Saturday, September 21, 2013

Reasons Not to Go to the Houston Fine Arts Fair

Robert Boyd

You have a free pass, so you might as well go. On the other hand, why not spare your eyes? This is art that punches you in the face repeatedly.


Andrea Stanislav, The Vanishing Points, Cynthia Corbett Gallery

Andrea Stanislav, The Vanishing Points, Cynthia Corbett Gallery


I have infinitely more respect for 11-year-old girls who put One Dimension posters on their walls than for anyone who buys and displays these horribles.

Alexi Torres, Andy Warhol, oil on canvas, 64 x 80 inches at Evan Lurie Gallery

Yours for $35,000!

Carlos Tirado, John Lennon, mixed media at Rimonim Art Gallery

Alexi Torres at Unix Fine Art

Kwak Seong Yong at Galerie Gaia

Alex Guofeng Cao, Elvis vs. Warhol (left) and a Marylin Monroe abomination (right), chromatogenic print with dibond plexiglass at Laura Rathe

Jesus Christ, was Marilyn Monroe the unofficial theme this year?! There was so much Marilyn on the floor. Have you ever seen a Marilyn Monroe movie? They aren't very good!

Rodolfo Zagert at Rozanes Aguero Towers Foundation

Goh Geun-Ho, Marylin Monroe, steel at Galerie Gaia

Andy Warhol at Art Link International

Interestingly, they had some examples of the original popster. So if I hate all these other celebrity worshipping bullshit pieces of art, what about Andy? Well, let's give him credit--when he was doing this in the early 60s, it was genuinely a shock. This work now looks pretty bad when it shares an environment with Warhol's many imitators. It reminds me of when Moby put out a cover of "That's When I Reach for My Revolver." A friend of mine told me that Moby's version was so terrible, it made him question why he liked the Mission of Burma original in the first place. All these shitty imitation pop paintings make me wonder the same thing.


Readers of this blog know I like comics, so it may surprise them how much I hate the art below. But superhero comics are the most soul-dead comics there are, existing merely to perpetuate trademarks until they can be exploited in more remunerative media, churned out by replaceable cogs in assembly lines, regurgitating the simplistic moralism of "good vs evil". And this art is even lamer because it doesn't even attempt a modicum of originality, criticism, or reflection. It doesn't comment on its source. It "flatters" (while secretly laughing at) idiotic collectors for their familiarity with the lame original material. It is utterly crass.

Carlos Tirado, Superman, mixed media at Rimonim Gallery

Michael Suchta, Comic Cover Series, acrylic on reverse glass at Bruce Lurie Galleries

Michael Suchta, Comic Cover Series, acrylic on reverse glass at Bruce Lurie Galleries

Goh Geun-Ho, Bathman (sic), steel at Galerie Gaia

Now "Bathman" is a superhero I can really get behind!

Nelson de La Nuez, It's Superman, mixed media on canvas at Bruce Lurie Gallery

This one is a masterpiece of unoriginality and mental laziness. Not only is it a swiped image of Superman, but the ghostly double image is a swipe of a series of Supermans that Andy Warhol did!

Andy Warhol, Superman, from: Myths, screenprint with dust, 1981

(I saw one of these in the offices of DC Comics when my old friend Chris Oarr worked there.)


A related act of artistic pandering is to use comics and animated cartoons as a source for your "fine art."

Ray Phillips, Funny Papers, mixed media, 45 x 62 inches at Laura Rathe

Mr. Brainwash, Love, 2011, mixed media on canvas,  48 x 48 inches at Art Link International

What the fuck?! Theirry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash) is best known for being the butt of a feature length exercise in character assassination, Exit Through the Gift Shop by Banksy. I didn't know anyone actually liked his work. You can have this moving monument to the human spirit for just $67,500.

Lee Young-Il at Nine Gallery

Lee Young-Il, Power up, mixed media at Nine Gallery

Lee Young-Il, Power up, mixed media at Nine Gallery

OK, I have to admit I kind of liked this tumescent Popeye by Lee Young-Il. Here is an artist taking a popular culture icon and playing with it. This kind of play is what I want in Pop Art, I guess.



  1. Thank you for taking the time to crush this garbage.

  2. Well, I am glad I am not in Houston to take all of this in. Thanks for your review.

  3. Replies
    1. The thing is, even if it had been a great art fair (and it's better than what you see in this post, which is just the bad stuff), Rome still wins. Hope you are both having a great time.