PaperCity Magazine

June 2019- Houston

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Page 75 of 99

74 CHEF CHRIS SHEPHERD COLLECTS W hen it comes to restaurants, James Beard Award-winning toque Chris Shepherd knows his way around the front and back of the house. When it comes to the art world … not so much. So he trusted James Herd, architect of his steakhouse concept Georgia James, to help develop an art component for his new dining spot. The pair conferred with Nicole Longnecker of Longnecker Gallery, a restaurant regular, who knew only one name would do: Houston's Floyd Newsum, co-founder of Project Row Houses and a painter who's in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. During a studio visit late last year, Shepherd and the painter connected, and now three Newsum works have pride of place in the main dining room and private wine room of Georgia James. Informed by the artist's amalgamation of symbols of the African-American experience with abstract passages of beautiful pigment, the paintings Gathering at Midnight and Four Ladders in Blue are coded with elegant, often playful metaphors. The ladder imagery references the career of the artist's father, a fi refi ghter, and also stands for rising up in life. Newsum told PaperCity, "When I fi rst met Chris, I learned we share the same feelings about Houston: a sense of community, a belief in family, and the need to empower others through our work.", the law for train tagging and other graffi ti activities. In 1998, he immigrated to Texas, where he's best known for the mammoth send-up of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel that covers an expansive wall on Fannin (celebrating fi ve years this spring) and Biscuit Paint Wall, a Houston phenomenon. He even has a TEDx Talk to his name. For the new mid-rise, he has created Pearl Paint Wall, with 72 custom- blended shades of Liquitex in 3,200 pixelated squares that reveal fi ve faces from a distance. Philip Morgan, grandson of founder Bill Morgan and the group's VP of development, says the idea was to "showcase construction workers from this project that I think are representative of the diversity of the industry as a whole. It was an exciting opportunity to show our appreciation for the work they do for the entire city." As Boileau says, "There's what you see — and it's cool visually — but when you go through the layers of paint, there's a much deeper connection." Read more about Pearl Paint Wall at pearlmarketplaceatmidtown. com, SNOOPY+CHARLIE BROWN ORBIT HOUSTON K enny Scharf is one of the most important artists of his generation to survive the 1980s. He was the fi rst to tag Manhattan's subways, before pals Basquiat and Haring took to NYC's gritty walls; at the heart of the scene back in the day, he was a running buddy of Warhol who played the role of club kid to the ascendant Pop king. Now Scharf brings his razzle-dazzle Pop Surrealism to Houston, in the unlikely mix of the late Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters and NASA. The resulting cocktail was shaken by Houston Arts Alliance in collaboration with the Peanuts Global Artist Collective and Space Center Houston. The idea was hatched when HAA board chair Leigh Smith read about "The Peanuts Project" i n T h e N e w York Times and thought it should come to town; soon afterwards, she was sitting next to project co- curator Yvonne Force Villareal at a dinner party, and the plan was set into motion. HAA CEO John Abodeely then made it happen, with the Houston debut timed to the 50th anniversary o f t h e A p o l l o 10 launch (the precursor to Apollo 11 of moon-landing renown). Scharf's fi rst visit to Johnson Space Center — for the unveiling of his Peanuts Constellation mural that wraps around an International Space Station training module — included a tour and a chat with astronauts at the space station. He was 10 years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. "I grew up with the Space Age, and it's always been such a major inspiration for me — space exploration," he tells PaperCity. "Just to be here and see everything is thrilling." "The Peanuts Project: The Heavens and the Earth" at Space Center Houston, through Labor Day or beyond,; fi nd the full Houston artist roster at Sebastien "Mr. D" Boileau Kenny Scharf and Snoopy at the Peanuts Constellation mural unveiling, Space Center Houston Floyd Newsum's Four Ladders in Blue, 2017, at Georgia James CDA JACK OPATRNY COURTESY SPACE CENTER HOUSTON (continued from page 72)

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