The State Fair of Texas ended last weekend. I managed to go twice this year. We went once on a Friday night that was billed as "High School Day", so there were hoards of high school aged kids in groups. It took us 45 minutes to get to the fair even though we only live less than 3 miles from the fair grounds. I went back on a weekday for a very short visit to simply take pictures of things I missed or did not have sufficient sunlight for the first time.
Believe it or not, there is art to be found at the State Fair. Granted, most of it is what many would consider to be 'Community' art. I find it fun to see what the art hobbyists, enthusiasts and crafters are making each year. Sometimes they echo high art, but more often than not it is pure fun outsider art.
I'll start with the Fine Art on exhibition.
I made a special visit to the fair grounds just a few days prior to the opening of the fair to see the exhibition "Generations: A Woman's Conversation" at the African American Museum. This exhibition features the work of six women artists: Annette Lawrence, Vicki Meek, Letitia Huckaby, Anita Knox, Valerie Bennett-Gillespie and Marilu Flores Gruben. This exhibition ran from June 4 through October 29. These artists investigate the notion of image and its power to suggest ideas that women should embrace.
Annette Lawrence, Untitled, tape, paper, china marker, graphite
installation shot with Annette Lawrence's Untitled in the middle flanked by Letitia Huchaby's Debutante Gown on the left and Something Old, Something New on the right.
Letitia Huckaby, East Feliciana Altar Piece
This was the 125th anniversary year of the State Fair of Texas. People do come to the fair from all over the state to exhibit their livestock and to participate in the rodeo competitions. I'm not sure how far the "State" aspect extends into other venues however. Case in point: Friends of Lottie Sculpture Garden. Lottie Minick is a local artist and her husband designed the fountains that designate both ends of the sculpture garden area. I met Lottie at this year's White Rock Lake Artists' Studio Tour and she explained to me that she invites her North Texas sculpting friends to participate in the sculpture garden during the fair each year. She had hoped for a few more of her friends to participate again this year but they were not all able due to other commitments.
Lottie Minick holding one of her sculptures on the 2011 White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour
The signs accompanying each of these sculptures only list the artists' name and phone number. No title, media, size or dates of creation. They all seemed to be made of metal, some with glass and some with tile. There were more than these, but these are more than ample representation:
A caricature artist at work at the fair
Kings Handmade Embroidery
These are odd. Silk embroidery 'paintings'. Most are idyllic representations of village scenes, beautiful women, horses, seascapes, florals - basically Thomas Kinkade 'art' done in silk. These were for sale in the Embarcadero Building along with hot tubs, mattresses, foot massagers, and other household furniture and appliances. Oddly enough, there were red labels on the framed 'art works' that said "No Photos". Not sure if they didn't want anyone spreading the good news about handmade silk embroidery paintings or perhaps Kings is afraid of unfavorable blog posts. I couldn't resist, so I stood away and used the zoom feature on my little Sony Cybershot. duh
also not exactly 'art', but exciting design on testosterone overdrive
One of my favorite exhibits every year at the fair is the Creative Arts Building. I end up spending more time in here than anywhere. I look for the arts and crafts that have been created by my friends from church as well as items created by students of my local art educator friends. And then there are the interesting objects that have been executed well that catch my eye. There are also objects that have been made from kits, boxes of legos, and collectables that leave me scratching my head every year.
John Touhey, a friend from church
KeLaine Kvale, a student of several of my art educator friends
Jan Scogin, a friend from church. Jan had three ribbon winning works in the fair.
Kent Bushart. I've enjoyed Kent's dioramas for a couple of years now
Origami with money. I wonder if this artist ever sees all the art-fair art that is being made of money these days?
Oh, and don't forget the annual butter sculpture: