The Texas Contemporary Art Fair brings Houston its next round of high-profile art action this week. What differentiates it from September’s Houston Fine Art Fair?
Award money, for one thing. The Texas Contemporary Award, a new $10,000 cash prize, will be given on Saturday to an exhibitor-nominated artist selected by Franklin Sirmans, chief curator of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston director Bill Arning.
Ten Houston artists will be watching the action at booth SP19 closely on Friday for an even bigger award announcement. Michael Bise, Jillian Conrad, Bill Davenport, Francesca Fuchs, Jang Soon Im, Rosine Kouamen, Seth Mittag, Linda Post, Kaneem Smith and Carl Suddath are finalists for 2012 Artadia Awards, which include two $15,000 prizes and three $5,000 prizes.
Menil Collection curator Michelle White, Patrick Charpenel of Mexico’s Jumex Foundation and Naima Keith of New York’s the Studio Museum will judge the final round of competition this week with studio visits.
Partnering with local foundations and donors, Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue also supports juried competitions in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta. In addition to cash prizes, winners receive three-month residencies in New York, exhibition opportunities in other cities and access to a national support network.
A half-dozen arts nonprofits also hope to reap benefits through the fair’s ongoing MRKTworks Auctions, which have been posted online since Oct. 4 and will close at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The Art League Houston, Aurora Picture Show, Artbridge, Blaffer Art Museum, DiverseWorks and Lawndale Art Center are offering artwork or experiences with starting bids of $750 at www.art-mrkt.com/mktworks-texas.
The Texas Contemporary Art Fair is 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday in Hall A, George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. Tickets are $20 daily or $35 for all three days; available at the door or at www.txcontemporary.com/texas. The preview party at 6 p.m. Thursday benefits the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. A $100 donation gets you in and includes daily fair admission.