Sunday, September 18

Visiting an International Fine Art Fair

I had the opportunity to view artists' work from all over the world this weekend at the 1st annual Houston Fine Art Fair (HFAF). Being first is always good. According to the Gallery Directory that every visitor received, it was started after the late Peter Marzio of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston expressed interest in holding an international art fair here. Organized by an exposition group, it was actually a gallery of galleries exhibiting the work of artists each represents. I'm glad to see there is entrpreneurial spirit alive in the art world in today's trying times.

Held September 15-18 at the downtown GRB Convention Center, the fair comprised 80 gallery exhibitors from cities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas (including a few local ones, too).

Although I was not familiar with too many of the artists represented, there was a good mix of current well-known artists (and some deceased) and emerging artists worldwide. Of the deceased, you would recognize the names of Warhol and Rauschenberg, not to mention a Courbet going for the princely sum of $475K-US.

I am somewhat surprised that the term “fine art” now encompasses so much of what I had recently considered contemporary art. By that I mean, there was mostly contemporary and abstract art in oil, acrylic, and mixed media. Only one gallery exhibited a watercolor  artist and another one a pastel artist, unless I missed some. There were very, very few traditional landscapes and nothing I would call traditional still life.

There were a lot of collages and optical-illusion art (at least that’s what I call it), such as the work of world-famous Carlos Cruz Diez. In addition there were sculptures, mobiles, and other kinetic art. They were made from all kinds of materials—wood, resin, metals, ceramic, computer keys, eyeglasses, paint brushes--you name it.

A lot of the work was eye-catching and some was downright unusual, such as the display of 500 miniature wine glasses shaped from twisting up candy wrappers.

But all in all, I am lucky to have seen the cutting-edge trends in the art gallery world in 2011. Or at least, that’s what I hope I saw.

Happy Painting!

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