though. Some interviewees recalled what it was like to be an artist during what was, in many ways, still a segregated city. “Those artists remember that passage to integration, and it’s interesting to see things through their eyes.”

The book was released in late January, and reaction so far has been pretty good — it sold out at its first reading. Reynolds promises that there’s a Web site in the works that will allow people to see the book’s photos and hear the interviews. But you don’t have to wait for the Web site; you can watch Reynolds read today at 6:30 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazos.booksense.com. Free
Mon., Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m., 2008

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Olivia Flores Alvarez