PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston January February 2022

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when the purchase of the post office was imminent. The trans-action closed in 2015, then the vision unfolded, and the hard, epic work began. The elder Liu and son both spoke movingly at the opening of the ability to dream big with the Post, building not for our generation but the next. Kirby credited the late architect Peter Brown for pushing them to make the Post not just another development deal but one that would be a beacon for what's possible in the city. Lovett was the only developer whose plan incorporated preserving the entire former postal facility, thus making this a win for preservationists while the firm also racked up invaluable tax credits. Saving this post office is significant: The building was named after Barbara Jordan, a Fifth Ward- raised TSU grad who broke gender and race barriers as a Texas legislator then U.S. Congresswoman — a crusader remembered as one of America's greatest voices for civil and human rights. Architecture, preservation, art, performance (Live Nation's 5,000-seat 713 Music Hall), and food culture are some of the leitmotifs woven into the fabric of the historic building, which will also get a hotel and office building down the road, as well as a sculpture by artist Angelbert Metoyer to honor Barbara Jordan. POST AS KUNSTHALLE On a Saturday in December, I met Christine Starkman for a celebratory meal at Post Market (see November PaperCity and for a guide to the food hall's restaurateurs) and to tour the Post art program, which we have been following for months. Starkman is a curator along the lines of the late Walter Hopps; she delights in close friendships with artists, while challenging them to create site-specific installations. The 2022 Fulbright scholar to Korea is best known for her role as curator of Asian art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where late director Peter Marzio tapped her to install galleries that featured conversations between ancient artworks and contemporary talents. To this end, she commissioned Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang to create a monumental gunpowder painting for the MFAH that was exploded in a local warehouse for all to see. Since 2018, Starkman and Kirby Liu made collaborative pilgrimages to artist studios around the globe to forge an important exhibition program for the Post, one that would be the envy SCOTT HYDE SCOTT SHIGLEY THOMAS DUBROCK of many a contemporary museum. For her inaugural Post project (on view through January 31), Starkman paired late Houston photographer Pam Francis' images of Southern musicians including hip-hop heroes Bun B, Slim Thug, and Destiny's Child featuring Beyoncé with Venice Biennale-exhibited video artist Charles Lim Yi Yong and recent CalArts MFA grad/former Houstonian Drew Bacon (represented by Josh Pazda Hiram Butler), who created his most ambitious animation project to date in a cavernous bay of the Post's art wing, the X Pavilion. Come February, expect a new exhibition series, which the nimble curator is again working with Kirby Liu to unfurl. REIMAGINING URBANISM After traversing the multi-acre property last summer when it was still an active hard-hat zone — from the former postal-office public building that's destined to become the boutique hotel to the bowels of the loading dock, where signage still bears the imprint of zip codes that defined Houston's ever-expanding geography, and the extraordinary Pam Francis' Bun B, 2001 Post Skylawn An aerial view of Post designed by architecture firm OMA/Jason Long Drew Bacon's "Bounties from the Late Abundant Age," 2021, at Post Houston 50

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