The answer is yes.
The question is asked more often than any other at the sprawling Sawyer Yards creative community under the 34 grain silos that make up the former Success Rice Silos. And that question is, “Can I go inside?”
Inside is SITE Gallery Houston, one of Texas’ most unique exhibition spaces, committed to protecting and preserving the unique character of the Silos with the creation of high-quality contemporary installation art.
Sculpture Month Houston has chosen SITE Gallery for its main exhibition of its 2019 festival, Outta Space, now on view through Nov. 30. The successful opening reception was held this past Saturday evening to a huge crowd of art lovers.
Sculpture Month Houston (SMH) is unique in festivals because it occupies more than one place. It is in several with multiple exhibits across the city. SMH challenges the curated artists to create a site-specific sculpture that combines both theme and unique architectural space.
I asked Antarctica Black, co-founder and vice president of SMH, how Sculpture Month came about.
“Sculpture Month Houston was founded by Volker Eisele, Tommy Gregory and myself in 2016,” Black said. “Volker pitched the idea to us and we thought how a sculpture festival is such a unique and needed platform for our city. Sculpture is currently being produced in many shapes, sizes, mediums and styles – ranging from cast, stand-alone totems to intricately made, site-specific installations. We want to show cutting-edge work from our diverse population.”
Black has an extensive background in the arts. The self-described Houston transplant grew up in New Jersey and went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has worked for artists, galleries and museums in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas. She is now the gallery manager at Rudolph Blume Fine Art.
As the festival continues to grow, so does the challenge to the participating artists.
“This year’s iteration, which is our fourth festival, takes on a more themed approach, tackling current events while being open-minded,” Black said. “Outta Space takes a look at what we are doing to our planet while dreaming of what we may find if we decide to travel into the outer edges of the universe. We are able to use this platform to talk to other artists across the country and we are gaining momentum. We are very excited to see this citywide festival grow as our organization continues to explore the medium of sculpture.”
The second opening, Pitch and Roll, fills The Hangar at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport. This exhibition introduces contemporary sculptures positioned side by side with classic airplanes. The exhibit intimately connects the art to human industry and technological prowess. “Hangar” artists responded to this challenge by creating works of outsize scale and unique diversity that hold their own against the fabulous flying machines. The opening reception is this Saturday, Oct. 19, from 6-9 p.m.
The following artists are participating: William Cannings, Dylan Connor, Sharon Engelstein, Orna Feinstein, Alex Larsen, Steve Murphy, Eduardo Portillo, Troy Stanley and James Surls.
Additional festival exhibitions may be seen at Houston’s City Hall as well as the Rudolph Blume Fine Art/ArtScan Gallery. Daily tours by SMH volunteers are available at SITE Gallery. Volker Eisele, SMH president and artistic director, offers guided tours at 2 p.m. every Saturday during the run of the exhibition at SITE Gallery Houston.
Visit the website, sculpturemonthhouston.org, for reception details, continuing tours, locations and hours. Events are free, but donations are accepted to help cover installation costs, travel and lodging for the featured artists.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.