PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Houston

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IT WAS A BLITHE NIGHT — and a fitting fusion of Andy Warhol and Ultra Violet with Balenciaga, Valentino and Dior — when Neiman Marcus curated The Art of Fashion and kicked off year four of Houston Fine Art Fair. Guests flocked to the second-floor couture galleries for a fashion show of artful Fall 2014 looks from Stella McCartney, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and more. Nearby hung '60s-era photos of Andy Warhol by William John Kennedy, while at the top of the elevator bank, Factory muse and artist Ultra Violet's rainbow neon sculpture beamed upon all. Neiman's visual manager Dale Kiroff had a fine time with clever touches such as the limited-edition Campbell's Warhol soup cans cheekily deployed as props and filled with carnations. Meanwhile, the official ambassadors of the night, Fair chairman/exhibiting gallerist Deborah Colton and Neiman's ringleader Bob Devlin (a collector himself), worked the crowd who came for inspiration on what to wear to the Fair's vernissage and to snap up VIP and Black card passes for all the action, which unfolded the following week. Mariposa catered light bites, complemented by champs, white wine and crafty Austin Cocktails, while DJ Martin Prendergast (no relation to the painter) plied his trade with the vinyl. Among the art brigade: exhibiting Fair gallerists Franny Koelsch, Laura Rathe, and Zoya Tommy Kemp, with artist/ husband Guus Kemp; Jonathon Glus and Alton LaDay; mega collector Ken Christie; Deborah Elias; Neiman's Liz Zaruba, Stacey Swift, and Amy Gilbert; Michael Pearson; Karina and Carlos Barbieri; jazz crooner Kristine Mills and sister Amy Gordon, who's with The Art Institute of Houston; Kathy Frietsch; Lisa Slappey; Jeff Shell; Cherise Luter; Alicia Murray; Joann Klein; and Theresa Roemer of the famous closet. ANDY + ULTRA, CÉLINE + OSCAR Neiman Marcus kicks off Houston Fine Art Fair CATHERINE D. ANSPON OBSERVES THE SOCIAL SCULPTURE. PHOTOGRAPHY PRISCILLA DICKSON. DaRhonda Williams Jeff Shell Theresa Roemer Hil Huckaby Jacques Davis Patrick Bell Homage to Warhol Laura Rathe Zoya Tommy Kemp Michael Pearson Elina Htun Jacquie Baly Denise Westfall-Mclin Kara Smith Stella McCartney on the runway Andrea Donelson Karina Barbieri Carlos Barbieri Rosemarie Johnson Liz Zaruba Chairman Deborah Colton Bob Devlin Mahdi Alkhanfar Guus Kemp Parissa Mohajer THE fall season without the Houston Fine Art Fair would have been much poorer. There was a lot to love about the fourth iteration of HFAF, but also some misses. Fair founder Rick Friedman, an entrepreneur turned collector, was the first to bring an international art fair to town and truly has a passion for our community, if not always the perfect curatorial eye. Friedman was smart enough to tap Deborah Colton Gallery to chair this year's installment, and to choose Asia Society Texas Center to receive the largesse of the Opening Night proceeds (and also host the kickoff party, which boded well for the Fair). Another plus: the scholarly prowess of art historian David E. Brauer, who deservedly received the inaugural Illumination Award for his achievements as lecturer at the MFAH since 1976. By saluting Brauer, followed by bestowing its Lifetime Achievement Award on MFAH photo curator Anne Tucker, this Fair recognized two brilliant minds in our midst. Tucker's Q&A by FotoFest's Wendy Watriss was one for the history books (and, like Brauer's talk, worthy of its own YouTube video; both were captured by the Fair's videographer). Also contributing to HFAF's salute to Houston art history was long-time Houston Chronicle critic Patty Johnson's Hall of Fame exhibition. The scene stealers were Jackie Harris' Fruitmobile (Houston's very first art car) and Jesse Lott's fantastical, gargantuan horse sculpture. Formed from a cascade of twisted wire, it typified the raw, raucous energy that defined the 1970s and 1980s here. Standout booths were Houston's alternative space Alabama Song, which even boasted a ping-pong table; Deborah Colton Gallery's mash-up of scientific artist Suzanne Anker with major Arab world star Khaled Hafez; Redbud Gallery's museum quality show for historic Latin American works on paper (a museum did make an acquisition) including a surreal little watercolor by Diego Rivera depicting a former lover; Persian light and sound artist David Abir at Shulamit Gallery, presented in a chapel-like space; and Dan Allison's Texas-centric rollout of Ken Little's big-money dress formed from dollar bills, mixed in with Kelly Moran's dexterous retro-anthropomorphic characters. Placed up front, Mark Borghi also earned kudos for resurrecting geometric minimalist/'60s-era painter Neil Williams and showed the potential of what HFAF could be at its best. More of the above for year five please. Another wish for 2015: Do vet more important international galleries, especially the real Korean players, and keep the Fair on the level that mirrors our town — lose the canvases of jockeys. Do bring back the authentic ones, such as Alabama Song. NOVEMBER | PAGE 68 | 2014 HOUSTON FINE ART FAIR, CATHERINE D. ANSPON DOES THE RECAP. PHOTOGRAPHY DANIEL ORTIZ, EMILE BROWNE. YEAR IV Bette Thomas Sheri Roane Brian McCulloch Talal El Khayat Dean Giuffre HFAF Internum VIP Lounge Ceron Tarek El-Bjeirmi Hasti Taghi John Andell Rachel Walton Stacy Andell Eric Dorton Alton LaDay Jonathon Glus Honoree Anne Tucker Nancy Allen Rick Friedman Julie Deal Maryam Afshari Honoree David E. Brauer Carla Munoz Ivan Del Puerto Caroline Tyson Wade Wilson Peggy Kostial Wendy Watriss Martha Finger Grant Roane David Graeve balloons buoyed the crowd.

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