2012 Houston Fine Arts Fair

The 2012 Houston Fine Art Fair consisted of over 80 international and local Houston galleries.  Art world insiders call Houston the nation’s third- or fourth-leading market, based on the number of collectors and sophisticatedgalleries here, as well as the thriving museum scene and the world-class Core Program at the Glassell School of Art.

Organizers bill the fair as the largest in the Southwest, with attendance expected to grow to 15,000 from last year’s 10,500.

“It’s a rare opportunity for fair goers to come in and see galleries from 11 countries, more than $200 million worth of art,” said Rick Friedman, executive director. “There’s something for everybody — treasures for every budget.” Every budget?

Nathaniel Donnett & his piece “Scotomas Are Larger Than They Appear”

Friedman said Houston is the third largest art market in the U.S., behind New York and Los Angeles. He said Houston is a “very important art market” and more cohesive than markets in other cities.

“New York might have more buyers, but they’re more disparate,” he said. “In Houston, everybody seems to know everybody else. There’s a vast network of sophisticated art buyers.”

That’s why Friedman’s company, Hamptons Expo Group Management, found its way to Houston after establishing successful art fairs in the Hamptons (where Friedman lives), San Francisco, Aspen and Palm Springs. “The thinking is,” he said, “to put fairs where wealthy people live.”

Robert Pruitt & his piece “Up Up in the Upper Room”

The next step for the HFAF is to incorporate the many Houstonians that have no idea about fine art or the idea that art is a substantial investment.  Beyond the 15,000 that attended this weekend there are millions that simply don’t know that this world exists.

Coming October 18th, the Texas Contemporary Arts Fair returns to the Geroge R. Brown and will bring all the other galleries that chose to miss out on the HFAF.