PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston May 2023

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The Museum District's Newest Montrose Rising: This spring, Montrose's Renaissance continues, as the neighborhood gets a pair of freshly minted galleries, Andrew Durham Gallery and The Car Wash — spaces you need to know. By Catherine D. Anspon. Art Direction Michelle Aviña. Photography William Issac. A ndrew Durham Gallery, initially u n v e i l e d i n 2 0 1 5 , r e s t a r t s its art program as entrepreneur Andrew Durham — a former skateboarder turned artist and gallerist — restores and rehabs a nearly century-old storefront, blocks from The Menil Collection. Durham's new space, originally a dry cleaner that retains its streamlined Deco-era facade, already has two exhibitions under its imprint. The first took place this spring with Houston sculptor Steve Murphy, whose minimalist abstractions are rooted in materials and a sense of place, making him a good match for Durham's reductive 1,500-square-foot galleries. On view last month was a rare doubleheader for Houston talents Ann Stautberg and Frank X. Tolbert 2. The respected careers of this married duo add up to almost a century of artmaking in Texas. This month, Durham director and artist Bob Russell, a veteran of the now-closed Gremillion gallery, unveils his latest drawings and paintings (May 6 through June 24) — adroit abstractions aligned with the tradition of 20th-century greats such as Robert Motherwell. Going forward, Durham and Russell promise a robust exhibition program tilted toward Texas mid-careers and seasoned masters. This seems only natural, considering their respective DNAs. Durham — the scion of West Texas media moguls, philanthropists, and collectors Cindy and David Durham — grew up in a household where a rotating cast of Texas artists, especially James Surls, were his folks' buddies. As a teen, he hung out with artists and musicians at the mythic Terlingua Chili Cookoff, which his dad co-founded along with Tolbert's father, folklorist/journalist Frank X. Tolbert, who also ran a chili parlor in Dallas (a brand that Tolbert 2 later revived). Early encounters with these almost mythic Texas characters slow-cooked and simmered over the decades, to be served up in the pristine interiors of today's gallery. Art-world veteran Russell also grew up around the media world. His dad was TV host Captain Bob [Russell], a pioneer of early children's TV on KPRC. Now this dynamic duo reigns over an art space of many possibilities. Following Russell's solo, a summertime showcase promises to hint at the gallery's in-formation stable. Those lucky enough to make opening nights will be rewarded with a patio party that spills over to the outdoor deck behind the gallery. The preferred headliners are a group of Houston artists/musicians: the band Lindale, fronted by guitarist/ singer/songwriter Joe Havel, with Russell on upright bass and Murphy on drums. F ive minutes away, another Montrose haunt has been transformed from soap suds on hot wheels to one of Texas' most avant-garde art venues. The Car Wash is a creative co- curatorial project by London Ham, whose cooler-than-cool former gallery, Blank Check, boasted serious collectors as clients, including Jereann Chaney and Ham's cohort, Georgeös Kazilas, whose family owns the property where their new venture is located: the Shell service station at the corner of Montrose and Richmond. "I've always wanted a Montrose exhibition space within a block of The Menil Collection," Ham says. Georgeös Kazilas at The Car Wash's exhibition for Tom Bandage London Ham and Tom Bandage at The Car Wash with a work by Bandage Above: At his eponymous gallery, Andrew Durham with Frank X. Tolbert 2's Grackles, #1, 2021. Left: Bob Russell with a work by Tolbert.

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