Tuesday, April 30, 2013

DFW to Houston: We're #1!

Robert Boyd

Our art is better than your art

"RR," a blogger from the DFW area, writes a very succinct post about a trip to Houston he made to check out the Forrest Bess show at the Menil. He made 14 stops altogether to check out art--a crowded day of art viewing. Here are a few highlights:
  • #1 stop at Bill Davenport's "Bill's Junk" in the Heights. Always a priority when I go to Houston. 
  • #5 stop - Paul Fleming at the most unfriendly gallery in Texas Barbara Davis Gallery followed closely by Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas. I should have skipped this one. I will never step inside this place again.
  • #6 stop at one of my favorite galleries, Inman Gallery. You can't go wrong here. Robert Ruello was a pleasant surprise and the first time to see Jim Richard's work in person. Not disappointed.
  •  #9 stop - Devin Borden Gallery, we didn't even bother ringing the bell.
  • #11 stop - A long time favorite gallery of mine - Betty Moody, the friendlist gallery in Texas representing important artists. Helen Altman (wall) and Lisa Ludwig (table) in the back gallery.
(Note to gallerists: don't be rude. Someone might blog about you.)

The kicker after these 14 stops? RR's conclusion: "This trip proved to me that the best art coming out of Texas right now is from North Texas. But I will try again in the fall."

My first thought was outrage. How dare RR draw such a conclusion after visiting two museums, 11 commercial galleries and Bill Davenport? Maybe the art on view in those places at this time doesn't represent Houston very well. One needs to see what's happening in artist-run spaces, in the smaller, funkier galleries, in the schools, etc.

But then I checked myself--I am totally guilty of the same behavior. Every time I go to Dallas/Fort Worth, I find myself drawing big conclusions about the area based on my brief visit. There is something about DFW that brings this out in me. But the fact is that a brief visit to a place can provide a suggestion of what the place is all about at best.

RR might be right. I was mighty impressed the last time I was in Dallas. And even if he is not right, I like the fact that the age-old rivalry between DFW and Houston continues to be played out even in the arena of art. But I don't think that visiting 14 galleries and museums over the course of a weekend (a day?) gave RR an accurate picture of Houston's art scene.

So RR, here is my proposition. The next time you come down for a visit, contact me. I'll be happy to show you the best of whatever happens to be up.



  1. But if the art is "coming out of Texas" shouldn't we be going elsewhere to see it?

    1. You have to go to James Cohan Gallery in NYC to see new Trenton Doyle Hancock shows and to Zach Feuer in NYC to see new Mark Flood. That's "progress"!

  2. Hey Robert, thanks for your feedback on my visit to Houston. I do want you to know that I don't buy into the rivalry so much. I do visit Houston at least once a year (sometimes 2 or 3 times specifically to see art) and have so since 1995. I know that when I have limited time I do visit the galleries/museums/artists that I am comfortable with. I had planned to visit the Picasso B/W show but wow it was too expensive. I will contact you on my next visit I want to see the best of what is going on.


    1. I don't buy the rivalry myself, but it's fun to pretend that one exists.