There was coffee and donuts, big, intimidating, expensive looking cameras, people holding tape recorders, conducting interviews and just a short distance away, an enormous wooden ramp leading to a small wood framed house with various sized holes cut throughout and painted a bright turquoise on the inside rim of the holes.
I was at my first ever media day for a public art installation. Even after five years of writing Art Valet, weekly no less, I still don’t know what to make of this whole writing thing. Don’t tell my publisher that! This was one invitation I had to follow up on, this was, after all, a Havel Ruck Project.
Havel Ruck Project is the collaboration of Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, the same Havel and Ruck that turn houses inside out, and many other inverted exploded wonders that boggle the senses.
Havel Ruck Projects unveiled its latest deconstruction/transformation project: Open House, an interactive temporary public sculpture at Sam Houston Park in Downtown Houston, and is on view daily through February 2019. The project is part of Art Blocks, a public art initiative created and managed by the Houston Downtown Management District.
“Since the Downtown District first launched Art Blocks in Main Street Square in February 2016, we have envisioned extending the temporary public art initiative to other areas of Downtown,” said Bob Eury, the Downtown District’s executive director. “We’re thrilled about the opportunity to showcase work by local artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, whose Open House is a playful addition to The Heritage Society’s ten historic buildings at Sam Houston Park.”
Sourced from Cherry House Moving Company, the 1940s-era house was originally located in Santa Fe, Texas. After moving the home to Sam Houston Park in April, Havel and Ruck started by stripping the structure’s interior and exterior.
Visitors will be able to walk through Open House, viewing both the modern skyscrapers of Downtown Houston and the landscape of Sam Houston Park through the holes that have been carved out of the house. At night, the house will be lit from within, creating a lantern effect. Get more details on this project and others by Art Blocks https://www.downtownhouston.org/art-blocks.
Walking past Heritage Park I noticed a mural in progress, not an uncommon sight in Houston. However, this particular mural is titled Mexican-American History & Culture in 20th Century Houston. The Heritage Society communications director is walking me over she explained that the artists, Jesse Sifuentes and Laura Lopez Cano (and her two sons) are working on the mural daily and the public is invited to come and watch.
The mural depicts the many contributions made by Mexican-Americans in the City of Houston, and there are many. Located just behind The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby, Houston, TX 77002, under an aluminum awning, the artists were just filling in the many historic figures on my visit. The artists are happy to share the stories and much of the documentation is in the museum too.
Small world, I’ve known artist Laura Lopez Cano since she joined my art market in 2008. Her sons are painting with her and Sifuentes almost daily in the mornings. This amazing undertaking is chronicled extensively on the website http://www.heritagesociety.org/mexican-mural-project/
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet.com