by Robert Boyd
There's a new gallery in town, Heights Art Gallery (no website yet, but you can visit them at 3202 White Oak), and I went to their opening party last night. It was quite a scene.
I would say that Heights Gallery is positioning itself to be the La Luz de Jesus of Houston. (In fact, I would suggest that Heights Gallery try to establish a cooperative relationship with La Luz, which has 25 years of success in Los Angeles behind it. Maybe the two galleries could share Solomon Kane!) It is going for a somewhat less highbrow style than, say, Wade Wilson Gallery. It's the opposite of the "white cube." Its esthetic is more informed by the Art Car esthetic.
Noah Edmundson, director of the Art Car Museum, and Tracy Pierce, director of the Heights Art Gallery
Now me, I love the white cube gallery. I just bought a Linda Post video sculpture at Art Palace, which is a white wall gallery cubed. And when I described it to a friend of mine at the Heights Gallery fiesta, he said, "These guys will never sell a TV in a sock." True! But I think Houston needs some funky people's art, too.
Speaking of white cubes, one of Houston's blue chips is moving. It's been known for a while that Sicardi Gallery was moving from their Richmond space (next to McClain Gallery) to a new custom-built space on Alabama. I was over there yesterday and took a picture of the new gallery under construction.
The Sicardi Gallery under construction
It looks like it will be huge! Considering how modest their current gallery is, that will be a big change. And sitting across from the Menil parking lot and the Houston Center for Photography will likely increase walk-in traffic (not that they sell artworks to many walk-in customers, I'm sure). In fact, I'd say that the stretch of Alabama between Mandel and Graustark is a great place for galleries. People could park at the Menil, go check out the scene there, swing by the HCP, and then check out Sicardi and whatever other gallery moves in. It's not like this stretch of Alabama is already dense with businesses or residences--there's even a very large empty lot along the north side of the street.
But what about Sicardi's current space? The word on the street is that Thom Andriola's New Gallery will be moving there from its current Colquitt location. One could make a lot of speculations about the pluses and minuses of such a move, but let's stick to facts. And one fact is that it is a move from a huge space to a substantially smaller space.
So what about New Gallery's Colquitt space? More word on the street is that Scott Peveto, formerly director of McClain Gallery, will be starting his own gallery in that space. Previously it had been rumored that his new space would be on Milam next to PG Contemporary, in the space where we mounted the Pan y Circos show. But Colquitt is probably a safer choice, given all the galleries already there. (Scott Peveto is perhaps best known for closing down Walter's on Washington--but I'm not sure that's the same "Scott Peveto.") I don't know what the timeline for all this is, but pretty soon, given the state of the new Sicardi building.
Meanwhile, while it is a disappointment for PG Contmporary that Peveto is not opening his gallery next door (because two galleries is more of a "destination" than one gallery), they are still forging ahead by moving next door to their current location into a space that is easily twice as large. It will, in fact, allow PG Contemporary to put up two shows at once if they want to. The new space will be open next week for their David Lozano show.
Is this an indicator of Houston's economy improving? Two new galleries in the early part of 2012? (Two and a half, if you count the PG Contempory expansion.) The economist in me says that art gallery openings and closings are probably a trailing indicator of economic prosperity. Some real economist should do a study of this.