September 17, 2012

This Houston Fine Art Fair is an interesting situation to witness. Last year it was held at the George Brown Convention Center; this year it found itself at the Reliant Center, which I preferred. It seemed that it had more space and you could view the art better but I don’t know if it was more art there or not. Anyway, I liked it yet I found myself giving it the old “The Rock” with the diva off balanced one eye filled in brow questionable look of suspicion. I’ve not quite settled into this art fair world reality yet, which Houston has now become a member of. There are two art fairs in the city, one being the HFAF and the other being the Texas Contemporary Arts Fair. That is indeed a nice look for the city and you can’t complain about that. Well, maybe one complaint.  I see a different and familiar reality. That reality is the low amount of artists with high melanin counts that decide to dance with these galleries at the art fairs. I said melanin not melon.

I will admit my framing of this view is flawed and hypocritical. I mean Trenton Doyle Hancock is the HFAF Artist of the Year (2012) (Go Trent) double parenthesis and exclamation point. Where’s the exclamation point? ! Ok, there it is. I’m excited about that and proud that he’s achieved such great acclaim and it’s well and rightfully deserved. Who can say that his work isn’t interesting and I’d say beautiful with the tech hand of a martial arts master; however, why are these grapes in my bowl beginning to taste sour? Is it me? Am I wrong here? Did I miscount the melanin contributions here? I mean there is a president with some hues but it doesn’t mean it’s a post racial climate.  I don’t know, for that reason, this blog, site, experimental fusing of ideas, images, identity reformation and/or reclamation is happening.

I will say this; I am very appreciative of the galleries that are in Houston and those particularly who have a mix of cultures, races, and ethnicities in their program. I mean you always hear that proverbial verbal logo chant of “Houston is diverse!” “Houston is diverse!” “Houston is diverse!” — “USA!” “USA!” “USA!”

But are the chants on equal footing with the reality? Well, we’ll see in time.

Indie, you were in the fair, your friend Robert Pruitt (name drop,) was in it; why are you complaining? I did say hypocritical didn’t I? I agree with what Kelly Klassmeyer says about Robert Pruitt;  “even though he was in the Whitney Biennial, he is one of those Houston artists who should be better known.” And I would add recognized and respected along with the rest of the Otabenga Jones and Associates Crew. and, And, ANd


Umm… why am I complaining? Because I can suckah’.  I can because I’m calling it like I see it. When it changes then I’ll call that one too. Simple.  Shout out to Diverseworks Art Space for placing OBJandA members on the art board.

But Indie, you are minimizing the conversation to a racialized one.

Well, maybe, and I will say that I’m not trying to use the race card regarding a situation that doesn’t warrant it. I won’t come to the conclusion that it’s race. Maybe it’s all about economics, supply and demand, taste and brands. I refuse to believe it’s an exclusive group of little art clubs, members and galleries that meet in the woods, perform rituals while sipping from 1945 bottles of Chateau Mouton-Rothchild wine or something and discussing which person of dark matter will be where, be who or be it. “Find the art virgin and lets slice them open for the great Art God.” That’s not true is it?

I would argue since the beginning of these what do you call it? Identity art-politics. A person of color, female, old age or LBGT community can find himself or herself caught in between the ghettoized line like the letters “to” or “in” and are unable to get out. I guess some questions to raise here is does the viewer wish to see these artists create works outside of those identities? Would the collectors, galleries, museums, etc., accept it if they choose not to work within the “otherness” space applications?

Indie, what is this “otherness applications” that you speak of?

You know what reader you ask a lot of questions. That’s good, but I’m moving on now.

Indie, are the artists of melanin creating works locked within the grasps of their own limitations, which the viewer may have grown accustomed to seeing and therefore, reads the work as such?

Is there any proof to support the contention that black art/ art by black artists were not truly represented in the Houston Art Fair 2012?

Reader…. I said you ask too many questions. I will address this at another time.

Whatever the case may be I’m hoping that in 2013, there is more melanin in the place to be along side those with a little less melanin as well. “Houston!” “Diversity!” “Houston!” “Diversity!”

Meanwhile pick up that mirror and ask yourself (maybe you might need a chair next to you with an invisible imaginary friend as support) “Do you feel lucky p -…? I mean do you feel like your favorite gallery represents the type of diversity that Houston boasts about?

Perhaps I’m wrong and will make a gallery run to see what’s going on in H-Town and If I’m right I will let ya’ know. If I’m wrong, I will come back here, like the mature man that I am and admit that an imaginary family member hacked into the account and wrote this. But until then

(Houston Diversity High-Five!!!!!) …..Houston don’t leave me hanging.



Trent Doyle Hancock – “Friends Indeed ”

Core Factor


Leslie Hewitt – “Untitled (Abloom), from the series, Blur Skies Warm Sunlight Study”

Core Factor


Demetrius Oliver- “Fin”

Core Factor


Mequitta Ahuja – ” Dream Sequence: beaded – 2011


Julie Mehretu- “Parts for a Peace Pipe (desire drawing) ”


Massa Lemu – “Framed” “Fixed” “86ed” “Precariot”


detail – “Precariot”

Senalka McDonald – “Dialogue (to a bourgeoise) (2 of 4)

Kara Walker